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25th November 2010

Canadian Creativity Is Not Halted By A Little Snow

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that their in-studio Rapid Game Development Competition games have arrived on Apple’s mobile platforms, the iPhone and iPod Touch.Aaah Chompsters The internal competition held by the studio provided teams with complete creative control to make a game in 72 hours or less. The games were developed for the Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs, iPod Touch. First two games launched on iTunes are:

Aaah! Chompsters! – The Chompsters are here and they’re hungry, so it’s up to Invaders From Uranusyou to make sure they get fed! Use the explosive power of your touch to blow smaller monsters into the gaping mouths of the Chompsters. Aaah! Chompsters! is an explosive physics-based title with 60 levels and 4 worlds to complete and lots of replay value to keep you coming back for more. Aaah! Chompsters is available in the App Store for 99 cents (USD).

An action packed alien shooting arcade game for your iPhone, Invaders from Uranus is available now on iTunes as well, also for only 99 cents (USD). The player simply touches the screen to shoot the enemies and tries to last as long as they can while trying to obtain a new high score. With a super fantastic and original sound track, spectacular 100% organic, homemade sound effects, big explosions and a huge variety of enemies to destroy, Invaders from Uranus will keep you coming back for more.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new Dragon Age 2 character. According to her bio, Aveline is a soldier, a Avelinemaster of sword and shield, and up to a point, a tireless guardian. She is the daughter of an exiled chevalier, and not the knight her father wished her to be. “Although fully trained in chivalrous combat, she was raised in the shadow of a lost life and will not lose another for the sake of honor. Protecting her adopted home of Kirkwall becomes a chosen duty, not a privileged calling. The people she stands for will not be wasted on lost causes or protecting the foolish from themselves. Pride can be bandaged like any other wound—when threats are dead and everyone is safely home.”

The GallowsThe studio has also unveiled The Gallows, a courtyard in Kirkland which stands as testimony to the city’s ghastly past. Adorned with statues, this courtyard is not meant to pay homage, the statues are not monuments to the suffering of slaves. Every inch and angle of the courtyard was designed by magisters bent on breaking the spirit of newcomers. Executions in The Gallows courtyard took place daily, sometimes hourly, and corpses were hung from gibbets throughout the yard. New slaves trudging in from the docks saw what fate had in store for them, and they were not greeted with a friendly smile.

1889 labsFrom November 26th to 28th, Canadian writer MCM (Michael Milligan) is writing a full-length novel live on the internet, using suggestions from his audience to help craft a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Creator of the award-winning animated series “RollBots”, MCM pioneered the Typhoonlivewriting format in 2009 with the sci fi thriller “Typhoon“, mixing a virtual concert-like atmosphere with the written word.

This time around for the sequel, “Polarity“, 1889 Labs tapping into the social networking power of Twitter, Facebook and Ustream to provide a richer experience for readers. Suggestions submitted by the audience are picked at random and integrated into the storyline, adding an unpredictable twist to an already exciting endeavour. During “Typhoon”, a major plot point was interrupted when the question “stop or go?” was answered the wrong way, altering events all through the series.

Polarity“Polarity” follows a group of mercenaries called dustrunners, tasked with shepherding contraband mineral shipments back from the asteroid belt in the year 2038, but ruthlessly hunted by law enforcement at home. Kani, a Canadian teenager pulled into this world against her will in “Typhoon”, now finds herself in deeper trouble than before, as allies turn against each other and a maniacal undercover cop aims to clean up the mess he’s created for himself.

Because of the real-time nature of livewritten books, the events of the story can better reflect the events of the day, as they happen. Kani must contend with invasive security theatre in airports, protests against G-20 meetings that turn violent, a draining American occupation of war-torn Mexico, and a crippling world economic depression that shows no signs of abating. “Ripped from the headlines” has never been so immediate. “Polarity” is a live performance, free for all, and starts November 26, running until very late on November 28.

MetalWorks StudioGil Moore, drummer in the band Triumph, and owner of the renowned Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, has joined Balanced Copyright for Canada (BCFC) in support of efforts to advocate for strong copyright laws that reflect the reality of today’s digital environment.

“The scale of piracy is simply off the charts and it’s had a dramatic impact on every aspect of the music industry,” explains Gil Moore. “We can, and have, diversified our product lines but the speed and volume at which creative products are being taken without permission, is simply too high to be ignored. The government has a responsibility to ensure laws reflective of the digital environment are in place in order to protect intellectual property.”

“The progression of Bill C-32 through the legislative process is a welcome sign that all the federal parties agree that our copyright laws must be amended with urgency,” adds Moore. “I hope, in the weeks that follow, that the bill will be reviewed and passed in a way that best supports jobs in the creative sector.”

“We’re thrilled to have Gil’s support in our efforts to ensure Bill C-32 is passed in such a way as to support jobs and investment in Canada’s creative industries,” says Randy Bachman, a member of the BCFC Advisory Board. “Gil has enormous respect in the industry. He’s one of the few who has transitioned from a successful career as an artist into an award-winning studio business, a school and a live production company, that together produce some of Canada’s greatest talents and best trained professionals.”

Bill BakerBill Baker, who has helped business leaders of organizations such as Relais & Châteaux, Johnson & Johnson and Dubai Holdings as well as the Toronto International Film Festival, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and others advance their brands, businesses and people through strategic storytelling, has started a new firm, Bill Baker &Co. Previously, Baker was Chief Strategic Officer of Vancouver-based branding agency Envisioning + Storytelling (E+S).

“While there is a ton of talent and creativity in branding, too often what’s missing is meaning. Strategic storytelling creates meaning, connecting people to ideas, to a vision of the future and to each other. BB&Co will focus on helping leaders use strategic storytelling to position their brands, transform their businesses and, perhaps most importantly, engage and align employees around a vision that they can not only see, but see themselves in,” says Baker.

A recognized expert on the strategic storytelling process and an engaging speaker, Baker has appeared at The Canadian Sponsorship Forum, Canadian Coaching Association Conference and the Relais & Châteaux Congress and is a sought after speaker. Through his “Leadership Through Storytelling” course, Baker teaches top executives of Fortune 500 companies how to use storytelling to be better communicators and, as a result, better leaders. He also writes and blogs frequently on strategic storytelling and related topics.

Baker says, “There are a lot of gaps between what top executives envision for their brands and business, what employees experience in their jobs and what consumers experience in the marketplace. Strategic storytelling can bridge those gaps, reaching beyond dry facts and information to help everyone understand not only what they’re doing, but why. For thousands of years, leaders have used storytelling to get people to see and work towards a future that has yet to unfold. That same strategy can be used by business leaders to advance their organizations today.”

mob4hireMob4Hire has announced that it has expanded its line of crowd-sourced mobile testing, usability and market research products in order to help Brands create engaging mobile experiences leading to increased customer loyalty.

