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smart EQ fortwo, forfour lead Mercedes-Benz’s electric dreams
Electric is the future. smart CEO Annette Winkler already said so last time we talked with her about the smart vision EQ fortwo concept EV. Now Mercedes-Benz is echoing that slogan as well. At the Geneva Motor Show, smart and Mercedes-Benz showed off the power their combined passion for pushing the electric campaign forward. The result is the smart EQ fortwo and forfour. For those in the US, these are the familiar all-electric cars that have been silently rolling in cities. For Europe and for the future, these two are the heralds of Mercedes-Benz’s dreams of an all-electric world.
It’s impossible to talk about the smart EQ fortwo and forfour without talking about Mercedes-Benz’s EQ. After all, these are the very same cars under the hood. It’s much more than just rebranding for Europe, however. It’s about leading the way towards that electric future.
EQ is Mercedes-Benz’s blanket brand for all things electric. It stands for, not emotional intelligence, or not just emotional intelligence, but electric intelligence. It embraces connectivity, autonomous driving, shared mobility, and electric mobility. It has been realized in the EQ Boost 48-volt system that drives powers and drives its Integrated Starter Generator found in its hybrids. It has been seen in its EQ Power+ Formula 1 combustion engine, which, in turn, will be behind AMG’s Project ONE supercar. And it drives Mercedes-Benz’s mission to have 10 all-electric cars, across all its segments, by 2023.
Of course, this isn’t anything new for smart. The company, which paints itself a pioneer in adopting new and bold technologies, already committed itself to an all-electric future since last year. Now it is bringing that spirit and zeal to the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s portfolio.
But smart’s electric ambitions have never just been about electric cars, and neither is EQ. It is also about the ecosystem that supports and promotes an electric lifestyle. Along with the debut of the smart EQ EVs comes the smart EQ control app. It’s more than just an app for your car. It’s a personalized app for your car. The app, for example, shows your smart or smart EQ electric car against the backdrop of the city you’re currently in. A personal touch so to speak. The app Connects you to your car’s status, lets you Control it from afar, and prepares for Comfort even before you step inside.
An electric car, however, lives and dies by its charge. Considering the smart EQ cars are meant more for city travel, range might not be much of a problem. Charging times, just like for smartphones, always are. That is why Mercedes-Benz is launching a new 22 kW quick charger that can power up the car from 10% to 80% in under 40 minutes. The bad news, that charger isn’t coming to the US because of the current complexity of energy supply in the country. Fortunately, Winkler sees it as a challenge rather than a quitting point.
Last and definitely not the least, a new “ready to share” ride-sharing service will become available. This service fulfills smart’s vision of reducing car volume in cities with true, easy to use ride-sharing systems. It will be an optional package available not just for electric smart cars but even the existing combustion ones. For now, it’s reach is availability is limited to France, Germany, and Italy.
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What is Affiliate Marketing?
Who exactly is involved in this thing called affiliate marketing?
There are three participants in affiliate marketing. These are the following −
The individual or company that provides the service or product to customers.
Marketing with Influencers in Targeted Sectors
Forming a network of collaborators and allies
Recruiting customers with promotional offers like sales and coupons.
Product pages have been optimized.
Affiliate marketing offers a number of benefits, including the following −
Affiliates can make more money with less effort since they don’t have to create anything new; instead, they promote products and services that already exist.
It’s a good place to put your money because of the low charges.
As long as affiliates have an internet connection, they may do business from anywhere in the world.
Affiliate marketers can choose from a wide variety of specialty markets.
However, affiliate marketing does come with a few drawbacks, including the following −
Affiliates have no say in the methods of payment or price strategies used.
An associate can do nothing to influence a customer’s experience.
Consumers may feel shortchanged when their interactions with a brand differ dramatically from those reported by an affiliate marketer.
When it comes to accreditation and training, affiliate marketing falls short of expectations.What is Lead Generation?
In business, this is the process of introducing a product or service to a target audience in the hopes that doing so would result in a purchase.
The most popular lead−generation strategies include email marketing, networking, holding seminars and live events, blogging, social media marketing, couponing, and website landing pages.
The following is a list of the components that make up lead generation techniques for both business−to−business and business−to−consumer settings −
Lead capture − Lead qualification involves collecting data on a potential customer, such as the person’s name, contact information, firm name, and other relevant details.
