Tuesday, April 06, 2010

USPS Clubs Baby Seals

I wanted to title the post "USPS Has No Sense Of Humor", but I was not trying to be funny. I was serious. I considered my mail serious art. Yet USPS rejected it. So much for the trouble. The title honestly reflects how I feel about USPS, justified or not.

The story begins when I read a post on creative young fellows at Syracuse University who came up with the concept of a Google Maps Envelope. Read the post before proceeding with my story here.

The creative folk I am, I decided to try it myself and after a couple of hours of experimenting with Google Maps and MS Word, came up with this masterpiece (addressed to a friend):

Then I waited for my friend to receive it, before I can post about it on Facebook. Little did I know that USPS isn't in the business of fostering creativity. Two days after I posted the envelope, I find my own mail in my mailbox, returned to sender. Here's the clubbed baby seal:

Yeah, they returned it. The envelope was still unopened, but I saw signs of (unsuccessfully) trying to pry it open without tearing it. I am glad that my glue was strong enough for them. I am glad for them too, because the letter inside was in Hindi which they wouldn't have understood anyway.

I knew I must have fallen foul to one of USPS' commandments, so I got searching on their website. Sure enough, their Delivery Address page listed my innumerable heinous crimes, including:

    • (Not) All capital letters
    • Punctuation
    • (Not) Two spaces between State and ZIP
    • (Not) Black ink on white or light paper
    • Fancy fonts and background patterns

I think the last two got me. Looking at the Return Address page, I noticed that I also made the mistake of not placing the return address on top left corner. This may explain why my address is crossed out, but I have always used this format (including over two dozen mails in US), so I don't know why it should matter.

So party's over guys. Concept is cute as a baby seal, but USPS would club it. Now don't try this at home...I mean don't try this in USA.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I hereby proclaim myself as the creator and the sole author of the expression "TGFI", which I define as "Thank Google For It".

The acceptable usage is to thank Google for things that have been made possible because of Google's initiatives. Specifically, where it brought about change in the way the world (or tech companies in general) behaved.

Examples of good use (where Google has been an innovator):
  • I used to get only 2 MB on my webmail. Now I get over a gigabyte. TGFI.
  • Wow! Nokia opened its Ovi Store and now we all can get free voice navigation on our GPS phones. TGFI.

Examples of still acceptable use (where Google does it well):
  • I was able to complete my assignment on time although I knew nothing about the topic with 3 hours to go. TGFI.
  • Take that. I can take a virtual tour of Paris from the comfort of my home on Google Maps. TGFI.

Examples of unacceptable use (where Google is clearly lacking behind; except when it done for irony):
  • With Orkut I can now connect with everyone I know virtually. TGFI.
  • With knol, I have finally found a way to share my expertise with the world. TGFI.

Use of lower case "tgfi" is also acceptable. Feel free to use it as long as you don't take credit for inventing the word. You don't have to credit me for it, but I will be glad if you do. This expression is hereby released to the wilderness of the internet.

Note: The word is based on the expression "TGIF", which is a Public Domain word. Use of "Google" in the expression is allowed under fair-use.