Author Archive

Source: Tonga adopts what3words as national postal addressing system

This is perhaps the fourth recent announcement of a post, generally in a smaller, often developing, nation, adopting what3words.  St. Maarten and Mongolia and Cote d’Ivoire are additional examples. This series of adoptions is leading to the conclusion that this system is not a flash in the pan; some serious professionals charged with the very serious matter of delivering letters and parcels to citizens, and  fulfilling other important government functions, have been convinced that the system is satisfactory.

We are still dubious.  Giving every 3-square meter piece of the earth’s surface a 3-word name is a remarkable achievement, especially when done in more than a dozen languages and with sensitivity for “offensive” words!

But this old letter carrier wonders what the postman does when walking her route. There is no continuity from building to building…no 201, 203, 205.  The old pros memorize their routes in short order, to be sure. But what about the parcel carriers who literally drive a different route every delivery day?

It seems delivery must be accomplished with the aid of some digital tools, like a mobile phone. This may prove to be a major problem in the developing world.

On the other hand, as one looks at an overhead photo of the streets of many of the adopting countries, there is a commonality. The “streets” sometimes are dirt paths, some wider, some narrower. The streets are often twisty and complex. One historian of London noted that many of its oldest streets follow the paths created by browsing cows, and British cows never walked a straight line. Cows share this proclivity world-wide.  This is not 2,4,6 territory.

What this suggests for the exercise of postal responsibilities is that the best one can do is to identify delivery points, make the mapping of those points universally accessible, and let the public and the posts and delivery agents accommodate themselves to creating their own logical ordering or data systems.

The “address” data implicit in “one.two.three” (author’s creation, by the way) is quite spare. This designation actually says nothing at all about its location or that of its neighbors in the way that “132 W. 16th St” does.  It identifies only this one small spot in its lonely glory somewhere on Earth.

BUT, and this is where “system” comes in,  when connected to the main database and a “translation facility” (read – “map on my mobile phone”) every square can be pictorially presented. Your address becomes what it is in any system – an identity point with neighbors. Presuming the website from which you are ordering a Valentine’s Day gift supports it, you can provide your loved one’s what3words address, and it will identify both the location and the person.  She might have to visit the local post office responsible for her address, and she would identify herself with her name and her new “geographical id”, her address. (And you will be a hero!)

All of which makes perfect sense and provides the individual with an “address identity” which is necessary for many things in the nation – open a bank account, buy an air ticket, apply to university, obtain government benefits, send children to school, vote…..  This alone justifies this exercise. An address validates an individual as properly existing and entitled to exercise the rights recognized by the country.  But, unlike traditional addressing systems, the address does not have as its primary purpose the identification of a building, nor does it fulfill the other traditional goal – identify the parcel for taxation purposes!

So what3words is a child of the digital era. Each of these three-somes is a lonely construct within a massive database awaiting the touch of clever people to manipulate and render it useful for human purposes, as can be seen at the company’s website. It’s worth a visit.

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Despite progress with Obamacare, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Source: Why the U.S. Still Trails Many Wealthy Nations in Access to Care – The New York Times

A very damning study shows that our medical delivery system ranks extremely low among developed countries on many, many points. Could our politicians’ incompetence in addressing the subject be the result of the fact someone else (we the taxpayers) pays their medical insurance bills?  The Republican “solution” is simply to destroy our new system without proposing any alternative.  If that means we go back to an unregulated and overly expense insurance system, or a totally free market in medical service delivery, then we will be reverting back to the ’50’s.


It is a matter of extreme frustration that our political and policy leaders appear to be both ignorant and dismissive of what other countries have done with this issue.  If other countries have workable solutions, wouldn’t a competent leader study them?

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Source: Postcodes to be considered ‘integral’ part of postal address –

That post codes are critical for modern postal operations should be self-evident, but postal systems aren’t often very good at telling the public (its customers!) why they are critical.  I’ve spoken to people, postal customers, around the world, and they are very, very often surprised when I point out that the postal codes are critical to postal service accuracy and speed.  There can be 2 or 3 “113 Rose Avenue”s in a city, without that “10590” at the end of one address, the Post has to guess.

And with all posts having to trim work forces and have more postal service rendered by machines, we’ve got to give the machines what they need to perform up to standard.

Use your postal code!

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Quite likely one of the most hilarious collections of marketing “fails” available to the general public!  Many lessons, and surprises. Melissa has a wonderful sense of the ridculous and humorous.  These range from “Oh, my heavens. Why did we do that?” to “Good heavens, why did they do that….OH, Damned clever, that.”


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The Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has directed local authorities in the country to fast-track naming of roads and streets in their respective areas as part of implementation of the national homes’ address and post code system.