Lead qualification − This involves analyzing the collected data to determine how likely it is that a certain lead will make a purchase.
The following are some of the ways that lead generation helps brands −
Increase people’s familiarity with the offering by spreading the word.
Create a loyal following of customers.
It’s possible to increase profits by zeroing in on the best possible clientele.
The data you can get about potential consumers is priceless.
Makes certain businesses are reaching the right people with their offerings.
Provides a higher rate of return on investment
A considerable amount of change is occurring every year.
It can be contracted out to a third party.
On the other hand, some of the drawbacks are as follows −
It’s a major disruption to the productivity of the sales team and might lead the company to seek outside help.
An interested party may decide to wait before making a purchase.Differences: Affiliate Marketing and Lead Generation
Both are essential components of successful digital marketing. The following table highlights the important differences between Affiliate marketing and Lead generation −
Characteristics Affiliate Marketing Lead Generation
Definition In affiliate marketing, an affiliate receives a commission from a company’s sales in exchange for promoting the company’s products and services. The specifics of this proportion are up to negotiation between the parties involved. Lead generation is the procedure through which a company attracts potential clients and attempts to close a deal with them.
Payment The potential earnings of a lead generator are determined by the terms of their contract with the hiring organization.
Focus Lead generation is the process of accumulating information on potential customers who have shown an interest in a company’s services or products.
Aim Affiliate marketing’s ultimate objective is to increase sales of a certain service or product. A major goal of lead generation is to attract potential customers, with the longer−term goal of developing connections that can lead to a successful sale.Conclusion
Do Jello Shots Lead to Bingeing by Underage Drinkers? Alcohol-infused gelatin tied to heavy drinking
About one in five underage youths reported consuming alcoholic Jell-O shots in the past 30 days, and those youths were more likely to binge drink, consume more alcohol, and to have been involved in physical fights related to their drinking than their peers who did not consume Jell-O shots, a study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (SPH) researcher shows.
In the study, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, Michael Siegel, SPH professor of community health sciences, and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University and Fiorente Media Inc. of Boston used a national sample of 1,031 youths, ages 13 to 20, to assess past 30-day consumption of Jell-O shots.
Jell-O shots are alcohol-infused gelatin that can be made at home or sold in bars. Siegel and colleagues say they may contribute to the initiation of alcohol use among novice drinkers “through use of a recognizable, widely available, appealing product such as Jell-O as a channel for alcohol consumption.”
This is the first study that sought to gauge the extent of Jell-O shot consumption among underage youths.
The study found the prevalence of past-month Jell-O shot consumption among the underage drinkers sampled was 20.4 percent—slightly higher for females than males. There were no significant differences by age, race, or region—but there was a trend of increasing Jell-O shot use with lower levels of household income, as well as a higher prevalence among those without internet access, according to the findings.
Jell-O shot users were “significantly more likely to drink heavily” than those who did not consume the shots, consuming alcohol 2.2 days more per week, on average, than non-users, the study found. The average number of alcoholic beverages consumed per month for Jell-O shot users was also significantly higher, at 30.9 drinks per month, compared to an average of 18.8 drinks per month for non-users.
The study found that Jell-O shot consumption was also associated with an increase in engaging in physical fighting when drinking. A total of 18.7 percent of Jell-O shot users reported getting into a physical fight after consuming alcohol, compared to 9.5 percent of non-users.
The most common types of alcohol reported as being used in Jell-O shots were bourbon and vodka. Although the survey did not specifically ask what brand of alcohol was used in the shots, the most common bourbon brand consumed among youths who reported using bourbon in their shots was Jack Daniels, and the most common vodka brands reported were Smirnoff and Absolut.
The authors say their findings have several important public health implications—namely, that national agencies and organizations should consider adding Jell-O shot consumption to their youth alcohol use surveillance systems.
He and his co-authors recommend further research to clarify the causal relationship between Jell-O shot consumption and risky patterns of drinking, and to explore which popular brands are used most in preparing the shots.
