17th May 2011

Tuesday Noon News Tidbits

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed an agreement with Starplex Cinemas to equip its Stadium 16 theatre in Corpus Christi, Texas and Stadium 14 in Normal, Ill. with D-BOX MFX Seats.

Stadium 16 in Corpus Christi will be the first of the two to feature the motion technology, debuting 25 D-BOX MFX Seats in time for the May 20 release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

“This initial agreement with Starplex Cinemas generates new opportunity for growth within the U.S. as this chain currently has a presence in California, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio, just to name a few U.S. states,” said President and CEO of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master.

“We are very much looking forward to introducing the D-BOX experience,” said Director of Marketing for Starplex Cinemas, Traci Hoey. “It’s a means of differentiating our theatres from others in the market while maintaining our commitment to provide a high-quality, state-of-the-art entertainment experience for our guests.”

HSBCThe HSBC International Business Awards are an important, new awards program that will honour Canadian firms that have made a real difference in taking their products and services to the world. The Awards were bestowed in the following categories: the HSBC International Business of the Year Award, Small and Medium Enterprise, the HSBC International Business of the Year Award, Large Enterprise, the Leadership in International Trade in Asia-Pacific, and the Leadership in International Trade in Latin America. The program was created in conjunction with Business without Borders, Canada’s newest and best source of news, analysis and practical information for companies reaching beyond this nation’s borders.

Of interest to us are the 2011 Award Winners in the Enterprise categories, because they are both from the Technology sector:

Small Medium Enterprise: ToonBoom Animation
Large Enterprise: Forensic Technology

GuestLogixGuestLogix, Inc., a global provider of onboard store technology to airlines and the passenger travel industry, today announced that Tom Douramakos, President and Chief Executive Officer was invited to present at the 12th Annual B. Riley & Co. Investor Conference at the Lowes Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, California.

Mr. Douramakos will discuss the benefits of GuestLogix’ onboard retailing technology and merchandising platform and highlight the Company’s success in penetrating the global airline industry. He will also outline the Company’s strategy to drive continued growth. The GuestLogix presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time in Palisades D.

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17th May 2011

Ontario Technology Corridor Nets 40 Million Dollar Investment

Ontario Technology CorridorYou can wait for Hollywood to come to you, or you can go to Hollywood and bring some home. In February, executives from the Canadian province of Ontario’s talent-rich tech cities went to the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles promoting pixel-perfect business conditions for expanding entertainment companies. A successful meeting with American United Entertainment LLC’s CEO Robert Rodriguez (Managing Director of American United Media Fund, LLC.) has quickly created a $40 million investment in media, film and television production infrastructure representing three to four upcoming feature films, television and/or digital media projects.

Pleased to discover Ontario’s open-arms approach to the film production and digital media industries, Rodriguez, whose backers include a who’s-who of Hollywood heavy hitters including Bill Mechanic of Pandemonium Films (former Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment), Arnold Rifkin of Cheyenne Enterprises (Producer of “Die Hard”), Toronto-based Kevin Hicks, and Thomas Sherak of Revolution Consulting (currently President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), who’s in charge of distribution for the company. One of American United Entertainment’s upcoming feature films is “Your Perfect Angel,” directed by comedy director Donald Petrie, who also directed Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality” and Kate Hudson in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

“Toronto’s an incredible city to do feature films and digital media, and thanks to the Ontario Technology Corridor and their many government and private sector partners, we’ve had our eyes opened to the possibilities for American United Entertainment expansions in gaming, special effects and social media,” says Rodriguez. “The fact that our industry is a provincial priority and there’s a wealth of graduates from colleges and universities as well as veteran production talent and companies makes Ontario a very compelling place to expand our business.”

