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  #1  
Old 10-02-2011, 08:55 PM
Randall Garrett's Avatar
Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default Tablet PC - answers to some specific questions

Chris,

As mentioned in the thread I linked to here, I moved this stuff to a new thread so as not to “pollute” or cause distraction in the other thread. For those not coming from the other thread (http://appraisersforum.com/showthread.php?t=180080), these posts are in response to his questions on some Tablet PC and related items.

Below is a paste of most of your “original” (slightly edited for size here) and there is more background at the thread listed above.

Due to the length of my (wordy) reply, I had to break this up into several posts. In “typical male fashion”, I am (mostly) replying to your items in the same order as you wrote, for clarity and because… well, I’m male, LOL.

-----------------------------------
you are quick at the helm for replies.
Wow, I am having an extremely difficult time posting to this forum. Got almost all the way through what I wanted to say and the web page closed. Logged back in, can’t access the Apex area now. Guess I will type this in a word doc and copy and paste.
I agree with your take, think I will have to go with a full OS at this point. I looked at the links you supplied. Looks like the Samsung is a nice machine, however only does Android when not docked? That sounds frustrating to me. Can you use the full OS as an option when un-docked? Seems like I would keep wanting to use programs in the field that I would only be able to use in the dock? Is the machine powerful enough to switch between or use both in a field type situation?
On the Lenovo side, I assume that the new win7 models are more stable. I have had significant stability issues with Vista and my X61, particularly Davinci. I like the convertible setup though.
My screen gets to 1024x768 and many times I have to scroll to all of a webpage. Are the newer HP and Lenovo models any better with this. I know their screens are similar in size, is their native res any better?
Was surprised to see the HP. That thing specs great. What is the screen called that you are talking about being the best outdoor option on the 2760t? The specs state that it ships with anti-glare screen with I5 processor and 6GB RAM for $1449? Apparently the anti-glare screen is not the best outdoor option? I have issues with HP Pc's in the past, but am willing to try this one if it has a superior outdoor viewable screen. But if the Lenovo is much less expensive with similar specs, may go that route. Have you been able to play with both units with outdoor viewable screens? On the screen side, what about Motion? Outdoor screen superior, similar? Not quite up to speed on desktop replacement? And what Toshiba? They still building a military spec tablet unit? Too expensive for what you get?
I am not opposed to spending $2,00+ If I need to. Would it help me to upgrade to I7 and 6GB for use as a desktop replacement? Is there a need in your experience for a sleeve style or bump style carrying case for the HP or Lenovo, or Motion to use in the field, or can one hold on to these devices securely enough without a case?
The biggest issue I have had in the past is hard drive speed, the drive in my laptops seem to spin almost constantly. I think I have had 7200 RPM spinners, but sometimes I wonder....Are the solid state drives faster? Worth the extra money? Are there faster drives that work well 10,000 RPM+?
The Matrox stuff looks amazing. Are the boxes setup so you can use three screens independently of each other? Does it bog down the computer to use something like this, or is the unit self sufficient? What kind of interface is it? Serial DVI, HDMI? I assume you were alluding to the unit that costs $349+/-. Can you still use the laptop/tablet screen as a fourth screen when using that box?
I know this is a lot to look at. Your experiences are greatly appreciated....BTW, is Apex putting any thought into field data collection with its Nexus sketcher or anything new?

Thanks for your help..... Chris Wagoner

-----------------------------------

Hope this is helpful!

-Randall Garrett-
..Apex Software..

/end/

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 10-03-2011 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Changed title
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2011, 09:03 PM
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Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default Part 2 of 6

Posting fast replies
I try to get to them when I can because I like to help when possible and this is an interesting topic to me. I travel more than I would sometimes like, though, so sometimes I don’t get to things so Johnny-on-the-spot.

Difficulty posting here
I sometimes have trouble on this particular form, too, but mostly it is when I am overseas. Something apparently up with that, so I just don’t even try to connect here except as an experiment from time to time to see if the “fixed” it. Tried on a multitude of machines, different locations/connections, and concluded it is NOT machine related, but MAY be “connection type” related. Anyway, hope you get things sorted out as I find this site a good source of current topics of interest.

Samsung and Android un-docked
I hope I did not send the wrong link. The device I meant to link to us strictly Win7, all the time – no Android. Samsung has some Android devices – their Galaxy Tab line, which for Pads are very nice IMHO, but the one I think you would want (see next topic) is the Series 7 Tablet PC – more on this later IF you want a slate, BT Keyboard type thing vs. a Convertible. The only device I know of that is full Windows 7 when docked and Android when un-docked is the Lenovo “LePad”, or whatever it will be called here if/when it actually releases here. I used one and it is a really neat thing, even as a “consumer grade” device but I suspect now with the unveiling of Windows 8, it will not be such a hot item and thus may never see the light of day here. This sort of thing is why I rarely post on stuff I see overseas – it only REALLY matters if you can reliably get it here, be serviced, etc.

[Edit] I checked the video links and both were to the right device. Maybe you saw the "launcher" type shell they provide with its finger-friendly icons, swipes, etc. and thought it must be Android or some thing... (?). It is, however, pure Windows 7 and the device has the specs to run most any regular Windows program you throw at it quie nicely. Now, if you throw something requiring heavy duty graphics at it, like CS5 or similar, it will lag as do all similar laptops. The device I have is a modification of the retail Series 7 Tablet, but it mainly just differs in internal sensors, etc. For Win 8 development purposes. When my "exact retail" version arrives, I will test it under real world conditions, including the viability or performance boost offered by ReadyBoost if/when needed for unusually taxing applications, heavy multi-tasking, etc.

