In The Sphere: Spooky Edition

Published on Oct 31, 2008   //  In the Sphere

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today’s edition of the In The Sphere focuses on the popular traditions of this wonderfully ghoulish day, so let’s have at it.

Halloween starts with a good costume, so Hummingbird604 asks if you have decided on your Halloween costume yet. That was a couple of days ago and if you’re still on the hunt for a creative character this year, you’re seriously running out of time. Be sure to check out the comments on that post to see if you can find some inspiration.

To the younger kids in the audience (and to the kids in all of us), Halloween is all about satisfying that sweet tooth. Long Countdown has been largely deprived of chocolate treats, because Japan only has three different kinds of candybars in stores. Thankfully, Nick has received a ton of chocolate through the post from his dear mum in England. Schedule that dentist appointment now!

Today can be quite a frightening day and the What If Blog follows that trend by asking you to consider if vampires watched from the shadows. Can you imagine if those well-dressed bloodsuckers were lurking in your closet, waiting for an opportunity to pounce and bite into your neck? If they are there, I’d prefer the classy vampires in Interview with the Vampire over the insane hybrid monsters introduced in Blade.

Creativity takes on all forms. You could spend a fortune on a great costume or you could take the route of Tyler Ingram and simply carve up a stellar collection of Jack-O-Lanterns. Personally, I think Robyn’s pumpkin looks better than Tyler’s, but that is still quite the collection. Be sure to check out his Flickr album for more pumpkin carvings.

What’s the scariest thing in the world? Is it a werewolf? A zombie? Michael Jackson? Maybe it’s when you turn to Mostly Lisa to discuss Madonna’s insistence to avoid pants. At what point is that woman going to act her age?! Then again, she could quite possibly be in the best shape of her life. Are you disturbed by Madonna’s legs?

Marketing 101: Refreshing a Brand

Published on Oct 30, 2008   //  Marketing Tips

Continuing the discussion from Tuesday concerning the revitalization of a brand, we turn today to another major corporation that could be looking for a new company image. On Tuesday, we looked at Best Buy. Today, we turn to Pepsi.

I don’t think this has been officially confirmed (or denied) by the soft drink maker, but there’s word going around that Pepsi wants to create a whole new image for its beverages, including new bottle designs. You can see the rumored mockups at underconsideration.com. You will notice that the Pepsi logo is slightly different for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Max. Won’t that just confuse the consumer?

While coming up with a new look can certainly revitalize interest in a brand, it can also alienate some of your existing customer base. In the case of Pepsi here, the look is similar, but the font and styling has been made a little more contemporary and little more minimalist in its approach. Personally, I feel that this shift makes the new bottles look more like a generic knockoff of “real” Pepsi products than it does a refreshed version of the existing brand. We’ve all seen knockoffs like PC Cola and Safeway Select.

Realistically, I don’t think that this bottle and can redesign, assuming that it is truly going to happen, will help Pepsi sell more soft drinks. The actual product remains unchanged and it’s unlikely that someone will buy the new Pepsi over an equivalent Coke product based purely on the new branding approach, especially in the long run. What do you think?

VPS Servers Relaunch Concept

Published on Oct 30, 2008   //  Emerging Markets

ServersWe posted a poll yesterday which asked if we should relaunch VPS servers. Regardless of the poll results we will be launching several VPS solutions in some niche markets.

Business Hosting Relaunched
Last year we introduced business hosting using a failover DNS solution which required files to be synced between 2 locations. The problem was that databases and and multiple domains were not synced so if your site was dynamic (doesn’t everyone now?) then the failover would not work right. Based on that we scrapped that model at the beginning of this year

To take over for that we will be launching a 100% managed VPS with cPanel. The VPS will be setup, updated and managed by our staff just like a shared server. The customer who purchases this will receive a regular cPanel login to administer there site. There are several advantages to this for businesses…

  • 1 IP for your business which is not shared. This will mean you will not need to worry about your domain being flagged as spam.
  • Higher reliability because there will be fewer people on the server. A maximum of 30 customers will be on one server.
  • More control over how the VPS is setup so that there hosting fits there needs.

