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  #1  
Old 05-12-2003, 06:34 PM
Paul DelleDonne Paul DelleDonne is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A 1 A
State: Delaware
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 76
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I've read some of the older threads on the Ala mode pocket PC. What's the updated review from those of you that have had a chance to use this product?

Are you more effecient?, thus, are you able to generate more reports w/o having to type as much when you get back to the office, etc...Does it work, Any problems? Is it the latest and greatest? Would you purchase it again?
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2003, 07:23 PM
Ben Vukicevich,SRA's Avatar
Ben Vukicevich,SRA Ben Vukicevich,SRA is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Stratford, NJ
State: New Jersey
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 4,305
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Hey,

Nice to see that you're still alive down there above the canal.....

Don't use Total but I haven't found anything faster than using cloned reports. I can't be bothered with juggling another piece of equipment in the field.

Ben
  #3  
Old 05-12-2003, 07:39 PM
Paul DelleDonne Paul DelleDonne is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A 1 A
State: Delaware
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 76
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Ben,

Thanks, I tend to agree. All is well below the canal. Hope all is good and great in the garden state.
Next time your in Metropolis, let me know

Paul

P.S.

Uh, I really didn't mean for all that to rhyme, I better take a closer look at my last report.
  #4  
Old 05-12-2003, 08:43 PM
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Mike Garrett, RAA Mike Garrett, RAA is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
State: Colorado
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 20,710
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Paul...I will let you know what the learning curve is. I just purchased a PDA on ebay (Jornada 560) and I am going to learn to use it come hell or high water. I have had the pocket total software for a couple of years but never took the time to learn it.

My assistant is going to start the file on the computer and put it on my PDA before I go to the field. I will do what needs to be done on the inspection, bring it back and let her download the data. At least that is the present game plan.
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2003, 10:59 PM
Ron in AR Ron in AR is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
State: Arkansas
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 92
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I use pocket total on a Toshiba e740. Load your neighborhood data before you go if you have it. In fact load everything you have about the subject before you go and it will save you some time in the field.

There is definitely a learning curve at first but once you work it into your routine, it will save time in the long run.

Take advantage of the text database in the field. That's the best way to fill the form on site. I still use a scratch pad for notes and sketches.
  #6  
Old 05-13-2003, 11:20 PM
John Sokol John Sokol is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Tri-Cities, WA.
State: Washington
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 11
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We have had the Pocket Total now for awhile and I use it on the less complicated homes. The best thing is the Text database, if you take full advantage of that you can add paragraphs of info in just a couple of clicks it has helped me save time. You can use any of responses that you use on the Desktop in the field. It has a voice recorder and fieldpad for notes, Apex for sketching (hint keep the sketch simple). You can put the photos into the report right in the field. it is quite nice but there is a learning curve. In the beging when I got frustrated I wanted to put it away and use the pencil and clipboard. I think the key is to just force yourself to not do that.
One of the things that I liked to do is take it out and use it on the new construction and vancant homes and take my time with it. That way I did not have the home owner looking over my shoulder while i bumbled away. For what it is worth I give it a 7 out of 10. Good for the average home not so good for the more complex.
  #7  
Old 05-15-2003, 09:34 AM
dbiggers dbiggers is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
State: Florida
Professional Status: IT Professional-Appraisal Related
Posts: 1,022
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Paul -- there are a bunch of very seasoned Pocket TOTAL experts on the WinTOTAL Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Total2000UsersGroup/). I'd suggest checking it out. There are probably a hundred or more vocal Pocket users on that forum.

John -- What parts do you think we should change to address your "complex house" situation? I haven't heard that specific comment before.

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2003, 02:38 PM
John Wilson John Wilson is offline
 
Join Date: May 2003
State: Illinois
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 372
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99% of my time at an inspection is spent sketching and taking comp pictures. Thereís no way I can do a detailed sketch on 3Ē PDA screen and I already have a digital camera. I realize I could place the photos directly in the report but I usually take more than 3 comp shots for each job. Sometimes I wonít be sure which ones I want to use until I get back to the old desk.

In the office itís the comp grid that will take all the time. Thereís no way anyoneís going to tell me I can put together the grid on site. I might have 6 to 8 inspections to do on a Saturday. Whoís got time for data entry in the field or sitting in the car? Thatís what the air-conditioned home office with the T.V. and beer cooler is for.

Give me my clipboard and a folder any day. I staple all my subject info and map on the inside left, all my comps and map on the inside right, and my sketch gets drawn on the outside of the folder. First floor on one side, flip it over, and the second floor goes on the back, if there is one.

When Iím done with the report the whole thing goes right in the old file cabinet. Badda Bing! No scanning for digital work files or additional money spent to keep them in some off site vault. Although I do move my *.zap files to a CD-ROM about once a year. Thatís my vault. Oh, folders are only about .02 cents each with no software contracts necessary and you can find plastic tubs that hold hanging files at OfficeMax for about 8 bucks each.

Iím just a little one-man shop that produces 400+ reports a year with no assistants so Iím always looking for new technology to cut down on time. I couldnít live without WINTOTAL, but the Pocket PC just seems like it has the tail wagging the dog.

Looks neat though!
  #9  
Old 05-16-2003, 04:45 PM
Ron in AR Ron in AR is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
State: Arkansas
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 92
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John, I agree, you can't do the sketch on the pda. Nor do I place photos in the digitial file on site. I do a lot of REO stuff that requires several photos and I do the photo stuff and hard sketch at the office.

However, I have to admit that the thing in my pocket (my toshiba, that is) saves me about 5 minutes per report plus, the convenience of having the first page filled out when I actually do sit down at the desk - in the long run - has been worth it. 5 minutes or so doesn't sound like much but multiply it times the 400 you did and it does add up. Not to mention the fact that I sometimes have trouble reading my own handwriting when I get back to the office and the voice recorder will allow me to ramble on and place those recordings in the appraisal file with my other data.

I don't buy everything Alamode offers but I do recommend the pocket thing. My office sounds like yours, one man shop, TV and cooler, speaking of which...
  #10  
Old 05-17-2003, 06:31 PM
ockyappraiser ockyappraiser is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
State: Kentucky
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 1,296
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I have been using Pocket Total in conunction with a laptop for two months now. You CAN do the sketch and all on site, although there is learning curve. I set up the file in Wintotal, then tranfser to the pocket PC. In the field I fill out everything but the comps grids. I also do the full sketch including walls and text entries. Its not hard to do if you use the zoom in feature (and my reading glasses). I then transfer the subject and comp pictures to the pocket PC.

I try to build in 2 hours between appointments. I pull into the ARby's, set up the laptop, transfer from pocket PC to the laptop, add the comps info, pull the internet comp map and I'm done. Emailed and out.

It takes me about 30 minutes on site to do a typical 1000s.f. ranch on the pocket total. . .just leaving the map, and the comps grid for when I get on the laptop.

Pocket total, the pocket PC and a Disto Laser tape. . .the only way to go.
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