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Questions for experienced Whisper Reporter users.


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I just started using Whisper Reporter, and in the process of setting up my own template, I ran into a few problems. I know there are a few experienced Whisper Reporter users on this forum. I hope someone can lend me a hand.

1. I'm using the Texas template and I saw some subjects with picklist in them are italic and red, so to remind you to pick something from the picklist, yet they print black so they won't stand out. I know they are coded texts but I like the idea of having them red on display but black when printed as PDF. Is there anyway I can make some of my texts the same way?

2. The cloakable text are the feature I like the most, but the 25% grey is really hard on my eyes, especially when displayed on some monitors. Is there any way I can set the color differently?

3. The default image text wrap is not very visually pleasing, I have to manually set them for every image. How can I set the default differently?

4. The topic check box has a tendency to show a hand with pencil as checked when printing, even though I just set it with a swish check box, many times. But it keeps return to the hand every time I print. Is it a bug or it's just me.

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I just started using Whisper Reporter, and in the process of setting up my own template, I ran into a few problems. I know there are a few experienced Whisper Reporter users on this forum. I hope someone can lend me a hand.

1. I'm using the Texas template and I saw some subjects with picklist in them are italic and red, so to remind you to pick something from the picklist, yet they print black so they won't stand out. I know they are coded texts but I like the idea of having them red on display but black when printed as PDF. Is there anyway I can make some of my texts the same way?

2. The cloakable text are the feature I like the most, but the 25% grey is really hard on my eyes, especially when displayed on some monitors. Is there any way I can set the color differently?

3. The default image text wrap is not very visually pleasing, I have to manually set them for every image. How can I set the default differently?

4. The topic check box has a tendency to show a hand with pencil as checked when printing, even though I just set it with a swish check box, many times. But it keeps return to the hand every time I print. Is it a bug or it's just me.

1. You don't have to use the "Texas" template in Canada unless you are choosing to do so and modifying for use in your province. There is a lot of 'boilerplate' in that sample template. The text that is "red" and in some cases is italic (could be any choice) is considered "locked" meaning that you can't inadvertently change it when building your actual report. You can select/highlight all the "red" text and click on Edit and choose to lock or unlock the selected text.

2. Cloaked text. Nope can't change that. I have a similar problem ... especially as I keep "maturing".

3. I only put very few words under each image as a caption. I also use the internal editor to add graphics and 'some limited' text inside the image. There isn't really a text wrap around an image feature in WR that I'm aware of. I'll ask Eric (one of the developers of WR).

4. Go to Setup/Preferences/Checkboxes and select the type of image you want to appear/print for "Topic" and "Comment" Checkmarks.

Hope that helps you a tad.

I started out using Whisper Solutions "PI" version about 10-years ago and switched over to "Reporter" when it was released over 5-years ago. I've been very fortunate to be able to help the folks from Whisper Solutions test, debug and come up with new features all the time.

If one is digging into the inner workings of the application and doing design/development it can sometimes be intimidating. Once you get your template built you will be well rewarded in report generation.

I built my own template (based on the Texas TREC requirements) as TREC was making modifications to the template several years ago (they are doing so again this year) and the folks at Whisper used my template as the basis for the updated release once TREC approved the final.

I don't use the boilerplate checkbox comments as, over the years, I've developed my own library of RapidRemarks (Whispers term for 'comments') and I use a fair amount of cloaked text as well.

Shoot me an e-mail with any questions you may have and I might actually be able to help you figure out a solution.

Enjoy the application.

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Hi, Nolan,

Thanks for the quick reply. It helped me a lot.

I was making my own template that fit Nachi SOP from Texas template. It's pretty much done.

As for the text that display red but print black, you suggested using lock text feature, which worked great, thanks. The software's documentation sucks, btw.

I hope the developers at Whisper Solutions will make cloakable text more visible on their next version, fingers crossed.

It was after reading your posts on this forum that I decided to give Whisper Reporter a try, it takes so few clicks to generate a nice looking report, I'll never even think of using my open office based system again.

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Hi, Nolan,

Thanks for the quick reply. It helped me a lot.

I was making my own template that fit Nachi SOP from Texas template. It's pretty much done.

As for the text that display red but print black, you suggested using lock text feature, which worked great, thanks. The software's documentation sucks, btw.

I hope the developers at Whisper Solutions will make cloakable text more visible on their next version, fingers crossed.

It was after reading your posts on this forum that I decided to give Whisper Reporter a try, it takes so few clicks to generate a nice looking report, I'll never even think of using my open office based system again.

