The digital divide is often talked about as a consumer phenomenon. And it’s true that bringing the resources of the digital world to those without access can have an incredible effect on peoples’ lives. But bridging that divide on the production side could have impacts that are just as far reaching.

In the digital world, we’ve recently seen an explosion of activity driven by the lego-like quality of the modern web. Thousands of features and tools are available and ready to be pieced together.

But all of this ends at the monitor’s edge. Most physical processes don’t allow connections, experimentation, or recombination. Merging the dynamism of the web with the scope and reach of physical production and delivery is potentially revolutionary. The era of mass production is ending as we enter a period of mass customization.

Print is a perfect example of the sort of light manufacturing task which will likely compose the first wave of this. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a rapid adoption of digital presses. But only now are we starting to see changes in the underlying processes. With the release of our API, we’re helping to open this more widely.

It’s exciting to imagine what’s going to be possible as this trend spreads through more and more areas of the ‘old economy’. A lot of neglected industries are rapidly going to get much more interesting.

The Postful API

August 22, 2007

We’re excited to announce the release of the Postful API. With a few lines of code, any application can now generate dynamic print and mail. Every mailbox on the planet is now wired. Any application can now reach the other 80% of the planet that isn’t online. The web just got a lot bigger.

  • CRM applications can send out automated follow-up letters.
  • Web applications can snail mail signup confirmations.
  • Family-oriented sites can mail newsletter to family members without
    e-mail.
  • Invoices and bills can be delivered in whatever format your clients prefer.
  • Content from the web can be printed and mailed as soon as its produced.

I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves how you can sign up. It’s easy. If you have a Postful account, you’re already signed up (if not, send a request for an invite). Your regular login credentials will work for the API. Just head over to the docs and start imagining how you can make use of this today.

Site Update

August 16, 2007

We will have a few minutes of downtime tonight at 12am (PST) for a regular update. As always, letters sent during that time will be safely held and processed when the system comes back up.

We previously mentioned that Postful supports PDF files. Postful also supports sending Microsoft and Open Office documents. As with PDF’s, just add the file as an attachment to your e-mail. If you’d like to add a note to be included with the file, just add it to the body of the e-mail (if you leave the body blank, no extra page will be printed).

If you want the tightest control of the output possible, I’d still recommend PDF, but this opens a lot of options. Most of our documents are still in these formats. Rather than dealing with conversion or copy-and-pasting, you can send them along by mail as easily as you’d send them by e-mail (this is becoming a theme for us).

Whether you’re sending out copies of a contract or agreement for final approval or mailing a paper in from the beach, Postful continues to expand towards serving as the universal printer for the web.

As if you needed one more reason to ditch your printer, now we learn that laser printers may pose a health risk. Now it’s not only easier, cheaper, faster, and higher quality to use Postful, it’s also healthier.

I’m not saying that using Postful will actually cure diseases (the FDA muttered darkly about the there being truths too powerful for man to know when I proposed this for clinical trials), but at least it may help you get rid of one more risk from your life.