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Software for old part time inspector?


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Marc's report is nice. Simple, direct. You can punch in anywhere and know what he's talking about and what it means.

Personally, I'd shave the verbiage down even more.

I know. I'll get there someday. Takes long experience. I didn't know anyone actually did dictation.

My spouse types very well, has a minor in linguistics and wants to quit her counseling business. Mmmmm.

Marc

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I am sure Aaron has a good program for iPad because it is set up to take data from an SD card and it can print or send a PDF file. Those are good features.

Aaron, I could not work the way I do now with an iPad or any tablet. I already mentioned the p[icture-taking issues. I'm sure I can fumble thru a cracker box house on the iPad if all the comments are suitable and I don't click any wrong tabs.

But the laptop does that too, on a large monitor. I can enter all the text parts really quick, then drag in the pics I want. The programs all slow down when they are loaded with pics. Don't tell me your program does not slow down.

On a POS house, the report takes 3 times longer because there are always unique discoveries. Those comments are not in the template.

How do I say "A cat has perished in the crawlspace under the back porch. I could not find how it got in there but there are claw marks from it trying to get out. Hire a young man to put the carcase in a bag so that it can be disposed of."

Would I have to tap that in with one finger on the iPad? No, thanks.

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As for your report, I'd be willing to work on a full critique if you want to pay me to do so.

No Jim, I'm not paying you. Especially after you insulted the sample report.

You see, there's a problem with logical thinking. If you only seek advice from people who agree with you, you'll never improve. What you really need - what we all really need - is input from people who disagree with our current methods.

You must distinguish between the comments in the report and the report structure and layout. The inspector can write and modify comments for any item in the report. The software provides the structure. It seems you have a problem with the verbiage the inspector used in the sample. Spectacular does provide some comments out-of-the-box, but it's definitely up to the inspector using the app to make sure what's added to the report is satisfactory in his/her eye.

I am perfectly aware of the difference. Please remember that most of the people involved in this discussion have been inspecting for over 20 years and have extensive experience with various report generation programs - unlike you. Others are pointing out problems with your system. The single point that I'm trying to make is that the sample report on your site is so bad that it drove me away from the site and killed any interest that I might have had in your software.

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Aaron,

I'll give you one more freebie.

Instead of working to produce a reporting system that's basically the same as every other reporting system out there, why not think outside the box a bit?

Here's what I'd like to see:

Produce a report that customers can experience like a narrated slide show, with a succession of pictures, diagrams, and short videos (including sound), each of which illustrates a problem with the house.

Allow the customer to create his own summary by picking individual slides or sets of slides to be sent to a "my summary" document. Then allow the customer to organize the summary slides in order of importance or in groups, so that these summaries can be sent to agents for negotiations, contractors for repair, etc.

Of course, the whole thing should be optimized for viewing on a smartphone or tablet as well as a regular old-fart laptop or desktop computer. Be sure that the slides can contain live links that open up inside the slide window for things like definitions of technical terms or little GIFs that illustrate a concept.

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Now we're talkin'.....

Developing still yet another db, punch in the buttons, rambling comment aggregator designed for inspectors that can't write, talk, or otherwise communicate effectively is a loser. I didn't say nonstarter because there's always somebody that will buy anything, but my prediction is a long slow slog ending in questions of why one bothered.

I love Jim's ideas for a mobile "show". I doubt it would get traction with the current crop of inspectors though.......too thoughtful, forward thinking, and smart.

Also, too much time for the inspector. I actually developed something similar in FileMaker, but it's too much time in report creation, and ultimately, customers need a simple list they understand, not a tutorial modeled on current journalism methodology.

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Aaron,

I'll give you one more freebie.

Instead of working to produce a reporting system that's basically the same as every other reporting system out there, why not think outside the box a bit?

Here's what I'd like to see:

Produce a report that customers can experience like a narrated slide show, with a succession of pictures, diagrams, and short videos (including sound), each of which illustrates a problem with the house.