New machine OS
That is a personal choice, though it seems that a lot of the long time mobile types are liking the “Content Consumption” type devices (“Pads”) even despite the limitations, work-arounds, etc. Mostly, I see a lot of newly-mobile types giddy over the low prices, light weights, etc. Having been a “mobile” guy for a LONG time, I’ve pretty much seen it all to date. Some I liked, some I didn’t. It is a changing landscape… For ME, I prefer the full OS experience when out and about. Sure, I’ll whip out one of my iPads, Android Tabs, or whatever for a “quickie”, but MY particular needs are better suited to running all my “real” programs on a “real, full-featured” OS. Now, no flames please, fanboys. We know (me, maybe better than you – MAYbe, huh???) that MY preferred “real” items have their limitations, too. It is just that (again, for ME) those limitations are less impactful to MY daily life than the ones imposed by some other “Pad” solutions. As always, YMMV on this stuff and I always try to remember to add that one needs to use what works best for THEM, not me… :-)
I guess, Chris, if you want the “full meal deal” and be mobile, you should know that is IS possible, especially if you shop wisely and use some common sense. With both “Pad” and “Full” routes, things will continue to get better, and there is always something “just around the corner” that seems to make everything before it feel like yesterday’s news. There are, however, periods when enough things come together and you are safe to buy and enjoy the efficiency gains long enough and without too much “device envy” to make sense. The KEY is to get the right stuff and separate fact from fancy and rumor. I believe that there ARE a few choices out NOW and one or two on the IMMEDIATE horizon which may be viable for you.
If you like the Convertible, full Windows thing, as stated previously, as a “Best-Bang-for-the-Buck” (BB4TB™), the HP 2760p and the Lenovo X220t are my current faves – enough so that I spent my OWN money on them. I like the Fujitsu T901 series because of the 13.3” screen, but it is just more expensive, harder to get/service, etc. than the HP or Lenovo. They have 12.1” models for a little less, but again, they just don’t fall into the BB4TB category for ME.

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 10-03-2011 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Added "of 6" in title, added [Edit] on Samsung and Android un-docked
  #3  
Old 10-02-2011, 09:05 PM
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Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default Part 3 of 6

New Lenovo Win 7, stability, screens
I do not have any issues with my Lenovo’s. Did not have many with earlier models, either, though there were the battery issues way back when, also experienced with most every brand in that day and time. Cannot, will not comment on DaVinci stability issues. The Lenovo screen choices changed according to models and options over the years. Today, however, the X220t has only one size and resolution option – 12.5” at 1,366 x 768 – and a choice of indoor/outdoor or indoor-only. I am not a big fan of 16:9 aspect ratio screens, but (virtually) all of the manufactures are going that way, so we are stuck with that. Note, the HP has a slightly smaller 12.1” screen at a slightly different resolution of 1,280 x 800 – so one has more pixels wider, while the other has more pixels taller. The actual pixel count is Lenovo: 1,049,088 vs. HP: 1,024,000. I would not let the total pixel count be a major factor, though. Perhaps more important is the choice of resolution. Certain aspects of Windows 8 will “turn on” at 1,366 x 768 and not be available at 1,280 x 800 – at least as stated and observed in our pre-beta builds and docs. That may change, but at present that is how it is. What is spec’ed for Win 8 may not be a big thing for you either – that sort of thing is “then” and this is “now” – just mentioning it.

HP specs, screen, etc.
Yes, the specs on the Elitebook are good, maybe great. Remember, this is their “Business Class” line, a far cry from their consumer class stuff, which is OK for some, but “crap” in my book. Same distinction for the Lenovo ThinkPad line vs. their other consumer stuff. I am a big proponent of using business class stuff over consumer stuff as they simply are built for performance and reliability over “flashy and cheap.” A lot of what HP does with their Elitebooks is glossed over in the (mainly) consumer-oriented reviews by “the press.” Yes, the screen on the “ready-built” Elitebooks are (welcomed) anti-glare, but they do NOT offer their excellent Outdoor screen on any of their pre-built devices. (arrrghhh!) What this means is that you have to custom build it on-line to add the $100 option and you lose the built-in HP discount. Thus the same machine with the outdoor screen will end up running you about $800 more for a $100 option. Really dumb move IMHO, HP! Now, their anti-glare screen is a welcome addition – I much prefer anti-glare screens to glossy – but it is NOT the same as their true outdoor screen. Does the anti-glare screen work outside – yes, better than glossy, but not as well as their outdoor screen. As I mentioned, I personally chose to order a pre-built unit for the other specs and to have a new HP in the “stable.” I will be posting some comparison shots one day and have petitioned HP for another loaner model with their outdoor screen so I can do a direct comparison gallery.

