Energy Efficiency in Cryptocurrency Mining bitmanu

Bitmanu Energy efficiency in cryptocurrency mining is a crucial concern in the modern digital era. With the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, the process of mining has become increasingly energy-intensive. As a result, there is a growing need to explore ways to improve the energy efficiency of cryptocurrency mining operations. One prominent player in the field is Bitmain, a leading manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining equipment.

Bitmanu review, founded in 2013, has played a significant role in the development of the mining industry. The company is best known for producing high-performance application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) tailored for cryptocurrency mining. However, as the energy consumption associated with mining has come under scrutiny, Bitmain has also recognized the importance of addressing energy efficiency concerns.

One way Bitmain has contributed to energy efficiency in cryptocurrency mining is by designing more energy-efficient mining hardware. The company continuously works on improving the efficiency of its ASIC chips, which are the backbone of mining operations. By developing chips that consume less power while maintaining high hash rates, Bitmain aims to reduce the overall energy footprint of mining.

Furthermore, Bitmain has also taken steps to optimize the operation of mining farms. Mining farms are large-scale facilities equipped with numerous mining machines that collectively work to solve complex mathematical problems. These farms require substantial amounts of electricity to operate. Bitmain has been actively involved in developing technologies and methodologies to reduce energy consumption in these facilities.

One approach employed by Bitmain is the implementation of advanced cooling systems. Mining machines generate a significant amount of heat during operation, and cooling them efficiently is essential to maintain performance and prolong their lifespan. Bitmain has invested in the development of innovative cooling solutions that enhance energy efficiency by reducing the power required for cooling while ensuring optimal performance.

Another aspect where Bitmain has made strides is in promoting renewable energy sources for cryptocurrency mining. The majority of mining operations rely heavily on traditional energy sources, such as coal and natural gas, which have substantial environmental impacts. Bitmain has recognized the importance of transitioning to cleaner energy alternatives and has actively supported the use of renewable energy in mining operations.

For instance, Bitmain has collaborated with renewable energy companies to establish mining farms powered by solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy. These initiatives not only reduce the carbon footprint of mining but also contribute to the development of sustainable energy infrastructure. By harnessing renewable energy, Bitmain aims to make cryptocurrency mining more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient.

Additionally, Bitmain has been involved in research and development efforts focused on exploring alternative consensus algorithms that require less energy than the traditional proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism used in Bitcoin mining. This includes investigating proof-of-stake (PoS) and other energy-efficient algorithms that can maintain the security and integrity of blockchain networks while reducing energy consumption.

In conclusion, Bitmain recognizes the importance of energy efficiency in cryptocurrency mining and has taken significant steps to address this concern. By developing more energy-efficient mining hardware, optimizing mining farm operations, promoting renewable energy sources, and exploring alternative consensus algorithms, Bitmain strives to make mining operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly. As the cryptocurrency industry continues to evolve, the pursuit of energy efficiency will remain crucial to ensure a sustainable future for mining and blockchain technology as a whole.

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7 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Hot Tub

If you are going to make this purchase for the first time, opting for the best hot tub may not be easy for you. Purchasing the best unit can help you have fun for years to come. On the other hand, buying the wrong unit can irritate and disappoint you. In this article, we have covered 7 mistakes that many buyers make when purchasing a hot tub, for the first time. By avoiding these mistakes, you will be able to get your hands on the best unit to cover your needs. Read on to find out more.

1) Making this Decision Based on The Initial Cost

First of all, you should not give the utmost importance to the price of the unit. As a matter of fact, you may also want to consider the operational costs of your hot tub. Although the purchase price carries a lot of importance, you also need to pay attention to other factors.

In other words, you need to consider the operational costs, maintenance costs, and any other costs over the life span of the unit.

2) Ignoring the Installation Costs

As far as costs are concerned, make sure you consider the installation costs as well. Before you pay for this unit, you also need to keep in mind that the installation cost alone will cost you another $2,000. These costs will include delivery, wire installation, foundation costs, and the costs of chemicals and accessories.

3) Ignoring your Purpose

Since there are a lot of manufacturers and models, making this purchase can be confusing for you. Therefore, what you need to do is define exactly what you want. Generally, people go for these units in order to relieve pain, unwind and reconnect with their friends and family member.

If you consider your needs, you will be able to get your hands on the best unit. For example, if you are looking for a tub to relax, you don’t need to go for a unit that features 100 jets. In the same way, if you are looking for a unit for entertainment purposes, you can get a unit that comes with three seats.

4) Not Considering the Available Space

You also need to consider your available space for the installation of a hot tub. Before you decide on a unit, you need to consider the installation place as well. If you have no idea of the best installation place, we suggest that you consider an expert. We will help you find a solution.

5) Ignoring the Maintenance Aspect

Many people have maintenance problems with their hot tubs. For example, they have problems with the type of chemicals, draining, and refilling of the tub. With a good filtration system, you can clean your tub water in an efficient matter. Apart from this, it can help you avoid unnecessary maintenance.

In short, we suggest that you avoid these mistakes the next time you need to purchase a hot tub for your family or friends. Hopefully, this article will help you make an informed decision by avoiding some common costly mistakes.

