Congratulations on your selection of the Raptor status monitoring program for US Postal Service Express Mail. We have found that the Raptor software provides a very convenient way to monitor Express Mail shipments, and we hope you like it. We have also prepared software called Feathers which monitors trademark applications. We have also prepared software called Partridge which may be used to monitor the status of patent applications.

Who should use this software

This software is intended for use by anyone who finds it desirable to monitor Express Mail shipments. Possible users include:

After you have installed and tested the Raptor software, you can enter Express Mail tracking numbers. You can manually run the software to check the status of the registrations and applications. When the software runs, it compares the status of each shipment (reported currently by the US Postal Service web site at http://www.usps.gov/cttgate/ ) with the status that was reported the previous time the software was run. The new status is displayed on the main page of the software, and you can easily review the shipment status on the screen. If any status changes are detected, the software uses a green icon on the screen to show the change, and sends an email message to one or more user-selected email addresses to report the changes. The contents of the email message are appended to a log file.


It is important for you to realize that the program is being provided to you free of charge on an "as is" basis with the hope that you will find it helpful for the monitoring of US Express Mail shipments. While we have tried to make the program convenient and reliable, we cannot promise that the program will be perfectly reliable. For example, we have designed the Raptor software based on the format of information on the web site of the U.S. Postal Service as of the time during which the software was being designed. If the U.S. Postal Service changes the format of its web pages (which it has done quite often in recent years) this may lead to incorrect or incomplete results when using Raptor. As another example, the Raptor software relies upon a continuous connection to the Internet and, through the Internet, to the web site of the US Postal Service. If your connection to the Internet were disrupted, or if there were some interruption in connectivity within the Internet making it impossible to reach the web site of the Postal Service, then this software will not be able to perform its intended function. This software is designed to generate email messages to annunciate particular events such as the change of status of a pending shipment, and there are occurrences (such as email server crashes) which could lead to loss of email messages. Finally, we have not tested the Raptor software on every possible combination of computer hardware and operating system software, and it might turn out that there is some combination that crashes the Raptor software or causes it to malfunction. For all these reasons, we urge you not to rely solely upon the Raptor software but to continue to rely upon proven methods of monitoring shipment status.

It is our hope that you will find it possible and helpful to use the Raptor software for many months or years to come, and that none of the unhappy events described above will ever happen to you.

System requirements

Raptor version 1.1 requires the following:

It is possible the Raptor version 1.1 software will run on other versions of Windows, but we have not tested it on other versions of Windows.

If the software proves to be popular, we hope to offer it on other operating systems such as Linux.


Assuming that the system requirements set forth above are satisfied, we expect that installation will be fairly straightforward. First, download the latest version of the software (if you have not done so already) from the web site of Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC at http://www.oppedahl.com/support/raptor.exe, making careful note of the directory to which the file was downloaded. (You may need to shift-click to get the download to work. The software may take twenty minutes or more to load with a 28K modem.) Second, run the downloaded file to install the software. We suggest that the software be installed to the default directory which is c:\programfiles\raptor . The installer will require you to restart your computer, after which the installer will finish. Third, run the Raptor program by clicking on the Raptor icon on your desktop. Then proceed to "configuration", discussed below.


When Raptor is run for the first time, it requires that you provide several items of information which are stored in configuration files and which are used when Raptor is run again. Here is the initial configuration screen, shown with sample values in the fields (do not use these sample values!).configuration box The fields to be completed are as follows:

Adding shipment records to the database

Next, you will want to store some shipment records. You enter an Express Mail tracking number, together with your own reference (such as your attorney docket number). These items of information are stored in a data file, and the data file is used later when you ask for a status check of the shipments.

Main screen

A scroll box shows the shipments (if any) which have already been entered on the list. You can press "add a shipment record" which permits you to add a shipment record. An email message is sent to the notification list, reporting that a shipment record has been added to the monitoring list, and the addition is logged to the log file.

The shipment records are initially stored in the database in alphabetical order by the reference. Thus, if the references are provided (and are unique) then the HTML report will be ordered by reference.

You can select one shipment record from the list to delete or edit. If you edit a record in this list, it will be re-inserted into the list according to its sort order, and a notification email will be sent to the persons on the notification list and will be logged. If you delete a record from this list, then that too will be reported to the persons on the notification list via email, and will be logged.

To modify the list of shipments to be monitored you start with the "edit" menu: Editing records

Once you have entered some Express Mail tracking numbers, proceed to "performing an update", below.

Performing an update

the update box

You can update all of the records in the database, or you can update one or more selected records. Normally you would go to the "update" menu and select "all". (You can also do this by typing shift-F5.) When the updating process has finished, you should see this box: Successful update You may perform the updates as often as you wish. We find that the updates take around ?? seconds per record, on average, so that a 250-record database takes about ?? minutes to update.

Sending email notifications. When an update has finished, there may be update notifications to send. To send them, select file menu"send E-Mail" from the "file" menu.

Sorting records in the database

The records in the database are initially in alphabetical order by the reference. From the "Sort" menu, you can select sorting by the serial number, the registration number, or the date of most recent status. The latter may be helpful to you because it bring to the top of the display all of the records for which there were recent status changes.

The view menu

If you have selected a record in the database, then from the view menu you can select "view web page" and your browser will be launched to show the Express Mail tracking page for the record.

You can also select "view log file" to see the log file.

Right-clicking on shipment records

You can select one or more shipment records, and then right-click on them. This offers choices such as editing a record, deleting records, updating records, or viewing the Express Mail tracking page for a record.

Privacy information

The Raptor software is set up so that approximately every fourth time it generates an email report, it will send a small email report to Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC. The email report does not identify any of the tracking numbers being monitored. It does, however, tell us the email address or addresses to which status reports are sent, as well as the organization name and purely statistical information such as the number of registrations or applications being monitored and the number of errors encountered when performing updates. Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC will keep the email addresses in confidence and will not provide them to anyone not connected with the Raptor software. The statistical information from each user will be merged with statistical information from other users. While the merged information may be publicly revealed, we will keep in confidence the contents of the individual email reports.

We may, from time to time, send email messages to one or more of the email addresses collected from the email reports. This will only be done in connection with the Raptor software, for example to inform users of releases of new versions of the software, or of known problems with the software and possible solutions.


If you have trouble getting the Raptor software to work, please do not ask Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC for help with the software. Please keep in mind that the software is being provided to you free of charge. We intend that the software will work well for you, and we invite you to use the "test" buttons described above if you are having problems. You may find helpful troubleshooting information on our web site at http://www.oppedahl.com/raptor

Sending a test email message.Email test buttons You can press "send E-Mail to Return Address" and the Raptor software will try to send a test email message to the person listed in the "return address" field of the configuration screen. You can press "send E-Mail to Notification Addresses" and the Raptor software will try to send test email messages to each of the persons listed in the "notification addresses" field of the configuration screen. You should then have the person or persons check their email to see if the test email message has been received. If this test fails (and if the previous two tests did not fail) then you should check to see whether you have correctly determined your SMTP server and entered it in the "SMTP server" field of the configuration screen.

. If you wish to report a problem, send it via email to raptor-support@oppedahl.com, but we cannot promise that you will receive a response.

The importance of backups

We recommend you make periodic backups of one important file, namely "shipment.dat", which contains your list of shipments and the corresponding references. The other files can be reconstructed by simply reinstalling the software.


Raptor was created by Carl Oppedahl and Polar Engineering and Consulting.

Revised July 5, 2007