21st December 2010

A Tale of Many Apps

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. has made two game announcements today, the first is that that their faithful recreation of pure, classic tabletop hockey, Vintage Hockey, has arrived on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and an HD version for the iPad. Who better to handle this than a Canadian company, eh?
Vintage Hockey
It’s the fast and furious original which inspired modern table top hockey! With authentic sounds, the original table layout and even the ability to flick the ball around with your fingers all there for you to enjoy. Vintage Hockey is a faithful recreation of a time when games were made of wood and classics were born, filled with addictive game-play (and in this case free multiplayer).

Vintage Hockey Features

• Multiplayer with only one device
• Authentic Sound Effects
• Simple controls inspired by the original
• Classic tabletop hockey gameplay

Also arriving on the iPhone and iPod Touch is Big Blue Bubbles’ genre defining sequel, Home Sweet Home 2: Kitchens, a game that puts you in charge of redesigning the Kitchens of eclectic characters whose tough demands and crazy requirements will have you designing for hours. Use your master designing Home Sweet Home 2 Kitchensskills to give them the kitchen of their dreams. With a build mode that adapts to your skill level, a new catalogue system, and better than ever art, Home Sweet Home 2: Kitchens gives you the ability to take your designs to the next level.

Home Sweet Home 2: Kitchens Features

• Over 300 Customizable Kitchen Items
• 25 Re-playable Levels
• Unlimited Designs
• 12 unique floor plans
• Adaptive AI

renown entertainmentHaven’t played Renown Entertainment’s Waves: Survivor yet? Try what many are calling “Mario meets Doodle Jump® on incredible water physics” for your Apple© iOS touch device. Dive in now with special holiday pricing of $0.99 USD for a limited time only and see what others are playing and talking about. To sweeten the deal the game has received a significant update.Waves Survivor

President and Creative Director, James Lau notes “We received a lot of feedback from casual players to hardcore fans and polished the game to further meet and exceed their expectations. With a dedicated tuning team, Waves: Survivor has improved dramatically and our hero Johnny Calm can’t wait for you to try out his new moves! New jump attack, new physics, visual refinements, Carolina the mermaid even lends you a helping hand instead of just collectibles, and much more.”

“Our focus for this update was to improve the core game and to thank our fans. Their support has been invaluable as they helped Waves: Survivor enter the Top Paid Arcade and Action charts in less than 3 days of its original release in addition to “New and Noteworthy” features from Apple©. We hope our fans and those new to Waves: Survivor, 1.1 have an experience more fun and enjoyable than with the original.”

padworxFor a limited time Apple® iPad™, iPhone™ and iPod™ Touch owners can get their hands on PadWorx Digital Media’s steampunk-style edition of A Christmas Carol, which was iPad Christmas Carolcrowned App of the Week shortly after its launch, for the special price of $2.99 USD. The universal App will run across iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod touch for the single purchase price.

Through 130 pages of lovingly abridged text, readers help power the timeless classic forward. Whether turning the key in Scrooge’s door and watching as the door knocker changes into the deceased Jacob Marley, powering up and manipulating an assortment of wonderful steam powered devices, or just marveling at each chapter’s ‘mechanical ‘page-turning contraptions, A Christmas Carol’s animations, illustrations, original score, and sound effects will draw you into the story’s unforgettable lessons of darkness, despair, joy and life. Keeping in the holiday spirit, PadWorx Digital Media will be donating a portion of each sale of A Christmas Carol to charity. PadWorx is also dropping the price to $2.99 on its highly acclaimed first eBook, Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition, although it is currently only available for iPad.

loblawLoblaw Companies Limited has launched its President’s Choice Recipe Box App is now available on the App Store for iPad. The free app brings over 700 mouthwatering recipes, created by the President’s Choice brand chefs, to your fingertips – complete with photos, easy-to-follow instructions and videos.
pc recipes
“The President’s Choice Recipe Box App brings to life our extensive collection of recipes in an easy-to-use, highly interactive format specifically designed for iPad” explains Allan Lindsay, vice-president marketing, Loblaw Companies Limited. “The app makes it simple for busy families to create inspired and tasty meals with ingredients found at local Loblaw banner stores.”

Whether it’s for fun family fare, special occasions or holidays, the President’s Choice Recipe Box App is a convenient tool to help you search for your favourite recipes and discover new ones. Each recipe has been created and tested by the President’s Choice brand chefs to be easy, simple to prepare and delicious. Favourite President’s Choice recipes can be saved, emailed or shared on Facebook.
Building on the innovative solutions offered on pc.ca and in the President’s Choice Insider’s Reports®, the President’s Choice Recipe Box App for iPad, developed in partnership with Intelliware Development, is the first mobile digital solution from the President’s Choice brand to help households manage their busy lives.

“Innovative enterprises like Loblaw are realizing the power of mobile platforms to interact with consumers and strengthen brand engagement,” says Dave Scapillati, VP Mobile Solutions, Intelliware. “Our long track record of building world class apps for top companies has given us a distinct advantage in helping our clients extend the reach of their apps into the consumer marketplace and on the App Store.”

Taking banking convenience to the next level, RBC is pleased to announce it has become the first Canadian bank to launch fully integrated mobile banking applications for select smartphones – joining the other Canadian banks who have previously launched mobile apps for their services – unlike our Credit RBC iPhoneUnion, which hasn’t. According to a recent RBC poll (conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of RBC Royal Bank in October 2010), most Canadians (79 per cent) own a mobile device and 44 per cent are interested in mobile banking.

Topping the list of what mobile device users would like to be able to do, the RBC poll found that Canadians want the ability to check account balances (34 per cent), pay bills (32 per cent), view transaction history (28 per cent) and transfer funds between accounts (26 per cent).

RBC’s new integrated mobile banking applications, which are now available for download, enable personal and business clients to do all that and more – on-the-go, anywhere, anytime.
rbc Blackberry
“RBC has offered mobile banking services to our clients since 2008 and our new integrated apps leverage the capability of the device to create a simple and easy to use experience,” said James McGuire, VP, Digital Strategy & Experience, RBC. “In an era of long work days and short weekends, getting more done can be challenging. We are taking convenience and control to a new level by providing customers with the ability to stay connected with their finances on their schedule.”