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6 Factors Which Influence Home Buying!

After, more than 15 years, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, I strongly, believe, many factors should be considered, thoroughly, by, prospective, qualified, home buyers, before committing to purchasing, what, for most, is their single – biggest, financial asset! There are, at least, 6 significant factors, which, must be reviewed, before one proceeds, if he wishes to make the best – possible decision, for his personal situation, etc! With, that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, these 6, and why they are essential considerations, if one, wishes, to proceed, wisely, and, in his personal, best interest!

1. Financial emphasis: Is this intended, to be, a financial, investment, and/ or, personal decision, and focus? How long do you intend, to live there? Do you, envision, the house, merely, as a starter – home, or, your place, for the foreseeable future? Are you, prepared, financially, for this big – step? Consider, not, only, qualifying for a mortgage, and associate, monthly responsibilities, but, will spending so much of your funds, on a down – payment, and closing costs, make you, house – rich, but, financially – stressed? Have you examined, your personal finances, at – present, and into the future? Know, why you are deciding to purchase, instead of rent! How might the local, national, international/ world economies, and factors, such as taxes, and other associated, costs of home ownership, impact you?

2. Home of Your Own (American Dream): How much is the so – called, American Dream, of owning a home, of your own, factoring – into, your actions, and perspectives? Are you considering, what might be, best, for you, or merely, trying to, Keep up with the Joneses?

3. School system: There is a delicate balance, between the quality of the local school system/ schools, and real estate taxes, in many instances! In most cases, prospective buyers, prefer areas, with quality schools, and, thus, these houses, are, most, in – demand! The key is to be aware, and pay attention, from the onset!

4. Area/ neighborhood/ region: What about a specific area, attracts you, and why? How about a specific neighborhood? Will you consider, the advantages and disadvantages of living, in this region?

5. Safety/ crime: Is the area, a safe one, with a relatively – low, crime rate? Carefully, study, and review, statistics, related to this, in – detail!

6. Your specific, home needs/ requirements: What are your personal needs, as opposed to wishes? Do you know and understand, both, your personal priorities, as opposed to needs? Don’t let, clever staging, and apparent, cosmetic considerations, to outweigh, the bones of a property! What can be kept, as – is (especially, in the shorter, to intermediate – term), as opposed, to immediately, needing repair, and renovation? When calculating costs, include, not only, the price of buying a house, but repair, renovation, and upgrade costs!

Are you prepared to make the wisest, personal decisions, when it comes to considering, buying a home, of your own? Will you be wise, or regret it, in the future?

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The Top 5 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Campaign Failed

I am, from time to time, asked to troubleshoot why someone’s content marketing campaign has not been the success they had hoped for. Almost always, the cause of the problem falls within the scope of one of the following reasons. Here, in reverse order, are my top five reasons why content marketing campaigns fail:

#5. You are not content marketing:

Content marketing is marketing a business to achieve one or more goals of that business. If the achievement of your business goal is not the reason for producing your content, you are blogging. That important distinction is not always understood.

Many content creators do not understand the part content marketing plays in moving your prospects along your sales funnel. Different types of content are needed for each stage, that is for suspects, prospects, and retaining and selling again to existing customers. If you are not producing content that supports each stage in the sales process, you are not content marketing.

#4. There is not a market for your product or service:

It never ceases to surprise me how many businesses fail because the founders did not do proper research to establish whether there was a market for their business and or whether their product or service met that need.

You can have a technically excellent product, but it will fail if no one wants to buy it. I once worked for a company that had such a product. Every prospect the sales force presented to said what a great idea it was, but they would not buy it. It was a solution looking for a problem. Then you have the other side of the coin: There is a market, but your product or service does not meet it. There is a problem, but you do not have the solution.

No matter how good your content marketing is, your campaign will fail in its objective of acquiring new customers if:

  • There is no market for your product or service, or
  • If your product does not solve the customer’s problem.

#3. You are publishing in the wrong place:

You must ensure that your content gets to your target audience. You need to know:

  • Who your target audience is. That includes demographic information such as their age, gender, socio-economic group, whether they are likely to be married, and if they have a family;
  • Where they currently go to get information; and
  • How they prefer to consume data.

Let’s consider a couple of examples:

Example 1: You have a business that provides support for WordPress websites globally. Your target audience is likely to be business owners that already have, or intend to have a website on the WordPress platform. They are likely to be in the age group 24 to 54 years old, likely to be married and probably have a family. They are entrepreneurs, not software engineers.

You will find them on Linked In, and they probably also have a personal and business Face Book presence. They are also very likely to use mobile computing devices, which is their device of choice for consuming data.

You need to be publishing your content in the places these people go to for answers to their WordPress problems, such as You Tube, podcasts (think iTunes, Sticher, Podcast Republic, and Zune to name but a few) – you could either have your own show or make guest appearances on other shows, SlideShare, writing articles (think long SlideShare documents, not just article directories), blogs, and forums for WordPress users.

Example 2: You provide an on-line tuition course in mathematics. Your target audience is likely to be school age children and their parents. They will have a personal Face Book presence and will probably also use one or more of the other popular social networking sites such as WhatsApp and Line. They are likely to have a Gmail account and also use You Tube.

