Have a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year, and thank you to all our loyal users who continue to help us grow and make better software. We will continue with upgrades and tweaks in 2018 as we always do, and will post more details in the weeks to come!
We will soon be launching a survey which you will see when you login, we appreciate any feedback our valued customers have for us to improve.
Thank you for a good year here at Auto Repair Bill and here’s to keeping your shop running smoothly in 2018 and beyond!
We are received a large volume of requests regarding our Android app not being able to login customers. The issue has been identified now, and a fix will be rolled out as promptly as possible. We would like to apologize to our customers for this inconvenience, it would appear only some phone models/android versions are affected, this does make it more difficult to fix but we anticipate a release before the holiday season.
In the meantime, we advise our customers to use the web app on their mobile until this can be resolved fully on the native app. We noticed issues also in accessing the service from mobile devices using Chrome, and this has been resolved now, please find that the login on website on a mobile device is accessible by clicking Menu at top of homepage, and selecting Login.
We are currently experiencing a high volume of user signups and our systems are getting a little strained, we will have everything back to the smooth service you are used promptly. Some aspects of our system need to be scaled better, and it is aimed to be completed by the end of the month.
Crypto-currencies are gaining major ground and mainstream interest in the last few years. Bitcoin is familiar to most people, it’s checkered past with incidents on the deep web like Silk Road, regulatory problems and corruption form NYC state officials, a mysterious headman that little is known about, and the biggest question on anyone’s mind when it comes to money is, “can I trust this”, the answer is yes you can.
The beauty of the blockchain is that it is decentralized, there is no one central repository or point of failure; the system can neither be contained or privatized into sectors, as many financial institutions are currently attempting, and here it is, the bank will just be another bitcoin consumer, equal to you, me and everyone else.
Traditionally when money is exchanged, lets say an immigrant worker tries to wire money home, currently this is handled by a trusted third party, a bank, Western Union, PayPal, all of whom steal you blind with massive fees to simply keep track of a ledger that says one party no longer has the funds and the other party now has the transferred amount and/or services. With the blockchain, there is no middleman, the ledger is essentially maintained across the globe on millions or more ‘nodes’, these all talk to each other and update eachother as transactions happen; maintaining one irreversible global, anonymous ledger, based on computers trusting eachother on established protocols. It is also completely transparent, everyone can see the ledger, but everyone’s identity is anonymous. Why is this distributed nature so important? It cannot be taken down, think of it like torrents for money but transferring, not making copies.
Consider what money really is; just a record of who owes what to who and accounting for it. Now we all know the banks made a spectacular mess of the entire global economy, but what if there was an alternative? What if this can be done by a trusted network of computers replacing the role of corruptible middle-men stealing more than a slice.
The fact that the blockchain is trust among people directly, and that the financial structure of the network can’t be influenced by deep pockets or manipulated with traditional banking deviousness and it is really pissing off the banking industry. All their quick buck screw the public and crash the world bankers who brought us quantitative easing, sub-prime mortgages, debt swaps, CDO’s, this cannot be done on the blockchain value system, and it is doubtful bankers will ever find a way of ever corrupting the blockchain; remember technology will always outpace regulation, law and control, but the wheels of law while moving slow, eventually come down with a mighty hammer. This is normal for any new tech, the government will want in, but until bitcoin becomes a legal currency, there really is not a lot they can do once your identity is concealed and you are careful where and how you transact. Crypto-currency is taxable in many countries so seek advice from a local accountant if you are going to trade on the blockchain or invest in it, if you are unsure yourself of any legal implications.
Of course the media are highlighting the phenomenal growth in the last year in bitcoin value, and there is still time to get in on it, but like any investment it is subject to risk and market fluctuation. The chart below shows in one year it has mushroomed from $750 up to over $11,000.
The bigger benefits of the blockchain lies within using it to transact in; paying for and getting paid with bitcoin and crypto-currencies, everything happens outside the traditional walls of banks and state, the benefits of doing business this way is much more profitable with very little regulation as of yet. The eco-system that blockchain provides is far greater than the currencies that sit on top of it. Their are rich APIs available to build all kind of value transfers on top of the blockchain, you will start to see ‘blockchain apps’ in the next year or two starting to appear. Think of traditional transfer of knowledge or assets such as a deed to a house, much of this is now already possible on the blockchain and more and more applications will be added.