Source: Tanzania: PM Directs Local Governments to Hasten Road, Street Naming –

Well, Prime Minister, in providing that streets may be named for living or recently-deceased persons you’ve guaranteed that the project will stall once more.  The reason that there will be nothing but bureacratic fudging resulting in no action whatsoever is because the naming authorities will, out of a well-based desire to continue to be employed,  shrink from the task of not naming a street after someone that someone despises.  And with living human beings, someone always hates anybody. And this is especially true when it comes to politicians, all of whom now believe they are entitled to have a street named for them, especially if it replaces the name of someone they despise. The UK pretty much has it right and won’t name a street after you until at least 10 years after your demise.  In short, it’s a political mine-field, and experienced government authorities recognize mine-fields from a long way off.

It’s a pity that much of the information provided to the countries who recognize the need to install street names and addresses doesn’t come with a bright red “DANGER” warning label. It would permit the projects to achieve speedier implementation.

And if these countries want to have successful e-commerce business volumes, inbound or outbound, they need addresses. Now. Forget people. The world offers much else to honor through street-naming recognition. How about Express Street? Homedelivery Avenue? Bright Morning Boulevard?

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Professor Doug Massey walks us through the myths and misconceptions surrounding immigration in America for Part Two of our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Migration Edition.

Source: Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Migration Edition (At Home) – On The Media – WNYC

Every person in the United States should be required to listen to this interview before they are permitted to vote.  We strongly urge you to listen to this “fact-based view” of the “immigration problem” we should never have created, and which needs to be fixed, and pass the link on to anyone you know, especially you elected Federal and State officials.


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After reading the Sunday, July 24, story about panhandlers (“They’re Everywhere”), it strikes me that now seems like an apt moment to discuss a genuine solution that is quite tenable. This issue is complex, but a major factor is that many low-income/homeless people are in dire need of two things: accessible low-cost banking that will not rob them via fees, and postal boxes for their mail.Right now, the State of North Dakota, not exactly a deep blue state, is, “as of the spring of 2010 … [the]

Source: Andrew Stewart: Panhandlers need banks and post office boxes – Opinion – – Providence, RI

At last! Another voice in the wilderness to provide both postal and financial services to those who currently do not have them. No less an authority than the office of the Inspector General of the USPS published an excellent paper last year recommending the reinstitution of modest postal financial services in the communities which our banking “kings” refuse to service and have left behind to be pillaged by the money transfer services.

And this observer adds an additional solution to a problem we have overlooked – addresses for people who do not live in buidings – the good old post box. Why not provide free post boxes for these people so that, for a start anyway,  the public services can reach them. How does someone living “rough” apply for a job when he can’t fill out the “address” line in the application.

A bank account and a mailing address could do marvelous things for those in this community who are struggling to rejoin the “real economy”.

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Source: Swiss Post’s PostBus starts public testing of self-driving buses « Post & Parcel

As usual, the Swiss are ahead of the rest of the world.  Having driven some of the roads in the hilly regions of the country, I hope they testing on a road in a valley or plain, and not up at altitude! Up high the roads are narrow and twisty!  And mistake of location could quickly become dangerous.

A successful test means more of the employment possibilities within the post are narrowed, and opportunities in the digital engineering firms and department increase. The “semi-skilled” job of driving can be eliminated.

But I suspect they will discover other necessary human activity and thinking that will have to be populated, just with much more highly educated personnel. The digitalization of both data and knowledge. The expansion of the Internet of Things. The sophistication of analysis of  Big Data. The computerization of much human activity running machines continues apace.  Soon, the blockchains will wrap up most of human existence.

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Britain’s vote to leave the EU was a gut decision, an emblem of a country in retreat. The island nation is getting smaller and smaller.

Source: Opinion: Brexit Vote Is an Act of Self Mutiliation By British – SPIEGEL ONLINE

The USA equivalent of the Brexit vote would be the election of Donald Trump as President. The pro-Brexit vote characteristics and causes are paralleled in the US.  A substantial part of the voters are tired of professional politicians, Congressional logjams, concentration of wealth and reduction of opportunities.  They see others in the new economy prospering and feel left behind.  In fact, our governments and institutions have been slow to adapt to the new world and the skills and learning it demands of our work force. But Trump’s campaign offers no solutions and is based on negatives and fear and hate and would give us an incompetent, possibly dangerous, leader.  We need leaders with skills, experience and ideas, not leaders with arrogant hubris.

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Source: The Current for June 21, 2016 – Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio

How 3 words could put 4 billion people without addresses on the map

Our home address marks our place in the world – enabling us to get mail, services and to vote. But there is no fixed addressed for four billion billion people in the world living in urban slums. Until now.

The Current, a Canadian radio program covering important contemporary issues, talks to Chris Sheldrick, founder of What3Words about the system and its state of employment around the world, from Mongolia’s wide-open countryside to massive outdoor music events in the UK.  Chris is followed by Catherine Farvacque-Vitkovic of the World Bank, who describes the world’s many needs for new addresses and the programs undertaken by the World Bank.

Two things are clear: there is a need for addressing everywhere, and there are many viable solutions to the problem.

The recording takes about 24 minutes and is very worth-while.

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