13th April 2011

And As The First Puck Drops

EA SportsStarting today, NHL fans will have the opportunity to make their Stanley Cup® Playoffs predictions in the EA SPORTS™ NHL®2011 Playoff Bracket Contest on Facebook. Fans can make their predictions on the real series using the EA SPORTS NHL 11 simulation engine that will link to the Playoffs bracket and predict who will advance to the next round. The engine correctly predicted that the Chicago Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup last year, and that the Vancouver Canucks would win the Presidents’ Trophy this year. Fans will vote on the winner of each series at the start of each round, accumulating points for Canucks vs Hawkscorrect selections; prizing will be available for each round so fans can continue to enter after the playoffs start. A grand prize winner will receive two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa for the most points accumulated throughout the contest; the winner will be announced at the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.*

The NHL 11 computerized simulation is conducted using artificial intelligence that uses real-life data from each team, such as player ratings and line combinations, and includes variances such as injuries and hot streaks to predict a realistic outcome of each game and series.

Contest Schedule:

First round selections open today, and subsequent rounds will be announced at the end of each series.

EA SPORTS NHL 11 Round One Predictions – Conference Quarterfinals:

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver defeats (8) Chicago; 4-2

(2) San Jose defeats (7) LA Kings; 4-1

(3) Detroit defeats (6) Phoenix; 4-2

(5) Nashville defeats (4) Anaheim; 4-3

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington defeats (8) NY Rangers; 4-0

(2) Philadelphia defeats (7) Buffalo; 4-1

(3) Boston defeats Montreal (6); 4-3

(5) Tampa Bay defeats (4) Pittsburgh; 4-2

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Eligibility restrictions apply. Contest starts April 13, 2011 and runs through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Complete Contest rules can be found online.

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13th April 2011

Two Days Left For Canadian Digital Media Industry Survey

Important Reminder: The April 15th deadline for the Pixel To Product industry survey is two days away.

Graphic Taken From Pixel To Product SiteWhether you’re a game developer, visual designer, HTML5 coder, design wireframes, make apps, teach or engage in social media marketing – if you work in any digital media sector – please take the time to participate in the Canadian digital media workforce survey. It only take 8 minutes to complete, and the final report will be made available free of charge upon completion in May 2011. Participants are also encouraged to provide feedback on what data in the survey is important to them, essentially giving you all a hand in the final look of the survey’s report. I can’t stress enough how important this survey is to our industry. Please take the time to answer the questions, and if you already have, send the link along to someone who hasn’t. You can check out a sampling of the data already collected on the project’s site.

JAC GeoDesignWhen Judith Chinn launched JAC GeoDesign in Nanaimo last year she had little doubt that her new 3D geo-modeling company would work towards excellence, achievement and innovation in her community. Little did she know that her community would extend beyond the rocky coast of Vancouver Island. She soon found herself involved in a number of international volunteer projects that would have her helping showcase Olympic host city London, England, recreating earthquake damaged L’Aquila, Italy, and supporting relief efforts in Saitama City, Japan. “I manage to participate on all of these projects remotely from my Nanaimo office,” says Chinn, who has become Canada’s first Google Certified Geo 3D Developer.

The Google Earth 3D geo-modeling community is a very active group of individuals and businesses. They host community 3D workshops, participate in school program, and participate in youth mentoring programs. When a colleague like British Architect, Barnaby Gunning proposed an ambitious project to build a digital 3D model of earthquake damaged L’Aquila, Italy to help stimulate discussion about its reconstruction, the 3D geo-modeling community responded by creating over 1000 3D buildings to help L’Aquila. “The images out of L’Aquila, Italy are shocking. Two years after the earthquake the city core is abandoned and citizens remain displaced,” says Chinn.

Locally, 3D geo-modeler Chinn has been busy participating in a number of youth mentoring programs like Science World’s Opening the Door Program that encourage high school students to pursue careers in science, and the National Geographic/ESRI GeoMentor Program that inspires volunteers who use geography in their work to work with teachers or youth leaders to help kids see, use and do more geography in and out of the classroom. “I try to include 3D models, 3D animation and videos into my geography and geoscience presentations. The kids love it, ” says Chinn.

