4th October 2010

Interactive Ontario Welcomes New Team Members

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario (IO) is pleased to welcome Patricia McCutcheon and Armen Karapetyan to its growing team and is bidding farewell to Sarah Baird, VP Programmes and Operations.

Patricia McCutcheon will be taking on the role of Director of Programmes where she will oversee programming for the upcoming iLunch 9.0 series, GameON: Finance and INplay 2011 conferences. Armen Karapetyan is IO’s new Director of Operations, and will be primarily responsible for IO’s financials, forecasting and human resources management.Patricia McCutcheon

Patricia McCutcheon was the National Organizer, Digital Media for ACTRA National for 4 years. She was with ACTRA for 7 years prior to that holding various positions within the Commercials department for ACTRA Toronto. After leaving ACTRA, Patricia had short-term contracts with the OMDC, Allstream and most recently as Director, Business Development at Spark Inc. a corporate event management company. Patricia studied Commerce with a major in marketing at Concordia University. She has also studied Business and New Media at Ryerson University.

Prior to his move to Canada and current role with IO, Armen was the Operations Director of the Armen KarapetyanBarthelmes Conservatory of Music in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before leading Conservatory operations, Armen also served as finance and grants manager for several international relief and development organizations, such as Feed the Children, Open Society Institute and Jinishian Memorial Foundation. Armen holds a Master’s degree in Physics from Yerevan State University in Armenia and Master’s degree in Business Administration from American University of Armenia.

“We are very excited to have Patricia and Armen join our team. With their wealth of knowledge and experience, I know they will strengthen IO’s efforts to better the interactive industry in Ontario,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO, Interactive Ontario.

IO also notes the departure of Sarah Baird, who joined Interactive Ontario in 2005 as the organization’s first full-time employee. Over the past five years Sarah has overseen the programming and logistics for all IO’s efforts. In this time IO has successfully hosted over 750 speakers at over 70 events ranging in size from industry networking events to multi-day/multi-stream conference such as IN. Since Sarah joined the organization, IO has grown from just over 50 companies to more than 260 companies at present.

“Sarah’s contribution to IO has been critical to its success. Her passion and dedication to the industry and to our mission as an organization has always been exceptional. We certainly wish her the best and thank her for her many years of service,” says Kelso.

Taking on an expanded role within the organization is Max Berdowski, now Vice President, Business Development & Communications. In addition to developing partnerships, Max takes on responsibility for IO membership, communications and marketing. As well, Communications Director, Danielle Engels, who has been with IO for 2.5 years adds IO’s marketing efforts to her portfolio.

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2nd October 2010

Canada Media Fund Celebrates Industry Success

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) celebrated the success of the Canadian television and digital media industries with an event in Ottawa that brought together the stars of Canadian television shows and the Members of Parliament and government officials who help bring these shows to life through their continued support of the Canada Media Fund.

The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, spoke to the crowd which included representatives from the creative, broadcasting, and distribution industries, as well as senior government officials.

“Six months into the Canada Media Fund, we have come an incredibly long way and it’s gone incredibly well,” said Minister Moore. “We want to make sure there’s a broad diversity of Canadian content and Canadian culture available on the platforms that Canadians choose to consume it on.”

“Arts and culture, the creative economy represents $46 billion in Canada’s economy,” continued Minister Moore. “It is directly responsible for over 640,000 jobs across this country. And I can tell you that any government — municipal, provincial, territorial or federal — that says that it has a plan for strong economic growth but doesn’t have a plan for strong support of the arts is a government that doesn’t have a plan for economic recovery. I can promise you that as the Minister of Heritage, I will keep on fighting to make sure that we get this right, that we work together, and that the arts and cultural sector will be alive and well in the digital world ahead.”FlashPoint

Louis Roquet, Chair of the Board of the CMF added “The Canada Media Fund is pleased to be a part of the government’s digital economy strategy, and we will strive to be a leading example of public investment that supports innovation in the creative industries. As we complete the first year of the CMF and look towards the future, we will continue to foster innovation, support the development of jobs in the digital economy, and seek opportunities to increase export revenue through the sale of CMF-funded content to international markets.”

“The Canada Media Fund is the only fund of its kind in the world that supports the creation of convergent Canadian content and experimental content and software applications,” said Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the CMF. “I would like to thank Minister Moore and the Government of Canada for their vision in establishing the fund, and Canada’s cable and satellite distributors for their continued support. I would also like to thank the wonderful, talented Canadian actors and actresses who took time out of their busy production schedules to come here today to show their support of the CMF.”