Comparing the HP and Lenovo outdoor screens
Yes I have compared them. Unfortunately, the short time I had the loaners, we were having overcast days, so I did not get much time in full, bright and direct sun. I did get SOME, however, and they were comparable. Note however that on MY particular X220t, the screen is glossy, which I dislike. I settled for adding an anti-glare protector with no ill effects. I'd rather the X220t had an anti-glare treatment to the screen like even the "indoor" HP has, but I can live with the anti-glare film because the underlying direct bond technology just makes the overall view-ability better for direct sun (to me.) Comparing the HP outdoor screen option directly to the Lenovo outdoor screen is a tough call due to the glossy vs. matte finishes, but the bottom line is that since the Lenovo Outdoor screen option was so easy (read: less expensive) to get, I selected that machine for MY primary device and relegated the HP for inside. IF HP allowed you to add their Outdoor screen without so much "penalty", I might have been really tempted to use that for my personal machine. See? Even I have to make compromises on an item or two that are important to me ;-) In the end, I concluded that adding the anti-glare film to the Lenovo made it the best overall machine for MY particular use. The screen "protector" doesn't really add much in the way of "protection" (except from glare) since the Lenovo X220t's screen incorporates the excellent Corning GorillaGlass technology. I do not know what HP uses on their outdoor screen, but when a device has something noteworthy, the manufacture usually brings it to you attention ;-) Look at the iPad - it has a "treatment", but it is NOT GorillaGlass...

On another, perhaps minor, note I prefer the track pad surface on the HP, but that is not something I use with enough regularity, nor is the HP's so much better that it was a big deal to me. I also like the "night light" think on the HP and the silvery finish vs. the Lenovo "classy black" but those are really personal preference things - not "measurable" per se...

I must mention that I am aware of, and have used a new screen technology that for outdoor use is vastly superior to anything HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Motion, etc. put on their machines. To date, however, it has not shown up on any easily obtainable devices. I expect that to change – later than I earlier predicted (and hoped) – but I would not make my buying decision today based on holding out for that or something else. If the HP or Lenovo solves a problem for you today and you can be more productive (make more money) today, select one and get busy :-)

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 10-03-2011 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Added "of 6" in title, fixed minor typo - period to comma
  #4  
Old 10-02-2011, 09:07 PM
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Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default Part 4 of 6

Price willing to pay
I really do not think you need to budget that much ($2,000.) Going forward here, I am using Lenovo pricing – HP will be similar, but I suspect you will lean toward the Lenovo. As mentioned earlier for (mostly) mobile work, the base X220t with Core i3 is closer to $1,200 - $1,500 (depending on how you opt it up) and will perform better in most every practical aspect than your X61. But to round things out, you can get a REALLY nice system as spec’ed below for about $1,800 and it is a helluva machine. Yes, I opted mune up to max almost everything, but I do not recommend it. As for MY BB4TB spec, I think the safe bet is the $105 Core i5 bump. The Core i7 bump is simply not needed unless you are extreme, and I think you could put that extra $190 into something else which would actually make more difference to you. On RAM, again unless you are being extreme, 6 GB for $80 is the safe choice. Another $160 for 2 more GB could, again, be put to better use IMHO. I think the $20 for fingerprint reader is reasonable – I find it worthwhile. I feel the same about the $30 for webcam – having the ability to videoconference is something I use a lot. While on the small addion thing, I suggest adding the $20 Bluetooth option. Even if you do not currently use a Bluetooth DISTO, you may find that you want to later, so adding it built-in is much better than a more expensive and clunky BT "dongle" later.

On the HDD, yes the SSD’s are faster, but too rich for my blood at present – again, the additional $280 or $360 for less space does not fit MY profile. Lenovo uses good HDD tech, so data reliability is not an issue with their spinners. If you want the BB4TB with everyday performance, go with the base spinner and add more RAM. Once you experience Win 8 booting, that start-up time lag thing goes away. (Again, I know that is then and this is now – just sayin’ – LOL) Now, on the Dock (“Ultrabase”) – THAT is something to consider spending $200 from that money you held back earlier IMHO. I find that this “full dock” lets me use my ThinkPad(s) in the fashion I think you are envisioning. I run with two – one at the office, one at home. You might have one in home office, one set on your (imagined by me) “CarDesk” thing. As a “daily hassle” thing, I despise having to hook and unhook a multitude of cables, etc. when I want to take my ThinkPad with me. I really love just dropping it into the dock and viola!, all my peripherals are hooked up – mouse, keyboard, wired Internet, monitors, etc. It may be overkill for the car ;-) as all you MIGHT want to hook up is power if you are going to be out ALL DAY. Whether or not you want to get Lenovo’s $140 DVD for the Ultrabase is a personal choice – it IS high for a DVD recorder, but I just said what the heck… The Ultrabase would let you keep a USB DVD hooked up all the time for less, but you use one of the 2 USB connections. Not a big deal to ME as at the office, my back-up, and other large resources ave kept on our server, so that is done by the network connection. The main use for me for USB is the mouse… Your situation will dictate that. I took the “typical (?) appraiser” tack and just paid the freight for the DVD so now I always have a spare USB on the dock. OIf course, that is in addition to USB connections on the Laptop itself, LOL. BTW, if you want the Ultrabase, spec it under the main set-up, not later – for some reason it is $200 at the beginning but $220 as an add-on :-\

