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Last Post 02/14/2010 2:12 PM by  Ray Hall
Computers and software
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iCAT
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06/06/2009 1:39 AM
    Do you just get so frustrated with your windows computer loosing the printer drivers or failed to function right in the middle of a storm. How about the good ole hard drive crashing and then you have to find someone capable enough to pull the data off so you can try to get back to work.

    I have stumbled on the answer, well at least it has worked for me. I am a accomplished flood adjuster and I have encountered most if not all the pitfalls that comes with running a windows computer. The answer is Machintosh; yes I said Machintosh. I did alot of research before changing over and becoming an apple head or a Macky. I picked up a new Macbook Pro; loaded VM Ware on it. This created a vitual machine or a computer within a computer. This allows you to load windows ( I use XP). There are other options; 1) a mac has software so you can load windows on the system anyway but this option requires a reboot to enter either operating system. 2) Parallels which works the same as VM Ware; either software allows you to run both Operating Systems at the same time. If you go on the web with the Mac software, you will not need to use anti-virus software, thats right bye-bye norton.

    I have pushed this system to the limit without any glitches what so ever. The computer costs a little more but it will last me 6 to 8 years . It's more dependable, or as good as it gets. You can run Simsol, Xactimate or any other software on it you use now. Try it out or not, I just think I have come across the best system that is available. You can call me an applehead if you want but I promise, I sleep better at night these days. 

    Thats why I say; " Why ask someone what type of computer they use; If they own a Mac they will tell you;  If not then why embarrass them.
    We get it right the first time
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    ChuckDeaton
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    06/06/2009 8:31 AM
    My understanding is that the new Power Mac's are the fastest, 8 core machines? Also, isn't there a new Hackintosh machine?
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    iCAT
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    06/06/2009 6:16 PM
    I wouldn't want to take a full sized machine on the road, too bulky. I have an iMac also but i would even take it. The mac book pro is blazin fast, it runs xp fast than a windows machine.
    We get it right the first time
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    ChuckDeaton
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    06/06/2009 7:41 PM
    My business model is different from yours, I live and travel in a motor home and stay on site after most are gone. I am in Louisiana working Katrina claims, moving to Gustav and Ike soon, my computer is a PC and is permanently mounted in the motor home. I run two graphics cards and 4 screens.

    When we built the unit I am using, I let a friend talk me out of going to an 8 core Power Mac. The new ones had just hit the market, more expensive, yada, yada, yada .....

    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    iCAT
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    06/06/2009 11:53 PM
    Ahh, I gotcha. In that case I understand. There is one thing for sure If you ever go Mac you'll never go back. have a good night
    We get it right the first time
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    Tom Toll
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    06/07/2009 1:36 PM
    I came very close to buying a Mac Pro before I bought this HP 9000. Now I wish I had.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    ChuckDeaton
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    06/08/2009 5:48 PM
    Apple announced some new machines today, particularly an upgraded small screen notebook for around $1,500. Apple here I come. Oh!!!!!!!!!!!!! their stock is a good buy.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    Sollberger
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    08/30/2009 4:01 PM

    Hello iCAT,

    I'm new to the field BUT a long time Mac user.  If you don't mind; I have a few questions regarding Xactimate on a Mac.

    First:

    I am running a 09 -17"Pro, 4 G of RAM.  I installed VM-Fussion/ Windows (Vista-Home edition). I configured the memory usage 50% for each opperating software.  Xactimate-25 (demo) opperates great.  Actually took a class  on line running the emulated setup with no trouble.  However, at the end of the training I wanted to back up the class files to a folder but I am unable to fine the job files in any directory.  I am backing up the entire system but would like to copy the job file folder to a secondary HD for safey keeping.  Are the files hiddenor encrypted in the Demo Mode?  I clicked show hidden files in Windows but no sucess in finding them?

    Second:

    I hear that VM Fusion has issues with the Simsol "temp?" files (are you experiencing this)?  I plan to down load this software in a week or so to become familiar with the program.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can offer...

    Rusty

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    Jud G.
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    08/30/2009 9:55 PM

    I didn't have problems with the Simsol software when I was running claims with it, but I did have problems with VM-ware when I used IntegriClaim.  IntegriClaim's registration would get reset everytime I needed to restart windows (1-2 days). 

    The solution to that problem is to get Parallels or only use Xactimate.  Parallels offered me a generous rebate to switch when I provided them my VMware receipt.  Don't know if that's still in effect or not.

    On a side note, I'm almost two (2) years into Xactimate after having used Integra for eight (8) years and Simsol for one (1).  Just can't seem to figure out why these other software companies are still used when you have a rolls royce like Xact.