The entourage of Canadian television stars included FlashPoint (a show which we’re very partial to, by the way) cast members David Paetkau and Michael Cram, along with:

Ashley Leggat – Life with Derek
Debra McCabe – Degrassi, Life with Derek, Guns, The Border, Heartland, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, Lost Girl
Graham Abbey – The Border
Helene Joy –  Murdoch Mysteries, Durham County
Jacques Girard – Chabotte et fille
Jarrett Cale –  Pure Pwnage
Jocelyn Blanchard – Il était une fois dans le trouble
Joey Scarpellino – Les Parent
Lauren Collins – Degrassi
Marline Yan – How to Be Indie
Melinda Shankar – Degrassi, How to be Indie
Paula Brancati – Degrassi, Being Erica
Raphaël Grenier-Benoît – Les Parent
Rémi-Pierre Paquin – Les invincibles
Ron James – The Ron James Show
Roxanne Boulianne – Il était une fois dans le trouble
Siobhan Murphy – Men With Brooms
Stephen Arbuckle – Todd and the Book of Pure Evil
Zaib Shaikh – Little Mosque on the Prairie

The following are some of the politicians who were present at the event:

Carole Lavallée – Bloc québécois Heritage Critic, MP for Saint-Bruno – Saint-Hubert
Francis Fox – Honourable Senator
Pablo Rodriguez – Canadian Heritage Opposition Critic, MP for Honoré – Mercier
Peter Milliken – Speaker of the House of Commons, MP for Kingston and the Islands

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2nd October 2010

MindShare to Hold EdTech Leadership Summit This November

Mindshare LearningYou are invited to join fellow education and industry leaders for a one-day Summit opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from leading experts, network and re-define Canada’s Digital Blueprint to ensure our future leaders succeed in the 21st Century Global knowledge-based economy.

As part of MindShare Learning’s mission to push the 21st Century learning envelope in Canada and
strengthen the connection between education and business, MindShare Learning is launching its inaugural MindShare Learning Report EdTech Leadership Summit, generously sponsored by Epson, Pearson Canada, Discovery Education, Abelearn, Global Scholar and York University.

This one-day summit will focus on current hot topics in the K-12 and post-secondary education technology space, aiming to further engage stakeholders in shaping the future direction of a vital sector that most effectively prepares students with the essential skills to successfully compete in the global knowledge-based economy.

The Summit will take place on November 2nd at York University Research Tower, Conference Centre and will feature these speakers:

* Dr. Don Knezek, CEO, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)
* Jennifer Corriero, Co-founder and Executive Director, TakingITGlobal
* Kathy Hurley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, for Pearson School Companies
* Hall Davidson, Director, Discovery Educator Network

This event will be very beneficial to education leaders from K12 and post-secondary institutions, government and industry leaders who are globally minded and prepared to engage and champion a future vision in mapping a digital blueprint to support 21st Century student success.

Collaborative round table discussions will be held, and your input is welcome on the following hot topics:

* The emerging Digital Classroom
* Forging successful strategic partnerships between education and business
* Funding in education: Building sustainable learning environments
* Envisioning Canada’s Digital Blueprint for the 21st Century

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1st October 2010

Happy Birthday Clio

Vancouver developer Themis Solutions’ web-based practice management application Clio is celebrating its second anniversary. In two short years Clio has grown from a handful of early-adopters to a thriving community of happy customers numbering in the thousands. These firms are collectively managing millions of contacts, matters, tasks, documents and bills with Clio’s easy-to-use cloud-based software. This number has expanded due to Clio’s recently released e-mail integration, which is now indexing over 100,000 e-mail messages and communications, and growing by thousands of messages per day.

The past year has been one of exceptional growth and recognition for Clio. At LegalTech New York, Clio was the first and only cloud-based practice management system to bring home a Law Technology News LTN Award in the practice management category. Clio was also named to the ABA TECHSHOW’s “Best in Show” list for the second year in a row. In addition, more than 95% of Clio’s users said they would recommend the software to others according to the company’s latest Customer Satisfaction Survey.

In May 2010, Clio was the first SaaS case management product to launch a partner program, namely the Clio Certified Consultant Partner Program, which now has a total of 80 companies among its ranks including legal technology luminaries like Ross Kodner of Microlaw, Adriana Linares of LawTech Partners, Nerino Petro of the Wisconsin Bar and John Heckman of Heckman Consulting.

New features and additions to Clio in the past year include:

* New Billing Template and Batch Billing systems
* New e-mail integration with “e-mail dropbox” technology
* Dramatically improved Clio Calendar capabilities
* Mobile technology support for iPhone, iPad, Palm Pre and Android-based phones

According to Clio President Jack Newton, “I’m tremendously proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last two years. The explosive growth we’ve seen is yet more evidence that cloud computing is entering the mainstream, and that our efforts to innovate rapidly and deliver top-tier customer support are paying off. We’re grateful to our customers, partners and friends that have contributed to the strength of Clio and look forward to an exciting 2011.”

