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.

Japan Travel — Rotary Group Study Exchange Goes to Japan, Article One

The international organization known as Rotary promotes yearly travel that all people between the ages of 26 and 40, male and female, and of all backgrounds – should know about – because it is a Rotary-funded six week study aboard and anyone can apply to be a part of this significant life experience. If you are this age group – you could enjoy the kind of experience that is described in my notes in this article. To find out more about the program go to the international Rotary website and search for GSE – Group Study Exchange – and contact your local Rotary Club for more information.

April 9th – Saturday, and 10th – Sunday, in Japan:

The GSE 2005 Exchange Trip began on April 9th . My GSE Team Members – Harry Abbott, Julia Vasileyva, Antonio Verges and Monica Koller — gathered at the gate to board the plane at San Francisco International Airport to begin our journey to Fukuoka, Japan. It was a long flight – 14 hours with a layover in Nagoya. When we arrived, we were welcomed by our Japanese hosts including Mika, Izumi and Ai – and it was fun to see the sign welcoming the GSE Team that they had posted at the arrival gate. It was about 7PM in the evening on Sunday – 3AM on Saturday at home – and they took us by car through the streets of Fukuoka to our hotel for two nights, the Nishitetsu Grand Hotel. We felt an earthquake after shock as we checked into our rooms – Hisa San said that it was a “welcome shock”. The team crashed for the night, in anticipation of a full day tomorrow.

April 11th – Monday:

Up early this morning – ready to start the day, and in this large city I could hear the roosters crooning. I walked a few blocks down the street for my first cup of Starbucks coffee in Japan (have to admit it tasted good) and enjoyed the bustle on the main street of Fukuoka. On with my team blue blazer, and armed with many gifts to take to our hosts (including Kona coffee from Teri in half pound bags) – we assembled for a Japanese style breakfast back in the hotel. I first noticed how gracious it is here – gentle bowing, smiles, many to escort you – and a people connection that looks you in the eye and sees you (I like that). I’m feeling comfortable here.

Oh, my gosh – we’re blessed with experiences. The team members are elated. We met with Mika San and she outlined each of our plans while we are here, the host families that we will be staying with, and the areas that we’ll visit. They say that the months of April and May are the best months to be here – lucky us. Fukuoka is a city of 1.7 million people and the island of Kyushu is about 280 miles long and 350 miles wide. We will leave Fukuoka tomorrow and go to Rotary Areas 6 and 7 which are more rural.

The cherry blossoms were in full force as we headed down the river this morning. Our first stop was the American Consulate. We met with the Principal Officer & Consul for the U.S., Joyce Wong. She talked about her responsibilities to the State Department and her assignment here for three years. Also about how popular Fukuoka is because people here have a positive outlook and welcoming hospitality. The Prefecture (which is like our state) is known for growing teas, sweet strawberries, fruits and vegetables – and the best seafood in Japan. It produces one third of the world’s semi-conductors and is part of the Silicon Sea Belt (like our Silicon Valley) and produces about 1 million autos that find their way to the U.S. market. Fukuoka was named the most livable city in Japan, she says. We comment on what a beautiful and clean city that it is.

Next we’re off to the Fukuoka West Rotary Club lunch meeting – and most notable, there are no women in this club – imagine that. We meet Dr. Hirohata, who is the incoming District Governor – and he says the he has a Japanese/Boston accent! A RI Director, Mr. Suenaga is from this Club. There are about 140 members, and the club is 50 years old – but not the oldest club in the City. By the way, the District has about 3700 Rotarians, and less than 1% are women – something to consider here. The video that Harry put together highlighting each of our team members worked well to show who we are, since we are limited in our language communication. It was a very stiff men’s Club – with formality that we didn’t understand.

We were received in the Governor’s office in the afternoon (ie. the equivalent of “Arnold’s” office in California) and spoke with the Director of International Affairs – and learned about the Prefecture and the Japanese government.

The women got dressed tonight with high shoes as part of their “look” – and once at the restaurant we were barefoot like all the rest. Our hosts had a party for us at the restaurant Kanzan – and it was lovely. Our hosts were so fun – they laugh a lot, tell jokes and are very playful – by contrast. One host told about his first trip to the U.S. He ordered a grapefruit on the plan and he expected to get a grape fruit – and what came to him was something that looked like an orange – we all laughed hard at that one. We were hosted by Tomoshige Tachibana, his wife and daughter – and he is the current District Governor. He spoke fondly about meeting our District Governor, Ron Sekkel and Cindy – and we presented him with the gift from our Rotary District.

There were about 30 people at the party, including some of the families that we will be staying with. And, Kenji Ogawa (Ken) was there – he’ll be the incoming team leader when this District sends us a team next year. His team has already been picked and we will be meeting them later. We’re always amazed at the beauty of the presentation of the foods here – and know that the diet is going to take a few pounds off of all of us. The presentations are in Japanese, so we miss some of the communication that doesn’t get interpreted – and many of the people we meet aren’t conversant in English – but it’s better than our Japanese. The evening opened with a beautiful traditional Japanese dance – and included plenty of sake and beer to make the evening merry. It was a very full first day.