Mob4Hire’s announcement of its Version 4.5 platform today includes the enhancement of MobExperience as well as new products  (* denotes new product):

1) Mobile Usability Testing and Certification:  MobExperience, MobAccelerator and MobStar Certified*.
2) Mobile Functional Testing:  MobTest, MobSIMTest*, MobSMSTest*
3) Mob4Hire Mobile Usability Products:  MobSurvey, MobA/BTest*
4) Mobile Jobs:  MobTasks*

The product expansion adds tools for companies across the mobile ecosystem, including mobile developers, market researchers, product managers, network operators, handset manufacturers, mobile operating system platforms, developer networks and app stores.

All Mob4Hire projects now include a dedicated Project Manager who is an expert in both executing projects and managing the crowd, so developers will be able to leverage that experience to get projects completed faster and at a lower cost. Customers can choose to use Mob4Hire on a project-by-project basis, or retain Mob4Hire’s ongoing MobTestSuite services for end to end mobile functional and usability testing.

In reaction to the rapid increase in the number of testing and market research projects in its system, Mob4Hire has added a live chat support / sales instant messaging window to ensure quick customer response. Version 4.5 also finishes the migration of the Mob4Hire platform to the Amazon AWS services using the Scalr.net cluster for managing growth with a much better fault-tolerant and scalable system.

koboUsers of the new Kobo Wireless eReader now have even more opportunities to experience the joy of reading as Kobo, a global eReading service, today announced that Canadian Kobo Wireless eReader customers now enjoy free, unlimited access to Bell’s Wi-Fi network at any one of Bell’s over 800 Wi-Fi network hotspot locations across Canada.

Canadian Kobo Wireless eReaders are pre-configured and ready to go on the Bell Wi-Fi network, and once at a Bell Wi-Fi network hotspot location, customers simply visit the Kobo Store area on their Kobo Wireless eReader and they will be seamlessly connected and able to browse, download and buy eBooks, magazines and newspapers from the Kobo store – and start reading instantly.

“At Kobo we’re passionate about delivering customers the best possible reading experience. We’re thrilled to partner with Bell to enhance the reading experience for Canadian Kobo Wireless eReader users providing free, unlimited access to Canada’s largest Wi-Fi network,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “Our customers love reading and now they can easily shop our collection of over 2.2 million books – including over 1 million engaging free classics – from their favorite Bell hotspot locations.”

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24th November 2010

Vampire-Bears Infiltrate Perfection Island

behaviour gamesOh no! Vampire-bears! Global video game publisher 505 Games and developer Behaviour today announced the latest chilling downloadable chapter for Naughty Bear. The new Chapter 10 has fangs, and sees everyone’s favorite bear facing off against an onslaught of mystical creatures intent on taking over the island. Including 4 new multiplayer modes, new costumes and challenges and a showdown with the Vampiricorn make this a must-slay adventure. Downloads will be available from 23rd November 2010 in the US and from 01st December 2010 in European (PAL) territories.

After Stardust summons a vampire hoard to the island, lead by the legendary and terrifying Vampiricorn, the throng of blood-sucking bears start the hunt for Naughty Bear to suck his fluff. Fright your way through a beariffic new story, disguise yourself with new costumes and bring an end to the un-dead with the terrifyingly new Vicious Vampire Claw!

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4 new multiplayer modes offer plenty of defluffication:

Left 4 Ted: Zombear Horde!!!! The bears must do what they can to stay alive against a Zombear invasion. Can you stay alive long enough to win the game?Vampiricorn

Defluffication: Defluff other players with any weapon you like to rack up points in this sweet and simple deathmatch mode!

Dancing King: A mystical Unibear appears at a random location Find him, get close to him and don’t let anyone else near. The player who dances with the Unibear longest wins!

Vampicorn: Elimination match where each player has limited lives and constantly depleting health, which can only be stopped by attacking, hurting and killing the competition. Last vampire-bear standing wins.

The downloadable Chapter 10 will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade for 800 MS points and PlayStation Network for the local equivalent of $9.99 USD. Naughty Bear is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

AutodeskAutodesk, Inc. and Ubisoft have issued this press release about the Autodesk 3D art creation and animation products to help create “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood,” its latest video game, Ubisoftreleased last week. Ubisoft artists created and populated the vast, ancient city of Rome using Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk MotionBuilder software. Autodesk HumanIK middleware was also integrated into Ubisoft’s proprietary game engine to help produce more realistic in-game animation for both the game’s human characters and horses.

“Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” is the newest title in Ubisoft’s hit franchise, delivering stunning animations, beautiful environments and immersive game play. The game’s hero, Ezio, now a Master Assassin, is on a mission to end the oppression of the Roman people by the evil Borgia. Gamers must help rebuild the five districts of Rome, win over the public and recruit new assassins to fight against the powerful Templar Order and usher in the Renaissance.

Rome is the largest city ever featured in an “Assassin’s Creed®” title. As a result, Ezio can now bring his horse into and through the city, opening vast new game environments for player exploration. Autodesk HumanIK ACB-Autodeskmiddleware helps to make sure that the game’s characters move more realistically through the city, whether characters are walking on uneven terrain, scaling walls, riding on horseback or jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

“HumanIK middleware has been a part of our game engine for all ‘Assassin’s Creed’ titles,” said Danny Oros, technical art director for the game. “We knew that with HumanIK we could address our inverse kinematics challenges quickly without sacrificing results or performance.”

As Ezio helps to rebuild the city, each of the five districts of Rome evolves through three distinct atmospheres. Therefore, Ubisoft created three different versions of each of the districts. “Autodesk software provided efficient tools and workflows that helped us create a huge amount of great content in a short amount of time,” added Oros. “The game’s environments were almost all created from scratch, and much of the character content and animation clips were new.”

New animations highlight the advancement of Ezio’s assassin skills. Animators at Ubisoft developed a number of intense fight animation clips, including “combo kills,” where players can eliminate multiple enemies in one move.

“Ezio is now a highly skilled Master Assassin, so we wanted to reward players for a more aggressive combat strategy, instead of the defensive style that was required in ‘Assassin’s Creed® 2,’” said Mike Mennillo, lead fight animator for Ubisoft.

The Ubisoft team shot new fight concepts in a motion capture studio and brought the data into MotionBuilder. This data was then used as a base for the final animation clips created in 3ds Max.

To view an in-depth presentation about how Ubisoft developed the new fight animation in “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood,” visit the “Auditorium” on Autodesk’s virtual Digital Entertainment Conference site.

dhx mediaCongratulations to DHX Media Ltd., who has signed multiple broadcast and home entertainment deals from its extensive preschool slate in Asia, as it prepares for Asian Television Forum next month.

In Malaysia & Brunei, the Astro platform has picked up the exclusive rights to all episodes of the preschool series Franny’s Feet, as well as all episodes of the reading-based preschool show Super WHY! which has also been picked up by InnoForm Media for home video in the territory, and by Media Link for home video in Thailand.

Further deals in Asia include a video-on-demand (“VOD”) deal with Korea’s JCG for Franny’s Feet and Super WHY!, and with Tarra Group Indonesia for home video for Franny’s Feet and additional episodes of Cbeebies hit show Grandpa in My Pocket.

Craig McGillivray, Territory Manager for Asia at DHX Media said: “There’s always a solid market for quality preschool programming in Asia, and we’re pleased to see continued demand across the region for our established hits Franny’s Feet and Super WHY! as well as newer titles such as Grandpa in My Pocket. Deals for VOD and home entertainment are particularly strong right now and we’ll be attending ATF looking to consolidate the presence of all our shows across the region.”