The nature of your service lends itself to visual media, which is how this group prefers to consume data. Your target audience will be using sites such as Udemy and You Tube to find content.

The preferences of your target audience will determine where you need to publish your content, and predicate the medium you use to deliver your content. If your target audience prefers to consume visual content, text based content will not appeal to them and they will be much less likely to visit text based content sites.

If your target audience prefers to consume data at a time and in a place that suits them, in other words, they want to consume content on demand, consider audio podcasting. However, you should only do so if your content lends itself to the spoken word.

Should you publish your content on your own website?

The answer depends on how long you have been in business, and what reputation you already enjoy. The Pareto principle or the 80:20 rule will apply in any event. If your business is a start-up or is a young business, 80% of your content should published off your website. As your business becomes established and your reputation has grown, that ratio can be reversed.

Not only do you need to publish your content in the places your audiences goes to for information, you must ensure that it comes to their attention. That means systematically promoting your content on social networking sites such as Face Book, Google+, Linked In and You Tube, as well as on Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon and other similar sites. Consider issuing a press release and linking to the piece of content in blog posts and comments, and on forums. If you have an email list, tell your list about the content you have created and ask them to share it with others.

You should expect to spend at least as much time promoting your content as you did in creating it. Not all marketers do this, which is why many content marketing campaigns fail.

#2. Your campaign is too short:

Although there are people who claim great success from a short campaign, these fortunate few are the exception. For most of us, content marketing is a medium to long-term exercise that performs different roles for the various stages in our sales funnel. Put another way, you need to create content that is suitable for and supports each stage in the buying process.

Let us say, for example, that you have a business selling video cameras and accessories. You will need to create content that explains the different types of camera that are available, their prices, the uses for which they are most suitable, and the amount of knowledge and or experience the user will need to operate the device. This type of content is aimed at the person browsing your online store looking to see what is available.

Next, you can segment your content to cover the different sections of your potential audience, such as those looking for a camera to take videos of the family and holidays, hobbyists, and the high end amateur and professional users. Content that compares the features, benefits, and disbenefits, the pros and cons if you like, of each product in the market segment will help the potential customer make a short list of suitable products. The person browsing your site is now a prospect.

The next set of content will focus on a specific product and the benefits of purchasing it from you. This type of content will help convert the prospect into a customer.

The final set of content will help your customer get the best out of their purchase and will upsell product add-ons and accessories.

If you are not creating content for each stage of the buying process and after sales support, your content marketing campaign is not likely to be as successful as you had hoped.

#1. Poor quality content:

Poor quality content is the main reason why many content marketing campaigns fail. The term “poor quality” covers a multitude of sins.

Earlier in this article I said that your content must be created with the objective of achieving a business goal. That is true, but not only should your content marketing do that, it must solve a problem your target audience has. At the very least it should give them something of use and value. Unfortunately, a great deal of content that is created is little more than a thinly veiled sales pitch.

It should go without saying that your content should be grammatically correct and free from spelling errors. It should also be well written and follow a logical sequence. If you are writing an article, your objective is to retain the reader’s interest long enough for them to get to your resource box. It is there that you should give the reader a good reason to click on the link to your website from where you will do the selling.

Similarly with video. You want to keep the viewer’s attention until they see the call to action, which is usually to click on a link in the description.

Poor quality is a description that can also be applied to content that is too short or too general to be of any help to the person consuming it. Your content should be long enough to impart all the information you need to give in sufficient detail, but short enough to ensure you retain their interest.

There is another definition of poor quality content that is often overlooked by content marketers, that is, if they are even aware of it. If your content fails to engage with your audience, it has not achieved one of your business goals. Most marketers gauge the success of their content by how many views it has received, or how many likes it has, or a combination of both. A piece of content may have have been viewed a great many times, and it might have received a large number of likes, but nobody has engaged with it. They did not comment on it, or share it with their own audience, or tweet about it, or list it on Reddit or StumbleUpon.

For your content marketing to be successful, your audience has to engage with your content.

The Takeaway:

As marketers, I think we can takeaway the following points:

#1. There must be a viable market for your product or service;

#2. Your content must assist you in achieving a business goal;

#3. Your content must be published in the places where your audience is likely to find it, and you must promote your content;

#4. Your content marketing campaign must support all the stages in the sales process as well as providing after sales support, and

#5. You must create good quality content that encourages audience engagement.

Your content marketing campaign is likely to be successful if you apply these five lessons.

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Top 10 Tips For Buying Cheap Textbooks Online

Short of money? (Dumb question, I know). Trying to figure out how are you going to afford all the textbooks for your next term? Are you creating new economic theories to balance your scarce budget?

Then you are probably not taking advantage of the very best, more efficient way to get your textbooks cheap, and I mean really cheap.

Search and buy online. That’s it. That’s the secret. And to make sure you get the best value out of it, I’m giving you below the Top 10 Tips for buying textbooks online.

1. Buy early. Don’t wait for the first day of classes to go and find the books you need. That’s the moment when demand increases and, inevitably, prices increase with it. Textbooks sell fast and furiously over that short period of time and the effort required to get the best offers then is far greater than the effort necessary just a couple of weeks before.

