By Colby Horton
Shop Site of the Month
Bodkin Automotive Inc. - Sellersville, Pa.
This site offers a variety of innovative features that complement its useful information. Customers can schedule an appointment online directly from the Web site. A comprehensive list of services and maintenance plans answers any questions a prospective customer may have before coming to the shop. An "Ask a Tech" section allows visitors to ask questions about their vehicles. Online specials and links to other Web sites make this site a valuable tool.
Apple Releases New iPods Just in Time for the Holidays
Apple's new iPod is the "Tickle-Me-Elmo" of this holiday season. But the audience of Apple's fifth generation MP3 player goes well beyond the scope of children and teenagers. The new iPod is this generation's Walkman, and has truly broken the age barrier among consumers.
Four years ago, the iPod was introduced as a five giga-byte model created exclusively for playing music. But since that time, many have predicted that an iPod, with its unique design, could play more than just music.
When Apple announced in September that the company had a new product to introduce, it was assumed that a new video iPod was being launched. Instead, the company launched the iPod Nano, a slimmed-down version of its original. The sleek design offered a color screen and more storage, but stayed consistent in price. Apple had simply improved on the overall design of the iPod, but not necessarily the functionality.
Then in October - one month after the launch of the Nano - Apple introduced what everyone had been waiting for: the video iPod. The new iPod can play video on a bright 2.5-inch, 320-by-240 pixel display and costs between $299 and $399, depending on the storage capacity. The video iPod can store either 30 giga-bytes or 60 giga-bytes worth of music, audio books, photos or videos. If you're counting, that's 7,500 songs, 12,500 photos or 75 hours of video with the 30 GB model (double that for the 60 GB).
Music and videos can be downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store, which can be installed on both PCs and Macs (www.itunes.com). The new videos, which include music videos and the latest episodes of television series such as "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," run about $1.99 per download.
Apple also offers a $19 iPod AV cable for connecting the video iPod to your television. However, because the new iPod stores video at 320 by 240 pixels - one quarter the resolution of standard-definition TV - videos you send to a TV will appear slightly fuzzy.
I've already hinted to my wife that the new iPod is on my Christmas list. But if she hasn't purchased it by now, they may be difficult to find. I recommend you shop online first. Check the major retail stores like Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com) or Circuit
City (www.circuitcity.com). Apple has an online store as well (store.apple.com). And if all else fails, check eBay (www.ebay.com) or other similar auction sites.
Early predictions indicate that online sales this holiday season will increase to 25 percent over last year, hitting a record high of $18 billion.
Source: Forrester Research
ASA Web Ways
Need a holiday gift for someone in the industry?
Look no further than ASA's Online Store. Within the Members Only area of ASA's Web site, www.asashop.org, members can purchase ASA apparel, including outerwear, hats and shirts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Online Store offers complete e-commerce capabilities, including a shopping cart mechanism and online credit card transaction capabilities. Outside of ASA apparel, members can also purchase brochures, business aids, books and videos.