Allow the customer to create his own summary by picking individual slides or sets of slides to be sent to a "my summary" document. Then allow the customer to organize the summary slides in order of importance or in groups, so that these summaries can be sent to agents for negotiations, contractors for repair, etc.

Of course, the whole thing should be optimized for viewing on a smartphone or tablet as well as a regular old-fart laptop or desktop computer. Be sure that the slides can contain live links that open up inside the slide window for things like definitions of technical terms or little GIFs that illustrate a concept.

That sounds like a report writing app that also presents in HTML, like Power Point. As many of you know, there's a few on the market that clients can either view interactively (TOC links) or print out but as far as I know, no one's done it with Jim's extra interactive features. It's novel and it's brilliant. It give the individual client some say in the final format in the report without altering copy.

Imagine a client browsing through such a report on an ipad, interacting with it. Yeah, I'll buy.

Looks like the cat's out of the bag now for the next generation of HI reporting software.

Marc

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Thanks guys for all the info. As John stated I am very happy with a a camera and a laptop. I am trying some of the free downloads. Homegauge so far seems to be my favorite. I am planning on retiring from my day job in a couple of years and would like to expand my home inspection business. Thanks again.

Barry

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Thanks guys for all the info. As John stated I am very happy with a a camera and a laptop. I am trying some of the free downloads. Homegauge so far seems to be my favorite. I am planning on retiring from my day job in a couple of years and would like to expand my home inspection business. Thanks again.

Barry

Hey Barry, good choice but why would you want to do the report at the kitchen counter or bring it home? You can do the whole report laying in the dirt with your iPad. [:)]

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A interactive video report with music sounds like fun. My house today could use some background music.

Like being followed by a client with a video camera? That was a fun film, like when I turn back and go 'Hey, watch out for the dog poop here, oops." [:)]

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He won't quit.

Marc

Ease up. He took a bunch of shit, and he's still here asking questions.

No worries... I can take it. I try to find the construction out of the criticism. Granted you guys are a bit harsh, but once you get passed that, there's some good information and ideas here. Like I said earlier, I've been coming here all year long to learn, so please keep the dialog going even if your style is to communicate bluntly...

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I am sure Aaron has a good program for iPad because it is set up to take data from an SD card and it can print or send a PDF file. Those are good features.

On a POS house, the report takes 3 times longer because there are always unique discoveries. Those comments are not in the template.

How do I say "A cat has perished in the crawlspace under the back porch. I could not find how it got in there but there are claw marks from it trying to get out. Hire a young man to put the carcase in a bag so that it can be disposed of."

Would I have to tap that in with one finger on the iPad? No, thanks.

Hey John,

Yes, you have the option of applying a saved comment or typing in a comment to describe issues. The iPad has a full keyboard so you'd use both hands or just speak to text with the voice recognition.

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Aaron,

I'll give you one more freebie.

Instead of working to produce a reporting system that's basically the same as every other reporting system out there, why not think outside the box a bit?

Here's what I'd like to see:

Produce a report that customers can experience like a narrated slide show, with a succession of pictures, diagrams, and short videos (including sound), each of which illustrates a problem with the house.

Allow the customer to create his own summary by picking individual slides or sets of slides to be sent to a "my summary" document. Then allow the customer to organize the summary slides in order of importance or in groups, so that these summaries can be sent to agents for negotiations, contractors for repair, etc.

Of course, the whole thing should be optimized for viewing on a smartphone or tablet as well as a regular old-fart laptop or desktop computer. Be sure that the slides can contain live links that open up inside the slide window for things like definitions of technical terms or little GIFs that illustrate a concept.

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the tip. This is a very good idea, and if it happens to come to life in Spectacular and is successful, I will pay you. You have my word...

But yes, in order to get to a level where ideas like this makes sense, Spectacular has to do the basics first and do them very well. That's the stage that it's at now, and we're just about to turn the corner into innovation and new concepts. It'll happen...

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