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4th May 2011

49 Pixels Appearing on The Nat and Marie Show Tonight

Pixel to ProductAhead of the release of its final report later this month, Pixel To Product’s Justin Kozuch will be making an appearance on the Nat&Marie show tonight at 9pm EST.

Justin will be Wikileaks-ing a handful of new results from the company’s recent research study, and I encourage you to tune in and catch the segment. On deck are some interesting insights into the types of skill-sets companies are hiring for this year, hiring projections, perceptions of bias (ageism, sexism, etc), and some other very interesting findings the study has uncovered.49 pixels

If you’ve got a question for Justin about the findings, tweet them to @49pixels or post your question on their Facebook fan page, or call into the show via Skype (add “NatAndMarieShow” to your Skype contact list), and they’ll do their best to answer it on the air.

They’re also giving away a copy of Scott Stratten’s “UnMarketing” for the best question; so think one up, tune in and you could be the lucky winner of a book I personally highly recommend.

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4th May 2011

Mesh Heads West

mesh conferenceMore than 100 years ago, Horace Greeley popularized the expression “Go West, young man”. Taking his advice to heart, the mesh group has decided to go west, and now one of Canada’s leading Web conferences will be holding a one-day event in Calgary on June 8 at the MacEwan Conference & Event Centre at the University of Calgary.

The move into Western Canada is the latest extension of the vision the five co-founders of mesh had when they decided in 2006 that Canada needed a conference to talk about the exciting things happening on the Web.

From those humble roots, mesh has grown into an event that has attracted a long series of great speakers and – just as important – thousands of enthusiastic and engaged attendees. Calgary is the first stop on a Western swing that will see meshwest also happen in Edmonton and Vancouver.

“meshwest was something that we’ve been exploring for the last few years,” said mesh co-founder Mark Evans. “After the successful launching of meshmarketing two years ago, the time was finally right to take mesh into Western Canada.”

Like mesh, meshwest will feature a line-up of keynotes and panels focused on four streams – media, society, business and marketing – with an emphasis on exploring what’s over the horizon in the digital world. Speakers include Tobias Lutke, Keith Bilous, Mark MacLeod, Danny Robinson, Mark Evans, Mathew Ingram, Rob Hyndman and Stuart MacDonald.

The “eastern” mesh conference takes place in Toronto on May 25th and 26th.

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4th May 2011

Bell TV and Shaw Direct Must Carry More Local Stations

CRTCThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today updated its satellite distribution policy to require Bell TV and Shaw Direct to carry all local television stations supported by the Local Programming Improvement Fund.

“Canadians in all markets should have access to their local television stations, regardless of how they receive their programming,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The carriage of additional local stations will put satellite distributors on the same footing as cable companies and provide their subscribers with more choice in local news and information.”

Under the existing policy, satellite distributors must offer, as of September 1, 2011, the following local stations:

  • an affiliate of each national television network
  • five English- and five French-language CBC stations; or as many CBC stations as are distributed from a private broadcasting group in either official language
  • one television station per province from each major Canadian broadcasting ownership group, and
  • two stations from each of the other Canadian broadcasting ownership groups.

As a result of recent CRTC proceedings, Bell TV and Shaw Direct must now distribute a broader range of local television stations.

Given the forthcoming conversion of its satellite service from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 technology, Bell TV will now have to carry at least 43 additional television services, including local and regional stations and independent community stations, by August 31, 2012.

Similarly, given that Shaw will be launching a new satellite in late 2012, Shaw Direct will have to distribute by January 1, 2013, the 80 stations that receive funding from the Local Programming Improvement Fund.

The CRTC’s satellite distribution policy has been changed to reflect the new obligations that will apply to both companies.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-295

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4th May 2011

Privacy Commissioner Concerned About Data Breaches

Government of CanadaAn alarming trend of ever-bigger data breaches is prompting Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart to call for substantial fines against major corporations that fail to adequately protect Canadians’ personal information from preventable breaches.

“I am deeply troubled by the large number of major breaches we are seeing, including serious incidents in recent weeks that have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians,” says Commissioner Stoddart.

