The iPhone – The New American Dream!

What is the American dream? Is it owning a home? Is it starting your own business? Is it having the freedom to innovate and pursue your life as you see fit? The American dream is a flexible concept that holds different meaning to everyone. However, few would argue against the concept that technological innovation has long been a primary facilitator of the elevated quality of life most associate with the phrase.

The iPhone is more than just a new, slick mobile phone. It is a device that started a trend which changed the world. The first iPhone came preloaded with an operating system that could use programs created by third parties called apps. Developers began to create various iPhone apps with a wide range of uses. Now, there are literally thousands of mobile apps in the App Store.

New Functionality for a New Era

Just a few short years ago, you would have had to spend significant cash to get a GPS unit for your car. Thanks to the iPhone, smartphone users can simply download a mobile app that takes advantage of the native GPS functionality on the device.

Similarly, you no longer have to wait until you get to the computer to shop online. The iPhone’s application platform revolutionized online shopping by enabling users to engage in banking and shop via e-commerce web stores.

The American Dream Is to Innovate

As a philosophical concept, the American dream to many represents the spirit to innovate and create new things to improve the quality of life of humanity at large. The automobile was an invention that advanced mankind, for example. There is an argument in favor of extending the same recognition to the iPhone. Without this amazing mobile device, modern society would never have had the ability to do many things that people take for granted today.

The iPhone represents the moment where wireless technology hit a tipping point; smartphones are fast becoming a person’s remote control to everything in life. A new lifestyle has emerged for those who own them, and this has truly revolutionized society in a dramatic enough fashion to demonstrate that smartphones inspired by the iPhone truly represent the American dream in action. For those who have yet to join this Information Age revolution, it is only a matter of time. Cell carriers are charging less and less for smartphones. The competitive marketplace is driving prices down for the consumer. Tech fans have a lot to look forward to as more people join this exciting mobile lifestyle.

Mastering The Basics: How To Change The Oil And Oil Filter

Not all of us can be a master mechanic and perform every service our car needs, but knowing how to perform basic services to maintain your car both saves you money and improves safety. When you know how your car works, you are better equipped to assess issues and possibly fix them without feeling helpless. One of the most commonly performed at-home maintenance services and one of the most important things you can do to keep your car in good condition is changing the motor oil and oil filter. Doing this yourself is relatively inexpensive and easy.

Don't Ignore The Owner's Manual

If you've always wanted to learn how to change your car's oil and filter, this guide can help! Just remember to always reference your car's owner's manual for any vehicle-specific details. The mileage intervals when they need to be changed are listed in the owner's manual. Also in the owner's manual is the grade and amount of motor oil you'll need, as well as any requirements for the filter.

Necessary Equipment

Here's what you'll need to be an at-home mechanic, at least as far as the oil change is concerned:

  • Motor oil
  • Oil filter
  • Socket wrench
  • Oil filter wrench, in case you can't loosen it by hand
  • Funnel
  • Oil pan
  • Mat, newspaper, or big, flat piece of cardboard to catch any oil spills under the car
  • Cleaning rags

Step-by-Step

  1. Drain the old motor oil.
    • Start your car and let it run for a minute or two, or drive it around the block so the motor oil warms up, which will allow it drain out smoothly. After the warm up, park your car in the driveway or garage, ON LEVEL GROUND.
    • If your car is too low to the ground to slide under, you'll need to jack it up and place jack stands before you get under it (jack stands are a must!).
    • Prop up the hood and loosen the cap on the oil tank or else it won't drain well.
    • Place your spill mat or cardboard under the vehicle and slide on under with the oil pan.
    • Locate the drain plug.
    • Place the pan on top of newspaper / cardboard below and slightly ahead of the drain plug (the stream will release farther out when you first remove the drain plug).
    • Loosen the drain plug with the socket wrench, turning it counterclockwise, and then remove the plug slowly by hand and let the motor oil drain out. Caution: Oil may be hot.
    • Once the oil slows down to a drip, reinstall the drain plug and tighten it with the socket wrench (just a quarter turn clockwise should be sufficient).
  2. Replace the oil filter.
    • Keep the oil pan under the car and find the oil filter.
    • Loosen it with the filter wrench and remove by hand.
    • Before installing the new oil filter, apply a little motor oil to the new gasket to optimize the seal and prevent the gasket from cracking or sticking.
    • Install and tighten the new oil filter BY HAND.
  3. Add the new motor oil.
    • Remove the cap of the oil tank, and, using a funnel, pour the new motor oil into the tank in the amount dictated by the owner's manual. When finished, replace the oil cap and wipe away any spilled motor oil.
    • Start your engine and run it for a minute to allow the new motor oil to circulate thoroughly.
    • Time to check the oil level. Turn off the car and remove and wipe oil off the dipstick.
    • Insert and remove the dipstick and check that the oil level is correct. Assuming all is well, screw the cap back on and you're done!
  4. Clean up and recycle your motor oil.
    • Pour the old motor oil from the pan into a used oil container and put the old oil filter into a plastic bag.
    • You cannot throw your old oil into the trash. Take it to a auto supply store or a lube shop to recycle.
    • Write down the date you performed the oil change and the amount of miles the car had so you know when your next change is due.

