One for the office, and two for the road

Madcad.com v3.0, www.madcad.com, is a web-based subscription service that provides online access, in HTML format, to building codes and standards from all major content providers. The online resource enables subscribers to search, in less than one second, across all or selected codes and standards from more than 7,000 books, including ASHRAE, ASTM, ICC and NFPA. All the documents are converted to

Madcad.com v3.0, www.madcad.com, is a web-based subscription service that provides online access, in HTML format, to building codes and standards from all major content providers. The online resource enables subscribers to search, in less than one second, across all or selected codes and standards from more than 7,000 books, including ASHRAE, ASTM, ICC and NFPA. All the documents are converted to the same format for seamless research.

Users can search from any web browser, even from an iPhone. The first click pulls up all the applicable codes and standards. The user can then click any selected code sections the search brought up to read full-book content. Relevant chapters, sections and figures are cross-referenced and linked. Users can also copy and paste excerpts and tables into reports.

Keyword searching within any document is easy, with searched keywords highlighted throughout. The location indicator shows exactly where the user is within the code. Users can easily navigate between sections or revert to the table of contents.

The solution features the ability to organize books for expediency, such as all the applicable books for a current project. MADCAD.com v3.0 also incorporates a database with adopted model codes by states and state amendments, including those from California, Florida, Michigan and New York, and a database of more than 10,000 product manufacturers' Web site links organized by CSI's master format.

Users can subscribe to MADCAD.com's entire database of code books, or pick and choose the ones they need. Pricing is based on the number of concurrent users or locations within an organization.

To automate access within a company or organization, MADCAD.com also offers IP authenticated access and secure intranet script access.

Handheld computer

Trimble Tablet, www.trimble.com, is a connected handheld computer built to withstand the rigors of construction site use. The tablet, which runs the Microsoft Windows Vista Business operating system and sports laptop computing capabilities, carries an IP67 (Ingress Protection) environmental rating, reflecting the unit's level of Ingress Protection. The rating indicates that the tablet is totally dust-tight and is protected against the effects of immersion in water up to one meter under defined conditions of pressure and time.

The tablet features a large, daylight readable graphics screen and runs on an ultra-long-life lithium ion battery that can handle a full day of field computing, according to the developer.

The computer uses solid state disk drive technology, enabling it to withstand shock and vibration, even on rough terrain. It has built-in cellular and WiFi connectivity for easy communication between field and office. The unit's design eliminates the need for a cooling fan and features fully sealed USB and serial communication ports. The housing, which is ruggedized and washable, has rounded rubberized bumpers for added protection and easy holding. Docking stations in the office and in vehicles can accommodate keyboards, mice, large display monitors and other peripherals.

The tablet supports instant data access to and from the field via the Trimble Connected Community, a Web-based set of networking tools that can be useful as a secure centralized data management system. The Trimble Connected Community allows contractors from a broad range of industries to build information portals, share information and collaborate between head office management, site office teams, field crews, subcontractors, suppliers, engineers and clients on a project.

Trimble Tablet can be equipped with Trimble Construction Manager software for tracking, management and monitoring of vehicles and other valued assets to help optimize maintenance schedules.

Load calculation software

Running on a Pocket PC or a compatible Smart Phone device, the Comfort Optimizer Load Calculation software by Opportunity Interactive Inc., www.opactive.com, enables users to quickly perform a room-by-room or whole house load calculation for residential retrofits or new construction right at the jobsite. The program uses simple point and click selections made with a stylus right on the touch screen to do the load calculations, which can help ensure proper equipment selection and correct equipment sizing and may be required for some utility rebates. The results are accepted by most utilities. According to the developer, the software will complete the calculations for a 10-room home in less than 20 minutes.

Once the load is complete, if the sales person has a wireless printer with him or her, the detailed load calculation summary pages can be printed on the spot, right in the customer's home. Alternately, it is possible to transfer the load to the office computer for printing and archiving.

The software is available pre-installed on a Pocket PC or as software only. The developer also offers an optional electronic tape measure to use with the software.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at productpad@yahoo.com.

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TAGS: Technology