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I print off a copy of the check list from Inspect Express (which I have modified to suit me perfectly) and use that onsite. I also am constantly talking into a voice recorder and taking photos onsite. Back at the office I compile everything into a report which gets emailed off. I will print and deliver a report if the client asks, but at a price.

-Brad

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My 1st year or so I used a Checklist. As I became more proficient and gained experienced the checklist got smaller and smaller, until it disappeared all together. Now I write nothing down; all notes are taken with my camera – plenty of pictures. Once done with the inspection I head to my office, download the pics to my PC and write the report. I convert it to a PDF file and e-mail it out.

I recently bought a new computer and have 2 monitors. That way I can keep the pics open on one monitor and the report open on the other. I got tired of having to flip back and forth.

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Ditto, once I started using a camera and computer generated reports, the camera is my only "note" other than my memory.

I tried the laptop on site, pocket PC software and found it was not for me. I inspect much more quickly and efficiently with just the camera but any time savings is lost to more time reviewing pictures and writing the report.

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I use a check list to make my notes, but I take a fair amount of pictures too. Alot of my report content comes from the pictures, but I still don't seem to take enough of them to lose the checklist. That said, I'll porbably never go totally paperless; I just can't seem to get decent images of data plates, even when they're right out in the open.

Google "PDFCreator" and start emailling reports. I might hand deliver a report if the gig was in my neighborhood, but not until I had sent one via email.

Tom

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I'm a camera and voice-recorder guy. But for youse guys who only take photos . . . how do prevent yourself from forgetting about loose commodes, faucets with reversed hot/cold orientation, or other similar things that photos can't accurately describe?

A picture of my leg against the toilet means it's loose. My finger on something in the picture also helps me remember. You just develope a little code.

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I'm a camera and voice-recorder guy. But for youse guys who only take photos . . . how do prevent yourself from forgetting about loose commodes, faucets with reversed hot/cold orientation, or other similar things that photos can't accurately describe?

I have the worst memory retention of all human beings I know. My wife see me watching a flick and says, "You've seen this already!"

Sure enough it takes me 'til the end of the movie to finally remember - somewhere in the dusty crusty files in my brain - that I in fact had seen the movie.

For some reason, I can remember what's in almost every picture I take on an inspection. Sometimes I need hand signals or some indicator, though.

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I'm a camera and voice-recorder guy. But for youse guys who only take photos . . . how do prevent yourself from forgetting about loose commodes, faucets with reversed hot/cold orientation, or other similar things that photos can't accurately describe?

Mostly hand/finger signals. Taking the bathroom example, I'll make an "L" for a loose toilet or crossed fingers for the hot/cold reversed. Noisy exhaust fan...a wierd looking "N", not working at all...thumb down. No exhaust fan...I take a photo of the bare ceiling. A picture of my suretest plugged in showing "6500" for no GFCI. But, I also carry a pad to quickly jot down stuff that doesn't work well with photos.

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Hand signals. Interesting. I'll have to try it now, and will blame each and every one of you if I royally screw up.

It's fascinating, really, how people combine varying degrees of their senses to complete a given task. That's a three-hour discussion, though, so I'll leave it at that.

For me I think, using photos only, it would be tough to say all I want to myself--and remember it--with only a visual record. Then again, everyone who responded with a photos-only is serious and proficient, and I believe you when you say it works.

I must say, however, that another advantage to using a recorder is that I so love the sound of my own voice . . . . .

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I'm a photos only fellow as well, but I write the report first from memory and then insert the photos. As I look through the album during the insertion process I'm sometimes reminded of an item I left out of the report.

EDIT: Okay, so all but one of the photos-only folks are serious and proficient . . .

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EDIT: Okay, so all but one of the photos-only folks are serious and proficient . . .

Admit it.. when you read "insertion process" you were amused yet oddly aroused. Finding yourself confused about your true feelings... questioning your very identity, you chose to strike out at the source of your forced introspection. Go ahead and project your anger on me. I can take it and still call you "friend".

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I'm also photo only, hand signals or certain angles mean things. I take a picture of everything that needs to be in the report whether I'm going to put the picture in the report or not. And every now and then I'll do a short video with voice over (sometimes I just use the video as a voice recorder).

I do usually set up my computer in the kitchen and occasionally make a few entries.

When I'm ready to write the report, I open up my HomeGauge software, load the photos into the film strip and just run down the strip taking care of each photo (inserting/comment, etc) until I hit the bottom of the strip. Then I use the "Find Next" function to find all those "acceptable or unaswered descriptives".

Once those are cared for, I upload it to HomeGauge, send the clients e-mal notice from there, and I'm done.

hginput.jpg

And out comes the printed report!

hgrpt.jpg

HomeGauge tracks all the sends, views & forwards for me.

hgtrack.jpg

Double click the pictures to see them bigger.

I'd probably take a few more written notes, but penmanship was never a strong subject for me!

-

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I do camera and recorder. I use a Sony recorder that I plug in and download the audio to my computer. The recorder can do hundreds of files. I've been told I could use Dragonspeak to type my notes but they might not make sense to anyone else. Between the audio and pics I compose the report, usually right after the inspection.

I bought a laptop just in case I have time to kill between inspections and it's to far to drive back home.

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I take no notes and a fair number of photos. With my laptop in the kitchen I can insert basic comments from memory as I go. I insert a bit of jibberish where I wish to place a well thought out comment later. Most of the report is completed before I leave the site. I either go to lunch or home and run spell check to replace the jibberish. Insert photos as desired and use the photos as memory prompts for anything I forgot on site. This system works well for me and allows me to have a life once I leave an inspection. IT works quite well most of the time.

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---write down serial numbers---

My handwriting is awful. I take photos of the serial numbers. Less chance to screw them up.

Do you have a specific camera setting for this? Every time I try to rely on pictures only for data plates they are unreadable.

I use an 8 mega pixel camera to capture a ton of detail, and give me bunch of crop and zoom potential. I resize all the pics that make the report way down to like 3 or 400 pixels along the long axis preserving the aspect ratio. I very seldom have to fidget with the picture format this way. I know it sounds like a bunch of work but with Photoscape I can enhance, insert arrows, resize and insert a pic faster than I can type my comments in the report.

Tom

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My camera, a Panasonic TZ5, has an "Intelligent Auto" setting that I leave it on all the time for inspections. It changes to Macro by itself when needed. I do always check the data plate photos to ensure they were in focus. Maybe once out of every 10 data plate shots, I have to retake a photo.

Here's a typical example, albeit at much lower res than the original...(finger keeping wires out of the way)

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif dataplate.jpg

142.63 KB

As Chad said, on other cameras there should be a fairly obvious macro setting.

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Macro settings always get me fine detail on the data plates too. Though I do check each time to make sure it's focused as a couple of times, I had scrwed it up and it was way out of focus.

Fortunately, my current Sony Cybershot has auto macro for close up pictures.

-

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