“We are thrilled to welcome American United Entertainment to Canada’s digital entertainment heartland,” says Gerald Pisarzowski, Vice-President Business Development with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), an Ontario Technology Corridor partner. Pisarzowski and his Ontario Technology Corridor colleague Blair Patacairk, Senior Director, Investment, for the Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation, met with Rodriguez last February on a foreign direct investment trade mission that also included meetings at San Francisco’s Game Developer’s Conference 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th May 2011

Canada Ranked Seventh In World Competitiveness Yearbook

imdIMD, a top-ranked global business school based in Switzerland, today announced the findings of its annual World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY), which places Canada in seventh place, retaining its position from last year. Neighboring USA, along with Hong Kong, were on the top of list as the most competitive countries, both slightly ahead of last year’s winner, Singapore.

Published since 1989, WCY ranks and analyzes how an economy manages the totality of its resources and competencies to increase the prosperity of its population.

IMD’s WCY indicates that Canada’s top key attractiveness indicators include the country’s stable policy, skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure and high educational levels. Canada’s competitive strengths lie in its high level of resilience, efficient financial system and dynamic business culture. The country also ranks first for its ‘Image Abroad.’ In terms of weaknesses, there are concerns about relocation threats and vulnerability to commodity-dependency.

WCY ranks

Additional 2011 WCY findings:

  • Sweden jumps to fourth place from sixth, highlighting the competitiveness of the Nordic model
  • Germany shines and gains six ranks to tenth position thanks to increased exports and a more flexible labor market
  • Qatar, Korea and Turkey continue their ascent in competitiveness

IMD also released its first Government Efficiency Gap results, which compares a country’s government and business efficiency to determine whether countries have “the government they deserve.”

According to the findings, there is little gap between government and business efficiency in Canada, showing that the two reinforce one another and are well synchronized. On the contrary, overall competitiveness in the US was ‘rescued’ by its business efficiency. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th May 2011

The BrainStorm Group ReBrands Open Solutions

brainstorm groupToronto-based branding agency The BrainStorm Group recently launched a new brand strategy and visual identity for Connecticut-based Open Solutions, Inc.®, an innovator of core banking platforms for financial service providers across the United States, Canada and other international markets.

The new brand position, “There’s Power in Community” reinforces the open architecture of the Open Solutions platform including the newly launched DNAcreator and DNAappstore. It also reflects the collaborative nature of Open Solution’s client relationships.

The new visual identity includes an updated logo, complete brand architecture and messaging – bringing the new identity to life. It also features an iconic green “O” that brings the positioning to life through its usage across many communication mediums – including a new website.

The rebrand was launched at the 2011 Open Solutions client conference in Washington, DC, on Monday, May 2, 2011, in front of more than 1,200 attendees.

“The BrainStorm Group exceeded our expectations and created a positioning and brand identity that serves as a catalyst to our vision to become the largest global provider of technology solutions to the financial services industry,” stated Open Solutions CMO David Mitchell. “The rebranding has been enthusiastically received by our employees and clients re-energizing our company at this pivotal time.”

The BrainStorm Group was selected for the rebranding project after a competitive search process based on their proven branding process, creative approach, experience and team. The search process and oversight of the project was managed by Lovallo Communications Group LLC, Ridgefield, CT.

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17th May 2011

Artists Set to Create One Million Drawings On World Drawing Day

drawing day 2011As June 4th approaches, artists worldwide quietly sharpen their pencils in anticipation for Drawing Day 2011. In its fourth year, the event is set to infuse online art communities and social networking with one million drawings.

As social networking grows, artists have more power than ever to showcase their artwork with the world on Drawing Day 2011. The web is now the platform of choice for artists both amateur and professional to showcase their artistic skills. Websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, deviantART and a group of emerging online art communities are helping bring artists together for what is set to be the biggest worldwide drawing event ever. Artist and designer, Mick Gow and a small group of fellow artists had a vision almost 4 years ago to make some noise worldwide for the sake of art – and Drawing Day has been slowly growing ever since.

