Friday Funny

Published on Jun 29, 2007   //  Cartoon

Another cartoon created by creative genius Matthew Schmoll. BlueFur Transformer

If you have an idea for a future comic or would like to submit your own BlueFur cartoon let us know in a comment.

In The Sphere: Video Edition

Published on Jun 29, 2007   //  In the Sphere

Thank goodness it’s Friday! As we embark into another wonderful weekend, here is a batch of video posts that I gathered up from the crowded, yet wonderfully entertaining world of blogging!

The Thinking Blog found a clip that asks whether or not time travel is even possible. This isn’t just a group of science fiction geeks sitting around discussing the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek: they actually bring real science into this, merging the realms of sci-fi with physics… and a cartoon Albert Einstein.

Spud Oregon from Nice4Rice.com has been fiddling with Windows Speech Recognition for some time, trying to get it to work properly. Well, in his third and possibly final attempt, it seems that the speech recognition software is actually doing its job. This video is a far cry from Spud’s disastrous first attempt (which can also be found on his blog).

Tyler Cruz not only found a full-length (71 minute) movie on YouTube (and it is legally available for free), but he also found out a bit of the story behind Four Eyed Monsters. Huge credit card debt for no reason or was it just one big marketing ploy all along?

Andy Coates is not nearly as impressed with the iPhone (which launches today in the US) as the countless Apple fanboys out there. In fact, he got a video depicting the whole iPhone interface on a Pocket PC Phone. Apple and Microsoft, together at last? Ah, the wonders of homebrew development.

The Daily Kimchi recently attended a Christina Aguilera concert in Korea, but he ended up in an entirely wrong part of the complex! Thankfully, he hitched a ride with a few random Koreans on scooters and he eventually got to the stadium on time. Wheeee!

Keys to Success: Niche Case 2

Published on Jun 28, 2007   //  Business Topics
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Keys to Success

One of the keys to a business’ success is to have a niche.  Several weeks ago I asked people to tell me about their businesses and I would suggest a niche to them.  Last week I made a suggestion to a Hypnotherapist and this week I will focus on Realtors.

Mark, a local Surrey Realtor who wishes to remain anonymous, asked how he could find a niche in the real estate market. In Surrey there are approximately twice as many Realtors as there are houses for sale.  That makes standing out very important.

I know one local realtor who  has found a great niche.  She provides a garage sale kit and marketing of your garage sale to each client who sells their house with her.  Because of this, she has her name and signs up not just at houses currently on the market, but at each garage sale for years to come.   This small and relatively simple idea has allowed her to find a great niche in our local marketplace and her name and face are now well known.

Because Realtors have so few things they can do to niche without breaking the bank, I always suggest they market themselves.  Make themselves stand out and become truly memorable by having a trademark style of dress or article of clothing or do something unique that they can market. An example for men would be to wear a classic boller hat and wear it everywhere you go. Your marketing would include the boller hat and when anyone in your area sees a boller hat they’ll think of you.  For a woman it could be a neck scarf.  You could even include a stylized boller hat or scarf on your business cards.

How would you niche in this type of business?

Do you have a business and want an idea on how you can niche it? Post your business’ name and what type of business it is and I will feature your business in a follow up.

Marketing 101: The Power of the Slogan

Published on Jun 28, 2007   //  Marketing Tips
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Establishing your brand and differentiating it from the competition can mean the difference between being a huge success and a monumental failure. Choosing the right company name, for example, can go a long way in terms of getting people to remember you. Take Google, for example. If they decided to name themselves something strictly descriptive — like “Searcher” — it probably wouldn’t have become as large as it has today. Another critical element is the company slogan.

Here at BlueFur hosting, they’ve decided to go with “Experience the Legend”. On the one hand, this works because it elicits images of legendary creatures like the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, and Bigfoot. It’s big and important (and goes well with the blue mascot). On the other hand, it doesn’t really say anything about the product (or service) being sold, which is why I suggested something more along the lines of “let the hosting fur fly”, but they didn’t like it.

Looking around some other companies, I’ve seen some very effective slogans. One that really caught my attention was that of Canada’s Comedy Network. They’re perfectly aware that the programming they show is largely fluff material meant to entertain and not educate (The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are notable exceptions). You go to the Comedy Network for a cheap laugh and a little chuckle. That’s why I think their slogan — Time Well Wasted — is particularly suiting and memorable.

But that’s not to say that all big companies have taken the right route. I remember for a while (they might still be using it, I’m not sure), the official slogan of McDonald’s was “Smile.” What the heck is that supposed to mean? Yes, munching on those fries can be pretty enjoyable, but a single word slogan like “Smile” really does nothing to promote the brand. You want short, but I’ve always had an aversive reaction to single word slogans.

When starting up a new company, you have to consider all the marketing aspects, including the company name, logo, and slogan, as well as the avenues you choose to take to advertise your business.

Tshirt Contest Entry #10

Published on Jun 27, 2007   //  Contest

We have received our tenth and final Tshirt submission in our Tshirt contest. What do you think?

 Entry 10

Next week we will post all of the shirts again and ask you to pick the winner. The staff, owner and your vote will help decide the winner.

WordPress Wednesdays: A New Look for the Dashboard

Published on Jun 27, 2007   //  WordPress
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My good friend John Chow recently discovered a hot-off-the-press plug-in for WordPress. If you’re tired of how the dashboard and administration tools look in your default WordPress install, then maybe you should check out the WordPress Tiger Administration Plug-in. The plug-in, which you can download here, doesn’t actually change any of the functionality of the dashboard, but rather just moves a few things around and changes the physical appearance to something that may be a little more pleasing to the eye.

On the plus side, the WordPress Tiger Administration Plug-in works perfectly fine in Safari and Firefox, but it does not work with Internet Explorer. This is because IE, the world’s most popular web browser (if only because it’s the one installed on all Windows computers), does not currently comply to CSS2 specifications on which this plug-in is based. Thankfully, the plug-in will automatically detect whether it can do its thing or not, reverting back to the old look if necessary on a case-to-case basis.

Personally, I think I’ve gotten too used to the standard dashboard to make the leap. And no, there is no official relationship with Mac OS X Tiger.

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