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14th January 2011

Canadian Titles Nominated for Best App Ever Awards

Congratulations to all of the Canadian developers whose titles have been nominated in the 2010 Best App Ever Awards – support your Canadian interactive media industry and vote before January 25th 2011:

Celsius Game StudiosRed NovaBest App Ever Category, Best Action Game, Best Arcade Game for iPhone/iPod Touch; Best Use of iOS Hardware, Best Game Controls, Best Arcade Game for iPad

TransGaming Studios Puzzle Quest HDBest Strategy Game for iPad

Hemisphere GamesOsmosBest Use of iOS, Most Innovative GameBest Game Graphics for iPad and Best Game Controls for iPhone and iPod Touch

Enflick, Inc.TextNowBest Social Networking App for iPhone and iPod Touch as well as for iPad

Binary DawnWordUs2Best Word Game for the iPhone and iPod Touch

EA Mobile has multiple titles nominated this year:

Mirror’s EdgeBest Game Controls for iPhone and iPod Touch
ScrabbleBest Multiplayer Game and Best Word Game for iPad and Best Word Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
MonopolyBest Family Game for iPad
Dragon’s LairBest Retro Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Need for Speed ShiftBest Racing Game for iPhone and iPod Touch and Best Racing Game for iPad
Need For Speed UndercoverBest Racing Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Need for Speed Hot PursuitBest Racing Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Reckless RacingBest Racing Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Surviving High SchoolBest Strategy Game for iPhone and iPod Touch

GameLoft has four titles nominated:

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus HDBest Multiplayer Game and Best Action Game for iPad
Ashphalt 5 HDBest Racing Game for iPad
Ashphalt 6 AdrenalineBest Racing Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Shrek Kart ® HDBest Racing Game for iPad

Newspaper DirectPressReaderBest Publication App for iPhone and iPod Touch as well as for iPad

Ravenous GamesRavenous TriviaBest Word Game for iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Best Word Game for the iPad

Acrylic AppsPulpBest News App for iPad

Matt RixTrainyardMost Innovative Game, Best Puzzle Game as well as Best Casual Game for iPhone and iPod Touch

Agile Web Solutions1Password ProBest Productivity App for iPhone and iPod Touch

Loud Crow InteractivePopOut! The Tale of Peter RabbitBest Use of iOS Hardware for iPad category; Best eBook App; Best Kids’ App for the iPad and Best Kids’ App for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

XMG Studio Inc. has 4 titles nominated:

Style Studio Fashion DesignerBest Artistic App and Best Family Game for iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Best Artistic App, Best Family Game and Best Young Adult App for the iPad.
Cannon CadetsBest Casual Game for the iPad
Drag Racer : Pro Tuner HDBest Racing Game for iPad
Drag Racer: Pro Tuner for iPhone and iPod Touch

Kobo Inc.Kobo AppBest eBook App for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as for the iPad.

The App DooriFish AlbertaBest Reference App for iPad.

If I missed any studios from the nominations list, my apologies – and if you were missed, is it because your web site does not offer information on your location? 😉

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14th January 2011

Garage Inc Now Available for PC Gamers

Garage IncGarage Inc., TransGaming Studio’s latest title, which launched to critical acclaim last week, is now available for the PC. The strategic time management game can be purchased at GamersGate for $9.99 USD. Now PC gamers can experience the challenge of operating an auto repair shop as Italian immigrant Angelo while dealing with finances, prohibition and the mob in 1920’s era Chicago. Earn money and live the American dream while keeping your customers happy, hiring new automotive specialists and dealing with special jobs for the local Mafioso.

Bioware CorpBioware has released information on another region in the Dragon Age 2 world. Sundermount is the highest mountain the range surrounding Kirkwall, and folklore gives the mountain a fearsome reputation. Legend says that Sundermount was the site of a vicious battle sundermountwhere both sides unleashed horrors into the waking world, and unholy creatures prowl the heights to this very day, unaware that the war for which they were summoned is long since over.

bnotionsbnotions is inviting people to sign up for the beta of their upcoming location-based squad espionage game Urban Ops. According to the game’s blog, bnotions is hoping for a Toronto launch around February 15th, when they hope to add some fun for the users of FourSquare and other location-based services. The premise behind Urb-Ops is to turn your city into a game board complete with teams, upgrades, competitions and prizes. The company also states that they have some cool long term plans built around: real-time, augmented reality, minigames, sponsorships, playing cards, social media integration.

Content 360Developers are invited to enter the Content 360 Digital Creativity Festival Competitive Showcase to pitch your newest concepts in audience engagement to the global TV & media industry at MIPTV 2011 in Cannes, France this April 4th – 7th. The competition features four categories and offers your company the unique opportunity to win international recognition, meet new business partners and secure development contracts from prestigious media groups. Entries will be accepted until February 14th 2011

Interactive & Cross-Media Digital Entertainment Formats: FremantleMedia and RTL Group are looking for ideas that are strongly anchored in the digital space and fully adapted to the all-digital, all-connected world of today. Ideas should go beyond a TV experience with an online extension, focusing on multi-platform implementation and transmedia consumption. Submissions can include online apps, mobile apps, social media and gaming concepts.The winner of this category will be awarded €10,000 (approximately $13 000.00 CAD) in funding to further development and jointly exploit the winning idea.

