Savory… Delectable… Dog Food… Now don’t freak out, but these things actually have found a way to go together! In his Daily Herald article (linked below), Craig Giammoma walks us through the rising premium dog food revolution. Startup companies like Blue Buffalo and Freshpet have entered the market with healthy pet food, and companies like Cesar offer gourmet options akin to human foods like lasagna and steak. While some may see these offers as extreme, premium dog food markets have taken the industry by storm; raking on wikipedia in $10.5 billion dollars since 2009! With these new options encroaching into local Targets, Walmarts, and Whole Food Centers, it should be no surprise that startups aren’t the only ones appealing to the market. People have long been familiar with the popular pet food brand Purina as an industry standard in healthy, well balanced dog food. With a huge selection of dry food, wet food, and treats to energize your feisty, furry friend for years to come, Purina has been trusted with providing high quality nourishment for dogs everywhere. And in turn they’ve released their own line for your pristine pet pantry; Beneful. Real beef, turkey, chicken and salmon are at the core of Beneful’s gourmet recipes, providing the nutrients your canine friend needs. While the it’s a great addition to the healthy dog food marketplace, it also has the added benefit of years of specialists’ care being put into the best products available. While some brands insist that dogs demand a strictly meat diet, the folks over at Purina know that this simply isn’t true and have designed an optimized diet to match. Because of this, Beneful is able to deliver high quality feed that’s truly right for your dog! when it comes to these high quality pet foods, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the sea of options. We all want what’s best for our furry friends, and With so many new and exciting brands out there, it’s important to remember the long-trusted names we know of. Sometimes, they may know just what your pet need for a “healthful, plentiful” life! (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20151122/business/151129983/)
Stock markets have been anything but stable for the first week of 2016. The Dow has lost over 1000 points from its recent highs. Billionaire investor George Soros is predicting on Bloomberg a 2008 Déjà vu. The only difference is that it is China’s economic decline that is causing this one. China’s stock market was screaming to new highs as recent as June of last year. Suddenly, there was talk of an economic slowdown.
He points out that China’s economic growth had been taking place at double digit levels. In 2014 their growth rate fell to only 7.5 percent. Though that is still positive, many were riding high on the gravy train of a booming marketplace. The announcement of a slowdown hit global markets severely. In a state of panic, the Chinese government rapidly starting devaluing the yuan. (Chines currency). Soros claims that this devaluation is putting China’s problems they are experiencing into the rest of the world.
Chinese Housing Market
Soros comments bring back the fear that hit the U.S. markets in 2008, when it was realized that that the banking industry had been too lenient with giving mortgages, to people who could not really afford to pay them. At the time, most people thought that housing prices would never drop. They were wrong and it created a major panic. This appears to be happening now in China.
China is facing a housing market bubble, similar to the one in the U.S. in 2008. It has been reported that there are “ghost cities” in China, where investors have built huge skyscraper apartment buildings, that to this day, stand empty.
How China Effects the World
Many countries buy and sell products to China. Those who sell products to China, are being hit by a downturn in demand for goods and services. In this respect, China is effecting the whole world. As economic growth cools in China, it eventually drifts to other countries who do business with them.
Recent indicators that measure fear in the equity markets, like the Chicago Board of Options (CBOE) VIX index, recently as high as 27 (a high reading) show that many people are fearful and are exiting the markets. With many countries looking at lowering their interest rates in an effort to stem the blood bath, the U.S. Fed has now started the process of raising rates. Will this lead to another recession in the U.S.?
George Soros comments only push the numbers farther and faster. His recent comments in Sri Lanka, are confirmation of most investors’ fears. China is not in negative growth yet. Many wonder how hard the U.S. equities markets will be hit when they are.
Since 2010, the trend of unlimited data cell phone plans has been dying out. Following AT&T, Verizon soon eliminated its plan as well. Since two of the largest carriers in the nation dropped the plan, it has steadily lost traction. Other carries (such as T-Mobile and Sprint) may offer this package for new customers, but the quality of video and speed (not to mention the steep prices) do not make for a compelling case when deciding if this is the best option to purchase.
However, AT&T has recently acquired DirecTV. This new development has led to a reintroduction of its unlimited data plan, with provisions, of course. Signing up to DirecTV or U-verse, the home cable service offered by AT&T, allows a customer the option of purchasing an unlimited data plan. The move has been popular for families who want cable as we’ll as to share data among their family members. Given the popularity of streaming videos these days and the convenience of DirecTV, the return to this old structure is unsurprising. However, for an individual looking for the best plan, having to sign up for one of these cable services is not always the best bet. So while the unlimited data plans may be back in favor, AT&T’s offer may not be right for everyone.
Founded in 2011 and based in California, FreedomPop is an alternative to AT&T that offers unlimited data with its cell phone plans, and no need to sign up for a cable service as well. Thus far, FreedomPop has raised $59 million dollars to fund its services through Clearwire and Sprint. It also sells devices (phones, tablets, etc.) that are compatible with its mobile services, making the transition to their plan that much easier.
FreedomPop has received praise from consumers who are tired of paying for unwanted data plans. It includes 3G and 4G data and works on both iOS and Android smartphones. In addition, to combat the constant, futile search for Wi-Fi around the country, for $5 FreedomPop offers connection to over 10 million hotspots on its nationwide plan. While not yet selling its own devices outside the U.S., FreedomPop is expanding into the UK, making it an international presence and powerhouse. FreedomPop is truly ushering in the next wave of unlimited data plans.
Many do not know what they can expect if they switch from one phone company to another, so the article on Lifehacker.com is very helpful. The article proves that switching phone companies is easier than ever, and it’s even possible for those making the switch to get free service, free phones, a change of phone number, or it’s possible to keep the same number. Many phone companies are willing to do what’s necessary to get customers to make the switch, and it may be more beneficial to switch to another carrier that has lower prices and more data like FreedomPop.
Many cell phone plans want to try and limit the amount of data that a person has on their cell phone, especially since they know that people use data regularly. If a person is limited to the amount of data that the cell phone company chooses, then they can be charged extra fees when they go over their data limits. Although this may not seem fair to those who have to pay the fees, it makes a lot of extra money for the companies that supply data to their cell phone users.
There is also a problem with those who have to pay extra fees for data each month because it’s data that helps to run a GPS, and it allows a person to download applications, and it allows a person to access the Internet on their cell phone. Without data, a person wouldn’t be able to use their smartphone the way it was meant to be used, and there will be no Internet access. Although a person who can control their Internet usage can still join a company that has limited data on a smartphone, it’s best to join FreedomPop and get unlimited data on the cell phone.
FreedomPop’s unlimited cell phone plan includes data that doesn’t end, no matter how much data a person uses on their phone. There’s no longer a need to worry about running the GPS for hours at a time, just because data is limited on the cell phone. The person can also search the Internet while they are running GPS, and they won’t have to worry about losing their way while using the GPS. FreedomPop also allows a person to have constant talk time as well as text messages without any limits. The cost for all these luxuries with FreedomPop is only $20 a month, which is lower in cost than any other service provider out there.