11th January 2011

Silverfish Gets Big Update From Chaotic Box

Chaotic BoxRecent addition to the iOS gaming galaxy Silverfish from developer Chaotic Box received a major update yesterday, adding a few features and tweaks to its already hyper-addictive play quotient – all for the sale silverfishprice of 99 cents USD. The new Haste mode is described as Reaper mode cranked to 11, and you now have new Parasite and Infected enemies to obliterate. There is also a new Vigor powerup and 6 new Game Center achievements, plus iOS 4 multitasking (fast switching) and automatic game save and restore. Chaotic Box has also provided a highly tweakable D-Pad control option.

Tweaks & Fixes:

– Tweaked crash physics for easier recovery
– Fixed sound fx occasionally getting cut off
– More reliable Game Center offline support
– Refined help and control instructions
– Various performance optimizations
– Lower overall memory footprint

arctic empireAnother recently released and updated title, Forest Frenzy from indie developer Arctic*Empire, which is forest frenzycompatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. This defense-styled game is free today (regularly 99 cents USD), and arms you with a big slingshot to fire at the waves of enemies trying to destroy the forest. Playing as Jeremy Ash, you are an earth loving, planet saving dude sworn to defeat the evil lumberjacks and robots who insist on cutting down your forest.

With your animal friends and trusty slingshot in hand, you must defeat waves of evil lumberjacks, robots, bulldozers and more, protecting the forest at all costs. Forest Frenzy is game centre-enabled and features a fully functional slingshot that shoots a variety of ammo, plus you can start at a level to suit the difficulty that’s right for you. The game also features original sound effects and music with a high replayability factor to keep you occupied for hours. Future updates for Forest Frenzy include Game Centre Achievements, new enemies and weapons, as well as a Target Master Mode, which challenges you to race against time as you shoot down the forest’s enemies.

funcomIn other game news, most of you know by now that EA Partners and Funcom have struck a publishing deal for Funcom’s upcoming title The Secret World. This highly anticipated modern-day MMO has spurred hundreds of thousands of gamers to join the ever-growing community surrounding the game, and have – even without an announced launch EA Gamesdate – become active members in the game’s secret societies: the Illuminati, the Dragon and the Templar.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Funcom, one of the world-leaders in the development of massively The Secret Worldmultiplayer online games,” says David DeMartini, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Partners. “We are very excited to be able to take part in the growing online gaming category with such a highly anticipated title as The Secret World.”

Currently under development at Funcom Montreal, The Secret World is a next-generation massively multiplayer online game for the PC platform, where players are given total freedom to create and progress their characters, unbound by the restrictions of classes and levels. Players will get the opportunity to join one of the three secret societies and fight for power over important locations throughout our own world.  Players will also journey through familiar places across the globe, such as Egypt, New England, London, New York and Seoul and battle monsters of myth and legend.

“We are tremendously excited to be working with what is The Secret Worldundoubtedly the world-leading games publisher for the past decade, and it is also a great testament to the fantastic work of our development team,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “The experience and the knowledge that Electronic Arts brings to the table will be instrumental in allowing us to realize the full potential of The Secret World.”

The Secret World is Funcom’s third foray into the MMO development world, having previously published Anarchy Online and the best selling new MMO of 2008, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.

Youtext Mobile Technologies Inc., a Montreal-based provider of web-based mobile engagement application has youtext mobile technologiesreceived an undisclosed Fondation Du Maire Grant.  The grant was awarded in December 2010 and will open Fondation Du Maire’s roster of companies to Youtext as potential clients.  Youtext Mobile aims to work in conjunction with the Fondation to pitch the platform to Montreal’s highest profile corporations.

“This is a huge step for Youtext and will allow them to benefit from Fondation Du Maire’s  services in every area of business development,” said Denis Karegeya, entrepreneurship coordinator at ‘Fondation du maire de Montréal pour la jeunesse’.

Newspaper DirectThe latest version of PressReader, optimized for the Google Android platform that powers millions of smartphones, is now available for download from the Android Market. Developed by Vancouver-based NewspaperDirect Inc., the Android version of PressReader delivers a visually stunning reading experience for the more than 1,700 newspapers and magazines from 93 countries that are currently available on PressDisplay.com.