Chinn recently supported the Rebuild Canada Pilot Project in Cumberland, BC. Cumberland Junior School students created 3D buildings from images of old buildings to help showcase the historical evolution of their community. The intention now is to roll out this program to other schools on Vancouver Island. Chinn also has her eye on Google’s Project Spectrum. Google created the program to give people with autism the opportunity to express their creativity and develop a life skill using Google SketchUp 3D modeling software. “Both of these projects would be excellent programs to develop on Vancouver Island,” says Chinn.

belzbergBelzberg Technologies, Inc. and Frontline Technologies Corp. have announced the closing of the acquisition of Frontline by Belzberg and the change in company name to Frontline Technologies Inc. The combined company will change its trading symbol to FLC which is expected to take place during the week of April 18, 2011.frontline

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, the key elements of which were approved by Belzberg shareholders at a Special Meeting held on April 11, 2011, on closing, Hoss Astaraki, President of Frontline was appointed CEO and Chairman of the combined entity and Judith Robertson resigned as President and CEO and from the board of directors of Belzberg. Resignations were also accepted from board members Robert Forbes, William Gnam and Steve Scarff. New board members, Keith Harris, Richard Ness and Deborah Robinson were appointed. The Company would like to thank the resigning directors for their years of service and contributions to the Company.

playjamUK-based PlayJam has struck a deal with LG Electronics to bundle PlayJam’s games service with LG Smart TV for worldwide distribution via its own platform, Netcast™. The PlayJam games network will offer a rich and compelling casual gaming destination on LG Smart TV and Blu-ray players from April 2011 – but not until May in Canada, according to media spokesperson Diane Mckaye. Highly visible within LG’s own service platform Netcast™, PlayJam will use its existing world-wide billing, CRM and games servers to deliver thousands of social, casual and skill titles as well as tournaments, leader-boards, editorial, messaging and more.

LG Smart TV enables viewers instant access to the latest Hollywood releases, TV shows, games, news, weather and music. The PlayJam service will sit alongside notable entertainment offerings from Netflix, Roxio Cinema Now, Pandora and Vudu.

In addition to promoting their own titles, PlayJam is working with games developers worldwide to bring much loved and renowned titles to TV. PlayJam is a dedicated TV games publisher, delivering thousands of branded casual games to a global network spanning multiple connected TV vendors as well as digital TV operators Sky, Dish TV (US), Freeview and UPC. A pioneer in connected and Over The Top (OTT) TV games content with over 12 years’ international operating experience, PlayJam has generated over 6 billion downloads during the last 5 years.

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13th April 2011

Bell Aliant Launches FibreOP 2

Bell AliantBell Aliant Inc. launched FibreOP 2.0 today in Saint John, taking its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to the next level with the fastest combined upload-download package of any major service provider in Canada and a new, best-in-market TV product.

FibreOP 2.0 is the next generation of Bell Aliant FibreOP services, building on a network that delivers the fastest Internet and video sharing and the ultimate high definition TV experience over the only 100 per cent fibre-optic network that connects straight to a customer’s home.

“We’ve taken a great product and made it even better,” said Karen Sheriff, President and CEO, Bell Aliant. “FibreOP 2.0 provides advantages for our customers that they can’t get anywhere else – and for the same price as the original FibreOP product. Customers will be able to experience Internet and TV to their full potential, whether it’s for a school project, working from home, or pure entertainment.”

FibreOP 2.0 introduces more speed and functionality to customers for the same price. With FibreOP 2.0, customers will see Internet speeds increase and have the ability to upload as fast as they download – a first in Canada for any major service provider. For example, Bell Aliant’s most popular FibreOP Internet product moves from 25 Mbps down/ 5 Mbps up to 30 Mbps down/30 Mbps up so a customer can upload as fast as they download. This is in addition to FibreOP Internet’s existing range of choices in speeds, including the fastest Internet download and upload speeds available – Bell Aliant’s 170 Mbps download/30 Mbps upload service. These speeds enable customers to not only download music or movies and share video or photos faster than ever before, but also accommodate the growing need for multiple users within the home. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th April 2011

Amber Mac To Keynote SES Toronto

SES Toronto 2011Incisive Media announced today that popular Canadian technology journalist, best-selling author and regular columnist for The Globe and Mail Amber Mac will deliver the Day 1 keynote address at SES Toronto on June 13. Amber will share her social media tips and tactics at the search and social marketing event, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Toronto June 13-15, 2011.

amber mac

Amber Mac

Now in its eighth year, the SES Toronto conference includes two days of search marketing sessions, vendor exhibitions, networking events and one day of training, all specifically designed for Canadian marketers. From now through April 15, marketers can register to receive a pre-agenda savings of up to $400. The Day 2 Keynote Address will be delivered by Tracy Smith VP, Performance Marketing & Go-To-Market, Yellow Pages Group.