Canadian mobile device users who have already tried mobile banking cite convenience (69 per cent) as the main reason for using mobile banking. However, the poll found that concern over security (24 per cent) is one of the main reasons cited for hesitation to try mobile banking.

“We understand how important information security and privacy are and we are providing customers with the same safety and security guarantee that’s offered with our online banking services,” said McGuire. “If an unauthorized transaction is conducted through an RBC mobile banking service, clients will be reimbursed for any resulting losses to those accounts.”

The RBC mobile app allows clients to access a full range of services, including the ability to:

* View account balances for all personal and business accounts.
* View account details for accounts such as credit lines, credit cards, mortgages and loans.
* Pay bills (non-recurring and current) for all existing online banking payees.
* View transaction history.
* Transfer funds between all RBC accounts.
* Send internet email money transfers.
* Send third-party payments.
* Locate RBC branches and ATMs.

To download the app for free, clients can visit www.rbc.com/mobileapps. Downloading the app is very simple: Turn on your mobile device, launch the browser and then go to www.rbc.com/mobileapps and select the download for your device. Once you install the app, use your RBC Royal Bank Online Banking client card or username and password and start banking right away!

dhx mediaDHX Media Ltd. is pleased to announce that the company is set to launch an iPad app based on the hit CBeebies-commissioned family series Grandpa in My Pocket. The Grandpa in my Pocket: Horatio Heave Ho! ebook will retail at £1.79 and will be available in the UK iTunes store at launch, with other territories to follow. In addition, the app will be available for the iPhone and iPod Touch in Spring 2011.
grandpa in my pocket
Anne Loi, SVP Finance and Operations, at DHX Media said: “The iPad is a natural platform for extending a popular kids brand, especially one with such a strong narrative and characterization such as Grandpa. The Horatio Heave Ho! ebook helps kids with their reading, and incorporates fun, interactive activities for fans of the show – and their parents can join in too. It’s the ideal, portable accompaniment to the television series.”

Grandpa in My Pocket, which features live action with special effects, has sold to broadcasters worldwide. Channels airing the show include Canal+ in France, French-speaking TFO, TVO and Knowledge in Canada, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, Norway’s NRK and Sub Juniori in Finland, HOP Israel, RUV Iceland, okto in Singapore, Greece’s MCOM. CBeebies has also acquired Grandpa in My Pocket for the Latin American and US Hispanic markets as well as Poland, South Africa and Asia.

In Australia, the series airs on ABC TV and a home entertainment deal has also been agreed with ABC Home Video. Australia’s Stella Projects, headed by Grahame Grassby, is licensing agent for Australia and New Zealand. In the UK, Warner Home Video UK has been appointed as DVD partner and in Indonesia, Tarra Group is on board for home video. Made with participation from Finance Wales, Grandpa In My Pocket is developed and produced by Adastra Creative and stars James Bolam as Grandpa and Jay Ruckley as Jason Mason.

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21st December 2010

Canada Media Fund 2011-2012 Program Guidelines Announced

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced announced its Program Guidelines for the upcoming fiscal year starting April 1, 2011. It also announced the Factor Weights that will be used to calculate Performance Envelopes for 2011-2012. These announcements reflect decisions made by the CMF’s Board of Directors at its meeting held on November 25, 2010.

“The changes announced today reflect much of what we heard during the extensive consultations undertaken this fall by the CMF”, stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO. “We once again wish to thank our stakeholders for their time, advice and valued contributions”.

“We are truly pleased with the success achieved so far by the CMF”, added Louis Roquet, Chair of the CMF’s Board of Directors. “The CMF has been an important catalyst for change within the industry, while also accounting for the challenges faced by its stakeholders in the face of rapid transformation of the market. The changes announced today also set in motion the two strategic objectives identified by the Board to continue to move the organization forward, namely to simplify the CMF’s policies and programs and to reward success.”

Complete Program Guidelines are available on the CMF web site. The updated Performance Envelope Manual will be available this week. The CMF will hold a webcast to provide a complete overview of changes to its programs and Performance Envelope calculations in January 2011. Key highlights include the following:

Experimental Stream

In line with the objective of simplification of the CMF’s programs and in order to provide an incentive for producers to return recoupment revenues to the CMF more rapidly, the CMF will amend its recoupment policy for projects financed at the production stage.

Producers who return the CMF’s investment will benefit from an increased share of future profits. Those who do so within a 2 year period will receive an additional benefit. Also, in this stream, the CMF will no longer require an undivided share of copyright in the projects it funds in return for its equity investments.
These changes will apply retroactively to projects supported in 2010-2011.

Convergent Stream

In line with the objective of ensuring that content is available to Canadians on all platforms anywhere, anytime, anyplace, projects will continue to be able to qualify in the Convergent Stream through one of the following three options: in addition to the television component, the creation of rich and substantial digital media components; the airing of the television component on a CRTC-licensed video on demand platform; or its non simultaneous digital distribution (streaming). Basic digital media components will no longer qualify to make projects convergent.

Broadcasters will continue to be required to allocate a minimum of 50% of their envelopes on projects with rich and substantial digital media components. Projects with pre-existing rich and substantial digital media components will continue to be counted within this percentage, but at only half of the amount of the envelope allocation to such projects. Also, in order to allow the production of more elaborate digital media content, the CMF’s maximum contribution to digital media components will be increased from 200K$ to 500K$ in the Performance Envelope program.