Smart Phone App For Youth Engagement: The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is looking for apps to be developed as a companions or standalone products in relation to the NFB documentaries “Sexy Inc.” and “Staying Real,” which explore sexual stereotypes and hypersexualisation of preteens and teens in media. The winning app should demonstrate that smart phones and rich media tablets can be effective educational tools while being entertaining and engaging through the use of the latest digital technologies. The winner of this category will also receive a €12,000 (approximately $15 000.00 CAD) development contract.

Online & Social Game: Showcase your original social and online gaming ideas with innovative game design and similarly creative business models. Submissions should employ interactive features, social media elements and in-game revenue sources that engage the player community, such as play-along or pay-along content. Ideas can be based on a TV programme, film, toy character, or an original concept with a strong focus on a social, online or mobile experience.

Rich Media Tablet & Social TV Apps: Showcase the latest rich-media applications for smartphones or tablets that create deeper interaction with TV content through dual-screen viewing. These TV Apps can be downloadable on rich media tablets and smart phones or can be accessed online through web browsers. Concepts can be innovative new TV/Web interfaces, ideas and apps that create communities around TV programmes.

Loud Crow InteractiveLoud Crow Interactive has announced that the studio has partnered with bestselling children’s author and illustrator Sandra Boynton to develop and publish digital interactive versions of Boynton’s popular children’s books. Boynton has written over fifty books including four that reached the New York Times best sellers list, and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

The partnership will see Loud Crow develop and publish interactive digital books under a new imprint, Boynton Moo Media. The digital books will be based on Boynton’s titles, which include the popular Moo Baa La La La, The Going To Bed Book, and Barnyard Dance. The book apps will be produced for a variety of Going to bed bookdevices such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Boynton is also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and record producer, with three gold record albums, and future plans also include musical apps that will feature Boynton’s well-known recordings.

Boynton Moo Media joins the PopOut! line of digital books including PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit which has earned industry awards for design and innovation. “As soon as I saw Loud Crow’s exquisite PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I knew I’d at last found the perfect collaborator for bringing my books into the digital realm, says Sandra Boynton. “It’s so exhilarating to work with Loud Crow’s elite team of wildly original developers. Plus they all have very cool Canadian accents.”

“Loud Crow has been seeking partnerships that would build upon the early success of our PopOut! brand of books. We’re extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sandy and her team to bring her line of popular children’s books to the digital medium. The Boynton Moo Media imprint allows Loud Crow to further diversify its catalog with quality interactive content that will provide a unique and rich reading experience to Sandy’s already wonderful books,” says Calvin Wang, Founder and President.

The first Boynton Moo Media title that will be produced is The Going To Bed Book which Publishers Weekly names as being one of the best selling children’s books of all time. The digital book will feature innovative interactive elements including touch and gesture-based animations, audio, and narration. Like all of Loud Crow’s books, The Going To Bed Book app will offer the educational read-to-me mode and word-repeat-by-touch functionality and will be narrated by British invasion singer, Billy J. Kramer. The Going to Bed Book app is currently scheduled for release in February of 2011.

CIXThe Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced that Chris Arsenault – Managing Partner at iNovia Capital Inc. – will become the third Co-Chair of Canada’s principal innovation conference. A veteran early-stage investor and technology entrepreneur, Mr. Arsenault will join standing Co-Chairs Rick Nathan and Robert Montgomery in overseeing the organization and execution of CIX.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris Arsenault to our leadership team,” said Rick Nathan, Managing Director of Kensington Capital Partners Limited. “As an experienced technology investor and proven entrepreneurial success, as well as major figure in the Quebec Chris Arsenaultinnovation community, Chris brings an invaluable perspective and a wealth of expertise to CIX.”

“An active Advisory Board member for several years, Chris has already made a profound contribution to the success of CIX,” continued Robert Montgomery, CEO of Achilles Media Ltd. and First Maximilian Associates. “We’re looking forward to seeing Chris take an even more integral role in directing the conference. With his help, I am confident CIX will deliver an even greater value to the innovation community in the years to come.”

Chris Arsenault is Managing Partner at iNovia Capital and has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for seventeen years. In addition to CIX, Mr. Arsenault currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Airborne Technology Ventures, DFT Microsystems, Fixmo, Plastic Knowledge, Reflex Photonics, and Woozworld. Mr. Arsenault is an active board member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association and of the Silicon Valley-based C100 Organization (the Top Canadians in the Valley).

EA Sports FIFA World CupThe FIFA President had the pleasure of welcoming a special guest to the Home of FIFA this week when Nenad Stojkovic, FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion 2010, joined Joseph S. Blatter to celebrate the tournament’s entry into the latest version of the Guinness Book of Records.

The FIFA Interactive World Cup is now officially the largest gaming tournament in the world, with 775,000 competitors taking part in the 2010 edition of the event. This event climaxed in Barcelona in May 2010 when Nenad was crowned champion after defeating all challengers at the Grand Final.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup is of great importance to FIFA’s portfolio of events” said Mr Blatter, “the tournament gives us the opportunity to engage with a wider target audience through a platform which is of high relevance to the next generations of football fans”.

