Business: Postal
P.I.Box   (+10, -2)  [vote for, against]
P.O.Box service + webcam

Every day after mail comes in and is distributed to the post office boxes, take still photographs of all of them.

In addition to the physical key, each subscriber gets a virtual key that allows him or her to access the current still image of their on the web.

They no longer need to check whether they have mail physically; they can simply check over the web.

(Contrary to [donthink]'s annotation, this can be made secure, in fact more easily so than the physical post office box that will always remain vulnerable to social engineering.)

Another, similar service: automatically send email when a physical message arrives in an empty box.
-- jutta, Nov 25 1999

Invisible Ink
How about a protocol (or even a rule of law) that restricts mailers of junk to use a watermark paper that's activated by a USPS scanner. If not opened, addressee will be overprinted with [REJECTED] and can be returned via USPS to the sender "postage due"? Then all you'd get would be a 'second notice' page with a picture of the envelope. [reensure, Nov 25 1999]

"You've got mail!" Don't get me started. This would allow for "sneaky" types to access your account and see if and how you have mail. For those who use P.O. boxes for buisnesses, this could spell disastor.
-- dontthink, May 07 2000

why have a webcam? you could have a pressure plate or some other mechanism hooked up to a server running a program that would send you an email when you have physical mail.
-- rhino, May 07 2000

That's what I meant with the last paragraph.
-- jutta, May 07 2000

Yep if we could spell disaster......
-- NOFX, May 07 2000

Very punny. Yes, I do mean punny.

I'll get you for this..... It is unwise to upset the likes of me. lol :-)
-- dontthink, May 08 2000

A good idea; the Post Office would never go for it, but a private company like Mailboxes Etc might.
-- Furthur, Dec 24 2000

random, halfbakery