Norm,

Glad my suggestions have worked out for you.

WR is quite powerful and very versatile. I love working with it and creating new templates and trying new things all the time.

I'll mention to Eric the 'dim' presentation of the cloaked items to see if there is something that can be done to assist in that area. As I noted i have the same visibility problem, but then others do not ... can only be my "maturing" !!

Keep your prime focus on the inspection and delivering good/solid information to your clients ... don't get "too wrapped up" in the application. Bottom line the software is just a 'tool' and not all tools work well for every inspector/user. Ergo ... the many choices available for all of us.

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Hi, Nolan,

Thanks for the quick reply. It helped me a lot.

I was making my own template that fit Nachi SOP from Texas template. It's pretty much done.

As for the text that display red but print black, you suggested using lock text feature, which worked great, thanks. The software's documentation sucks, btw.

I hope the developers at Whisper Solutions will make cloakable text more visible on their next version, fingers crossed.

It was after reading your posts on this forum that I decided to give Whisper Reporter a try, it takes so few clicks to generate a nice looking report, I'll never even think of using my open office based system again.

Hi Norm,

Thanks for giving WhisperReporter a test drive. Yes, sorry about the documentation. I agree wholeheartedly that the documentation is pretty bad... also very out-of-date. That will be addressed very very shortly.

I try to let inspectors answer the questions in the forums for both as a courtesy to vendors who do advertise on the site and also to adhere to the rules, as I want to be careful that I don't step over the line as to what vendors are allowed to say. But Nolan mentioned your questions and asked to share my thoughts...

Some monitors display gray darker than others... it is usually a contrast/brightness setting. However, the cloaked text color can be changed quite easily by us... we've just never exposed the ability to inspectors. Why not? Honest, no one has asked for it until now. We could make it as easy as it is to change the locked text color (Edit > Locked Text Display Color). I'll see if I can get it in for the next release since it is a simple change.

The next version will also have an improved text wrapping experience when switching from the default "position image as a character" to something like "wrap text left and right" for example (which makes the image a "floating" image). We've corrected the initial movement of the image to the far left when switching the positioning mode for one thing, and added an option to allow auto adjustment of the floating image at a page break to prevent it from being pushed off the bottom of a page while trying to maintain its position relative to the start of a paragraph when it starts at the bottom of a page.

We've also recently been asked to allow the default to be a floating image instead of always initially setting it as a character for positioning. This will be a configurable option.

With all that being said, most inspectors seem to create a two column borderless table... one cell containing the image, and the other cell containing the text describing the image. This can help to maintain a consistent layout throughout the report.

As for the topic checkbox showing a hand with a pencil instead of a checkbox - this sounds like perhaps you don't have wingdings installed on your PC? Does the same thing happen when you add a comment checkbox to a comment? (the toolbar has a insert checkbox 2nd to the left of the picklist button) As Nolan pointed out, you can change the checkbox style in Setup > Preferences > Checkboxes tab, but I'm curious as to why you are seeing this problem. We can connect into your computer remotely if you can't get this to work, and can take a look.

Thanks again,

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Parden my drift but an inspection software development company might do well to anticipate buyer needs, to be open to new ideas rather than to simply rely on requests from customers like every vender I know of currently does. The checkbox style format is a leftover fragment from the age of paper and pencil before the pencil became replaced with a keyboard. It mystifies me that that box is showing up on a computer that has a qwerty keyboard input.

A DB approach coupled with a design based on a 'Manual of Style' for HI's seems a logical and practical approach. The manual doesn't exist yet but that only represents an added opportunity for the right people. I've a few ideas on where to find documents that could guide the development of this manual. It needs to be a team approach by professionals with the right skill set.

What the....I'm dreaming again? Well yeah, I am. No one gets anywhere without first dreaming.

Marc

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Parden my drift but an inspection software development company might do well to anticipate buyer needs, to be open to new ideas rather than to simply rely on requests from customers like every vender I know of currently does. The checkbox style format is a leftover fragment from the age of paper and pencil before the pencil became replaced with a keyboard. It mystifies me that that box is showing up on a computer that has a qwerty keyboard input.

A DB approach coupled with a design based on a 'Manual of Style' for HI's seems a logical and practical approach. The manual doesn't exist yet but that only represents an added opportunity for the right people. I've a few ideas on where to find documents that could guide the development of this manual. It needs to be a team approach by professionals with the right skill set.

What the....I'm dreaming again? Well yeah, I am. No one gets anywhere without first dreaming.

