Shop Site of the Month
Oxford Auto and Tire - Oxford, Pa.
When your message is from the heart, people will hear how it rings true. Oxford Auto and Tire prides itself on building trust with customers, and its website works hard to show how much clients trust them. We loved the testimonials on every page, and the heartfelt message from the owner on the About Us page. What a great way to introduce yourself to potential customers!
Nominate your shop's site for a Net Worth profile. E-mail your Web site address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web Wise: Laptops with a Chrome Lining
On June 15, tech heads eagerly jumped online to order the first Chromebooks from Google, laptops running the Chrome operating system that store all data online "in the cloud." These slim and small notebooks (the biggest screen available is just over 12 inches) bring revolutionary changes to how we use computers for work and play.
For starters, the operating software eliminates installed software; everything becomes an "app," or application, that is run off the Web. Apps, both free and for-fee, are available at the Chrome Web Store at chrome.google.com/webstore. Now, that might cause a few problems for people who need specific software, such as Microsoft's Office Suite or Adobe Photoshop. However, Citrix is offering a web server for-fee service that runs Windows and provides users with their favorite software programs.
All your information - music, images, emails and documents to name a few - is stored online, allowing you to walk up to any computer terminal with Internet access and view your documents, which is useful if something happens to the laptop, like accidentally dropping it. Online storage is free with a Google account.
Google has been beta testing this product with large and small companies, as well as with educational institutions. It's clear, by the feedback they've published, that the biggest winners are information technology (IT) departments. They love the fact there's no system imaging needed; basically, they pass out the laptops and set up the online accounts for the users. In addition, with no downloading of documents or software, there's reduced risk of viruses and malware attacks.
However, the user's data exists solely on an external server controlled by a third party. Critics cite security issues as the biggest problem with cloud computing. You, as a business owner, need to evaluate how comfortable you are with placing your data out on a cloud. But for some applications in a shop, we could certainly see it as a worthwhile purchase: Consider placing one or two in service to be used for service information gathering, parts ordering or emailing customers.
And don't forget, Google is making the price point attractive for schools, so there will soon be a whole new crop of potential employees who will be completely comfortable with working strictly through web-based apps.
ASA Web Ways: Are You Ready to Graduate?
You can't receive your Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation and graduate this October in Orlando without completing the required self-study "Automotive Service Management Course." Available in both online and print versions from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), the course allows students to participate in interactive management training on topics including sales and marketing, personnel management and financial management. After students pass the required exam, they receive 18 credits toward their required total of 120. To order, visit www.AMIonline.org, and visit the online store to get started.
Google's share of the U.S. search market has remained flat, hovering around the 66 percent range for the last 12 months.
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