24th August 2009

Fair Copyright Canada Vancouver Chapter Meeting

faircopyVancouver – The Vancouver Chapter of Fair Copyright Canada will be holding an important meeting this Wednesday night at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver. The group plans to hold weekly meetings up until the Copyright Consultation period ends on September 13th.

According to the Chapter’s Facebook Group page, “Last year, following intense pressure from the United States, the government of Canada proposed radical changes to copyright law that would have made many legitimate, creative, and valuable activities illegal. Canadian artists, consumers and citizens rose up in protest. The bill died when the election was called, but the government promises to proceed.”

With the Federal Government’s deadline fast approaching, it is extremely important that artists, developers, writers, publishers, students – and everyone else who has a stake in the new copyright laws get involved with this consultation process. There are many Fair Copyright groups and chapters across the country. Check the Fair Copyright for Canada web site for more information or to find a group near you. I have also listed all of the national chapters below, with links to their pages.

Both web sites listed above are full of important, easy to understand information regarding the copyright consultation process and what it means for both consumers and creators. If you are unaware of the proceedings and not sure how they will affect you in the future, please take the time to read through the material on the sites. There is less than one month left for consultation – the time to get involved is now.

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21st August 2009

Word Camp Fraser Valley Is Tomorrow

Word Camp Fraser ValleySurrey – For those who haven’t gotten their tickets yet, hop on over to the event site and pick some up. Building on the success of last year’s event, Word Camp Fraser Valley has expanded to a variety of tracks:

* Beginner – For those who are just getting started out
* Intermediate – Ideal for bloggers who want to grow
* Development – Learn to develop from people who develop on WordPress
* Twitter – A great start for someone who wants to learn about Twitter

This year’s WordCamp Fraser Valley will be taking place at the SFU Surrey Campus tomorrow, Saturday August 22, with sessions getting underway at 9:00am.

Speakers and Tracks include:

Beginner Track

Rebecca Bollwitt – More than just a Blog.
Glenda Hyatt – 3 Tips for Increasing Your Blog’s Accessibility
Raul Pacheco – Accessorize Your Blog: Top Ten Ways to Maximize Reader Experience

Intermediate Track

Lorraine Murphy – Blogging for Creativity
Dave Zille – Using Custom Fields for Fun and Profit
Kulpreet Singh – Mastering the Admin Interface

Development Track

John Biehler – Setting Up WAMP for Local Development
Jeff Kee – Beyond Template Tags
George Plumley – Modifying Your Own Theme

Twitter Track

Gary Jones – How to Build Your Brand on Twitter
Rainer Schmoll – Integrating WordPress and Twitter

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21st August 2009

New Games and Old Games With New Features

UbisoftCanadaUbisoft Montreal has launched the first in-game trailer for Avatar The Game. The trailer shows off Avatar The Gamethe game environment and some very interesting creatures, along with several explosive combat scenes between human forces and the native Na’vi people on the planet of Pandora. I can tell just by watching the trailer that this game is going to popular in the Village Gamer home office what with its big guns, big flying machines and fighting creatures. Pandora looks to be a place of incredible scenery full of imagination and wonders to be discovered – all while trying to stay alive (sometimes quite a challenge for me) and battling for planet supremacy. We will most definitely be looking forward to this game’s release on November 24th.

Ubisoft has also released more PC Games from their back-catalogue on GoG.com. The newly re-released titles include Heroes of Might and Magic® 2 Gold Edition, Heroes of Might and Magic® 3 Complete Edition, The Settlers® 2 Gold Edition and the stunning Might and Magic® 6 Limited Edition, which includes parts 1–6 of the landmark RPG series. All games are totally DRM-free, fully compatible with XP and Vista and accompanied by mounds of extras, including soundtracks, wallpapers, forum avatars, maps and much more.

SARF StudiosSARF Studios has opened their studio’s new web site, which introduces their flagship product, an innovative, social virtual world named Planet SARF. Realizing the momentum, trends, and potentials related to environmental sustainability, Planet SARF has focused on creating an amusing and educational virtual experience based on the principles of Edutainment, educational entertainment as an Planet SARF Airfieldeffective learning tool.

Using highly detailed 3D imagery, players will be immersed in an open-ended, virtual adventure as they explore the beauty and mysticism of the Yucatan rainforests, Mexico. Players can choose a customizable character, which will be their Avatar in a virtual adventure that includes water rafting, diving, exploring, mini games, and learning.

