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13th July 2011

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference In Toronto For 2012

Microsoft CanadaOne of the world’s most prestigious and advanced conferences will come to Toronto next July as Microsoft Corporation announced today that its Worldwide Partner Conference will meet in Toronto in 2012.

More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the Toronto conference, representing technology companies in 130 countries. While the main hubs of the action will be the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Air Canada Centre, many other venues will be involved as 500+ events take place during the conference and at least 32 hotels across the Toronto region will host delegates.

“Winning a prestigious meeting, for such a widely admired company, is not only a boost to the local economy but a testament to Toronto’s ability to host major events,” said David Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto, which submitted the winning bid along with provincial and local partners.

“Microsoft Corporation’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference attracts more than 15,000 delegates,” said Eric Gales, General Manager, Microsoft Canada. “The four-day event celebrates the accomplishments of the company’s 640,000 global technology partners. Microsoft Canada is thrilled that next year’s event will be hosted in the city of Toronto and excited by the opportunity for the city to showcase its diverse culture, entertainment, and world-renowned hospitality.”

From July 9 through 13, 2012, Worldwide Partner Conference is a must-attend conference for the technology industry that attracts delegates, vendors and suppliers from around the world. It is an opportunity to showcase Toronto as a destination as well as Toronto and Ontario’s innovative information technology businesses.

“Our government is thrilled that Toronto has been chosen to host next year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and we’re proud of our support to help bring it here,” said Laura Albanese, MPP York South-Weston. “This is a major win for the GTA and Ontario – it will put us front and centre on the world map, while boosting support for jobs, the economy and increased tourism.”

Tourism Toronto has committed to create a scholarship program to assist international students participating in the 2012 conference, with more details on this initiative to be shared in the coming months. Tourism Toronto will also provide opportunities for students in Ontario’s tourism and hospitality programs to gain valuable experience in event management through a marquee international conference.

“We are confident this will prove to be the most inspiring and technically advanced Worldwide Partner Conference ever for Microsoft, and will highlight our ability to come together as a tourism community to host large and sophisticated global corporate events,” said Mr. Whitaker.

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13th July 2011

A Space Shooter By Frima Coming To iOS

frima studioFrima Studios has been traced as the source of this cryptic message that has been transmitted across the gaming universe today:

“Attention people of Earth! It is I, Commander P Jefferson, sending this message from the future to a space shooter for free boss fightalert you that the galaxy is finally safe from alien scum. How did it become safe, you ask? Well, because I kicked their ugly alien butts!

On July 28, you will be able to recreate my epic battles with the forces of evil (a.k.a. anything that isn’t human) by downloading A Space Shooter for Free!, an exciting shooter that takes place in—wait for it—space! I bet you humans from the past are neither smart nor handsome enough to grasp that concept. A Space Shooter for Free! costs nothing to try and features an infinite supply of aliens to obliterate. The big ASS version, with more special weapons, more bosses and more power-ups can be unlocked in-game for only $0.99.

Within this epic and critically acclaimed game, previously available for the PSP, yours truly will yet again demonstrate how to kill aliens dead by blowing up their ships, earning loot to upgrade the USS Eradicator, and blasting even more aliens dead.”

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13th July 2011

Animated Media Launches LiveMobile

Animated Media IncAnimated Media has released LiveMobile, a customizable mobile application that captures and manages video streams in a Flash-based UI.  LiveMobile runs on both Apple and Android based devices, allowing the user to capture video, edit the video, add photo and text annotations, save it locally and then selectively publish it to websites for sharing.  “Reskinning” this application with your unique UI is an easy process.   LiveMobile Screen

LiveMobile is enabled by Animated Media’s multimedia development suite, the VGK Platform  and its innovative ability to deploy Flash content across mobile, consumer and digital home platforms and dynamically manage content to the full capabilities of the underlying hardware — enabling multi-stream video playback at the highest performance possible.  Another feature set supported by the VGK Platform is the ability to access video websites such as YouTube, compile video lists and enable selection and playback of multiple videos on one screen.

Animated Media continues to bring browser functionality into native apps.  Our tools and services bring a mix of web functionality and Flash technology to support simultaneous live broadcast or streaming video, in-app advertising, and audience and social media interactivity in a single native app with exceptionally fast performance to deliver the best user experience.

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13th July 2011

Kard Combat Worldwide Release

Hothead GamesHothead Games has unleashed strategy card game Kard Combat upon the world of iOS devices, complete with a Launch Special. Players can download the game for free from iTunes and join this ancient tournament of cards and magic. Entrants into the tournament grow powers and their Kard collections by battling their way up the Black Tower. On every floor there is a new opponent to fight using the cards at hand. There are rewards to earn to help defeat the Arch Mage, Harkus, and the many other magi to be encountered online.

