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"It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be ..." - Isaac Asimov -Asimov on Science Fiction (1981)
(Editor's Note: This article is an overview of the gear needed to get started with digital auditor admin. Part-II will be a primer on the best apps to use, why, and how to go about establishing the admin, including standard Auditor folder administration and worksheet protocols for everyday use based on the Auditor Admin Series by LRH.)
For decades auditors have used foolscap (legal size 11"x14") paper and ink pens to do auditing sessions. Transcribing the session as it happens in real time from the meter tone arm to meter needle reads and much more. Storing it in a manilla legal size folder with all the PC's programs, folder data, and session C/S'es, per the auditor admin tech. With the advent of faster microprocessors, improved displays for tablet computing, and styluses that have an output response as good or better than any ink pen can provide, auditor admin has made a prodigious leap forward into the digital domain and age entirely.
Cost and Features
Entire PC/Pre-OT folders containing their respective day to day sessions, programs, grade chart, OCA, yellow sheet, and folder summaries can now be entirely produced and stored digitally on the new 2018 Apple iPad Pro (generation 3 - $949-$1499 USD depending on the amount of memory you want on the tablet), in conjunction with a generation two Apple Pencil ($129 USD). Both can purchased at apple.com, your favorite online retailer, big box electronics store, or even Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist on the cheap if you are quick before they disappear just minutes after being posted for sale, generally.
Memory vs Cost
Memory capacity on an iPad, in this application, is no longer much of an issue. Cloud storage and hard drive data storage options are plentiful these days. The lower memory capacity models can save you a fair amount of expense without giving up much of anything in the long run.
Why only Apple iPad Pro?
Other cheaper tablets on platforms other than iOS aren't useable for this application. Most if not all don't allow for your hand to rest on the tablet (this is known as palm rejection) as of this writing, which makes using them nearly untenable for this application unless you buy other bulky accessories to hide your hand while you write on the tablet. The iPad Pro is the only tablet that has this advanced feature, a must for auditors. We recommend the 12.9" display, which most closely simulates the size of the accustomed foolscap paper used by auditors in session. It is worth the added expense for the extra size rather than the smaller 11" iPad Pro version available.
Not only can sessions be written down by hand in real time digitally as would be done as usual, but the application can transpose the auditor's handwriting to capital or lowercase typed text characters once selected, and to red ink block (print) typed characters if needed. Thus drastically improving legibility after the session for the case supervisor if the handwriting is accurate enough to be interpreted. If not, it can be corrected by hand easily in the same fashion quickly within the app using the pencil, and it's built-in features for editing. - Reference: 1991 Technical Subject Volume 1 (Page 489 hardback/502 of the PDF document) Auditor Admin Series 14 RA - HCOB 6 November 1987 - "The Worksheets."
Also, post annotation (for interns from Case supervisors) using bold letters, highlighting, adjustment of overlapping text and much more are also available with a tap of the pencil. Anything you can do in a good word processor, pen and ink, and marker in any color can now be done to every session with the pencil and software, keeping it handwritten or turned into text. Making it easy to send digitally and instantly via email or messaging software back and forth without scanning, or having to store it for years in a closet wasting space and risking security breaches, fire, water damage, mice, mold/mildew, and more. Not to mention the value of having back up copies, just in case.
The Apple Pencil also detects pressure and tilt, making it nearly indistinguishable in feel from a regular marker, pen or pencil. Apple calls this ProMotion, which means the third generation iPad Pro's screen refreshes incredibly fast (120 times per second, but who's counting.)
Erasing while writing is smooth and virtually effortless, just simply double tap the Apple pencil itself to clean up your work, or change ink color if you select that option instead in the pencil's settings, then double tap again to return to writing regularly.
Putting the Tablet and Pencil to Use
One needs to be familiar with iOS, the operating system (OS for short) used on all iPhones and iPads, whereas Apple laptops and desktop computers use the OS X environment. In the last few years, the two have gained a significant amount of interconnectivity with one another and play very well together to provide a quite seamless environment when it comes to moving documents around from your iPad to your laptop or desktop, as well as a host of other snazzy cross-operating (and VERY useful) system connectivity features. With the release of OS X's Mojave update last fall, the line has become even more blurred as to where the two end and begin. An excellent thing by the way for new digital admin auditors. (More on this in later articles in this upcoming series.)
Learning the iOS environment is painless and doesn't require a stylus to be used with it unless you want to. A finger can be used instead until you're going in session if you like. However, using the pencil while in auditing is highly recommended. The learning curve for primary use is about five to ten minutes depending on your familiarity with touch screen devices. Learning the suite of gestures and shortcuts takes more time when using the pencil in iOS, but requires no herculean effort to do so. Familiarity comes over a short period by using the tutorials found in the latest version of iOS, or open your tablet's browser to Youtube, or use the Apple app store to locate hundreds of such iOS tutorial videos, free of charge. New functionality is continually being added in the form of iOS updates from Apple for the pencil regularly. These can be found and downloaded under the "General" tab in settings on your tablet automatically if so desired.
The learning curve of the application used for session admin is about 20-30 minutes, of which familiarizing yourself with where all the features are and their result is the bulk of the curve. Most of which is learned just by repeating the tasks a few times as a brief drill. The software we used and tested is quite intuitive and also an industry standard for millions in document creation, note taking, and handwriting capture. New features are added every few weeks by the developers in the form of application updates in the Apple app store, which you become automatically notified of when they become available upon purchase of the application.
Completely new techniques of auditor admin are upon us, and they are incredible! These new techniques change the medium of training auditors and auditor/case supervisor administration by leaps and bounds both in ease of use and security of data among other substantial benefits, without changing the methodology of auditing.
Accuracy, speed, security, portability of documents, backup documentation, and reduced communication lag between auditor sessions, internship supervisors, and C/S's, are all drastically improved upon from what once was an entirely slow and sometimes lossy "analog" endeavor in decades past.
We are now light years beyond the organization we left behind in our use of present-day computing technology in conjunction with the application of the original LRH tech, standardly. We are moving people up the bridge more accurately and faster than ever before in the 21st century outside the COS.
In part two of this series, coming next week, we are going to look at our software options and what they offer. Stay tuned!
Technical specifications for the iPad Pro - Generation 4 can be found here:
Technical specifications for the Apple Pencil can be found here:
~ Jonathan Burke is the Executive Director of The Advanced Org. of the Great Plains, and it's lead Class VIII/IX C/S and auditor. Also, he is one of our authors for the AO-GP online magazine. Contact: [email protected]