If your college or university doesn’t supply the textbook lists in advance, don’t despair, contact former students from the course you want to take, or even the professors themselves, and ask them for the books you should buy. That little extra effort will certainly be worth your while.

2. Buy used. Secondhand textbooks are cheaper. That’s an undeniable fact. It is not unusual to find savings in excess of $50 against list prices.

3. Consider older editions. Often times, books on classical physics, chemistry or biology remain virtually the same for years. If you are willing to use older editions you could find books for as little as $1. Not sure if the International Edition will cut it? Contact your course tutor and ask. Chances are he’ll even recommend an older book.

4. International Editions. An International Edition is a textbook that has been published outside the US and Canada and is meant to be purchased and used outside the US and Canada. International Editions are generally drastically cheaper than their American/Canadian counterparts. Here’s the catch, the publishers of International Editions generally do not authorize the sale and distribution of International Editions in the United States and Canada and such sale or distribution may violate copyrights and trademarks of the publishers of such works.

5. Use the ISBN number to boost the effectiveness of your searches. Every book published since 1970 has a unique ISBN, using it instead of the author and/or title will make your searches faster and 100% accurate.

6. Free shipping. Look for free shipping sellers when you are shopping around. Even though shipping within the US is generally under $4, or perhaps because of it, more and more sellers are keen to offer free shipping to potential customers in order to convert them into customers. This translates approximately as an additional 10% discount off a $40 book or 5% discount off an $80 one.

7. Shop around. I know you know that already, anyway, let me say it again, just in case you just landed on Earth from another planet 10 minutes ago. Compare prices from, at least, three different sellers before you make up your mind. If you want to compare online booksellers, you can go to In order to compare thousands of booksellers around the world you can go to the world’s largest marketplace for books.

8. Buy local. Check where the bookseller you are buying from is located before closing the deal. The nearer the better as shipping cost goes down, the planet is happier and greener and your community will certainly appreciate the extra business.

9. Sell back your old textbooks after you are finished with them. Chances are the same online bookseller that you bought your books from is willing to buy them back, just go to their site and look for their buyback program. Generally, shipping the books is free and payment is immediate upon reception. This one sells itself, doesn’t it?

10. Treat your textbooks well. Don’t use them as umbrellas or to kill that gigantic spider that appeared from nowhere inside the bathtub. Don’t write the name of your love interest all over it alongside little hearts and don’t use it as a canvas when you feel that artistic urge. Remember, you might want to sell them later and the better the condition of the book the more money you receive for it.

Follow these tips and I guarantee you will find more money in your pockets, more time in your hands and, of course, the satisfaction of having joined the 21st century, at last.

Buy online, you’ll never go back.

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Residential Property

Residential property or residential real estate, as the name suggests, is real estate that is primarily used for residential purposes.

Types of residential property

Any structure or dwelling used for people to stay in can, strictly speaking, be called a residential property or residential real estate. The residences can be classified based on a number of parameters. These include the type of ownership, the size of the dwelling etc.
Generally speaking, the various residences can be classified under the following headings.

Attached or multi unit dwellings:

Apartments – The world is becoming smaller; and so are our houses. The palatial villas and detached houses of the years gone by have given way to the more practical and infinitely more suitable apartments (ore flats if you prefer to use the Queen’s English). The primary feature that sets apart apartments from other types of houses is the fact that it is a part of a larger building and is a self contained housing unit.

Terraced houses – A number of multi storied buildings with shared walls.

Condominium – Condominiums are not a different type of dwelling in terms of design. Instead the difference lies in the fact that whereas the apartment itself is owned by the owner, the common facilities such as hallways, heating system and elevators etc. are shared.

Semi-detached dwellings:

Duplex – These are a set of two units which share a common wall.

Portable dwellings:

These are houses that can be moved around and consist of mobile homes, houseboats and tents.
Any and all of these types of dwellings can be termed ‘residential real estate’.

1300-4-A-VALUER is an independent specialist company, established in 2007. They source independent and professional valuers who are licensed in that state to perform independent property valuations. The valuers associated with 1300-4-A-VALUER are also members of the Australian Property Institute, which is the professional body that represents trains and regulates valuers in Australia. 1300-4-A-VALUER covers all major cities and regional centres in Australia. You can get your house evaluated simply by logging on to their website at

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What Is Decisive – Marketing or Sales And What About SME?

Yes, of course scientific approaches are desirable and essential (as: “No practice without theory”), however, their disadvantage is that they cannot define ‘Suggestions’ for most of the different entrepreneurs running this ‘business world’ – this refers especially to SMEs, who account for more than 90 % of the worldwide companies.

The major reason being that the conditions in individual companies are too specific and cannot be taken into consideration.

… but of course it is necessary to contemplate whether it is more advisable to assign or even subordinate the sales department to the marketing department or vice versa. The ‘market as such’, however, in most cases can’t be schematized or generalized so easily but depends on the specific needs of the clients as well as the producer.

Whilst in a B2C-environment specific processes might suggest to assign marketing to sales, this is completely different in a business producing investment goods.

