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  1. An Mp3Car story

    by , 08-07-2008 at 09:56 AM
    Posted by ecog in In and Around Mp3Car

    I started my career at Mp3car in the spring of 2005 right after I finished my Masters degree in Computer Science. One of my best friends, Mike, was working with Rob at the time and he mentioned that Rob’s startup company needed some help packing boxes. I figured why not make some extra money while I am looking for a Software development job. It wasn't something I was thrilled about, packing boxes, but it was a job and it paid the bills.



    My first day on the job, and my first responsibility, was to organize the new inventory that was piled up in the middle of the smallest room in the basement (about 12x12). The room reminded me of the pantry room we had in our house, you know, the place where you would keep groceries, dishes, etc...so I started calling it the Pantryroom. We've since moved out of there a long time ago, but my work machine is still called the Pantrybox.



    Anyway, so this room had a whole bunch of Lilliput boxes piled up in the middle of it along with some Xenarc products, M1-ATXs, OPUS products, CarNetix regulators, startup-shutdown controllers, and shelves fresh off of Home Depot. So I assembled the shelves, put them up along the walls and organized the products the best I could since I had no idea what most of them did.

    The hardest part of the job at first was learning the products and the accessories that came with them. Most were (some still are) not shipped to us in what you would call "retail packaging" so it is very easy to miss an accessory part unless you know the products very well or they are organized very well. In addition to this, creating the shipping labels was a very time consuming, error prone, and inefficient process. The store software and the shipping system were not interlinked so I had to copy and paste every single address line to two separate shipping systems, UPS and online USPS, and sometimes I had to fill out forms by hand whenever we shipped to military addresses. So what should have taken 5 minutes or less to ship a box, took 10 to 20 minutes or more.



    At the same time I was trying to figure out what all of these products did and how they fit in the big picture. Nat Wilson, who was my boss at the time, was a tremendous resource on this and I can safely say what I learned about how computers fit into cars, I learned from him. But for the more esoteric and wacky stuff (when Nat didn’t have time for my pesky questions) I frequently used the search function on the forum and I wasn’t disappointed since I could find my answers most of the time.



    About 3 months went by since I had started packing boxes and learning about the new world of mobile computing and I found myself spending less time looking for a software development job and more time learning about DC-DC power supplies and startup/shutdown controllers. In that time I learned a few things and one of them was Mp3car was a ship without a mast, paddling in an unknown sea with a collection of spoons as paddles and heading towards land that is somewhere ahead, albeit a long ways away. “Spooning” our way there wasn’t going to cut it, but towards the end of the summer I decided I wanted to stay and hopefully have a hand in building proper paddles, a mast, sail, a compass and plug the holes in the ship. Looking back at the decision what I really decided was to throw away the comfort (and nice salary) of a software development job and throw myself in the startup business with an unpredictable sea, a Kraken underneath and brewing storms overhead. Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t change the decision, but I would’ve done things a little differently.



    The way I really got to know the business was in September of ‘05. Rob and Nat took a month long scouting trip to Asia to meet with a few vendors and find a new monitor supplier. That left me in charge of store operations and our accountant...in charge of accounting. Trying to meet the company’s ends (order processing, shipping, phone and email customer service, phone and email tech support, inventory management, shipping supplies management, fraud screening) made for very long days, gray hairdo, and a boot camp on priorities management, multitasking and efficiency. The result of that fiasco was hiring Matt to help out with shipping and after a while support. He was smart, worked very hard and was a lot of fun to work with during his time here, but as it often happens people move on to bigger and better things.



    Since that September of ’05, my main role here has been with store operations. Just making sure the store runs in one capacity or another. For a while I was processing orders, fraud screening, inventory management, shipping and shipping supplies management, consulting, building hardware, some small internal software projects (like moving data from the old store to the new one), online store maintenance and a few other things that cropped up unexpectedly and at the most inopportune times.



    After a couple of years of doing that things were getting a little stale around here. However, things have changed recently since Heather came on board and I’m pretty excited about where the company is headed. There have been some changes in the past 8 months and a lot more to come.



    What I do these days is mainly techy stuff. I do the tech support and RMAs for Mp3Car, the hardware builds (although Scott is doing a lot of them these days), Project Management (hardware and software) for large clients, hardware consulting and systems design, and a few other things that crop up at the most inopportune time. I also take care of the CarNetix forum and tech support (email and forum), and manage the CarNetix inventory.



    In my free time I try to fix my car and I religiously follow the Green Bay Packers. I really hope something happens today and the Favre fiasco gets resolved one way or the other. I really don’t like drama and I’d much rather know whether Aaron Rouse is making his way in the starting lineup over “butterfingers” Collins (seriously dude, you’re a good solid player and I like you, but make friends with the jug machine or use glue or do something to hold onto those balls that keep slipping through your hands). I’m glad we got Grant back though and I am looking forward to the Vikings on opening night. They’ll be tough and the schedule looks brutal the rest of the year, but if you want to be the best you gotta’ beat the best right?



    Oh…my name is Goce and I’m from Macedonia. Did I mention I like football?