These words were echoed by the Chief Editor of the Guinness World Records, Gaz Deaves, who congratulated FIFA and its Partners EA SPORTS™ and Sony Playstation, saying “The strength of the FIFA Interactive World Cup is a hugely impressive achievement and its 775,000 participants are a testament not only to the popularity of sports videogames but also to the incredible effort it takes to organise the biggest gaming tournament in the world. We are pleased to award this record to FIFA and look forward to seeing it broken in 2011.”

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This year’s edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup now promises to be larger than ever, breaking its own record for the number of competitors. The tournament has a new format this year, with six online seasons making the event more accessible than ever. FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion Nenad has also committed himself to helping to improve the skills of fellow players all over the world. Every Friday a selection of Nenad’s favourite tips and tricks will be hosted on the FIFA Interactive World Cup section of the FIFA web site.

ipipelinePennsylvania-headquartered iPipeline®, a leader in on-demand software that supports marketing, selling, and processing solutions for the nation’s top insurance companies, has acquired the assets of Vancouver-based GaleForce® Solutions. GaleForce is a market leader in providing advanced CRM with client management, productivity, compliance and security tools, and industry-specific integrations to broker-dealers, banks, wealth management advisors, insurance agents, and other financial services professionals. The strategic acquisition establishes iPipeline’s immediate Canadian presence and brings additional key employees with CRM and related experience in financial services. iPipeline currently does business with a significant number of Canadian customers.

“The acquisition of GaleForce supports our strategy to establish a presence in Canada and penetrate the wealth management, banking and broker-dealer markets, while expanding our capabilities in the insurance industry. With diversified customers in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Oceania, South America, and the US, we have taken the first step in creating a global footprint in the financial services industry,” said Tim Wallace, CEO, iPipeline. “GaleForce provides their target markets with comprehensive CRM solutions designed to enhance advisor and agent productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, and safeguard transactions, delivering a 360-degree view of all business activities with customers. GaleForce’s SaaS-based model and solutions portfolio mesh perfectly with iPipeline’s vision to transform ideas into solutions that revolutionize the financial services industry. The integration of their products with iPipeline’s Velocity platform will enable straight-through processing for Canadian as well as global financial services clients. We are thrilled to have the GaleForce team join the iPipeline family and are excited about expanding our solutions portfolio.”

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13th January 2011

Good News From Indie Studios Beenox and Frima

frima studioFrima Studio has announced that its Facebook version of Pocket God has already reached the 100,000 monthly active users milestone.

Originally developed by Bolt Creative for the Apple iPhone™ and iPod® touch, the Facebook version of Pocket God is a brand new way to experience the colorful, death-inducing, all-powerful and hilarious universe of Pocket God, one of the most popular iOS games in history. 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 offers a fresh experience for both fans of the mobile versions as well as those looking for an omnipotent new twist in online social gaming.

Since moving into open beta on December 20, 2010, Pocket God Facebook users have had fun torturing the Pygmies in a variety of wacky ways that have entertained players since the title’s iOS debut:

* 85,000 players have created accounts and have sacrificed over 7.5 million pygmies, more than the entire population of Massachusetts!
* Nearly half (46%) of the Pocket God players are from the US
* Close to 300,000 Facebook friends have been sacrificed & 60,000 of those had their head eaten by a shark

Beenox StudiosActivision Publishing and Beenox announced today that the Quebec studio has been named the primary developer on upcoming Activision titles featuring Marvel™’s famous web-slinger, Spider-Man™. Beenox’s most recent breakout success was with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, one of the most highly rated Spider-Man titles to date and Wizard Magazine’s 2010 Game of the Year. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has also been nominated for awards at the Canadian Video Game Awards, which will take place in Vancouver this May.

“Beenox’s creative vision reinvigorated the Spider-Man gaming experience among critics and fans in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Patrick Kelly, Senior Vice President, Activision Studios. “We can’t wait to see where this talented studio will take this franchise in the future.”Spiderman Shattered Dimension

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to continue our close, collaborative relationship with Activision, Marvel and everyone’s friendly, neighborhood hero, Spider-Man,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head, Beenox. “Being able to map out Spider-Man’s interactive future gives us the creative freedom to really craft the best gaming experience for the fans.”

“Beenox has done a tremendous job showcasing the essence of Spider-Man while pushing new creative boundaries with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Todd Jefferson, Director of Games, Marvel Entertainment’s Global Digital Media Group. “We look forward to working with Beenox on creating new Spider-Man game experiences.”

homick labsHomick Labs preschooler app Noah’s Matching Ark is now available in the iTunes store for the iPhone, iPod noahs arkTouch and iPad. This free title is fun and educational, and geared towards children age 2 and up. Kids will love matching the tiles of the various themes and earning stickers to be placed in their sticker album. With pleasing graphics and fun music, this interactive application is sure to become a family favorite.

The Creative GroupSocial media isn’t just a trend taking the world by storm; it’s also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey by The Creative Group. Also high on the list: “synergy” and “ROI,” which rankled respondents in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm and was based on 250 telephone interviews — approximately 200 with Canadian marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.  The advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, what is the most annoying or overused buzzword in the creative/marketing industry today?”