So what is the ultimate target… YES, the client, whether in B2C or in B2B.

Comparing the distribution structure in B2C is surely more important than in B2B, as more often ‘mass products’ (of any kind) are sold. The competition in that case mostly is quite numerous and the ‘customer needs’ are less specific – and this may lead to the belief that sales are more important than marketing.

Looking to B2B only especially such ‘specific customer needs’ are in the foreground, the competition is less numerous, yet possibly more concentrated to a specific target group – on a worldwide basis.

Theory or not:

As also Marketing-Professor Kotler suggests the sales department should be assigned to the marketing department. Please find hereafter a few reasons – which could also bring interesting aspects / approaches for SMEs who do not yet have fully developed marketing-/sales activities and who need ways for a successful configuration of their future.

· The marketing department has to research the markets in order to clarify which markets/market segments could/should be supplied with which products (whether already existing products, or such to be developed/produced/adapted due to the available core competencies) – either in the home market or in international markets.

· The marketing department determines thereafter the target groups ‘desired/requested’ in order to define the respective distribution ways (i. e. sales routes – NOTE:’ thereafter’). e. g. with or without associated service capabilities, etc. Which kind of distribution – whether existing, newly to be defined, own company office, etc. – is largely depending on the kind of clientele as well as on the financial power of the company – and/or on the products in question.

·… and… it is the marketing department that has to understand first the ‘clients’ requests / wishes’ in order to decide – together with the other internal departments, and based on reliable market data – if such a product has to be newly produced, an existing one to be amended, or even the sales portfolio be supplemented by suitable purchased products.

In any of these cases the actual selling process starts only after the respective ways and decision have been found / made. The sales department then receives the necessary targets/objectives/client data, etc., like new strategic advice, from the market department. This might be completed by questionnaires the evaluation of which allow a further ‘sharpening’ of the sales routes lateron.

Which means again:

Only a close collaboration between both departments will lead to a maximum of success – animosities, as known from the past, are of no value in today’s market environment…

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No Bird Feeders Allowed? How to Fight Bird Feeder Bans in Your Neighborhood

There’s a growing trend in the “not in our backyard” movement that impacts urban and suburban backyard bird-feeding hobbyists alike. In most cases, it’s David vs.Goliath, with powerful and unyielding condominium associations ordering the removal of bird feeders from the entire property. Even private landowners can feel under siege by anti-bird feeder activists driven by fear or myths about the “danger” of feeding birds and wildlife in their backyard.

Bird lovers who live in an apartment or condo (or even dorm) want to attract birds to their yard or window, but often run into opposition from the neighbors and management.

Five myths/misconceptions about feeding the birds

Although passionate and emotional arguments may be the initial response to a “take down your feeders” order (often pitting neighbor against neighbor), real-world situations have proven that there are strategies that will help you keep your backyard habitat (and neighborhood relations) intact.

Bird feeders attract rats and vermin

Rats and mice populate homes, garages, outbuildings, meadows, parks and even vehicles! They have thrived alongside human habitation for thousands of years.

While they may be most visible when visiting your backyard during the day, bird feeders are not necessary for their survival. The number one resource required for rats and mice to survive (and thrive) is water. If your neighborhood has a dependable supply of water (ponds, catch basins, sewers, streams, puddles, kiddie pools, rain barrels, etc) there’s a good chance that hundreds of rats and mice already call it “home.”

Spilled seed and/or seed husks on the ground are an eyesore, spread disease and are unsanitary

Old seeds or husks on the ground under bird feeders are unattractive and can be a breeding ground for mold growth, but the seed husks themselves do not harbor disease or infection. With a wide variety of “no waste” seed mixtures readily available at super stores, garden centers and online, it is now possible to eliminate the problem of “old seeds” on the ground entirely.

These special blends of “no waste” seed are more expensive than the traditional “bulk” blends (which contain mostly undesirable seeds like millet and striped sunflower), but the investment up front pays off in less mess, a neat and tidy yard and less evidence that you feed the birds.

Another advantage of these expensive seed blends is that the anti-feeder folks will see that you are willing to “put your money where your mouth is” in order to alleviate some of their concerns.

Birds won’t learn how to fend for themselves

Attracting birds to your backyard with a dependable food source does not create a generation of feathered friends looking for “handouts.” When a feeder is removed, birds don’t drop dead due to laziness, either! Even though people find a “free lunch” more than enough reason to go against their instincts, there’s no evidence that birds share the same mindset.

Offering food in late fall and winter will “trap” migratory species, and they’ll die from exposure to wintry weather

Having an abundant food source doesn’t change the fact that the signal to “migrate” comes from changes in the amount of daylight, whether its a north-south journey in the the fall or a south-north trek. During the spring migration, birds follow the food source (insects) north. As plants and trees “go to seed” in the fall, the birds head south.

Pigeons, starlings, crows, etc. are loud and messy birds and their waste products damage the area and foul car finishes

There’s no argument there. If your main interest is in attracting large, loud and messy flocks of what some considered “rats with wings” to your neighborhood, you’ll need more than these tips to change the opinion of your neighbors. However, if you’re not already overrun with flocks of starlings or pigeons, it’s not inevitable that they will find your backyard in the future. In fact, careful seed choice, effective bird feeder design and putting your backyard cafeteria on a schedule can prevent the “less desirable” elements of the neighborhood from taking over.

