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Laptop of PDA on the field?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by wxmn6, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Generally, do you use laptop or PDA when you are out on the field? I would like to have some kind of portable PC, either laptop or PDA, to keep tracks of jobs, mileage, stuff, etc. Originally thought about getting another laptop and mount it in my truck, but am leaning toward PDA. Also I would like wireless internet connection.

    What do you as solo prefer to use? And why do you like it? Thanks. :)
  2. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496

    I want a laptop in my truck too so I can do billing while driving to the next driveway now thats being efficient only if I can pay attention to the road I will be all set
  3. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I use a PDA to keep track of things while on the road. I do have a laptop, but it's still too big to be using while driving around.
  4. ksland

    ksland Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 420

  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I use both the laptop and a Pocket PC (IPAQ) in the truck.The laptop gets the most use,when estimating\quoting,site inspections,removal etc, to keep track of things.When plowing I take the laptop out,because I've hit one to many things and it ended up on top of the dash.When plowing I just use the Pocket PC to keep notes and such.Has a one button voice recorder for notes too.
  6. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    We use both a PDA & laptop...use "velcro" to secure the heavier LT to the nice fold down work space in my Dodge :p also makes it easy to move if needed. Make spread sheets to track locations / times / milage etc. then you can upload the data into your billing software.

  7. dillyolboy

    dillyolboy Member
    Messages: 97

    I would go with the laptop since it is much more versatile. I mean you can watch DVDs and they hold a lot of music :D They are more bulky to carry around but if you will spend a considerable amount of time punching stuff in etc. I think it would be nicer. You can also do actual work while you are waiting instead of always having to transfer it back to your regular computer. My uncle has a printer under his seat and when he goes out fertilizing he just prints out the little sheet you stick in the customers door and quotes etc. right there. Saves tons of time.
  8. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Dillyoboy what make is that laptop?
    I have been bouncing back and forth on which model

    I hear now Dell is the way to go and to steer way from comp and HP's

    Im looking to not only documentate and print but also to play a CD to customers which as a work portfolio slideshow that was made

    Ive wanted one for well over a year now

    I will be open to all recommendations
  9. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'd go with a Dell.They have a Complete Care warranty that covers accidental stuff for up to 3 years.If the laptop gets dropped,wet,run over,etc,they will replace it.Only mfg that I know of that has it,without buying extra insurance or coverage.It's not much more than the basic warranty either.Good thing to have if it's going to get used in the truck.

    They also make pretty good machines,we have two Dell laptops,no major problems.
  10. dillyolboy

    dillyolboy Member
    Messages: 97

    Comet - I think almost any laptop sold today will be able to do what you are looking for. I would look at zdnet.com or cnet.com they usually have a zillion reviews and should offer a good comparison of each model and its capabilities.
    My uncle has a Dell Latitude which takes all kinds of abuse. I have an HP w/10 gig hard drive and 900 mhz duron. I don't know what the model is but it is a POS. Just about every time I start it it tells me that windows has recovered from a serious error. I downloaded all the new drivers and crap from microsoft and Hp but then some programs didn't work so I had to use system recovery to get it back. Also if it runs for more than an hour or so sometimes it crashes to a blue screen and won't work right for a day or two. Keep in mind this is windows XP which is supposed to never crash. I have heard nothing but praise for Dells and another uncle I have buys laptops for an accounting firm and he swears by them.
  11. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Are yours the lattitude or Inspiron model?

    Ones supose to be slimmer then the other, not sure if that matters,

    Thanks dilly for the info of the lattitude

    I have been on www.dell.usa.com looking at refurbished ones with the warranties still in effect, eek!!

    I may just go to an outlet not sure but Id love to get one asap
  12. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    The newer one is an Inspiron 8200,the older one is either an Inspiron 8000 or 8100,can't remember which.

    The newer 8200 has the latest and greatest everything.P4 2.0,1024 MB Ram,60 gig HD,DVD,24X CDRW,10/100 NIC,56K,Firewire,with a 15.4" Ultrasharp screen.Very nice unit.Running XP Pro.

