Saving, investing and making money with technology

Month: February 2017

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Understanding P2P Investing, The Gateway to Financial Freedom

It is always good to invest in life. With the proper type of investment, one is assured of a bright future. This is because investing helps save current resources for future use. As these resources accumulate, they reach amounts that can be used to facilitate big projects.

P2P investing is an abbreviation coined to refer to peer to peer investing. With the advent of the computer age, the world that we previously knew has transformed into one global village. This means that one can accomplish a lot with the help of the internet. P2P is a product designed to take place via the internet.

Back in time, people used contemporary methods of personal and business investments. The end results were not so much encouraging. However, P2P investing has helped change the lives of many. Presently, people can realize more than ten percent increment in their initial investments. For this reason, P2P is the investment machinery adored by many people, but as with every aspect in life it takes some words of caution before investing. Therefore, SlickBucks is sharing some thoughts about using P2P investing for reaching your financial goals.

Entities of P2P Investing

With P2P, people and businesses alike have the ability to seek financial aid for close friends, relatives, and even their neighbors. The best thing about P2P is that it encourages virtual communication. Conducted via the internet, people in need of financial aid are able to get in touch with online lenders. Hence, it is a timely and very efficient system. In addition, both parties can easily negotiate the terms of engagement. Unlike in banks where the terms of an agreement are fixed, P2P investment allows active negotiations between borrower and lender.

As a P2P investor, one is guaranteed of very high returns. At the end of the day, it is the investor who determines the interest rates, unlike for banks whose rates are dictated by the federal government. There is a distributed risk that comes with P2P investment. It is generally the duty of an investor to determine the amount of money that he is willing to give to a particular client. Hence, he is able to devise his own distribution criteria. In so doing, he reduces the amount of risk that would characterize a single transaction where a lot of money was sourced out.

It Does Not Cost an Arm Or Leg To Succeed In P2P Investing

P2P investing is just like any other little girl’s fairy story. Although complicated for newbies, it is a discipline that one can easily succeed in if he uses the right procedure. Getting the right loan facilitator website is a pre-requisite for any investor. A good facilitator site normally has high client reviews since it is known to provide adequate and safe transactions. It is the only way that an investor will protect his

funds and at the same time remain guaranteed that such a site is able to deliver on its promises.

Since good sites always rate borrowers differently, it is always advisable for a P2P investor to deal with clients that have remarkable credit records. By doing this, the lender is assured of receiving his returns the end of the day. In addition, investors are encouraged to deal with clients exhibiting minimal risk. It is these types of borrowers that are able to pay their loans on time due to the small interest rates involved.

A good investor is always able to analyze current market trends. In a growing economy, borrowers are able to pay their loans on time. However, times of economic turmoil encourage borrowers to default on loans since they might not necessary be able to raise such funds at the end of the day. Understanding such trends helps a lender to avoid unnecessary losses.

In a world highly advanced in technology, P2P lenders are encouraged to make use of investment tools. These are mechanisms create so as to automatically analyze economic systems, especially in online lending sites. From time to time, human beings are prone to forget. However, P2P tools enable an investor to automatically set a given tool so that it can be able to alert him whenever a particular condition has been met.

Last but not least, peer to peer investing does not constrain a lender to one particular loan facilitator site. Due to the flexibility involved, an investor might choose to be associated with two or more facilitator websites, depending on his financial capacity. In this way, he is able to cater for the financial needs of a larger population thus helping increase in his returns.

Finally, to be a successful lender one is required to set certain goals and objectives. It is these objectives that will help an investor maximize efficiency by providing a rational strategy on how to distribute resources.

Therefore, peer to peer investing is a concept that was developed many years ago but only developed recently. It is a move meant to encourage online lenders and at the same time protect them from getting exploited by people with devious means.

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Madison Avenue Manslaughter in Second Edition

Exposé of Advertising Industry’s Downslide Updated to Uncover Further Deterioration in Perception, and Continued Leadership Denial

The second edition of Michael Farmer’s advertising industry-shaking manifesto Madison Avenue Manslaughter was  released today by LID Publishing. Subtitled “An Inside View of Fee-Cutting Clients, Pro

fit-Hungry Owners and Declining Ad Agencies,” the book’s new iteration features a Foreword by Ogilvy CEO John Seifert as well as several updated sections chronicling an industry in a state of disrepair beyond what was reported in the 2015 edition.