The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Besides Siegel, co-authors are Ashley Galloway, a recent SPH grad; Craig S. Ross of Fiorente Media Inc.; and Jane Binakonsky and David H. Jernigan of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Kurio Smart is a 2-in-1 Windows tablet designed for kids
Tablets and smartphones for kids aren’t exactly new and we’ve already seen quite a number of them trying to appeal to both parents and kids for patronage. Rare, however, if not non-existent, is a tablet for kids that touts a full Windows installation as well as a 2-in-1 detachable keyboard form factor, two things that are mostly presumed to be for adults only. But that is exactly what KD Interactive’s new Kurio Smart is offering kids these days. Plus, a new Kurio Xtreme 2 tablet is also launched for those who prefer Android’s flavor.
Kurio Smart is meant for ages 8 to 12, when kids start going to school and start looking for a real computer to use. That is why the tablet installs a full Windows 8.1, upgradeable to Windows 10, so that kids have access to entertainment, educational, and productivity apps in a single device. Plus, it comes with a detachable keyboard that latches on magnetically, transforming the tablet into a small laptop.
The device runs on a quad-core Intel BayTrail-T Z3735G with 1 GB of RAM. The display is a handy 8.9-inch 1280×800 screen. There’s 32 GB of storage on board with a microSD card slot for adding more. In short, it’s pretty much a low-tier Windows tablet. But not all such tablets are designed for the needs of kids. The Kurio Smart was specifically made to withstand rough handling. The tablet comes with Microsoft’s Family Smart software to give parents control and keep inappropriate content away. All these for only $199.99, available from Toys’R’Us, both in stores and online. The tablet comes in Blue and Pink color options.
When it comes to younger kids, however, Android still has the lion’s share of the market. With the new Kurio Xtreme 2, that market has gotten a bit crowded too. The successor to Kurio’s previous Xtreme bumps the Android version up to 5.0 Lollipop. Speaking of bumps, the new tablet also sports bumpers in matching colors to protect the device tumbles and spills. There is also a built-in kickstand that makes the device ideal for watching videos or playing the body motion games that come pre-installed.
The 7-inch tablet has a resolution of 1024×600 and is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT8127 with 1 GB of RAM. Storage capacity caps at 16 GB but a microSD card can add 32 GB more. A 2 megapixel rear camera and 0.3 megapixel front shooter might not be that much, but it at least keeps the kids entertained with some photos that they can edit and play around with. On top of Android, Kurio builds its parental control software and its own KidOz store to ensure the safety of children both online and offline. The Kurio Xtreme 2 carries a lower price tag of $129.99, also available from Toys’R’Us. Like the Smart, this one also has Blue and Pink choices.
Preparing for tax season can save you time, money and frustration.
Whether you file your own business taxes or use a tax professional, being organized and prepared is essential to getting the best tax result for your business.
To get ready for tax season, you should keep business and personal finances separate, organize your records throughout the year, stay updated on the latest federal and state tax changes, and allow yourself plenty of time to file.
This article is for small business owners who want to be prepared for tax season.
Business tax filing deadlines can catch busy entrepreneurs and small business owners by surprise. Advance planning is crucial for staying ready and prepared as tax season approaches. We’ll explore tax preparation best practices that will keep you organized all year long so you can file accurate tax returns without any financial surprises for your company.When is tax season?
Tax season is the post-tax-year time individuals and businesses use to prepare their tax returns without incurring late-filing penalties. However, for businesses, tax season is broader and includes the following obligations:
Traditional tax season. Tax season is traditionally the time between the end of January — when most people receive tax information for the prior year — and April 15, when individual tax returns are generally due. However, tax season for businesses depends on the organization type, business tax year, and whether the business files for a filing extension.
Quarterly taxes. All but the smallest businesses must file or pay some form of tax more often than once per year. If you’re required to pay quarterly estimated taxes, you have four due dates throughout the year. Quarterly estimated tax payments are due on April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15 or on the next business day following a weekend day.
Payroll taxes. If you have employees, you must also file federal, state and local payroll taxes throughout the year.
Although the time when most annual income tax returns are prepared and filed is referred to as tax season, business owners should plan and organize to meet their tax obligations all year long.
If you need help managing payroll taxes, consider using one of the best payroll services that can handle tax compliance, payroll processing and more.Tax season preparation tips
Whether you’re preparing to file last year’s business tax return or want to plan strategically for the current year, here are tax preparation best practices.1. Organize your tax paperwork.
The best way to ensure your tax paperwork is organized is to keep excellent records all year. That way, after the end of the year, you’ll just have to gather the applicable tax documents that arrive in the mail or become available online.