Everyone worries about the bubble bursting, the blockchain is smart enough to have learned form the mistakes of historical financial structures and have an auto-correcting market valuation, crazy right? Yes, crazy but true…
It is worth noting the scale of the blockchain network, it currently consumes 1.4% of global energy usage, more than some small nations, and the amount of power required to mine a single bitcoin on the network would run in the region of $3-5000 depending on where you live in the world, still profitable of course, but gives an idea of the amount of computing power going into running the network.
A final note of one weakness of the blockchain, an obstacle to it’s wider adoption in retail is limited by transaction time, the likes of Visa are setup to handle peak transactions of 25,000/s, bitcoin is more like 6/s, often taking up to 15 minutes for a transaction to be fully processed, this is a big issue, throwing more computing power at it would solve it but as you can see that is very expensive, but better hardware is being built all the time, as well as more efficient software running the network.
For those willing to believe, take a little chance, It is a a Brave New World.
We hope to be introducing blockchain payment via bitcoin in January 2018, our new payment system will allow for subscriptions to be paid for in bitcoin currency and also your auto repair shop will be able to accept bitcoin from customers as a payment option, with an easy link or barcode on invoices to send payments directly to you! Sound good?
We were delighted to exhibit at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Aside from being an excuse to visit a fabulous sun drenched country, it was a most enlightening event with a whole new world of technology emerging all around us, including some interesting movements in auto tech. The event attracted a lot of high profile public figures and celebrities, including Al Gore, President and PM of Portugal, Stephen Hawking, Wycleff Jean and high profile government and financial types, hence the maddening airport like security entering the event every morning.
Self driving cars and ‘smart cities’ were discussed heavily, and many significant advances in commercial transport and fleet logistics, the first areas we are beginning to see driverless vehicles. Public transport in some cities around the world are also piloting driverless trains/buses or aiming to do so soon. Autonomous driving still has a lot of speculation and doubters, and sure the technology is far from perfect, it is getting damn close. I was extended a personal invite to check out an actual self driving car, I could not go far in the confines of the conference grounds but it was interesting to see how well the car reacted on its own to the environment around it.
We took the opportunity to figure out how best to scale our operations from industry leaders, as well as seeing what else is happening in the software eco-system for auto repair. Some of the most interesting avenues are of course further integration with 3rd party data services and parts services, we were hoping some of these may have been at the Web Summit but unfortunately not.
Interaction between shop and customer is something we will explore more as well as updating our mobile experience, we are in talks with several agencies that may be able to help in speeding up delivery on this. Further expansion in the mobile space can allow a better shop-customer experience and this is high on our agenda now, but more on these developments at a later time.
The conference was more focused on AI and FinTech, these topics were hotly debated not just technologically but also philosophically and in terms of the impact AI and robotics are and will have in our future, exciting times would be an understatement on what is on the way. One of the most interesting was a talking robot that was somewhat self aware, proclaiming that it fears itself, therefore so should humans also, for me, this is a little too close to Terminator and Skynet already and we are only dipping our toes! The rise of the machines is very real and humanity does need to exercise caution and responsibility with new technologies, the military often tend to ignore such warnings as history tells.
Most casual conversations with other attendees tending to wind up on the subject of blockchain and Bitcoin, so much to the extent that during the three days of the event there was a significant dip and immediate recovery in bitcoin valuation, and blockchain startups were well represented and some with very novel and charitable concepts, one notable one was for helping fund education in Africa.
Below are some of the better automotive related shots we got at the event, unfortunately no footage of testing the self driving car.
Formula 1 Racing Car
Remote controlled cars, drawing on a canvas, it was fairly nuts at the end of the day!
We are busy with preparations underway for our exhibit at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, and have now been assigned our day and booth location. Auto Repair Bill will be exhibiting at Booth A347 of the Software Conference on Day 2, Wednesday 8th November, at the MEO Arena in Lisbon.
Be sure to stop by and visit us! We will be in Lisbon from 3rd Nov – 11 Nov, please feel free to drop an email or tweet if you wish to arrange a meetup. Look forward to seeing everyone there!
