Drivers Daily Log Program (DDL) - ddlsoftware.com - Trucker's Duty Status Log Software and more. Includes New USA 2005 & Canada 2007 Rules. to see a list of all supported rules go to Rules Supported

                       

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Looking for a Laptop (Desktop for the truck)?

The program requires a desktop or portable computer running Windows 95, Windows 98,  Windows ME,  Windows XP, Windows NT or Windows 2000, Vista 32 & 64 bit, Windows 7 32 and 64 bit.  or later versions of each. An 800 x 600 or higher resolution display is highly recommended, thought a 640 x 480 display will work fine. A color display will also help. The program is about 1.18 mb bytes large and produces log data files that consumes about 65K bytes per month per driver. A computer with a hard disk is recommended, but the program will install onto a 1.44 Megabyte diskette. Just barely.  Get a laptop with a hard drive.

Printers - A common requirement for the OTR driver, who is away from home for days and weeks, is a printer to print logs for DOT inspectors. I prefer inexpensive laser printers instead of portable inkjet printers.  The inkjet ink is too expensive, and for the price of $350 for a portable inkjet, you can buy an inexpensive HP or Brother or similar laser - only prints black and white.  Requires 120v AC so you may need an 12vDC to 120vAC inverter - modern trucks usually already have one for microwaves, refrigerators, TVs, etc. Lasers are bigger but more reliable and cheaper to run - toners and drums will yield 1000's of copies before replacement.  Unless you need color printing, consider a laser printer.

Laptop problems - The laptop displays will 'wash out' when used in sunlight or even in shadows outdoors when the sun is out.  You need to 'hide in the truck or indoors' when using laptops. Even brightest (TFT technology) displays have this problem.   The other problem is reliability of laptops in bouncing trucks.  I am on my third hard drive since 1998.  Fortunately the price of replacements has dropped from $400 to less then $100 for 4 to 10 Gig laptop hard drives.  Other drivers report no problems.  Your 'mileage' will vary, and I don't think a particular 'brand' is any better than any other when reliability is concerned.  Do PLEASE backup vital files like DDL log files to diskette often - I do it every day.  I am paranoid, and I speak from experience.  As the computer 'Geeks' say: 'It is not a question of if a hard disk will fail, but only when a hard disk will fail.'

So, what should you look for?
1. The bare minimum.  A refurbished laptop  - Intel CPU 486 25Mhz or better - running Windows 95 with a hard disk drive - 100 Meg (not Gigs) and a diskette drive is the minimum.  These can be purchased for $100 to $200.  Try before you buy, by installing DDL and another software you wish to run. It will be kind of slow, but adequate for the budget.  Screen display about 10 to 12 inches on the diagonal. DOT inspectors at scale houses have been very receptive to logs displayed on laptop screens, as long as the 'vitals' - grid, remarks, recap, etc. - are displayed in 'classic' format.

2. The internet capable.  Look for a built in modem (56K bits/sec is normal now) or PCMCIA modem card.  Also look for a CDROM (CD reader) so you can install larger applications - word processing, spread sheets, business financials.   CPU's Intel or AMD 100Mhz or better is expected.  1 Gig to 3 Gig hard drives are normal and the price $200 to $400.

3. The cost is no object.  The 'dream machine' is the Dell Inspiration 8500 fully rigged with 1.7 Ghz Pentium 4-M, built in CDRW, etc. etc. etc. etc.  Will run about $2300 to $3300 (2002 prices).  This is considered the 'Cadillac' of laptops.  Toshiba models are also being considered.  Oh.. I like the 'eraser head' mouse mover instead of the 'touch pad', since I am a 'touch typist'.  I don't like moving my hands to the touch pad.  The eraser head is in the middle of the keyboard - IBM, HP, Dell, Toshiba models have this.  My Winbook has it, but newer models do not have eraser heads so Winbook is not being considered.

4. Logical new laptop. Prices for quite capable laptops have fallen below $1000.  2.0 Gig Intel Celeron processors are offered and are quite satisfactory for all applications (especially DDL) except for the most demanding graphics or gaming applications. Then the Intel Pentium 4 might be considered, but the prices then jump to $1500 or more.  Expect a CDRW drive but a 3.5 Inch diskette drive is probably not going to be included.

