Business 101: Serial or Episodic Approach?

Published on Nov 30, 2010   //  Business Topics

When it comes to any kind of entertainment media, the producers are effectively left with one of two choices. They can either go with a serial approach, hooking in viewers (or readers) early and getting them to commit to the series; or they can go with an episodic approach, allowing consumers to enjoy the series in bite-sized pieces that are in relative isolation.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to either approach. With a serial configuration, you have a greater likelihood of gaining a loyal following. Take Harry Potter as an example. People who have read the first couple of books are very inclined to read the ones that followed (and watch the accompanying movies), because they are invested in the characters and want to know what happens next. The same is true with many comic books, as well as serial television series like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire. However, newcomers to the series will feel like they are “out of the loop,” because the serial approach relies on pre-existing knowledge from prior offerings.

On the flip side, an episodic approach allows readers, viewers, and listeners to enjoy the series in smaller pieces. These episodes can be viewed or read in relative isolation. While some pre-existing knowledge about the characters and their circumstances would be helpful, it is not necessary. A typical example of this would be many sitcoms, like Seinfeld and The Office. The episodes do not have to be watched in sequential order; that would be better, but not necessary. This is not the case with a serial approach.

So, what does this mean? If you are considering embarking on a creative venture, you’ll need to make this critical decision before you even get started. With a popular webcomic like XKCD, subscribers can view the comics in any given order and gain the same level of satisfaction. At the same time, they may not be as vested in the series, feeling that missing one or two offerings is forgivable. Such is not the case with serial comics and TV series. Which path you choose can have a monumental impact on the success of your comic, TV show, movie series, or any other creative venture.

Great Gadgets: Garmin nuvi 265WT Widescreen GPS Navigator

Published on Nov 29, 2010   //  Gadgets

Great Gadgets: Garmin nuvi 265WT GPS Navigator

Black Friday may have come and gone, but there are still many deals to be had online for a variety of different products. Helping you get around town is the Garmin nuvi 265WT, a portable GPS navigation device that comes loaded with all the latest features.

For starters, the “W” part of its name indicates the inclusion of the 4.3-inch wide-aspect touchscreen color display. The widescreen display allows you to see more of the surrounding area as you drive down the road. This WQVGA TFT display has a white backlight and an effective resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. Second, the “T” part of the model number indicates the inclusion of free real-time traffic information. This way, you can skip the rush hour gridlock and find a more effective route to your business meetings.

Going through the rest of the features, we find Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling, an ultra-thin design that fits easily in your pocket, text-to-speech for reading real street names in the navigational instructions, and up to four hours of battery life. The nuvi 265WT comes preloaded with maps of the continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Canada.

While it normally sells for over $400, the Garmin nuvi 265WT is currently on sale for $116.34, including free shipping. That’s a 71% savings off the regular price. If you don’t need widescreen, the Garmin 265T has the same features on a standard aspect display and it is on sale for under $100. Both sales are on until December 2.

BlueFur Customer of the Week: Living Through Loss Counselling

Published on Nov 28, 2010   //  BlueFur Customer of the Week

Life can be a challenge, especially when you lose a loved one. Many people seem to assume that grief and loss are only connected to the death of a loved one, but other circumstances can bring up the same kinds of emotions.

Whatever your situation, Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC can be there to help. The organization hosts its website with BlueFur and it receives partial funding through supporters like United Way. Additional funding comes by way of private donations, corporate sponsors, and society members.

Clients come to the LTLC for their professional grief counselling and emotional support services. These include loss of health, emotional distress, victimization, caregiver issues, compassion burnout, and personal life changes. Individual counselling with LTLC can be had at $85 an hour. The organization is located at 1651 Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

Do you use BlueFur to host your websites? Let us know and we can feature you in a future blog post. Send an email message to with your name, website URL, and a brief description of what you’d like to see highlighted.

Showcase Saturday: Scarf Folio

Published on Nov 27, 2010   //  Showcase Saturday

WordPress can be used for a variety of different websites. There’s so much more to the popular content management system than just blogging and that’s a big reason why it is so popular with so many different web users and website owners.

For instance, you can try your hand at the Scarf Folio WordPress theme. This template has been clearly designed to work as a portfolio-type website, complete with a highly stylized background image, easy navigation, and attractive animated slider.

The Scarf WP theme features a simple black design, two fixed columns, and full Flickr support built right in. In this way, it’s a great fit for graphic designers, photographers, and other creative types who make use of Flickr to showcase their work.

Check out the demo site and then you can download Scarf Folio at It’s a free download and there is support in the forum if you need some help.

In the Sphere: Life, Business, and Pleasure

Published on Nov 26, 2010   //  In the Sphere

Life is all about finding that delicate balance between work and pleasure. You can’t really enjoy one without a proper dose of the other, right? With that in mind, let’s see what bloggers were saying this week.

Aliza Sherman recognizes that there are only 24 hours in the day. In order to get more done, you might want to see what you can crowdsource. By leveraging the help of others, you can get a lot more done in the same amount of time.

Jennie Yuen shares a new social shopping site with us. Called JoeShopping, the site provides comparison shopping as well as social networking features. You can even earn JoePoints by participating on the site, feeding into the online shopping community.

Raul Pacheco is an active member on the board at The Network Hub. The Vancouver coworking space has been quite full for some time, so it’s good to see more office space is opening up next month. If you’re looking for some downtown space, now’s the time to get in contact with The Network Hub.

James Chartrand has heard a million times before that a person should write lots and write often if he or she wants to be a great writer. James disagrees with this sentiment, because bad habits just get worse with more practice. Instead, it takes active effort to get better.

Joseph Planta takes a moment to reflect on the life of Chuck Davis, noted historian and author. As part of the audio clip, Joseph welcomes special guests Sam Sullivan, Alan Twigg, Howard White, and David Berner. They discuss Davis and pay their due respects.

Marketing 101: T-Mobile 4G Piggyback

Published on Nov 25, 2010   //  Marketing Tips

If you’ve been watching any amount of television in the last couple of weeks, then you may have come across the new advertisement from T-Mobile regarding its “4G” network and the myTouch 4G smartphone. Without getting into the technical specifics as to whether the new network is really 4G, there is something else that is worth noting in this commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it has been uploaded to YouTube as well.

After watching the commercial, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve seen it before. Then, it hit me: the old Mac commercials with Justin Long and John Hodgman, better known as the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” series of commercials from Apple. The T-Mobile commercials use the same plain white background, the same juxtaposition format with a competing brand, and the same “I’m a A, and I’m a B” opening line.

The person representing the T-Mobile myTouch 4G is young, attractive, and fashionable. While the person representing the iPhone 4 on the AT&T 3G network isn’t depicted as older and “stuffier” like the PC guy in the Apple ads, he is shown as being less effective. It’s an amusing spot, but the comparison to the Apple commercials is undeniable. Does this detract from the effectiveness of T-Mobile’s ad campaign or does it help it?

It makes you wonder if this similarity was intentional, acting as a parody of the original Apple commercials under a slightly different context. In this way, you have to ask whether the parody goes far enough.

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