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24th November 2010

Canadian Publishers Release PC Game Patches

Meridian4Montreal game publisher Meridian4 and Headup Games release a patch for their very successful parody/strategy/RPG title Grotesque Tactics – Evil Heroes.

The patch (Version addresses issues with the configuration tool, camera angles and more. For a full list of fixes see below.

* optimized english language texts
* trinigy vision engine update to 7.6.24, may improve stability (depends on DirecX SDK February 2010, you may need a local directx update)
* optional code for positioning hardware cursor (better results on lower framerates)
* performance improvements in quest- and dialog-system Grotesque Tactics(fixes cyclic fps drops)
* config tool: added background music
* config tool: added windowed option
* config tool: added disable intro-videos option
* config tool: removed tahoma font dependancy (fixes a crash on some machines)
fixed a bug where pressing escape in the option menu the first time would mess up the menu system
clamped the mouse speed to 0.1 (thus the cursor does not freeze any more if you set the slider all to the left)
* more error outputs if the gfx hardware does not meet the requirements
charmed chars are auto-uncharmed if game goes into explore mode (fixes misc potential quest deadlocks)
* camera: iso move speed has been increased
* camera: height angles have been changed to avoid level collisions
necessary release files are now copied into the related MyDocuments folders (write access is required, otherwise an error occurs)
* alternate improved exception handling with the option to send debug reports anonymously
* fixed a bug where you could not attack anymore after a levelup
* fixed a bug where the conversation would not continue if the related partners were out of processing range
* changed chocochicks fraction to friendly in order to avoid some movement deadlocks
* changed fraction of three soldiers in riverwind in order to avoid a movement deadlock situation
* dawnclaude is set to invisible before he joins the party (otherwise it was possible to kill him in advance)
* fixed a tooltip for dawnclaude not showing up
* added cheats (tba later)

DreamCatcherToronto publisher Dreamcatcher Games, Spellbound Entertainment, BVT Group and JoWooD have released a new patch for ArcaniA – Gothic 4. This update slightly alters specific gameplay dynamics, increases the overall performance and gets rid of rare crashes.

Detailed Patchlog:

FIXED: Interruption of interactions with sword strikes
FIXED: Acknowledgements playback after loading a save game
FIXED: Jump interrupted by FMV character freeze
FIXED: Cool down in the inventory screen
FIXED: Reduced ocean clipping problem for Stereoscopic 3D
FIXED: Arrows stick on already disintegrated Demon
FIXED: Stamina consumption while sprinting with equipped spells added
FIXED: SLI issues & optimizations
FIXED: Crash on vista machines when starting the game on the seArcaniAcond adapter while the first adapter was disabled
FIXED: Stereoscopic 3D can be deactivated from the NVIDIA control panel before launching game
FIXED: Pickable item restoration
FIXED: Multiple CPU profiles in process manager
FIXED: Clouds use dynamic vertex buffer for frequent locking
FIXED: Performance problem with terrain tile generation
FIXED: Performance bug in trails
FIXED: Rare crash when arrows stuck in players vanished
FIXED: Additional unnecessary loading screen when using a teleport stone-need

This patch will be installed automatically via the auto-updater on November 23rd.

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24th November 2010

IUGO Holiday Sale

IUGOIn light of IUGO and Capcom’s recent success with their social game title Lil’ Pirates for the iPhone, IUGO announces a sweeping price drop to 99¢ on the following titles:

Zombie Attack!
Daisy Mae’s Alien BuffetIUGO Holiday Sale
Toy Bot Diaries 1,2,3
Toy Bot Compilation
Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL
Implode! XL
Cliffed XL
Star Hogs
Spy Bot Chronicles
Toy Bot Mini Missions

The IUGO sale begins early morning this Thursday, November 25th and will last until Sunday evening. Grab these premium games for 99¢ while you can! Don’t forget to download Lil’ Pirates for FREE while you’re at it too!

Wicked InteractiveAlso for the American Thanksgiving, Toronto publisher Wicked Interactive and SUBA Games thanks its user base for playing Mission Against Terror, its popular free-to-play shooter. Rather than offering up virtual turkeys and pilgrim hats in a free to play first person shooter, SUBA has prepared something extra-special this Thanksgiving.
Mission Against Terror
On Thanksgiving day, two Game Masters will be in-game delivering M.A.T.’s usual Thursday “Kill The GM” event at 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST(GMT -5) where winners earn themselves 1,000 SUBA Points to use in the item shop. In addition, between the hours of 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST(GMT -5), players will be enjoying +50% honor from playing games and +50% silver coins from playing games.

Set in a near-future not so different from our own time, M.A.T. pits teams against one another in a bitter battle for the survival of the human race. Unanimously hailed for its solid gameplay and wide variety of game modes, M.A.T. has taken North America by storm, after becoming quite popular in Asia and other parts of the world.

Little ServicesToronto’s Little Services recently released Version 1.9 of Logistrics Taxi – an Android PDA-based Taxi Solution. Logistrics Taxi is a full featured application that works on any Android PDA device and can allow Taxi Companies to run a successful taxi business at a fraction of the upfront and monthly operating costs of Desktop and Mobile Dispatch Terminal (MDT) based solutions.

The Device Update includes auto-status updates, quit option from main menu, speed optimization, etc. Server side updates include invite functionality, permission modifications for company admin & an enhanced date picker on order screen among others.

The solution is offered as a fully managed service and can be downloaded from the Android Market directly from the PDA. Logistrics Taxi is aimed at small taxi operators seeking a low cost dispatch and tracking solution. The solution supports is currently used by several taxi companies worldwide. Drivers will need an Android PDA with a data plan to access the service. The solution is being offered free for 60 days from Registration date.

koboStarting today, customers can purchase a new Kobo Wireless eReader pre-loaded with any one of five exclusive eBook bundles. Customers can save up to $30 and give the perfect gift for readers – an eReader already loaded with a bundle of hot new books, ready to start reading right out of the box.

Kobo customers can share the joy of eReading: the exclusive eBook bundles each appeal to a different taste or reading mood -Books on Film, Vampire Diaries, Spicy Romance, Millennium Trilogy and Made in Canada . This offer features some of today’s most popular and bestselling fiction, non-fiction, biographies and romance titles conveniently offered in a single package. In addition, kobo eReadercustomers can build their library for life with Kobo and read eBooks, Newspapers and Magazines on any device. Today, Kobo is available on iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, PC, MAC, Samsung Galaxy Tab, new tablets and eReaders.

“The Kobo eReader comes in a variety of colours and is already an amazing gift for the traveler, the constant reader and the hard to buy for on your holiday list. Combined with our great new eBook bundles, Kobo is the perfect gift to get your loved ones,” said Michael Tamblyn, Kobo Vice President of Content, Sales and Merchandising. “With Kobo, ebooks are the ultimate last-minute gift – delivered in seconds and you never have to worry about shipping or something being out of stock.”

