Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. xGEL can run on a regular computer with a regular monitor.
No. Regular monitors work just fine. You can always upscale later.
No. you can input the scale data manually, but electronic data capture from a scale that can send its weight information to the computer is the fastest.
Right now, we only support certain specified scales from Ohaus. Other scales might work, but we do not support them yet. However, send us an email telling us what kind of scale you have and we call you to discuss the situation.
No. XGEL does not support the USB scale-to-computer connection. We have tried it and we found it to be buggy.
Go to the System Requirements page and under the various tabs you will see the manufacturers that we have used in our own R&D center as we were developing the xGEL system. You can Google the names to get more web info. If you need further help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sure can. xGEL is a PC program and we have tried it out on laptops, and desktops, as well as on touch computers. (All of them had Win XP on them.) It doesn't cost anything to try, so for your specific hardware and OS, just download a free trial and give it a try. Let us know if you experience problems.
While LabMate can run on desktops & laptops, a touchcomputer (integrated touchscreen and computer) is the recommended platform for use of the xGEL Software and Service. The touchscreen allows faster data collection and faster operation of the xGEL capabilities than just a regular computer monitor, and the fact that on a touchcomputer, the touchscreen is integrated with a computer means you don't have all that cabling snaking all over the place. In addition, touchcomputers are made for dirty environments (you know, like a restaurant) and are expected to have a better performance life that a regular computer with a regular monitor. However, we have been in some labs where their desktops were still running fine after 5 years of use and 3 inches of dirt.
As we get more traction (sales $) on the platform we will move to other appropriate tests. We can do custom work if you have a large enough installation base.
So many engineer, so many templates. gINT has a nice correspondence file feature that allows one to create a file that is used to match your individual pre-existing gINT gdt template to the xGEL data structure.
We standardized on the gINT us_lab_std.gdt since that is the basic one that most people start from and we have found that many engineers make no changes to that basic template.
A file created by you so that your boring log or other software will know how to port the LabMate data into your program. gINT has a great utility for creating correspondence files to match external data to the gINT structure. If you are using EXCEL to make your boring logs, then you will need to tell your Excel sheets where to find the data in the LabMate Excel data file. This usually consists of cross-linking your existing Excel sheets to the LabMate Excel sheets. We can help make correspondence files as a paid support engagement.
Whenever you do an export, xGEL creates an industry standard MS ACCESS 2000 .mdb file, a gINT .gpj file, and an EXCEL .xls file, all of which are compatible with the gINT import feature. Both files contains all the raw data that gINT uses .
The EXCEL file (.xls) has various tabs for the underlying data. You can open these files in EXCEL and write your own correspondences to your existing EXCEL forms.
xGEL also creates a .csv file of just the soils data that you see on Summary Sheet in xGEL which can be opened with EXCEL.
If your data template is the same as the gINT us std.gdt then you should be able to get around having to use a correspondence file. Note that some labs have changed their data template to have field names in the gINT data tables of "Project Number" instead of "Number" and in this case you will need to create a correspondence file to let gINT know that what it sees as "Number" in the xGEL data structure will have to be put into the field that your gINT template calls "Project Number".
Hit the "Export" button and xGEL will create a .mdb file, and a gINT .gpj file, either of which can be imported into gINT using its feature set. Of course the .gpj file can also be opened directly in gINT. We also create an EXCEL .xls file that can be opened directly by EXCEL. We also create a limited data .csv file
Yes. Each time you export the xGEL creates a file that has the number of the project an underscore and a number as the file name. For example 98-7872_1.gpj or 98-7872_Summary Data_1.csv. The 98-7872 is the project number and the _1 indicates that this is the first export of the data from xGEL. The latest export will have the highest index number. Many labs use this feature to make milestone exports at various stages of the project completion.
No. Each export creates a unique .gpj, .mdb, .xls, and .csv file.
No. That is your responsibility. In addition, xGEL recommends that you export frequently.
They are stored in the "xGEL Exported Projects" folder under the xGEL program. In certain cases they are also exported to a thumb drive.
A .csv file of the xGEL Data Summary is created each time you hit the "Export" button.
Each time you export the xGEL creates a file that has the number of the project an underscore and a number as the file name. For example 98-7872_1.gpj or 98-7872_1.csv.
The 98-7872 is the project number and the _1 indicates that this is the first export of the data from xGEL. The latest export will have the highest index number. Many labs use this feature to make milestone exports at various stages of the project completion.
Yes - For the Pay-As-You-Go model.
If you are on a yearly license unlimited use plan, then you will need connectivity for your license keys when they need to "phone home" or when you need to renew the license(s).
Basic support is FREE, so, if an internal feature of xGEL is not working the way we intended then we want to take a look at that on our dime as part of our embarrassment and self flagellation. For example, if we stuck two decimals within a number field display, or mis-spelled the word xGEL, then that for sure is something we want to have tech support jump on.