Cases, sleeves, etc.
I am still researching that to see what the current BB4TB options are, but I DO recommend a case type thing. The most popular type seems to be the ones like were/are so popular with many of the Motion slates. They are generically called “Bump Cases” but with a Convertible, they are a bit more involved due to the swiveling screen/keyboard base combo. With business class devices (as opposed to el-cheapo consumer stuff), you have less to worry about with regard to normal bumps, etc., so the main thing is an easy way to hold and carry while doing regular inspection duties. Mostly, you don’t need to worry about light rain sprinkles, etc. – the main thing is drops. A decent handle and/or strap takes care of that. If you have used your X61 in the field, maybe you know what works and does not work already. I had some on my X41, X60 and X61, but as I do not routinely inspect properties anymore, I pretty much jettisoned those long ago. Still, I understand the need and am researching that over the next 30 days. I imagine I will find what I did before – just a basic “bump” case with strap works best overall. Typically, you are not going to be swiveling the screen a lot during inspections. I found that I would pull out the device from my Ultrabase when leaving the office and throw it “naked” into the seat of the car. When I got to a site, I would open it, twist the screen around and slip it into the bump case. When I got back to the car, I would remove it, and if I had a “Car Desk”, just leave it opened normally there. Note, securing it with velco/strap is recommended for those sudden stop situations… :-)

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 10-03-2011 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Fixed minor typos, added Bluetooth recommendation
  #5  
Old 10-02-2011, 09:09 PM
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Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default Part 5 of 6

Multiple external screens
As I have long recommended, multiple screen are probably one of the highest ROI items you can get IMHO. Most laptops can power multiple outboard monitors, in one way or another – some easier than others. The MAIN issue is the number of monitors and their resolution(s.) Without getting geeky, let’s just say that having matching resolutions across your “array” is easier. (Mine do NOT match, but I deal with it. On my “big rig”, I run a central 30” and two 20” rotated “wings” – works best for ME.) Only a very few “gamer” type laptops have on-board SMD or nVidia “cards.” Most use an on-board Intel (i.e. 3000) graphics subsystem and they are light years ahead of what you had on your X61. Not a gamer thing, but really good for real work stuff. It will natively support an external monitor at 2,560 x 1,600 (like my 30”) but running multiple external monitors can be tricky. You can experiment around and may have some success, but to just get down to it with the least hassle/most flexibility, I recommend the Matrox units – IF your setup “qualifies.” You can check this page for the specifics on the different models they have, but basically you are “limited” to 1,920 x 1,200 for DVI and DisplayPort monitors or 1,280 x 1024 for analog (VGA) monitors. It gets sorta complicated, mixing and matching the output type (VGA, DVI, DP) and the monitor input types, especially once you get to the extremes, though. So, to quote Matrox on the DualHead you get a max range of from 2 x 1,280 x 1024 to 2 x 1,920 x 1,200. On the TripleHead, it is from 3 x 1,280 x 1,024 to 3 x 1,920 x 1,080. With both, there are lots of combinations in-between. If you are like most, you will like what you see at first, then “whine” that what you WANT exactly is not available, LOL. Just remember, you are “post processing” a single signal out and being extreme when it comes to a Laptop. Just like with other things, a little compromise will get you a very flexible system. For throughput (making money) it might be wise to consider new DisplayPort monitors in the long run and go with 3 “smaller” vs, 2 larger… There are “lesser” (and maybe better? – I dunno anymore) methods, but the major difference in the Matrox systems and other “dumb” splitters) is the GPU post processor in their box (about the size of a deck of playing cards) – it takes the raw signal and processes/optimizes it before sending it downstream to the monitors. Basically, you end up with better performance to your waiting eyes.

Matrox DualHead2Go: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/dh2go/
Matrox TripleHead2Go: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/

All that said, the other option, especially to try at first before going the Matrox (or similar) route is to just hook it up the docking station (or laptop, direct – same difference) to your “big honker” monitor, adjust as needed and use the 12.5” laptop display as your secondary screen. You MAY find that a single 30” @ 2,560 x 1600 monitor gives you enough room so the 12.5” @ 1,366 x 768 works well enough. 30” monitors tend to be pricey – they are a premium product, and you may find a good deal on the slightly smaller 27”-ers @ 2,560 x 1,440. FWIW, I really like the Dell 27” UltraSharp IPS model due to the anti-glare screen. If you can live with split “mini-honkers”, there are several less expensive models in the 26” – 28” range but they will typically be 1,920 x 1,200 or 1,920 x 1,080. I like MORE vertical pixels and what I do makes the bezels separating them not so nice, so I just paid the freight and went for the 30” units years ago. I have 27” units, too, but again, I like the extra 160 pixels up/down. Looking at the numbers, maybe it is not worth the extra $250 for 160 pixels high – YMMV. On that note, I notice that one of my favorite sites – www.logicbuy.com is showing a discount coupon of 15% on the 27” and a $200 off coupon on the 30”, so the difference is $1,299 vs. $934.15 or $364.15 for those extra 160 pixels. I know these process seem high, especially compared to lower resolution 1,920 x 1,200 monitors, but remember that the key on the really big monitors is that they are one expansive plane, uninterrupted by bezels or needing an external box, etc., and they key to spending ANY money is to make things pay off for you. I have nothing to gain by recommending an expensive item – just passing along what I have learned by my own experience – enough so that the 30” (and recently the 27”) purchase prices come out of my own bottom line when I get them for employees, and I have found them to pay off. Not for sales and admin, but for the “worker bees” as you need to consider yourself in this regard. It is fair to say that I am a big believer on using quality monitors – those are YOUR eyes and you spend a LOT of hours looking at them. A really good monitor is NOT a luxury to my way of thinking and it is NOT “splurging” to get the tool that works best for you – you are the one making the money wit them, not playing games. OK, //end rant// now, LOL.
  #6  
Old 10-02-2011, 09:16 PM
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Default Part 6 of 6

Putting in Data Collection in Nexus, future products, etc.
I originally had a pretty lengthy response, but decided it is best to keep this short. Basically Nexus has had data collection from the beginning – 2005 or 2006? I found a video link showing how Nexus pioneered this form of drawing and integrated on-the-fly data collection which was posted in 2006. Things are more modern today, but you will surely see some similarities to other products brought out considerably later. I like the way the blogger makes fun of our dated music, so it is worth a laugh, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a09f1ImGWeo

The status today is that Nexus is mostly seen as a sketcher. We do data collection as a “plug in” that we write for our integration partner or that they write and we “expose” (call up when needed.) In many markets, our products have different names, according to our integration partners’ contractual terms.

