IGDA Members : Today is the last day of voting for your Board Members . If you have not yet done so, please check your email for the Election Notification and voting link. We are very close to a quorum, please make sure you cast your vote before 11:59PM tonight. I’ve done my part and voted – now it’s your turn. Please pass along the word to other IGDA members, let’s get this election into the Tasks Successfully Done column. If you did not receive the email or are having problems please contact Ryan Arndt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org  right away.
SIGGRAPH 2011  Tickets Now Available For Purchase. Early Bird pricing is in effect until June 17th. Member, non-member and student prices are available for all categories: full conference, full conference single day, basic conference, basic conference single day, computer animation festival. Please see the ticket information page  for full details on categories and pricing.
SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver – Make It Home
Congratulations to onX Enterprise Solutions , who has received two Cisco Partner Summit regional awards for Canadian Managed Cloud Partner of the Year and Canadian Borderless Network Partner of the Year. 
Don’t forget that nominations are open for the 2011 VIATeC Awards . A little saddened that VIATeC  is using the current tide of attention being paid to that recently fired TV personality as part of their promotional efforts, but here are the categories open to Vancouver Island technology companies:
- Technology Company of the Year
- Emerging Technology Company of the Year
- Employer of the Year – can only be nominated by staff
- Online Strategy of the Year
- Environmental Excellence
- Executive of the Year
- Employee/Team of the Year
- Innovative Excellence
- Product of the Year
- Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year – can only be nominated by a technology company.
The Awards ceremony will take place in Carson Hall at the Victoria Conference Centre on June 2nd. Tickets are $150.00 for VIATeC members and $200.00 for non-members.
Here is the launch trailer for Hothead Games ‘ latest entry into the digital download realm. Swarm  is scheduled for release on PSN March 22nd (March 30th in Europe) and XBLA worldwide on March 23rd. This is definitely one game I’m looking forward to getting my hands on – I’ve been hoarding most of the MS Points I was given for Christmas just so I can see how many ways there are to squish and dismember these little blue guys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will already know that Swarm is an action-platformer that allows you take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.
Atari has released the second developer diary from its upcoming XBLA, PSN and PC download top-down arcade shooter Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime , which was developed at Behaviour Interactive . Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is out on XBLA and PC download on March 23rd and will launch on PSN on March 30th (even though the dev diary says it’s available now).
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.
The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.
Big Blue Bubble’s  Burn The Rope  is bigger and better than ever with a version for the iPad launching today! Now is the time to join in the flame-lighting fun with bigger graphics, brighter fire, and Wickman as you’ve never seen him before! Burn the Rope HD  also features an innovative new touch control scheme exclusive to the iPad that lets players rotate the puzzle onscreen.
Burn the Rope is a casual puzzle title that was originally released on the iPhone in December 2010. The goal of the game is to burn as much rope as possible on each level – which is not as easy as it may sound. The fire only burns upwards, so the player must rotate the rope to keep the flame going – once all the flames are out, it’s game over! With clever, hard to master puzzle designs for each level and some insects that add to the gameplay in unique and interesting ways, Burn the Rope been one of the hottest apps in the App Store for the past several months.
With 116 exciting levels (and more on the way), Burn the Rope is incredibly fun and addictive, and the new features in Burn the Rope HD for iPad let players experience the game in a whole new way
Additional HD Features Include:
• Apple Game Center support with 30 achievements and iTunes library support
• All-new Bug-Blasting Bonus Rounds!
• Lights Out! Mode – light the way as you burn!
BioWare  will be releasing Mass Effect: Arrival, the thrilling final mission for Mass Effect 2  on March 29th. This conclusion to Mass Effect 2 and preamble to Mass Effect 3, Arrival will also include three new achievements (or trophies) for the Xbox 360®, PC and PlayStation®3. The PDLC pack will be available for 560 MS Points on Xbox 360, $6.99USD on PlayStation Network and also available for PC for 560 BioWare Points. 
In Mass Effect: Arrival, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen (Alien, Terminator).
“All year, we have been extremely honored and humbled by the reception we have received for Mass Effect 2 from players around the world, including our post release DLC”, said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer, Mass Effect series. “Mass Effect: Arrival is an exciting extension to Mass Effect 2 and will show players just how close the Reapers are to returning and completing their deadly harvest.”
Only two weeks after launching, TVO’s  new applications for BlackBerry® smartphones for early learners and school aged-kids, have been downloaded from BlackBerry App World ™ over 250,000 times.
Flower Frenzy and Polka Dot Shorts support learning objectives from the Ontario school curriculum and are teacher and classroom tested. Both are designed for BlackBerry smartphones running 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. 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 apps teach kids pre-cursors to patterning skills which help build the foundational knowledge required for mathematics in later years. Each app also has a safety feature to prevent young users from making phone calls or sending emails.
“We’re really excited that so many kids are embracing TVO’s latest digital media offerings,” says CEO Lisa de Wilde. “There is a real need for digital content that will engage kids in learning that complements what happens in the classroom environment. We’re happy to help fill the gap.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission  (CRTC) today simplified the process for Canadians who want to change providers  for their television, home telephone, wireless or Internet services. Consumers will now be able to switch service providers with only one phone call. Once it has obtained the proper consent, the new provider will make all the arrangements on behalf of consumers to have the services transferred over. The CRTC requires that customer transfers be completed within two business days, except for wireless service where transfers must be completed within 2.5 hours.
“In a competitive marketplace, consumers are always encouraged to explore different options for their broadcasting and telecommunications services,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The new rules will make the transfer process a seamless and convenient experience, while enabling Canadians to benefit from receiving retention offers from their current providers.”