From now through to July 20th, Kard Combat will be featured as OpenFeint’s Free Game of The Day. Players who download Kard Combat during this first week will receive Catastrophe, one of the most powerful cards in the game, and a +1 Life Crystal Shard.

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The free download includes:

* All 4 mage classes, each with unique strategies: Holy, Death, Machine and Dominator
* Over 40 Kards to use in battle
* Unlimited, turn-based multiplayer battles
* 5 Tower battles, complete with rewardsKard Kombat Mages
* 3 Single Duels
* 3 Difficulty levels to match any player’s skill
* OpenFeint and Game Center enabled, with achievements and leaderboards

For the minimum in-app purchase price of $0.99, players will also receive:

* The full, 33 battle Tower campaign
* Unlimited Single Duels
* Access to over 100 incredible, hand-crafted cards
* The ability to run up to 20 simultaneous multiplayer games

Lending his vision to co-design the game, Richard Garfield, creator of the wildly popular card game, Magic: The Gathering, stated “for years I’ve wanted to create a Magic-like experience for people who play video games. Kard Combat on iPhone and iPad does this and is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but with plenty of depth for the hard core player. Hothead has created a truly magical game.”

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Kard Combat is rated 12+ for the following:

Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Frequent/Intense Horror/Fear Themes

Device Requirements:

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later

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13th July 2011

Can Stock Photo Launches New Design and Stock Photo Search Engine

can stock photoHalifax-based Can Stock Photo announced several major web site upgrades today that are designed to make the stock photography website more user-friendly, making it possible to find stock photos faster and easier. Can Stock Photo hopes that by focusing on speed and by making searching for stock photos faster, they will have more satisfied customers who can save a few minutes a day when searching for stock photography.

The most apparent change at Can Stock Photo is the new website design. The page layout and design has been completely revamped, featuring a new logo, navigation links, front page, and search box. The intended focus of the new design is to provide more user-friendly navigation, visual appeal, and focus on the company’s collection of nearly 5 million stock photos. This marks the first major site redesign for the stock photography company in the past several years.can stock photo

The second major component of Can Stock Photo’s upgrades is its new search engine. The new search engine features technology that enables Can Stock Photo to return stock photo searches in milliseconds to its customers. This is a significant advancement, considering other similar search engines take over 5 seconds to load each search page. “We believe this may be the fastest stock photo search engine available anywhere” said Can Stock Photo’s General Manager, Duncan Enman.

Building on the fast search technology implemented in Can Stock Photo’s search engine, the company borrowed a page from Google’s playbook and implemented an instant search feature. Customers searching for stock photos are now able to refine their search and see instant updates to their image results. The goal of this feature is to further save customer’s time by eliminating the page load time often associated with refining each search criteria when browsing stock photos.


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13th July 2011

TM Events Launches Event Social Media Service

tm eventsVancouver’s TM Events & Promotions has become the first event planning company in Canada to offer fully-managed event social media services as part of its comprehensive portfolio of event and promotion services. The company launched its new event social media service at the TM Events 10th anniversary celebration on July 6. The event featured a social media campaign, designed in collaboration with MarketingSmartt, which propelled TM Event’s party into one of the top trending topics in Canada.

According to trendsmap.com, which tracks Twitter trends worldwide, within three hours of the event’s start, the #TMSOCIAL hash tag had generated more than 100 tweets and over 70,000 online impressions. TM Events achieved this trend with only 200 participating attendees. The evening’s social media activities delivered 86 mentions on Twitter and 100 comments on TM Event’s Facebook page. More significantly, the campaign added 100 new TM Events Facebook fans and 50 new Twitter followers.tmsocial

“We are dedicated to creating unique and memorable events for our clients,” says Traci Myles, president of TM Events, “which includes helping them achieve their business goals. Social media has become essential for maintaining brand awareness, and our 10th Anniversary party campaign proves that integrating social media with a well-planned event can deliver amazing results. Companies can use this type of event to launch their social media program, to kick-start or revitalize their brand. I can see demand for this service at product launches or rebranding events.”

Myles also feels that private clients will see value in adding social media to their events. “Guests told us that the social media activities actually made the party more fun for them, since they could share the experience with friends, family, and colleagues. It’s a connected world now, and social media allows for remote participation.”

Prior to the event, MarketingSmartt collaborated with TM Events on a tailored social media and content strategy which included elements such as online registration management and an event-specific email campaign. During the party, on-site activity included a social media game designed to reward guests who tweeted, posted, or recorded content from the event. There will also be follow-up outreach activities from TM Events to maximize the value of the campaign.