With the new Kobo Wireless eReader, consumers can now wirelessly shop on the go, anytime, anyplace, directly from their Kobo Wireless eReader with one touch of the “Shop” button. Adding more than hundreds of thousands of titles in six months, the Kobo store now boasts over 2.2 million books including today’s new releases and bestsellers, timeless classics and thousands of free books.

Race to a MillionRace To A Million is the first ever “Social Reality” TV show – where Social Media meets Reality TV. Our goal is to prove that business can be fun, socially conscious, environmentally responsible, and sustainable while still profitable. We say “Nice People CAN Finish First!”

The “Race to a Million” is a contest devised by the co-founders of Canada’s Mastermind Development Corporation (CMDC), namely, Peter Cameron-Inglis and Dean Pierson. It is more than a contest though… it is an experiment specifically designed to prove the effectiveness of the Mastermind concept as well as an opportunity to give back to the community by raising significant financial support for a variety of charitable organizations.

The “Race to a Million” is a money making contest involving 5 teams, the original 4 Master Mind groups from CMDC based in Kamloops and 1 team of MBA students from Thompson Rivers University (TRU). These groups include Mastermind Team Matrix, Mastermind Team Nexus, Mastermind Team Genie, the flagship Mastermind Team Alpha, and the team from Thompson Rivers University – Team TRU.

Even though their official contestants are already chosen for the first “Race to a Million”… you can still play along and (if you choose to do so) you could duplicate the strategies and make your own million! Follow along on the weekly racetoamillion.ca blog as we share specific details of the winning (and losing) strategies and the results of those strategies with everyone. We will be using Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Linked In and will even be posting weekly You Tube updates so that you can get to know the contestants and see how their thoughts and personalities will help their teams. We are also making it possible for you to send along hints and tips to your favorite team and potentially win participation prizes.

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Here’s the best part … all of the tips … all of the information … all of the insights … and all of the fun are absolutely free and available to anyone who wants to either play along or just cheer for their favorite team.

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24th November 2010

New DLC and New Apps Plus a Thank You to WestJet

westjetNote: I would like to publicly thank Allison over at WestJet for going above and beyond the duty of a great CSR person and getting my daughter home from CFB Borden via Toronto after her original flight was canceled. This is just one example of how Twitter can work for business – not only did the airline make it right (sorry Mike Holmes, I know that’s your ® tag line) – but Allison got her on a flight landing in Abbotsford tonight, which is much, much more convenient for us than Vancouver International. That said, the “distraction” of getting flights sorted and the fact that I actually slept in this morning, means a bit sparser news for now – but there will be more later, because Canada’s digital media community is always creating new things for me to tell you about.

UbisoftUbisoft has just announced that the Animus Project Update 1.0 downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® and the PlayStation®3 will be available as a free Mont St Micheldownload on December 14th, 2010 on XBOX LIVE® and PlayStation®Network.

The Animus Project Update 1.0 will include a brand-new game mode and brand new map for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Multiplayer. The game mode, Advanced Alliance, will make the original Alliance Mode with target identification and engagement more difficult than in original Alliance Mode, thus providing a more challenging experience for players. With three teams of two players each, Advanced Alliance is a tougher test for players and rewards teams that use stealth techniques to hunt their targets.

Located on a rocky tidal island of Normandy in France, the new map, Mont Saint-Michel, offers breathtaking Hellequin In Mont St Michelscenery sure to enchant all. Its particular topography of narrow streets, high-perched bell tower and multi-leveled architecture is perfect for hunters and predators alike to surge from out of nowhere to execute their prey. To survive, recruits will need to use free-running and narrow roads to their advantage.

“We are very thrilled to be able to offer the first Multiplayer DLC for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood for absolutely free,” said Sebastien Puel, executive producer, Ubisoft Montreal. “We wanted to say thank you to our fans for making Brotherhood such a huge success its opening week. We are very proud of the unique and innovative Multiplayer mode it offers, and hope the fans enjoy the new content.”

Last week I told you all about Game Prototype Challenge – well the first round has been completed, and there are some great game prototypes up for you to play. The theme for this first round was Dreams and Collectibles; GamePrototypeChallengehere is who submitted prototypes:

Sleep Harder! by Cale Bradbury
Chased by Monsters by Jason P. Kaplan
Part Of A Machine by Damian Sommer
Dreamcatcher by James An
Sleepscape by Jonathan Remedios
ProjectKyoto by Arthur Marris

These games were all built in one week, from start to finish. Check them out, they’re rather good (not that I’m surprised, because Canadian game devs are the best). Version 2 of the Game Prototype Challenge will be coming in December – keep an eye on their site and ours for the theme and time frame announcement.

Ripe AppsToronto app developer Ripe Apps has just released their latest title. Geo Alerts is an app that lets you set reminders for specific locations by placing pins on a map, choosing an address from the Address Book or by typing an address in search. Geo Alerts gives you 20 custom alert sounds with an unlimited number of alerts and notifications. With background processing on iOS 4 (3GS or Newer), Geo Alerts can help you in these ways:

* Remember to pick up “Milk” every time you pass by your usual convenience store (if I had an iPhone, this alone would be worth it!)
* Drop by and pick up the mail at an old address
* If you are a real-estate agent and need to remember to stop by at a few locations
* Are you a Pool Cleaner, Gardner, or any Profession that require multiple stops per day?
You can pre fill your stops on the app and it will remind you every time you are near you next closest client.
* Fun & Experimentation
* Remind yourself to flirt with that house you are looking into buying whenever you’re there
* It can remind to do something when you get home from work, even if you don’t know when that will be
* Organize your driving; look at the app (in NSEW mode) and know what you need to do “North of Here”.
* Wake yourself when sleeping on the bus but only when you get home.

BCITBCIT is looking for mentors for their Games Development Bachelor’s Degree students. The first crop of students will be graduating Spring of 2011. These students will be available to work on their practicum from January to April 2011. I encourage you to participate in this practicum program and to include one of the students in your projects. Doing so will help cultivating and grooming our next generation of IT professionals in the games industry. This is also an excellent opportunity to evaluate potential employees while getting cost-effective development assistance.

With a focus on advanced programming, the BCIT Games Development Degree is designed to also equip students with critical skills in multidisciplinary areas including graphics and audio design, higher level Mathematics (3D graphics, calculus, analytical geometry), Physics and artificial intelligence. Students learn to develop games for PCs, consoles (e.g. Xbox) and mobile devices (e.g. iPhone).

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24th November 2010

Game Design Expo Speakers Announced

Game Design Expo 2011The lineup for Game Design Expo 2011 in Vancouver has been revealed, highlighted by keynotes from Rovio Mobile, the makers of all-time bestselling iPhone game Angry Birds, and Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft®. The entire day of presentations by the luminaries behind some of the most important games of this year and next constitute the event’s biggest speaker lineup in its five-year history.

The event, slated for January 22-23, 2011, is hosted by the acclaimed one-year Game Design program at Vancouver Film School (VFS), which the Los Angeles Times has called “a top school favoured by game industry recruiters.” Saturday’s Industry Speaker Day at Game Design Expo will feature talks aimed at game industry professionals, students, and anyone interested in games. Tickets for Industry Speaker Day are on sale now and already selling fast.