“Amber Mac is one of the most well known technology hosts and journalists in Canada, and we’re thrilled that she has agreed to share her social media tips and tactics with our SES Canadian community,” said Matt McGowan, Managing Director of Americas for Incisive Media. “Just like in the U.S., Canada has experienced tremendous growth in the integration of social media into their marketing campaigns, and Amber is on top of this and the latest search marketing trends.”

Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith

“I’m honored to be invited to present the SES Toronto opening keynote where I’ll be talking about ideas from my book Power Friending and how marketers can use social media to build community and customer loyalty online,” said Amber Mac. “I’m familiar with the very tech-savvy SES community, and they are always ready to incorporate the latest trends to get the most out of their marketing campaigns, so it should be a great time for all.”

SES Toronto, hosted in what is becoming the leading region for technology in Canada, features sessions on several aspects of pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), social media, local, mobile, link building, video optimization, usability and more. Sessions are specifically geared towards beginners, intermediates and advanced marketers. The conference program runs all day June 13 and 14, as does the Expo Hall. June 15 is set aside for training workshops. Throughout the conference, there are informal opportunities for attendees to mingle, including a networking reception at the end of the day on June 13.

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13th April 2011

Hot Wheels Launches New Canadian Site and Contests

In 2011 Hot Wheels® takes vehicle loving guys of all ages on a fast and furious ride through a jam packed line-up of special events, partnerships, sponsorships and new leading-edge products.  Hot Wheels® aims to satisfy any adrenaline junkie with the launch of HotWheelsLive.ca, the interactive Hot Wheels® Live Tour, the  Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™ stunt in Indianapolis and exciting new toys, apparel, accessories and sporting goods.

“Hot Wheels® appeals to ‘guys’ of all ages who are looking to fuel their passion for speed, power and performance,” says Melissa Chau, Hot Wheels® Brand Manager.  “This year, our multi-platform campaign includes an interactive new website HotWheelsLive.ca, the Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™stunt, event sponsorships, the Hot Wheels® Live Tour in select Canadian cities as well as the hottest Hot Wheels® toys, clothing, accessories and so much more.”

Hot Wheels® fans can now visit HotWheelsLive.ca, the go-to source for anything on wheels.  From drag racers to drifters, motocross to monster trucks and supercars to snowmobiles, this is the place for all things awesome.  HotWheelsLive.ca features the best videos and content for speed, stunts, spills and thrills.  If you can drive it, ride it, push it or jump it, you’ll find it at HotWheelsLive.ca. Throughout the year, HotWheelsLive.ca will offer exclusive video segments of the fearless Team Hot Wheels™ and official Hot Wheels® Live hosts.  Fans of all ages can also put themselves in the driver’s seat and play Hot Wheels® Eat My Dust, for a chance to win one of 12 weekly Hot Wheels® prize packs and be entered to win the grand prize trip for four to the Indy 500® in Indianapolis.

Excited viewers who can’t wait for the action to start can watch Jeremy Piven’s Funny or Die video, “The Fifth Racer,” where Piven plays the “coffee guy” who is on a quest to become the fifth member of Team Hot Wheels®.

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

Look out for Team Hot Wheels® at the Indy 500®’s 100th anniversary race in Indianapolis, where they will attempt the biggest Hot Wheels® feat ever: the Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™ stunt.  Fans globally will watch in awe as Hot Wheels® attempts the outrageous – sending a masked mystery driver from Team Hot Wheels™ speeding down a 90 ft. ramp, suspended on an enormous 10-story high door (100 feet tall) and soaring across the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This history-making event will take place on Sunday, May 29th 2011 at 9 a.m. EST. Fans can watch a special 30 minute Hot Wheels® “making of” video and the Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™stunt on ABC at 3 p.m. EST following the Indy 500® race.

Hot Wheels® rolls out the orange carpet for fans, media and contest winners on Sunday, May 29th, 2011 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. for an exclusive Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™ viewing party in Toronto.  Members of Team Hot Wheels™ will perform thrilling stunts all afternoon, while the Hot Wheels® Live Host hypes up the crowd and the Hot Wheels® girls get hearts racing.  Attendees will be able to play the Hot Wheels® Eat My Dust game on HotWheelsLive.ca, participate in non-stop activities and watch the jaw dropping Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™ stunt on a jumbo screen.  To win special VIP tickets to the Hot Wheels® Fearless at the 500™ Toronto event, fans can log on to HotWheelsLive.ca to enter.