Only one major “forms vendor” (that is the generic term we use, not theirs) in the US has something like this but all the others could have it too as it was offered to them way back in the beta stage, and again over the years. I won't name these others but they know who they are, and more importantly YOU know who they are, LOL. Nexus can easily be integrated into your programs TODAY with no more effort than your forms vendors already have with their regular Apex integration. It is pretty much a "drop-in" thing and adopting it certainly makes your current forms vendors' products (and thereby YOU, the appraiser) "instantly" more competitive in the mobile Arena. We are happy to craft the Data Collector Plug-in and/or show your forms vendors how to use their own screens/widgets/whatever. The offers we made years ago remains open, and I don’t know why they don’t use it. For the regular appraiser/end user, I would think you would want to have something to keep up with their competition… Anyway IF you appraisers, inspectors, etc. want something quickly, something VERY widely tested, something that simply WORKS (and works well!), I simply suggest that you urge your forms vendors to give us a call. As you know, I am not in "sales" and I stay away from pitching my products on forums, so this is NOT a suggestion that you buy anything from me - I am simply suggesting that YOU, the appraiser, ought to at least have the CHOICE to add a proven mobility tool to your arsenal and not HAVE to switch forms vendors to take advantage of mobility options that ALREADY exist. The cost(s) to implement Nexus are slim, and borne entirely by Apex and your forms vendor - and Apex has already done all the heavy lifting. The integration protocols already exist and we will tailor them to a particular forms vendor's needs, just as the integration with regular Apex which we pioneered in the DOS days is today. //end rant//. ;-)

Anyway, we do sell Nexus with, and without data collection, but the key for YOU is the integration. It is key for us, too, as we try to work WITH our integration partners, not against them. Until they adopt it, we cannot force the data in and out, much less make it work smoothly. Sure, you can copy/paste, etc. since one version reads/writes Apex files, but seeing what you are used to, I am not sure it is what you are looking for. As the developer who brought the DISTO integration into the market way back in 2004, I can tell you that our BT stuff works just fine, though, LOL. People who use the DISTO in other markets really like how it works with our products.

As for future stuff, well we have a policy of not talking about stuff that is not “out” yet. That said, the iPad and Android “Pad” product – a modernized version of our old Pocket Apex and MobileSketch for PPC and touch-tablets – is “in field trials” and I expect it to be out soon. I have other products in the hopper but it is premature to discuss them at this time. It is fair to say, though, that when I released Nexus it was apparently ahead of its time and the drawing/data collection paradigm I pioneered was a bit disruptive. I believe this next products will be equally if not more innovative and exciting, but this time I will be more thoughtful about how and when I release it. Fortunately, I think that the convergence of suitable hardware, software and user acceptance is nearly upon us :-)
-------------- end of responses --------------


Hope this has been helpful to all!


-Randall Garrett-
..Apex Software..

/end/

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 10-03-2011 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Added "encourage" users to have their forms vendors adopt Nexus
  #7  
Old 10-08-2011, 04:34 PM
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Randall Garrett Randall Garrett is offline
 
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Default

Chris,

You asked me about a "bump case" for the X220t. I found this on on Lenovo's site and ordered it, but I am not in my office until next week, so I have not seen or tried it yet. If it is like the one I had for my X41, though, it should work out fine.

Hope this helps!

-Randall Garrett-
..Apex Software..

Last edited by Randall Garrett : 09-20-2013 at 04:22 PM.
  #8  
Old 10-10-2011, 07:01 PM
Chris Wagoner Chris Wagoner is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Garrett View Post
Posting fast replies
I try to get to them when I can because I like to help when possible and this is an interesting topic to me. I travel more than I would sometimes like, though, so sometimes I don’t get to things so Johnny-on-the-spot.

Difficulty posting here
I sometimes have trouble on this particular form, too, but mostly it is when I am overseas. Something apparently up with that, so I just don’t even try to connect here except as an experiment from time to time to see if the “fixed” it. Tried on a multitude of machines, different locations/connections, and concluded it is NOT machine related, but MAY be “connection type” related. Anyway, hope you get things sorted out as I find this site a good source of current topics of interest.

Samsung and Android un-docked
I hope I did not send the wrong link. The device I meant to link to us strictly Win7, all the time – no Android. Samsung has some Android devices – their Galaxy Tab line, which for Pads are very nice IMHO, but the one I think you would want (see next topic) is the Series 7 Tablet PC – more on this later IF you want a slate, BT Keyboard type thing vs. a Convertible. The only device I know of that is full Windows 7 when docked and Android when un-docked is the Lenovo “LePad”, or whatever it will be called here if/when it actually releases here. I used one and it is a really neat thing, even as a “consumer grade” device but I suspect now with the unveiling of Windows 8, it will not be such a hot item and thus may never see the light of day here. This sort of thing is why I rarely post on stuff I see overseas – it only REALLY matters if you can reliably get it here, be serviced, etc.