It’s quite possible that Drawing Day 2011 may reach that goal. “Social networking is more powerful than ever, and once the word spreads, artists will embrace the event,” says Gow. The event has already had a great start with a successful Drawing Day project on the popular fundraising website Kickstarter.com. “We launched our Kickstarter project to raise money for a book to document Drawing Day, and we hit that target pretty quickly,” he proudly adds. The book will showcase drawings submitted on Drawing Day and is part of what’s new with the event this year. The official event website showcases the official t-shirts, downloadable posters, and includes all the information anyone needs to participate.

It’s free and simple to participate and you can do so on your own, with a group of friends, or at your local school or community center. If you would like to participate at a local event and can’t find one, you can simply download a poster, post it on a notice board and organize to meet people in your community. All people need to do is arrive with a pencil and paper (or a computer if you’re a digital artist). Once you have completed your drawings, simply upload them to drawingday.org or to any of the participating websites listed.

Technology is definitely helping the Drawing Day mission. The website has created an online drawing application so people can draw directly on the website – and it works on an iPad. Since its launch, the iPad has been embraced by many artists as a digital and portable drawing tool. These artists are set to bridge the gap between traditional and digital methods of drawing and Drawing Day hopes to take advantage of this.

“Drawing Day is for everyone. You can draw using the latest technology, or use the event as an excuse to turn off the computer and spend time with family and friends using nothing more than paper and pencil,” says Gow. Whether you’re nine or ninety-nine years old, Drawing Day is hoping to remind people of the joy of drawing.

If you would like more information about Drawing Day 2011 or want to be involved either as an artist or to help promote the event, contact Mick Gow or visit the official event website.

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17th May 2011

ID Communications To Distribute World’s First Temple Worldwide

ID communicationsMontreal-based ID Communications Inc. announced at the Cannes Market documentary brunch event that it has reached an agreement for the worldwide distribution of Turkish feature documentary “The World’s First Temple (Göbeklitepe)” directed and produced by Ahmet Turgut Yazman.

Archaeologists recently uncovered what seems to be a ritualistic site erected twelve thousand years ago, predating the apparition of any known faith system. The open-air temple is made of massive pillars in spiral and circular forms. The discovery of the complex archaeological site of Göbeklitepe raises many questions. Does the existence of such an archeological feat suggest that the hunter-gatherer man was far more developed than we First Templeknow? How could the builders erect 40-70 ton colossal blocks? Could the carvings serve as a code? These are just some of the questions explored in the film. Two years of investigation, two years of filming across four countries, the film finds the experts weigh-in on the implications of the findings.

“It appears clear that we have yet much to learn about the origins of man and his quest to connect with something outside himself. This film in my opinion will appeal to a broad range of scientific as well as religion themed channels around the world. It also has potential in the very same market were films such as “The Secret” and “What the Bleep Do We Know” have had such strong success. We are thrilled to be associated with the film.” said ID’s principal, Dan Shannon.

The documentary, produced in collaboration with Turkish producer Maker Arts, relies on strong and dynamic visual effects, 2D and 3D animation to bring the viewer back in time.

“When we were first introduced to this project we were overwhelmed with the message of a pre-historic civilization and amazed to find such rich archaeological findings of this type which seem to re-write much of what we know about the chronology of spiritual traditions.” said executive producer Kerem Akalin.

Of “The World’s First Temple”, filmmaker Ahmet Turgut Yazman says, “It tells the story of an extraordinary discovery that may have a profound impact on human history. As I was watching the film on the large screen for the first time, I went back to my first day on Göbeklitepe – waiting for sunrise, surrounded by mysticism, awe, thrill, and euphoria. I sincerely hope that the audience feels the same.”

The 80-minute documentary won Most Educational Documentary at the Atlanta Docufest and was selected for the Iran Ciné Vérité, the Guangzhou GZ Doc, the 47th Golden Orange Antalya, the T.A.C. International Film and Video Festival Oregon, USA and the 30th Istanbul Film Festival, Turkey.

