Collecting Data with a PDA
One of the biggest challenges to an effective production record
system is data collection and the timely availability of the analysis
of that data. User of CowCalf5 and other production record systems
have struggled for years trying to get the data entered in to
the computer in a timely matter so that management decisions could
For most people, if they could get the data input within a few
weeks of collecting it, it was an accomplishment. The problem
is that even a few weeks is too long, when decisions have to be
made the same day in many cases.
Early versions of CowCalf created a Chute Side program that would
run on a notebook computer for field data entry. This was effective
in getting the data input into the computer for timely decisions,
but had its draw backs. Primarily, the problem was that notebooks
are quite expensive, and most ranchers do not want to take an
expensive computer into an environment where it could be damaged
easily. Secondly, the screen on a notebook is nearly impossible
to see in bright sunlight. These issues made using a notebook
unpractical for most operations.
The advent of the PDA (Personal Data Assistant) changed the way
we collect data, making it less expensive, and more flexable than
any notebook could do.
See Palm Pilots and Pocket PC for information on how that works.