Jennifer Stoddart

Jennifer Stoddart

During a speech today at the Canada 3.0 forum in Stratford, Ontario, the Commissioner stated:   “Too many companies are collecting more personal information than they are able to effectively protect…. It seems to me that it’s time to begin imposing fines – significant, attention-getting fines – on companies when poor privacy and security practices lead to breaches.”

Before the federal election campaign, the Canadian Parliament was considering legislation to create a requirement for private-sector organizations to report significant data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals.

Commissioner Stoddart said the new session of Parliament creates the opportunity to strengthen the legislation to give the Privacy Commissioner the power to impose substantial fines in appropriate cases.

“I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get some corporations to pay adequate attention to their privacy obligations is by introducing the potential for large fines that would serve as an incentive for compliance,” she said, noting that her counterparts in a number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain, have already moved to impose hefty fines following breaches.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada.

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4th May 2011

CIRA Releases Canadian Internet Report

ciraThe Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has released a report on the findings from its national consultation on how the Internet is run. The report will be presented to the United Nations coordinated Internet Governance Forum, a venue for nations to discuss the future of the Internet.

The Canadian Internet Forum (CIF) was a national consultation hosted by CIRA, along with its partners, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Media Awareness Network (MNet). It consisted of face-to-face consultations that took place across Canada along with input received from an online discussion forum, and culminated at a national event held in Ottawa and webcast across the country in February 2011.

The consultations were broadly themed under two topics: the digital economy and digital literacy, and Canadians identified numerous issues that are important to them. These issues included online safety and security, the development of a ‘Canadian vision’ for the Internet and the cost and speed of broadband.


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4th May 2011

Toronto Digifest 2011

digifestDigifest 2011 is Toronto’s international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity. From October 26-30 established and emerging designers, technologists and artists will learn about the latest trends and experience innovations firsthand through panel discussions and presentations, demos, interactive exhibitions, workshops, art installations, “doors open” academic tours, creative showcases and parties.

Digifest will showcase digital media creativity in Toronto, bringing together academic, industry and the public to experience the convergence of interactive & mobile media, gaming, art and design, architecture, simulation and more.

Digifest will celebrate the latest achievements in visualization, simulation and interaction in many fields, inspiring and connecting all involved.  The festival’s long-term vision is to globally brand Toronto as a leading digital media and technology centre based on the unique breadth and depth of its digital sectors.

Digifest has been renewed and updated by the School of Design at George Brown College in partnership with the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFF), Applied Arts Inc., Meet The Media Guru (Italy), TOJam, Gamercamp, OCAD University, Ryerson University, Seneca College and various media and venue partners.

Innovation Days

(Wednesday October 26 – Thursday October 27, daytime)

This exciting portion of Digifest will showcase results of industry/school research partnerships to a crowd made up of industry members, academics and students. The content will be selected by Digifest and its academic partners. Each morning / afternoon will be devoted to one of the four Digifest streams: play, touch, build, watch.

Talks will be delivered by industry “thought leaders” followed by shorter presentations from various innovators in related fields.

Tiff.nexus Innovation Day

(Friday October 28)

TIFF.nexus is the connection of the existing and emerging media sectors of Film, Gaming and New Media, designed as a catalyst for collaboration between them.  This innovation day will feature emerging technology talks and presentations as well as the results of the 2011 Gaming Peripherals Jam – putting game developers together with hardware hackers to innovate in areas of interface – which will be showcased in an evening reception at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Meet The Media Guru

(Wednesday October 26 – Friday October 28, evening)

Meet The Media Guru (MMG) is a Social Network and an Open Community of Digital Culture that organizes local Events in Italy to meet the world famous protagonists of Innovation. Digifest is bringing MMG events to Ontario by making them a key component of the DF schedule. These evening speaker events will bring innovators from across the globe for thought-provoking presentations that will inspire and challenge attendees.