The top-ranked responses include:

1. “Social media/social networking”
2. “Synergy”
3. “Innovative/innovation”
4. “Extra value/value added”
5. “Going green”
6. “Free”
7. “ROI/return on investment”
8. “Culture change”
9. “Think out of the box”
10. “Interactive”
11. “Proactive”
12. “Social media expert”
13. “Multitasking”
14. “End of the day”
15. “Integrated/Integration”

“Certain buzzwords may be commonly used amongst marketing and advertising professionals, but when overused, they can quickly lose impact and cause people to lose interest and tune out,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in Canada. “In order to ensure your ideas are conveyed effectively, aim to keep your messages simple and direct.”

The Creative Group offers four tips for eliminating jargon in your communications:

1. Translate your thoughts. It’s typical to think in the lingo you use every day. But when putting your ideas to paper or in an e-mail, take the time to explain the concepts in terms that your audience will
easily understand.
2. Edit, edit, edit. Many buzzwords are unnecessary. Think carefully: Does a phrase like “at the end of the day” really add to what you’re trying to say? Probably not.
3. Break bad habits. We all rely on certain phrases when we speak. If the ones you gravitate toward are on the list of annoying buzzwords, think of alternatives that convey the same meaning.
4. Show instead of tell. Rather than relying on buzzwords, use concrete examples to convey your thoughts. For instance, instead of discussing your fully “integrated” marketing strategy for a product rollout,
describe the various elements and how they work together.

KMI CanadaBlake Melnick, Chief Knowledge Officer of The KM Group (TKMG), Graham Westwood, CEO of Procarta and Douglas Weidner, Chairman of The International Knowledge Management Institute, have announced the official launch of The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada (KMIC). The Institute will be headquartered in Toronto and will conduct industry level research and provide KM training, learning and professional certification programs, which address sector and Industry challenges related to:

* The aging of the Canadian workforce.
* The pending loss of critical knowledge through attrition.
* Managing knowledge necessary to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency and promote operational excellence.
* Improving organization performance and profitability.
* Creating competitive advantage through continuous improvement and the creation of new knowledge.

“The world has changed. Canada is experiencing a tipping point, where age old structures which previously shaped how we thought about work and learning are being transformed by information, communication technologies and the democratization of knowledge,” said Blake Melnick, KMIC’s Chief Knowledge Officer. “For Canadian companies to continue to prosper, and attract and retain key talent and expertise, they must embrace new ways of thinking, working and learning, which align with the realities of a global knowledge-based economy – this is where we believe the Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will have an exciting and challenging role to play.”

The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will operate as an independently owned, licensed affiliate of the International Knowledge Management Institute of Washington D.C., working with industry, government, business, education and the not for profit sectors to develop certification, accreditation and professional development programs tailored to meet their evolving operational needs and the training and learning needs of their workforce.

KMIC programs will assist organizations manage change by training knowledge managers how to leverage critical knowledge assets, improve the transfer of explicit and tacit knowledge across the their organizations; capture and transfer critical knowledge and know how from retiring experts to new employees to effectively bridge the knowledge gap which exists between formal classroom training and learning and field experience. With a focus on key industry sectors where pending knowledge loss is most acute and where the acquisition of new knowledge is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global marketplace, the Institute will serve as an incubator for emergent knowledge and information technologies and cultural practices designed to improve sector, industry and organization best practices.

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13th January 2011

Mike Holmes Teams Up With Cisco

Make It RightThe Holmes Group and Cisco today announced a collaborative relationship to explore opportunities in the residential construction sector. The Holmes Group and Cisco will collaborate to define and identify solutions which integrate Smart+Connected Real Estate into eco-friendly communities – with the aim of supporting the responsible economic, environmental and technological sustainability of model communities.cisco

The collaboration will explore opportunities to provide mixed-use residential developments, led by Mike Holmes, with Cisco network and communication platforms to increase access and sharing of information, assist in planning and construction best practices, and incorporate skills development to increase efficiency, lower costs, and promote superior construction standards. Benefits to homeowners include improved connectivity, increased energy efficiency and savings through automated home energy-management tools, reduced maintenance, and increased longevity of home systems.

“It’s time we take responsibility and start thinking about building sustainably. We need to focus on durability. We need to reduce our carbon footprints for future generations. If we start building smart homes within smart communities that are connected to a smart grid that allows energy to flow two ways it will increase our home efficiency,” said Mike Holmes, President of The Holmes Group. “Technology and communication add a new dimension that makes this possible– it’s what I call the fourth utility. Together with Cisco we aim to establish a new global standard in community development through giving homeowners the tools they need to reduce the energy they use with improved value and quality.”

Cisco-HolmesThe companies are currently working on two pilot projects that will showcase the potential of these platforms as a model for environmental innovation around the world. Cisco will join The Holmes Group and the national Assembly of First Nations in a pilot project focused on re-establishing indigenous environmental stewardship and self-determination through building sustainable and efficient homes, enhancing community design and planning, and integrating appropriate green technologies and clean energy sources to improve the health and living conditions in First Nations communities. The pilot project will be located at Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, formerly known as Whitefish Lake First Nation, in northern Ontario.

