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My MS Vista started making scratching noises a few weeks ago so I bought a solid state drive to replace my 6 year old HDD. One thing led to another and both drives ended up corrupted beyond use early Sat AM. Spend the entire weekend frantically trying to get everything back up from scratch in time for a Monday AM inspection. Every major application purchased online in past 6 years was readily available for download except 3D Inspection, so I lost it. 3D sales dept was of no help whatsoever. Had used it for over 10 years. My spouse persuaded me to try 2007 Word and it worked beautifully. I made a Word template Sunday night from a previous inspection that was in a pdf format. Never did lose my boilerplate which is a 30,000 word, 16 page Word document.

No sense in forking over another grand to 3D anymore.

Funny thing is...the problem wasn't my hard drive. It was the CD/DVD drive instead that was scratching.[:-paperba

Marc

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I recently switched away from Word. The new software saves me time and is less clumsy than Word. However, I miss the unhindered freedom I had in Word. Word created reports looked better too.

There's always a trade off.

I don't have 3D. Based on Marc's expierence, I'm happy I don't.

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Fortunately for me, my Homegauge gives me all the flexibility I need without having to be a Word macro programer. It's a bag of bones I can arrange any way I want to for the output. Most of my report writing now is just clicking a bunch of boxes but you'd never know it from looking at the finished report. Not a box in sight.

Sucks that it screwed you up and it turned out it wasn't the drive after all.

I recently had to get a new computer myself after about four years with the last one.

Sucks having to figure out all the computer tweaks all over again.

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Fortunately for me, my Homegauge gives me all the flexibility I need without having to be a Word macro programer. It's a bag of bones I can arrange any way I want to for the output. Most of my report writing now is just clicking a bunch of boxes but you'd never know it from looking at the finished report. Not a box in sight.

Sucks that it screwed you up and it turned out it wasn't the drive after all.

I recently had to get a new computer myself after about four years with the last one.

Sucks having to figure out all the computer tweaks all over again.

It still isn't tweaked. My tablet pen doesn't work yet and neither does my signature pad. I've spent hours on it to no avail. I previously used these features twice or more on each and every inspection.

Does HomeGauge do double columns?

Marc

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Not sure what you mean, double columns.

You can see the samples here: http://www.homegauge.com/inspector/home ... ample.html

I use narrative.

The copy on a page of print is on more than a single column.

My newspaper, for example, has 5 columns. It makes it easier on the reader's neck if he doesn't have to scan the entire width of the page to read a line.

Does this mean no one here has ever seen an HI report with more than one column? Jim K has it on his 'Description' section.

Marc

PS: Here's an excerp from Monday's report...composed on word. Not half bad, is it?

Check out the double angle stop in 'Plumbing'. That's from a post by Douglas H. Many thanks to him.

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif double column report.pdf

435.78 KB

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I recently switched away from Word. The new software saves me time and is less clumsy than Word.

What'd you get?

I got Palm Tech. It has some minor limitations but I'm learning to work around them. My report writing times are cut almost in half. The work process also became more relaxed after I learned to trust what it does.

Here's a sample of a recent inspection. I'm due for a lashing. Everyone, feel free to criticize.

http://home.comcast.net/~arundelhomeins ... sample.pdf

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I've not much to say about your report John. I like the flow. One suggestion: Read a finding from that report, any finding, then begin explaining that same finding out loud as if you were talking to someone and notice how it's different than the words you wrote. Keep the 'what is it, what does it mean and what to do about it' format but just talk it casually, not write it.

Just a suggestion.

Marc

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I'm not a summary producing person for a lot of reasons.

I also find it interesting that the summary is in the front of the report, but then each application does their report compilation differently.

The application I use can automatically generate a summary from the core information I put in the report and I could configure it to put it at the front as well ... so i think that is just an application thing (I'm thinking out loud while keying here).

RE: Summaries ... I leave it up to my report to convey the information and have been doing more and more like Kurt and use short or one line comments and images. To me, summaries are just a repeat of what I've already written and shown with images. Cutting way back on the many sentence narratives ... I'm just not a Pulitzer Prize level writer [;)]

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Right idea, still "two" reports.

Figure out a way to put it in once, pictures with the single narrative for that pic. Don't split it in two. Neal is right.

My format is similar, sort of. I'm going to put one of mine up shortly for folks to review. I finally got my interface figured out so there's no wasted motion, no dual reports, no nothing that gets in the way of quick and efficient reporting.

What we do is data input. Word isn't suited for what we do. Word makes cute collections of words and pictures that old people think looks right, but that's about it.

It's not suited to how people read nowadays. Maybe sad, maybe not, that's for someone else to decide, but it isn't how people read nowadays.

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John,

I actually like the summary format. A comment followed by a picture. It's nice and clean. I suggest that you preface it with a TOC and a page or two of the missing SOP stuff, then axe the rest.

