The big 5-0

The Postal Service’s Informed Delivery now has more than 50 million subscribers, a significant milestone for the popular free feature.

Launched in 2017, Informed Delivery allows consumers to digitally preview their incoming mail and manage their package delivery from computers, smartphones and other devices.

“Informed Delivery is changing the way consumers engage with their mail and packages and allowing the Postal Service to add value to our core product,” said Robert Dixon, the organization’s product technology innovation director. “We look forward to reaching our next milestone as more people discover the advantages of using Informed Delivery.”

The feature is particularly popular with customers who are moving from one location to another. At least 20 million users signed up for Informed Delivery through the Postal Service’s change-of-address process.

In a recent consumer survey, 89 percent said they use Informed Delivery as part of their regular routine to keep track of their mail; 68 percent use it to track packages.

Survey respondents who travel (51 percent) said they liked the feature because it allows them to keep track of mail and packages that arrived when they’re out of town.

Customers also commented that Informed Delivery was “incredibly useful for planning trips to the Post Office” and keeping “my package deliveries safe.”

The feature also allows businesses and other mailers to add interactive advertisements to the email consumers receive. Customers are taken to the company’s website when they click the advertisement.

In fiscal year 2022 through August, the number of Informed Delivery interactive advertisements were up 55 percent over the same period in 2021.

100 years? Good grief!

The Postal Service is issuing a set of 10 fun-filled stamps on Sept. 30 to mark the centennial of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’s birth.

Schulz’s original “Peanuts” comic strip ran in newspapers from 1950 until a day after his death in 2000. His work still runs in many papers as “Classic Peanuts.”

The strip introduced a motley crew of unforgettable characters and explored timeless, universal themes of love, loss, rejection and insecurity.

The stamps are being issued in panes of 20 featuring two each of his 10 best-known characters: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Franklin, Sally, Pigpen, Linus, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Snoopy and Woodstock.

The cartoonist’s distinctive “Schulz” signature is found in the lower-right corner of each stamp.

The pane features a black-and-white 1987 photograph of Schulz taken by Douglas Kirkland in the center surrounded by the colorful characters the cartoonist brought to such vivid life.

Greg Breeding served as designer and art director.

“Peanuts” cemented its status as an American classic in the 1960s with internationally beloved holiday specials such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

There were also books, a Broadway show and numerous products.

The Charles M. Schulz stamps are Forever stamps and will be available at Post Offices and usps.com/shopstamps.

Missing messages?

The Postal Service is alerting employees and contractors that the organization’s email system automatically blocks documents embedded with macros, which could prevent messages from reaching recipients.

Macros are programmed to instruct computers to automate certain repeated tasks, such as formatting documents or executing complex calculations in Microsoft Excel.

While useful, macros can also be exploited by cybercriminals to hide malicious programs.

As a protective measure, the Postal Service’s email server automatically blocks attachments containing macros — whether they are in files coming from the internet or from internal sources.

Instead of attaching documents containing macros to emails, the USPS Corporate Information Security Office offers the following tips:

Keep it simple. Only use macros to perform simple functions such as adding a column or performing a calculation in Excel instead of functions that make internet connections to web pages or databases.

Team up. Use Microsoft Teams, the organization’s preferred tool for collaboration. Share files with embedded macros as a link in Outlook to send information effectively and efficiently.

For more information, contact your department’s Office 365 Champion or visit the Chief Information Office’s Office Workplace Modernization Blue page.

Mobile service

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Postal Service is encouraging employees to make sure their personal mobile devices are ready for an emergency and know how to use the device’s features prior to such an event.

Having a properly prepared mobile device helps keep you alerted, powered and able to contact the correct people during an emergency.

Here are a few suggestions for your personal devices:

Current contacts: In addition to family and friends, verify you have important contacts added to your cellphone such as hospitals, veterinary clinic, schools, insurance companies and local utility companies. Delete contacts you no longer need.

Keeping your contacts updated will make it easy to quickly reach the correct people quickly to provide, receive and verify information during an emergency.

Sign up: Before a disaster, follow trusted government agencies and weather apps to stay up to date with official and accurate information before, during and after a disaster.

Charge: Prior to severe weather, fully charge your personal electronic devices. Keep a portable backup power source with you, so you’re not scrambling to find one during an emergent event.

Become familiar with power-saving methods and settings on your device to conserve battery power when charging isn’t available. Such methods include battery-saving mode, airplane mode, turning off automatic updates and Bluetooth, and turning down your brightness.

Text rather than call: Text messages use less bandwidth than phone calls, so text communication is often more reliable during emergency situations. Additionally, group texting allows you to provide a safety status to friends and family with a single message.

Built in tools: Familiarize yourself with your phone’s emergency SOS features, compass, flashlight and location services so you know how to use them when needed.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website has additional tips to help ensure your mobile device preparedness.