Marc

Marc,

Whisper Computer Solutions have many templates to try and accommodate multiple needs. Their application is also one of the most flexible available.

Checkboxes are common in their first/original template which is the TX-TREC mandated product that has/requires a certain number of checkboxes.

We all have different approaches and ideas and I stand amazed when I talk with other inspectors and other folks who use this application or similar applications and how it fits their business needs or the nuances they come up.

My approach to doing something a certain way in an application has been blown away more than once when I've learned from someone else's experience on how they get the same thing done.

Your thoughts above have again just expanded my mindset about an approach I never thought of.

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Parden my drift but an inspection software development company might do well to anticipate buyer needs, to be open to new ideas rather than to simply rely on requests from customers like every vender I know of currently does. The checkbox style format is a leftover fragment from the age of paper and pencil before the pencil became replaced with a keyboard. It mystifies me that that box is showing up on a computer that has a qwerty keyboard input.

A DB approach coupled with a design based on a 'Manual of Style' for HI's seems a logical and practical approach. The manual doesn't exist yet but that only represents an added opportunity for the right people. I've a few ideas on where to find documents that could guide the development of this manual. It needs to be a team approach by professionals with the right skill set.

What the....I'm dreaming again? Well yeah, I am. No one gets anywhere without first dreaming.

Marc

Hi Marc,

As with most software vendors I assume, we all think we try to anticipate the inspectors' needs. I am constantly surprised as to how diverse inspectors' ideas are on how to create reports fast and efficiently. We learned that early on with our original WhisperPI product which was very restrictive. Hence we came out with WhisperReporter with the idea to not lock it into a particular style. Like using light gray for cloaked text... we all thought it was fine, perfect... but after five years, an inspector finally came out to say "you know... it would be helpful if..." I think many people are accustomed to software companies being a huge black hole for ideas (myself included), so they just don't ask or just hope someone else asks, leaving the software company to create a ton of options (substantiating an increased price) that no one needs or uses and an interface hard to navigate IMHO (think Microsoft Word). Sorry, I digress... moving on...

I'm probably walking a thin line here in the forum, and don't want to promote our own software, but let me just say in response that we are natively narrative and don't force a style of input. We simply offer a checkbox feature or "tool" so-to-speak, among many other alternatives, for those who prefer to use that in certain situations and usage, such as with the mandated Texas TREC format or using a tablet in the field.

Great idea about a manual of style. I would love to see an online community blog or wiki used to compile something like that. I think it would have extremely useful content especially for new inspectors, and could boost creativity! Who knows, it might even help to sideline state mandated form styles like they have in Texas.

But now I'm contributing to this thread going off topic... sorry.

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Originally posted by Marc

...

Great idea about a manual of style. I would love to see an online community blog or wiki used to compile something like that. I think it would have extremely useful content especially for new inspectors, and could boost creativity! Who knows, it might even help to sideline state mandated form styles like they have in Texas.

Yeah, I'm just wondering how time consuming it is to add a discussion forum on Whisper Solution's website and ask a couple users to work as moderators. It's common practice in open source community and could be very helpful to users without costing the company an arm and a leg in terms of manpower.

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Originally posted by Marc

...

Great idea about a manual of style. I would love to see an online community blog or wiki used to compile something like that. I think it would have extremely useful content especially for new inspectors, and could boost creativity! Who knows, it might even help to sideline state mandated form styles like they have in Texas.

Yeah, I'm just wondering how time consuming it is to add a discussion forum on Whisper Solution's website and ask a couple users to work as moderators. It's common practice in open source community and could be very helpful to users without costing the company an arm and a leg in terms of manpower.

Marc & Norm,

Many years ago there was a Whisper Solutions forum as part of their main website.

There was some interchange among the most active users of both PI and WR, but there was traffic back/forth ... on/off with other forums such as here at TIJ and IN. That traffic would often shift away from the Whisper Forum and thus less traffic.

One never knows ... planting the seed may get a rethink about such.

Note that your (Norm's) comments have already had Eric put those items on the list for review, insertion, testing and likely release.

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Yeah, I'm just wondering how time consuming it is to add a discussion forum on Whisper Solution's website and ask a couple users to work as moderators. It's common practice in open source community and could be very helpful to users without costing the company an arm and a leg in terms of manpower.

Definitely needed... We had one on our original website, but when we set up the latest website, we never got around to it... primarily because we didn't like the design all that much (too hard to maintain) and are now in the process of again redesigning the website with better tools for maintaining it. We want to provide a much better educational experience than we have now (which is nil), including videos, template repository, FAQ and a forum.

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