Rovio Mobile’s Angry Birds, a puzzle game for iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices, has been downloaded over 20 million times. Rovio’s Senior Game Designer and Marketing Manager will kick off Saturday’s schedule by delving into the design and business factors behind its incredible success in a presentation called How to Design a Hit Game for the iPhone.

In addition to crossing the 12 million subscriber mark recently, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft has racked up numerous achievements. Its first two expansions, The Burning Crusade® and Wrath of the Lich King®, both broke PC-game sales records upon their release, and Blizzard’s latest expansion for the game, Cataclysm™, is set to launch on December 7. Blizzard’s lead content designer on the game will discuss how the company uses macro design to stay focused on the big picture amid a world of details.

Among the schedule’s many other highlights are talks by leading minds behind Dead Space 2, Tron: Evolution, True Crime: Hong Kong, and Halo Waypoint, as well as PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect. The lineup represents an incredible cross-section of the game industry, from mobile and online games to big-budget AAA titles, from traditional platforms to new motion-based systems.

Game Design Expo Industry Speaker Day Guests – January 22, 2011

Jaakko Iisalo/Matthew Wilson – Senior Game Designer/Marketing Manager, Rovio Mobile (Angry Birds)
Jeff O’Connell/Mike Skupa – Lead Producer/Lead Designer, United Front Games (True Crime: Hong Kong)
Anton Mikhailov – Software Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation Move)
Paul Parsons – Senior Game Designer, 343 Industries (Halo Waypoint)
Mitchell Lagran – Designer, most recently of Rockstar Games Vancouver (Max Payne 3)
Alan Shen – Senior Design Program Manager, Microsoft (Kinect)
Jonathan Gallina – Lead Game Designer, Propaganda Games (Tron: Evolution)
Seth Marinello – Level Designer, Visceral Games (Dead Space 2)
Cory Stockton – Lead Content Designer, Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft)

The event is held in the intimate Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre, and has sold out every year. Anyone hoping to attend is encouraged to buy their tickets now.

“We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming these speakers and companies to Vancouver,” says Dave Warfield, Head of VFS Game Design and the host of Game Design Expo 2011. “Whether you’ve worked in the game industry for years or you’re just starting out, you never stop learning. Games like Angry Birds and World of Warcraft offer countless lessons to us all.”

In conjunction with Game Design Expo 2011, Warfield and VFS Game Design will be hosting a free Open House at the school (390 W. Hastings) on Sunday, January 23, where attendees will be able to hear about the program, meet students and faculty, play games, take sample classes, and get details on the full-tuition Women in Games Scholarship. Space is limited, so anyone interested in attending the always-popular Open House is strongly encouraged to register now.

VFS is proud to partner with the following event sponsors to realize Game Design Expo 2011: G4, 3vis, Annex Pro, Pixologic, Radical Entertainment, Sumo Lounge, and The Georgia Straight.

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23rd November 2010

Event Updates New Postal App and A Mini Sasquatch

GameON FinanceGameON: Finance, Canada’s premier investment forum for the interactive entertainment industry, is pleased to announce three featured international speakers who will be at the conference on January 20 & 21 in Toronto.

Dino Patti, Director, Co-Owner and Co-Founder, Playdead
In 2009 Playdead received 11 million DKK (Danish Kroner) in venture money to finish their game. Their critically acclaimed title, LIMBO, has now received several international awards including two awards at the Independent Games Festival in San Francisco and 3 Milthons for Game of the Year, Best Indie Game and Best Visual Art at the European Games Awards.

Juan Benito, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Joystick Labs
Juan Benito co-founded Joystick Labs during Summer 2010. Prior to Joystick, Juan Benito started the Atomic Games studio in Raleigh, NC, and before that co-founded Red Storm Entertainment in the Triangle area in 1996, where he was Executive Producer for the original Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. Before Red Storm, Juan designed the world’s first fully 3D military submarine simulation game, Tom Clancy’s SSN, while at Virtus Studios, a Triangle-area pioneer in 3D and game technologies. In addition, Juan has worked on numerous entertainment projects with companies such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Konami, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Columbia University, United Media, and has developed training systems in collaboration with the USMC, FBI, and agencies within the US Intelligence Community. He is also founder and CEO of Cooperative Entertainment, a boutique development group and consultancy, and serves as Creative Director for the Triangle Game Initiative.

Joel Benton, Founder & CEO, Easy Tiger Media Ltd.
Joel Benton is a video game professional who has spent a career helping games developers achieve their creative and commercial goals. After a successful career in software sales and marketing, Joel joined Indie developer Wide Games in Brighton, UK – creators of one of the first stealth-based console games Prisoner of War for Codemasters. When the Wide Games team was acquired by Kuju Entertainment Ltd, one of the UK largest game developers, Joel became Business Development Director for the six studios in the group and negotiated and signed development deals with all the major publishers. Joel left Kuju to work as Head of European Operations for international agents Digital Development Management before starting his own Business Development consultancy. In 2009 Joel started Easy Tiger Media Ltd, a digital publishing company which released two titles on XBLA in 2010 and PlayReplay Ltd, the world’s only marketing and PR agency focusing exclusively on successfully promoting digitally distributed games, which now has offices in London and Los Angeles.

Tricon Films and TelevisionTricon Films & Television along with Toronto-based Shark Teeth Films have announced the launch of the CGI/live-action kid’s series in development, Smallfoot. The teaser has been licensed to CBBC’s My Toons in the UK, a hub for the funniest, quirkiest and coolest short ‘toons.

“The My Toons site is a great place to try out new shows, new talent and new formats which hopefully will benefit the audience, the producer and the broadcaster,” said Jon Rutherford, Vice President, International Sales and Acquisitions at Tricon Films & Television.smallfoot

Created by Adrian Carter and Tom Mudd at Shark Teeth Films, Smallfoot, a hilarious and rambunctious action-comedy for kids, is based on the comedic and mischievous adventures of two miniature friends in the big city. Smallfoot,­ a miniature Sasquatch, ­ is around twice as big as a mouse and is a species unknown to science. He’s the new kid on the block and he’s out of his element. Luckily for Smallfoot, a resourceful mouse named Larry has decided to take him under his wing. Unluckily for Smallfoot, Larry is a chatterbox and a know-it-all, and his blabbermouth gets the two of them in trouble all the time.

“Smallfoot is a distinctive show with a unique, completely original style of production,” said Shark Teeth Films Tom Mudd, producer of Smallfoot. “Through on-camera techniques and digital post wizardry, the characters have life and a deep sparkle of intelligence. They feel like real creatures doing hilarious things.”

webcom MontrealUnder the theme of corporate rebooting through collaboration, communities and mobility, the 9th edition of webcom-Montréal international conference on new technologies and Web 2.0 held on November 17, was a resounding success.

Through the participation of renowned keynote speakers, namely Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, and Marsha Collier, one of the world’s foremost experts on online sales communities, this edition benefited hundreds of attending professionals and amateurs in the fields of communications and new technologies.

Over 800 participants answered the call and gathered at OACI, where the event was held, thanks to the participation of numerous collaborators and partners in the business, Web, communications and multimedia sectors.

