1. #1

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    Default Computers on vehicles

    Our department has decided on purchasing computers to be placed in all the vehicles. We are looking on software that will provide detailed mapping as well as dispatch information for us. We also want to have software that will be able to display pre-plan information for us while enroute. If there is a way for this to be an all inclusive package it would be better. Please post any suggestions.

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    All I can say is-stay away from anything made by Vision Aire. 2 yrs and it still doesn't work right.

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    Not exactly sure on the MDT systems we have. We just had the computers installed last year and the software was supposed to have all the bells and whistles with it, preplan, hydrant layout, mapping, dispatch notes and so on. The notes and mapping system work fine, but we found out the more stuff in there the longer it takes for things to come up.

    We also have status buttons that show when you go enroute, on scene, enroute to other (hospital). The problem is that it takes awhile for the info to get into the system, when we get back to the station and write a report, a lot of the time is wrong. Makes our response time look bad. Also for the officers there is a lot of logging off and logging back on because of computer issues in dispatch.

    Just some things to keep in mind to ask before buying. I'm sure the sales rep said sure to ours doing everything without having problems.

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    Unfortunately mbohling, I have nothing much to add regariding what to buy and such. I do have a few minor critques though. As jccrabby3084, the more stuff you put on the slower it is - that is what I have seen so far with Fairfax County's MCTs.

    My main critique is that the system seems to "go down" a lot. Sometimes for regular maintenance - not sure what that entails - but more often because of a general failure. Or at least that is what I get from reading the pages when they come out. Overall the system seems to work well, but when it fails... well just like anything, I guess.

    It does save on the radio traffic, so there is less confusion that way at least.

    Good luck in your search, I hope you find something compatible to your needs and requirements.
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    If you don't mind me asking what type of laptops did you get and how much were they? Our department is looking to get some but for 'hardened" ones they are 3k a piece, which is awfully high compaired to my $700.00 Dell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    If you don't mind me asking what type of laptops did you get and how much were they? Our department is looking to get some but for 'hardened" ones they are 3k a piece, which is awfully high compaired to my $700.00 Dell.
    You pay for what you get! Cheap is not awalys the best nor it the higher price ones.

    We put Motorola's in several years ago. Can't think of the model and what is on them but they are loaded. A lot of features. I'll see if I can find out something.
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    We just recently got a couple Panasonic ToughBooks.

    You can get them new for like 2k.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    If you don't mind me asking what type of laptops did you get and how much were they? Our department is looking to get some but for 'hardened" ones they are 3k a piece, which is awfully high compaired to my $700.00 Dell.

    Brian, I am an IT Analyst and trust me when I say do not go cheap. Laptops have become one of those items that you get what you pay for. The only ones you pay extra just to have a name brand is Sony. I purchase all IT related equipment for my organization. We do by Dell but we buy the Dell Latitude models. They have been very rugged for us. some may say that these are for office personnel but believe me when I say no one cares in the least how they take care of them. I have seen them be rougher than fire fighters believe it or not. The only problem is the good Latitude models are 2 g's and higher, and the warranty probably would be void for the use you need. It is best to by the modesl you are looking at. There are several out there that are water resistant as well.

    Be sure the apps you have them installed on have a Kussmaul System or something similar. because even when powerd off they are pulling juice. Nothing worse than responding to a call to find out your battery is drained.

    If I may ask, what are you looking to spend on the software? I understand if you do not want to say. I have looked at several different packages for my FD. For what you appear to want to do they are not cheap. Of course we are a low funded department so our expnsive may be your cheap.
    Last edited by Cappy05; 03-15-2007 at 01:55 PM.

  9. #9
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    We just got some in. There going to be up and running soon. Ill let ya know something...

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    As dedicated units running a single application I would suggest that you turn off all uneeded services. Remove all unecessary applications (including the games). Have someone get in there and tweak the systems that knows wht they are doing. NIST and a host of other places will tell you best practices and suggest things to remove or turn off. There are a bunch of hacks that you can set up that will also help the perfromance of the machine, as well as improve security.