Exhibits and Activities

(Saturday October 29 – Sunday October 30)

The Digifest weekend activities will feature an array of exhibits, interactive displays, presentations and more, with many free events open to the general public. Events include:

  • TOJam: featuring a day of talks by local game makers and industry thinkers, exclusive in-progress demos, and an arcade installation of over 20 games from TOjam.
  • Art by Gamercamp exhibition, displaying digital art and design installations.
  • Ziris™ wall: an on-going display of Digifest Ziris™ competition entries to be featured on the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Ziris™ wall throughout the week and into the weekend. The Ziris Competition is open for entries until May 27th – get yours in now.
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4th May 2011

Adventures Afoot At The Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science CentreAlready planning your summer of fun? The curious and courageous need look no further than the Ontario Science Centre. With a captivating special exhibition, a thrilling featured live interactive performance and dynamic programming that will engage children and adults alike, visitors have a lot to be excited about this summer.

These new arrivals are included with general admission, providing great value for visitors and members.

Featured Exhibition

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly June 10 to Sept. 5, 2011
Which snake has the longest fangs? What is the difference between venom and poison? How many sounds can a crocodile make? Visitors will learn the answers to these questions and many others in the exhibition Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly. This interactive zoological experience brings visitors eye-to-eye with living reptiles from around the world. Deadly snakes, colourful lizards, bizarre turtles, alligators and crocodiles are exhibited in naturalistic habitats. Children can climb on a life-sized model of a giant Galapagos turtle shell and learn fascinating reptile facts from interactive displays. The exhibition will leave visitors with a new appreciation for these often misunderstood creatures.

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s REPTILAND, Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

Featured Live Interactive Stage Performance

CSI: Live! June 6 to Sept. 5, 2011
The world’s number one television franchise is about to hit the stage!  Mad Science presents CSI: LIVE!, an exciting, interactive journey through the fascinating world of crime scene investigations.  When a crime is committed at the Las Vegas premiere of the Max Spade Magic Show, the CSI team springs into action. Audience members are invited on stage with CSI “investigators” to be part of the investigation; becoming witnesses, suspects and CSI recruits. Together they will use their superior logic and forensic know-how to uncover hidden details, investigate the evidence and test their theories. Whether it’s analyzing mysterious gases, launching projectiles into a target or firing a laser beam across the stage, the CSI recruits will have to be on their toes to help solve the crime before it’s too late. How was the crime committed? Who is guilty? Only you can find the answers. It’s CSI: LIVE! – join the adventure! Recommended for children 8 years of age and up. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th May 2011

Future Shop App Version 2 Now on iTunes

Future ShopFuture Shop has released version 2 of the Future Shop App for iPhone. Future Shop’s App for iPhone gives Canadians instant access to all of the products and latest deals, right at their fingertips. The updated App is compatible with all generations of iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and packed with new features such as QR code scanner, enlarged product views and access to consumer ratings and reviews.

Future Shop App downloads place among the highest downloads in the Canadian App Store among free iPhone Apps with more than 260,000 downloads to date.

Key features of the updated Future Shop App:

  • Scan barcodes and QR codes instantly.
  • Browse and search over 100,000 products with detailed specs, including customer ratings and reviews.
  • Easy, enlarged viewing to see the latest, hottest items on sale.
  • Check stock levels in-store and online.
  • Rate and review products directly from an Apple iOS device.
  • Faster and more robust checkout process.
  • Get items faster using the In-store Pickup feature.
  • Geo-location powered Store Locator.
  • Save products to Favourites and revisit later.
  • Compatible with all generations of iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
  • Easy access to “Tech Yeah,” Future Shop’s leading online community for technology enthusiasts.
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4th May 2011

INplay 2011 Featured Speakers and Sessions

INplay 2011Interactive Ontario has announced the speaker line-up for the second annual INplay Conference, which takes place at the Liberty Grand in Toronto on May 17th and 18th. With its three major topic streams of Investment, Inspiration and Insights, the conference will examine the world of interactive entertainment and education for children. Registration for INplay is still open, so get your ticket now if you haven’t already.

New at the conference this year is the Canadian Interactive Showcase. Interactive Ontario has partnered with the Canada Media Fund to create an exclusive opportunity at INplay to showcase Canadian talent. The Canadian Interactive Showcase presented by CMF will provide Canadian companies with a chance to share their interactive project, product or service with an audience of investors, potential partners and peers.