Performance Envelopes

In July 2010, the CMF announced the Performance Envelope Factors to be used for 2011-2012 calculations, as well as related definitions. The Factor Weights that will be used for 2011-2012 calculations will reward successful projects more significantly through an increase in the Audience Success (Total Hours Tuned) factor. For drama and VAPA, an increased emphasis will also be placed on the Audience Success of original, first-run programs aired in prime time. Broadcasters will also be provided with an incentive to support rich and substantial digital media content through the creation of a Digital Media Investment factor. Read the rest of this entry »

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20th December 2010

Gaming On The Go

TransGamingTransgaming Studios and Breakthrough Entertainment have released a fresh new teaser trailer for upcoming time management game, Garage Inc. Scheduled for a January 2011 release, the development team has been busy polishing up the hubcapsbreakthrough entertainment and cleaning out the garage, getting ready for Angelo Marito’s journey into the automobile service industry in 1920’s Chicago. Will recent immigrant Angelo’s seed money loan from cousin Sal come back to haunt him in a city rife with mafia activity? Angelo will depend on you to guide him as he struggles to balance fixing his customers’ cars, hire employees, grow his business and deal with the mob, all while keeping his eye on the elusive American dream.

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Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has launched Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp, the follow up to arcade classics Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, designed exclusively for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ Dragons Lair II Timewarpservice and available now for 800 DSi Points. From legendary animator Don Bluth (‘An American Tail’, ‘The Land Before Time’) Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp allows you to play the heroic Dirk the Daring, who must stop the Evil Wizard Mordroc as he has kidnapped Princess Daphne and taken her through time! But you must hurry, for once the Casket of Doom has opened, Mordroc will place the Death Ring upon Daphne’s finger in marriage and she will be lost forever… in the Time Warp!

Sharpen your sword and get ready to guide Dirk the Daring as he races through time to save the beautiful Princess Daphne from the clutches of the Evil Wizard Mordroc in Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp. You’ll journey through time to rescue the beautiful Princess Daphne by using your Nintendo DSi™ to move and wield your sword.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. is pleased to announce the release and immediate worldwide availability of Burn the Rope ($0.99 USD), their new original game for iOS devices. Winning the hearts of users with smash hit Thumpies – game that reinvented the rhythm genre – developers are intended to do it again by bringing to the App Store a unique game for all who are fascinated with flame and all kinds of fire effects.

Starting today users have the freedom to set fire without any fire hazard or need for a fire burn the ropeextinguisher. The game involves a mix of strategic planning, thinking ahead, coordination and the ability to stay in deep focus. Users have to feed the fire and burn as much rope as they can in each level to progress. The challenge is that fire only burns upwards, leaving players to tilt and turn their iPhones to keep the flame alive.

The game features 80 devilishly tricky levels with polished graphics and mesmerizing fire effects. Bugs that crawl along the rope spice things up demonstrating different reactions to the flame from level to level. Ants change the color of the flame so that users could burn different colored ropes, and the spider shoots out a web bridge providing access to the parts of the level that were beyond players’ reach before.

“Burn The Rope is our most innovative game initially prototyped with a string of rope and box of matches. It’s really easy to learn, but quite hard to master! That game was created with the whole family in mind and I’m sure that all family members will have enormous fun playing with fire.” – said Damir Slogar, CEO of Big Blue Bubble Inc.

playbrainsIn collaboration with OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day, Zoo Toss from PlayBrains and Bytemark Games is free for today only. In Zoo Toss, the player is challenged through 20 levels to keep three zoo tosshungry animals happy and fed by flicking good food at them. Keep your vegan giraffes, carnivorous lions and garbage-can warthogs content, don’t feed them bad food and keep vitamins in stock for when they’re looking a bit sickly. Zoo Toss is OpenFeint-enabled with Game Center achievements and leaderboards.

TomKorpIndie game developer Tomkorp today announced that they will be offering their strategy/puzzle game Clones at 50% off over the holiday season. Tomkorp recently partnered with Get Games Go, the PC game distribution platform for Eurogamer. Clones is also available for purchase on Steam, Direct2Drive, and the official ClonesGame.com website.

An updated version of Clones was made public on Dec. 16th. “Since launch we’ve had relatively few technical problems. This maintenance release includes a few requested features and improvements suggested by our growing fan base.” said Tom Kaminski, co-founder.

Clones is winning the hearts of puzzle players from around the world. “We are thrilled with the number of positive reviews Clones has received” said Ryan Tomko, co-founder. One reviewer, James Allen of Out Of Eight PC Game Reviews, writes “While the single player content will last you a while, what sets Clones apart is the robust multiplayer action”, giving the game a “Buy It” rating of 7 / 8.

Clonecloness is a friendly, fun, and engaging evolution to the classic Lemmings puzzle genre that includes robust internet-multiplayer with team play, different game modes, powerups, and leaderboards. The built-in level editor was used to create the singleplayer campaign of over 150 clontastic puzzles spanning 11 CloneMaster bosses over 5 regions of the Clones Planet.

In Clones, the player controls cute alien “clones” by telling them when to morph their bodies in order to overcome obstacles in the landscape and complete the level objective. This can include beaming up a minimum number of clones, leading a special clone to an exit, or reducing all opponent clones to bits. Each puzzle has a leaderboard on the ClonesGame.com website that ranks all solutions based on stats like the number of morphs used, and the time to complete the level. Clones is rated E for Everyoneby the ESRB.

EA MobileEA Sports and EA Mobile bring you FIFA 11 for the iPad. The fifa 11 for ipadlarger Multi-Touch screen on iPad delivers an incredible measure of visual excellence – and sets the stage for a total soccer experience like you’ve never seen before. Featuring authentic teams, superstar players, and precision controls, FIFA 11 on iPad truly kicks it to the next level!

Take the field with superstars like Real Madrid’s Kaka and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Match up more than 500 teams from real leagues around the world while quality graphics make every detail on the field spring to life. Team colors are ultra vibrant. The green of the grass is even more glorious. Capture the passion and power of the world’s favorite sport with an unprecedented level of visual clarity that you can only get with iPad. The new D-pad and button layout options provide more gameplay sophistication for veterans and simplicity for casual players. Control the ball and the action with 360° player movement and gesture-driven skill moves. Swipe a player to make an attacking run! Control of the action is even more precise and responsive on iPad.

frima studioTraveling through space. Mowing down hordes of evil aliens. Upgrading your ship into the most lethal killing force the universe has ever seen. What could be better? How about getting to do all of the above for a measly two bucks! Frima Studio is pleased to unveil the brand new, never-before-seen trailer for its latest release, A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! As a PlayStation Mini title, A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! will be playable on both the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and will be blasting off Tuesday, December 21 for the insanely low price of – yep, you guessed it – $1.99.