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    Jud G.
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    08/30/2009 10:11 PM

    As for backing up your files, this is not a 'mac' issue, but an Xactimate tech support issue.

    I would contact their tech support if you do not want to use the 'Data Transfer' feature.  If you have just a few files you want to save and/or backup, then just do this through the Data Transfer.  If you want to locate the encrypted files, then they can tricky to locate and the process is pretty involved.  Like I said, this is a tech support issue, so if you tell them you have a mac, it will be too much information and they may get unnecessarily confused.

    Data Transfer: Go to the Control Center, right click on the file(s) you want to transfer and select "Data Transfer" (or click on Services on the top tool bar or Options on the right side).  Make sure the file name is not too long or you won't be able to retrieve it. 

    If you want to transfer or save "Macros", then you need to open up a claim (any claim).  Then go to the toolbar, select "Tools", then "Retrieve Macro".  A window will open up and show you a list of your macros.  Select/highlight the macros you want to save to your disc.  Then select "Options", then "Data Transfer".

    Xactimate tech support via chat is very good (free with paid subscription):  http://www.xactware.com/support/ese..._main.html

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    johnpostava
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    08/31/2009 10:24 AM

    J,

    I am glad to see you compared X to a Rolls Royce,.  Both are overpriced and both are two heavy to get anywhere fast.  All of the other software packages (MSB, Powerclaim, Vedder and ours) are more nimbile and don't stick it to adjusters wallets everytime they have a tech support question that is probably X's fault to begin with.... That's just my opinion.  After "2 years into X" you are probably still learning the tool (there are plenty of schools trying to teach adjusters how to use it - why is that?).  Simsol takes about a day....maybe two or three if you want to learn the power features....but, again, that's just my opinion.  Thanks for listening.

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    Tom Toll
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    08/31/2009 10:52 AM

    Jud, surely you jest. Xacitmate a Rolls Royce, come on. Contractors love this program, for if they are good with it, they can hide all kinds of unncessary numbers to increase their profit. Xacitmate estimates are too complicated to read. If I were a claims examiner I would much prefer to read Simsol, Integra, or Power Claim over Xactimate any day.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    Ray Hall
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    08/31/2009 12:34 PM

    Jud, have you been feeling dizzy or light headed? I think file reviewer should be paid $10.00 more per file to examine these filles and the adjuster should be paid $10.00 more for using the program. Thats $20.00 per file times several million per year, now the policyholder should have to pay $5.00 more in premium each year in increased cost of doing business with the company requires this complicated program that can be written by hand on a simple roof claim in 10 min. Some body has to pay, it must be the public.

    Are you poor slobs that have to pay for xmate going to demand $10.00 per file  this year. And you poor new people, It will cost you $1500.00 to lease a program and more than $1,000.00 of xmate school to get up to speed and you get 100 files in a year. Wow I know where you can make a better deal...give me a call Traders Training System 713-417-7697

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    ddreisbach
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    08/31/2009 1:50 PM
    Posted By Tom Toll on 31 Aug 2009 10:52 AM

    If I were a claims examiner I would much prefer to read Simsol, Integra, or Power Claim over Xactimate any day.

    Ditto that!  I worked a bunch of Ike supplements and the Xactimate files were the most difficult to make sense of. 

    MSB, Simsol and Powerclaim were all better.

     

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    johnpostava
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    08/31/2009 3:38 PM
    Hey guys,
    Thanks for the back-up. X is definitly the 500 pound gorialla in our world. They may be the biggest but far from the best - IMHO. Watch for our new banner ads on CADO and alot of other adjuster web sites.

    I just saw the DAVE HOOD Obit. I will miss his input on our industry. Where do I send some $$$ to remeber him?
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    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
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    08/31/2009 3:44 PM
    I also want to say that I jumped on an adjuster that felt very strongly about X and didn't care for SIMSOL very much. I got up in a funky mood (My 81 year old dad is in the hospital with lung problems) and didn't respoind very professionally. I apoligize to the adjuster who posted the anti-everyting-else but-X comment and totally respect his opinions. Thanks for listening.
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    ChuckDeaton
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    08/31/2009 6:42 PM
    I said this before and on another thread, Xactimate is the 500 hundred pound gorilla and I use it.

    However, my hat is off to John Postava. The Simsol program is the best, bar none for making money. John's business plan includes the working adjuster.

    If the proof is in the puddin' then Katrina was the puddin'. Again, my hat is off to John Postava.

