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Tech Notebook: iPods users hit snags with hookup to cars

Posted by inet - 2005-11-02

Owners of Apple Computer iPods have trouble using their trendy music players in their cars, according to an unscientific survey released last week.
 
The ``quick poll'' of 150 people, done earlier this month by the www.autobytel.com car-buying Web site, showed that only 33 percent of iPod users ``very successfully'' hooked up their players to their rides. Most owners said they were only somewhat successful (36 percent) or unable (31 percent) to do it at all.

When asked to describe the iPod-to-car hookup experience, the most popular response was ``frustrating -- iPods are not easy to install or use in cars.''

There are 12 times as many 2006 car models that are capable of playing MP3s as there were in 2003, Autobytel said.

Users of its Web site will now find a video with step-by-step iPod installation instructions as well as a list of 10 cars under $25,000 that are iPod-compatible or can be made so with minor equipment upgrades. That list includes the Chevrolet HHR, the Honda Element, the Mini Cooper and the Scion tC.

OVERSEAS SURVEY: A survey of executives at small to mid-size electronics-related businesses found that many thought expanding abroad was increasingly important to develop overseas customers more than to cut costs.

The survey, done by a research firm for EE Times magazine, also found executives said the challenges of going global were substantial: cultural differences (language, work environment and lifestyle), operational differences (accounting, contracts, training) and the growing demand for overseas workers (cutting the supply of cheap, skilled employees).

The survey was done by KWR International, a research firm, for CMP Media, which publishes EE Times. The survey is published in today's issue of the magazine.

LOCATION VITAL: Speculate all you want about Silicon Valley losing its status as the tech epicenter. For some companies, location still matters. The latest example of a company making the move is VideoEgg, a small start-up out of New Haven, Conn. Founder Kevin Sladek was in the Bay Area last week to do business and hunt for office space. ``It's become clear that the tech mecca that is New Haven doesn't have the supportive environment we need as we staff up,'' Sladek said, tongue in cheek, after his plane landed in San Jose. ``All of the people we're interested in working with are out here.''

VideoEgg's business is providing an easy way for people to publish video to the Web. One of the companies VideoEgg is working with is Six Apart in San Francisco. Users of Six Apart's TypePad blogging service will be able to post video to their blogs using VideoEgg technology.

``This is our first deal with a marquee partner,'' Sladek said. VideoEgg will build tools for other Six Apart products as well. And Sladek sees other markets for the technology, including auctions, real estate listings and job listings.

``We're looking forward to exploring all these areas,'' he said.

CARDINAL ALLIANCE: Stanford University has announced an agreement with Apple Computer to produce free podcasts of lectures, student music, play-by-play of its football games and more.

There's already a ton of content in the iTunes store, including lectures from the Technology Ventures Program. (Note: You apparently can't gain access to the Stanford content directly from the iTunes store. You have go through the Stanford iTunes site first.)

Educators in many places have embraced podcasting to make their lectures more easily accessible. But Stanford's initiative seems the most ambitious.

The Apple agreement includes two sites: a public site, targeted primarily at alumni, which will include Stanford faculty lectures, learning materials, music, sports and more. A second site will be access-restricted for students, delivering course-based materials and advising content.



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