Madison Avenue Manslaughter outlines the hows and whys of steadily declining fees, increased workloads, diminishing industry perception and morale, kickback scandals and opacity characterizing relationships among advertisers, holding companies, media buying companies and creative ad agencies. The exposé has been called “required reading for everyone who works in advertising—marketers and agencies alike.”

Against this background, the book cites a steady 4.5 to 5 percent year-over-year decline in advertising agency prices over the past 25 years—the constant dollar price (income divided by workload, with inflation removed) for agency work has declined from approximately $400,000 in 1992 to $139,000 in 2015, and the deterioration continues year-over-year. However, agencies keep hoping that improved creativity will answer their predicament, instead of mending practices of loose management, thin use of data, and little understanding of workload.

A systemic problem is that major advertisers expect their procurement departments to cut agency fees year-over-year, whether through straightforward fee reductions or agency reviews, calling advertiser accounts onto the mat. Notes Michael Farmer, author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter:  “They fail to see a connection between the poor performance of their brands and the commoditization to which they have subjected their disenfranchised agencies.”

Meanwhile, in their quest to appease shareholders, agency holding companies oblige their agencies to reduce costs to make up for revenue shortfalls, with increased profit margins resulting from financial engineering. As a result of cutting jobs and salaries, agencies are enfeebled even as clients expect more creativity, increased digital presence and improved brand value. At the same time, to make up weaknesses in agency capabilities, holding companies have had to turn themselves into “super-agencies” to meet clients’ growing needs for integrated creative and media services.

Madison Avenue Manslaughter  lays out the elements of the perfect storm that characterizes the current highly complex state of the advertising industry. Observes Farmer, “Everyone needs to retrench. Brands need to stop commoditizing agency services and take some responsibility for their falling brand value—they must rethink the role of the advertising agency in building back that brand value.”

The book counsels that holding companies and media companies must do likewise, while addressing the recent media kickback scandals that have further eroded agency perception and decimated the morale of the industry. “The only solution, as I see it, is to reestablish the relationship between agency and advertiser wherein the agency becomes, once again, a strategic, proactive partner playing a key role in increasing brand value,” says Farmer.

One possible bright note in this scenario is that, according to one study, CMO tenure is getting longer—from a nadir of 25.1 months from 2004 to 2008 to 48 months in 2014. Asks Farmer, “To what extent is the dispensable CMO a reflection of the disposable agency? My advice to CMOs who want to steady their ship is to work out their long-term relationships with their agency partners.  While the mix of media, social, content and creative isn’t going to get fixed overnight, it’s critical to set a long-term plan in motion, and then execute on it.”

About LID Publishing

LID publishing specializes in working with business authors and organizations to help them develop content to promote their brand, message and expertise. Founded in 1993, LID has over 1,700 authors and continues to add approximately 120 new titles each year. Visit http://lidpublishing.com.

About Michael Farmer

Michael Farmer is author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter and CEO of Farmer & Company, a consultancy to the advertising industry drawing on Farmer’s 25 years of deep experience in the sector. Visit http://farmerandco.com.

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10 Steps To Become A Certified Ethical Hacker

A hacker is someone who breaks into a computer system or a network to gain insight of what the systems contain. Most organizations require the service of ethical hackers to ensure the safety of their network. This prevents a lot of incidents like data theft. Here are the steps to become a certified ethical hacker.

10 steps to become a certified ethical hacker

1. Programming

A programmer is a person who makes software and websites that need to be secure. A hacker finds the faults with these programs by acting as a security analyst. So, it is important that he has knowledge of programming.

2. Networking

Today, we share a lot of data on networks like the internet. So, certified ethical hacker training includes training on network security as the hacker has to know about the vulnerabilities.

3. Encryption and Decryption

This deals with cryptography where you decide on how to ensure the security of something. Other ways of encrypting includes fingerprints, one time password etc. When you know encryption, you should know how to decrypt too.

