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Comment Re:Hmmm... (Score 1) 160

Doesn't take long to decide we like ya, especially if you have special needs (little old church lady, hard-pressed single mom or retiree, just all-around decent person)...of course, we're a small shop. A person who's friendly, not foul-mouthed (remember, professional environment, sometimes with kids around) and shows some self-respect and respect of others gets put on the short list...and bringing Krispy Kremes or the like is always a plus!! ;-)

Comment Re:Proper tools (Score 1) 160

As a professional, I wish more folks knew a few basics like you've mentioned. Word to the wise...you can get an OBD2 dongle on ebay for less than $10US that can talk to an android phone via bluetooth. If you have a program like Torque installed, you can read/clear trouble codes and look at live engine/transmission data. Even if you don't know much, information is power. All you have to do is plug it into the diagnostic port (usually under the dash by the driver's knee), turn the key on (start the engine if you like). A bit of research as a savvy consumer is a wonderful thing. If you have an IDevice, you'd need a wifi-capable dongle, as opposed to bluetooth (a bit more expensive, but readily available too), but the software is available and the final result is the same.

Comment Re:It's been tried before, in the 90s. (Score 1) 160

Quick-lube outfits can sure cause problems, though. Poorly-trained kids pushing as fast as they can...loose drain plugs and leakage, etc. We've had to do a lot of follow-up repairs after oil changes...make sure the people you use are thorough in what they do. There are good lube shops out there; choose wisely...

Comment Re:Hmmm... (Score 1) 160

Excellent point...we have such arrangements. On very rare occasions, for long-standing customers, we have retrieved/returned cars. It hurts a bit at $100/hr, but that sort of customer is well worth it. Some even stop by the shop for the ocasional good-natured session of giving us a hard time and receiving the same in kind. Our clients are a great bunch! Loyalty to your shop, and they to you, is priceless!

Comment Hmmm... (Score 2) 160

Experienced mechanic here (35 years)...a mobile mechanic who's well-outfitted can do well for a lot of jobs, but the whole "accurate diagnosis over the phone" thing is a bit disconcerting. We have 10's of thousands tied up in diagnostic gear (scan tools, oscilloscopes, dvoms, etc) and it can still be pretty tough on some jobs to get the car to glitch and figure it out. The folks who make you jump through the most hoops to help them ("can you come to me?", beat you to death haggling, etc) are generally the hardest to please, too. I wish these guys the best, but unless they're cherry picking, it could be a pretty tough gig. As for me, no thanks; I have plenty of work as an independent, and an excellent reputation that I don't want to jeopardize...I can serve the customer much better in a full-on shop.

Comment Old Versions (Score 1) 249

uptodown.com hosts old versions of several android apps including es file explorer. The page loads in Spanish first, but changing to another language is pretty easily done. Versions of ES back to 1.6.1.6. That old enough for ya? And it's always passed every malware scan I've run. Of course, YMMV, caveat emptor, and all that...

Comment Re:-40? (Score 1) 397

No, it's talking engine bay temp (that's where lots of PCMs are, you know) Underhood temps can get pretty high when you factor in summer heat in the desert, sitting at idle, with a 6-900 degree exhaust manifold sitting just inches away (yup, they get THAT hot!). And while cabin temps in a parked car with rolled-up windows in the summer in the desert don't quite hit 260, the do get really hot. A PCM mounted inside the vehicle has to be able to tolerate that, too. And yes, while the engine is running, it has to be able to deal with this. Although the cabin cools down quickly when you get in and open it up or turn on the a/c, the little nooks where they mount the PCM don't get the airflow and cool down a bit slower. Plus, the case is still really hot, so the internal temps of the PCM remain high for quite a bit. The environmental conditions these things are exposed to is insane.

Comment Here's a cheap and easy solution... (Score 1) 270

I use OBD Guage on a lifedrive and on my laptop for basic stuff; it's easier than pulling out my "real" scanner with all the cables. It's a nice basic program that does data stream, snapshots, acceleration tests, reads and clears codes, and some other stuff. For hardware, I have a cheap ODB2 bluetooth dongle I got off ebay for 30 bucks that talks to the palm and lappy. It has about 25 feet of range, which is great when you have to work under the hood while watching the data. Best part--no cables to drag around. It won't talk to ABS or airbag computers, though. Still, for engine control diagnostics, it's about all most folks would ever need, as it does read all the popular protocols. The have a pocket pc version too. Since most folks here already have a pda or smartphone or laptop, the final cost is about 30 bucks and a 2-week wait as they ship from China. http://www.qcontinuum.org/obdgauge/

Comment Re:clam (Score 1) 896

I gotta agree with the Captain on Clam here, but with a twist. I run a v-lited vista install without IE and a lot of the other junk. Other than a hardware firewall and the vista firewall, I don't have any protective stuff on my system and never get an infection. How do I know? From time to time, I boot from my Ubuntu thumb drive, update clam, and scan the system from outside windows (I don't trust a scan from within the os, but that's just me). So far, system's stayed clean, but I'm careful about where I browse (no porn or warez). I also turn off flash and/or javascript on many sites--I put buttons for that on my toolbar in Opera. It's funny, I've found about half or three quarters of the microsoft updates don'd apply to my system, since they're for systems I've removed and replaced with other options--Opera and FOSS stuff.

Comment Re:Transistor count (Score 2, Informative) 219

No, I bet his caffeine content is fine. The 68K transistors would refer to the 68000 procs from Motorola which were 16- or 32-bit depending on configuration. Some of them could be switched at boot time by holding one of the pins high or low (I forget which...where are those old data sheets I have on those?) Of course the 65xx series and the 6800 series were 8-bit, however, they didn't have close to 68K transistors. But GP is right on, 68K transistors for a 32-bit architecture.

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