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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

50 shades of pink

What matter is so vital that it could tear me away to make a blog post in the heat of the filing window?  The color of the paper USAC is using, of course.

Long-time readers will know that I have long extolled the virtues of USAC's color-coded letters, and pined for a return to matching colored envelopes.  Yesterday we got a stack of RNLs (Really Nuisancy Letters), and while preparing to file this useless correspondence, our intrepid CSR noted that the pages were different colors.  At least it was not a repeat of the 2007 RAL salmon envelope horror, or the subsequent pink-FCDLs-in-blue-envelopes apocalypse, but some of the letters were kind of a washed-out pink.

Who is on color quality control over at USAC?  Whoever it is, s/he should get on 3 matters urgently:
  1. Ensure consistency of color.  Pink seems to be the biggest trouble area, so the focus should be there in the short term.
  2. Bring back colored envelopes.  We need to bring this program back to its former greatness.  Color-coded envelopes were a proud tradition of this program from the time color-coding was started, so we shouldn't accept a watered-down version of all the useless letters we get from USAC.
  3. Make those recalcitrants over in invoicing get with the program.  I want my BEAR notifications color-coded.
Less urgently, how about putting another color or two in the rotation?  Because letters from 3 funding years ago aren't that unusual, so there's some overlap.

We need a new USAC department on this.  Color Integrity Assurance?  Or maybe we just expand an existing department.   Trainings, Outreach and Hue?

By the way, kudos to the Michigan Department of Education for creating a historical list of the colors used.  Please update it, though.  And please change the pink color; you'd think #FF9999 would be pink, but it's really salmon.  #FF99FF would be a better choice.  While you're at it, I'd lighten the blue to #0099FF and the yellow to #FFFF66.  Easier on the eyes and closer to the actual color of the paper.

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