“This collaboration is a significant step toward defining new community-planning models and establishing Smart +Connected Community solutions as the standard in residential construction. We look forward to working with The Holmes Group to not only showcase the capabilities of energy management and collaboration through these pilot projects, but also to assist in establishing a network of resources to support industry education and community skills development,” added Nitin Kawale, President of Cisco Canada.

Cisco will also collaborate with The Holmes Group on Wind Walk in southern Alberta, a sustainably planned mixed-use community featuring 457 high-performance green homes and self-supporting infrastructure designed to reduce consumption and its impact on the surrounding environment. Both initiatives explore opportunities to utilize Cisco’s Collaboration, Smart+Connected Communities and  Smart Grid technologies to set new standards in residential design.

myspark technologiesOntario’s mySpark Technologies Inc. is preparing to deliver a full-featured tablet computer and software platform tailored for educational institutions. The mySpark Education Platform is an Android tablet that integrates with popular education-based learning management systems to provide unprecedented connectivity between students, instructors and social networks. With their finger or a specially designed stylus, students can take notes, share content and save key passages from any digital textbook.

The mySpark Education Platform is the brainchild of consumer technology veterans Adrian Hartog, CEO, and Steven Turner, CTO. Hartog and Turner led and created billion-dollar international divisions for graphic chip makers ATI Technologies Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The mySpark Education Platform will be offered at two prices, depending on configuration, and will ship in the second quarter of 2011.

“We recognize the economic constraints facing today’s students and school districts and are committed to building an industry-leading tablet at an affordable price,” said Adrian Hartog, Chief Executive Officer at mySpark. “Students today have technology wired into their DNA. The customized features we are building into the mySpark Education Platform will enable technological advancement in education and facilitate collaborative learning as well.”

The mySpark Education Platform is designed specifically for students, teachers and administrators, allowing students to purchase digital textbooks from an online store and borrow one from the campus library. Students and teachers can annotate text, write notes, insert multimedia content and sync with schools various calendars. The mySpark Education Platform can search an online campus library or for a specific digital textbook on the campus network or the tablet. Through their unique “Ideabook,” students can store a variety of content to access later for coursework and class projects. The mySpark Education Platform is a collaborative tool, allowing students to share multimedia content and post questions through instant messaging, group chat tools and message boards.

The 10-inch color mySpark Education Platform includes Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, 4GB or 8GB of internal storage, SD card expansion, front and rear cameras, a 1 GHz dual-core processor, Adobe Flash support for multimedia playback, stylus inputs and a docking station so students can easily move from classroom to dorm room to work and connect anytime, anywhere. mySpark Technologies is also hiring, please see their web site for details.

ovcfThe Ontario Venture Capital Fund (OVCF) has announced that it has made a commitment to Blackberry Partners Fund II, a leading independent venture capital firm focused exclusively on mobile internet investing. The Blackberry Partners Fund (Blackberry Partners), a Toronto-based firm, ranks among Canada’s most active technology investors.

“We are pleased to have made a lead commitment to one of Canada and Ontario’s most promising venture capital funds,” said Melissa McJannet, Managing Director of Northleaf Capital Partners, the manager of OVCF. “The investment in Blackberry Partners is reflective of OVCF’s strategy to invest in best-in-class Ontario-based and Ontario-focused venture capital and growth equity funds. Blackberry Partners has served as a local champion in the Ontario market and we believe its differentiated investment strategy positions the manager to succeed not only in the Canadian market, but on a global basis.”

“We are thrilled to add OVCF as a lead investor in our next fund and look forward to a long and successful partnership,” said John Albright, Co-Managing Partner of the BlackBerry Partners Fund. “Their support, along with our other lead investors, Research In Motion and Thomson Reuters, will allow us to continue to invest in leading players in the mobile internet sector and deliver strong returns for our investors.”

OVCF’s commitment to Blackberry Partners is an extension of a partnership that began in 2008 through a direct co-investment made alongside JLA Ventures (the predecessor to Blackberry Partners Fund) in I Love Rewards, a high potential Ontario-based company. OVCF believes that investing in promising venture capital and growth equity funds and co-investing alongside them to support innovative, high growth companies is critical to the development of a long-term, world-class venture capital ecosystem in Ontario. OVCF’s primary objective remains to generate attractive, long term returns for its investors and, by so doing, clearly demonstrate the significant opportunities available through investment in Ontario venture capital and growth equity funds and companies.

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12th January 2011

Winter Has No Effect On Canadian Interactive Media Industry

Reminder: The CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa conference is February 16th – 18th, tickets are available online.
Reminder: Desire2Learn RoadShow presentation will be in Toronto on January 26th &  Ottawa on January 27th.
Reminder: CFC Features application deadline is January 28th & the Cineplex Entertainment Film Programme deadline is January 21st.
Reminder: The deadline for nominations for the 2011 Worldwide Short Film Fest are open until February 4th.

Shot In The DarkShot in the Dark Mysteries has launched its inaugural podcast. Hosted by company president and head writer Leigh Clements, this first podcast in the series will introduce you to the concept of mystery parties. Additional podcasts will  offer listeners many excellent tips on planning that special, and memorable, party or corporate event.

The Youth Media Awards, presented by the Youth Media Alliance, are now open for nomination Youth Media Alliancesubmissions. The Awards are open to all Canadian-made, youth-oriented productions originally broadcast or released online in English between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010. Programs and interactive content must be submitted by no later than Monday, February 21, 2011, at 5 p.m. The Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on June 2nd.