Guests participating in this 9th edition had the option of attending 30-odd sessions and conferences presented by 42 speakers, including six case studies and one webCamp, a must-see event for 2.0 fans.

The four main themes presented, namely Business 2.0, Marcom 2.0, Solutions 2.0, as well as a theme focusing on mobility, enabled participants to learn more about the latest Web trends and practices.

The 9th edition of webcom-Montréal also stood out through social media, thanks to a popular following on Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, where the #webcomMT hashtag was very active. webcomLIVE’s noted presence on UStream once again enabled Web users from around the world a live connection to a continuous flow of unique interviews with both speakers and participants.

During this latest edition, webcom organizers also took the opportunity to present two important awards to individuals who contributed to and expanded in their own way Québec’s new tech industry, namely Patrick Lauzon and René Barsalo. Louise Guay and Sylvain Carle were the proud recipients of this award in the conference’s May edition.

Get your calendars out: webcom-Montréal is already gearing up for its 10th edition, to be held on May 11, 2011, and which will once again prove to be a must-see event featuring international case studies, fascinating panels and free special conferences with the world’s greatest experts. Web best practices and new trends will be the main focus under four different themes, namely Business 2.0, Marcom 2.0, Solutions 2.0, as well as another to be announced next spring.

This event’s success stems from the collaboration of several partners, including Transcontinental, w.illi.am, Massy-Forget Public Relations and MarketingQc.

Canada PostCanada Post has announced the official launch of its free application for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that will provide customers with convenient and easy access to two of the most popular web tools at CanadaPost.ca.

The new application, which is now available for download at the iTunes App Canada Post AppStore, enables customers to track their packages and find nearby post offices, either by typing in an address or by using their device’s GPS feature. Track a Package and Find a Post Office are two of the most frequently used tools on Canada Post’s website – with a combined monthly average of more than 4.25 million uses.

“Our customers are on the go, and we aim to provide them with convenient, easy access to our products and services by keeping abreast of current trends and new technologies. We have seen an increase in the use of mobile devices to access our website, and we expect demand for mobile-enabled services to continue to grow,” says Louis O’Brien, Senior Vice-President and Chief Customer Officer at Canada Post. “We’re pleased to be able to launch this application just in time for the holidays as this is the busiest time of year for many of our customers.”

The free application is now available for download at the iTunes App Store. Canada Post will release a Blackberry version of the application in early 2011.

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23rd November 2010

Aliens Pocket Gods and Sharp Pointy Things

Rocket 5 StudiosRocket 5 Studios, an emerging independent game developer, today announced the release of their latest iPhone app, Alien Booth. The app features the ability to easily transform pictures of friends, family, coworkers and even pets into amazing looking aliens. Alien Booth is available on the iTunes App Store today for $0.99.

Using simple on-screen controls, create fun and realistic looking aliens from pictures taken with the iPhone camera or that are already stored in the iPhone, iPad or Touch photo library.
Alien Booth
Easily share aliens on Facebook, Twitter or email from within the app. Save aliens to the photo library and then send them via MMS. Shake the device to see before/after versions of the alien or toggle between before/after portrait and side-by-side views.

Alien Booth features a cool, interactive interface that includes a fingerprint scanner, animated laser image scanner, sound effects, detailed help screens with tips and more.

Alien Booth is fun at parties – it’s a great way to meet new people and share contact information. There’s virtually no limit to the wild alien effects that can be created with Alien Booth. And the aliens make great avatars for use on social networking sites.

How it works:

1. Take a picture or choose one from the photo library.
2. Position the markers over the eyes and mouth.
3. Press “GO” to see the face magically transformed.
4. Adjust the color of the alien.
5. Share with friends and family.

Alien Booth is available exclusively through the iPhone App Store in the Entertainment category.

frima studioQuebec’s Frima Studio and Bolt Creative, a San Francisco-based developer of original iPhone applications and games, have announced that the best-selling game Pocket God will officially make its way to Facebook later this fall.

Originally developed by Bolt Creative for iPhone and iPod Touch, the Facebook version of Pocket God is being developed by Frima Studio and will feature a brand new way to experience the colorful, death-inducing, all-powerful and hilarious universe of Pocket God across the world’s most popular social network. With all-new socially integrated features, episodic updates and a host of hilarious ways to both dispose of and resurrect the immortal pygmies of each island, the Facebook iteration of Pocket God will offer a fresh experience for both fans of the iOS versions, and those looking for an omnipotent new twist in online social gaming.

“There were very few partners who could truly understand the essence of what Pocket God has become to its legion of devoted fans,” said Dave Castelnuovo, CEO of Bolt Creative. “Frima knew exactly what needed to be done in order to take Pocket God from being an application for millions of individuals, to a shared experience for hundreds of millions more.”

Pocket God throws players into the role of an almighty deity, commanding a small island full of god-fearing followers who unquestionably bend to the user’s whim. Benevolent players can choose to feed and care for their subjects while vengeful gods will have more fun torturing the Pygmies in a variety of wacky ways that have entertained players since the title’s iOS debut.

“Working in the Facebook space, we simply could not have asked for a more exciting and irreverent franchise so perfectly suited for the world of social gaming,” said Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio. “What Bolt has created has become more than just a game or an application; Pocket God is a true pop culture phenomenon with millions of fans across the globe. Everything fans have grown to love about this game and its characters has been happily fed to the sharks and tossed into the volcano, only to be resurrected onto Facebook in a way that fans are truly going to love.”

Pocket God will officially move into a closed beta later this year on Facebook, with exclusive access being given only to some of the game’s already rabid fanbase.

Dragon Age 2Florida-based EPIC Weapons announced today that it has launched the auction for the Grey Warden Sword and Darkspawn Greatsword as seen in BioWare’s Dragon Age. Each sword is embedded with a Game-to-Gear RFID chip for easy identification and certification, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and wall mount. Each participant who registers will be guaranteed the opportunity to purchase a Grey Warden Sword or Darkspawn Greatsword (of their choosing) with delivery following the auction winners in the order of sign-up. All auction participant shipments will be completed prior to any Christmas or introductory offers.

Epic Weapons will be offering a Christmas introductory offer for the first 200 Grey Warden Swords and Darkspawn Greatswords.

Grey Warden Sword:Grey Warden Sword

The chantry teaches us that it was the mages who brought the horror of the blight down upon the world of Dragon Age. Twisted and corrupt, the magisters of the Tevinter Empire decayed into the malformed Darkspawn and were driven underground. There, they spread. The ancient dwarven kingdoms were all but obliterated, leaving their ancient empire a festering breeding ground for these twisted creatures. When they rose to the surface, in countless hordes, led by an undying draconic Archdemon, the first blight began, and the world stood on the brink of destruction.

That is, until the Grey Wardens. Men and women of every race, these battle-hardened veterans counted mage, warrior, commoner and king among their ranks, sacrificing all to turn aside the Blight, and restore some semblance of peace to the land. Blades much like this were forged with the Warden’s iconic gryphon symbol, remember the mighty flying mounts the Wardens once rode into battle. While the gryphons are extinct, the Wardens fight on, grimly remembering that in war, victory, in peace, vigilance and in death…sacrifice.

