In July of this year, a 20-year-old procedure of photocopying Address
Correction Requested (ACR) mail was automated due to the "forward" thinking
of CFS (Central Forwarding System) Manager Fred Hernandez, then at the Fort
Lauderdale, FL, P&DC of the United States Postal Service. The plan was
instantly put into action by Electronic Technicians Tony Hawkins and John
Comeau; Tony engineered a solution using existing Postal equipment, the
ISS-modified (Input SubSystem of the Remote Bar Coding System) OCRCS (Optical
Character Reader and Channel Sorter) as a front end, and an HP-compatible laser
printer as the back end. John, using A86 assembly, converted fax-format images
from the MLOCRA-ISS scanning station into PCL5-M2 (TIFF Packbits) which then
printed on cardstock from a modified HP-compatible laser printer. John then
engineered an ISO TP4/CLNP subset to draw the images directly from the ISS,
which he also implemented in assembly language. The speed of the routines,
(1/2 second to store, 1/2 second to convert with a 486-DX2/66), combined
with the speed of the AEG-designed OCR (10-12 mailpieces per second),
reduced the amount of labor required by almost two orders of magnitude, as
well as significantly improving service to the letter's recipient and to
the mailer who requested the address correction. The "win-win-win" nature
of the automation program won its immediate acceptance by USPS Headquarters,
and it was featured in the in-house video newsmagazine FOCUS in September.
Tony is now working on the production version of the software, on FreeBsd.
Reported Oct. 27, 1995 by John Comeau.
This project was featured as the cover story of the 1995 Annual
Report of the Postmaster General, which is available from the
USPS Web Page both
in Acrobat form and hardcopy.
5/27/96 Also featured in the Federal Times, 5/13/96,