Planet SARF will educate players about the flora and fauna as the players advance throughout the game. Informative pop-up windows will show specifics regarding the animal, plant, or geological characteristics encountered in the game. Research has found that not only are virtual worlds effective learning tools for children, they are also valuable opportunities for children to practice social and life skills.

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20th August 2009

Elven Chronicles Slashes Its Way Into The App Store

Big Blue BubbleLondon ONBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that their award winning role-playing game, Elven Chronicles, will be arriving on the Apple’s mobile platforms, the iPhone and iPod Touch, in September.

Elven Chronicles puts the player in the shoes of a young knight, fighting to discover the Elven Chroniclessecrets of his forgotten past, and a charismatic elf on quest for self redemption. With a massive 20 hours of captivating story, vast territories to explore, randomly generated dungeons, and gorgeous, hand drawn enemies and characters, Elven Chronicles will keep even the most seasoned RPG’er engaged.

Winner of Pop Vox’s Best Mobile Game, Elven Chronicles has garnered praised by industry professionals and critics alike: “Zelda meets Final Fantasy in this massive RPG” (Anannya Sen, Mobile Game FAQs).

Features Include

• Classic Console RPG design
• Massive World Maps
• Captivating Story
• Countless Spells, Weapons, Armour and Accessories
• Random Dungeon Maps
• Stunning Characters and Scenery
• Over 20 hours of Gameplay

Elven Chronicles was developed for the Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs, iPod Touch.

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20th August 2009

News from Brother Canada, CPEX Awards and Tucows

brother canadaRichmondBrother International Corporation (Canada) Ltd. has expanded their Richmond, BC facility to 52,500 sq. feet, providing nearly triple the capacity of Brother’s previous location. The expansion was needed in order to keep up with the demand for its products in Western Canada.

“The decision to expand in Vancouver follows the expansion of our Montreal facilities three years ago, which is already operating at full capacity”, explains Martin Featherston, President of Brother Canada. “In order to support our sales growth, it became a necessity to expand our capacity in the Vancouver area as well.” For geographic reasons, the region of Vancouver was a natural point of entry for Brother products, which are predominantly manufactured and shipped from Asia. The first Brother office in Western Canada was established in Vancouver in the early 1980’s. Both current Brother facilities in Canada (Montreal and Vancouver) are ISO certified for quality management (ISO 9001:2008), environment (ISO 14001:2004) and health & safety (ISO 18001:2007). The construction of the new building started in March 2009 and was completed by the end of July, while operations officially launched in early August 2009.

CPEXTorontoBay3000 Corporate Education, a leading provider of Project Management Education has announced that nominations for the 6th Annual Canadian Project Excellence Awards and Learning Forum (CPEX) are now open. CPEX is dedicated to business success by enabling and recognizing outstanding leadership. Through the CPEX Competition, we celebrate Canadian projects that have overcome challenges to deliver superior value. CPEX will be held on November 2, 2009 at the innovative Institute for Learning in Toronto. The goal of this milestone event is to connect individuals and organizations from industry, business, and government sectors to learn critical best practices from leading experts in the field, to share knowledge, to network, and to celebrate achievements made by Canadian Projects. CPEX fills a void by serving as the meeting place where leaders and their teams come together to exchange ideas and discuss strategic alignment and execution. This unique event is geared to Senior Project Management and Executive leaders.
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20th August 2009

Canada’s Video Game Industry Needs Copyright Law That Protects Digital Locks

esacToronto – Danielle Parr, Executive Director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released this opinion article about the ongoing copyright battles currently taking place in Canada.

“The video-game industry is the fastest-growing sector of the entertainment industry in Canada, and one of the most vibrant, fastest-growing industries in the world. Canadian video-game companies are renowned for producing high-quality games, Danielle Parrand are behind some of the world’s most successful titles. In fact, 20 percent of the top-selling games in North America and Europe in 2008 were developed by Canadian video-game companies, many of them in B.C., and Canada recently overtook the United Kingdom to become the third most successful producer of video games in the world.

With increasing popularity, however, comes increasing instances of illicit activity, specifically piracy of video-game software and circumvention of digital locks (called technological protection measures or TPMs) that are built into consoles and handhelds that prevent illegally copied games from being played. According to industry research, some 34 percent of Canadian gamers have acquired pirated games (compared to only 17 percent in the United States), while 22 percent of gamers have modified their video-game consoles or handhelds to play pirated games. Furthermore, Internet piracy of video-game software in Canada has undergone explosive growth, and we detected a stunning 300 percent increase in the number of games illegally downloaded via Canadian ISPs between 2007 and 2008 (and this reflects but a fraction of the total illegal downloads in Canada detected by the industry as a whole).