And you're done!

Yelping Helps

When people go to a restaurant they visit for certain appealing aspects of the establishment. Some may find the food mediocre, but the ambiance brings you back. Some may also go for the food even though it's not their "scene". The physical ability to try a new place out usually depends on word-of-mouth, hoping that a friend may point out a new cool hangout. For those that don't have that source of direction they can use Yelp.

Yelp is an online mobile app, or website, that let's you scale the internet for business reviews. From a car mechanic to a small diner, there will be a yelp review for it. Yelping gives everybody who owns the application the chance for them to feel like a critic. This online review data base can offer you suggestions on places that you've been to before or places to even stay away from. Different categories of material can be reviewed as well. Say you did not like the food, but the scenery of the restaurant was on point, you can rank the details compared to the food. Yelp also gives the consumers a chance to send messages to the company themselves, in order to share their experience and ensure that the business will see the critique.

This on the other hand is making business owners very nervous. One customer with bad service can bring down your star rating and potentially stray other potential visitors away from the establishment. This is a good thing though. This gives the management not only an insight to how customers view their business but it also allows them to fix their mistakes in order to make the customers next visit go a little more smooth. Yelping has made it not only easier to figure out where you want to bring your business but it also doubles as a directional guide to whichever business you're trying to travel to. Yelp gives the user the ability to show the closest places using location tracking in order to give the user the closest option. The age of Yelp is here and it is here to stay. With millions of users nationwide it has become the new helpful guide to helping the everyday customer get the best bang for their buck. While helping businesses gain helpful feed back and potential business yelping is consistently helping the everyday user have not only their voices heard but a piece of mind.

Multi-Platform Smartphone App Development

22 European countries are collaborating with each other with the intent to produce an application development milieu that would be compatible with all smartphones. Being spearheaded by the German Graunhofer Institute for Open Communications Systems, it is something that could well appease individual app users and end continued frustration amongst consumers.

Cutting to the chase, different programming languages ​​are used in different environments – for example the iPhone, Symbian and Android environments – meaning that an app that woks on one platform, may not work on another. And, if that was not frustrating enough, don't stop to forget that there are other platforms than those on mobile phones: car installations and other home consumer electronics for example. How wonderful to have an all-encompassing set of apps that would serve the purpose that they were designed for yet not need specific or branded gadgets to run on.

There are plenty of consumers that would welcome this development. The end users, negating those with a geekish bent, wish ease of use and compatibility rather than true "brand" specificity. Putting it another way, if I like an app, then I don't care how it is developed provided it works for me on the gadget I own or use. Functionality is the keyword for consumers. After all, you don't care who made your car engine as long as the car runs to your liking.

But, don't get too comfy, the move is not without its detractors. There is a lot of wheeling and dealing to be done before the proposal, despite its 10 million Euro investment, gets anywhere near to completion. There, after all, always some that won't play ball.

What Is Auto Management?

Auto Management, also commonly called Automotive Management, is the management of services around vehicle management. Auto Management includes management for auto repair shops, car and truck dealers, rentals, body shops and more.

So, for a normal person, Auto Management is management of everything that has to do with cars, trucks and other vehicles.

This is a really wide area that covers a lot and is tailored for the automotive area, even though you would see it bringing up areas that are common to most other businesses. Examples of specific automotive areas are:

  • Used car dealer management
  • Franchise management
  • New car dealer management
  • Sales and finance management tailored to automotive industry
  • Car inventory management
  • Spare parts management
  • Dealership management
  • Customer management
  • Showroom management
  • Insurance management
  • Leasing management
  • Sales management
  • Repair and service management
  • Labor management

As you see in the list there are quite a few areas. For most areas you are able to find the same support and management regardless of what vehicle you are involved with, including cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats.

One way to understand what is needed you can just see what is needed to manage when you want to get a car (or any other vehicle).

