Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are you thinking of starting a blog of your own?

Hello, everyone.
Today I would like to talk a little to anyone thinking about starting a blog of your own. I actually started this blog to enhance my computer skills during summer break in the technical program I was enrolled in. The first year I had taken the Microsoft Office Suite, including training in the use of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The first half of the class was frustrating and difficult, but before long I gained some confidence in the programs and in computer use in general. It helped that a few others in the class were in basically the same situation.
Maybe I should back up a little and give a little background to help illustrate how far one can progress with a little desire. This will date me, but I graduated from high school in 1975. If a young person of today was transported back in time to that year the state of technology would be shocking. PC computers were just beginning to be introduced, many in kit form, and Basic programming language was introduced that year. The video game Pong was state of the art. Calculators were the size of a dictionary, expensive, and only performed the most basic functions. To do subtraction on the first one I used one had to add a negative number. If that visitor from today told of the capabilities of today’s smartphone technology his sanity would have been questioned.
By the time I entered the technical program mentioned above I was over 50 years old, did not own a computer or a smartphone (although I did have a basic cellphone), no Email account, and had only the most rudimentary computer skills. I could sort of search the internet and had used a laptop to do vehicle diagnostic, but that was about it. After my experience with Microsoft office I began to see what I could do with technology but realized that I would need much better skills to do what I wanted to do. I ran across Blogger and thought it would be a good way to learn what I wanted and it would also let me hone my writing skills. The price was also very attractive, as well as the idea that the whole world would have access to my work. (That isn’t conceited, is it?)
My first blog attempt was targeted to truck drivers and contained some diagnostic information, but was mainly concerned with explaining how stuff works. I got some pageviews but it soon became clear that I needed a broader audience. I also realized that drivers on the whole are not large online users and as most of them already know everything, don’t really need information. (That is supposed to be a joke) I got the idea that maybe my fellow mechanics were the audience I was looking for, as well as laypeople with mechanical problems. This seemed to catch on quicker so I soon moved content from my first blog and shut it down in order to focus on The Toolbox. It took about 21/2 years to get the first 3000 pageviews, but then it started to take off. In the last year and a half readership has jumped to a little over 3000 pageviews per month average. Links are starting to be formed from other sites, readers are commenting on posts, a few people have posted on the forum, and some have emailed me with their problems.
Hopefully in the near future I will be able to get a couple of readers to write guest posts or even to become regular contributors. I intend to broaden the scope of my own posts to different topics, but don’t exactly know where that may lead.
I have written this to hopefully encourage someone to start a blog of his or her own and realize the benefits and satisfaction that I have. I once had an instructor who said that you never really know your job or vocation until you have to teach it to someone else. Although I certainly don’t consider my writing in any way teaching or instruction, thinking about how to put into words what I do and how I do it has made me better and more confident in my job. Believe me, if I can do it almost anybody else can.
     Here are a few links to some things to help you get started:
Writer's Digest
wikiHow blog
Thanks for your time

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Free services in vehicle repair

Hi, everyone.
Today I ran across this blog post arguing against offering free services to customers.

stop scanning check engine lights...

This post was obviously written for auto repair, but I think it goes double for truck repair specialists.

The site from which that post was linked also has links to other worthwhile blogs. Much of the information is specific to truck repair, and it would be a good one to bookmark.

Thanks for checking this out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Truck mechanic employment up 3.5%

Hello, all.

Data released on April 1 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics said truck technician employment rose almost twice the rate of all other occupations between May 2012 and May 2013.

 BLS truck mechanic employment

Rates for auto techs rose even more. The article cited an aging fleet as well as an improving economic situation as reasons for the increase.

Also noted that there was not a comparable increase in wages during the same period.

I wonder how long these conditions will exist before we see a long overdo wage increase in our profession?

I believe never until we start to demand it.