iPod With Your Auto Sound System? – Get To Know The Cool Stuff!

Apple Computer, maker of the iPod, has a cultural phenomenon on their hands. The iPod is the single most popular personal music listening device on the market today. Its ability to store large amounts of music, coupled with its tiny size and ease of use, has made it a hit across all age groups. Not even PC giant Microsoft’s competing Zune has even put a dent into iPod sales. And the market for iPod accessories has grown along with it’s popularity.

What does all this have to do with auto sound systems, you ask? Well, since the iPod is such a popular product, it was perhaps inevitable that auto sound system manufacturers would begin adding the ability to interface your head unit with your iPod. It just makes too much sense, both from a business and a usability standpoint. There are a quite a few products aimed specifically at integrating the iPod with your vehicles sound system. Heading the pack are head units that allow the iPod to be plugged directly into the head unit face. These types of units allow the user to control their iPod through the standard interface, often displaying all the meta-info that is included, such as song title, artist, album, length, bitrate, et cetera.

If your head unit already has a USB port, you are good to go as well. There are adapters to allow your iPod to act as any other USB music storage device while connected to your auto sound system. Playback can either be controlled from the head unit itself, or through the iPod, depending on your specific system and the adapter used.

If your head unit doesn’t have either of these ports, don’t despair. Most aftermarket head units will have line level inputs on the back, or a jack for an external CD player input (this jack often looks just like a headphone jack) that can be used with a special cradle for your iPod to allow you to playback through your auto sound system. These types of systems require you to select the song you want on your iPod directly; they simply provide a line-level output of whatever you are playing at the moment on the iPod.

All of the above systems can provide power to your iPod as well, both charging its internal batteries and keeping it running for as long as you care to listen.

If you are shopping around for a new auto sound system, adds are you either own an iPod or have thought about getting one. Keep an eye out for iPod interface features when looking for a new head unit. Even if you don’t have an iPod now, it is better to be able to simply buy one and plug it in later than to have to replace your head unit or settle for a suboptimal way of handling your iPod playback control. If you think there is any chance you will have an iPod in the future, you should seriously consider getting a head unit compatible with it now, and save the hassle in the future. When you get your iPod, you will have the ultimate in portable music playback system ready to go for your listening enjoyment.

Accelerating Up to Speed with the Latest in the Auto Industry

Often Automotive Think Tanks will stay within their boundaries – The Auto Industry when doing there thinking. The Online Think Tank takes auto issues very seriously and yet we do not only talk about automobiles, however we are hard core when it comes to that industry and we read all their Online Newsletters, Industry Trade Journals and stay up on all the DOT issues and government regulations as well.

So, today we talked about the Auto Industry in our Online Think Tank for a good 10 hours. What were the topics? Well, we talked about many things, but below is a sample of some of the issues we discussed and are definitely of interest for those who follow the industry, because what is good for our cars, is important to our quality of life and mobility – Freedom:

1. The Bashed the US Auto Makers on Ecology and Now EU Auto Makers Speak Up.

The US Auto Industry lobbied hard against the newest fuel standards, while Toyota and Honda are already there, the US auto industry fought hard to limit the excessive fuel standards. Meanwhile the EU is trying to help their own manufacturers while getting regulations put in place against the US manufacturers, which is hard to do without hurting their own.

“The EU wants to limit CO2 to 120 grams per kilometer by 2015.”

The head of several companies said that the deadline was not possible, which is interesting as the EU is using the Global Warming issues to promote its businesses over other industrialized nations, like the US and China. Of course the Germans make many models of large cars, still the Italians and French who make smaller cars still seem to believe they cannot do it, that is to say limit the CO2 that much, but Volkswagon thinks it can, yet still joined the others in lobbying against the tightened emissions.

2. “The 100 MPG Car and the Volkswagon – Can Do Attitude!” Industry Week Reports:

Germany’s big automaker Volkswagen said it is planning to make a curiously designed car that will use just one liter (a quarter of a gallon) of fuel per 100 kilometer (62 miles).”We want to put ‘one-liter car’ on the market by 2010,” the group’s supervisory board chairman, Ferdinand Piech, told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung at Frankfurt’s’ International Auto Show.

The vehicle is not the most pretty in the world, and its engine only has one-cylinder and is a diesel, but 100 mpg, is attainable they say. Volkswagon says it wants to sell the car for under $5,000 and I bet people in the US right about now would love to have one too. Meanwhile the Chinese are getting ready to flood the US market with new Chinese made automobiles, the first dealership opens in 2008 in New Jersey. The Chinese will have fuel efficient cars, will they sell, probably so.

3. Meanwhile the Chinese Counterfeit Tires then Try to Promote Luxury Bentley Level Car?

Here is an excerpt of an article in a popular Online AutoSpies newsletter:

It appears Chinese companies are just as happy to clone tire designs as they are cars, with Continental the latest manufacturer to suffer lost sales due to fake Chinese imports. However, unlike BMW and Mercedes-Smart, which have yet to take serious action against China’s Shuanghuan Auto and its clone-cars, Continental has shown that it’s possible to defeat counterfeiters by winning a case against several tire resellers in Germany selling the counterfeit stock. Though only affecting a couple of commercial truck brands, the counterfeiting is still of major concern because customers were buying inferior products that weren’t as safe as the originals.