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1st October 2010

Gnosis Games Releases New Title For iPad

gnosis gamesVancouver’s Gnosis Games, developer of award winning Facebook games Candace Kane’s Candy Factory and Piñata Bash, today announced the release of Seek and Find, a fun, fast-paced, and colorful brain and reflex trainer exclusively for the Apple iPad that will have kids and adults alike clamoring to grab high scores while also sharpening their recognition and memory skills. Seek and Find is available for immediate download and is priced at $2.99.

Seek and Find features 45 levels and various mini-games that require players to find and identify cute, funny faces hidden among a plethora of different faces. With each game type, players will be given the task seek n findof locating a particular face amidst a slew of others and touch it with their finger, nabbing more points the quicker a face is found. Mini-games like Find the Odd One or Find Three of My Kind will require the player to seek and find one or several faces among static or moving faces. As levels progress, the movement and speed at which faces are to be found increases, challenging even adults as they play along with their children. Seek and Find also supports multiple profiles and tracks each person’s score on a leaderboard, advocating friendly competition that will have everyone vying for that top spot on the ladder!

“As kids, we all remember playing board games with our parents, creating a bond through quality time shared over friendly competition. Seek and Find on the iPad can be used to create this same experience, with parents and children challenging themselves, and their dexterity and speed, with the hours and hours of content Seek and Find has to offer, ” said Dan Irish, CEO of Gnosis Games. “I’m sure kids will love trying to, and undoubtedly will, beat their parents’ best scores!”

UbisoftUbisoft® revealed it’s developing Petz® World, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) free-to-play game tied to its multimillion unit-selling Petz brand. Petz World is an online pet simulation adventure game for kids and tweens being developed by Frima Studios and will be available in 2011 for the PC.
frima studio
“Ubisoft is excited to be propelling its popular Petz brand into the MMO space. This game is a unique way for children and parents to play games together,” said Chris Early, vice president of digital publishing at Ubisoft. “Petz World allows players to share their progress and adventures, helping each other to receive more coins, achievements and unlockables.”

In Petz World, players can adopt unique pets with their own personality and embark on remarkable adventures in realistic environments around the world. The Petz will be able to explore and learn about exotic locations, meet new and exotic animals and even save them. Petz World will be ever-growing with more locations to visit, more animals to unlock and more places in the world to discover.

Wicked InteractiveOn the heels of a successful weekend which saw the debut of ladder competition in Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.), publisher Wicked Interactive has announced that the World Online Gaming League (WOGL) will extend competitive gameplay for its popular free-to-play online shooter through the end of October. The competition, celebrating the third explosive week of the game’s open beta, begins today, Friday, October 1 and runs through Sunday of every weekend through October 31, Halloween.

“Last weekend was about getting players comfortable with the new ladder system,” said Stephen Tucker, CEO, World Online Gaming League. “Now we have teams in place as we add more and more players each weekend throughout the competition.”
Read the rest of this entry »

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1st October 2010

Mega Bloks Playground App for Kids Now Available

Mega BrandsFrom stacking rocks to pieces of wood, the building block may have very well been the first toy ever played with by children, but with the help of MEGA Brands, the building block evolved and children can now create beautiful structures with Mega Bloks®. Today, the modern child is exposed to a whole world of digital entertainment and MEGA Brands is proud to bring the realms of children’s toys and virtual reality together with the release of their first iPhone and iPad application Mega Bloks Playground, developed by Quebec’s Budge Studios.

“What better way to celebrate 25 years of Mega Bloks, then by taking the founding construction toy to a whole new level for today’s preschoolers with our first-ever iPhone/iPad app,” said Jean Gauvin, Content & Creative Director at MEGA Brands. “With the help of Budge Studios, we are thrilled to bring the Mega Bloks® world to life for preschoolers, ages two to five, in an interactive digital platform with ‘Mega Bloks Playground’, a new creative and innovative way to build and play with Mega Bloks®, while developing fine motor skills.”Budge Studios

“It is not unusual for a parent to hand their iPhone or iPad to their child and allow them to play with it”, said Michael Elman Partner and Creative Director at Budge Studios “But not all of these applications are suited for toddlers and preschoolers. With the ‘Mega Bloks Playground’ application, our goal is to create something for children that engages their imagination and creativity. It is not a ‘video game’ by any means, that gives you set goals and sets you up to ‘win’ or ‘lose’. ‘Mega Bloks Playground’ is first and foremost a toy – which puts the control and the adventure back in the mind of the child using it. The goal is pure, engaging, and safe playtime.”