Darkspawn Great SwordDarkspawn Greatsword:

Of the brutal, corrupt “race” known as the Darkspawn, the Hurlocks are by far the most numerous. While they share some physical similarities to humans, their unnerving grin, pallid skin and beastial nature mark them as anything but. Constantly fighting amongst themselves like packs of animals, the Hurlocks pose less of a threat than they could, until the awakening of an Archdemon unites them under a single purpose.

Marching to the surface in endless swarms, these inhumanly strong creatures arm themselves with wickedly sharp blades, often coated with their own blood, blood that infects any who taste the razor sharp edge. The mighty greatswords wielded by the strongest of the Hurlocks makes for a terrifying sight on the battlefield. A single Darkspawn wielding one of these might blades can scythe through opponents, cleanly cutting through armor, flesh and bone while leaving a deadly infection that will finish off any unlucky enough to survive the initial assault.

gamerkraftToronto’s Game Bridger Entertainment has announced an update to their new free-to-play parkour racing game, FreeJack. The free update, which is available now, brings new character clothing items and “MyRoom” decorations, in addition to the all-new track “CosmosJack”, and an achievement system with more than 50 in-game achievements for players to collect.

Set in the dark recesses of space, “Cosmos Jack” lets players run along planetary rings, vault over orbiting satellites, and even grind through a wormhole! Upon their return from orbit, FreeJackers will be happy to discover that they can now unlock and collect more than 50 in-game achievements. The achievements are earned by completing various in-game tasks, with each one offering a valuable reward. This substantial free update is available now.

FreeJack is a free-to-play parkour racing game for Windows PCs supporting Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Players race head-to-head across the urban metropolis of New Jack City in high-octane foot races, chaining together stylish flips and tricks into combos to increase their speed and cross the finish line first!. Players can personalise their character with fresh outfits and running gear and even customise their own unique in-game living space with cool furniture and accessories to show off to friends! FreeJack also supports online leaderboards, a club/clan system, in-game friend lists, and more.

iStockphotoiStockphoto today announced that voting for the new “Stockys” award competition is now open to the entire iStock community. The Stockys were created to recognize excellence in stock photography, illustration, video and audio in 10 categories including Technical Achievement, Stockiest Stock and Coolest Abstract.
One of the finalists in the "Funniest" stock category for the iStock "Stockys" awards by artists mrPliskin. Credit: iStock/mrPliskin
Throughout the first part of November, iStock has collected more than seven thousand submissions and the company’s panel of judges has chosen 20 finalists for each category. iStock’s community of more than 6 million members will select the winners in each category by popular vote and everyone who votes will be entered for a chance to win $2,000 cash and 2000 iStock credits.

While iStock has held competitions to honor its artists’ work in the past, those awards were segmented by medium. The Stockys take things in a completely new direction and focus on the different aspects of great stock rather than the specific file type. This allows the competition to focus on what matters most – great content and the ability to help tell a story or define an idea, feeling or concept.

“The concept of stock has come a long way in the decade and we wanted to create a contest that would reflect that,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “We have fantastic artists and this is our way of showcasing their amazing talent and rewarding the best of the best regardless of how that talent is manifested.”

Each type of file available on iStockPhoto is eligible for every part of the competition. The complete list is as follows:

* Technical Achievement
* Artistic Vision
* Best Composition
* Funniest File
* Coolest Abstract
* Concept Execution
* Stockiest Stock
* Most Emotionally Evocative
* Story Telling
* WTH (What the H*ck?)

The results of the competition will be announced on December 13. The winning contributor from each category will be awarded a $2,000 cash prize. An additional $3,000 will be awarded for “Best in Show,” as selected by iStockphoto judges.

Inside Gaming Awards 2010Congratulations to all of the Canadian nominees in Machinima.com’s Inside Gaming Awards 2010:

Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2 and Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood
Best Trailer: Deus Ex: Human Revolution E3
Best MultiPlayer: Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood
Best Animation: Shank
Best Game Play Cinematography: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™
Most Compelling Character: Jack (Subject Zero) – Mass Effect 2
Best DLC: Lair of the Shadow Broker – Mass Effect 2 and Dead Rising® 2: CASE ZERO
Best Control: EA Sports MMA
Best Original Score: Mass Effect 2
Best Weapon: Chainsaw Bike – Dead Rising 2

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23rd November 2010

Canadian Companies Need To Improve IT Risk Management

Ernst & YoungAccording to a study by Ernst & Young, less than a third of global businesses, including Canada’s, have an IT risk management program in place capable of addressing the risks related to the use of new technologies. Borderless Security, the firm’s annual global information security survey, reveals that in spite of the rapid emergence of new technology, only one in 10 companies consider examining new and emerging IT trends as a very important activity for the information security function to perform.

A significant increase in the use of external service providers and business adoption of new technologies, including cloud computing, social networking and Web 2.0, is recognized to increase risk as much as 60% for respondents. Yet, in spite of this fact, less than half (46%) intend to increase their annual investment in information security.

“Technology advances have provided Canadian companies with seemingly endless ways to connect and interact with colleagues, customers and clients across the globe,” says Tony Ritlop, Canadian Leader of Ernst & Young’s IT Risk and Assurance practice. “While these developments represent a massive opportunity for IT to deliver significant benefits to the organization, new technology also brings significant risk.”

For example, more than half of respondents state that increased workforce mobility poses a considerable challenge to the effective delivery of information security initiatives, due to widespread use of mobile computing devices, allowing individuals to access and distribute business information from anywhere at any time. For almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents, employees’ level of security awareness is recognized as a considerable challenge.

For the first time, continuous availability of critical IT resources was identified by respondents as one of the top five risks. Increased mobility and lack of control over end-user devices can cause problems when trying to implement effective and efficient business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities — identified by 50% of respondents as an area of increased expenditure.

Cloud computing services are gaining greater adoption: 23% of respondents are currently using cloud computing services and a further 15% are planning to use them within the next 12 months. When asked if an external certification of cloud service providers would increase trust, 85% of respondents said yes, with 43% stating that the certification should be based upon an agreed standard and 22% requiring accreditation for the certifying body.

“It’s vital that companies not only recognize these developing risks, but take action to avoid them,” says Mr. Ritlop.

According to Mr. Ritlop, in addition to implementing new technology solutions and re-engineering information flows, companies must focus on informing the workforce about risks. The delivery of effective, and regular, security awareness training is a critical success factor as companies attempt to keep pace with the changing environment.

Half of respondents plan to spend more over the next year on data leakage and data loss prevention — a seven percentage point increase from last year. To address potential new risks, 39% are making policy adjustments, 29% are implementing encryption techniques and 28% are implementing stronger identity and access management controls.

Communities are changing; populations are aging; competition for talent is intensifying; the economy is slowly recovering; values are evolving and technology is rapidly shifting. Can leadership, knowledge and innovation save us?

public policy forumThe Ideas Festival brings together emerging leaders with established leadership from across all sectors and industries to discuss a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to energy and technology to creativity.