    The older Inspiron is a P3 1000,512 MB Ram,40 gig HD,DVD,8X CDRW,10/100 NIC,56K,Firewire,and 15.1" UXGA screen.Came with W2K,now running XP Pro.Was the best when I bought it a few years ago.Still pretty fast by laptop standards.Only problem I had was a CDRW that was picky on what type of media you used,so they replaced it next day,and it's fine now.

    The Inspirons are faster,and slightly cheaper,more geared towards the single power user.The Latitude is geared towards larger corporations with multiple laptops.

    Some of the lower end Inspirons are much thinner and lighter.Get the fastest processor and biggest hard drive,etc that you can afford now,and go small on the memory.You can then upgrade the memory to the max later as it's much cheaper to buy the memory chips and install yourself.

    I wouldn't recommend an HP or Compaq (same company now),we see them all the time in for repair. (i have a small computer shop too).

    Don't be afraid of XP.If you have a fast enough machine to run it it is stable,secure,and fast.Rarely crashes.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2003
  13. bam

    bam Senior Member
    from .
    Messages: 201

    i have a dell inspiron 8100. I use it at home, at work in the office, and in the field. I have a dc cable for it and spent the big bucks for the hp mobile 450 printer. with the standard black and color cartridges the printer is quick and prints well. I think i bought the comp. right after xp came out, so it does have its minor crashes and freeze ups but that's not dell's fault. other than that some of the little screws fell out of the case from all the moving around. one of these days i'll fix it.

    the comp. had a major crash and wouldn't load anything once. I called dell and twenty minutes later the computer was working like new. never had problem since.

    all in all the dell 8100 and hp 450 printer work well for me for landscape contracting.
  14. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    all in all the dell 8100 and hp 450 printer work well for me for landscape contracting.

    Thanks, this is what I needed to hear.
    I see the 8100-8200 listing for new $1750 eekk after $400 rebate

    Ill check ebay out
  15. myo

    myo Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    "Don't be afraid of XP.If you have a fast enough machine to run it it is stable,secure,and fast.Rarely crashes."

    Yes, I agree with that. I had Windows ME on my labtop, and now I switched to XP and have no problems like ME did
  16. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If your going to be using it in the truck,get a small cheap power inverter,instead of the DC power adapter.The DC power adapters are very expensive,and can only be used for that one machine.A small inverter is dirt cheap and can run anything you want that requires AC (within the limits of the inverter).They have ones now that are the size of a cig lighter plug.
  17. Pickering snow removal

    Pickering snow removal Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    wireless connection

    Hey i was reading this post and thought i would jump in i just equiped my service truck with a gateway 400s i like it, i think dell would of been a better choice however we have a gateway store near and iam the type of guy that likes to touch and feel my stuff lol. Wireless internet i bought a connect kit from verison and upgraded to a new phone it works real well i did not go with the high speed acess which was about 10.00 more a month , however the only draw back is i connect at 14.4 oh baby thats slow but for know it allows me to look at my internet based automotive repair info that i need in the field, My thoughts are to set it up in my plow truck this fall to monitor weather while out , like Chris said for plowing i should make sure i have a good mounting system has iam sure mine would end up on the dash has well.
  18. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    i am the type of guy that likes to touch and feel my stuff
    Pickering IM the same way, I have been on ebay and dell sites all week and just cant commit myself without seeing.

    I was high bidder at one point and cancelled my bid.

    Also need another invoice to be paid so I can draw a salary out of first, been so many repairs, might have to put this on the back burner for a spell.:mad:
    I have all this info saved,
    I will be hitting some of the store outlets
  19. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If your going to get a laptop for the truck,get one with a good and bright screen.At night it's not a problem,but on sunny days it can be difficult to see.

    Tinted windows will help,and I have a temporary shield made from a paper file folder and and some thin stiff wire to keep the sun off the screen.
  20. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    KSLAND any pics of your whole dump?