[Edit] I checked the video links and both were to the right device. Maybe you saw the "launcher" type shell they provide with its finger-friendly icons, swipes, etc. and thought it must be Android or some thing... (?). It is, however, pure Windows 7 and the device has the specs to run most any regular Windows program you throw at it quie nicely. Now, if you throw something requiring heavy duty graphics at it, like CS5 or similar, it will lag as do all similar laptops. The device I have is a modification of the retail Series 7 Tablet, but it mainly just differs in internal sensors, etc. For Win 8 development purposes. When my "exact retail" version arrives, I will test it under real world conditions, including the viability or performance boost offered by ReadyBoost if/when needed for unusually taxing applications, heavy multi-tasking, etc.

New machine OS
That is a personal choice, though it seems that a lot of the long time mobile types are liking the “Content Consumption” type devices (“Pads”) even despite the limitations, work-arounds, etc. Mostly, I see a lot of newly-mobile types giddy over the low prices, light weights, etc. Having been a “mobile” guy for a LONG time, I’ve pretty much seen it all to date. Some I liked, some I didn’t. It is a changing landscape… For ME, I prefer the full OS experience when out and about. Sure, I’ll whip out one of my iPads, Android Tabs, or whatever for a “quickie”, but MY particular needs are better suited to running all my “real” programs on a “real, full-featured” OS. Now, no flames please, fanboys. We know (me, maybe better than you – MAYbe, huh???) that MY preferred “real” items have their limitations, too. It is just that (again, for ME) those limitations are less impactful to MY daily life than the ones imposed by some other “Pad” solutions. As always, YMMV on this stuff and I always try to remember to add that one needs to use what works best for THEM, not me… :-)
I guess, Chris, if you want the “full meal deal” and be mobile, you should know that is IS possible, especially if you shop wisely and use some common sense. With both “Pad” and “Full” routes, things will continue to get better, and there is always something “just around the corner” that seems to make everything before it feel like yesterday’s news. There are, however, periods when enough things come together and you are safe to buy and enjoy the efficiency gains long enough and without too much “device envy” to make sense. The KEY is to get the right stuff and separate fact from fancy and rumor. I believe that there ARE a few choices out NOW and one or two on the IMMEDIATE horizon which may be viable for you.
If you like the Convertible, full Windows thing, as stated previously, as a “Best-Bang-for-the-Buck” (BB4TB™), the HP 2760p and the Lenovo X220t are my current faves – enough so that I spent my OWN money on them. I like the Fujitsu T901 series because of the 13.3” screen, but it is just more expensive, harder to get/service, etc. than the HP or Lenovo. They have 12.1” models for a little less, but again, they just don’t fall into the BB4TB category for ME.
Again, want to apologize for taking so long to reply back. It in no way is a reflection on the content here, I have just been having difficulty being able to post here....
Your information is most appreciated and has enabled me to make a good decisiion for my needs at the present time. You advised me back in 2007 on a PC setup and I could not have been happier....
I am not sure what I linked to where I found the Android/WinOS hybrid. looks neat for sure, but probably not something I want to try and take advantage at the present. I was not able to look back to recheck the links on the Samsung unit, but I need the outdoor screen as good as I can get and I think my options will have to be between the HP and Lenovo right now....The Fujitsu looks like a great machine as well. Have you been able to compare the outdoor screen with that unit versus HP and Lenovo? The price difference between them doesn't llok all that significant? Will continue to reply to your additional posts as I can get access... Thanks again, Chris Wagoner
  #9  
Old 10-10-2011, 07:19 PM
Chris Wagoner Chris Wagoner is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
State: Indiana
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Garrett View Post
New Lenovo Win 7, stability, screens
I do not have any issues with my Lenovo’s. Did not have many with earlier models, either, though there were the battery issues way back when, also experienced with most every brand in that day and time. Cannot, will not comment on DaVinci stability issues. The Lenovo screen choices changed according to models and options over the years. Today, however, the X220t has only one size and resolution option – 12.5” at 1,366 x 768 – and a choice of indoor/outdoor or indoor-only. I am not a big fan of 16:9 aspect ratio screens, but (virtually) all of the manufactures are going that way, so we are stuck with that. Note, the HP has a slightly smaller 12.1” screen at a slightly different resolution of 1,280 x 800 – so one has more pixels wider, while the other has more pixels taller. The actual pixel count is Lenovo: 1,049,088 vs. HP: 1,024,000. I would not let the total pixel count be a major factor, though. Perhaps more important is the choice of resolution. Certain aspects of Windows 8 will “turn on” at 1,366 x 768 and not be available at 1,280 x 800 – at least as stated and observed in our pre-beta builds and docs. That may change, but at present that is how it is. What is spec’ed for Win 8 may not be a big thing for you either – that sort of thing is “then” and this is “now” – just mentioning it.

