Sabtu, 13 Oktober 2012

Listening For The Problem: Automotive Technician Diagnostics

Most car owners have a special relationship with their car in a similar way that pet owners have a special relationship with their pets. What I mean by this is that car owners usually know every single last one of their car's performance, irregularities, quirks, and tendencies. While most brand new cars almost always start out running in a uniform way to other new cars of the same make and model, after a while, your car begins to development its own personality. This is probably caused by the way you drive, which reinforces the idea that there is a special relationship between a driver and his or her car.

Assuming one knows what to expect from their car, whenever something new or out of the ordinary happens, the driver knows something might be wrong. One of the surest telltale signs that something is wrong with your car is when you hear a noise that you are not familiar with. Cars make all sorts of noises, but a driver should be able to distinguish normal noises from new ones. Automotive technicians do not have the intimate knowledge of your car that you have, so when you come to them describing a new noise, it is up to their expertise to interpret it to locate the real problem.

Learning how to listen to customers describing problems with their cars, especially in terms of new noises, is a part of automotive technician training. The mechanic can't expect the customer to be experts and use real, technical descriptions of the problems. Instead, there are several general noise descriptions that the mechanic should be ready to identify.

- Rattling, Clattering, and Banging: Mostly engine problems due to engine oil deficiencies or engine fuel problems.

- Loud Shots: If this occurs when the car starts, it is probably the engine backfiring due to problems with the ignition.

- Screeching, Wheezing: These sounds could be due to loose or damaged belts in the engine, like the drive belt or the fan belt.

- Whistling, Hissing: Likely the engine is overheating, check the cooling and exhaust systems.

- Popping, Sputtering: This could be from a dirty air filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced.

- Ticking, Rapid Clicking: There is probably a problem with the fuel transfer from the fuel pump to the carburetor and both should be checked.

Some noises indicate more serious problems than others, while other noises are common developments that happen to a car over time. Automotive training schools have many ways to train the mechanic to diagnose problems, using a combination of simulated customer descriptions and real workshop engines. In both cases, learning to listen is an efficient way to begin identifying the problem.

So trust your ears when hearing something new coming from your car, and trust the automotive technician to know what you're talking about. Sound good?

Selasa, 11 September 2012

What's Original About the DJ?

Depending on your personal context, the term DJ, or Disc Jockey, can conjure up many different kinds of images: people chatting away in radio booths, guys flipping through milk crates of vinyl, or hipsters crouching over laptops. Despite these differences, one old assumption most people had about DJs is that they are not original musicians-that is, they play, or 'spin,' the music of others for the entertainment of an audience.

But today, this is much less the case, as many DJs do compose original music and the art of being a DJ in some musical genres is considered as a real musician. This is especially the case in rap and hip-hop music, as well in most forms of electronic music like dance and techno.

The DJ as Entertainer

Originally, the term disc jockey was reserved for people who simply put on the music of others and had no creative input themselves. This was especially true for the radio, where the DJ's tasks were selecting and playing records, and telling the listeners about the records and the musicians. The DJ who plays music at special events like weddings is also not considered a musician.

The DJ as Performer

Early club DJs were once not that much different from events DJs. But with the rise of disco, dance music, and electronic music, the club DJ began a more involved form of "mixing," segueing from one song to the next. Mixing involved many creative skills, like adjusting the tempo for "beat matching" for create seamless mixes. They also began the style of slowly integrating "samples," bits of one recorded song, into other songs, creating "mash-ups." These techniques had to be learned and practiced in much the same way as learning an instrument. Mixing, beat matching, sampling and mash-ups are today all foundations of DJ training.

The DJ as Composer

The main gear of the DJ as musician consists of turntables, CD players, mixers and samplers. Because electronic music is bigger today than ever, with several dozens of sub-genres, there exists much more elaborate equipment for today's DJ. This new equipment is not only for the live playing and mixing of records, but also for composing music. MIDI keyboards, controllers and drum machines are all popular DJ hardware, and when combined with DJ software like sequencers and multi-track digital recorders, the DJ can write, record and produce original music.

Much of this equipment is quite complex, but that isn't stopping many enthusiastic people rushing to audio school to master this gear. Like how the guitar shot to popularity in the 50s and 60s, today's turntables and laptop sequencers are placing the DJ at the centre of music's avant-garde.

Selasa, 21 Agustus 2012

Auto Careers Beyond Mechanic

The automotive industry is in a time of flux. There are many factors at play. After a short-lived rise in the popularity of SUVs, there has been a shift. Increasingly, consumers want smaller, more efficient vehicles, with fewer to zero emissions.

