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Someone Tell Me I Need Pocket Total!

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slacker

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
I’m being sucked in and I can’t help it. I did the test drive at the Alamode site and my fingers are on the keyboard ready to type in my credit card number. The Pocket Total product looks too good to pass up but the $1,258 price tag is keeping me from hitting the “Order Now” button.

Anyone have some feedback with his or her experiences? What you like, don’t like, blah, blah, blah. Specifically, how well can sketch’s be done with Pocket Apex? Seems like it would be tough on that little screen. Also, I can’t see using for it for a cost approach or comp grid. Will I be paying $1,258 just to save time off the front page of the URAR or are there other benefits I’m not seeing?

Not sure that I need Pocket Total but my compulsive spending tendencies are kicking into high gear. I know I would be the only kid on the block with one in my neighborhood.

Thanks
 

graindart

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Montana
I've used it a bit......Pocket Apex was just released yesterday or today, so I don't have any experience with it. My main problem is carrying around my pocketpc. I don't usually carry it around, so I end up using one of the many notebooks I have in each of the cars. I'm thinking that as soon as someone releases a combination PocketPC, camera, and cellphone, I'll probably use it all of the time, as I'll have it on me all the time.

If you normally carry a pocketpc on you, I'd suggest it, otherwise if you're like me you'll use it for a bit and then stop carrying it around because it's just one more thing you've got to carry around with you. Probably work well for women (or men, I don't mean to be sexist :wink: ) who normally carry a purse at all times.
 

Elsie Grady

Freshman Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2002
I have been using Pocket Total since the early beta-testing stages prior to it being released. I use it on every inspection, and it does save a great deal of time entering data back at the office. I'm using the HP Jornada 560 with the HP camera for PocketPC. The photos are transferred automatically with the data collected in the field. And yes, you can complete the cost approach and the comps grid in Pocket Total. I've added the Targus Pocket Keyboard (a full size keyboard that folds to 1/4 size). Pocket Apex works quite similar to the desktop version - it is easy to use.

The PocketPC can also be used for other functions. It has an appointment calendar that integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Contact List, Calculator, Pocket Word, etc. You can install Microsoft Money and keep track of expenses and checkbook. You can add GPS and mapping. You can add a wireless phone card and access your e-mail or the internet. The list goes on and on.

For me, this is a solution to dragging a $2,500 notebook in the car in the hot summer or the freezing winter, not to mention the risk of theft while I'm inside the property. I wouldn't be without my Jornada and Pocket Total. The $1,200 cost is minimal compared to the time saved and all of the other benefits.
 
B

Bemis Pownall

Guest
go for it
you the man!

Pull up in your vet with the fancy appraising tool, sure those sub prime, BK homeowners will think its real coool.
 

slacker

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
go for it
you the man!

Pull up in your vet with the fancy appraising tool, sure those sub prime, BK homeowners will think its real coool.

Vet? Bemis, give me a little more credit than that. We drove those kiddie cars in High School.

But back to the topic. Are there only two people on this forum that use Pocket total?
 

Brian J. Davis

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Hi Slacker!

There's so much to talk about when we get into Pocket TOTAL and Pocket PCs in general.

The "Test Drive" that you're talking about is a dandy . . .
http://www.alamode.com/pocket/testdrive.htm

Another good "General" resource is How To Do Everything with Your Pocket PC, 2nd Edition, Frank McPherson. http://www.pocketpchow2.com/htde2.htm It's a MUST HAVE book on the Pocket PC.

I've been working with Pocket TOTAL for 3 years now . . . and the latest version since it went "Beta" this past Winter.

I'm running it on an HP 560 with a HP Pocket Camera and the HP "thumb" keyboard. That unit is being discontinued but there are other Pocket PCs, like the IPaq, that wil work just as well.

For MOST homes I can leave the clipboad and standard digital camera in the car.

All of my desktop "QuickLists" are on the Pocket PC (field by field) so data entry is minimal. Just like on the desktop, a QuickList comment can fill out an entire section with a single tap.