4. President Bush has asked a committee panel to study the US fuel efficiency laws to make sure that the regulations for future fuel economy is actually an attainable number.

This from the White House Website:

The Bush administration will launch a new study next week to estimate what kind of technology automakers will need to raise fuel efficiency over the next 15 years, updating and expanding a 2002 report that’s been a benchmark in this summer’s energy debate. The National Academy of Sciences panel, which includes environmentalists, independent experts and automotive engineers, will spend the next year working on the report. The panel will hear testimony from federal officials and auto industry executives during its first public meeting in Washington on Monday. With Congress moving toward passing some kind of increase in fuel-economy standards and President George W. Bush ordering his administration to set its own increases by the end of next year, the updated report will act as a road map for many future decisions by federal regulators. The 2002 edition concluded … that the industry could raise the efficiency of its cars by up to 27 percent and its trucks by 42 percent over a decade — to roughly 30 miles per gallon — with no changes in weight, size or performance. U.S. cars and trucks are expected to average 26.4 m.p.g. in the 2007 model year, the highest level ever, according to federal estimates. But automakers have long objected to the 2002 report, saying it overstated the benefits of new technologies and understated the costs and engineering work needed to put them into vehicles.

5. Chrysler Ramps up Fuel Efficient Competition Car and Industry Week states;

That they have an advanced propulsion electric drive vehicle ready to launch, an advancement from their new ENVI Concept Cars from their CTC – Chrysler Technology Center. Mercedes is angry that the Smart Car is being copied by China, BMW and the Toyota Rav 4 copies are also a concern. Germany’s Chancellor, is making a complaint to the WTO on China, there are significant problems with these infringements. But spying is not only in the passenger car sector. Auto Racing Spies Get Dusted by Competition – We found this interesting piece in the UK Register:

Formula One team McLaren must pay a $100m fine and has been kicked out of the constructors’ championship for spying on rival team Ferrari. The decision by the governing body of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) means McLaren is out of the constructors’ championship this year but drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso can continue to compete in the drivers’ competition. McLaren did not accept the verdict. In a statement Ron Dennis said: “Having been at the hearing today I do not accept that we deserved to be penalised in this way.”

6. The DOT has stated that Bike Lanes take monies away that could be used to make bridge infrastructure stronger.

Bicycles VS Cars, well we know who will win on the street in an accident, and most likely in the courtroom of public opinion, as we do not wish anymore bridges to be collapsed and yet, we need more bike lanes. Bicycle and car accidents kill way too many people each year and Americans are way too fat, they need to exercise too. The Department of Transportation – DOT stated this because they do not consider bicycles a real form of transportation, as very few people use them in that way, most of the bike riding is for recreation and staying in shape. True, but if you never put in bike lanes then no one will ever use them, so it is a self-fulfilling prophesy either way. Well those were all the automotive thoughts from today. Sincerely, Lance.

Jobs in Auto Racing – Interesting Auto Jobs

Jobs in auto racing are plentiful or scarce, depending on which end of racing you are looking at, so if you want one, start thinking “out of the car”. Actual driving jobs are very scarce. The competition is heavy, you need skill, connections, and experience just to begin to think you have a chance at driving. However, there are some other paths to try within this huge industry.

If you want to be the star, the driver, start where you can. There are amateur races as well as professional races. Local tracks, small towns, fairs and carnivals can all have race driving opportunities. Race car owners need drivers, but they also need the team that keeps that car working. Pit crew, managers, media and public relations people, and an office team for scheduling, payroll, advertising, and travel arrangements.

There are racing schools and programs in Motorsports Management. There are hands on courses and online courses for students, professional and amateur drivers. Team members can also benefit from training courses. Managers, owners, agents and promoters need to know how to do their jobs better. Students can take this opportunity to build relationships for the future, network, and keep up to date with their skills.

Beyond the actual drivers and their pit crews, jobs in auto racing are available at the tracks, in broadcasting, and in promotion. Every track has its team of specialists. There are jobs for directors, marketers, media and communications, business development, sales, office administration, hospitality, security, and special event coordinators.

Some tracks need coordinators to handle large events, such as car shows and corporate sponsored events. In sales, both tracks and owners look for paid sponsors. This would be mostly an off track job, and there would be travel and public relations involved. Driver agents help expand the ability of drivers to build public relations, make special appearances possible, and keep things running smoothly on that level.

There are jobs in auto racing with related associations, such as NASCAR, the United State Auto Club, National Hot Rod Association, International Motor Sports Association, and other groups. Volunteering is another way to work into an auto racing related job. It is perfect for networking and meeting influential people who might later be helpful in your career.

A newer opportunity for those who want to improve their driving talents are the many racing schools and racing experience commercial operations, like Mario Andretti and Jeff Gordon have begun for the public to enjoy. Here, you can get a hands on racing school driving experience. Drive NASCAR, Indy or Formula style cars, or BMW on real tracks for an affordable $99 up to $1149 for multiple style cars and more time, up to 45 minutes. You never know who might be watching!

Driving a race car is like the frosting on a cake! Sweet, but it is the topping on the cake. Driving is the topping for a very large, exciting industry. There are plenty of jobs in auto racing “outside the car”.