Today, it costs between $10 and $30 million to develop a top-tier video game, and few games actually sell enough to achieve profitability. In light of the substantial investment required and the high degree of risk associated with the production of entertainment software, piracy fundamentally undermines the industry’s ability to recover its investment, resulting in fewer games as well as lost revenue and employment opportunities.

Particularly in this economic climate, where jobs are an especially precious commodity, it is critical that the government play its part in adequately protecting the Canadian video-game industry from piracy. Specifically, new copyright legislation must provide legal protection for TPMs, prohibit trafficking in “mod chips” and other circumvention devices and services specifically designed to facilitate piracy by defeating TPMs, and implement deterrent criminal and civil remedies against those who provide such services and tools—those who are profiting from piracy at the expense of legitimate businesses.

For the video-game industry, TPMs are not only used to prevent piracy and cheating (e.g. “modding” game code to give an unfair advantage over other players); they also enable access to a greater range of features and options that would otherwise be unavailable. Things like parental controls (which allow parents to control what games are played by their children and what kinds of content they are exposed to), “trial” or “demo” versions of games, and new digital distribution platforms like Valve’s Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, or the PlayStation Network, all provide greater choice and access for consumers.

Ultimately, implementing legal protections for TPMs will benefit consumers by providing greater certainty in the digital marketplace, which will, in turn, spur investment in the development of new digital products, services, and distribution methods; more consumer choice; and lower prices. Furthermore, legal protection for TPMs also enables a vibrant ecosystem of digital business models. If a creator or company chooses to sell their work as a digital product or service, legal protection for TPMs helps ensure that this choice is respected, much in the same way that locks on the doors of a bricks-and-mortar store allow the owners to determine when and how consumers can access their product. However, if they choose to give their work away and make money in some other manner (or not at all), they are free to do so.

By ensuring that consumers have a variety of digital offerings to choose from, legal protection for TPMs allows market forces to protect consumer interests, so if a consumer does not like the conditions of sale or terms of service for one digital product or service, they can simply take their business elsewhere. Failing to protect TPMs under the law effectively means that the government is dictating the business model, which is bad news for business and for consumers.

Canada urgently needs an updated copyright regime that protects our creators and rights holders, in recognition of the important role they play in the digital economy and in terms of Canada’s future prosperity. We have a lot to lose.”

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19th August 2009

iStockphoto Announces Winners of International Punctum Day Awards

iStockphotoCalgaryiStockphoto, the world’s leading royalty-free stock destination, today announced the nine winners of its Punctum Day competition, now in its third year. Punctum Day celebrates creative excellence and the profound emotional impact a truly great work of art can have on its audience. Finalists were chosen by the user-generated Full Moon Is Callingcommunity of more than 6 million iStock members and the winners were determined by an international panel of judges.

This year’s categories included best photo, vector, video, Flash™ and design of the year with audio included for the first time. The top 10 finalists from each category were selected from a pool of more than 1.75 million entries. The panel of judges included Chris and Trish Meyer, founders of Crish Design; Russell Brown, senior creative director at Adobe Systems; and Scott Kelby, publisher and co-founder of Photoshop User Magazine, editor-in-chief of Layers magazine and host of Photoshop User TV. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000.

iStockphoto Punctum Day Winners:

Photo of the year – Vladimir Piskunov (member name: piskunov), Russia, Full Moon Is Calling

Video of the year – David Baumber (member name: multifocus), UK, Busy Office Frozen in Time

Vector of the year – Brian Smith (member name: scargut), United States, The Vlad Supper

Audio of the year – Alexander Maas (member name: -MUX-), Germany, Siberia

Flash of the year – Holger Bogen (member name: holgerbogen), Germany, Computer Hacker

Design of the Year – Adrian Foster (member name: vsdesign), UK, Jonathan Trumbull & Hatters homepage design

The iStockphoto inspection team named Kurt Paris (member name: paris), United Kingdom, as the most improved contributor and Luis Sandoval Mandujano (member name: erlucho), Chile, as the most deserving of new equipment. Paris will receive a USD $5,000 cash prize and Mandujano will receive $5,000 in new equipment. Jamie Carroll, (member name: jc_design) was named winner of the “Steel Cage – 2009 Battle Royale” competition and will also take home $5,000.

