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Advice on new program

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Julia Young

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
I am reaching the end of my rope with AlaMode/WinTotal. I have been trying to send a report PDF through them almost 3 hours now unsuccessfully so I finally dropped an email to support to ask if their server was down and if so, how could I send a report through my regular e-mail, which is working fine. They faxed me back one of their Upgrade ads (on my fax paper) asking me to upgrade from my limited Silver membership to a Platinum membership at a difference of $520.00 so they could answer my questions 24/7. They could take the time to fax me an ad but they couldn't tell me if their server is down! I wrote: "No Thanks" across their ad and faxed it back to them with the following note: You have to be kidding! I am inquiring whether your service is online. The response was quick---they e-mailed me another ad telling me I should upgrade so I could get support outside normal business hours! To all of you that put up with AlaMode you have my sympathy. I listen to the calls, e-mails, ads constantly trying to sell me something at twice the price I can find it somewhere else. The Kodak they sold me with the program broke long ago. I must have had 15 calls about the Jornada that they wanted to sell me that had been a discontinued model. Every week they use my fax paper for their ads. Now they can't even tell me if their server is online except between 8-5 M-F. Give me a break.

I am looking for a new software provider. I need some recommendations outside Alamode. Someone give me the pros and cons on some of the other software available. ACI or Day One, etc. Its time for a change.
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
About a year ago I was singing the same WinTotal tune, but with different lyrics. Appraiser's Toolbox alleviated most of my concerns, but I cringe when they start talking about more features and "support membership contracts". Time will tell.

Filling out an appraisal form shouldn’t be complicated. My money goes to the vendor with the most streamlined software and the straightest answers. It absolutely blows me away that you can’t go to an appraisal software vendor’s website and get a clear idea of what a working version of their software costs.
 

BigBlueGA

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I am still a HighPerForm fan... I can usually make it do whatever I want it to and their tech support isn't half bad..

I also took a look at Toolbox the other day.. looked pretty decent, but I haven't had a chance to do much with it yet.
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Julia --

Just to set the record straight, your support log shows multiple calls in the past which were caused by your ISP, not us, so its prudent to start there. I know you can send mail through your ISP's mail server, but that doesn't mean that all of their routers are up which form their path to our servers in Oklahoma and Utah.

One of our techs is calling you (now that Silver hours are open) and will diagnose it with you.

The bottom line is that our Project 2000 servers are indeed up and are every day. Last month, our servers were used by our customers to send over 500,000 appraisal reports -- that's over 17,000 reports a day -- and they did so successfully every single day, and with a volume that girws every day. The trailing 12 months, it's sent over 4.3 million reports. By August, the 12 month rate will be over 5 million reports. It's hard to argue that it doesn't work.

It's a free service that we provide, as a convenience. You don't have to use it if you don't like it or if your ISP has trouble. WinTOTAL is easily configured to use any mailbox or server that you choose.

As for your Silver contract and the allowed times, you must understand that if you pay for Silver access and it doesn't allow after-hours support -- a Platinum feature -- then you shouldn't get it. It's equivalent to one of your clients paying you for a 2075 driveby and then expecting a narrative report at the same price. Platinum members pay for 24 x 7 access, and if we gave it to others, they would be rightfully indignant. We sent you a standard fax letting you know that we've logged your call and that you'll be contacted at normal Silver hours, with the OPTION to upgrade to Platinum if you decided that after-hours support is what you wanted.

Regarding the sales calls, of course we call you. That's how we make a living. But we could care less if you buy a Jornada or not, frankly. We make no money on them. They're sold solely to make it easy for you to use Pocket TOTAL, which, as you can see on this forum, is very effective at saving time. (On a technical note, the early reports that Jornadas were discontinued were typical early merger screwups out of HP/Compaq; they plan to sell the Jornadas through the third quarter. HP's and Compaq's reps were even caught offguard by the announcement -- we had to e-mail it to our rep ourselves. It was a screwup on their part. Even without a merger, it's rare for any one hardware item to exist in any hardware manufacturer's current lineup for more than 6 months, so there's nothing unusual here. And no, we don't stock big inventories, so we don't have Jornadas to "unload" like a cynic might assume. Quite the contrary - we simply see the Jornada as the best one available right now, but we don't care which one you use or where you buy it.)

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.
 

BigBlueGA

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
... and the obligatory Dave Biggers response ad...

:?
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I don't see that as a response-ad, I see it as akin to an appraiser defending his product. DB is responding to a criticism, not posting an ad like this: http://appraisersforum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2454

And no, I don’t use Alamode. I use WCA, it’s a personal preference. I don’t pay for tech support contracts either, I just pay for each call (around $60 per hour) which is also non-24/7. I may call a couple of times a year, but have leaned that it usually is a Windoz, or more commonly, an operator error. (I know just enough about computers to be dangerous.) But geezz, don’t get defensive because someone is answering a post about themselves. That post seemed like a good explanation to me. If you don’t like the software or support, fine...shop around. Free market ain’t it?
 

BigBlueGA

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I didn't mean that as negatively as it sounded.. I appreciate the input on appraisal software that Dave offers from time to time and it is good that he pays attention to his userbase unlike many other companies...

My point was that everytime the word "Athena" is brought up, you can put money on the fact that Dave will have a post somewhere in the thread plugging it.. Sometimes when talking to people about appraisal software in person, if I mention Athena, I subconsciously look behind me to see if Dave's head pops into the doorway. :D

The other appraisal company CEOs could learn something from Dave...
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Okay, gottcha. The biggest problem with words on the screen is one can not tell the tone of voice. Point well taken, but now I have the spam, spam song in my head with a visual of Dave's head poping up! :lol: Man am I messed up or what?? 8)
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Julia,

I use ACI Version 8.?? It has been very good so far and with XP it has been great (knock on wood) Using Win 98 it ACI would lock up or shut down this was very frustrating. There are some good points such as downloading maps as a .bmp (plat) and copy and pasting street maps right in as well as pictures. Some of the problems that I have found is that there are some "carry forwards" or auto populate features that sometimes make no sense. Like when you fill out the USPAP compliance addendum several lines ie.. state license and experation dates will not carry forward to the other lines. You also have to go back if your doing the cost approach and change a line and have it recalculate the depreciation and other items. But that is just a few bugs. I have used other programs Wintotal and hyperform in the past and my preference has been ACI.

Ryan
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Boy, Brandon, I sure wish I was as omnipresent as you think I am. ;-)

Seriously, one of the things that bugs me about this market is that any statement by any appraiser is treated by others as gospel, and especially so if it's not directly refuted. So I'm left with no real choice but to respond. Otherwise it's "by definition" a fact.

The part you don't see is how often I see these posts, and forward them to my managers and technicians along with instructions that the customer is right and to fix whatever it was that they complained about. And they do. Watching this and all forums makes us more responsive and refines our products. Many new ideas come from forum posts.

Dave
 
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