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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NH & Cebu
    Posts
    1,611
    I'm looking to buy a new laptop/tablet PC. I'm already using a laptop and portable printer on the truck for billing. I looked at some rugged laptops and tablets on the net, and they are pricy. Wonder if I'm just better off buying a new laptop every other year as I do now instead, so I have the latest and greatest.

    I've read Dow's comments about the tablet, and some day I'd love to get to that point. I simply don't have the time right now to set it up. I do mostly commercial work, and none have ever expressed interest in putting the charge on a CC. Why else would I choose the tablet over the laptop?

    I want to be able to go on the net wirelessly and download service manuals while on the call. And I don't see myself doing it on the roof. I'd probably do it in the truck and print what I need. Right now, I carry my laptop in a rugged, padded metal case. It's worked for me so far. I'd love to have a rugged laptop, if they weren't so damn expensive. Cause then, I'd hesitate to upgrade so often.

    What do you have for a tablet Dow? And how much $$? I checked out Best Buy last night, and they only have 1 or 2 tablets. And of course, nothing rugged. Lots of choices on the laptop tho.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    http://www.otterbox.com
    http://www.verizonwireless.com
    http://www.fujitsu.com
    http://www.dataoncall.com
    http://www.hyperoffice.com
    http://www.quickbooksonline.com
    http://www.charterone.com
    http://www.vonnage.com

    about 4 grand investment. About $300 a month.

    If you spend time looking at all these websites, and you know what it takes to a run a small shp in this business, you will put all this together and it will all make sense.

    I can do any business function from paying a bill to one time entry of an invoice with all acounting done, to having wiring diagrams, curb dimension ect in my face with in seconds. Any business function you have or need. Only thing is. I can have that anywhere, anytime in any weather. On the roof at 3 am in the rain, or snow. Whatever. In a coffe shop waiting to get to an apointment. Instant access to equipment specs, in front of the equipoment in question.

    And the funny thing is. This is all off the shelf stuff. And inexpensive considering what it does for you.

    Why any small shop of less than five or so people needs a office there paying rent to anymore is out of their mind. This stuff eliminates your office. For me. It makes me more efficient to compete, plus I have to do less effort in "administration".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    You also said you don't have time.

    You don't have time not to. You could set yourself up with in 1 week. Then play around learning it as you go.

    The hardest part is, your combining about 6 different things to make a virtual shop basically. SO getting used to integrating it all is the part that will make it tough, but not so tough a guy with common sense can not figure out quickly. If you can't you might want to reconbsider as well what you do for a living.

    I have had about 7 emails from you guys about this. Let me be the first to say. I am no computer genius. This stuff is not that hard to get going with. I mean, your already doing from the truck now. Your way ahead of most.

    Trust me. This stuff does not take that much to set up.

    I just sent an email to cracker with the long explanation of what I am doing. Feel free to get a hold of him and let him share my email with anyone that is interested.

    The one crutch I see is that High Speed wireless is not available in all areas. If you don't have DSL speed wireless access your screwed in my plan. Sorry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    in a tree looking in your window
    Posts
    1,159
    I am in the same boat, my old laptop is in need of replacement, and I also have been paying close attention to many Ds post over the last couple of months on this subject. I cant imagine living in an area that is pretty much one big Wi-Fi zone, that would be sweet. About the only Wi-Fi area I can find is in BW3s (thats a chicken joint here in Ohio). I already do my service reports,timesheets and invoices on computer but really need to take it to the next level. Dow thanks for taking the time to try and help.
    If you dont stand behind our troops, please feel free...........to stand in front of them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    11,967
    Don't forget guys....

    The swing now is turning to field paperless. Only on a touch screen can you get a signature. It sets your choice to a handheld ipaq type or a tablet PC.

    You can do alot more with a tablet pc if you are the boss and still in the field or a OMO. If you have techs... get them the ipaq handhelds.

    tablet pc lowest price I have seen is $980.00

    ipaq handheld from 200.00 for the older models to $700.00 for the lastest greatest. Tons of them for 300.00 -+ on ebay.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    The two things that have to be: 1. You must have cell companies that will do high speed internet for your area. Right now, verizon is the only one in any area doing high speed, called evdo. And they have not laid that out totally across there network yet. Soon. However, nextel and cingular will be fast seconds in the race as they are beta testing there high speed wireless now. When I say high speed, I mean just like if not better than cable dsl. However, your wireless, anywhere the gadget stuck in your computer can pick up the signal. With in 2 years, that will be just about anywhere.

    2: Most important. Learn from me. My first foray was with a cheap averatec tablet. It's a great computer. Nothing at all wrong with it. If it's used in the fasion a normal one would be used as. Indoors. Don't drop it. Don't spill coffee on it or your screwed. Most any non ruggedized computer is ver susceptible to vibration as well. My averatec is 8 months old, has been in California getting worked on at the factory more than it has been here. They finally said they would not warranty it any further, so I had to find a better system. I might add though, I used there computer in the wrong way and they still fixed it for me for free, which I thought was cool.

    If on and in the truck just going down the highway, you can zap your computer. It can happen at any moment, and if aint happened yet, it will. You must have a computer that has it's hard drive shock mounted. This prevents the damage, of vibration, drops ect. Now so far as to my own research, not saying I am right 100% butthe Fujitsu, all of their systems are shock mounted but there not neccesarily at all ruggedized beyond that. And thats the only non rugged manufacturer that does shock mount it's hard drive.

    But there are cases, you can get for the fujitsu, that fully encases the thing and in a way that you can still use it and ruggedizes it to full military standard. Plus Fujitsu backs that up under warranty. Inside this case, you can drop it, kick it, throw it in a pool, bury it in the snow, let it stay in the truck in 120 degree heat.

    If you can't go beyond high speed wireless, and a spend the money on fully rugged, or do what I did which was to ruggedize a fujitsu, then you might not be ready for this ass kickin ****.

    Sorry boss. I do swear a lot but. That thing at the end was to show my passion and enthusiasm for this stuff. Please forgive me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    11,967
    OK guys..

    if you want one here it is.. they don't get any cheaper and this one is just like mine...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ory=80215&rd=1

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NH & Cebu
    Posts
    1,611
    Well, I decided against the tablet. Maybe I'm shortsighted. Getting something semi-rugged was more of a priority for me. If they had a semi-rugged tablet that was reasonably priced, I would have bought one. Just not enough selection of tablets for me at this time. And I also still have my Ipaq.

    So, I now have one of these:

    http://usa.twinhead.com/

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