You start by going to the car dealer. They will show you examples of cars in their showroom. The showroom is designed in a way so that they will be able to sell cars that are most interesting for them to sell easier. Some car companies require a higher visibility than others which is also important for the showroom design.

Once you have chosen a car model you will be able to tailor your new car according to your demands. All these extras are added in the system and a few months later you will receive the car.
Should you lease the car or buy it? If you buy it, do you need a loan for it?
While waiting for your car you might want to rent another car to have something to drive.

You receive your car and of course there are things you want to change. You might want to have some winter tires or other things from the car dealer. You will need insurance and might bring in extra insurance for towing service and free rentals if something happens.

After 6 months it is time for the first service. It includes having personnel being booked to take care of the car. You might have been in a small accident and need the body to be fixed and therefore need to hand it in to that specific area of ​​the car repair shop. This is continuous over a few years and you decide to sell the car. The car dealer makes you a deal to give you another car in exchange and you pay some extra money since the car is new.

The car dealer now has a used car they need to sell. This is another process but with a lot of similarities to sales of a new car.

To support these processes are different kinds of Auto Management Software (or Automotive Software). Different auto management software have different purposes and few include the whole area. There are different kind of auto management software to include support for the areas specified above, such as:

  • Dealer Management System (DMS)
  • CRM Software specific to the automotive industry
  • Inventory Management Software
  • Time Management Software
  • Lead Management Software
  • Finance Software
  • Sales Management Software
  • Warranty Submission System
  • Auction Management Software
  • Vehicle Showroom Management System

Dealer Management Systems usually covers several areas to make it possible to have less software included in the same workplace. This usually makes the working processes more efficient.

The area is so big that this article only covers a brief introduction of what areas to consider and what kind of auto management software that might be interesting to look further at.

Running a Mobile Car Wash in Arkansas

Are you considering starting a mobile car wash business? It is a fun business, and is one of the first businesses I have started when I was a younger man. In fact, I didn’t know any better, so I just kept growing the company and taking it into more and more cities and more, and more states. After my company was featured in a PBS special on TV viewed by 70 million Americans, someone had contacted me from Arkansas who wanted to buy a franchise. He lived Little Rock, and thus, it was much different than running the business out in California or any of the other states I had already gone into.Immediately, we tried to set up accounts with large trucking companies, fleets, and government agencies. I was amazed at how easy it was to do business there, but also how they wanted to do business locally, with people they knew, and people they could trust. Arkansas is that way, but once you’re in it is an excellent place to do business. It may not be the wealthiest area in our country, or even have the most cars, but the people are loyal customers to those companies which can perform.Although Bentonville was a long way away from Little Rock, that is the home of Walmart, and a huge number of companies which are suppliers to Walmart are now also headquartered in that town. And since they are the largest company, employing the most people, they also have an incredible distribution system, and someone has to wash all those trucks. Speaking of trucks, on the far side, the opposite side of the state is West Memphis, Arkansas.That’s right, West Memphis is actually in Arkansas, and it is a distribution hub for a good many large LTL and full load trucking companies. If you run a mobile car washing operation and you want to wash trucks Arkansas, you need to have an operation there. Of course, it’s not without competition there are many other companies and services that area.In the Little Rock area there is North Little Rock, and although it is a lower income area, it’s filled with labor, hard workers, and many of them have auto detailing and car wash experience. That made it very easy for us. On the Westside of Little Rock, it is a highly affluent middle class, doing quite well, and office parking lot washing was literally a goldmine. If you’re looking for a touristy area, Hot Springs Arkansas is the place to be. And there are quite a few affluent folks who want car detailing living in that very scenic area.Suffice it to say, Arkansas was a great market for us, and a good market for anyone who wants to run a mobile car wash. And whereas there is competition there, there are plenty customers who will be quite loyal and rather enjoy on-site great service in washing their cars. Please consider all this and think on.