INplay also gives registered delegates a chance to sit down with one of our event speakers or other featured participants for a 10 minute speed-dating style conversation in 1×1 Meetings.

Here are some of this year’s featured speakers:

Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., Editor, Children’s Technology Review • Founder, Dust or Magic conference, author & children’s technology expert

Gever Tulley, Co-Founder, Brightworks • TED speaker, author of Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)

Russ McLeod, Chief Operations Director, Me To We • Audience favourite and key player in youth inspiration events

Rupert Harris, Series Producer, BBC Children’s • Series producer for the BBC smash hit TV show and website: Bamzooki where you can create your own virtual Bamzooki creature.

Julie Sun, Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Nickelodeon • Sets the strategy and implementation methodologies for the internationally acclaimed kids network, Nickelodeon.

David Merrill, President and Co-Founder, Sifteo • Entrepreneur, Ph.D. & TED speaker with a vision for the future of kids games – Sifteo Cubes: 1.5 inch computers with full colour displays that sense motion, sense each other, and wirelessly connect to your computer

Some of the Featured Sessions:

* Inspiration Stream – creativity and content stream featured session: I <3 / H8 Transmedia
Back in the day, having an interactive component to a property was something of a novelty. Now, most would agree that all consumable media should be developed with interactive in mind. So, does this make the term Transmedia moot? This session will explore successful cross-platform projects via case studies, followed by a charged discussion about one of the industry’s most hated buzzwords.

* Investment Stream – business stream featured session: Cross Merchandising – The Chicken or the Egg?
What comes first? The video game, toy, TV show or iPad application? This panel of industry experts will discuss various merchandising and licensing opportunities. What are the benefits to licensing your property to a 3rd party? When is the right time to start to build your brand around merchandising?

* Insights Stream – research and e-learning stream featured session: Bye Bye Textbooks, Hello Learning by Playing
From human/primate evolutionary behavioral parallels, to classroom archetypes, this session considers the very specific question of how computer based gaming will likely change the look and feel of education forever. The core point being that current educational materials are deeply connected to the peculiarities of the printing press – which we are no longer bound to. What are the implications of learning materials being technology-based?

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4th May 2011

Office Jerk Moves To Over One Million Locations

fluikOffice Jerk, the latest game from Fluik Entertainment and Big Fat Simulations, is off to an incredibly successful start with more than 1.6 million downloads from the iTunes App Store in its first four days of availability. Download numbers continue to climb for the feel-good game of the year for anyone tired of dealing with brown-nosing, know-it-all coworkers, as Office Jerk quickly became the #1 free app in 23 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and placed among the top 5 free apps in 62 countries. Office Jerk is available for free in the iTunes App Store.

Office Jerk is the 10th game from Edmonton-based Fluik Entertainment, and the latest in a string of successful Office Jerkcollaborations with Vancouver’s Big Fat Simulations. The two companies previously teamed up to bring Airport Madness Challenge to iOS devices, a game that surpassed 750,000 downloads – albeit not nearly as fast as Office Jerk. Office Jerk is free to download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with in-app purchases unlocking the satisfyingly destructive ACME Pack (dynamite, pie and eggs) for $1.99, as well as the office-supply-themed Remove Ads pack (mug, stapler) for $0.99.

“We are thrilled to see the enthusiastic response to Office Jerk, and couldn’t possibly be happier with the game’s success. Obviously there are a lot of people who like to chuckhousehold objects and office supplies at people… virtually, of course,” said Victor Rubba, CEO of Fluik Entertainment. “We had high hopes for the game, and reaching the top of the App Store charts in so many countries is truly humbling; we’ll continue to support the franchise in the future, and I assure you that this is just the beginning for Office Jerk – and for Fluik, as a developer of top-quality, highly engaging gamesthat players of all ages can enjoy.”

Office Jerk Bio:

You know the guy. He works late, always gets stuff done on time and would never, ever think about calling in sick. But don’t let his do-good attitude get you down… it’s time to get even. Grab whatever you have on your desk and throw it at him when he least expects it, racking up your score with each consecutive, bone-crunching impact. Just be sure to account for the gusting winds caused by the communal office fan, or you might end up causing damage to something other than that brown-noser… And nobody wants that, right?

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