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver presents a session with Tod Maffin, podcasting pioneer, technology trend blogger and Digital Marketing Strategist on Monday, February 7th. Tod will discuss the 7 successful action steps for launching an impactful and measurable viral campaign using his ASSURED ROI™ methodology. Tod’s energetic, highly entertaining presentation style has audiences captivated, engaged, entertained and inspired. This session will be hosted at the ING Direct Cafe game developers choice awards 2010on Howe Street. Advance registration for this event is required, tickets are $35.00 for members and $40.00 for non-members. Note: membership is free, sign up and save.

Congratulations to the two Canadian nominees in this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards:

Mass Effect 2, nominated for Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Audio, Best Writing as well as Game of the Year, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, nominated for Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced a new pre-order incentive for the fast approaching release of Dragon Age 2. Those who pre-order the game before March 8th (the scheduled release date) will receive access to the following additional in-game content at no extra cost.

* The Lion of Orlais Shield, whose legend begins at the height of the Summer War, when all of Orlais was embroiled in fierce battles, with dozens of contenders for the Imperial Throne emerging. Most are long forgotten except as footnotes in scholarly tomes, but everyone remembers the gallant young lord Emile Deveraux, “The Golden Prince”. Thought outnumbered at every turn, he racked victory upon victory culminating in the Seventh Battle of Roses. While wearing this shield he broke through his uncle’s vanguard to win the day. Never knowing New Shield and Swordthe taste of defeat on the battlefield, this gallant hero is said to have met his end at the hands of a jealous lover in the dead of night. Now you can carry this magnificent shield into battle, adding to your health and XP gained, you can also increase its power with magical runes which will fit nicely into two special slots.

* The Fadeshear Sword, whose core is very old – as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond. This sword has fought the demonic hosts in countless battles, sometimes being held high in triumphant victory. Other times, it has lain broken beside its dying owner. But after every defeat it has always been reclaimed, reforged, and made stronger. Fadeshear has passed through many hands before yours. Now it is your turn to make the demons of the Fade pay for crossing the Veil into the waking world. Make use of the FadeShear Sword against demons and the undead, its power growing as your character levels up.

Original purchasers of Dragon Age 2 will receive:

* A fighting Mabari War Hound who can be summoned by a whistle to fight at your side in battle.
* The Mirror of Transformation which will allow you to change your very appearance. Hair, eyes, tattoos, and more can be changed with the click of a button.
* Access to The Black Emporium exclusive Magic and Crafting Stores that have some of the best equipment and powerful, unique recipes you’ll find in the game. It’s restocked with better items as you progress through the story.

This is a double bonus for those of us who also took advantage of the Signature Edition pre-order incentive, which ended on January 11th, because we also get access to all of this newly announced bonus content. Here is the latest Dev Diary trailer, which talks about story development.

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GamerizonMontreal’s Gamerizon has announced that over 8 Million of its Chop Chop™ games had been downloaded on the App Store in a span of less than 10 months. Each of the six existing Chop Chop™ games – Chop Chop Ninja™, Chop Chop Runner™, Chop Chop Tennis™, Chop Chop Soccer™, Chop Chop Hockey™ and Chop Chop Caveman™ – have received critical acclaim and have reached top ranking positions chop chop cavemanin their respective categories in most countries around the world, with specially strong performances in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.

“We reached the milestone with an incredibly strong performance of 1.4 Million downloads in the last 6 days alone and are well on our way to make the Chop Chop™ franchise one of the world’s best known mobile gaming franchises” said Alex Sakiz, CEO of Gamerizon.

The success of the Chop Chop™ franchise is primarily a function of the unique one-finger gameplay mechanics developed in all games and the innovative hybrid Paid/Free Business Model adopted. Three new games – Chop Chop Rocket™, Chop Chop Kicker™ and Chop Chop Alien™ are scheduled for release in February and March.

Toon BoomEmmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. has entered into a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore’s leading institution of higher learning, to set up a paperless digital animation production hub on their campus, fully equipped with a Toon Boom pipeline.

This first animation hub will serve as a great launch pad for the students in the interactive digital media courses to learn animation and create projects in a true digital production environment. In addition, Toon Boom will collaborate with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology to assist in faculty development, student development, academic and professional networking, as well as in granting prizes of excellence in the form of special awards and scholarships.

“Toon Boom is fully dedicated to the development of the animation industry in Singapore. As a result, our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic represents a great accomplishment in combining Toon Boom’s field proven expertise with Singapore’s impressive creative talent,” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.

EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champion. Setting the stage for a new standard in sports games, Fight Night Champion will deliver the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category. Check out this video about fighter stamina:

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In just a few weeks, Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.

TeradiciBurnaby’s Teradici Corporation, developer of the innovative PC-over-IP® (PCoIP®) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, has announced a strategic investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Teradici PCoIP protocol is an innovative remote display technology that allows the user’s desktop operating system, applications, and data to reside in the datacenter, eliminating the need for traditional desktop workstations, PCs and thin clients, and delivers an uncompromised user experience to each person, anywhere, without incurring the security risks associated with having data reside in remote PCs. PCoIP technology provides high resolution, full frame rate 3D graphics and high-definition media, with full USB peripheral interoperability, locally over a LAN or remotely over a high-latency WAN. It compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenter and transmits it ‘pixels only’ across a standard IP network to secure, stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.

