The oil spill

A few more vignettes from Alabama and the northern Gulf coast: Tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon spill appeared on the Dauphin Island shore on Saturday. According to the Mobile Press-Register, “about 100 workers in white hazmat suits, yellow boots and black gloves were picking up samples of black-stained sand near the pier, as beachgoers […]

Federal websites that work

Obama’s election has raised interest in ways the government can use the Web to make itself more accountable to citizens. Jim Guest, the president of Consumers Union, has just pointed to a few federal websites that “just work.” * Medlineplus.gov, the National Library of Medicine’s website, provides medical information and a searchable databse of clinical […]

How to get a real person on the line at the U.S. Postal Service

One of the worst voicemail mazes I’ve encountered is the one at the U.S. Postal Service number, 800-275-8777. Here are some tips on how to get to a real, live person. Don’t expect these instructions to make sense. Voicemail systems are designed to save time and money for corporations by wasting the time and patience […]