    That said. The more you try to do with a PC the more it will slow down. You usually only have one CPU and it can only do just so much. Increasing memory may help, it could reduce the amount of time the system is swapping out data to the disk drive.

    As for the software itself. Sit down and come up with your own requirements list. Just hwat is it you want this computer to do? It might be that there are better solutions running under UNIX or LINUX. After all, this is a business machine, why does it have to be Microsoft Windows?

    Myself, I would like to see a GPS systme that tells me where I am and where my incident is. Sometimes it would be nice to know how far from the scene I am, just so I can know when to start dropping my LDH.

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    Just remember...the 2nd slowest part of a computer is the hard drive. The slowest is the end user.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Just remember...the 2nd slowest part of a computer is the hard drive. The slowest is the end user.
    Now that is funny right there, I don't care who you are!!!! LMAO.....

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    Don't go cheap on the hardware. When our medics 1st started paperless ems reports we had nice Toshiba laptops. Even stored in a case they rapidly started having problems.
    The new ems computers are Panasonic toughbooks / tablet pc's as are the rig mounted computers for the fire companies. All very nice and well worth the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADSNWFLD View Post
    Don't go cheap on the hardware. When our medics 1st started paperless ems reports we had nice Toshiba laptops. Even stored in a case they rapidly started having problems.
    The new ems computers are Panasonic toughbooks / tablet pc's as are the rig mounted computers for the fire companies. All very nice and well worth the money.
    Good point, get ruggedized units that are designed to be used in adverse conditions. Your standard laptops under $1,000 are meant to be used in the office, not the field.

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    Iranfromthezoo

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    we use macs.... very fast computers and very simple to use. We have our own homebrew mapping done and stuff. (I do graphic design so I do a lot visual stuff)

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    Not exactly my area of expertise, but--

    "CAD- Ten dual-screen PC's access Queues Enforth Development's (Q.E.D.'s) Joint CAD software running on an IBM RS/6000 host at the ECC. The CAD has interfaces to E911, Mobile Computing, Digitize, Zetron, Paging, Fire Station Printing, and other systems. CAD access is available at selected PC's in Police HQ and various Fire locations. Many special changes and additions have been made to the CAD system both by Q.E.D. and the ECC."

    "Mobile Computing, Map Display & Fire-Rescue AVL- An Aether Mobile Systems (formerly Cerulean/PacketCluster) NT PC in the ECC serves both as a CJIS terminal for the CJIS operator position as well as message switch linking laptops in police cars to CJIS and CAD. The Fire Rescue units also have laptops for digital dispatch from CAD."

    The units themselves are Panasonic Toughbook laptops.

    Helpful??

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    Default For Cappy05

    Cost is not an issue for now for the software, we are looking for the best option for our needs. We are looking at the PAnasonic Toughbooks because of the water and dust resistance (and firefighter resistance). If anyone knows of a god software solution I would like to know.

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    I don't know what software is going to be installed on them, but I can find out. It just came up during our monthly department meeting that our department was looking at laptops for our 5 trucks and they were 3k a piece. I though that was high and brought it up. They said they cost so much because they were "hardened."



    Quote Originally Posted by Cappy05 View Post
    Be sure the apps you have them installed on have a Kussmaul System or something similar. because even when powerd off they are pulling juice. Nothing worse than responding to a call to find out your battery is drained.

    If I may ask, what are you looking to spend on the software? I understand if you do not want to say. I have looked at several different packages for my FD. For what you appear to want to do they are not cheap. Of course we are a low funded department so our expnsive may be your cheap.

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    I hink that's what we're looking at but were quoted 3k a piece. How many did your dept get?



    Quote Originally Posted by OlieCan View Post
    We just recently got a couple Panasonic ToughBooks.

    You can get them new for like 2k.

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    I would suggest to contact your dispatch center and get whatever is compatible with their CAD system. Otherwise you may not get dispatch information.

    I can tell you from experience too, stay away from HTE software. Big promises and no follow through. Not user friendly either.
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