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Since time immemorial, through eons of time and dozens of game consoles, one thing has remained true: humans love hopping into a spaceship to shoot up hordes of alien invaders! In A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! (a game with perhaps the most straight-forward title in history) you get to do just that. Take control of Commander P. Jefferson and go on an intergalactic shooting spree, hopping from galaxy to galaxy in your attempts to wipe out hordes of swarming alien baddies. With over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek humor from the game’s wide cast of colorful characters (all of which are fully voiced-over) and loads of bodacious power-ups to ensure your ship has a fighting chance against the sea of enemy ships and bullets, A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! gives gamers everything they could ask for in a space shooter! A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! is rated T for Teen for mild fantasy violence, mild language, suggestive themes and use of tobacco.

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20th December 2010

Toonful Transmissions

teletoonTELETOON Canada inc. is pleased to announce that Fugget About It, a half-hour animated comedy originally developed for the TELETOON at Night Pilot Project, has been greenlit for production into a 13-part series in English and French. Produced by Toronto-based 9 Story Entertainment, Fugget About It follows the misadventures of 16-year-old Petey Falcone, the son of a former New York mob boss who now lives in a witness protection program with his family in Canada.

“The TELETOON At Night Pilot Project was a unique initiative by TELETOON to tap into the rich store of talent within Fugget About Itthe Canadian animation industry,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada inc. “TELETOON received some great projects through this initiative and we’re thrilled to be able to take the Fugget About It pilot and develop it into a series with the humour and broad appeal we look for in our comedy programming.”

Originally launched in fall 2007, ten projects, including Fugget About It, were selected as finalists from over 200 submissions. TELETOON invested $1.5 million dollars into creating the pilots which straddle a wide range of topics, animation styles and comedy sensibilities. The TELETOON at Night pilots premiered online and have been featured on-air since September 2010 as part of TELETOON at Night’s popular Sunday night hosted block “Fred at Night.”

“The TELETOON at Night Pilot Project afforded us an incredible opportunity to get the Fugget About It pilot made and we couldn’t be more excited to see it go to series,” said Vince Commisso, President and CEO, 9 Story Entertainment. “We have a stellar creative team led by show runner Jeff Abugov (Two and a Half Men, Roseanne, Cheers) and TELETOON is the perfect home for this production.”

aptnPopular preschool series Tiga Talk! will ring in the New Year with the premiere of a new season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) on January 6, 2011, a brand new interactive website, and an iPhone application. Tiga Talk! entertains kids while teaching both Aboriginal and English language skills during the preschool years – an integral stage in development. By watching the series, children can learn how to make language sounds more easily, and have fun doing it! The addition of an interactive website and an iPhone application by Winnipeg’s Tactica Interactive, will provide even greater learning opportunities, offering games, crafts and videos that give children and their families the chance to explore and learn together.tiga talk on iphone

With Aboriginal languages being lost across Canada, Tiga Talk! was created to help teach language skills to preschoolers, while building confidence and instilling imagination in young minds. Targeted at all children (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) aged 3-6, Tiga Talk! is a gentle, entertaining series that has fun exploring languages and culture. It combines live action with a magic puppet world, and features music and imaginary play.

Tiga Talk! is centered around three stuffed toys – Tiga the wolf cub, Gertie the gopher, and Gavin the goose – who live with human friends Jodie and Jason, their father, and Kokum (“grandmother” in Cree). Jodie and Jason have a secret. When there aren’t any adults around, their stuffed toys come alive as talking puppets. Through their interactions and adventures, the puppets and kids learn about traditional practices and languages of various Aboriginal cultures in imaginative ways.

tiga talkTiga Talk! not only captivates and entertains its preschool audience, but also creates an ear for Aboriginal language, and encourages an excitement for learning about traditions and culture during those very important early years.

Season 3 of Tiga Talk! builds upon the strengths of the first two seasons, with exciting new additions that previous viewers will be pleased to discover, and first-time audiences will enjoy:

New Family – Season 3 welcomes Jason and Jodie’s dad, a character not seen in the first two seasons. Dad takes the kids on various field trips, from visiting a music recording studio, to a petting zoo, to the museum.

New Friends – In addition to the puppets from Season 1 and 2, Jason and Jodie now have four new friends to play with: Jack, Alice, Kyle and Tessa. These friends come over to visit, play games, and do various activities in the backyard.tiga talk web site

New Sets – The majority of the show used to take place in Jodie and Jason’s bedroom at Kokum’s place, and at Tiga and Gertie’s indoor dens. In Season 3, the bedroom has been replaced with a larger set in Kokum’s backyard that includes a pond for Gavin, an underground tunnel for Gertie, and an outdoor den for Tiga.

New Segments – Two new segments are being introduced in Season 3: ‘Get Moving’, a segment that allows viewers to follow along to exercises with a song performed by the puppets; and ‘Things We Love to Do’, which shows kids doing different kinds of fun activities that fit with the theme of each episode.

Tiga Talk! was produced with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, the Government of Canada – Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program, the Bell New Media Fund and produced and developed in Association with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and the Canada Media Fund.

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17th December 2010

A Mostly Casual Friday

SavantThe Balls! is an iPhone game we first told you about on December 7th, and this newest title from Quebec’s Savant Games, is The Ballsavailable today for free on the iTunes App Store, thanks to Appvent Calendar 2010.