    I am good for dinner and drinks anytime we meet, John. And the best cigar.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    BobH
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    08/31/2009 9:51 PM
    Posted By ddreisbach on 31 Aug 2009 01:50 PM 
    ..I worked a bunch of Ike supplements and the Xactimate files were the most difficult to make sense of. 
     

    It's like picking up a violin, some can make music, some make noise.  And I am certain that good music can be made with Simsol, Power Claim, etc.

    If you list out your scope of repairs, that scope can go to an Excel spreadsheet, or any estimating pgm in that orderly fashion. Scope it from top to bottom, or flood from the bottom up, or maybe the sequence of repairs in the order they would be performed (but have a common sequence throughout the rooms).  I can write a very clean, logical estimate with any software.  The last time I tried Simsol was mid-90's but I have no doubt that a loss written with it and Xm8 would follow the sequence and clean statement of damages that I see.  A kid off the street will make noise with both of them.

    There are a lot of people who make noise with Xactimate, and maybe to some extent it is the software's fault for having so many "features" that it is hard for new people to learn.  I've been using it for 16 years now, and that is because the carrier's I work for use it.  I still disagree that it is a "contractor" program, I have seen too many carriers using it from way back.  It has been set up with depreciation & policy limit features from the begining. 

    Today I met a contractor for a commercial loss, and I was the 3rd adjuster reconciling issues that happened back in January.  We were both using Xm8 and to some extent it made my job easier - we just had to resolve scope issues.  the first adjuster said the ceilings were 8' default, they were much taller.  Rooms were missed.  It's always the scope, the software is just the railroad tracks that the message travels on.

    As an aside, it is the "fire-water-insurance-job" contractors I find that use Xm8.  Or the very large roofing companies that eat up insurance money.  Rarely do I ever find "remodel" contractors, or those that rely on yellow-page adds to get customers so they can install carpet, doors, windows, exterior painting, electrical, etc. using Xm8.  It's pretty much the "disaster" type contractors, and frankly it makes my job easier if they use the same software that USAA, Nationwide-Allied, Farmers Insurance, State Farm, Century National, etc. use.

    Bob H
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    okclarryd
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    08/31/2009 9:56 PM
    It's kinda neat being on the same page with someone that you HAVE to come to an agreement with
    Larry D Hardin
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    Jud G.
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    08/31/2009 10:09 PM

    LOL, you guys sure lit up my tree! Thanks for keeping it professional. No worries John, I appreciate your interest in the forums as your presence makes CADO a significant attraction.  My prayers go out to your father and I hope he recovers quickly.

    It would be nice to see an Xactimate owner or exec take a humble stoop into our world and offer a few posts- I know it won't happen- more power to you.

    Your software has much going for it in the way that it makes continuous changes with its database, but conversely very little with its remarkably simple function. That is a significant plus that will make me smile when I need to return to its use in the future.

    Xactimate has an 80% market share for good reason. With all due respect for your opinions, I'm glad that I finally submitted to the industry's gradual drift to Xactimate, swallowed my MSB pride, and learned how to become proficient with it. You are correct, the learning curve is steep, but it was (EDIT: yikes, 'IS') well worth it. Without getting into the details, I can now write my estimates and reports faster than I ever could with MSB or Simsol.

    As for the monthly fee.. Let's just say that with the amount of claims and options I now have available, I feel like I'm donating to a noble cause when I pay my yearly subscription.

    My claims are much easier to settle because they have a gorilla of a database to use, details are much easier to present, and my-o-my, sketch is such a precious jewel! After finally learning the keystrokes, I can present a beautiful structure that includes the windows, doors, offsets, etc. very quickly. Once my diagram is done, I unleash my macros, tweak 'em, and voila!

    Oh, and photos- so quick to upload, label and describe. Two formats to choose from.

    I realize that there's much more to adjusting a claim than learning how to use a software. Yet, learning how to use Xactimate is much more than a tool and is one of many ways you can demonstrate your attitude towards continuing education and response to market shifts. Demonstrating your proficiency with this program shows that you don't hesitate to go with the flow when the Insurance industry decides to move. You can't say the same for Simsol and MSB as other posters above this one have echoed their ease of use. If for some reason the market shifts towards the smaller vendors, then I'll just open my subscription and get going with out missing a beat.

    As for supplements and getting claims closed, either pull out your Xactimate software or get ready to go to Appraisal. The one who understands the language of Xactimate will be much more adept at getting those contested files closed. Since most contractor's use Xact, you will be in a much better postition to make your 'apple to apple' comparisons as you begin to negotiate your claims. Furthermore, you are much more aware of where the fluff is in their estimates so it's easier to know when to take out the ole' proverbial adjusting axe.

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