Embracing Technology Hoof Beats Mmark
Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 30, 2014

Here we are midway through 2014, nearly two decades into the 21st century, and we've yet to have George Jetson's flying car materialize. I would hazard a guess that most of us are pretty thankful for that and that we can actually drive our own vehicles (the whole connected car thing kind of ruins the driving experience, if you ask any real car enthusiast). Though we all enjoy a nice drive in our Mustangs, no matter the model year, engine size, or number of pedals at our feet, there has been some great 21st century technology that us automotive types should embrace if you haven't already.

Take the lowly cell phone for instance. At the turn of the century, the typical cell phone was narrow and tall and roughly an inch or more thick. It made phone calls from the road or job site possible without stopping for a phone booth in some unknown neighborhood; but that's all it did. Today we have cell phones that are "smart" and can do so much more, yet are barely 3⁄8-inch thick. I recently upgraded from a Blackberry "smart" phone to a Samsung Galaxy S4 "smarter" phone (as I call it). I can easily call up applications to look for parts stores, find out torque specs, or even register for a car show online—all from my new phone. Dawn and I were recently out of town on the opening weekend for the new Need for Speed movie. Not only was I able to find the nearest theater with show times, but I bought our tickets on my Fandango app, saving us time in line.

There have been numerous advancements in computers throughout the first 14 years of this new century as well. I'm a bit of a PC geek myself, building my own machines versus store bought, so I follow the industry closely. From Intel Pentium IIIs and 100GB hard drives to today, where we have multi-core processors, solid state hard drives with no moving parts and 10 times the storage space. We went from a single "graphics card" to now where we often have multiple GPUs in one PC rendering full 3D graphics. Of course we can't ignore the trend to portable computing and touch interface. Tablets are everywhere now. Dawn and I just picked up a Microsoft Surface as our first tablet and I'm having a blast with it, reading my magazine subscriptions on Zinio, catching up on my favorite TV shows with Netflix, and much more.

Of course all of these devices wouldn't be as helpful to us without a robust Internet to connect to that is so full of data, images, and video that you could almost get lost in it all. Today's Internet is a far cry from the DARPA/ARPANET days (Google it if you're interested!) and today there are tens of thousands of websites devoted to just about any hobby or interest you can imagine, including our much loved Mustangs. Mustang Monthly's old website was one of them. A site where you could find all of the magazine's past content (features, tech, and so on) along with forums for user-to-user interaction, up to date event listings, and more.

We've now launched a new site, www.mustang-360.com, which will encompass Source Interlink Media's four Mustang/Ford brands under one site. This new site is live now and offers daily content from Mustang Monthly, as well as our three sister magazines. One of the advantages of such a site is the immediacy of posting event listings. Starting with this issue all event listings will be published on the new site versus the Coming Events column here in the magazine. So instead of worrying about getting an event listing in to us three months in advance for print publishing (and we get many that we can't publish due to production timelines), we can actually post it immediately on our new site!

The most recent trend for Internet usage with phones and tablets (and of course desktop PCs) is social media. The social media movement is a strong one and there are multiple ways to engage and be engaged with friends, family, and customers. Mustang Monthly's Facebook page is currently over one million "likes," but we also have a presence through all of the major social media outlets including Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, so be sure to look us up and follow/bookmark/like/pin, etc.

Don't be afraid of the technology! Smart phones, tablets, and social media are all great ways to engage with fellow Mustang fanatics, manufacturers, parts resellers, and of course us! Post photos to Instagram from a car show you're attending, pin those wheels you want for your Mustang on your Pinterest board, tweet your feelings about the 2015 Mustang, or simply post a video "walk around" on YouTube of your Mustang for everyone to watch. Once you get into it, there's a whole other world waiting for you. So check out our new site and our social media outlets and say "hello."