Hardcore sports Coach Timmins wants you to juggle as many sports balls as possible to prove your worth. Bounce different balls (soccer, basketball, bowling, and more) a number of times until they burst, but be careful not to let them drop, or Coach Timmins will give you a verbal whipping. The balls are physics enabled and can bounce against each other for a bigger challenge. Tap the balls to bounce them up, or flick them in a direction for more precise control. Bounce them as late as possible for a higher score and crits – just watch out for those grenades the Coach has been hiding. The Balls features two game modes: Classic and Balls mode, plus it is Game Center enabled with Achievements and Leaderboards, and has seamless integration with Open Feint.

xmg studioXMG Studios has released its latest title on the iTunes App Store. Inspector Gadget’s Mad Dash is available now for $1.99 USD, and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. In this latest rendition, everyone’s favourite inept cartoon detective must save his niece Penny from the clutches of the evil Dr. Claw.Inspector Gadget's Mad Dash

In Inspector Gadget’s MAD Dash, you play the bionic hero as he swings from cranes; jumps speeding trains; and much, much, more as he avoids a variety of menacing hazards. Do your best to capture the elusive Claw and free Penny.

Inspector Gadget’s Mad Dash features an endless play mode with a full array of gadgets. Make use of Gadget’s rocket skates, umbrella, spring-loaded arms and super jumps as you avoid speeding trains, power lines, spinning fans, bananas, birds and Dr. Claw’s dastardly bombs and homing missiles. Unlock bonus content by collecting Gadget coins – the Gadget soundboard, concept art samples, a digital version of the Official Inspector Gadget Comic from Viper Comics (get it before it hits shelves next year) and the biggest bonus of all – unscramble an image and reveal the elusive Dr. Claw’s secret identity.

industrial brothersThe Canadian-Australian team at Industrial Brothers has released Beast Farmer II, a follow-up to their previous, and very successful title Beast Farmer, which was ranked as the #1 kids’ game in 33 countries. Whereas the original title featured a combination of nurturing activities and challenges, Beast Farmer II focuses entirely on testing your skills as you fight wave after wave of deadly predators from the Bogs of Doom across different maps and levels.  Beast Farmer II is easily one the most challenging, addictive and fun games on the iPhone.Beast Farmer 2

Beast Farmer II offers the same stunningly beautiful graphics as its predecessor, and features five maps which get progressively harder to play as you advance through the game.  Each level can be played and replayed many times over.

Players begin the game with a battle-ready, nameable and customizable Swamp Chicken that can be immediately upgraded with new skins, mutations and accessories. Industrial Brothers say that there will soon be three more Beasts, and more will be added in the coming months. There is an initial offering of 11 new enemies, with more to come. Beast Farmer II: Beasts Unleashed is integrated with OpenFeint and Facebook, and ss you play the game you can unlock new achievements and send your results straight through to Facebook or Twitter for your friends to see.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that Rooster Punch, a very original shooting gallery game, has been renamed and released today for iPhone/iPod Touch for 99¢ USD. This is one, and the best, of 4 applications released by Big Blue Bubble employees in a contest to create the best App.Rooster Punch

Farmer Jacque, a former heavyweight boxing champion turned farmer, has a rabble of rowdy roosters run rampant in the barnyard. Now Jacque must wrangle them in the only way he knows how. Rooster Punch is a shooting gallery-esque game with a difference. You must pound your feathered friends into submission with your championship winning gloves. Don’t let them rule your roost, or they’ll end up breaking all your eggs.

Rooster Punch Features:

• Super awesome arcade actionSnowball Ballistic
• A variety of fowl friends
• Endless score based tom-foolery
• Bountiful Bonus
• Knockout gameplay

Rooster Punch is the second internal competition title released by Big Blue Bubble this month. Earlier in December the studio launched Snow Ballistic, a snow war that pits you as the last line of defense. Use your snow ball slingshot to unleash a storm of snow balls on the kids in the other snow fort. Fling snow balls from a sling shot at an army of kids who’d like nothing more than rub your face in the snow. Don’t forget to also smack incoming snow balls back at them in the game’s ever-changing environments. It’ll take quick reflexes and great aim to be able to shoot your way through wave after wave of baddies, and working your way towards becoming Snow Ballistic.

IUGOIUGO and Capcom have announced Lil’ Pirates’ first update containing over a hundred new items including sails, clothing items and holiday-themed decorations, with a second update coming early in the new year. Lil’ Pirates is IUGO and Capcom’s first hit social title, seeing over a million downloads in under a month. Pirates will be pleased to access the following features and content in the two new content downloads seen over the past two days:

. Two new ship themes (ice and submarine)
.  Over 75 new ship items
. New character options (over 100 new)lil pirates
. Two new jobs on existing maps and a new ship battle (submarine theme)
. New holiday job maps (Gobbleapagos Island and Winter Frostyland, with 4 and 5 new jobs, respectively)
.  Four new objectives for Winter Frostland jobs

Updated Features

. Use Game Center to log in, add friends, add crew members
. Take a screenshot of player’s ship (save to photo gallery or Facebook)
. New message of the day popup
. Local notifications for when crew members are finished jobs, and when treasure is fully leveled up
. Other small enhancements (show thief’s profile picture in treasure island, easier to rearrange and do extended ship shopping)

Bioware CorpBioware has released a Combat Walkthrough video for Dragon Age 2. Watch as Lead Designer Mike Laidlaw shows off the combat features gamers can look forward to in this epic continuation of the Dragon Age world. If you haven’t put in your pre-order yet, remember that the special free upgrade to the Bioware Signature Edition ends in only 24 days.

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17th December 2010

Hasbro And Best Buy Lend Helping Hands

Hasbro Hasbro Canada has donated $15,000 worth of Toys & Games to Montreal Children’s Hospital after hearing the hospital’s appeal for help earlier this week. This donation is intended to help alleviate much of the shortfall in toy donations that the hospital has experienced this Holiday season.

“We are proud to support the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s need for toys,” said Michael Hogg, President for Hasbro Canada. “We hope that our donation will not only help fill up the hospital’s storage room, but ultimately bring comfort and joy to the children in the hospital this Holiday Season.”

Best Buy CanadaBest Buy Canada has also gotten into the spirit of the season, working together with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to create Imagine – a new online gift catalogue that provides a way to help underprivileged and at-risk children, families and seniors in 23 communities throughout the Lower Mainland.

