Archive for the ‘inspection’ tag
We all have a horror story: you picked a mechanic from the phone book, made an appointment, took the car in for a minor repair, and got it back with three wheels missing and the roof on fire. That’s why John Formento, Jr. and his dad created OnlineMechanix, a scheduling system and discovery engine for local mechanics.
The site currently serves 700 repair shops and allows users to find shops in their area and schedule appointments online. Sadly, consumers have been slow to adopt the service (but that could change as the company begins a marketing push with some viral videos). They’re experiencing 100% growth in mechanic sign-ups, however, which suggests they may be on to something.
Because car owners make appointments one or two times a year, where you get your car fixed is quite important. Shop turnaround could send your favorite mechanic down the street and you may not visit the same place twice. OnlineMechanix makes this experience a bit easier and quite a bit more convenient.
“Currently there is no available way for consumers to search for an auto repair shop, schedule an online appointment with that shop and automatically keep track of their vehicle service history all on one site,” said Formento. “Our site is flexible in that the consumer can have their brakes done at one shop, inspection at another shop and transmission at yet another shop, but if they make their appointments from onlinemechanix.com they can track all their service history with all those shops automatically.”
“I came up with the idea for Onlinemechanix.com when I was trying to schedule an appointment to get my car inspected. When I called the shop I was greeted by a busy signal and after couple more tries I was finally able to get through and schedule my appointment. This experience got me thinking about two things. The first was that it would be so much easier to schedule my inspection if there was a website, like OpenTable, where I could easily find a local auto repair shop and schedule my appointment. The second was that mechanics must be interrupted continuously throughout the day by phone appointments.”
Formento and his father, John Formento Senior, are the two founders of the site and they live and work in Philadelphia. Their programmer, T. Ray Humphrey, worked on Microsoft platforms for twenty years. We met the Formentos in Philly during our meet-up and they were a charming pair, a sort of mini Click and Clack with a Pennsylvania accent. They launched the site on April 25.
“We want our independently owned auto repair shops to feel as though they are part of a bigger organization that will help them compete effectively in a tough environment,” said Formento.
In the dog-eat-dog world of auto servicing, it’s nice these guys are looking out for the two most important people in the equation: the small mechanic and, more important, the consumer.
If you’re in an area that allows you to bring drinks but doesn’t allow alcohol you can have your beer and drink it too by creating a soda can sleeve. The sleeve won’t pass a thorough inspection, but unless someone is grabbing your drink out of your hand you should be okay. More »
Workers at Apple partner Foxconn have alleged that their employer transferred under-age employees to other departments or did not schedule them to work in order to avoid discovery during recent inspections by the Fair Labor Association, according to one non-governmental organization.
Motorola Mobility shareholders voted today to allow Google to buy the mobile company.
With approximately 99 percent of shares voting in favor of the deal at today’s special meeting, this acquisition now must pass U.S. government inspection.
Google announced its intention to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion back in August of this year. The proposed deal has seen its share of twists and turns.
One stipulation of the acquisition was that if the deal didn’t pass muster with regulators, Google would be required to pay Motorola Mobility $2.5 billion. This exorbitant fee indicated to some that Motorola Mobility was concerned the sale might not go through due to antitrust concerns and the distinct competitive advantages Motorola Mobility might gain if given certain privileges over other OEMs.
However, Google is very aware of the fine line it walks between a great acquisition deal with one OEM and a soured relationship with all Android OEMs. The company said it will continue to give OEMs such as HTC and Samsung early access to new Android versions on a turn-taking basis, not favoring Motorola over the OEMs it already works with.
One individual, investor John W. Keating, even went so far as to sue Google over the deal, saying, “The offered consideration does not compensate shareholders for the company’s intrinsic value and stand-alone alternatives going forward, nor does it compensate shareholders for the company’s value as a strategic asset for Google.”
One major reason for the deal is the acquisition of patents that might help Google support the Android ecosystem in the courts, where manufacturers and the OS itself are under attack from companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle.
When the Android patent suits began, Google held fewer than 1,000 patents altogether — a staggeringly low number compared to the 20,000 to 40,000 patents held by some of its more aggressive competitors. However, a Motorola Mobility acquisition would provide Android makers with a great deal of legal firepower: The history of cell phones is filled with Motorola firsts. As a result, the company has a rich vein of patents for Google to mine. Motorola Mobility currently holds around 17,000 patents, with an additional 7,500 patents pending approval.
Contrary to popular culture, auto auctions aren’t all broken-down cars and police impounds: in reality, they’re often leased vehicles that have been returned to dealers and decommissioned rental fleets. If you do your homework, stick to your guns, and get a proper inspection at the auction, you can walk away with a remarkable deal. More »