Marc,

Forget about the columns, they're no fun to scroll through in a PDF on a screen oriented opposite the document. I have one client that I print reports for, she has purchased 2 homes in the last two years and has an offer in on another but doesn't have a reliable internet connection or email. I presume the rest are reading their reports on a screen, maybe even on their phone.

Why is the water pressure in the 'conditions' section when it is clearly a plumbing item? There were a couple other oddly placed items but that's the one that stands out.

I think you could benefit from your own advice, your tone is often far from conversational. That's not a dig, just an observation.

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I actually like the summary format. A comment followed by a picture. It's nice and clean. I suggest that you preface it with a TOC and a page or two of the missing SOP stuff, then axe the rest.

I agree, that part is fine. It's the other part. It only needs 2 parts instead of 3.

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I was suggesting that you needed the TOC, the SOP mandatory info and your summary, in that order and that the rest of the report was unnecessary.

Ok, I see.

I actually like the summary first, especially in my format with the limitations I'm under. Most people don't care about material descriptions and stuff. The want the meat and bones. That's why I put the summary up front.

And again, I'll explain the duplicate text and limitations later.

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Here's the explanation on the duplicated narratives;

I like numbered lists of concerns as you see in the summary. 1 through whatever - no duplicating numbers regardless of what section the concern is listed in. With this software, the only way to create such a numbered list is to have the program create the summary and number it for you as I have mine configured.

So, I configure the software to act on a rating (concern) I created. I tell the program to take any item I mark as a concern and put it in the summary. I have several ratings but as you can see in my report, I configure the software to omit the rating from the printed report. The only thing I use the rating system for is to prompt the program to put the item (concern) into the summary. Prior to using this software, my Word created reports did not use a summary. But if I want a numbered list of concerns using this software, it has to be done by creating the summary and configuring the software to number the items automatically.

With all that said, the software creates the summary from the main body by duplicating the narratives written in it. That is why the narratives are duplicated in the latter part of the report. I agree it would be cleaner if I could take them out, but as of now, the way the program is designed, I cannot.

As for pictures, I can prompt the program to put the pictures in the body, summary or both body and summary. It's important for the flow of my information delivery to have the pictures in the summary so I put them there. To keep the report file size smaller, I omit the pictures from the body.

Anyway, so far that's the best I've been able to configure things the way I want. Palm-Tech has been responsive to my suggestions for improvements in the program and claim to be passing them on to the development team.

I first got Palm-Tech because they had the iPhone app available to work in conjunction with the PC software. It also has the ability to use the iPhone built in camera to put pictures into the template while on the inspection. I thought this would be a great time saving feature so I jumped on it. I later discovered that the phone app has a difficult time compressing the rather larger default pic file size that the iPhone incorporates. It causes the app to shut down. When it does work, the pic file size is too large and the resolution is well below what I want in my reports. So interestingly, I don't use the very feature made me decide to buy the software. Instead, I use my regular digital cam to take pics which I drag and drop into the template on the PC program. That approach works great and maintains more flexibility and very good picture resolution while keeping the file sizes reasonable.

Zoom on the report and you'll see how well the resolution is maintained.

I think if you're going to have poor picture resolution, why bother putting pictures into the report?

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John D. I find your vapor barrier comments to be particularly humorous this morning for some reason.

Yes, I now see the typo errors in #18. That probably happened from errors in dictating with Dragon Speak. I usually catch most of it in proof reading. Thanks for nabbing it.

Did you fix it? I don't see an error, but then I read text like a guy in a rush to get the answer. [:)]

John, that is an interesting approach to reporting, and it nails all the bad stuff up front. For a while I was supplying a brief one page list of defects in text at the beginning of the reports, then the body with pics of good and the bad, then the computer generated summary in text.

Now with the new software, I'm reporting the systems with good and bad, plenty of pics, followed by a summary in text. Not saying any way is better, not sure which works best.

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John D. I find your vapor barrier comments to be particularly humorous this morning for some reason.

Yes, I now see the typo errors in #18. That probably happened from errors in dictating with Dragon Speak. I usually catch most of it in proof reading. Thanks for nabbing it.

Did you fix it? I don't see an error, but then I read text like a guy in a rush to get the answer. [:)]

John, that is an interesting approach to reporting, and it nails all the bad stuff up front. For a while I was supplying a brief one page list of defects in text at the beginning of the reports, then the body with pics of good and the bad, then the computer generated summary in text.

Now with the new software, I'm reporting the systems with good and bad, plenty of pics, followed by a summary in text. Not saying any way is better, not sure which works best.

I have not fixed the error yet.

As for my report format, I want my clients to open the book and instantly begin to see what they paid me for.

Actually, list of concerns first and sop stuff later is an idea I heard from Kurt a while back. Again, it was the limitations of the software that had me arranging it this way. In the end, I kind of like it.

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