Imagine is available online at imaginegifts.ca and features 12 unique gifts. Gifts range in price from $12 to $600. When donors purchase a gift from the catalogue, they will be sent a card, with an image of the gift purchased to be given to a friend, family member or colleague. Each gift in the catalogue represents a program or service that is funded through United Way. Gifts purchased help to support larger programs.

Best Buy Canada employees have been instrumental in helping create and deliver this important project and bring Imagine to life. Employees from the web design team volunteered their personal time and spent more than 100 hours making the online catalogue into a reality.

“I’m extremely proud of the time and commitment my team has put into this important project for the United Way of the Lower Mainland,” said Robert Pearson, Vice President E-Commerce Best Buy Canada. “The Imagine Gifts project makes it possible to reach out to so many Canadians in need this holiday season and we are honoured to be a part of it.”

koboKobo has announced an update to its iOS4 software. The update introduces innovative new features for users on the Kobo iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch eReading apps enabling them to interact with books and easily share their love of reading.

The most significant feature being introduced in today’s update is the integration of Instapaper into the Kobo eReading application, which is now available to sync and read with the Kobo eReading app across all Apple devices. Instapaper facilitates the easy reading of long text and lets users easily save articles and other types of web content to read later via their Kobo eReading application.

As with books, magazines and newspapers in the Kobo Library, users can now sync Instapaper clippings on Kobo apps across all Apple devices. Any content saved to Instapaper and stored in the Kobo Library will automatically update in the Instapaper feed.

With today’s announcement, Kobo users will also be able to “Like” books and share what that they are reading with their friends on Facebook. Also newly introduced, iPhone and iPod Touch users can share favourite passages and notes from any book to Facebook.

Kobo recently launched Reading Life an industry first social eReading experience, which personalizes eReading and creates a fun, engaging way for users to enjoy an eBook. Reading Life displays statistics about a reader’s habits and preferences, shows activity timelines, and awards achievements for just simply reading. With this new Kobo iPad app release people will be able to interact with their Reading Life book cover and consumers using Instapaper are able to earn awards and monitor statistics.

Since the release of Reading Life in early December, users have earned a reward every five seconds and have shared over 1,000 experiences every day. Reading Life is currently available on the iPad and will launch on iPhone and all Kobo platforms in the coming months.

The Kobo iOS4 applications for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad all come preloaded with 5 FREE eBooks: Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales – so users can begin eReading as soon as their download is done. Plus, just in time for the holidays, Reading Life has released a selection of limited edition Holiday badges that are attached to exclusive deep discounted holiday offers.

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17th December 2010

An EA Kind of Morning

EA Black BoxNeed for Speed™ World, the Play4Free™ online PC action racing game from EA Black Box, has now eclipsed three million registered users. With numerous hours of high-speed, high-stakes Need for Speed multiplayer action, Need for Speed World is one of the world’s most popular, free to play racing games. Today EA builds on the game by adding an all-new dynamic day/night cycle and an advanced vehicle performance customization tuning system. Players can go under the hood to upgrade and tune their vehicle with an extensive list of car parts ranging from tuned engines to top-tier suspension systems to create a high-performance race machine. Need For Speed World

Need for Speed World brings together best in class action racing with an unparalleled social experience for the PC. Players can compete against their friends and family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits. Gamers race the way they want in an ever expanding world that continues to grow with a constant stream of new content, cars, and features.

In addition to English and German, Need for Speed World has now been localized for France, Russia, Spain and Poland markets. Players worldwide can feel the rush of illicit street racing as they speed their way through a white-knuckle socially-connected Need for Speed experience. They will also be able to purchase SpeedBoost which they can use to acquire in-game items such as Booster Packs, Power-ups, XP accelerators and even exclusive exotic cars via the in-game store using a variety of local payment options including credit cards and SMS billing.

The EA PWNED_ team stopped in at the EA Sports campus in Burnaby during their recent globetrotting visits to various EA studios around the world. Watch Matt Cuttle and Sian Welby as they join World Heavyweight Champion David Haye as his famous ‘Hayemaker’ and a range of other equally devastating blows are captured for Fight Night Champion. Appearing in the game and on the box the champ is heavily involved in EA Canada’s latest game but who would he like to play as in Fight Night Champion? Tune in to find out.

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In other developments, EA sent out a press release announcing an “Epic Promotion” for the upcoming Bulletstorm, developed by Epic’s People Can Fly studio over in Poland. Normally I wouldn’t carry the news about this promotion because the games involved are not developed in Canada. That said, the fine print at the end of the press release somewhat irked me. Maybe it’s because my morning caffeine level has not yet reached a safe level, maybe because it looks like EA is leaving an out for itself while sucking gamers into pre-ordering Bulletstorm on the promise of getting in on a beta for Gears of War 3, a title that has been delayed at least a couple of times now – and was supposed to be a part of the recent Spike Video Game Awards but was a no-show (just like the awards show itself, in terms of quality). This has not pleased the hardcore Marcus Fenix fans, and perhaps Epic and EA are teaming up to try to appease them, dangling the slim promise of a beta play in front of them.

Why do I think this promotion sounds somewhat hinky? Well, the press release started off great – then I noticed the * in a sentence: Players that purchase the Epic Edition are guaranteed early access to the Gears of War 3 beta*. Pre-order now to reserve a copy of the Epic Edition which will be available on Feb. 22, 2011 for MSRP $59.99 ($69.99 in Canada, which doesn’t make sense given the strength of our dollar), only for the Xbox 360® while supplies last.

So…having a rabid Gears of War fan living in the cave upstairs, I checked the disclaimer indicated by the * before telling him of this “Epic Promotion” …and the * indicates that Conditions and restrictions apply. See back of pack for details if and when available. Okay, so this is normal, conditions often apply when EA sends out a press release, but it’s usually the requirement of an EA Account and an internet connection, and this is where the promotion doesn’t sit quite right with me. EA and Epic want gamers to pre-order one game, for the promise of getting in on the beta for the game that they really want, but there are conditions that you, the gamer, won’t know about until you get your hands on Bulletstorm. Now, the “if and when available” part is not very clear – what is EA defining as “if and when available” – Bulletstorm or the beta – and if they know these conditions are going to apply, why aren’t they releasing the details now?