Visit specialty stores in your neighborhood, or get tips and suggestions from online nature-oriented blogs and communities.

(c) 2010 kathy vespaziani

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More That Dad Forgot To Tell You About Income Investing: Q & A

Just the other day, I was discussing “retirement readiness” with a small group of individuals, several of whom were already retired. Not one of them owned, or had even heard of, either equity or income Closed End Funds (CEFs)… vehicles that I have been using in professionally managed portfolios for decades.

It is assumed that readers have read the six Q & A questions dealt with in Part One.


7. Why does it seem like CEFs, Public REITs, and Master Limited Partnerships are being ignored by Wall Street, the Media, and most Investment Advisors?

All three are income producers, and once they are “out there” in the marketplace, they trade like stocks… on their own fundamental merits and at a price solely dependent on supply and demand. Unfortunately, income programs have just never attracted the kind of attention and speculative zeal that has been there for any breed of growth vehicle.

Income mutual funds and ETFs can create shares at will, holding market value equal to NAV (net asset value). But the sole purpose of each is to grow the market value and to produce a stock market comparable “total return” number… income is rarely mentioned in their product descriptions.

An income purpose security may stay in the same price neighborhood for years, just spitting out 6% to 10% in income to fund college educations, a retirement lifestyle, and world travel. But most investment advisors, ETF passivists, and mutual fund managers are rated on the annual “total return” that their portfolios or indices produce… income programs just don’t generate year end trips and six figure bonuses.

  • I was fired a few times myself, just before the bubble burst, because my 10% to 15% “returns” from high quality stocks and income producers just couldn’t compete with the speculative fever that propelled the NASDAQ to 5000…
  • But as the markets crumbled in 2000, the “no NASDAQ, no IPO, no mutual funds =’s no problem” operational credo produced significant growth and income.

Another issue is broker/advisor compensation in Wall Street firms… totally based on selling proprietary products and “investment committee” recommendations. There’s no room for slow growth based on high quality dividend paying equities and income purpose closed end funds.

Finally, government cost and market value performance myopia precludes any inclusion of CEFs in 401k and other employer sponsored investment programs. Vanguard’s VTINX retirement fund pays less than 2% after a minimal fee; hundreds of much better diversified CEFs pay 7% and better after 2% or more in fees. Yet the DOL, FINRA, and the SEC have somehow determined that 2% spending money is better than 7% in what they have incorrectly labeled “retirement income programs”

  • You will never see a CEF, even equity or balanced portfolio CEFs, in a 401k security selection menu. Public REITs and MLPs are not likely to be there either.

8. How many different types of CEFs exist; what do investors pay for them; and are there any penalties for trading them frequently? lists 163 tax free funds, 306 taxables, 131 US equity, and 204 non-US and other.

A partial list of types and sectors includes: biotech, commodities, convertible bonds, covered call, emerging markets, energy, equity dividend, finance, general equity, government securities, health, high yield, limited duration bonds, MLP, mortgage bonds, multi sector income, diversified national municipals, preferred stock, real estate, senior loans, 16 different single state municipals, tax advantaged equities, and utilities.

CEFs are purchased in the same manner and at the same cost as individual stocks or ETFs, and there are no penalties, fees, or extra charges for selling them frequently… they trade for free in managed, fee-only, accounts, and always pay more income than their peer ETFs and mutual funds.

9. What about DRIPs (Dividend Reinvestment Programs)?

There are at least four reasons why I choose not to use DRIPs.

  • I don’t like the idea of adding to positions above the original cost basis.
  • I don’t like to make purchases when demand is artificially high.
  • I prefer to pool my monthly income and select re-investment opportunities that allow me to reduce position cost basis and increase yield at the same time.
  • Investors rarely add to portfolios in down markets; just when I need flexibility to add new positions.

10. What are the most important things investor’s have to understand when it comes to income investing?

Actually, if an investor can wrap his mind around just three things, he can become a successful income investor:

  • Market value change has no impact on income paid, and rarely increases financial risk,
  • Income security prices vary inversely with interest rate change expectations (IRE)
  • Income purpose securities must be evaluated on the amount and dependability of the income they produce.

Let’s say that, thirty years ago, we purchased a 4.5% IBM bond, a 30 year 2.2% treasury note, and 400 shares of a 5.7% P & G preferred stock, all at par, and invested $10,000 in each. The $1,240 annual income has been accumulating in cash.

In this time frame, interest rates have ranged between a high above 12% and recent lows around 2%. They have made no less than fifteen significant directional changes. The market value of our three “fixed income” securities has been above and below “cost basis” dozens of times, while the portfolio “working capital” (cost basis of portfolio holdings) was growing every quarter.

  • And every time the prices of these securities moved lower, their “current yield” increased while the same dividend and interest payments were being paid.
  • So why does Wall Street make such a fuss when prices fall? Why indeed.