If they prefer, consumers can also cancel their services by contacting their service provider directly, which can make them offers to retain their business. The CRTC reminds consumers that, when switching to a new service provider, they are still responsible for any termination penalties or other terms associated with their existing contract. Additionally, the CRTC has established safeguards to prevent service providers from sharing confidential customer information with their internal sales and marketing groups during the transfer process.
Following today’s decision, the CRTC has also launched a new proceeding seeking views  on whether these safeguards are still in the best interests of consumers and whether they limit a consumer’s ability to receive offers from a service provider. Interested parties may submit their comments by April 18, 2011. They may do so by completing the online form , by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or by fax at 819-994-0218.
Nominations are now open for the Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship , which is presented to the woman who has shown the most outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership — leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada’s advanced technology industry. The purpose of the Award is to celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship and create positive role models for women. The Sara Kirke Award for outstanding woman in technology innovation and corporate leadership for 2010 was awarded to Carol Leaman, CEO of PostRank Inc .
Sara Kirke is considered by many to be North America’s first entrepreneur. She arrived in Newfoundland in 1638 with her husband David Kirke, who was soon recalled to England. Sara, however, continued to reside in Avalon, and conducted business as usual from the Pool Plantation. Lady Kirke was a remarkable individual as she managed affairs at the Pool Plantation and became one of the most successful merchants on the English Shore — and was almost certainly North America’s first and foremost woman entrepreneur.
Submissions for the 2011 Sara Kirke Awards must be received at the CanWIT  office by April 15, 2011, and all nominees must be a member of CanWIT , which is itself a Division of CATAAlliance. The 2011 winner will be announced at the 26th Annual Canadian Innovation and Leadership Awards Gala  on May 18th, which are being held at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.
The BCIC-New Ventures Competition: 2011  is now open for applications until April 18 at midnight, with the first seminar in the new nine seminar series taking place on April 4th. The competition dates and seminar schedule  have been officially set and now it’s up to the competitors to invest $200 in their technology business idea and learn how to develop it into a profitable company.
As one of North America’s largest technology business idea competitions, BCIC-New Ventures attracts applicants from a wide range of industries including cleantech, media, Internet, information technology and life sciences. BCIC and the New Ventures BC Society invite BC entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to the 11th annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition offering the chance to win a share of the more than $360,000 in prizes.
Added to the mix of prizes to be won this year are the $15,000 Vancity Social Venture Prize and two prizes for Agricultural technologies, valued at $30,000 and $20,000. The competition has also launched a separate stream for Agritech competitors , with events starting March 30.
The competition is open to any BC person, resident or business with a technology-focused idea that has not yet secured significant financing from external investors (i.e. investors other than friends, family and company founders).
The series of nine business education seminars, open to both the public and competition applicants, will take place in Vancouver at the SFU Beedie School of Business beginning April 4, 2011. Students with valid ID can register to attend these seminars at no cost.
Register today  to:
- Learn from some of BC’s top business experts at our business-education seminars
- Network with top professionals in business, law, finance, government and academia
- Improve your business and strategies during each round of competition
- Receive advice and insight from mentors In Round 3
- Present your condensed business plan to a panel of ‘angel’ investors, venture capitalists and industry experts in Round 4
Now in its eleventh year, the main BCIC-New Ventures Competition attracts applicants from a wide range of industries. This year we’re launching a new stream of the competition focused on Agritech ventures in the categories of: primary production, food, and bioenergy/bioproducts (for or from agriculture).
This new program is funded through Growing Forward, a federal/provincial agreement between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to support agri-food technology innovation and commercialization.
There will be two specific prizes – a $30,000 first prize and $20,000 second prize for Innovation in Agricultural Technology – plus specific events for Agritech competitors who proceed through the four rounds of the business competition. Applicants who register will also be placed into the larger competition with the chance to compete for more than $300,000 in additional prizes.
AOL Canada  is proud to sponsor the Interactive Category of the 2011 National Advertising Awards  (NAA) that celebrates and rewards outstanding Canadian advertising creativity, delivering fresh new ideas to Canada’s leading brands. In addition to the recognition they receive with the award, category winners will attend the 58th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival June 19 to 25, 2011 in France.
“Sponsoring the interactive competition aligns with our commitment to high-value, premium quality and creativity online,” says Graham Moysey, AOL Canada General Manager, “At AOL, it’s all about creating a vastly improved online consumer experience – what better way than to get Canada’s best and brightest creatives engaged?”
AOL is also working with agencies that are submitting entries to consider using AOL’s award-winning HD content delivery platform, Pictela, now available in Canada. Pictela provides agencies with a broad and highly unique canvas for demonstrating their creativity.
In the Interactive Category, participants are challenged with a brief from Biotherm to recruit new users to their BioLab Skin Solutions. All category briefs were made available on March 2 and the deadline for creative submissions is March 31. Winners will be announced at the National Advertising Awards Gala on May 5 in Toronto.
“Participating in the National Advertising Awards Interactive Category is a fantastic opportunity to submit the challenge of taking our BioLab recruitment animation to the next level to the best Canadian creative minds,” said Bradley Smith, Biotherm Marketing Director. “I can’t wait to see how they’ll translate Biotherm’s biological expertise and its strong Canadian heritage into a complete interactive brand experience that will attract new consumers to the brand.”
“The National Advertising Awards are unique because they are North America’s only major brief-based competition,” says Cam Gardner, President, Adcam Media Group, Owner of The National Advertising Awards. “It’s always a thrill to see the results of unleashed creative thinking against the needs of major Canadian brands. We’re grateful for the support of sponsors like AOL Canada who help make the awards possible.”