April 12th – Tuesday:

After breakfast and luggage in the lobby – we headed for the train station to leave Fukuoka and travel into the countryside. Dr. Maruyana took us on the train to Omuta and the Omuta Rotary Club. The room was set western style, and with about 60 – and again – no women in this Club. Julia, Monica and I stood out in the room. As Izumi (Dr. Maruyana) and I talked about women in Rotary – he pointed out to me that it is not only an issue of gender but also one of “class” that has limited women in Rotary here. He was kind and said that there are not very many of me here – meaning that woman have not generally had the access to the economic structure here that I have had in the U.S. Also that women are not considered in the higher class of the society that Rotary chooses its membership from here. Interesting – it is hard for me to hold my tongue. I point out to the Club as I speak that my Club looks very different than theirs – that my Club has 50% women. And further, that many men in America had trouble with this change, that some left Rotary in protest – but that they generally love women in Rotary now. They shake their heads – and someone interprets that they are saying, no women here. They ask what classifications of women join our Club. They don’t think that this will change in the future. Izumi says that he is radical – that he thinks that this change is necessary and that the world’s future requires it.

Back on the train – much like our trains only very clean – we continue down the line to Kurume City. The houses are getting bigger (with Shogun-style roofs) and there are lovely mountains in view. We are going to Nishi-Nippon shinbun (Newspaper) where we meet with a reporter who asks about us and plans to do an article in the largest newspaper. It’s a walk from there, with the wind blowing hard, to City Hall and the Mayor’s Office. The Mayor joins us and we learn that the picture to accompany the newspaper article is taken with the Mayor in his office and his warm welcome.

Izumi has a beautiful house with some western looking rooms, and a room that we gather in and sit cross legged around the table. Japanese sweets and tea is served and computers in mass come out to see what we’ve recorded for the day. Embarrassing to tell but I went upstairs to the bathroom, and pushed the wrong button on the toilet – and water shot all over the ceiling – imagine. They have it all over us in toilets here – they’re heated and do all kinds of things.

Last night at the dinner, Mr. Tanaka served as a Japanese metaphor for me. He put a chopstick on the table – then intended with his mind, as he says – and moved that chopstick six inches in the air without touching it. But that wasn’t all, he borrowed someone’s watch – and by putting his hands on both sides of it – and intending with the concentration of his mind – he moved the time forward by an hour! Amazing.

Harry San, Monica San, Julia San, Antonio San and I go off to our host families from Izumi’s house and started our Japanese stay. From here you will be hearing from each of us individually – with unique experiences and I’ll continue to talk about the things that we are doing together. So lucky – I’m staying with the Tanaka’s. Much baggage is moved and everyone goes off happily, with my cell phone number as needed.

Ai picks me up, with the Tanaka’s and we are headed to a very special Japanese style restaurant – and more small plates of food than I can eat. Quickly, though, after dinner – we decide that we’re going to head to the Hot Springs – wow – am I ready for that. We enter a building with a women’s side and a men’s side – peel off to get in the warm pools, yes – it soothed. By cab we drove to Ogori and the hundred year old house were the Tanaka’s live. I’m staying in a room to myself with a futon bed and slept very comfortably. In the evening we laugh a lot as the translation goes back and forth – with Ai translating – because the Tanaka’s don’t speak much English. I think that his business is importing and exporting, but not sure – but they travel and Mrs. Tanaka has many of the same brands of clothing that I recognize, from her trips – including a beautiful Italian suit that she was wearing. Once I was in their home, all were very relaxed and genuinely hospitable – we’re well cared for here.

This article is a series — so read on — and many days follow in our splendid adventure!

Auto Service For All Types Of Vehicles

Automotive services are part of a car owner’s life. There are quite a number of auto service procedures that are available in various car repair shops in Brandon, Florida. These automotive services can be classified into two: car repair and car diagnostic services.

Car diagnostic services is an auto service that is also a type of preventive car maintenance. Routine diagnostic procedures involve checking the different parts of the vehicle to see if they are still in their optimum condition. This is important so that if something needs to get replaced, it is replaced immediately before causing any major car problems.

Three of the most important vehicle parts that should routinely undergo diagnostics are transmission, brakes, and engine.

Transmission refers to the gearbox. However, some mechanic personnel the term to refer to the gearbox, clutch, and shafts as a group. Transmission is what gives the car speed and power. It has the ability to reduce the engine speed to slower wheel speed while increasing power in the process. The transmission is responsible in shifting car gears so any problems concerning transmission will require major car repair.

The engine, on the other hand, is the motor used to burning gasoline and convert the energy to mechanical motion. It is an internal combustion engine which burns fuel and use the produced hot gases for generating power. Most engine configurations are focused on increasing combustion efficiency and engine power. If something is wrong with a vehicle’s engine, the car is usually left to a car repair shop for a number of days to get it fixed.

Lastly, car brakes are the devices used for stopping car motion. There are different types of car brakes, but all of them work for the same purpose. They are one of the most important safety feature of any vehicle. Brakes diagnostics is concerned with increased boost of brakes as well as brake repair and replacement.

When it comes to car repair, popular automotive services include AC repair and collision repair. Especially for old vehicles, ac units are not running as smoothly as before. They constantly needs some parts to be replaced. Auto ac units absorbs heat inside the car and expels it outside so it is a necessity especially during summer. Auto ac units differ according to car models so it is better if a mechanic is consulted before doing anything.

Collision repair, on the other hand, is part of auto body work and frame work services. Collision repairs are done for dented cars due to accidents or road mishaps. You can do these car repairs by yourself but they are such a meticulous process so it is much recommended if you seek professional help. Car repair services such as these require certain skills, techniques, and tools. There are people who were trained to specialize in such things, so let them do their job. Just make sure that you transact business with a reputable car repair shop that has competitive prices in exchange for high quality work.