HP specs, screen, etc.
Yes, the specs on the Elitebook are good, maybe great. Remember, this is their “Business Class” line, a far cry from their consumer class stuff, which is OK for some, but “crap” in my book. Same distinction for the Lenovo ThinkPad line vs. their other consumer stuff. I am a big proponent of using business class stuff over consumer stuff as they simply are built for performance and reliability over “flashy and cheap.” A lot of what HP does with their Elitebooks is glossed over in the (mainly) consumer-oriented reviews by “the press.” Yes, the screen on the “ready-built” Elitebooks are (welcomed) anti-glare, but they do NOT offer their excellent Outdoor screen on any of their pre-built devices. (arrrghhh!) What this means is that you have to custom build it on-line to add the $100 option and you lose the built-in HP discount. Thus the same machine with the outdoor screen will end up running you about $800 more for a $100 option. Really dumb move IMHO, HP! Now, their anti-glare screen is a welcome addition – I much prefer anti-glare screens to glossy – but it is NOT the same as their true outdoor screen. Does the anti-glare screen work outside – yes, better than glossy, but not as well as their outdoor screen. As I mentioned, I personally chose to order a pre-built unit for the other specs and to have a new HP in the “stable.” I will be posting some comparison shots one day and have petitioned HP for another loaner model with their outdoor screen so I can do a direct comparison gallery.

Comparing the HP and Lenovo outdoor screens
Yes I have compared them. Unfortunately, the short time I had the loaners, we were having overcast days, so I did not get much time in full, bright and direct sun. I did get SOME, however, and they were comparable. Note however that on MY particular X220t, the screen is glossy, which I dislike. I settled for adding an anti-glare protector with no ill effects. I'd rather the X220t had an anti-glare treatment to the screen like even the "indoor" HP has, but I can live with the anti-glare film because the underlying direct bond technology just makes the overall view-ability better for direct sun (to me.) Comparing the HP outdoor screen option directly to the Lenovo outdoor screen is a tough call due to the glossy vs. matte finishes, but the bottom line is that since the Lenovo Outdoor screen option was so easy (read: less expensive) to get, I selected that machine for MY primary device and relegated the HP for inside. IF HP allowed you to add their Outdoor screen without so much "penalty", I might have been really tempted to use that for my personal machine. See? Even I have to make compromises on an item or two that are important to me ;-) In the end, I concluded that adding the anti-glare film to the Lenovo made it the best overall machine for MY particular use. The screen "protector" doesn't really add much in the way of "protection" (except from glare) since the Lenovo X220t's screen incorporates the excellent Corning GorillaGlass technology. I do not know what HP uses on their outdoor screen, but when a device has something noteworthy, the manufacture usually brings it to you attention ;-) Look at the iPad - it has a "treatment", but it is NOT GorillaGlass...

On another, perhaps minor, note I prefer the track pad surface on the HP, but that is not something I use with enough regularity, nor is the HP's so much better that it was a big deal to me. I also like the "night light" think on the HP and the silvery finish vs. the Lenovo "classy black" but those are really personal preference things - not "measurable" per se...

I must mention that I am aware of, and have used a new screen technology that for outdoor use is vastly superior to anything HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Motion, etc. put on their machines. To date, however, it has not shown up on any easily obtainable devices. I expect that to change – later than I earlier predicted (and hoped) – but I would not make my buying decision today based on holding out for that or something else. If the HP or Lenovo solves a problem for you today and you can be more productive (make more money) today, select one and get busy :-)
Did not mean to put in a spot over Davinci. Totally not what I meant to convey and I understand your positiion. I have already noticed some issues with viewing with my X61, like having to scroll sideways to see an entire webpage. I think this is based on the lower resolution. That one aspet alone may put me over the edge for a Lenovo based on the HP. I would assume that the Fujitsu has higher resolution as well, based on the screen size? I tried to spec the HP with their outdor screen and could not even figure out how to do it on their website.. Wanted to get a price comparision. And I know you cannot comment on future stuff, but was wondering if you had an idea or knew of a date when win 8 is supposed to release. I may wait if yet this year......More about that in the hardrive section.....I think i read an article in Popular Science a year or so back about an impressive outdoor screen technology that also has low battery drain. I haven't seen anything else on it actually hitting the market either... Not sure if it is same tech you are talking about or not, but you are completely right, cant make my decision based on that even hitting the market at this point. More to follow on next post... Thanks, Chris Wagoner
  #10  
Old 10-10-2011, 07:50 PM
Chris Wagoner Chris Wagoner is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
State: Indiana
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall Garrett View Post
Price willing to pay
I really do not think you need to budget that much ($2,000.) Going forward here, I am using Lenovo pricing – HP will be similar, but I suspect you will lean toward the Lenovo. As mentioned earlier for (mostly) mobile work, the base X220t with Core i3 is closer to $1,200 - $1,500 (depending on how you opt it up) and will perform better in most every practical aspect than your X61. But to round things out, you can get a REALLY nice system as spec’ed below for about $1,800 and it is a helluva machine. Yes, I opted mune up to max almost everything, but I do not recommend it. As for MY BB4TB spec, I think the safe bet is the $105 Core i5 bump. The Core i7 bump is simply not needed unless you are extreme, and I think you could put that extra $190 into something else which would actually make more difference to you. On RAM, again unless you are being extreme, 6 GB for $80 is the safe choice. Another $160 for 2 more GB could, again, be put to better use IMHO. I think the $20 for fingerprint reader is reasonable – I find it worthwhile. I feel the same about the $30 for webcam – having the ability to videoconference is something I use a lot. While on the small addion thing, I suggest adding the $20 Bluetooth option. Even if you do not currently use a Bluetooth DISTO, you may find that you want to later, so adding it built-in is much better than a more expensive and clunky BT "dongle" later.