The protocol is implemented in silicon for hardware accelerated performance and enhanced security, as well as in several software configurations, including VMware View™, the industry leading desktop virtualization platform. A growing ecosystem of over 25 third-party vendors provide a wide variety of PCoIP products including server plug-in cards, rack and tower workstations, blade PCs, zero clients, integrated monitors, and IP phones with added PCoIP capability.

CMPAThe Canadian Media Production Association has filed an intervention (PDF) with the CRTC, confirming that it does not support BCE Inc.’s application as filed, to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia Inc. The CMPA disagrees with BCE’s contention that tangible benefits are not payable as a result of this transaction. The CMPA similarly disagrees with BCE’s proposal that the valuation of benefits payable amounts to only $221 million and that a mere $40 million of that amount will go towards supporting the creation of Canadian programming. The CMPA expects to make its arguments before the CRTC when it commences hearings into the proposed acquisition on February 1, 2011.

“The benefits package proposed by BCE represents a very significant departure from the CRTC’s long-standing tangible benefits policy. It is also extremely self-serving and very largely focused on activities that are normal capital expenditures for such a company,” says Norm Bolen, the CMPA’s President and CEO.

In its intervention, the CMPA argues that the tangible benefits policy must be respected. This means that:

* the payment of tangible benefits are indeed fully required in this transaction;
* the quantum of these TV benefits must represent 10% of the total value of all CTV television assets;
* BCE must not be allowed to exclude or discount any of its television-related assets in this calculation;
* a minimum of 85% of the total tangible benefits must be allocated to the creation of Canadian programming;
* a minimum of 75% of the amount allocated to the creation of Canadian programming must be earmarked to third-parties from the independent production community; and,
* the resources allocated to the creation of independent Canadian programming must be administered by a third-party, and must not be limited to projects that are ultimately broadcast only on CTV or its many television properties.

“If BCE’s proposal is accepted by the Commission without considerable modifications it would fall extremely short of what is in the best interest of our broadcasting system and the Canadian public,” says Bolen.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) have announced that the long-awaited Occupation Mode will be coming soon to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.. With Occupation Mode, M.A.T. gains one of the most essential elements of a competitive title – territory capture and control.

“We are thrilled to offer this intense level of action to our community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “We invite gaming clans of all skill levels to see for themselves just how crazy things can get. Mission Against TerrorWe know that gamers will put Occupation Mode right up there with Old School, hardcore multiplayer classics like Counter-Strike 1.6 and the Battlefield series.”

Occupation Mode brings with it new maps and new opportunities to put that weapon you just bought to work. The real challenge, of course, is to protect yourself and your team as you keep moving forward as a unit, attacking new positions and then defending them before time runs out. When your team holds all points on a map, you win the game. When both teams fail to complete the mission, beware…you can end up spawning infinitely for a lengthy and engaging firefight over a single capture point.

“At the request of the community, we have left it up to the game creators to set just how severe the time-keeping will be,” added Ho. “For those who love a good challenge, this is the mode for you. The two teams are in constant struggle for territory control until the best team finally emerges as the winner, involving not only brute force advancement but also endurance and holding key locations.”

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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.”

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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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10th January 2011

Ontario Libraries Connect Users To Knowledge

Reminder: Today is the final day to get in on the free upgrade to Bioware’s Dragon Age 2 Signature Edition when you pre-order Dragon Age 2.
Reminder: The deadline for the Canada Film Centre Cineplex Entertainment Film Program is January 21st.
Reminder: The application period for Canada Summer Jobs 2011 will be from February 1st to February 28th.

Since January 2008, many Ontario libraries have been collaborating to provide an online inquiry service askONcalled askON, along with a similar French-language service called ONdemande. askON and ONdemande are among the five digital services of Knowledge Ontario, a not-for-profit collaborative. Seven more public libraries joined the service on January 3, so a total of 63 libraries across the province are now participating.

Here’s how it works. You go to your local library’s website or to the askON home page and open a live chat session. After you post your question, a real librarian—not an automated search engine—finds the information you need. The service is available 45 hours a week, and most inquiries take about 10 to 15 minutes to answer.

Each library provides two to eight hours of live chat help each week. As a result, Ontarians in even the smallest and most remote communities can get almost instant answers to their research questions. “It’s an excellent example of how libraries work collaboratively,” says Cathy Matyas, CEO of the Brampton Library.knowledge Ontario

askON is the sort of service very few libraries could provide on their own. However, it’s exactly the sort of service they need to offer to stay relevant to many of their users.

“Providing wider access to library services is a key priority for us,” says Matyas. She points out that technologically savvy users have flocked to askON. “The uptake has been tremendous in our community.”

askON has been particularly popular with students and businesspeople—two groups who might not naturally visit a brick-and-mortar library but who spend a great deal of time online. “We’re actually going where they are,” says Laura Master, co-ordinator of information services at the Kitchener Public Library. “It’s one more avenue for people to explore and discover our libraries.”

