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  Net Worth

Posted 5/15/2007
By Colby Horton

Shop Site of the Month

Arizona Car Care Centers - Four locations in the Tucson, Ariz., area
www.arizonacarcarecenters.com

shop site

This site offers a professional home page with historical information about the shop. Visitors can schedule an appointment at any of the four locations or join the shop's mailing list through the facility's Web site. The "Ask-an-Expert" section allows visitors to ask automotive-related questions. Online specials are an added incentive to visit the site often. Professional photos and graphics throughout make this site stand out. At-a-glance information is presented on the right side of every page.


Web Wise

Compatibility of Windows Vista

Last month's Net Worth covered some of the features of Microsoft's new Windows Vista platform. Although the new features of Vista help minimize malicious software attacks, they have been known to prevent legitimate software applications from operating correctly. Here are some compatibility issues with some of the industry's shop management and estimating software systems that you need to know about.

Mitchell International reports that several of its applications do not operate correctly with the Vista platform. The company is researching whether Vista can be configured in such a way that would allow the Mitchell International applications to be installed on the new platform. In addition, the company will notify customers when its products are supported by Vista and are ensuring that future versions of Mitchell applications are fully compatible with the operating system.

CCC has identified some compatibility issues between Vista and some of its products, including Pathways, Connect, Accumark Advisor, Production Assistant and CompEst Estimating. In addition, CCC does not recommend using Microsoft Vista or its Internet Explorer 7.0 companion software for its software programs.

Audatex, a Solera company, has also been going through thorough testing of its products on the Windows Vista platform. Current versions of its software are not compatible with the system. However, future releases of its software will be compatible.

Alldata also has some compatibility issues with Vista. Although Alldata Online is completely compatible with the operating system, the company's disk-based information product is not compatible. The company expects to release Vista-compatible upgrades later this year. Alldata products such as its ServiceCenter Elite and Basic and AZ PartsConnect are not compatible with the Vista operating system.

According to Mitchell 1, the company has been diligently testing each of its core products with the latest version of Vista. The company's OnDemand5 Repair, Estimator, Manager and ManagerPlus are all compatible with the new operating system. In addition, Mitchell 1's Internet-based information system, OnDemand5.com, is also compatible.

Chip Bergquist, director of Direct-Hit development, said the compatibility issue with Identifix's Direct-Hit comes with the new version of Internet Explorer that comes bundled with Vista. "Approximately one-third of our customers are already using IE 7 with no reported problems. We have also been using the Beta version of Vista internally for a few months with no issues," he said.

So, if you're running any of the major management programs on your shop's computers, it's probably a good idea to wait before installing Windows Vista in your repair facility.

Net Numbers

Seventy-eight percent of the U.S. active home online population connects via broadband. In addition, an average of 34 hours and 50 minutes is spent online per person per month among broadband users.

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings

ASA Web Ways

Enhanced Shop Locator Drives More Consumers to ASA Shops

Using sophisticated mapping technology, the Automotive Service Association's shop locator, located on ASA's Web site at www.ASAshop.org, was created to help consumers find an ASA member shop within their local community. ASA recently announced that nearly 510,000 maps, with directions to ASA shops, were generated last year.

The shop locator allows motorists to search for an ASA business within a 20-mile radius of its location, and acquire driving directions to the facility. Traffic has increased exponentially in the past 16 months, up nearly 850 percent.

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