4. Database Management System

A hacker must know about the creation and management of databases so that he understands ways to hack these databases.

5. Linux/UNIX

Linux is a powerful operating system and is an open source one. Anyone who reads the codes can understand how to make changes if something goes wrong. So while learning to hack, it is better to use this OS.

6. Code in C Programming Language

You can easily learn other computer languages if you know C programming language. Linux is coded in C making it easy to understand for even beginners. So, a hacker can start with C.

7. More programming languages

It is important for hackers to know more than one programming language. He may have to work with various languages when he starts work some of which include Python and Java. You can look for tutorials online that help with languages.

8. More than one Operating System

A hacker must be familiar with all the operating systems like Windows, Linux/UNIX, Android, Cent etc. As an ethical hacker he may have to work with various operating systems. So, start learning one by one.

9. Experiment

Trial and error is the best method of learning something. Set up your own lab to do experiments on what you learnt. Own a computer system which has a powerful processor, memory etc. This will come handy when you do advanced experiments. Only by continuous practice, you can be a good hacker.

10. Continue learning

To be the best in hacking, you have to continue your learning and not just stop with the certification of the EC council. You have to be updated about the changes in security. Try new ways of exploiting systems and find your way to success.

A certified hacker is a very important person because security is the greatest concern in networks. Ethical hacking courses help you know about the latest ethical hacking methodologies and you can walk away with the best hacking skills.

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5 Best USB Chargers to Power up your Gadgets

best USB mobile chargers

USB chargers are making life more simple and convenient for all gadget lovers. In this era peoples are mainly dependent on tech gadgets and especially mobile device. You must have notice that most of the peoples carry their smartphones or other gadgets in their hand or using it. This creates the need of more power to juice up their gadgets for longer use. Before USB phone charger there were device specific chargers on which we were dependent, as if they malfunctioned you can’t do anything until you get the same type of charger.

But now we have USB phone chargers which can be used to charge many of your devices. You can use single USB charger to power up any of your mobiles, Mp3 players, iPods etc. No need to have number of chargers for you individual gadgets. Even you can charge more than one devices at same time with single USB charger, as now days USB chargers are having multiple USB ports to connect more than one device at a time.

USB chargers

We have researched and compiled a list of best USB phone chargers that can be used to charge your tech gadgets very conveniently and save lots of money.

Here is a list of best USB chargers:

  1. iClever BoostCube 3-Port:

    iClever BoostCube is a nice USB charger with three USB charging ports. It has a clever circuit setting that doubles its charging capability depending on the gadget, and it comes with 1.5 years warranty. Each out of 3 USB post supply 2.4A power output, so it will charge all gadgets at a quick rate. This USB mobile charger has inbuilt blue indicator light that gets activated once any device is connected to that particular port.

  2. Aukey 2-Port with Quick Charge 2.0:

    This USB charger is quite much faster than ordinary USB chargers to charge compatible smartphones. And it also has advanced circuitry that helps it to protect smartphones from unwanted power failures etc while charging. The USB charger is available in black and white colors. You will also get USB cables with its retail package.

  3. Anker 10W:

    This USB mobile charger from Anker is capable of delivering up to 2A that is quite enough to charge your smartphones and other gadgets. It is compact and highly affordable; it comes with 1.5 years of warranty as well. Its circuit is also nicely designed to keep your devices safe.

  4. AmazonBasics Dual Port:

    As the name suggest it has dual USB ports to connect 2 devices simultaneously. This USB charger can deliver 2.1A power to 2 connected devices. Its design is sleek and simples. This charger from Amazon has some cool features such as overcharging protection and plug out protection.

  5. iClever BoostCube with Quick Charge 3.0:

    Most probably you all have heard about quick charge technology. This is a technology that can charge your smartphones amazingly fast. And iClever BoostCube USB charger supports this technology. This charger is made by considering future benefits of quick charge technology in mobile devices. This technology can charge the battery of a compatible device from 0 to 80 percent in roughly 20 minutes. This charger also has a light indicator to show the active USB post.