Key features of the new Android version of PressReader include:

  • Presentation of complete digital newspaper replicas, often before the print version is on newsstands
  • Automatic download of favorite newspapers for offline reading
  • Browse pages in full-page mode — even before completion of the download
  • Browsing of entire publications with one finger (including zoom, pan and scroll)
  • Fast navigation from article to article, and to a favorite section using the Table of Contents thumbnailsAndroid PressDisplay
  • A rich graphics page view and, for individual news stories, an easy-to-read text view
  • Sharing of articles by email
  • On-demand narration of news stories

“From the moment PressReader hit the iPad, we received countless requests for the same app on Android devices,” said Alex Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect. “With the launch of PressReader for Android, we have opened up a wealth of new delivery channels for our publishing partners. And while publishers enjoy the increased audited circulation and revenues that come with being part of PressReader, SmartEdition publishers can also choose to white-label PressReader for their loyal subscribers at zero operational cost to them.”

PressReader for Google Android is available as a free download from the Android Market. Most newspapers and magazines can then be purchased for $0.99 per issue, or downloaded in conjunction our kids mediawith a paid PressDisplay.com subscription.

Our Kids Media has launched the Private School Locator, a free mobile application compatible with the school locatoriPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The application is available immediately and it is free. Many real estate agents are asked about “schools in the area.” This application provides an instantaneous list of private schools across Canada. Of course, it’s also of interest to parents on the move and anyone else who wants to learn more about private schools.

The application features a variety of content alongside the school locator, including the latest information about private schools in Canada, school events and more. The application can use users’ built-in GPS to determine where they are and serve a list based on their immediate location or users can type a postal code or address into a search field along with the type of school they are looking for.

From there, the application provides a wealth of data about private schools in the area along with phone numbers and driving directions.  The app was developed in partnership with the Toronto location-based service company, Cellflare. Cellflare’s Managing Director Keith Tsao says, “Whether you are in business or just for personal use, the Private School Locator makes it easy to find any private school based on the user’s location or search terms.

Andrew Stawicki, President of Our Kids Media, adds, “We are always happy to move forward into the growing areas of new media and the Internet. We think this mobile app will be tremendously helpful to anyone looking for the best schools in their area.”

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11th January 2011

News For Canadian Interactive Kids

Reminder: Registration is now open for the Education Technology Strategies Conference being held in Toronto this March 2nd & 3rd.

Government of CanadaAttention artistic teens, aged 16 to 19! The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is challenging you to show off your talent in its nationwide So You Want To Be an Artist? contest. Find your inspiration in a visit to the NGC’s art collection or online. Then create an original two-dimensional artwork in any media, submit a digital reproduction of it online and encourage your Facebook friends to vote for your work. The NGC will invite the top 12 contestants whose entries obtain the most votes to mail in their original works for entry into the final juried phase of the contest. Enter for your chance to win exciting prizes—the contest begins on January 10, 2011 and is open to residents of Canada who are aged 16 to 19, as of May 31, 2011.

One Contest, Three Phases:

1. Online Submission Phase: The NGC will accept entries from January 10 to February 28, 2011 via the contest website.

2. Online Voting Phase: The NGC will post all accepted entries online. During the voting phase of the contest, visitors to the contest website will be able to vote once for every artwork that appeals to them by using the Facebook® “Like” feature. The voting phase takes place from March 1-31, 2011. Please visit the contest site for full contest rules and guidelines.

3. Public Display and Jury Selection Phase: The NGC will invite the top 12 contestants with the most online votes to submit their original artwork for display on its Artissimo Gallery wall, located in the concourse. The works will be on view from May 2-31, 2011. At the end of the display phase, a jury appointed by the NGC will evaluate the artworks based on: the clarity of the theme and message; originality and imaginativeness; and the thought and feeling provoked in the viewer.

The NGC has appointed an exciting panel of judges to evaluate the 12 finalists: Montreal’s famous graffiti artist, Roadsworth, the Ottawa Citizen’s arts editor at large, Peter Simpson, Radio-Canada’s cultural reporter, Jhade Montpetit, and contemporary curator and the NGC’s former Elizabeth Simonfay Curatorial Resident of Indigenous Art, Candice Hopkins. The jurors will choose three finalists who will be awarded exciting prizes as outlined below. The NGC will announce the winners on June 3, 2011.

