Submit: This is the last week for Award Nomination Submissions for the BC Technology Awards . The deadline is March 11th.
Enter: The PayPal X Developer Challenge for Android . Cash and publishing up for grabs, see the Challenge Rules  for complete details.
Enter: The Great Canadian Appathon , a 48-hour hackathon where students across the country will compete for some incredible cash prizes and publishing opportunities this March 11th – 13th. Register now. The Great Canadian Appathon is primarily an online event, but there are 6 schools across the country  who will be hosting in-house events with free food, representatives from the sponsoring companies and more! There will be expert developers from XMG Studio  at each of these locations to help provide insight into the mobile game development process as well as free SWAG bags for the first 100 people to show up at a hub location. The six hosted locations are: triOS College, UBC, Carleton University, Nova Scotia Community College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo, Concordia University and TELUS House Toronto.
Participate: OpenMedia  will be talking with the Honourable Tony Clement, the Minister of Industry, on March 8th and they would like to know if there are any questions you would them to ask regarding User Based Billing and Canada’s Digital Economy. Visit the OpenMedia site to find out how you can get involved .
TVO  has launched two free apps  for BlackBerry® smartphones for early learners and school aged- kids. Both games support learning objectives from the Ontario school curriculum, have been teacher and classroom tested and are designed for BlackBerry® smartphone devices with OS 5.0 and higher.
Polka Dot Shorts  is a sequence matching game for kids aged 2-5 that supports the early-learning and kindergarten math curriculum. The app features TVO’s beloved children’s character Polkaroo and challenges players to find a sequence of dots and rewards them for the correct answer.
Flower Frenzy  is an entertaining and educational game with three levels of progressive difficulty that uses pictures of flowers to help kids ages 6-11 learn to create sequences. Both Polka Dot Shorts and Flower Frenzy teach kids pre-cursors to patterning skills which help build the foundational knowledge required for mathematics in later years.
TVO is also a proud member of the BlackBerry® Alliance Program which gives TVO access to a wide array of benefits to help support, market and distribute their applications for BlackBerry smartphones. Both games were developed with the expert advice of TVO’s in-house educator, and BlackBerry Alliance Program partner Sweet Caesar .
Speaking of interactive entertainment for kids, Loud Crow Interactive  has just released its latest eBook to the iTunes App Store. Sandra Boynton’s The Going To Bed Book is available now for the iPhone and iPod Touch ($1.99 USD) and the iPad ($2.99 USD).
The Going to Bed Book app has all the magic and appeal of a traditional pop-up book, offering lively interactivity and thoroughly mesmerizing discovery. Imagine! An ark that rocks. Characters that respond to touch with sound and movement. Tap water that turns on and off, and steam that fogs the screen. Can you write your name in the steam? Of course! There are teeth to brush, and a group exercise session with ten pajama-clad animals (big and small) each with its own unique exercise. Help the little piggy turn off the lights, then rock to sleep to the music box sound of twinkling stars. There’s something wonderful to discover on every page.
The Going To Bed Book allows young readers to touch, pull, and turn animals and objects to make them move, or they can tilt the device to watch things slide and cascade. The ebook is narrated by Billy J. Kramer and features the same original text and illustrations as that found in the actual board book. Enable the “Big Guy Reads It” option with word highlighting to help improve reading skills, or use “I want to read it myself” and hear individual words pronounced with the tap of a finger.
Vancouver developer Kerberos Studios  has unravelled more mysteries of the universe in a new video interview with Martin Cirulis, the lead designer of Sword of the Stars II: The Lords of Winter , sequel to Kerberos’ hit 4X science fiction strategy game.
Cirulis gives an introduction to the dangerous Lords of Winter and underlines how the Sword of the Stars II universe has evolved since the first game. Learn how Kerberos uses mechanics to enhance narrative and get an introduction to what the new Mars 2 engine brings to the table. Cirulis also talks about the different ways to kill your enemies and how diplomacy has evolved to take into account the needs of an established empire.
A Bigger, better, stronger, faster Sword of the Stars II will be coming to your corner of the galaxy this autumn.
Another Canadian-made game in the Paradox Interactive stable is Supreme Ruler: Cold War , and BattleGoat Studios  has released a new developer interview for this upcoming historical grand strategy title. In this latest video, BattleGoat Studios Lead Designer David Thompson gives players a bit of insight to what they can look forward to in the latest addition to the Supreme Ruler series.
Supreme Ruler: Cold War is the next installment in the Supreme Ruler series and gives players control over a 1950’s United States or Soviet Union as they try to lead their country to glory. Players make economic, diplomatic, domestic, and military decisions to grow and modernize their nation to ensure its place atop the rest of the world.
Scotiabank , in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business  (CFIB), have launched the Small Business Big Impact Challenge , which shines a spotlight on small business owners who are positively impacting their communities in the areas of employment, innovative products and services, as well as leadership.
“At Scotiabank, we recognize that small businesses play a vital role in building strong communities. Much more than just a place to purchase food or to get a car serviced, they contribute in ways which make our communities better places to live, for each one of us,” said Islay McGlynn, Managing Director and Head, Scotiabank Small Business. “With the Small Business Big Impact Challenge, we want to recognize and reward small business owners who have made an impact on their community by going above and beyond to meet not only the needs of their customers and employees, but the community at large.”