Once users have made that initial contact, librarians can use the opportunity to help them increase their digital literacy. Many Ontarians, for instance, don’t realize that their library cards give them access to a wealth of authoritative databases that can take them far beyond what a simple Google search can offer. In an online chat, librarians can help clients access and navigate these databases. Librarians are unabashed fans of the service, which helps them develop their technical skills and gives them an opportunity to do what they do best: find information.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. has turned the tides in the App Stores war for top selling app with the smash-hit, Burn the Rope, their new original game for iOS devices.

After Burn the Rope’s release last month, it has made a giant leap to the top of the charts in over 50 countries, dethroning best sellers Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope to sit in the #2 spot in the US and Canadian App Store, right behind Angry Birds.

Burn the Rope is the most original game of the year, and can be played by anyone and everyone! Each level gives you a more challenging rope design. Touching the rope will set it alight, so you must be pretty strategic where you choose to start. burn the rope

To play Burn the Rope you have to tilt and turn your phone to keep your flame alive, but there’s a catch… the fire only burns upwards! It’s your job to try to burn as much rope as you can in each level so you can collect Bronze, Silver, or Gold medals!

As you progress through the levels, you’ll encounter bugs crawling along the rope. Different bugs have different reactions to the flame. For example, the ant changes the color of the flame so you can access and burn different colored ropes, and the spider shoots out a web bridge so you can access parts of the level that you could not before. You will actually feel like you’re burning a rope, yet there’s no need for a fire extinguisher!

Based on its huge popularity with reviewers and fans alike, it’s easy to see that Burn the Rope is going to be sitting at the top of charts for quite a while. Big Blue Bubble Inc. is pleased to see that an Ontario company can make such a huge impact in the US App market, as well as those from around the world.

One Canadian title has been named to the IGF Student Game Showcase, and one received an Honourable Mention. First-person puzzler FRACT, developed by University of Montreal student Richard Flanagan, puts the player into an abstract world built on sound and structures inspired by electronic music. The player must then resurrect and revive the long forgotten machinery of this musical world, thereby unlocking the mysteries contained within.

Honourable Mention was given to Star-Twine, a title developed at Carleton University. According to the game’s description, “Star-Twine is a strategy game with ambient sounds, unique visuals and a virtually infinite number of levels to play on. Battles take place on three dimensional maps where you, a small point of light, must build structures to extract energy from the threads that make up the world. Energy can be spent on new structures, each with their own unique abilities. The enemy AI builds while you build and reacts to your play-style. This results in challenging battles that require strategic insight and quick thinking.

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7th January 2011

New Adventures Await

Reminder: The deadline to pre-order Dragon Age 2 and get the free upgrade to the Signature Edition is January 11th.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new companion character for Dragon Age 2. Enter Sebastian Vael, an archer of noble birth. Join the Exiled Prince in his quest to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his family and direct his righteous wrath on your enemies. Sebastian is a full companion character, complete with his own series of side missions. Gain the prince’s allegiance as part of The Exiled Prince downloadable pack included in the BioWare Signature Edition, or available separately for $7 or 560 Microsoft Points.

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Dragon Age 2 is a stand alone chapter in the Dragon Age franchise, and while it is not a pre-requisite to have played through the previous titles, players can import their Dragon Age files and impact how the story unfolds for them in this new chapter. Dragon Age 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled for release to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 8th.

psychicparrot gamesPsychicParrot Games has released a free iPad app for pre-schoolers. My Own Farm is an interactive educational title, as each tap on the screen generates animal movement accompanied with that animal’s My Own Farmsound, in turn helping young children learn about the sounds farm animals make while keeping them entertained.

PsychicParrot is also the developer of Farm Jump, an Open-Feint enabled iOS mobile game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Will’s friends, so grab them when you can.

citeremisQuebec’s Citérémis has released Aztaka Developer’s Edition, with the objective of bringing together the independent developers and the gaming community into our “Quest for profitability.” According to the original game’s description, “Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling actionaztaka developers edition RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to wield both the spear and the spell. The watchful Gods have returned to their slumber and the evil Ehecalk becoming ever stronger is plotting. A mad power struggle to hold the seven Ancient Phonograms will ensue. You are the last hope of your people! Race across your once great land, reunite the Phonograms and restore prosperity to the Aztec Empire!”

Aztaka Key Features

* Plunge into a new and fresh universe.
* Manipulate spiritual energy, through an innovative hybrid control scheme to solve puzzles and vanquish foes
* Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts.
* Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold.
* Acquire potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels.
* Twenty-one unique and detailed levels with grand, richly-detailed backdrops and fluid character animations

Purchasers of this Developers’ Edition will be able to enjoy the latest Aztaka release, the Aztaka OST and the Exotic Your Shape AppFrench Art book, as well as the complete game source code – all for the low introductory price of $9.99, which is 50% off the regular price.

UbisoftIn celebration of the New Year and a “New You,” Ubisoft has released the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App, which lets users view and manage their Your Shape profile and stats on-the-go, allowing them to quickly and easily track how many calories they’ve burned and monitor progress made towards their fitness or weight loss goals.

The Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App is a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Even if you don’t own the game, discover the breakthrough technology used by Your Shape, check out our videos and meet the game’s fitness experts.

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