The plan will look like this…

vDedicated Business
25 GB Disk Space
1000 GB Monthly Transfer Limit
cPanel with Fantastico
Unmetered emails, add-on domains, MySQL, etc…
$49.95 a month

We will not be providing root access to these servers as we do not wish to dive back into the reseller hosting market. Again this hosting is good for a business that wants a step up from standard shared hosting.

BlueFur Xvps Launch
We announced earlier this year and will be adding VPS Servers. The test with openvz did not go well so we have decided to go with Virtuozzo. This server is good for anyone that would like to sell Canadian VPS server. The server specs are…

BlueFur Xvps
Dual Xeon Quad 2.5GHz
750GB SATA2
15GB RAM
2 TB Monthly Transfer Limit
100 Mbps Uplink
30 Unique IP’s
Rapid Remote Reboot
Virtuozzo – 30VPS
Virtuozzo Control Center
$599.95 a month
cPanel with Fantastico can be added for $20 a month per VPS.

We will be adding this to our server offerings in the coming days.

VPS Development Hosting
I did some quick searching and there are very few VPS developer servers in Canada. My thinking is there is a need for a VPS where you could install software which you would not normally find on a shared host so you can test and build scripts. The server would be unmanaged and not include cPanel. The developer would have access to Virtuozzo Control Center where they can reload the Os anytime they need to. The plan would look something like this…

vDev
25 GB Disk Space
1000 GB Monthly Transfer Limit
512 MB of RAM Guranteed
Virtuozzo Control Center
$19.95 a month

This price is not etched in stone but is where I would like to see these Dev VPS price at the $20 or less mark.

Your Feedback
We really appreciate your feedback on these plans. Your idea’s suggestions will help us become a stronger company. Leave a comment if you have anything to say.

WordPress Wednesdays: Oops, It’s Live!

Published on Oct 29, 2008   //  WordPress

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the “Save” and “Publish” buttons are right next to one another when you are in the “Write Post” tool in WordPress. While WordPress is set up to auto-save your content at regular intervals, there are times when you’ll still want to hit the Save button, because you want to make sure that it has actually saved everything that you have written.

You’ve probably experienced the scenario where you’re almost finished writing a world class blog post and then something goes awry, effectively eliminating all of that hard work. Not a pleasant experience, to say the least. That’s why it’s so important to save early and save often. You do it in Microsoft Office and you should do it in WordPress too.

Unfortunately, because the “Save” and “Publish” buttons are right next to one another, you may accidentally hit Publish when you really want to click on Save. As a result, your half-completed blog post can go live and this is obviously not a good thing, especially if you still have a lot of content to write or a lot of editing to do.

A simple trick to overcome this problem is to make use of the timestamp feature, even if you plan on publishing the post immediately after it is done. Upon opening the Write Post tool, go to the area where it says “Publish immediately” (above the Save/Publish buttons) and click on the Edit link next to it. Bump the timestamp to some date in the future.

This way, if you accidentally hit Publish, the post will only be timestamped to go live in the future and not to go live immediately. When you are ready for the article to go live, simply switch the timestamp back to the current time and it will be published immediately.

Community Poll

Published on Oct 29, 2008   //  Polls

Weekly Community Poll

Last week we asked you to help solve the age old problem and 65% of you say boys rule and girls drool. This weeks question is…

{democracy:55}

Strategic Marketing Management

Published on Oct 28, 2008   //  Events
Off

Know Your Company, Know Your Customers: Position your Organization for Market Success

This course develops competencies in creating effective marketing strategies for your organization. You will deepen your understanding of the competitive environment, and build skills in market research, segmentation and positioning. You’ll also learn to develop powerful brands that will keep your customers coming back for more.

When is the course happening?
Monday, November 3 to 4, 2008 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Where is it happening?
UBC Robson Square C550 – 800 Robson Street  - Vancouver

Registration
To register for this event you need to register here.

Course Fee
This event costs $1150 + GST.

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