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17th May 2011

Canadian Norton Cyberbullying Survey Finds Girls More Likely To Be Victims

symantecSocial networking sites have become a popular platform for youth to stay connected. Although these sites have many positive benefits, some tweens and teens are using these channels as weapons to facilitate cyberbullying.

A new study from Norton Canada called The Norton Cyberbullying Survey polled parents from across the country about their children’s online experiences. One quarter of parents polled (26 percent), said their child had been involved in a cyberbullying incident. Of these, nearly three out of four (66 percent) parents said their child was the victim of the incident, 16 percent admitted that their child was the actual bully, and 18 percent said their child was a witness to a cyberbullying incident. In addition, a staggering 32 percent of parents stated they don’t completely know what their child does on the internet, but fear their child’s behaviour online could involve coming into contact with an online predator (44 percent).

The Norton Cyberbullying Survey also found that girls are more often involved in cyberbullying incidents than boys. In fact, 86 percent of parents revealed their daughters were victims of cyberbullies, compared to 55 percent of sons.

  • Mobile access: Cell phones were another vehicle for cyberbullying, with 22 percent of girls experiencing it more than boys (14 percent); cyberbullying via cell phone was also most common with middle schoolers (ages 13-14) (52 percent)
  • Social Networking: 43 percent of parents said they were comfortable with tweens (ages 8-12) having an account, as long as they were supervised by parents. (You have to be at least 13-years-old to access most social networking sites legally)
  • Top vehicles driving cyberbullying: According to the survey, the top three channels children are using to cyberbully are social media (63 percent), email (25 percent), and phone (19 per cent) – boys are more likely than girls to become victims of cyberbullying through social networks.
  • Lines of communication: 49 percent of parents claim to have a very open dialogue with their children about their online behaviour, but 32 percent of all parents feel that there are environments they can’t control (i.e. friend’s homes, what children do at school or Internet activity on his/her phone)
  • Controlling the situation: More than 50 percent of parents claim to use online parenting software to monitor their children’s internet use. Meanwhile 42 percent of parents said they check their child’s browser history to get a sense of what they are looking up online.

The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 507 men and women in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver who have a child between the ages of 8-18, all members of the Impulse Research proprietary online panel. The Impulse Research proprietary online panel has been carefully selected to closely match Canadian population demographics and the respondents are representative of Canadian men and women who live in those cities. Research was conducted in February 2011. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/-3% at the 95% level of confidence.

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17th May 2011

Moneyville.ca Partners with Investor Education Fund

Moneyville.ca, a comprehensive financial resource for everyday personal finance, has partnered with the Investor moneyvilleEducation Fund (IEF) to deliver high quality educational content that will help Canadians to make smart, informed decisions about money.  Adding to Moneyville.ca’s comprehensive editorial coverage on the financial issues that matter to Canadians, are hundreds of IEF articles, blogs and case studies.

“We have partnered with the IEF because we have the same priorities in mind,” says Adam Mayers, editor of IEFMoneyville.ca. “Both organizations stand for the consumer and offer plain speaking, clearly written articles on all aspects of personal finance from budgeting and basic money management to buying a car, bringing up baby and buying a house.”

A non-profit agency set up by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the IEF is funded by fines and settlements from OSC enforcement actions and has a mandate to improve investor education and financial literacy through the web and in schools. The IEF’s Get Smarter About Money site is a treasure trove of practical financial information including everything from budgeting to investments to lifestyle angles such as finding and losing jobs, the cost and considerations of getting married, having children and the implications for divorce and retirement.

“The consumer wins with this partnership,” says Tom Hamza, President of the IEF.  “Greater awareness of high-quality, unbiased resources will help consumers get what they need and help to avoid the financial mistakes that are so common.”

