Thanks to SimpleTracking.com and some rather new technology, it is very easy to have your computer automatically check on the progress of shipments. The new technology is called RSS (Really Simple Syndication), a method of periodic polling of a web site for any newly updated information. In this case, the information is the location of a package.
This free service should be useful for individuals and especially useful in the shipping department or customer service department of any company that ships products.
I used the service this week to track a UPS Shipment and was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to use.
What is RSS, and how can it save me time?
RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is technology that allows certain programs called RSS readers to download new content from an RSS feed to your computer. RSS feeds are often found on blogs or forums and contain the latest posts to that blog or forum. An RSS feed can also be found on news sites and contains the latest articles found on that site. In the case of this site, the RSS feed contains each piece of tracking information for your tracking number. Just like an email program such as Microsoft Outlook saves you time by checking for new mail for you and downloading it so that you can view it, the RSS reader checks for updates for you and as soon as it sees an update, it will download it to your computer and can notify you by a popup message or dialog, etc.
How Do I Track Packages?
You first must download and install an RSS reader. There are many free ones available for Windows Macintosh and Linux. Even the Thunderbird e-mail program and the Firefox and Opera web browsers contain rather simple RSS news readers. You can find a longer list of RSS newsreaders at http://www.eogn.com/rss-newsreaders.htm
Once installed, go to http://www.simpletracking.com and enter the shipment tracking number. The web site will then display a rather long URL. Copy and paste that URL into your RSS newsreader, then sit back and relax. The RSS newsreader will periodically (at a schedule you specify) poll the SimpleTracking.com web site and ask, "Are there any updates?" If so, the new information is retrieved and displayed in your RSS newsreader.
That's it! There is no need for you to do anything, other than to leave the RSS newsreader running in your computer. Any time you want to see the latest shipping info, take a look at the RSS newsreader.