Marc Scott, CPA at California-based M. Scott and Company, said planning heats up in January when companies begin sending out and receiving essential tax documents.
“There’s a lot of tax reporting that goes on in January, so you’re going to be receiving a lot of documentation,” Scott said. “For most businesses, it makes sense to have the books ready around a similar timeframe.”
If you have a small organization, getting a head start is crucial to avoid a last-minute rush and allow time in case your tax professional has additional questions and information requests.What should I bring my tax preparer?
If you hire a CPA or other tax professional to prepare your business tax returns, they’ll need some key documents:
Proof of identity. As of 2023, tax preparers are required to ask for proof of your identity.
Business tax ID. You also must provide your business tax ID, which may be your Social Security number or your Employer Identification Number.
Financial records. The tax preparer also needs your business financial records for the year. This includes income from gross receipts from sales or services, sales records, returns, business bank account interest, and other income. It also includes the cost of goods sold (such as your inventory), beginning inventory total dollar amount, inventory ending dollar amount, items removed for personal reasons, and materials and supplies. You should also have business expense documentation. Deductible business expenses include items like business rent, home office expenses and contract labor.
Did You Know?
Excellent recordkeeping is crucial in the event of a tax audit, during which the IRS examines your tax return information to ensure the reported data is correct.2. Understand qualified deductions and credits.
Tax deductions and credits are a critical part of the filing process. Tax deductions reduce your taxable income. Tax credits, on the other hand, directly reduce your business’s tax liability.
The number of business tax credits and deductions is extensive, including credits you may not know about that apply to particular industries, such as for biodiesel use or for employers who offer employee benefits like childcare.
If you think you may qualify for a deduction or credit, talk to your tax preparer. If you use tax preparation software, carefully answer all questions about your business operations.
Tax software and other tax solutions generally use step-by-step interviews to gather all information necessary to prepare your return. Following the step-by-step process is the best way to ensure your return is complete and correct.3. Learn about the latest tax laws.
Regardless of how you prepare your taxes or pay to have them prepared, you must stay updated on recent and future small business tax law changes and how they may affect your business so you can plan and adapt accordingly.
The most significant recent changes for small business taxes include the end of special programs and tax relief put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, net operating losses carried forward generally cannot offset more than 80 percent of your taxable income. That limitation did not apply to net operating losses generated in 2023, 2023 or 2023. However, any net operating losses generated after 2023 are subject to the limitation of 80 percent of taxable income again.
On the positive side, the SECURE Act increases the credit for some employer contributions to employee pensions, and pass-through entities like partnerships and S corporations may still qualify for a 20 percent deduction based on their income.4. Itemize business expenses.
According to Scott, detailing, itemizing and categorizing your business expenses ahead of time will save significant time and hassle come tax day.
Work closely with the bookkeeping and accounting teams (if your business is big enough) or with outside help to put yourself in a position to claim the maximum benefit from your expenses. In addition, the more organized your information, the more money you should save on your tax preparation bill.5. Calculate projected payroll taxes.
Along with expenses and deductions, your payroll taxes should be up to date and calculated throughout the year. If you have employees, you generally must file at least quarterly, if not more often. You must also make payroll tax deposits as required or face steep penalties.
For very small businesses, payroll tax filing and payment obligations can be more significant than income taxes. Ensure you understand payroll taxes and include them in your business budget and planning.6. Keep up with your home state’s tax issues.
Most tax professionals prepare your state return in addition to the federal return. However, you should pay as much attention to changes in state requirements as to IRS rules if you don’t want to be taken by surprise.
For example, some states take out loans from the federal government to meet unemployment benefits liabilities. Jamal Ayyad, head of product management at SurePayroll, noted that if your state has taken — but not repaid — those loans, there will be a reduction in the credit against the Federal Unemployment Tax Act tax rate. This means employers in those states must pay more.
A number of states may be affected, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Did You Know?
The best states for small business taxes include Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska. Some of the worst include New Jersey, New York and California.
Online tax software is an easy and convenient way to stay on top of your tax obligations.Common tax season mistakes
Don’t let these common mistakes sabotage your tax season:
Waiting until the last minute. It takes time to find and organize your records, update your tax knowledge, and do everything else necessary to achieve optimum tax results for your business. Even working on your taxes a little at a time can make tax season go far more smoothly and efficiently.