As far as the other stuff, I (Art Koenig) will be up front with you. We are a small company and quite simply do not have the staff to handle much in the way of further support right now. For example, if you have questions about penetrating your firewall, or you need to set up user groups with permissions, or if you want Labmate to be recoded so that the database is segregated from the client xGEL machine, or if your network connection is having problems, then we can't help. That suff is way above our pay grade right now ... well, actually it is not above our pay grade, it is just that offering those services is not part of the plan right now. We will probably ease into such things as this, and into knotty problem resolution, as paid support or consulting engagements when we get bigger, but for right now, it is what it is. Essentially, we have provided a good platform for getting the labs out of the stone age and we saw that when xGEL worked, it worked really well, so much so that we figured this would outweigh the time(s) when it wanted to misbehave.
Just to let you know, LabMate behaves pretty darned good for us and our existing production lab clients, and we think it will sufficiently behave for you too. We also are betting on you being forgiving of our new technology if it does act up! In addition to these reasons for just offering such basic support, our fee structure for providing the software under the Pay-As-You-Go Service is such that if at any time you aren't feeling the love, you can quit using it and pay nothing more. For yearly license fee customers ( if we ever offer that kind of thing) you are not obligated to renew your license and can revert to the old paper way of things if the xGEL is unsatisfactory for you.
In closing this topic, all of us at xGEL really do feel your pain - indeed THAT is exactly why xGEL was created -because WE were tired of having to put up with things that should really be working better in the lab. So, take that as our desire and motivation to ship stuff that pretty much works. Our thoughts are that if we ship something that you don't like, then you won't use it and we will not get any further money out of it .... and, we sure do want your money! However, remember that xGEL is a startup company. Also remember that since xGEL is a startup company, we can also do stuff like offering a five dollar Starbucks gift card to the first 5 people to send us an email indicating that you read all the way to here and telling us you want your reward. Oh yeah, maybe after we get as big as IBM based on all the love you send our way, we will be able to send a guy in a white shirt and black tie to your site, but that is not where we are right now.
No. The xGEL Service and the software are the sole property of xGEL Data Systems, LLC and granting of an account, and continued use of the Software and the xGEL Data Systems, LLC Service, is solely at the discretion of xGEL Data Systems, LLC.
A SuperUser is the person that has the UserID and Password to log in to your internet xGEL Account.
A SuperUser has full access rights to the online account. A SuperUser can change any of the account information. A SuperUser, once logged into the account, has access to the credit card information used to set up the account.
A User is a person that can use the xGEL software that is installed on a target machine. For example, the lab technicians doing the testing would be thought of as Users, whereas the engineer that set up the account and put in his credit card information would be the SuperUser.
A User cannot log into the online account.
No - Under the Pay-As-You-Go program there is no up front cost to xGEL
Under the Yearly License Unlimited Use plan you are buying up-front a license to use the software.
Whether you do the work or not, we have already done the work of providing the system and, quite frankly, it is way easier for us to collect and track and charge assigned tests than it is for us to track and charge the other.
No. If you do not assign any tests or log in any samples, then there won't be any more charges.
If you are on a Yearly License, then when your license expires, you will have to renew for additional fee.
Yes. We have all your account information and we collect various usage stats (see below).
Not right now, but part of the xGEL Data Systems, LLC business model is to eventually move into the business of management and processing of geotechnical data and of providing fee-based statistical analysis, data mining, mapping etc, of such data. The xGEL Data Systems, LLC software is a way of collecting the data and its pricing is set as low as it is to account for the provisions of the xGEL Data Systems, LLC Service and Software License Agreements that delineate ownership and use of the data if you opt-in to the National Soils Database Program. Google is free because their business model is to collect the data you input to their system and to data mine the searches and data entries to sell their service to others that partake of their fee-based service offerings. Essentially, if you opt-in to the xGEL National Soils Database program, the input data belongs to xGEL Data Systems, LLC, however, after you use xGEL Software to export the data to a gINT or other file, that exported data and the information inherent in the exported data belongs to you without affecting xGEL Data Systems, LLC ownership of the original data for use in its data analysis services. At this time, we do not have the National Soils database program available, nor do we know when it will be available, nor do we have the details worked out concerning privacy etc.
No. Not under the Pay-As-You-Go Plan
No. We do not even want to go there. You need to deal with the hardware manufacturers to get a compatible system.
Under the Pay-As-You-Go program, when you click the "Finalize" button and a yellow icon in the test assignment cell changes from yellow to green, those yellow-to-green assignments are put into the queue for the daily charge that will be made that evening to the credit card linked to your account.
If you are on a yearly fee, unlimited usage plan, you pay your license fee up front.
People who have converted their operations to xGEL have reported that they do indeed get more dates and have more fun. We think that this is because they are less stressed out at work, and that this carries over into their relations outside of work.
Some people have reported this as a side effect but even we seem suspicious of the claim. I am the product manager of xGEL and I keep looking in the mirror but the only thing that is happening is that more and more of my hair is falling out.