On-Live Desktop Helps Plumbing Contractors with iPads
With so many contractors outfitting their service technicians, sales people and estimating
departments with tablet computers these days finding great programs to handle their day to day tasks are an absolute must. I’ve written extensively about Google Apps (http://tiny.cc/muztcw) and its benefits however there are times where I long for full featured programs i.e. Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Google does a great job by giving you Docs, Spreadsheet and Presentation and they convert Microsoft documents pretty well but quite often something gets lost in translation. I’ve uploaded countless Powerpoint and Excel spreadsheet and there is almost always a missing piece, whether it be a font that changes or a picture gets misplaced or a formula for a row is altered somehow.
A True Virtual Desktop in the Cloud
So when I heard about On-Live Desktop, the first thing I thought was that it was a another one of those programs to link you to your desktop computer at home or at work. So I
downloaded the free iPad App and signed up for a free account. Once I was all set up I pressed the On-Live Desktop icon signed in and what came next made me smile. On my iPad screen was a perfect facsimile of a Microsoft Windows Desktop, complete with Word 2010, Excel 2010, Powerpoint 2010, Internet Explorer, Recycle Bin and Adobe Reader icons. I thought, this is cute look they made us think we were on a Windows desktop. I pressed the Windows button in the lower left hand corner and up came Pictures, Programs, Documents etc., well I thought, this is weird, I’ll try to see of Word works. So I uploaded a sample document in Word and bam there it was in all its glory. So
I took it for a spin touch screen style and all of Word’s functions have been optimised for a tablet and work perfectly. The same can be said for Excel and Powerpoint. This is getting exciting right? So how do you upload your own stuff so you can use it on the virtual desktop? Well when you sign up for the free account you automatically receive a free 2G of storage space in the cloud, not a ton of space but enough to get you by. Another thing that is pretty cool is that you can upload a movie or your favorite tunes and play them via Windows Media Player if you so choose.
What is the catch you may think to yourself? Well I see Adobe Reader X and I see Internet Explorer and I get the idea that maybe this desktop is the work around for flash. I try
browsing with Internet Explorer and I get locked out telling me I have to upgrade to Plus for $4.99 per month. What you get is the ability to browse with IE which is flash enabled and you can access your Dropbox or Gmail seriously expanding your available storage. It also gives you priority login, what that means is if the servers are busy you get first dibs on logging in. I will say that while using the free version for a day or so there were a few occasions that I couldn’t log on and since upgrading no issues whatsoever. Are they holding you hostage a bit? Sure; but I have zero issues with the cost because it opens up a whole new world of usability for the iPad. The Android version will be out soon I might add.
This brings us full circle as to how this can help us contractors. Some of you may have read my piece on Cloud Takeoff recently(http://tiny.cc/boztcw). It is a cloud based construction takeoff software with incredible power and potential. We are currently working on a takeoff template that is plumbing specific, in conjunction, Cloud Takeoff is working with a software engineer to build a robust Excel estimate spreadsheet that can figure labor based upon any number of perimeters, build material data bases AND sync perfectly with our Plumbing Takeoff template. With the use of On-Live Desktop you can upload that spreadsheet, login to your Cloud Takeoff account look at any and all uploaded project documents, do a takeoff or compile a takeoff and rip off an estimate wherever you are in the world. That is powerful stuff.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you unlock the potential of cloud based and tablet computing solutions. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.