Many have expressed a desire to no longer be at mercy of fluctuating fuel prices. And on the manufacturing side, the American and Japanese car companies have really had to work hard to bounce back from economic crisis and environmental disaster, respectively. What kind of auto careers does the automotive industry offer to today's young car lovers, beyond auto mechanics?

The answer: plenty.

Truck transport specialist

Canada is still dependent on the trucking industry for the transport of most of its goods. This is one of those automotive careers that are likely to remain in high demand, just so long as our economy remains dependent on truck transport - a state of affairs that is not expected to change any time soon.

Fleet manager at a car share service

Many Canadian urbanites are foregoing car ownership, but would still like to have occasional access to a car, for errands and trips out of town, via one of the country's multiple car sharing services. These car sharing services require car savvy staff to oversee their fleets, to order new vehicles, to negotiate contracts with mechanics, etc. If attitudes to car ownership are changing, it may even lead to the creation of more automotive careers.

Electric car designer

Over the past few years, you may have noticed a slow but steady increase of the number of electric and hybrid cars on our roads. Quebec has even put in a place a plan for the electrification of its road network, with charging stations in the parking lots of private businesses. Some condos now advertise that they come equipped with charging stations for electric cars. Although the first electric car was actually developed a century ago, electric car design is one of those automotive careers that still needs leaders and innovators. Could you come up with the next big design?

Custom hot rod designer

Whereas auto mechanics are primarily concerned with what's under the hood, body shop artistes are more concerned with the hood itself.

Body shop repair is one of those auto careers where you can specialize. If you have an interest in classic hot rods and muscle cars, then this is a career, beyond auto mechanics, where you can work with classic vehicles, restoring them to their original state, or taking them to new heights.

Bonus: in some rare cases, custom hot rod designer is one of those automotive careers where the crème de la crème can even find themselves with a deal for a TV reality show.


This is another one of those auto careers that has been transformed by recent technological developments. Today's dispatcher must be as handy with a computer as they are with a two-way radio. Much of their job involves using the latest logistics and mapping computer tools.

Young people today may find that evolving nature of today's automotive industry may lead to the creation of even more automotive careers in the future.

Selasa, 17 Juli 2012

Professional Audio Training Can Save You Years of Networking Time

Networking is the lifeblood of the sound business. You might be the best deejay in the world, but it won't mean a thing if you can't get anyone to listen to you play. One of the fastest ways to build your network is to attend DJ school. In addition to learning everything that escaped your original realm of experience, you'll meet fellow students and be taught by respected sound professionals in a challenging environment.

Most deejays are self employed, making anywhere from 40$-200$ an hour (while others are paid much more than that). The majority of these music professionals are creatures of the night who enjoy the freedom of planning their own schedules at the venues that are best suited to their personal tastes.

Of course, before getting to this point a deejay already has to have a good reputation and a built rapport with his/her clients and/or employers. While a reputation can come with years of networking and socializing, many people don't have the liberty of that much time, especially when there are no professional guarantees.

While many deejays dream of global recognition, and playing in the deejay meccas of the world (think Ibiza, Amsterdam, London and New York), most aim for a residency, and go from there. If you have no actual education, this residency may very well be the end of the road for you.

On the other hand, studying audio engineering, or taking audio courses can put you on the fast track on the path to international recognition. And you won't be restricted to working venues and parties. Professionally trained deejays can work in music production for television, radio and films. You can even work with professional musicians, or in some cases, even cut your own record (think Tiesto, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jeff).

In addition to supplying a fulfilling education, a DJ school usually offers students recording studio time, covering everything from postproduction to live recording. This allows students to get hands-on training, putting everything learned in theory to practice. Additionally, DJ schools offer their students the opportunity to work with the latest computer software, while simultaneously teaching them the key elements to ensure that the students can keep up with the latest changes in music software. Upon graduation, the majority of these institutions request that their students prepare a final project to showcase the range and versatility of their skills. While this is great practice for students, it also provides them with a finished product that is portfolio ready. Working deejays know the value of studio time - and a student with a professionally prepared piece of work to showcase to potential employers and clients is defiantly at an advantage.

Even without professional deejay training, most driven individuals can make a name for themselves in the audio industry, but attending a DJ school will definitely get you there little faster. The people you will meet will allowing you to build your network more quickly, and provide you with a finished product at the end of your studies - and these are two things that you will need if you ever want to make it in the music industry.