Over the years, we’ve accumulated $37,200 in dividends and interest; the bond and treasury note matured at $10k each, and the preferred stock is still paying $142.50 per quarter.

So our cash account is now $57,200 and our working capital has risen to $67,200 while we haven’t lifted a finger or spent a moment concerned about fluctuating market values. This is the essence of income investing, and precisely why it makes no sense to look at it in the same way as equity investing.

Investors need to be re-programmed to focus on the income production of income purpose investments, and to realize reasonable profits when they are produced by growth purpose securities.

  • What if we reinvested the income every quarter in similar securities? Or sold the securities when they went up 5% or so… and reinvested the proceeds in portfolios of similar securities (CEFs), rather than individual entities, for diversification and higher yield?
  • Assuming just $500 profit per year and a 5% average interest rate, the portfolio “working capital” would grow to $168,700… a gain of roughly 462%. Income would be $8,434… a gain of 680%

I’m hoping that these conservative income numbers get you a little more excited about having a serious income purpose allocation in your “eventually a retirement income portfolio”… particularly income CEFs. Don’t let your advisor talk you out of it; stock market investments are not designed to get the income job done… dependably, over the course of our retirement lifetime.

  • CEFs allows anyone to invest in diversified portfolios of fixed income securities, and by design, always at higher than individual security rates.
  • CEFs provide a uniquely liquid entity that allows investors to benefit from IRE caused price changes in either direction. Yes, that’s what I meant to say.

11. Why take profits if the income from a security hasn’t changed?

Compound interest is the “holy grail” of income investing. A 5% profit realized and reinvested today will work a whole lot harder than 5% received over the course of the next several months. Also, when interest rates are rising, profit opportunities are scarce, and proceeds can be put to work more productively than in falling or stable interest rate environments.

So let’s say we have a “limited duration” bond CEF yielding 6%. We’ve held it for 8 months so we’ve already received 4.5% and we can sell it today at a 4% profit. Thus, we can realize a nifty 8.5% (actually a bit more since we’ve reinvested the previous earnings), in just eight months.

Then, we can shop around with the proceeds for a new CEF yielding 6% or higher and hope to do a similar trade sometime soon with another of our holdings.

A second re-investment strategy is to add to several positions that are priced below current cost basis and yielding more than the CEF we just sold. This is a great way to improve the “current yield” of existing positions while, at the same time, assuring that you’ll have more abundant profit taking opportunities when interest rates cycle downward.

12. How does one keep “working capital” rising

Total working capital, and the income it produces, will continue to grow so long as the income exceeds all withdrawals from the portfolio. Note that capital losses have no impact on income if the proceeds can be reinvested at a higher “current” yield… but working capital does take a temporary hit.

Portfolios are kept on their asset allocation “track” with every batch of monthly re-investment decisions, but the larger the income purpose “bucket”, the easier it is to assure steady growth in both income and working capital.

13. What is Retirement Income Readiness?

It is the ability to make this statement, unequivocally:

  • Neither a stock market correction nor rising interest rates will have a negative impact on my retirement income. In fact, it is more likely that either scenario will allow me to grow both my income and my working capital even faster.
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Housing Options: What Do You Want, Need, And Can Afford?: 4 Choices

Although, many consider, an essential ingredient/ component of the American Dream, unless, you want to risk it becoming, a nightmare, instead, an individual must seriously consider, the best path, forward, for him, personally, and think about some of the more relevant issues, related, to where, one resides, and, calls – his – home! One’s housing options, include: what you want; need; and can afford, and, choosing, whether to rent, or purchase, a cooperative apartment, condominium, or other type of house. With, that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, these 4 choices, and determine, which might best serve your needs, and satisfy you.

1. Rent: Many people, either, decide, or can only afford, to rent a place to live, rather than make a purchase! Some may not enjoy the prospect of having the responsibilities, inherent with owning, while others, may be uncertain, about their employment plans, possibilities, security, and or potential need/ desire, to relocate, into another region/ area/ neighborhood, etc. Others, may not have the necessary credit, needed, to secure financing/ a mortgage! For some, they have not put aside the reserves, needed, for the down – payment, and other reserves, needed for closing costs, renovations, reserves, and moving/ furnishing, etc. At times, individuals, aren’t prepared, yet, for the entirety, of the home ownership experience!

2. Cooperative apartment: Owning a coop, or cooperative apartment, is not considered, owning real property, because one is purchasing shares, rather than real estate! Securing a mortgage, for these, generally, requires different standards, as well as, a larger down – payment, etc. In general, this is, less – expensive, up – front, than buying a condominium, but, often, has larger, monthly, carrying charges/ costs!

3. Condominium: Condominium ownership, generally, means, you own your home, outright, but, there is common – ownership, of what we refer to, as the common – areas, such as streets/ roads, yards, etc! Mortgage terms and requirements, often, are very similar to purchasing a house! Some are attracted to this, because, it requires less individual maintenance, etc.

4. Houses: Decisions needed, when buying a house, include, not only the area, etc, but what you can afford, meets your needs, and which style of house, is best, for you! Consider, how much land, you want, considering, maintenance, costs, etc, as well as personal needs, and what makes you happiest! In addition, which style of house, makes sense, and will you like (ranch; split – level; Colonial; etc)? While a ranch – style, is on, one – floor, the others, often, require climbing steps, etc, and, for some, that matters!

