All Hail the Royal Mail

A few years back, like everything else, the RoyalMail got privatised – can’t exactly remember when, since I wasn’t really paying attention, and they did it in stages. Anyway since privatisation things haven’t always gone well, but there is at least something they are doing right – you can buy postage online!

Just weigh and measure your letter or parcel, enter the address, and pay (either from a prepay account or on a credit card) and presto a pdf label in a choice of formats (DL envelope, quarter, half, or whole A4) is created. Print, stick, and then post in any postbox. I don’t think I’ve sent as much mail in the last 5 years as the last couple of months – partly because now I’ve discovered this service, putting DVD’s and books on Amazon is a lot less daunting and friends and family have benefited from my new found postal renaissance. It’s easy to work out the postage beforehand (to see if the item is even worth selling) and then no mad rush to the post office to get the parcel sent once it’s gets sold.

Now, despite all this gushy gushy stuff, the service is far from perfect. The doesn’t appear to be a developer API, so no direct integration with Amazon, Ebay, Evo Addressbook, or other service is possible (yet). Hence lots of annoying copying and pasting. It would be useful to be able to build up a page of labels to avoid wasting paper printing each label in the top left corner. Also they use some layer feature on the pdf’s that doesn’t work (yet) in Evince, so I had to install the official Adobe reader.

Now if they can just stop losing mail (and money) things will be golden.