I can pretty well guarantee that if I walk into the EB Games we normally shop at later today, they will not have this Epic Promotion pre-order in their system, and probably won’t for at least a week – unless it’s automatically included in a regular pre-order. It took almost a month for Dragon Age 2 to show up for pre-order, and Guild Wars 2 CE only became available a few weeks ago. Now, does this “limited quantity” mean that because EB Games Canada – or GameStop if you prefer – is slow to add titles and offers to their system, the Cavechild could miss out on his chance to get in the Gears of War 3 beta or will our store be allotted a set number of Epic Promotion pre-orders? I just checked the EA Store, and they don’t have the “Epic Promotion” advertised yet either, so perhaps a phone call will be in order once the stores open.

I just hope that EA and Epic aren’t using the promise of Gears of War 3 to artificially attract gamers to Bulletstorm with a thin promise that will then get yanked out from under them due to something like “time constraints to meet deadlines” or some other lame excuse, and then appease the gamers by tossing extra special DLC items at them.

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16th December 2010

Keeping Up With Santa On Christmas Eve

NORADAs Christmas gets closer, the Canadian NORAD Region has put the finishing touches on plans to track and escort Santa Claus when he visits Canada, and has selected four CF-18 fighter pilots who will act as Santa’s official escorts.

425 Tactical Fighter Squadron Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Sylvain Ménard, and Major Eric Haas, an Santas Villageexchange officer from the United States Air Force, will launch from 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., to welcome Santa as the sleigh approaches Canadian airspace. 409 Squadron Commander, Lt.-Col. Eric Kenny, and Captain Chad Ireland of 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., will take over the escort duties as Santa makes his way into Western Canada.

Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children worldwide on the NORAD Tracks Santa website, on December 24. All of this information will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese.

The Canadian Air Defence Sector Operations Centre at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ont., will alert NORAD when their radar and satellite systems detect Santa approaching North America. Two CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from 3 Wing will welcome Santa as he enters Canadian airspace off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. As Santa flies across Canada from east to west, two CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing will escort through Canadian airspace so that he may safely conduct his Christmas voyage.

On December 24, children can also receive updates on Santa’s Christmas Eve journey by calling the traditional “NORAD Tracks Santa” telephone hotline at 1-877-HI NORAD, or by emailing NORAD. Last year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website received over 13 million unique visitors from 231 countries and territories around the world. On Christmas Eve alone, NORAD “Santa Trackers” answered more than 74,000 telephone calls and answered 3,500 emails over a 25 hour period.

Leading up to the big day, children can visit Santa’s Village and see what’s going on at the North Pole. There is music to listen to, games to play and watch the Candy Cane fill as Christmas Eve draws nearer. If you’re going to be out and about with your family on Christmas Eve, no worries, you can have updates sent right to your smartphone with Google Maps for Mobile.

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NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization, charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. NORAD performs its mission 365 days per year, but on Christmas Eve, NORAD performs an additional mission – tracking Santa around the world.

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16th December 2010

Counterfeit Movies Seized

RCMPThe Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Federal Enforcement Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has partnered with the Toronto Police Service in a joint investigation, Project OSTINGER, of alleged Copyright Act infringement activities. Ten search warrants have been executed at businesses operating at the Oriental Centre, located in Scarborough.

The police and the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) have received numerous complaints that thousands of pirated copies of new North American titled movies were being sold at multiple businesses within the mall on a daily basis, including movies which are currently playing in theaters. It is alleged that pirated copies are being manufactured, distributed and offered for a sale amount of $3.00 each and 8 movies for $20.00. The legitimate sale price should be between $20 and $30 each.

Investigators worked in close partnership with the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association in this Toronto Police Serviceinvestigation. “DVD counterfeiting hurts legitimate Canadian businesses, including film distributors, theatre owners, retails, film rental businesses and the Canadians employed by them,” said Marc Proulx, the CMPDA’s Director of Content Protection for North America – Canada. “Enforcement efforts by the film industry and police have removed hundreds of thousands of counterfeit DVDs from circulation. We’ve found that the real success has been in effective and coordinated law enforcement, as demonstrated today by the RCMP and the Toronto Police Service’s 42 Division.”

“Piracy is a widespread problem not only in the GTA and North America, but worldwide, especially during peak shopping periods such as seasonal holiday celebrations. Legitimate businesses and the Canadian economy are adversely impacted by this type of Intellectual Property Crime” says Inspector Todd Gilmore, Officer in Charge of the GTA Federal Enforcement Section.

Staff Sergeant David Rydzik of 42 Division Toronto Police Service said police have seized thousands of counterfeit DVDs and have laid over 30 charges in a year long operation. “We take this kind of criminal activity very seriously, and we intend to pursue vigorously those who break the law,” added Rydzik.

The investigation is ongoing and charges of Fraud, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and Copyright Act offenses are anticipated.

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16th December 2010

Working To Improve The Learning Experience

UserfulCalgary’s Userful and California-based DisplayLink have announced a software/hardware partnership that will allow schools to deploy large numbers of Linux-based computer stations in the classroom for very low cost. Working in conjunction with DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology, the Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011 software turns one Linux-based computer into 11 high-performance independent computer stations, ultimately giving students the features and computing experience of a full PC, but at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, Userful is running a special promotion, offering every DisplayLink USB docking station customers a free two-user version of their MultiSeat Linux 2011 software.

