Dana Bostick and his Life With Ink
Connect with us

Dana Bostick and his Life With Ink

Published

on

In our first installment of Life With Ink, Dana Bostick gives us a look into his Inking World. You can visit Dana at his blog or website, www.PrivateInspect.com

— Dana Bostick

I am a professional property inspector and as such, I need to use a computer of some sort all day.  Until about a year and a half ago, I used a conventional laptop / notebook type computer.  After about a year, my refurbished Compaq © laptop died and could not be fixed without a motherboard replacement.  Decision point!  My livelihood depends on using these things and I needed a reliable unit for field use.  I started searching for a replacement.  My ancient AcerLite ® P-150 backup laptop machine just wasn’t cutting it.  My budget was a bit tight and a quick search of Pricegrabber © brought to light an NEC VersaLite ® slate tablet for only $1200.  Now, this was intriguing!

I am somewhat of a ““techie” and the idea of a slate tablet was something that looked ideal for my particular usage and something I should explore further.  I could switch to a tablet for about the same price as a replacement laptop. Carrying the tablet around with me and directly entering the data could save a lot of time. I bought it and switched to inking and never looked back.  No regrets!

 The NEC ““proof of concept” proved the form factor was very usable for this niche ““vertical” application.  I run a commercial software for doing home inspections called 3-D Inspections ® www.3dinspections.com and the inking worked fine.  The software is not ‘ink aware” in that I can’t actually ink in the fields but being a Windows © program, it did accept the ink input and convert it to text via the tablet input panel (TIP)  In fact, it saved time.  I no longer had to take handwritten notes and then spend 20 minutes transcribing them to the program.  When I did inspections on larger properties where several inspectors were involved, I usually finished my section much sooner than the others that were using conventional, non-tablet computers. Since we print the reports on-site, I was able to clean up and print my report and move on to another inspection.  Time is money!

I have since upgraded to a Motion LE-1600 ® to handle a few issues I had with the NEC.  The battery life was only about 1-1/2 hours on the NEC and my typical inspection was 2 hours or more.  The NEC screen was totally useless in the sunlight as well.  The LE-1600 handled both these issues for me by providing 2 to 2-1/2 hours battery life with the standard battery.  I also carry an extra standard battery rather than go for the extended battery with it’s extra weight.  (BTW, I love that the Motion batteries have a built-in way to check the charge.  There is a little spot that you can press and a series of led’s light up indicating the level of the charge.) The ViewAnywhere ® screen on the Motion was at least workable.  It was still not as bright as it is under indoor conditions but still usable outdoors.  I have become a strong advocate for the form factor.  I am the go-to guy in my group for computer issues and have convinced several of my associates to switch to tablets.  They hate it when I blow them away with the speed I achieve by using my tablet instead of their clunky laptops.  Some didn’t get it and bought convertible models.  What is the point if you still have to lug around a 4+ pound machine?  You can take some people to school and they will eat the books!

I have jumped into the Tablet PC arena with both feet.  I’m currently running the full Beta of MS Office © 2007 on both my desktop and the Motion tablet, including OneNote ® 2007. (which I love)  Next trial is TEO.  The more ““ink aware” a program is, the more likely I will run it.

I run the Motion LE in a docking station on my desk at home as a second computer on the network.  I live in a one bedroom duplex and have four computers running on the wired network and have a wireless access point as well.  I am a true GEEK!  But then, Geeks are cool nowdays.J

The inking ability has significantly changed the way I use computers.  It has also improved my handwriting.   People ask me ““How long does it take to train it to recognize your writing?” (a throwback to the voice recognition programs I guess)  I usually laugh and say ““It trains you to write cursive better”  The recognition is amazing!  I cannot complain about it’s accuracy.  Occasionally, I need to revert to the OSK to force the system to accept a word that is not in it’s dictionary.

Overall, it has been a very satisfying experience and I have absolutely no regrets that I made the switch.  I continue to push the envelope, always on the watch for something new that will make my work more efficient or just be more fun to play with.

Thanks for a great article, Dana. Enjoy that $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate!  If you have a good “Life with Ink” story to tell, submit your 750-2000 word piece to [email protected]  If accepted, we will send you your choice of a Buy.com or Amazon gift certificate as well!

 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.