17 Jun 2002 - update to my laptop situation:
My Winbook XL 233 died a few weeks ago.  I replaced it a few days ago with a KDS 671DP  laptop - very nice (see 05 Jul 2002 update below) - PIII 1Ghz (not M probably why the price is so good), 256Meg ram, 20gig hard drive, 8x DVD, modem and LAN, 14.1 TFT display, and Win XP Pro - and the MicroCenter www.microcenter.com   was 'blowing them out' for $899 = $975 ($20 shipping) delivered including PA sales tax.  Not quite the latest and greatest but the price was hard to beat for a very nice machine. A friend has an older version of KDS laptop, and it has worked well for him. KDS is better known for their display monitors - I have 3 of them. Getting used to the 'touch pad' whereas I would have preferred an 'eraser head' mouse mover.  But with proper Synaptic driver software, the touch pad is fine.  Had to download, from the Synaptic site, proper drivers for touch pad.
05 Jul 2002 - update to update.
KDS has announced that they are getting out of the notebook business.  Thus KDS might not be such a good buy after all unless price is everything.  Mine still works great, and has a one year warranty.  Hopefully I don't have to 'invoke' it before the year runs out.  Hopefully it will last as long as the Winbook did (3+ years).
01 Oct 2002 - The new KDS laptop had problems with frequent 'blue screens of death' and had boot up problems.  Calling KDS was not quite the help I had expected.   'Run the 'Restore to Factory Settings' CD and call us in the morning.'  I presumed, based on past experience with my old Winbook laptop,  that the problem was a intermittent cable or something attached to the hard drive.  Finally figured out how to 'get into laptop'  to the hard drive. Pop the display hinge covers off, remove the panel just in front of the display, remove 2 screws and lift the keyboard up and out, and viola - the hard drive is there on the left side.  Tightened some screws which 'holds' the drive's electrical connectors to the 'motherboard' (no 'father board' in this computer), and the problems have vanished.  Windows XP is finally going to get Microsoft some respect in the computer world. It runs fine, lasts a long time, and has some nice features.

Desktop computers in trucks.
Some - OO's with roomy sleepers - prefer to purchase a desktop computer.  The equivalent of the 'dream machine' above will cost less then $1200 for all the same features and performance.  Just needs more space - a desk or cabinet to install into. The recent lowering of prices of  thin displays - same as laptops - have made the desktop even more attractive.   A particular 'brand' is not terribly important, but name brands like Dell, Gateway, HP will work fine.  I specifically don't mention Compaq because my prejudice against them goes back to their very first computer - a real 'piece of shit'.   They have the reputation for high cost and proprietary hardware (only Compaq stuff can be added for Updates).  Though many truck drivers like the laptops that Compaq sells.

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What's New

DDL Customer Support Web Site Main Page
New DDL User -- Click here
Need Help Updating your DDL? Click Here.
CSA * 2010 pdf file (Download) Aug 2010 Updated
CSA2010 PSP Drivers Report Card
Canada new  2007 Hours of Service Rules Information

Canada new DDVIR Schedule Information

Sample Reports
DDL On-Line Help System
DOT & FMCSA Information
Commercial DDL
DDL Logs Audit Features
Truck Companies that accept DDL Logs
Installing Ascertia Root Certificate
GPS add on Information
Intra-States Rules (Information)

Other Information

About the Author
Canada Notes
Days Out Information
List of Email Servers that will block DDL email.

Instructions on how to add our email to avoid being blocked by YOUR email provider.

DDL in Hand Held Devices
DDL Data Files and Data Records Specifications
FAQ:
Future DDL Features
Introduction
Links to other Web Sites for Truckers
Looking for a Laptop for DDL
Drivers using DDL Software with GpsGate

Click on Map to see other DDL users locations. (click here to see how to join)

National Traffic and Road Closure Information 
Road Conditions Information
Users Wish List
Truck Load

DDL is a trademark of DDL Software. All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to  "Fritz" at  frbjorklund@driversdailylog.com
or "Bruce" at bruce@driversdailylog.com

Use of the Drivers Daily Log Software and this Web site constitutes acceptance of our License Policy, License Requirements, and Privacy Policy.

Copyright 1998-2013 Drivers Daily Log - Fritz Roland Bjorklund & Bruce A. Luebke.  All rights reserved.
Last modified: Wednesday August 27, 2014.