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Today I learned that the New Zealand postal system sends physical ping packets to test their network.

I received a "tracked letter" which says "we send 2,500 of these letters every week to random addresses all around New Zealand to help us check the performance of our network."

I am the lucky winner of a functioning national postal system, which considering the alternative in other countries, makes me feel pretty darn lucky.

@natecull i don't want to bag on the united states postal service too hard - i think they give good service despite being structurally hamstrung by a political system determined to destroy them, and they're a lifeline for small towns and rural communities.

all the same: i'm jealous of the level of service that implies. i think a lot about how much cool stuff the postal system here could do if we treated it like we wanted it to not only exist but thrive and function well.

@brennen Well, on the other hand, our postal service recently dropped their deliveries down to like once every three days, so, it's not *amazingly* functional.

Apparently too many people are using the Internet now instead of sending letters, but not enough of them are ordering things online? or something.

@natecull @hugh I used to be part of a similar (non-random) testing system in Australia.

You could be designated a sender, receiver or both. And you logged when you sent letters to other people/nodes in the testing system.

@wolf480pl

Apparently not! The text of the letter says to just put it in the recycling... it's just a test of their track and trace system.

Never ever had one of these before.

@natecull weird. so you're meant to mail the latter back? How does it work exactly? I would think the postal system could gather whatever metrics without you seeing the artifacts

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