Maintaining inadequate or disorganized records. Getting your business organized may seem challenging, but it’s much easier than dealing with chaos at tax time.
Blending personal and business finances. Having separate personal and business bank accounts and records is much more professional and greatly simplifies tracking business income and expenses at tax time.
Not asking for help in time. Tax professionals get busy during tax season. Make your appointment early. Be sure to schedule other help you may need, such as legal or bookkeeping help.Get ready for tax season now
No matter what time of year it is, you can always take steps to prepare for the current tax season and for seasons to come. If tax prep seems overwhelming, do one thing now to get ready, such as organizing one file or opening a business checking account. Every step you take to improve organization and planning will pay you dividends in less time, frustration and expense at tax time.
Derek Walter contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
ODG AR smart glasses hands-on: Snapdragon 835 gets real
The first Snapdragon 835 device isn’t a phone, and it isn’t a tablet: it’s a set of augmented reality glasses. Two sets of glasses, to be precise, the handiwork of ODG – or Osterhout Design Group – flush with a recent $58m cash injection from 21st Century Fox who have been pushing augmented reality and smart glasses for a decade now. While you might associate Snapdragon with phones, there are plenty of good reasons you might want the new 835 in a computer for your face.
In fact, Qualcomm designed the chip with head-mounted wearables in mind. The first evidence of that on the market – or at least the most affordable – is likely to be self-contained virtual reality goggles, which don’t require a tethered computer. However, ODG is pushing that out to full-blown AR.
For the developers, serious early-adopters, and enterprise, there’s the R9. They’re ODG’s ninth-generation wearable, complete with twin 1080p Full HD transparent displays – one for each eye – and a 50-degree field of view (FOV). They look like oversized sunglasses, and while the company has prescription inserts I was able to wear them over my regular glasses.
ODG’s demo is an virtual globe, complete with the International Space Station orbiting. It’s geo-locked, so that as you move away from it as it floats in mid-air in front of you, it gets smaller; move closer, and it gets larger. You can walk around it and see it from all angles; crouch underneath and see the underside of the animation.
To lock it in space, ODG is using inside-out positioning. The camera on the front, and six degree-of-freedom sensors track your movement and compare it to features in the space around you, figuring out whereabouts you are in real space. It works surprisingly well, and doesn’t demand the lighthouse positioning blocks that something like HTC Vive does.
ODG says the R9 has the same power as a laptop or tablet, and though it only has a sub-2k mAh battery the runtimes are comparable – or greater than – a smartphone. That’s because the displays are very frugal compared to a smartphone’s screen; in fact, the most power-hungry component in the R9 is the Snapdragon 835. If you’re using full-blown AR, you can expect around two hours of use. However, it’ll run for 4-5 hours playing a movie, or give you a full day of browsing and casual use.
For consumers, though, it’s the ODG R8 that will be of greater interest. It’s considerably lighter, though scales the display resolution down to a pair of 720p HD panels. Still, in the video I watched the individual pixels couldn’t be made out, and the video was still bright enough to see despite the fairly strong show-hall lighting. ODG uses an ambient light sensor to adjust it accordingly.
It’s the R8 which has caught the eye of China Mobile, though in its current form it has WiFi and Bluetooth though no cellular radio. ODG wouldn’t tell me whether China Mobile will be requesting a 4G-enabled version, though says an announcement on exact hardware plans is coming up soon. Priced in the same ballpark as a flagship phone, it also has flagship phone software: Android 7.0 Nougat, in fact, with support for just about any Android app you can imagine. So, if you’ve always wanted to play Pokemon GO in actual augmented reality, now is your chance.
NOW READ: What you need to know about Snapdragon 835
You’ll need fairly deep pockets still, but we’re finally getting to a point where there’s no huge compromise involved with smart glasses like these. I’ve tried on plenty of sets of glasses promising the world in augmented reality, and generally the real-world experience is underwhelming either in resolution, battery life, or processing power. ODG’s system isn’t perfect yet, but it’s something I could finally imagine carrying in my bag.
That’s if I had the budget for it. The ODG R9 glasses will be $1,800 – not exactly small change, but within reason for the developer and enterprise audience the company has in mind. As for the R8 glasses, final pricing hasn’t been announced, but they’re going to be under $1,000 and, when I pressed, comparable to a high-end smartphone. Both will ship later in 2023.
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