Hall of Fame:

The iStockphoto Hall of Fame spotlights members who have left an indelible stamp on the history of the company. iStock founder Bruce Livingstone left the organization earlier this year. His ideas, passion and commitment created more than just a company – they created an industry. His commitment to the iStock community provided the foundation on which the company continues to grow. It is only fitting that Bruce be given a position of honor in the iStockphoto hall of fame.

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19th August 2009

New Free Service Changes World of Web Development

installAllVernon – A new service has opened its BETA to the public today expecting to forever change the way websites are created. installAll.net is the first site of its kind to offer a database of fully automated script installations and upgrades, including one-click modification and template installations, completely free. With more than 300 scripts in its database–from shopping carts to customer relationship managers–installAll.net helps reduce the time it takes for web developers to create a website.

Its list of free features continues with unlimited installations to unlimited domains, compatibility with nearly all web hosting companies, no required branding or advertising, excellent speed and security, and more.

“As a web developer, I know the value of this service. I know the time and effort web developers will save by using this tool,” says Dan Nelson, president and CEO. “Plus, we’ve made the site so easy to use that even someone with no web development experience can create a fully functioning website in less than five minutes.”

The database of free scripts, modifications and templates they offer will continuously grow. “We already have dedicated staff managing the applications from developers and I think there will be an increasing interest in contributing works for installation using our service,” says Nelson. installAll.net does not charge developers to contribute free scripts that are open-source to its database.

installAll.net is a web-based service designed for experienced and amateur web developers alike. Based out of Vernon B.C., the company is committed to community investment and expects to donate more than 20 percent of its profits to local charitable organizations.

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19th August 2009

3D3 Solutions Unveils FlexScan3D Version 2.5 3D Scanner

3D3 SolutionsVancouver3D3 Solutions, a cutting-edge developer of 3D scanning technologies, announced today the launch of FlexScan3D 2.5 , the latest version of its 3D scanning software. New features and upgrades reduce scan editing time while providing high quality results.

“The best way to improve a product is to listen to your customers,” said Thomas Tong, President of 3D3

Split Scan Mode

Split Scan Mode

Solutions. “FlexScan3D 2.5’s new features and upgrades are a direct response to customers’ feedback and needs.”

FlexScan3D 2.5 new features include:

* New Split Scan mode: The new mode captures more data by scanning two sides of an object simultaneously and automatically merges the coverage area for more complete results. Ideal for face and foot scanning.

* Mesh alignment and merging tool: Users can skip the process of importing scans into third-party 3D scan data processing software with FlexScan3D’s alignment and merging capabilities.

* Supports 360° scanning with rotary table (sold separately): Automates the process of performing multiple scans of a single object and automatically aligns the scans to form a 360 model.

Upgrades to FlexScan3D help produce higher quality scans than its predecessor including higher accuracy single scanner calibration and advance color scan support.

FlexScan3D software is offered at $1,699 USD. 3D3 Solutions’ all-in-one HDI 3D Scanners are powered by FlexScan3D and start at $3,999 USD. These products can be ordered today at 3D3 Solutions website.

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19th August 2009

Danny Wallace Signed To Voice AC2 Character Shaun Hastings

UbisoftMontreal – Well-known British humorist and author Danny Wallace will be cast as one of the key roles in Ubisoft’s upcoming title Assassin’s Creed 2. The voice and likeness of Wallace will be cast for the character of Shaun Hastings. A pivotal character in the game, Shaun will serve as a historian, guide and source of information for the player as he proceeds through the game.

Danny Wallace is most recognized as the author of critically acclaimed books including Join Me and Yes Danny WallaceMan. The latter was turned into a Hollywood movie starring Jim Carey in 2008, whilst more recently this year his latest book Friends Like These has been released in paperback. In recent years, Danny has also been involved in a variety of different ‘projects’ from searching the globe for robots and creating his own country in central London, to more sedate celebrity activity such as appearing on the Jonathan Ross show and writing a regular column for award-winning lifestyle magazine ShortList.

“When the UK suggested Danny to us, we were completely open to the idea. Danny has been fantastic to work with, and his manner and particular style of humor has worked out perfect for the role of Shaun” said script writer Corey May. Speaking on his own involvement in the game, Wallace said “Going right back to my days of working on Sega Power, I’ve always been a keen gamer, and being involved – and actually being in a game like Assassin’s Creed II is amazing! I have to say, I’m rather excited”

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