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17th May 2011

AMD Foundation Awards Game Design Education Grants to Two Ontario Recipients

AMDThe AMD Foundation today announced grants of more than $125,000 for educational programs that mark the non-profit’s expansion into Canada. The grants were awarded to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada and Friends of York University at the 2011 INplay Conference.  The awards support AMD’s education initiative, AMD Changing the Game, which is designed to inspire students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by creating video games. INplay 2011

“The AMD Foundation is committed to partnering with organizations that can help us meet students on common ground to build critical STEM skills,” said Allyson Peerman, President of the AMD Foundation. “The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada and York University are innovators in the education space and the perfect partners to help us grow educational game design curricula in Canada.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaThe Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada will receive $45,000 to create two new computer labs with Acer computers powered by AMD Fusion APUs and $32,000 to deploy Game Tech pilot programs that will familiarize students with video game design principles and the STEM skills involved in the process.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our technology learning programs for youth by enabling our Club members to access Game Tech,” said Pam Jolliffe, CEO and President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. “Using game design to support youth in their learning and get them excited about learning is an innovative approach that we think will encourage our youth to be actively engaged.”

The Ontario grants are the most recent collaboration between AMD Changing the Game and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. The Game Tech curriculum offers Club members ages 9-13 the opportunity to explore video game design and teaches systems thinking, introductory programming and problem-solving skills. The program is also designed to expose members to gaming career fields.

York UniversityFriends of York University will receive $15,000 to create a computer lab equipped with AMD-based technology, and $35,000 to develop after school programs that encourage girls aged 13-15 to make use of video game design as a way to harness the power of new media development for under-privileged youth in the Greater Toronto/York Region.  After school programs will be enhanced with a summer camp opportunity that will provide access for additional students, supplemental mentoring and confidence building opportunities.

“York University researchers are making new breakthroughs in digital media and gaming,” said Stan Shapson, Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University. “We are excited to partner with the AMD Foundation to extend our research and outreach into the pedagogy of gaming to engage high school girls. These opportunities will provide students with technical skills while giving the participants insight into careers in the gaming and digital media industries.”

AMD Changing the Game is designed to take gaming beyond entertainment and inspire youth to learn critical education and life skills by equipping them to create digital games with social content. The program’s purpose is to promote the use of youth game development as a tool to inspire learning and improve science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills. The initiative is rooted in AMD’s long history of supporting education, along with the company’s passion and expertise in the graphics processor and gaming industries.

Since its launch in June 2008, AMD Changing the Game has:

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17th May 2011

Deus Ex Human Revolution Infiltrates Social Media Platforms

Eidos MontrealEidos-Montreal and Square Enix are offering Facebook users the opportunity to unlock a slew of exclusive Deus Ex: Human Revolution assets by encouraging other fans and friends to “Like” the official Deus Ex Facebook page.  As more users “Like” the page, over 90 exclusive updates – including new videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and other artwork – will be revealed. Fans can also pre-order Deus Ex: Human Revolution to receive exclusive downloadable bonus content from participating retailers.

“Deus Ex has one of the most passionate, vocal and dedicated communities in all of video games, so offering a program that rewards that loyalty – even before the game is released – is a great way for us to give something back,” said Kyle Stallock, Community Manager, Eidos-Montreal.  “The Facebook community now has significant Deus Ex Human Revolution May Screenshotcontrol over the release schedule for some of our favorite assets.  We have a ton of surprises and unlockables planned, so fans should invite their friends to ‘Like’ the page and start collecting these rewards.”

The new program, which launched yesterday, offers more than 90 individual rewards for Facebook fans, including new wallpapers, screenshots and concept art as well as further details on in-game Augmentations, weapons and the story.

Previously, when the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Facebook page achieved 10,000 Likes, fans were rewarded with an exclusive wallpaper created by Eidos-Montreal Art Designer Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, that recreated the imagery from the highly collectible and super-rare PAX East 2011 tee-shirt.

The Deus Ex: Human Revolution Facebook page is where fans can keep up-to-date with the latest news, previews, videos and screenshots on the game; engage in discussions with other fans and development team members; and find out about other contests and promotions.  Fans can also visit the official site where they will find all of the game information and the official forums and join the human revolution on Twitter.

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