As we get excited for our trip to exhibit as an Alpha Startup in Lisbon for this years Web Summit, we got a glimpse of what to expect and what to do at the Runway to Web Summit event in Dublin on thursday night at Dogpatch Labs, with both interesting and very funny talks. There was a good representation of startups here as to be expected. Although judging by a show of hands not many appeared, or admitted to having the runway to get to Lisbon, so it is hard to know who we may see again when we arrive in Lisbon! The talks were very casual and Irish, with crazy anecdotes about bathrooms and buying used underwear, with a good deal of swearing thrown just for good measure and added liveliness to the room certainly!
Spark of Genius Panel
On a more serious note the panels were interesting and insightful with the benefit of both hindsight and foresight from those who had been through the mill, and survived. Sponsored by ESB Spark of Genius, a panel of three recent finalists and winners from Spark of Genius gave their insights to approaching the scale of an event like the Web Summit and how they made it work for them. It seems the most important take away here was to not make an appointment with an investor before 2pm due to the Night Summit after parties which are both legendary and brutal for an early morning.
Paddy Cosgrave & Eamon Leonard debating a wide range of issues form tech to toilets
Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit) and Eamon Leonard (Cohort) had an entertaining mix of story telling, advice for the summit, anecdotes about the Web Summit first office and having to use the toilet in the Italian restaurant up the road, from little things, big things grow. Of course they poked fun at the infamous wifi incident in Dublin a few years ago, but I’m sure everything will run smoothly in Lisbon!
Auto Repair Bill will be exhibited at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, November 6-9, 2017.
We are excited to meet others in the AutoTech and SaaS business, it promises to be an interested event in a beautiful city. Anyone who would like to book a time to speak with our team our CEO is welcome to do so by contacting us through our website and we will see you there!
We will post more details such as our booth location once it has been assigned to us. Updates will be posted here and on our social media channels.
Thank you all for your patience while the post production bugs were ironed out of our recent upgrade, and for all the reports that helped us find and fix everything quickly! We are aware of a few minor niggles still remaining from the transition of some user accounts to the new system, if you have trouble with the switchover, please contact customer service.
We have compiled all the recent customer requests for updates and many of you will see more of what you have been asking for in the coming months, we will have more news on what is coming next shortly as we decide on our delivery schedule for future updates.
As you were likely aware we have been working on a new release for some time now, delivering a raft of new features, product improvements and important bug fixes.
The most anticipated new feature will of course be our new itemized labor entry for invoices and estimates. With this will also come much better document handling and conversion between documents, it is now much easier to convert a repair order to invoice, or an estimate to an invoice.
The overall responsiveness and reliability of the editor has been improved too, fixing many long standing issues such as losing filled in data when changing client or navigating away from the page accidentally.
Existing features to save time such as the QUIK Service and Preset templates have been seamlessy integrated to the new invoice system, you can still use your old presets that you have saved, it will automagically take you back to the classic editor, and you can of course you start creating Presets to use with the new editor too.
The QUIK Service feature is now a lot more useful and powerful when using the new invoice editor, giving proper detailed job breakdown on both time, labor cost and parts.
There is now also support for multiple labor rates on invoices, repair orders and estimates, you can set up to three rates in settings, but can override when required too.
There are now also a list of online parts ordering services, which will easily bring you conveniently to the ordering service from within the app.
There are now many more settings available to customize the software and invoices to your needs, most notable is the support for multiple labor rates.
Please take a moment to visit Settings and adjust the new system to make it function in the way most comfortable for you and your business.
Hi folks, there will be intermittent periods of downtime while we carry out our upgrade on our production servers, we anticipate disruption to be minimal, but if you do experience any minor issues, please wait, and try again later. If you experience any serious issues then please contact customer support for assistance.
Scheduled maintenance windows are 3AM – 8AM Eastern time on Saturday 7/9/2017, and 4AM – 8AM on Sunday 7/10/2017.
If you experience any difficulties with your account after the upgrade is complete, please contact us to check your account was upgraded properly.
Anyone who wishes to take a sneak peak at what is coming can do so by visiting the demo on our beta site.