First prize includes travel, accommodation and meals for a two-night stay in Ottawa for the winner and one accompanying adult as well as an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit of the NGC that will focus on careers in the visual arts. The winner will also gain expert advice on his or her art portfolio and receive a $500 online gift certificate for art supplies. (Note: If the winner lives within a 100 km radius from downtown Ottawa, a $1,000 online gift certificate for art supplies will be awarded instead of the travel portion of the prize.) Total maximum value: $3,500.

Second Prize is a $1,000 online gift certificate for art supplies, while Third Prize is a $500 online gift certificate for art supplies.

gapcThe countdown is on for award-winning Ottawa-based production company GAPC Entertainment Inc.’s latest live action children’s television series, which is set to make its international debut in just days. The Prime Radicals takes the mystery out of math and puts the fun back into learning for kids aged 6 to 8. The series is based on two cousins, and their wacky Uncle Norm, who embark on crazy adventures that always end up—somehow—being related to math. The series features seasoned comedic actor Norm MacQueen as the zany Uncle Norm, along with 19-year-old Alanna Bale as Alanna, and 12-year-old Kevin Wang as Kevin.

“The Prime Radicals is unique in its approach to math education,” says Hoda Elatawi, Senior Producer. “Our team is working closely with Dr. Lynda Colgan, Associate Professor in mathematics education from Queen’s University, to develop the series.”

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The Prime Radicals was developed in conjunction with TVOKids. The series is also being produced in association with Knowledge Network, SCN and ACCESS Alberta; and with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund, The Shaw Rocket Fund, The Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation (Screen Content Initiative Program).

The series premiere dates and times are:

– TVOKids: Saturdays starting January 15 at 3:30 pm and Sundays at 12:30 pm.
– Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN): Wednesdays starting January 19 at 12:00 and 12:15 pm, and 5:00 and 5:15 pm. The series will also air Saturdays at 2:00 pm.
– Knowledge Network: Sundays starting January 16 at 11:30 and 11:45 pm.

Family ChannelAstral’s Family Channel will look very different on air and online today as the number one network with kids aged 8-14 unveils a rejuvenated brand identity. The brand refresh coincides with the launch of Family Channel HD, a new network now available free of charge to eligible customers of Bell Satellite TV and Rogers Communications who already subscribe to the Family Channel standard definition service. Family Channel HD is set to launch on Bell Fibe TV and MTS in the coming weeks.

“As part of the new look, the Family logo bounces, floats and pops. It never sits quietly on a shelf but bursts with life and energy,” said Heather Senst, Vice President, Creative Services. “Through our new look our viewers are instinctively reminded of the fun, surprising and relatable nature of their favourite Family shows.”

At the centre of the refresh strategy is a focus on the main assets of the network: the strength of the existing brand, the high-profile programming broadcast by Family and the network’s enduring popularity with audiences. The look has been updated to better reflect the energy of Family Channel shows as well as the interests and aspirations of its viewers. In between programs, new on air IDs feature intricate animation and star the recognizable Family logo as the instigator of all on-screen action. Online, the new look of Family.ca complements the on-air brand, utilizing key elements of the on air creative. A new Family.ca site will be unveiled in late February.

The new on-air elements have been designed to be compatible with both the standard definition and the newly launched high definition versions of the channel. Mirroring the schedule on Family Channel, Family Channel HD features hit Disney programming such as JONAS L.A., Good Luck Charlie and Wizards of Waverly Place along with newly-launched Fish Hooks and Pair of Kings in high definition. Family Channel HD will also feature successful Canadian series in high definition such as Wingin’ It and the new series, Connor Undercover.

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11th January 2011

Business Community Opens Opportunities to Students

Reminder: BCTIA presents Social Media Metrics with Christine Mykota – January 26th
Reminder: The CanWIT BC Chapter Breakfast Seminar on January 26th features Melissa McRae, who will speak about Strengths-Based Management.University of Waterloo

Microsoft Canada and the University of Waterloo invites students of the university to a 24 hour code-a-thon for Windows Phone 7 beginning at 6pm on January 21st. There will be prizes for the best apps, and a brand new Windows Phone 7 for the student who submits the most apps at the end of the event.