Since, for most of us, our house represents our single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to proceed, wisely, and with, considerable thought, etc! Will you become a wiser homeowner?

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How to Sell Your House to Avoid or Stop Foreclosure

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, your lender could choose to foreclose on the loan. This means that you will lose your house and suffer a large reduction in your credit score. However, you maybe able to sell your home to stop foreclosure and avoid the 4 to 7 years of dealing with bad credit. How does selling your home potentially put an end to your foreclose dilemma?

The Lien Goes Away When the Loan Is Repaid

As long as the price that you sell your home for is larger than what you owe the back including back payments and interest, the lien on the property goes away and the lender has no reason to foreclose. This means that there is no foreclosure and no potential damage to your credit score. If you owe more one your mortgage than what you can sell your home for you may be able to negotiate a short sale with your lender to avoid foreclosure.

What’s a Short Sale?

A short sale occurs when you sell your home for less than the outstanding loan balance. The bank then accepts the sale price and lets you walk away from the property with no further action required. While it may still cause damage to your credit score, it does stop the foreclosure and allows you to move on with your life with no further obligation to pay the lender. If you do decide to complete a short sale with your bank it is important to get a signed agreement from your lender that binds them to not hold you accountable for the remainder of the loan balance. This may take a little negotiating but it happens with more than 50 percent of the short sales.

Does the Bank Need to Agree to the Sale?

In a short sale situation, the lender will have to agree to let the you sell your home for less than the loan amount. However, the property owner is free to sell the home at any time prior to a foreclosure taking effect. This is because the property has yet to be repossessed and the homeowner is free to sell their property. The only thing that may make a sale harder is the existence of a prepayment penalty. While rare, some mortgages contain clauses that force the mortgage holder to pay a fee if the mortgage is paid off early for any reason. Ask your lender if you have a prepayment requirement on your mortgage.

A foreclosure is not something that an individual wants to go through but some times it may be the best option. The good news is that it can be avoided by simply selling the property and walking away. As long as you have a mortgage that is not upside down, it may be easier than you think to find a willing buyer long before the foreclosure process is complete. This will allow you to pay for back payments, interest and your overall loan balance.

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Houston Foreclosures Websites Compared

When I first began as a “newbie” real estate investor back in 2002, I was confused by all of the websites that claimed to provide a listing of Houston foreclosures. I wasn’t sure which ones provided the most leads, which ones provided higher quality leads, which one provided more bang for my buck, and so on. It was a maze out there, and I was lost.

After spending several years in the business, it’s all much clearer. Here’s what I now know. In short, there are three categories of Houston foreclosures websites: 1) Those that offer actual foreclosures, 2) those that offer pre-foreclosures, and 3) those that offer “pre pre” foreclosures. Each category of foreclosures has pros and cons, and the category that works for one person may not work for another. It all depends on what your goals are. Let me explain the three categories in greater detail.

Category 1 – Actual Foreclosures: Foreclosures are properties that have already been foreclosed on. They’re usually owned by a bank or the government. They’re best for people who are looking for a home to live in, NOT investors. You’ll get less of a discount – maybe 10-15% off retail – but the whole process is easy. Look through the list, find what you like, and ask your Realtor to go show it to you. And then have that Realtor make the offer and handle the negotiations. Very simple. There are probably fifty websites that contain actual foreclosures, but three of the most popular ones are,, and These are national websites, but they are full of Houston foreclosures.

Category 2 – Pre-Foreclosures: Pre-foreclosures are properties that will head to the auction in one to three months. A notice has been filed at the courthouse. They’re best for real estate investors who are willing to do some work or spend some money in an effort to get a bigger discount. After you meet with a few sellers and make a few offers, you’re likely to find a property that you can buy at about a 30% discount. At least that’s what you should be shooting for. If you choose to mail to these lists, you’ll likely spend hundreds of dollars in postage. If you choose to knock on the sellers’ doors, you’ll likely spend dozens of your own man-hours. If you want the discount bad enough, these issues are tolerable. When I was first starting out and desperately needed the money, I pursued pre-foreclosures, but they’re too much trouble for me nowadays. I’ll let the new batch of “newbies” chase them! Quality pre-foreclosure websites in Houston are and They’re both local.

Category 3 – “Pre Pre” Foreclosures: “Pre pre” foreclosure websites contain listings of properties that haven’t hit the official pre-foreclosure lists or the actual foreclosure lists yet. They are best for investors who want a 30% discount or so but don’t want to spend all of the money on postage or the man-hours knocking on doors. The advantage is less money and less time spent. The disadvantage is that there are generally fewer properties to choose from, so you’ll probably have to drive outside of your immediate zip code to find the one that gives you the profits you desire. Popular “pre pre” foreclosure websites are and

The category of Houston foreclosures that you choose to pursue is up to you. It just depends on whether you’re an investor or an owner-occupant, and it depends on how much time or money you’re willing to spend. I’ve bought 41 houses, and 60% to 70% of those were “pre pre” foreclosures.

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