The Hot Wheels® Live Tour will travel to select Canadian cities with the Hot Wheels® Garage in tow, making thrilling stops at events like Formula 1 in Montreal, Honda Indy Toronto, Canada Diecast Convention and more. Fans will not only have a chance to snap photos with a life-sized Hot Wheels® car, but they’ll also be able to pose alongside the Hot Wheels® girls at select adult focused events.  Fans can pay homage to the history of the brand and look forward to the future through interactive Hot Wheels® displays, playing with the new Hot Wheels® Video Racer™ and Hot Wheels® Wall Tracks™ and challenging friends to a game of Hot Wheels® Eat My Dust inside the Hot Wheels® Garage. Race enthusiasts will have the opportunity to purchase their very own Hot Wheels® t-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories straight from the Garage. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th April 2011

Absolute Software Helps Consumers Prevent Identity Theft During Tax Season

Absolute® Software Corporation has released a list of best practices for consumers looking to protect and secure bank account information, identification numbers, and other sensitive data that is stored on their laptops, Absolute Softwareparticularly during tax season.

“Tax season provides cyber-criminals with the perfect opportunity to gain access to the most valuable stolen goods on the market – personal data, including bank account information and social security numbers,” said Mark Grace, vice president of consumer business, Absolute Software. “Through our involvement in laptop theft investigations in 75 countries, we’ve seen countless cases where stolen information was used to open credit cards, withdraw money from bank accounts, or apply for loans. Given the type of information needed to file taxes online, there has never been a better time to make sure that the correct safety precautions are in place.”

With approximately 70 percent of individuals filing tax returns online in 2010 according to the IRS, Absolute recommends that consumers adopt the following security best practices to ensure that personal information stored on computers is protected well beyond this year’s April 30th (18th in the USA) tax filing deadline:

  • Protect against phishing attacks – Large companies like Target, Citi, and countless others impacted by the recent Epsilon breach have sent emails to consumers, notifying them of their official policies for collecting personal information. Government agencies have been impacted by phishing threats as well. To help educate consumers on the ways that it collects information from filers, the Canada Revenue Agency offers this PDF on protecting yourself, and the IRS lists current procedures on its website. Becoming familiar with these policies and being alert to suspicious emails is key to preventing the disclosure of personal and/or financial information to malicious sources.
    Read the rest of this entry »
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13th April 2011

David Helgason To Keynote Canadian Games Conference

Canadian Games ConferenceAlong with a reminder that the deadline for Early Bird ticket prices for this year’s Canadian Games Conference is April 25th, organizers have confirmed that David Helgason will open this year’s Conference with a 9:30am keynote address on Thursday, May 19th. David, an entrepreneur, visionary and ex-programmer, has served as the CEO of Unity Technologies since co-founding it in 2003. David Helgason

Canadian Games Conference has also announced the following sessions, and I believe there are still more session announcements yet to come:

4 Art Directions in One Game: Mission Possible? – Thomas Wilson, Creative Director, Beenox

What Makes a Good Pitch? Lance Davis, Slant Six and Rob Caouette, Export Development Canada

Microsoft KINECT Showcase

Social Games: Manipulating Your Brain Chemistry for Good – Michael Fergusson, CEO, Ayogo Games Inc.

From AAA Console Game Development to iPhone – Chris Ulm, Appy Entertainment

Musing About Cloud – Denis Dyak, President, Silicon Knights

Evolution of an App – Matt Chilek, VP, Softlayer Technologies

How FIFA Stumbled on a New Business Model – Paul Hossack, EA

How MMOs Really Work – Simon Ludgate, Soulrift and Craig Morrison, Creative Director, Funcom Games

On-Line Everywhere – Cyrus Greenall, Ubisoft Vancouver

The Design Evolution of HOARD – Tyler Sigman, Big Sandwich Games

Use Social Media Marketing to Grow Your Studio – Matt Tanner, Business Development Manager, Snowed in Studios

So You Want to be a Game Programmer? – Karl Schmidt, Programmer, THQ

An Argument for Smaller Big Games – Raphael van Lierop, Relic

How to Self Fund Development – RBC, Export Development Canada and Big Sandwich Games

Cross Platform iOS Development – Wolfgang Hamann, CEO, Koolhaus Games

DO Sweat the Small Stuff – Kris Piotrowski, Creative Director, Capybara Games

Please visit the Conference site for a full listing of speaker sessions and bios.Canadian Video Game Awards

Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Canadian Videogame Awards on May 18th, featuring Video Games Live. The show will be held at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, and will be hosted by Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas. This is the party that will kick-off CGC, and tickets start at just $30.00. Join the biggest names in the Canadian game industry as we celebrate Canadian excellence.

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