Conclusion:

So these were the best USB mobile chargers that can be used to charge multiple devices. They come with around 1.5 years of warranty and equipped with latest quick charge technology. You can buy these USB chargers from any online stores like Amazon and others.

Comment below your replies, we love to hear from you.

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Five Ways to Plan For Retirement In Your 20s

You may choose to invest for the future when you are young, and you will build quite a nest egg before you are finished. Someone who is committed to investment will save thousands every year, and you will have a large investment pool to work with. This article explains how you may save your money as a young person, and you will be ahead of the game when you are ready to retire. You need not spend your time putting off retirement, and you will find it quite simple to continue investing when you are no longer young.

#1: Start Early

You must begin saving as soon as possible. Savings are held for you for as long as you like, and you will note it is quite simple to save your money when you are using products that were designed for the sound investment of the future. You will find a number of products that will help you earn money, and you may track it every month to learn how much you are earning. The tracking of an investment will ensure your success, and you will avoid wasted time that comes along with poor investments.

#2: Consult With A Financial Advisor

Hiring a financial advisor will help you learn how to manage your money. Your financial advisor will teach you what must be done to save your money, and they will ask you what direction you wish to go in for the future. You may not know what direction you prefer, and you will learn quite a lot about the financial markets when you are using services from a company that understands your needs. The advisor does much of the work with no fee, and they will talk with you about how you must adjust your investments for the future. You have quite a lot of time to change your investments until they are sound.

#3: Use Automated Systems

The automated savings systems that are offered by many banks will help you complete your savings in seconds. Someone who wishes to use an automated system will see money fall into their account, and you will learn how to track your savings using the money that was pulled out for savings. Someone who wishes to save money will find the process far less painful when they are using an automated savings system.

#4: Open An IRA Now

You must open an IRA at once because there is no better way to begin earning. You will find a simple return that is easy to predict, and you will note how simple it is to earn money that has been projected by the IRA. Everyone who invests in an IRA will earn money based on the rate of return for the fund, and you will have a place to put your money that is completely safe. Anyone who is looking for a better way to invest will use an IRA because they have the security of a mutual fund without the fees or obligations.

#5: Build A Large Emergency Fund

You must build an emergency fund that will help you with your bills when you are without an income. You may use the money for anything you need, and it may be invested as you would invest anything else. Someone who has built an emergency fund may get through a rough patch quite easily, and they may use the money from the fund at any time. Someone who wishes to build their emergency fund must pull money from their investments. They may be financially-secure in the future, and they will find it simple to invest with the money they have saved.

You will keep yourself in the best financial stead when you are saving as described in this article. You must ensure you have taken every step to keep your money safe, and you will notice how simple it is to save when you start as a young person. Young people who are investing today will find the process much simpler, and they will avoid investing in a hurry when they are much older. You need not spend your later years worrying about money when you started as young as you possibly could.

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The Importance Of Investing Business Money In Marketing Merchandise

Marketing your business is an important investment. While there are some ways to market that are cheaper and reach a wider amount of people, like social media and websites, there are more personal ways you should be marketing as well. These marketing techniques will help you win over local customers, which are still important even for global businesses.

You may get your first sales and clients locally, so don’t discount them when it comes to marketing. The things you put money into for marketing may not directly make money for your business, but indirectly they will attract people to make future sales.

Marketing Clothing

People love to wear clothing to support the businesses, sports teams, and even the foods that they like. There’s a good chance that you could even sell such marketing items, you’ll just want to find a cheap way to print them. Look for good deals on hoodies, t-shirts, and even tank tops.

Another great way to use clothing in your business marketing scheme is to sponsor a local sports team. Uniforms aren’t cheap and many businesses will sponsor a team by supplying the money they need for uniforms, and you get to have your business name on them.

Marketing Take-A-Longs

If clothing is a little too pricey for your business at this point, there are smaller marketing items you can invest in and get your name on. Even a pen with your business name and web address is enough to make some people’s day. Pens and pencils are also a couple of the cheapest options.

If you want a little something more than writing utensils you could get can koozies, frisbees, keychains, and even flashlights with your business info on them. Get clever. Take some time to research most popular marketing merchandise before you invest.