LEDCThe London Economic Development Corporation, along with other partners and sponsors, invites students to attend the Student-2-Business Networking Conference, which will take place on January 27th at the London Conference Centre. This conference is an event which will help you to connect with industry leaders and industry facilitators in London’s diverse business community, including advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information technology, digital media, media & communications, construction, s2b conferencebusiness services and not-for-profit.

Through conference sessions and a keynote address delivered by personal brand strategist Paul Copcutt, students will be given knowledge of London’s economy, economic forecast and workforce development trends, job application insights from HR professionals, as well as the basics to networking and branding yourself. S2B is not a job fair, but an opportunity for students to connect with local business leaders, and for business and community delegates to offer their insight on London’s economy. Please see the event’s website for registration and disney storeticket information. Tickets will be on sale until January 25th.

Disney Stores are expanding – The first newly designed Disney Store in Canada will open in the remodeled Square One Mall in Mississauga, followed by an inaugural store  Metropolis at MetroTown in Burnaby. I know where my daughter will be spending an inordinate amount of her shopping time.

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed a new sales agreement with Montreal’s Cinéma Beloeil to equip a second auditorium at the complex with 20 D-BOX MFX Seats. The Quebec movie theatre currently features one auditorium with 26 motion-enhanced seats that move in perfect sync with the action onscreen. With an additional auditorium, Cinéma Beloeil will become one of only two movie theatres in the world to boast more than one D-BOX auditorium.

inmotion technologyVancouver’s In Motion Technology has announced that their onBoard Mobile Gateway has been certified to provide mission critical fleets reliable, secure access to Clearwire’s 4G network in dozens of cities nationwide. Now over 275 first responder organizations, utility workers, transit fleets and other personnel in the field can access multiple high-bandwidth applications, including video, voice, and tele-medicine technologies over Clearwire’s 4G network, and seamlessly switch to 3G and other networks outside of the 4G footprint.

“The ability of first responders and other fleet operators to access true 4G mobile broadband connectivity while performing their daily work is another key advancement made possible by the Clearwire 4G network,” said Jim Ryder, Senior Vice President of Sales for Clearwire. “Clearwire and In Motion Technology unite one of the nation’s fastest wireless networks with the most reliable, secure mobile hotspot technology to ensure connectivity for the nation’s most demanding organizations.”

The Gateway is “ruggedized” to withstand the rigors of the mobile environment, and incorporates the latest firewall, VPN, and wireless encryption technology. At the heart of the Gateway is In Motion’s patented mobile hotspot technology that connects a variety of wired and wireless communications devices in and around vehicles. Communications from these devices can roam seamlessly across up to 6 networks. This allows organizations to use Clearwire’s 4G network where it is available, and switch to other networks outside of 4G range.

skuraSkura Corporation has launched the latest SFX product suite application – Skura SFX Mobile™, an application that is totally device agnostic with full online/offline capabilities. With this year’s Consumer Electronics Show playing host to the launch of over 80 new tablet devices, there is undoubtedly an opportunity for other tablets particularly with different screen sizes, operating systems, and device specific feature sets to enter the market. The sheer number of tablets based on Google’s Android software, makes it a platform that corporations cannot ignore. The Blackberry Playbook’s ability to play Adobe Flash content also makes it a device that cannot be overlooked, as a majority of corporate digital content has already been created in SWF format.

“Our objective was to create a platform independent application without developing device specific code. This will be accomplished by using W3C compliant technologies, including HTML5, and Javascript” commented Gordan Bakalar, CTO of Skura Corporation. “SFX Mobile is truly a unique application. It takes full advantage of hardware specific features, such as touch gesturing, allowing for more engaging interactivity from the same code base. SFX Mobile works online or offline for an anytime, anywhere user experience. In essence, we have future proofed this application from any hardware or OS changes that will take place over time.”

The SKURA SFX Sales Enablement solution delivers sales content management (SFX Viewer™), personal and non-personal cloud presentation delivery (SFX Webflow™), and predictive analytics (Channel Mix Optimizer™) through intuitive and addictive interfaces. It has never been easier to publish, manage, distribute and present personalized digital content to radically improve your sales conversation.

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