Pocket TOTAL 3 has a "Field Pad" feature that allows me to do freehand interior sketches and take fast scribble notes that I normally did on the clipboard. The PPC also has a voice recorder function for those that like to "talk" their extra notes.

Pocket Apex has just been released. I view it as MAINLY for exterior sketches with minimal notes. The size of the PPC display makes it difficult to get too fancy with icons, text, etc. It's a "work in progress".

Pocket TOTAL and Pocket Apex are not going to be for everyone! For many appraisers, they're used to grabbing the order off the fax machine and their clipboard an out the door they go. With Pocket TOTAL you'll need to get a BIT more organized!

If you can find a show or seminar that a la mode is attending you should be able to put your hands on one and play with it a bit. It's FAR more enjoyable to use than it's predecessor.

Brian J. Davis, SRA
http://www.home-appraiser.com
 

Philip Marler

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
I have to agree with Brian. I am using Pocket Total (have been Beta Testing it for several months) and I really like it. The pocket camera that attaches directly to my PocketPC allows me to place photos in the report in the field. I have found that it really does take some organization, but once you develop a routine, you will be happy with it.

Brian mentioned the fieldpad feature of PocketTotal. I don't think this can be emphasized enough. It has three separate "pages" in the fieldpad and each one can be customized. For example, one of the pages can have grid lines so you can do a rough sketch of the house, lot, etc.

Pocket Apex is still in its infancy, but is adequate for 80% -90% of my inspections. I leave the clipboard in the truck (I just can't bring myself to throw it away).

Another tool that I have found very useful is the Disto Laser measuring device. Now I leave my 100' tape in the truck, too.


http://www.appraiserdepot.com/merchant3/merchant.mv
 

terr

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
I have pocket total and it is a toy but I was spending so long in the home doing the inspections with it I do not think I am saving time.

The screen on a pocket pc is to small for drawing sketches unless it is for a 20 x 30 ranch home.

It is fun but $1200 seems high for that.

Best of luck!

Terr
 

Mike Unser

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Texas
Terr, I wish you had posted your full name so we could contact you directly instead of posting publicly. Your response is certainly untypical of what we hear from customers. I’d like to see what you’re doing differently.

There’s no doubt your workflow does change with Pocket TOTAL. But, putting Pocket TOTAL in perspective, it’s similar to how desktop computers replaced the typewriter, digital cameras replaced standard cameras, and the Internet…well, how can you really quantify that. (Auto retrieval of location maps, flood maps, flood data, sending/receiving appraisal orders and files, etc., etc.)

I don’t think anyone can argue that these technologies haven’t helped appraisers minimize hassles, turnaround time, and saved substantial expenses.

To get to the heart of it. Does Pocket TOTAL reduce time in the field? If you use the standard comments to pre-fill a field or sections with a tap, use the handwriting recognition, start with a cloned report, set up critical fields, use the wireless features, and do change your workflow…sure, you’ll save time. How much depends on how many of the features you take advantage of and the particulars of the appraisal.

But, and this is important, the real time-savings is back in the office. Everything you did in the field with Pocket TOTAL flows directly into your report - field data, photos on photo pages, addenda comments, voice recordings, an editable Apex sketch, and VC Sheets, if needed, completed – all of it.

Then there are the accuracy advantages. You know you’ve left the property and your sketch squares off, you know what you entered in the field is exactly what gets placed in the report – no transcribing errors.

Then there are the workfile advantages. EVERYTHING you did in the field is stored permanently in one self-contained and digital workfile that’s easily accessed. You’re not worrying about losing scraps of paper, maintaining cabinets of workfiles, and taking the time to categorize everything. It’s all in WinTOTAL’s Workfile PowerView right beside your final appraisal report.

Most appraisers tell us Pocket TOTAL saves them around 30 minutes an appraisal, plus or minus several minutes. But, if you just saved 10 minutes per appraisal and you did 250 appraisals a year, that’s over 40 hours a year. How much is a week of your time worth? And, how about those hassles Pocket TOTAL eliminates? What’s the value there?

Some things to ponder,

Mike Unser
Product Line Manager
a la mode, inc.
 
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