Marketing Printables

Don’t forget to get business cards for your business, no matter how big or small it is.This is an easy way to let people know who you are and what you do, no matter what type of setting you meet them in. Plus, you can get business cards printed very cheaply online, even with your own design.

Don’t stop with just business cards, though. If your business has many items or services, you might want to consider getting a brochure printed. Some services, like insurance, will benefit from additional details on the printouts. You can design it however you want and share any information you would like in it.

If you intend to have any kind of local events, like a clearance sale or a grand opening, you might even want to consider printing some handbills or flyers. These are great for handing out to people, for leaving at the laundromat and other businesses that aren’t in competition with you, and even to hang at the local bank or grocery store on their bulletin board.

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5 Tips For Producing and Marketing Your App Ideas

One way to make money these days in a relatively independent manner is to produce, market, and sell apps for mobile devices. This is an exploding industry, and it’s wide open because there are so many possibilities of truly useful applications that we can all keep in our pockets.

But, the creation path itself is not necessarily easy, and requires a certain kind of dedication. So, five tips that will help you in this competitive field of app development include talking to experts, studying the best apps, working with crowdfunding, making amazing prototypes of your software, and being careful about copyright issues.

Talk To the Experts

Talking to and working with app development experts will tend to make any project more feasible from the get go. It’s a bit of specialized knowledge that’s required to be successful in the app marketplace, simply because there are so many aspects that go into it. Between design, programming, implementation, marketing, and distribution, having a team of experts on hand can be one of the best ways to make sure you’re not forgetting anything vital.

Study the Best of the Best

Research the best apps that are currently in the digital marketplace. Find out what it is about them that’s so appealing. Pay attention to pricing specifically, as apps are often split into two categories – free or paid. Popularity will be wildly different for something as small as an app being totally free, versus it costing 99 cents. The balance is very important to find, especially in early stages of your app being out there, so you don’t lose momentum from early positive feedback

Try Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding tech ideas can be extremely useful and financially responsible, especially for something like app development. Because it’s an efficient way to determine interest in a project before you starting putting money into something, it can prevent some of the losses and risks that would otherwise be associated with trying to develop something that needs to have broad public appeal in order to work.

Make Excellent Prototypes

If you take the time to build an excellent prototype of your app, then you’ll have overcome a hurdle that many people get stuck on. The ideas and theories swirling in their heads are great, but if they can’t ever build a complete digital construct to show investors or even potential buyers, then it’s back to the drawing board time!

Be Careful of Copyright

Because there are so many apps out there, it’s important that you make sure that your app is unique enough not to get pinged for any kind of copyright issue. If you look up all of the disastrous litigation around the Candy Crush game, you’ll see what can go wrong when too many things are similar between one app and another,e even with something as simple as a game.

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Ocado showcases robotic arm for grocery picking

World’s largest online-only grocery retailer working with prestigious universities in Europe to develop innovative robotic solutions

Today Ocado Technology is announcing a major development in the pursuit of creating robotic grocery picking solutions for Ocado’s highly-automated warehouses. The Ocado Technology robotics team has created a robotic arm capable of safely grasping a wide variety of products, including many from Ocado’s current range which includes over 48,000 hypermarket items.

The robotic arm comes as a result of the close collaboration between Ocado Technology and the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), and represents an integral part of the SoMa project – a European Union-funded, Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation in the field of humanoid robotics.

The SoMa project also includes researchers, academics and scientists from the University of Pisa, the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR, the German aerospace agency), the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, and Disney Research Zürich.

“Ocado and its academic partners are developing some of the most innovative technologies in the field of robotics. With SoMa, we are pursuing a new direction for robotic grasping by developing robot hands that can safely pick easily damageable items such as fruits and vegetables. The RBO Hand 2 designed by the Technische Universität Berlin offers a versatile, cost-effective and safe solution for robotic grasping and manipulation that integrates very well with Ocado’s highly-automated warehouse retail solutions.” – Dr. Graham Deacon, robotics research team leader at Ocado Technology

To avoid damaging sensitive and unpredictably shaped grocery items, the robotic arm uses the principle of environmental constraint exploitation to establish a carefully orchestrated interaction between the hand, the object being grasped, and the environment surrounding the respective item.