The Public Policy Forum (PPF), an independent, non partisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of governance in Canada and 21inc are co-hosting the conference in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick at the Fairmont Algonquin, November 24-26. Event hashtag: #ideas2010

Topics include:

* Can innovation save health care? Business model innovation in health care
* Can Atlantic Canada be an energy hub?
* The Future of Media: How new media is changing our roles and relationships
* Conversations with people changing the game and shaping our future
* The Economic Future of Atlantic Canada

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation announced today that it has launched Absolute Manage Mobile Device Management (MDM) for iOS 4 devices, such as the iPhone® and iPad®. The breakthrough solution available with Absolute Manage allows IT departments to efficiently manage and secure iOS 4 devices alongside their PC and Mac® computers from their platform of choice, Mac or Windows.

“Apple mobile devices are immensely popular with consumers and are now making a notable impact in the enterprise. People want to use their preferred device at work as well, but IT has been hesitant due to a lack of solutions on the market that can provide security and management capabilities for Apple mobile devices. Absolute Software is a leader in managing and securing endpoints, and our customers asked us to extend our cross-platform capabilities to iOS 4 devices,” said Peter Frankl, vice president of lifecycle management at Absolute Software. “With the launch of Absolute Manage MDM for iOS 4, our customers can have the control and security they need for the enterprise while keeping their employees happy and increasing productivity.”

Absolute Manage is one of the first software solutions to allow IT administrators to remotely manage, wipe and lock Apple® iOS 4 devices from either a PC or Mac, computer -without the need for extra hardware or software infrastructure. With the addition of MDM, Absolute Manage customers can manage PCs, Mac computers and now iOS 4 devices from a single, comprehensive user interface in a PC or Mac infrastructure.

YANGAROOYangaroo has been granted Canada patent number 2,349,797 titled “Biometric Rights Management System” by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The Biometric Rights Management (“BRM”) patent relates to YANGAROO’s innovative use of biometric security measures to provide secure online distribution of digital media. The BRM patent will be in effect until June 2021.

“The receipt of this fourth patent grant is further confirmation that we continue to lead through innovation,” said Cliff Hunt, Chairman and COO of YANGAROO. “As more and more valuable media assets are made available online, the need to control and monitor the users accessing that media continues to grow. The utilization of BRM in our Digital Media Distribution System provides a secure, user-friendly and portable way to link media access rights to an individual through their unique traits, rather than to a machine or an easily shared password. This feature provides our customers with the most advanced solution available today.”

This BRM patent augments YANGAROO’S intellectual property portfolio, which includes the related United States patent number 7,003,670 titled “Biometric Rights Management System”, United States patent number 7,529,712 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and Canadian patent number 2,407,774 titled “Content Distribution System and Method”. YANGAROO also has pending U.S. continuation patent application number 12/398,238 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and U.S. patent application number 11/854,289 titled “Media File Distribution System and Method”. Together these provide a North America-wide safeguard for the company’s sector leading innovations.

Project X LtdToronto boutique advisory and technology services company Project X Ltd. has entered into a partnership with California-based BigDataLabs, Inc. to distribute the company’s technology in Canada.

Project X will be the sole Canadian partner for BigDataLabs GeoDash™ technology. GeoDash is a new way to add GeoSpatial context to business intelligence environments through the integration of MicroStrategy technology and Google Maps. GeoDash is a lightweight solution for the business intelligence market with no extra hardware or server costs and no extensive training needed for users.

Project X President, Stephen Hayward remarked, “BigDataLabs matches our rapid business intelligence model and like Project X, is focused on fast to market technology that demonstrates maximum innovation and value for customers.”

Ajo Abraham, BigDataLabs founder commented, “We looked for a Canadian partner with the right combination of experience and passion for delivering business intelligence solutions with the best technology available and found Project X. As we expand into the Canadian market, they will lead the way.”

AOL CanadaAOL Canada Corp. is making big gains heading into the holiday season. According to comScore’s Media Metrix, Canada, All Locations October 2010 data, the AOL Inc. owned and operated web properties have grown by 10% from last month to 9.2M unique visitors. With the reach of their ad network, Advertising.com, AOL advertising properties reach over 20 million Canadians each and every month.

This upsurge in traffic is largely attributed to the strategic acquisitions of the web properties TechCrunch and 5Min. TechCrunch brings with it breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups to the AOL Technology suite of sites, and matches perfectly with the expert content of their marquis tech property, Engadget.com. The acquisition of 5Min allows AOL to significantly expand its consumer offering of contextually relevant, high-quality video across its sites and increases AOL’s appeal to advertisers, allowing it to capture share the growing video advertising spend. This combo delivers a power punch technology content offering and expands the affluent male audience key to advertisers in this category. (AOL Networks: Technology is 78% more likely than the average Internet web site to generate page views with males 25-34 and 103% more likely with males age 35-44 as well as 47% more likely to attract unique visitors with a household income of more than $100k. comScore Media Metrix. Canada, All Locations. October 2010.)

To support this growing business AOL Canada has made a number of strategic hires as well. Since Graham Moysey joined AOL in August of this year, he has grown his team by 10, most recently hiring Laura Pearce as Director of Marketing, Dana Toering as Director of Business Development and Tanya Iliakis, Account Executive. Laura brings with her valued experience in online media and marketing, hailing from Postmedia Network and companies such as Trader Media and Dell Canada, and will be key to the strategy of positioning AOL to consumers and advertisers as a leader in premium content and network advertising, under an innovative and creative global brand.

Other hires include Michelle Edwards-Boldt, heading up Moysey’s office, Melissa McLintock, Alia Iannuzzi and Tanya Penala, all Account Managers and previously announced Brad Cressman, Head of Content, Julie Howlett, Account Director & Allison Burley, Account Executive.

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23rd November 2010

Robert Half Predicts Top 11 Jobs for 2011

Robert HalfAs people look to the coming year with hopes of continued economic recovery and increased job creation, new research may hold clues as to what the most promising professional positions will be in 2011. According to the Salary Guides just released from Robert Half, 11 roles representing several fields – including accounting and finance, technology, legal and administrative – show promising increases in starting salaries and growing demand among employers.

“The common thread among the jobs highlighted in our research is that they help businesses improve efficiency and profits, and foster a more positive customer experience,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “The most successful job candidates bring multiple skill sets, a track record of success and a strong sense of accountability to their roles.”

Following is an overview of the 11 Top Jobs for 2011:Professional Employment Report

1. Performance analyst – Among nearly 130 finance and accounting positions listed in the 2011 Salary Guide, performance analysts are expected to see the largest jump in starting salaries. Average starting compensation is projected to rise 5.1 per cent to the range of $56,250 to $86,750. Many Canadian employers seek talented professionals who can prepare portfolio, benchmark and statistical reports; maintain and update performance databases; and evaluate return on investment for the company.

2. Controller – Average starting salaries for controllers at midsize companies ($50 million to $100 million in sales) are expected to climb 4.9 per cent, to the range of $85,500 to $113,750. Organizations are adding controllers and assistant controllers to oversee accounting operations, enhance accounting and internal control systems, and assist with growth initiatives. Read the rest of this entry »

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