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#34364 - 02/10/04 09:00 AM Portable organizers
BrianSparky Offline
Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 38
Loc: Lakewood,CO
Hi folks!

I'm considering a palm top organizer, just to remind myself of stuff I need to remember on the job. Now I use a small pocketsize notebook that I jot stuff down in.
However, it gets severely dog eared.

I've seen some other guys using the palm top organizers and they seem ambivalent about them. My main concern is damaging a reasonably expensive tool, as I carry it with me on the job. What are your thoughts?

-Thanks...sparkin' away in Colorado
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#34365 - 02/10/04 10:12 AM Re: Portable organizers
Ryan_J Offline
Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1374
Loc: West Jordan, Utah, USA
Subscribe to Sports Illustrated right now and you can get one for free
Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City
#34366 - 02/10/04 10:42 AM Re: Portable organizers
Fred Offline
Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 449
Loc: Straughn, IN 47387
I bought a Palm Zire 71 with the built in camera last June. I don't know what I did without it! On sale for $250.00. I added Documents to Go so I could use Excel spread sheets. I identify circuits in a panel as I land them. Hot sink the Palm when I get back to the office, print the directory, laminate and install it on the panel door the next day. I also use the camera feature to document insurance jobs, existing conditions/violations before I start a job and to record work I have just completed. I also use a spread sheet to log hours spent on what job. I also loaded ampacity charts, conduit fill tables, single and 3 phase FLA charts and heater element tables. Not to mention the address book! I also have my tool and equipment inventory, all license numbers, TIN number, blank materials list forms, my current wire inventory, etc. I carried a notebook for years and didn't ever have as much info at my fingertips. It has held up very well in the field. It did get too wet last summer from sweat and wouldn't work right until it dried out. No problems since. I would like to get a rubber protector for it to help guard against drops. So far I haven't dropped it.
#34367 - 02/10/04 02:24 PM Re: Portable organizers
DougW Offline
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: North Chicago, IL
Just got a HP iPAQ (hand held PC), Heard of lots of problems with windows apps on PalmOS, and I got a good deal on the HP.

I asked around about this, and I wasn;t the first to do so. So far it's more of a neat gimmick - it's nice to keep notes and schedules that can get updated automatically for billing purposes.

I've got a camera phone, so I was less concernefd about that aspect.

I've sene "Fluke meter" style rubber holsters, and I've thought about one of those. Right now I keep it in a "dayrunner" style zippered case that lets me keep business cards, and has a small notepad too.
#34368 - 02/10/04 08:45 PM Re: Portable organizers
Active 1 Offline
Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 687
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
Has any one tried using a laptop/notebook computer in the field?

I haven't but gave it some thought. I seen plug in GPS locators for them that will give you instant driving directions. Maybe a small printer for invoices and etc.

I would like to find a program with a built in timmer that would keep track of hours at each job and for pay at the end of the week. The worker would log in and out. I know quickbooks has one but I did not like it. I seen ones listed that also keep track of days off and tarties but they are big money.

#34369 - 02/10/04 08:58 PM Re: Portable organizers
mostwanted Offline
Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 36
Loc: Independence, MO, US
some of my buddies use notebook PC's. Mostly for the maps, but also keep billing paperwork organized as well. If I had a palm pilot, I would opt for the one with the code.
#34370 - 02/12/04 06:42 AM Re: Portable organizers
BuggabooBren Offline
Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 328
Loc: NM
I had a Palm M515 (I think that's the right model) and generally loved it. It's wonderful to make notes or schedule stuff and then have it on both the handheld and the desktop computer via the hot-sync. I also had the Documents to Go. I would think one with a camera would be ideal with the added bonus of on-the-spot documentation of existing conditions. On the downside, I placed mine on its recharge cradle and went back to it in about 20 minutes and it was hotter than blazes - so much that I could barely touch it. I couldn't find any evidence of it being mis-seated on the cradle nor any physical damage but it obviously had something wrong because it cooked as it sat there. I did a search for info on Palm problems and found that cracking the screen is both common, ruins the device, and is not covered nor easily repaired. I carried mine in a neoprene Palm case that was extra cushy and I don't remember it being dropped or handled roughly but that's a possibility. I'll probably get another handheld for the convenience but I'm not sure it'll be a Palm.

If I get a PC-based handheld there's a version of ConstructCALC (see it at ) for it that matches what I use on my PC at work.

I lug around a laptop daily and it's NOT fun. I just got a backpack for it yesterday and that's an improvement. I also have a couple of docking stations for it which make it much more tolerable to use at either end of the journey.

There are some advantages:
- sit in front of the screen as few times as possible for any particular event (data entry, report writing, quote building, etc);
- all data is available where you are working
- larger keyboard/pad makes typing easier

There are also disadvantages:
- Heavy or cumbersome to carry
- more wear & tear on laptop
- overkill on many occasions
- space to work in a truck might make it less convenient
#34371 - 02/12/04 04:14 PM Re: Portable organizers
mvrandazzo Offline
Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 110
I have used a Pocket PC for years. My 1st was a Jornada, then Toshiba and now an Ipaq 2215. I created my own spreadsheet in Excel. It has worked great for me. Especially when you are away from the PC and need to jot a few things down. You can also add drawing tools that will sync with .dwg or .dxf files. I would create a qwick sketch of a job. If I need to find an address I have MS Pocket Streets on mine. Although each application on its' own is not that great on a handheld, having them all at the same time is priceless.

Blessings, Mark

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