‘Mega Bloks Playground’ is available now on the Apple iPhone and iPad platform. The preschool interactive world includes two playable Mega Bloks® buddies, a boy and a girl, who interact with a full set of in-world elements, such as swing sets, slides, teeter-totters, playful animals, a lake with a sailboat, and even a hot air balloon. It’s the ultimate digital playset for preschoolers! Parents will appreciate how the app’s intuitive touch-play controls are designed to help foster fine motor skills in children two to five years old, while children will certainly be delighted in discovering piles of colorful bloks throughout the playground that will ultimately piece together to form new Mega Bloks creations.

Mega Bloks Playground At-A-Glance

– Discover over 15 active touch points with your two Mega Bloks® buddies.
– Drag or tap the Mega Bloks® buddies with your finger on the iPad/iPhone screen and watch them play in the playground.
– Explore an interactive playground featuring a hot air balloon, sailboat, pond, swing set, teeter-totter, slide and lots more.
– Collect piles of Mega Bloks® and build a variety of Mega Bloks® structures.
– Easy-to-use interface even for the tiniest of fingers
– Superior touch-play with rich graphics, vibrant sounds, and cheerful music.
– Open-ended, unlimited play; it’s always playtime at the ‘Mega Bloks Playground’

Both iPad and iPhone versions is available as of today. Mega Bloks Playground is $1.99 (iPhone) and $3.99 (iPad) and available worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store in the Game – kids section. Starting on the day of the launch, the app will be 50% off for the first 48 hours.

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1st October 2010

Canadian Toy Association Teams Up with Greenopolis For Pilot Project in BC

Canadian Toy AssociationThe Canadian Toy Association and Waste Management will be providing a free collection event to recycle broken and end-of-life electronic toys (toys with a battery and/or electrical plug) on Saturday, October 2, from 9 am to 3 pm (that’s tomorrow) at the Walmart Supercentre, 3585 Grandview Highway in Vancouver.

This is the first electronic toy recycling event in British Columbia and is a trial event to assist the Canadian Toy Association in developing a new type of electronics recycling program to meet B.C.’s Recycling Regulation. The program, which is under development, will provide B.C. consumers with a convenient and environmentally responsible way to recycle used, unwanted, obsolete or damaged electronic toys.greenopolis

Waste Management’s Greenplug™ project team will also pilot a new and exciting Greenopolis reverse vending kiosk at the event. This return kiosk has been designed especially for the Canadian Toy Association and is consumer interactive. Canadian Toy Association members will also be on hand to assist with drawings for gifts and prizes for children who return their electronic toys for recycling.

“The Canadian Toy Association is taking a proactive approach to helping consumers responsibly dispose of end-of-life electronics by offering this free collection and recycling program to Vancouver-area residents,” said Jeff Hurst, chair of the Canadian Toy Association. “This trial event will help us develop a province-wide sustainable solution for the recovery of electronic toys to divert them from the waste stream.”

Acceptable Electric Toys:

o Plush Textile Toys with Electronics
o Hard Plastic Toys with Electronics
o Electronic Powered Trains
o Electric Car Racing Sets
o Electric Cars and Trucks (remote control)
o Electric Ride-on Toys
o Hand-held Electric Game Devices
o Gaming Devices with PC/TV

Please do not bring toys which are not either battery or electrically powered.

The electronic materials received by the Canadian Toy Association will be processed at approved e-waste processing facilities that are ISO 14001 and 9001 certified. In addition, Waste Management recycling partners agree to conduct their electronics recycling programs transparently and in accord with rigorous environmental and worker safety standards, and to adhere to measures that prevent the export of hazardous eWaste to developing countries.

“We see this as an opportunity to help communities recycle electronic waste responsibly, conveniently, and economically, as part of our broader sustainability partnerships across B.C. ,” said Dean Kattler, area vice president for Waste Management. “It is our way of demonstrating a shared commitment with the community, by providing outstanding customer service and environmental stewardship.”recycling council of bc

“The Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) enthusiastically supports this event and we look forward to a full-time program,” said Brock Macdonald, RCBC executive director. “Industry stewardship programs such as this not only provide an environmentally safe alternative to disposal, but help recoup valuable resources that can become the feedstock for new products. It’s a huge step forward to further reducing our carbon footprint.”

For more information about the event, please call the B.C. Recycling Hotline at 604.732.9253 from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday. The Recycling Council of BC would also like to remind everyone that October 18 – 24th is Waste Reduction Week across Canada.

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