Selasa, 26 Juni 2012

How Do We Measure a Car's Performance?

If you grew up around cars and car lovers, you probably hung out at some local parking lot in the evening on designated nights, where people would drive their modified cars to show off, compare, and exchange mechanical secrets.

In some cases, perhaps these meet-ups would lead to drag racing. Because drag racing is more often than not frowned upon by the local authorities, not to mention residents, comparing car performances should be left to talking shop and matching stats.

What do we talk about when we talk about a car's performance? One of the most common numbers people will offer as proof of their engine's power is horsepower. Another figure is a car's zero to sixty time. These two above figures do give an indication of car's ability for speed.

But what is left out of the equation is that these figures are only one hundred per cent reliable if one is assuming that the roads being driven on are completely flat, smooth and straight. This is never the case in real life, where roads are never one hundred per cent even.

Taking into consideration turns, irregularities, bumps and slopes, one must add the car's suspension into the mix to get an overall idea of its performance. Skilled auto mechanics will tell you that without a good suspension, horsepower and zero to sixty are worthless. Here is a breakdown of these three factors:

As stated above, suspension is what allows a car to run smoothly over any type of road surface. The suspension helps the tires remain smoothly on the road in any condition. It absorbs the shock from bumps, keeping the wheels from hitting the frame. It also shifts the weight of the car so that all four wheels remain firmly on the road during fast acceleration, braking, and sharp turns.

This is the power of the engine, which is why it is one of the most popular figures to define a car's performance. It is how much work the engine can do within a specific time. The term comes from the old statistic that it takes one full minute for a single horse to pull 33,000 pounds the distance of one foot.

Zero To Sixty 
The proper term for this is the car's acceleration, meaning how much time it takes for a car to reach 60 miles (or 100 kilometers) from a still position. This figure is a little more practical than pure horsepower because it is not simply an engine statistic. But there are many factors that can affect the acceleration, like tire pressure, road conditions, and driver's abilities.

For anyone interested in cars beyond the regular local parking lot meet-ups, understanding suspension, horsepower and acceleration are all an important first step to really knowing what one is talking about regarding performance. If one wants to pursue an automotive career in either servicing or modifying cars, it is fundamental to understand the relationship between these factors for guaranteeing the smoothest and best ride.

Rabu, 16 Mei 2012

One Dispatcher for Many Types

Trucking dispatching is a central role for a large network of professionals. They form the communicative liaison that allows the transportation and delivery industries to run smoothly. Whether helping to plan jobs, or reacting to last minute changes and problems, it is the dispatcher's job to make sure everyone else is on board.

Because of this role, the dispatcher has to be a people-person, and more importantly, know how to deal with different kinds of people, understand their concerns, and speak in their language. The most common professionals the dispatcher works with are:

- Truckers

- Clients

- Fleet Managers

- Servicemen

- Authorities

Each person working in one of these fields expects and deserves a dispatcher who is always ready to communicate and help them to do their jobs better. This is why dispatchers must have the necessary skills to know these different types and be ready work with them on their levels.


A trucker's main concern is being focused on the road. They need a dispatcher who can communicate clearly and effectively. At times, truckers may need information quickly, for example if their planned route is unexpectedly interrupted, and so the dispatcher needs to be able to make quick decisions for the trucker. Truckers also spend a lot of time alone, and so it helps if the dispatcher is able to lend a friendly and familiar ear from time to time.


In dispatcher training, one learns all about the different types of jobs for different types of clients, whether they are sending a load or expecting one. A dispatcher must be professional and courteous when dealing with clients, and know how to be responsive to their needs. Clients might also be less familiar with the technical details of trucking, and a dispatcher should be patient and ready to explain to them what they should expect.

Fleet Managers and Servicemen

These professionals have a special technical language and jargon of their own, which the dispatcher should be somewhat familiar with. Taking some standard automotive service or fleet management courses alongside dispatcher courses is a good way to ease the exchange of information between these two professions.


A dispatcher often has to deal with many different types of authorities, like local highway police, international border authorities, and even safety and compliance authorities depending on the job. For this, the dispatcher should have a level of respect and courtesy. It may be the case that problems with the authorities can disrupt the dispatcher's job, but the dispatcher should have patience and understanding in these cases, in order not to further jeopardize the deliveries.

If you are they type of person that knows how to adjust your style of communication depending on whom you speak with, then you might just make an ideal trucking dispatcher.