The SoMa project is part of a continuum of robotics and engineering R&D projects in development at Ocado. In December 2016, Ocado commenced operations from its highly automated Andover warehouse which includes hundreds of robots swarming on a grid the size of several football pitches. In addition, Ocado Technology is a coordinator of the SecondHands project, another Horizon 2020-funded programme that aims to design a collaborative robot that can learn from and offer assistance to warehouse maintenance technicians in a proactive manner.

For more information about the SoMa robotic arm, please visit the links below:

http://www.ocadotechnology.com/our-blog/articles/ocado-uses-latest-robotics-technology-from-tub-for-soma-project
SoMa robot arm picking an apple (video)
Soma robot arm picking a bag of limes (video)
About Ocado Technology
Ocado Technology is a division of Ocado developing world-class systems and solutions in the areas of robotics, machine learning, simulation, data science, forecasting and routing, inference engines, big data, real-time control, and more. The fusion between the Ocado retail and Ocado Technology divisions creates a virtuous circle of innovation that leads to disruptive thinking. For more information about Ocado Technology, visit www.ocadotechnology.com

 

About Ocado
Established in 2000, Ocado is a UK-based company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (OCDO), and is the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under the Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners. For more information about the Ocado Group, visit www.ocadogroup.com

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How This Tech-Savvy Van Could Save Businesses a Ton of Money

You know better than anyone that running a business is costly in terms of money and time. Naturally, anything that could save you either one of those things — even just a little bit — is a good investment.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know Ford Motor Co. is working directly with Transport for London — the city’s transit agency — to test hybrid prototypes. They are hybrid Transit Custom vans running on electric, also known as plug-in hybrid or PHEV.

The first question you’ll probably ask is why is this such a big deal? The next, what impact does this have on me and my business?

How Ford’s Hybrid Commercial Vans Will Save Money

Ford’s vans will run on electric power for a vast majority of their daily commutes. This will save a significant amount of money — thanks to lowered fuel costs — and it will also “contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting operator productivity in urban conditions,” says Ford.

The company will be distributing 20 of their Transit Custom commercial vans to businesses across London, which will take place over a 12-month trial. Both Ford, and the City of London are looking to “explore” how the vans will contribute.

The project was funded by nearly five million pounds of UK government money. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions and develop “next generation technology that will make a […] difference [in] people’s lives,” according to the UK’s Minister of State for climate change and industry, Nick Hurd.

So, we know it’s going to save a ton of money, and that it’s great for the environment. But how does any of this have an effect on you and your business?

If the program is a success, it means we will likely see these vehicles rolled out elsewhere. Not to mention, Ford is clearly not the only auto manufacturer working on hybrid or electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is also looking at launching an electric Sprinter van, which would have the option of an electric powertrain.

Eventually, this will translate to businesses being able to outfit their entire fleets with electric and hybrid vehicles. Imagine the kind of cost savings that would contribute to your business. How much do you currently spend on your conventional vans and transport fleet?

When you consider what your traditional transit van looks like, it’s evident they’re one of the most efficient ways to transport goods and products for your business. They’re used by industries that range from party planning to carpet cleaning and everything in between. While it’ll be interesting to see the benefits eco-friendly vans have for such businesses, current pricing models for alternative energy vehicles mean we might be waiting a few years before companies start to adopt them.

Is That It?

The new hybrid van is just one of 13 advanced models Ford is promising to introduce to market by 2020. All of this is part of their $4.5 billion “electrification” effort.

As no stranger to the business world, we don’t need to tell you that the transit can is one of the most popular commercial vehicles across a wide swath of countries, including the US, Europe, China and more. If Ford can effectively prove their new hybrid vans are worth investing in — and it certainly seems like they are — we could be on track to phase out the conventional fleet by the end of the decade.

That will bring a sweeping bout of cost savings and green — environmental — benefits for the world.

Get excited, folks — the future is here. You may soon be swapping out your fleet for something more efficient and cost-friendly. Who knows? Within the next couple of decades, conventional fossil fuels may become a thing of the past — at least when it comes to transportation.

One can only hope.

Image by Simon Caspersen

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