    I started my career at Mp3car in the spring of 2005 right after I finished my Masters degree in Computer Science. One of my best friends, Mike, was working with Rob at the time and he mentioned that Rob’s startup company needed some help packing boxes. I figured why not make some extra money while I am looking for a Software development job. It wasn't something I was thrilled about, packing boxes, but it was a job and it paid the bills.



    My first day on the job, and my first responsibility, was to organize the new inventory that was piled up in the middle of the smallest room in the basement (about 12x12). The room reminded me of the pantry room we had in our house, you know, the place where you would keep groceries, dishes, etc...so I started calling it the Pantryroom. We've since moved out of there a long time ago, but my work machine is still called the Pantrybox.


    Anyway, so this room had a whole bunch of Lilliput boxes piled up in the middle of it along with some Xenarc products, M1-ATXs, OPUS products, CarNetix regulators, startup-shutdown controllers, and shelves fresh off of Home Depot. So I assembled the shelves, put them up along the walls and organized the products the best I could since I had no idea what most of them did.

    Updated 10-20-2009 at 05:08 PM by Heather

    Categories
    mp3Car News
  2. August 2 - Scott Introduction

    by , 08-04-2008 at 01:31 PM




    Hello, my name is Scott. I am an intern at Mp3Car. Prior to my employment here I spent a lot of time on the forums doing research and dreaming up the perfect driving machine. Unfortunately, I lack the funds to move my dreams to reality in a timely fashion. But, thanks to Mp3car I have made a lot of progress in the past few months.
    Here at Mp3Car I spend most of my time preparing and shipping orders. I get to see everything that goes in and out. The coolest part of my job is that I can see what people order and imagine how they are going to make it work in their car. If you had a problem with your shipment, I’m sorry; it is more than likely my fault. Aside from all that, I take time to read the latest forum posts and test products new and old.
    In the future, I hope to give you all more insight on news and products related to the hobby. Keep up the good work guys! You all continue to impress me more and more each day.

    "The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown" - Albert Einstein

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 02:51 PM by ecog

    Categories
    mp3Car News
  3. July 31, 2008 - Self Wrapping Split Braided Sleeving

    by , 08-01-2008 at 08:52 AM


    We added TechFlex's 1/2 " Self Wrapping Split Braided Sleeving- Fire retardant Wire wrap to the store. This is great for organizing the messiest of car computer installations.

    Check out the demo movie here.
  4. July 30th - Xenarc 706TSA Launched

    by , 08-01-2008 at 08:50 AM
    Most of you know how aggravating proper placement of wires can be. Fret no more, the guys at Xenarc have engineered a way to make life a little easier for you. Xenarc's new 706TSA monitor has just been added to the Mp3Car store. This little guy sets a new benchmark in the mobile computing industry. It flaunts an automotive grade 650 nit lcd panel capable of displaying resolutions up to 1600 X 1200. New features include: an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness, mirror / vertical flip, a sturdy brushed aluminum bezel, LVDS signal processing; most importantly, an external input box that sends power and picture to the unit all in one cable. The box allows input from VGA or DVI along with 2 additional video inputs and 3 audio inputs. The 706TSA is the right product for those of you who strive for the perfect mobile computing solution. For more information see the 706TSAProduct Description.
  5. July 30th - Robert Wray Introduction

    by , 08-01-2008 at 08:48 AM


    My name is Robert Wray. AKA Fiberoptic on our forums. This nic goes way back to the original days of MP3Car when I had a super speedy uncapped 10mb cable modem in 1996 and nobody else was on the Comcast pipe. For the last 4 years MP3Car has consumed an average of 70-80 hours a week of my time. Before MP3Car became my life I worked at a small technology consulting company. I scoured the net for travel bargains, toured the United States and 12 other countries. I sailed on friend’s boats, rock climbed, and enjoyed the outdoors.



    Most of my work days at MP3Car consist of reading and replying to sales questions, reading the forums, testing new products and filling in where ever the rest of the team needs help. Currently we have two lab cars that we test things in. The original Toyota Highlander Hybrid which we used with Intel @ CES 2006 and a 2006 Scion TC(prototype dash photo below). My desk is also normally an explosion of technical parts, paperwork, projects, test equipment and ideas in progress.


    Recent public reviews of products I have tested are the SIIG , M4 ATX software and the Garmin Mobile PC.


    Expect more of these reviews on a regular on a basis as part of our blog.

    Many of you may have noticed that MP3Car has been undergoing changes over the last 6 months. One of the biggest changes here is the separation from our StreetDeck product which occurred in mid July. This separation will allow us to support all software efforts as well as redirect resources towards the growth of the community which has grown to 1.1 million posts and 101,000 global users.

    We hope to roll out several community upgrades before the end of the year. I believe one of the most important things we are doing is creating this new blog. A blog is the first of many infrastructure improvements that will allow us to more openly share information about the growth of MP3Car and exciting new things happening in mobile computing.

    All of the MP3Car team will be contributing to the blog on a regular basis as well as an occasional guest blogger. If you any ideas that you think should go on the blog, please send me an e-mail.

    Discussion about the MP3Car Blog will occur in this new forum which has been created here.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 02:45 PM by ecog

    Categories
    mp3Car News