On the HDD, yes the SSD’s are faster, but too rich for my blood at present – again, the additional $280 or $360 for less space does not fit MY profile. Lenovo uses good HDD tech, so data reliability is not an issue with their spinners. If you want the BB4TB with everyday performance, go with the base spinner and add more RAM. Once you experience Win 8 booting, that start-up time lag thing goes away. (Again, I know that is then and this is now – just sayin’ – LOL) Now, on the Dock (“Ultrabase”) – THAT is something to consider spending $200 from that money you held back earlier IMHO. I find that this “full dock” lets me use my ThinkPad(s) in the fashion I think you are envisioning. I run with two – one at the office, one at home. You might have one in home office, one set on your (imagined by me) “CarDesk” thing. As a “daily hassle” thing, I despise having to hook and unhook a multitude of cables, etc. when I want to take my ThinkPad with me. I really love just dropping it into the dock and viola!, all my peripherals are hooked up – mouse, keyboard, wired Internet, monitors, etc. It may be overkill for the car ;-) as all you MIGHT want to hook up is power if you are going to be out ALL DAY. Whether or not you want to get Lenovo’s $140 DVD for the Ultrabase is a personal choice – it IS high for a DVD recorder, but I just said what the heck… The Ultrabase would let you keep a USB DVD hooked up all the time for less, but you use one of the 2 USB connections. Not a big deal to ME as at the office, my back-up, and other large resources ave kept on our server, so that is done by the network connection. The main use for me for USB is the mouse… Your situation will dictate that. I took the “typical (?) appraiser” tack and just paid the freight for the DVD so now I always have a spare USB on the dock. OIf course, that is in addition to USB connections on the Laptop itself, LOL. BTW, if you want the Ultrabase, spec it under the main set-up, not later – for some reason it is $200 at the beginning but $220 as an add-on :-\

Cases, sleeves, etc.
I am still researching that to see what the current BB4TB options are, but I DO recommend a case type thing. The most popular type seems to be the ones like were/are so popular with many of the Motion slates. They are generically called “Bump Cases” but with a Convertible, they are a bit more involved due to the swiveling screen/keyboard base combo. With business class devices (as opposed to el-cheapo consumer stuff), you have less to worry about with regard to normal bumps, etc., so the main thing is an easy way to hold and carry while doing regular inspection duties. Mostly, you don’t need to worry about light rain sprinkles, etc. – the main thing is drops. A decent handle and/or strap takes care of that. If you have used your X61 in the field, maybe you know what works and does not work already. I had some on my X41, X60 and X61, but as I do not routinely inspect properties anymore, I pretty much jettisoned those long ago. Still, I understand the need and am researching that over the next 30 days. I imagine I will find what I did before – just a basic “bump” case with strap works best overall. Typically, you are not going to be swiveling the screen a lot during inspections. I found that I would pull out the device from my Ultrabase when leaving the office and throw it “naked” into the seat of the car. When I got to a site, I would open it, twist the screen around and slip it into the bump case. When I got back to the car, I would remove it, and if I had a “Car Desk”, just leave it opened normally there. Note, securing it with velco/strap is recommended for those sudden stop situations… :-)
I am with you on the specs processor and RAM. Is it possible to get additional RAM cheaper for other sources? I have seen some cheap Ram around recently, not sure if this is a get what you pay for or not? Fingerprint reader I have liked, webcam is interesting built-in for a backup and certainly worth the $30. I would love to use the bluetooth again with my Disto+ Loved it when it worked, but hasn't for quite some time... Mentioned earlier post about bluetooth stacks..Now hardrive and win8.... I have spoke with my brother recently who is an architect in California. Recently purchased a new "portable" computer... Think he has $1200 just in the video card.He purchased a solid state drive for the programs and a 500 gig secondary spinner for files. I assume in the devices I am looking at that there is not enough room or a bay available for a second drive? One drive only internal? He mentioned that the boot time and speed was penomenal, and that the unit booted more like a smartphone than a PC. I believe he is using win7 OS. Takes about 10-13 seconds to boot up. You had mentioned that Win8 may have similar capability. I have had some difficulty in the field with having to reboot my system in the middle of an inspection, or at the very least almost daily have to re-start the program I am in while at a home site. Needless to say with the older machine I am using, it takes minutes to do this, sometimes up to five. A reboot ads an additional 2-4 minutes as well. The boot speed and hard drive system speed has become a real time issue for me at this point, so solid state drives look appealing if they are as fast as I am hearing. However, if Win8 is capable of this on a spinner, may save me a couple of hundred in the long run. I cant find much on win8 at this point, so not sure if we are talking about a couple of months or longer or within a month or two? I think Dell used to sell units with an existing OS and optional or sometimes free upgrade to the next thing coming? Is this possible with the Lenovo device or even worth looking into? Ultrabase is something I have always ad with my X61's as well. Will certainly spring for that unit, particularly since I want the additional screens. Do you happen to know what kind of monitor connectors the ultrabase uses. I am not up to speed on the new tech, I know serial was the old, DVI was what I have now, HDMI is TV? I think? Is there something else out now? and does ultrabase and/or the Lenovo unit take advantage of it?
As far as bump cases, have never been able to find a decent one that wasn't just a sleeve. Have to take it out of the sleeve to mount in ultrabase, kind of a pain, and the plastic clear cover on the sleeve is nearly impossible to see through in sunlight, particularly after all these years of use... Any additional options you know for a case for a convertible would be greatly appreciated... More to follow on additional posts,,, Thanks again, Chris Wagoner
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