“Small businesses are small in name only,” commented Aron Gampel, Deputy Chief Economist, Scotiabank. “Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, providing big support to the nation’s G7-leading performance. Small businesses are not only big generators of jobs in goods and services throughout the country, but they are also big contributors to the investments and exports that are important drivers of growth.”
To qualify for the Small Business Big Impact Challenge, entrants must demonstrate how their business has made a difference in the community where they live and work in one of the following three categories:
- Providing Employment: Implementing employment practices that reflect and support community needs as well as employment opportunities.
- Offering Products or Services: Creating new industries or ways of doing business, or offering unique products or services that benefit their community.
- Demonstrating Leadership: Taking a leadership role in initiatives for their community that ultimately makes it a better place to live and work.
“Beyond their indispensable role as job creators and innovators all across Canada, small businesses start as the heart and soul of their neighbourhoods and have a hugely positive impact on community prosperity and identity,” enthused CFIB president, Catherine Swift. “In conjunction with CFIB’s 40th anniversary and during 2011, the federally designated Year of the Entrepreneur, we are delighted to be partnering with Scotiabank in support of those small business owners who stand out amongst an already outstanding group of peers.”
The challenge ends on April 30, 2011. All Canadians are encouraged to visit the website as everyone can vote for their favourite small business. The top 15 entries, five in each category, will be presented and evaluated by the Expert Small Business Judging Panel, which will then select the three finalists to be awarded $10,000 each.
The Expert Small Business Judging Panel consists of:
- Islay McGlynn, Director and Head Small Business, Scotiabank;
- Kaz Flinn, Vice-President Corporate Social Responsibility, Scotiabank;
- Catherine Swift, CEO, CFIB;
- Tom Sloan, Vice President Small Business and Commercial Markets, Export Development Canada; and
- Greig Clark, PROFIT Magazine columnist, and founder of College Pro Painters.
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada , welcomes the passage by Parliament of Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service . The legislation will help protect children from online sexual exploitation.
“The creation and distribution of child pornography is an unspeakable crime which will not be tolerated in Canada,” said Minister Nicholson. “Our legislation will assist police in tracking down Internet sexual predators, and rescuing children from sexual exploitation.”
In September 2008, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada’s response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation establishing mandatory reporting of online child pornography by providers of Internet services.
Bill C-22 applies to suppliers of Internet services to the public, including those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services, and social networking sites. It requires them to:
- Report, to a designated agency, tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be available to the public; and
- Notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.
Failure to comply with the duties under the legislation will constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines. For individuals (sole proprietorships), the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for third and subsequent offences $10,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. For corporations and other entities, the maximum fines are $10,000 for a first offence; $50,000 for a second offence; and $100,000 for third and subsequent offences.
“We all have a role to play in the protection of children from sexual predators,” said Minister Nicholson. “This legislation will improve the collaboration between internet service providers and police to better protect children from online sexual exploitation.”
The Canadian Council of Learning  (CCL) has launched a new online tool that allows users to measure the state of two crucial components of financial literacy—numeracy and document literacy—in more than 52,000 neighbourhoods and communities across the country.
The two new interactive maps  produced by CCL, in partnership with DataAngel Policy Research Inc., provide literacy profiles for neighbourhoods across Canada, highlighting at-risk communities where residents lack the basic literacy skills needed in today’s knowledge-based society. The maps were produced using estimates generated by DataAngel Policy Research Inc. using data from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALSS) conducted by Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the 2006 Canadian Census. These new literacy domains add to earlier maps CCL released on health literacy and prose literacy.
The results show that 55 percent of adult Canadians (aged 16 and over) had low levels of numeracy and 49 percent had low levels of document literacy. (This is based on the number of people who scored below Level 3 on the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS), a survey conducted by Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.)
Numeracy and document literacy are essential parts of what many consider “basic literacy” and provide a key foundation in developing a more sophisticated set of financial literacy skills.
“Canadians are increasingly faced with a complex array of financial decisions in their everyday lives—from choosing a mortgage and retirement planning to managing consumer debt and funding post-secondary education,” says Dr. Paul Cappon, President and CEO of CCL. “Yet, many Canadians do not have the financial literacy skills needed to make informed decisions related to money and investment.”
Numeracy is the ability to use basic math skills in everyday life. It includes such skills as calculating a tip at a restaurant, balancing a bank account or determining the amount of interest on a loan from an advertisement. Document literacy is the ability to find and use information in forms, charts, graphs and other tables. Financial literacy involves the use of multiple literacies—prose, document, numeracy—often simultaneously.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines five levels of literacy with level 1 being the lowest and level 5 being the highest. Level 3 is internationally accepted as the level of literacy considered necessary for meeting the demands of everyday life and work in an information-based society.
“The first step in any process of improvement is to be able to accurately measure change over time. CCL’s innovative maps help Canadian communities, and the country as a whole, determine current literacy levels,” says Cappon. “I hope that decision-makers and individuals throughout Canada will use these maps for the purpose of continuous improvement.”