How Rain Can Be Bad For Your Car

Rain can be refreshing on a hot and humid day, but car owners usually don’t like it much, especially when their cars are newly-washed and sparkling. Somehow, rain has the uncanny quality of making the shiniest of cars dirty and grimy.Here are few reasons why rain can actually be bad for your car.Rain makes the car dirtier than it should be. The funny thing is, rain makes a clean car dirty, but makes a dirty car even harder to clean! When you take out your dusty car and drive it through the rain, some of the dust and grime are washed off, but when the rain stops and you’re still driving, expect the remaining mud to. Your tyres accumulate hard to remove mud, and even the underside of your car is caked with mud. Failure to do this will hasten the deterioration of your car. A car’s metal parts, when left underneath layers of dirt will quickly rust, therefore causing depreciation and eventual breakdown of the car body.Rain puts added pressure on the tyres, wipers, fan belt, power steering and brakes. Rain or moisture causes a lot of car parts to slightly malfunction. Although cars are meant to be driven even through the roughest of rains, the moisture it produces makes some normal car functions to trip and cause some alarm to the driver.The most obvious will be your windshield wipers, which take the brunt and force of heavy rain. And what will you do without them? Driving through rain with broken or malfunctioning wipers is extremely dangerous. Especially when visibility is near zero, you’d be better off parking somewhere safe, and allowing the rain to pass – this is the best thing to do when you know you have trippy wipers that could cause you major accidents. Keep you wipers in tip top shape.Another victim of moisture is your fan belt. Moisture can cause your fan belt to squeal, especially if the moisture gets between your belt and the pulleys or belt tension.that all hold it in place. If you notice your belt squealing minutes after you drive through a large puddle or in the rain, chances are your belt is getting wet somehow. Have it checked out by a good mechanic.If you drive a car with power steering, you know that the rain messes up with it, too. The power steering will fail temporarily (it locks up). Having your mechanic replace the pump regularly is a good idea, but rain and its moisture will somehow affect its normal function. Once it locks up, force it to move back and forth and little, the belt will finally give a little squeal and then everything is back to normal.Another victim of rain is the braking system. A lot of cars have a tendency to make brake-grinding noises for the first few stops after they’ve been parked in the rain or mist. It’s because brake discs rapidly get a very light coating of rust from the moisture. Using the brakes scrapes the rotors clean again, and the noise goes away pretty fast. Your brake rotors can rust very quickly. They can make a grinding noise when you first drive your car after the rotors get wet, but it will go away after the rust gets scraped off by the brake pads.Acid rain. Defined by automakers as environmental fallout, it is a term used to describe the deposit of damaging pollutants, whether wet or dry. These pollutants are released by burning fuels and react with other elements in the atmosphere and become acids. Rain itself is not the culprit, but when the rain dries, it leaves the concentrated acid part. Paint acts like a sponge and it keeps collecting all that acidic material.How to avoid damage on your car – Repeated exposure is bad. If you consistently park your car in a covered area, garage or carport, you can avoid some of the worst effects of acid rain. Some manufacturers used acid-resistant paints, which costs a lot less than it might cost you to fix a problem afterward. To avoid permanent scarring, have your car washed and hand-dried frequently. Light-coloured vehicles seem to suffer less obvious damage; darker-colored vehicles will show wear sooner.And when some paint damage has already happened, there is still hope. Hire a professional to have your contaminated paint cleaned up. A high-quality polymer paint sealant also has co-polymers and amino functional resins that will fight future acid rain while resisting the effects of soap and sun.Rain is a natural phenomenon which brings life and helps maintain the environmental equilibrium. It may not be kind to man-made machines, but there are ways to make your metal babies survive even the harshest rain weather. The prime factors are care & responsibility but maintenance is the key.

Auto Dealerships: Is Your Auto Detail Company a Vendor Or a Strategic Partner?

If you think that detail companies just wash the cars, you may be missing an opportunity to increase sales and generate higher profits.Enhanced Internet Ads. Make ready services for pre-owned purchases are critical to enhancing the appeal of the car in internet photos.Enhanced appearance on lot & in the showroom. Invest the money up front to insure the cars have a luxurious finish and all the details have been addressed. Your detail company should be monitoring the condition of the showroom cars – daily – to insure the best presentation possible.Partnership on Service Department Sales. Sell more details to your current customers-keep them coming to you for all their car needs. This is a clear win-win for the auto dealership and the detail company.Focus on what you do well. Auto Dealerships are talented at selling and servicing cars. Detail companies are focused and talented at cleaning and reconditioning cars.Invest in a Partnership. To maximize the benefits of outsourcing, you must select a business partner – not just a car wash company.This means the corporate culture and values should be an important part of the evaluation and selection process. The business acumen of the outsource organization- their ability to understand dealership problems and help in finding solutions – should be critical to you.For example, the number one reason customers are dissatisfied with the delivery of their car (either upon purchase or service) is that it is not clean. A Partnership allows the dealership and the detailing firm to work together to improve CSI scores.Great CSI scores mean bonus’ and incentives to the Dealership. Develop a partnership with your Detail Company in order to align goals and work together to maximize each others’ profits. Overall, by outsourcing the auto detail function at a dealership and selecting the right strategic partner, an auto dealership should be able to:• Enhance auto appearance;• Add services to expand customer offerings and profit dollars; and• Focus on Dealership core competencies (Sales & Service).