Handheld Pocket PC Use

I have been using a PPC for input onsite for 3 or 4 years. First with a local report program called inspectionwise and for the last year with Homegauge and its PPC addon.

Personally, I really like the process of entering items as I find them during the inspection. The PPC sits in a PPC case on my belt unless I am entering something. The process is simple - see problem, note problem, take picture if needed, done. Yes you do have to upload the report from the PPC to the computer. That part is painless.

My only complaint with HG on this part is that if you modify the template, you have to download the modified version to the PPC. So if you did two inspections that day and compile the reports in the office after, the second report comes up fine but you cannot save any modification you might want to make on the template.

Otherwise it works great. I have on occassion taken my laptop and run HG on it to do the inspection. That is fine too, but I think it adds alot of time to have to keep hiking back to the laptop to enter things. Unfortunately, I find there are always things that do not require a picture, or do not show up well in a picture, so I dislike depending on photos for all issues.

I persoanlly figure that the PPC’s are probably going to fade away, so will seriously look into an ultra compact type device for my next purchase. It would be nice to have the full version on hand all the time. But I have real concerns about durability and carrying it around, as I do not want to change my process of entering things as I find them.

The bigesst thing I would like to see improve in software is the picture importation. My reports are basically done onsite in the PPC from a text standpoint, but entering all of the regular and IR photos is what takes time. I haven’t found HG’s photo “jump” feature to really work well for me. I think about it alot but have not come up with a way to improve that process.

But as far as the PPC goes, I find it works excellently for me. I know it has saved me loads of time on reports and do not have any desire to change.

You’re probably right but rather than just fade away, we’ll probably see phones like the blackberry morph with the PPC and have a phone/full computer device. We’re already pretty close.

Kevin W., Which PPC do you use (or recommend)?

I use a new tablet PC with the touch screen. I can download pic"s right off a camera card into the program. I am using Vista and I can tell you this works quick. But, I only use ir for input and cheching all my inspection area data before I leave. I don’t send the report till I print it out at home and do a recheck.

Which tablet are you using?

Kevin W

Do you like HG better than Inspectionwise? I have used IW for years, but would like one I own instead of a per report charge.

Thanks
Jack

I am using HP touchsmart tablet with Home Gauge and it is great. I also do insurance inspections that need signatures. No paper, just sign the screen using adobe acrobat. Pull memory card form camera and attach.

I have my clients sign my PIA on the screen too. However, do you find that signing in Acrobat isn’t very responsive and the signature looks horrible? I have them sign my PIA in Microsoft Word (much more responsive) then convert to PDF and attach to the report.

The HP touch tablet series 2525 is the one I picked up during a special sale at Best Buy. Mine came with a lot of memory so it does’nt slow dow when loading pic’s.

I use Adobe with a plug-in, that lets me choose pen, highlighter, text or eraser. It is not perfect, but I turned off the “touchscreen” and only use the pen. It has 4gigs of memory and really does not have any real issues. The signature will sometimes, disappear if they lift the pen, I tell them not to worry and just keep going. When I “flatten” the ink the signature reappears. The eraser allows me to decide if it needs to be redone. I do lots of four-points and can easily do a report in less than an hour and be ready for emailing to the agent. NO PAPERWORK or time after leaving the property. I use MS onenote for notes and Google calendar for online scheduling. The competition can not keep up. Quicker, better service. I have not used it with Home Gauge in the field yet.

Yeah, I’ve tried the same method but for some reason has the same problems. Try out MS Word for signatures. Click “review” and “start inking”. It’s like writing on paper!

I’ll give it a try, thanks

UMPC’s like the Samsung Q1 have cases made by Otterbox. Check out http://www.otterbox.com/pc-tablet-umpc-cases/samsung-q1up-case/ and look at the photo gallery. For only $499 it’s about the same price as a PDA is now. Yes it’s a little bigger with a 7" screen but I think it’s manageable.

Brian I agree laptops with the nice big keyboard are better for fast typing and data entry, and with a tablet you get the best of both worlds.