“We have enjoyed great success deploying our Linux-based zero client solutions in developing regions such as Latin America and Asia because of the low cost of implementation and the growing awareness of the long term economic benefits of deploying Linux desktops in education,” said Tim Griffin, president of Userful. “Regardless of region, however, over 50,000 schools around the world have adopted Userful MultiSeat Linux not only because of the cost-effectiveness, but also the ease of configurability, and the high-quality computing experience that it provides students.”
userful stations
The combined solution reduces hardware costs by up to 80 percent, and reduces required infrastructure (power plugs, cabling, etc.) by a factor of 10 as compared to a traditional PC-per-seat solution. It also reduces energy costs by up to 90 percent, enabling organizations to recover the cost of their computers through electricity cost savings over a few years. On average, customers report saving 60 percent in up-front costs, and 80 percent in annual power savings as compared to their previous PC-per-station solutions. The significant savings could bring computing to millions of people without access today.

“We are excited to work with Userful on the development of drivers and MultiSeat Linux software solutions that enable the use of our USB virtual graphics on a robust open-source platform,” said Dennis Crespo, executive vice president of marketing and business development at DisplayLink. “Now schools can spend less time and money configuring systems, and more time providing students with practical computing experience.”

Currently, the Userful software solution and their high-performance DisplayLink Linux driver is compatible with the full line of DisplayLink chips, allowing plug and play graphics over standard USB cables. DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology has been widely adopted and can be found in devices like adapters, docking stations, monitors and projectors from leading PC accessory and monitor OEMs.

staples canadaThere is only one week left to enter the Staples Canada Recycle For Education Computer Lab Contest – rewarding the country’s most eco-responsible school with a $50,000 computer lab.

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from schools throughout the country, and delighted to learn about the environmental programs that our young people are taking part in,” says Steve Matyas, President of Staples Canada.

The Computer Lab contest is the first of its kind for the office supply retailer, who will determine the top five schools in January before declaring its winner in the spring.

“This is a chance for schools to improve both their community, and their school by winning this contest. We also feel this will get more people motivated to start eco-responsible programs if they haven’t already done so,” says Matyas.

Entries will be accepted until December 23, and will consist of a 500-word essay on a school’s environmental activities which have been in existence for at least one calendar year.

Teaching With TechnologyCDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions for Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors, today launched its third annual Teaching with Technology™ Story Contest and Sweepstakes, offering Canadian educators and administrators opportunities to win information technology (IT) for their classrooms and schools by entering a three-tiered contest. With a total prize value of over $20,000 this year, the contest begins today and runs until Monday, February 28, 2011. The Contest is open to legal residents of (who are currently living in) Canada. Residents of (who are currently living in) Quebec are not eligible to enter the Contest.

Educators and administrators can enter the Teaching with Technology contest in three ways:

  • The ‘Story Contest’ asks entrants to describe how incorporating IT into school classrooms enhances the learning experience for their students.
  • The ‘Tweet UR Tech Tale’ contest asks teachers to submit their technology story via Twitter in no more than 140 characters.
  • A ‘Sweepstakes’ is open to all Canadian educators, administrators and — new this year — IT managers/staff at school boards.

“Inspired by the many terrific technology stories from devoted educators during the first two years of the Teaching with Technology contest, CDW Canada is proud to include IT managers at school boards for the first time this year,” said Mary Ann Yule, General Manager, CDW Canada. “Educating students is a process that requires dedication from those in all levels of education, from the classroom, where committed teachers and administrators fill young minds with knowledge, to the school boards that provide the technology and infrastructure policies for imparting that knowledge. We appreciate the value that technology adds to this process and are excited to keep bringing this contest to Canadians.”

Entering its third year, the contest has received exceptional support from a number of CDW Canada’s technology partners. Sponsors of this year’s contest include the following: premier sponsors HP and AMD; gold sponsors Epson, Lenovo and Microsoft; silver sponsors BenQ, Cables To Go, Cisco, InFocus, Kodak, Netgear, OKI Data, Polycom, PolyVision and Watchguard; and bronze sponsors Sony, Targus and Xerox.

CDW Canada developed the Teaching with Technology contest in recognition of the need for educational institutions to have the best available IT tools to enhance students’ education. Each year the contest presents an opportunity for Canadian educators and administrators of K-12 schools to win partial or complete IT packages to enrich the learning environments of their students. Started in 2008, the contest features three tiers of prizing each with a different entry method. Participation is easy and incorporates interactive elements providing an in-depth look at the contributions of technology to the education system.

“These tools will help me improve students’ safe social networking skills by demonstrating responsible Internet behaviour and creating positive learning-based communities online,” said Richmond, B.C. teacher Grace Ho, a grand-prize winner in last year’s contest. “They will also enable me to hold video conferences with students across the globe, opening my classroom to the world, giving students an authentic experience and stimulating their interest in language.”

Story contest submissions – Story contest submissions must be between 200-500 words and describe the role technology plays in that entrant’s school or classroom.

For example:

  • How have students been more engaged in the learning process since the introduction of IT equipment into the classroom?
  • Discuss the role technology will play once integrated into lessons and how it will enhance the learning experience.

Stories can be submitted online, via email or via postal mail. Online and e-mail entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. Mail entries must be postmarked no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. Entrants must provide their full name and contact information along with title, school and board of current employment.

A panel of IT experts will judge entries according to educational value and distinctiveness of the described technology solution. Three winners will be selected from all entries to receive one of three prize bundles. Each bundle includes a desktop computer, laptop computer, projector, printer, pocket video camera, e-reader, digital camera, document camera and hardware and laptop accessories.

A random draw will select the five winners. Each will receive a prize consisting of either a printer, hardware bundle, e-reader, projector or netbook.

Tweet UR Tech Tale Contest Entry – Submissions must be made through Twitter, within the 140-character limit and include the hashtag #twtcda. The tweet must describe how the technology has been, or will be, used in the classroom or school. Tweets must be posted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges based on the creativity, relevance and educational value of their tweet. One winner will receive an interactive whiteboard.

New this year, six sweepstakes prizes will be awarded to IT managers at Canadian school boards. Complete rules and regulations for all three contests are available online.

For holiday lesson ideas and to read the article 12 Holiday Websites that bring the Spirit of the Season into your Classroom.

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