Saleh Tousi, CEO of MarketingSmartt, emphasizes that best practices for an event social media campaign needs to include key performance metrics that can be tracked and measured for business impact.

“In working with TM Events,” Tousi says, “we have been consistently impressed with their focus, initiative, and attention to detail. They gave us accurate audience profiles and a clear mandate which we could turn into measurable metrics that prove ROI. They executed flawlessly on all the social media activities we created. We are delighted to partner with them to help their clients and ours engage with event social media.”

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13th July 2011

Unhaggle Founders Presenting at International Startup Festival

unhaggleWith consumers and the business community falling for online automotive marketplace Unhaggle.com and its compelling promise to eliminate the time and hassle of negotiating a new car deal – it’s only natural that the founders are attending the upcoming International Startup Festival in Montreal.

Taking place from July 13-15, the International Startup Festival invites talented entrepreneurs with fast growing and innovative companies to present their businesses to top-tier investors and founders from around the world.

“We started Unhaggle because most people hate negotiating or just don’t have the patience to do it, particularly with car dealers. I realized this after a frustrating experience going through the car buying process myself,” explains Andrew Tai, co-founder, Unhaggle.com. “I wished there was an easier way to get a great deal without having to visit multiple dealers and haggling… and now there is with Unhaggle.”

“The Internet has made it easier to comparison shop for almost every product imaginable, so why not new cars?” asks Radek Garbowski, co-founder, Unhaggle.com.  “We are the only source that provides Canadian consumers with true market based pricing on new cars by getting dealers to compete online.  At the same time, we provide dealers with an efficient way to sell more and faster.”

Launched three months ago, here’s how Unhaggle works:

  • Customer builds the exact vehicle they want, selects local dealers to compete for their business and pays $47 on Unhaggle.com
  • Selected dealers are invited to submit their best offer for either the exact vehicle requested or an available alternative (e.g., different colour)
  • All dealer offers are presented to the customer for comparison
  • Customer clicks ‘Accept’ on Unhaggle.com to reserve an offer, providing a small deposit which is credited to the purchase price
  • The winning dealer is revealed and the customer personally completes the transaction and picks up the new vehicle at the dealership

“For less than the cost of a tank of gas, Unhaggle offers car buyers the convenience of not having to negotiate with any dealers, and the peace of mind of knowing they got a great deal,” adds Neal Shah, co-founder, Unhaggle.com.

The automotive industry is quickly embracing Unhaggle’s innovative model. The company announced today that it has agreed to be the exclusive new car buying service for integration with CanadianBlackBook.com, Canada’s leading resource for automotive pricing information. Unhaggle and Canadian Black Book will be developing and launching services that simplify and streamline the car buying process for consumers and dealers alike.

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13th July 2011

Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds renew the Theatrical Documentary Program

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds are pleased to announce the extension of their partnership for the Theatrical Documentary Program for 2011-2012. The upcoming program deadlines are September 2, 2011 for French-language projects and September 30, 2011 for English-language projects.

The goal of the Theatrical Documentary Program is to increase Canadian audiences for Canadian feature films, by encouraging the production of high-calibre feature-length documentaries for theatrical distribution. Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds have joined forces to underwrite this Program with the intent to support projects that will be commercially successful.Rogers

Since 2007, this unique public-private partnership has supported some 27 productions including critically acclaimed and award winning titles. Among them are Reel Injun (Reel Indian), Last Train Home, Le Coeur d’Auschwitz, La nuit, elles dansent and Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.

Applicants may apply for funding support for production and post-production stages. For production funding, the minimum production budget requirement is $600,000 for English-language projects, and $500,000 for French-language projects. There is no minimum budget requirement for applications for post-production assistance.

“Telefilm Canada is delighted to be renewing its agreement with the Rogers Group of Funds to support documentary filmmaking, a genre in which Canadians have long excelled on the international scene,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “In so doing, Telefilm upholds its commitment to support a diverse range of projects for the screen. We eagerly await the new crop of documentaries destined for theatrical release, and look forward to the unique perspectives they will bring to their subject matter.”

Robin Mirsky-Daniels, Executive Director of the Rogers Group of Funds, added: “Rogers continues to honor its commitment to support documentary production in Canada. We are proud of the role we have played in the financing of hundreds of Canadian documentary films and will continue to do so with the renewal of this program.”

Please note that changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for English-language projects. The requirement regarding the broadcasting licensing threshold has been reduced and is harmonized with the Canada Media Fund’s requirements for their English POV Program (point of view).

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13th July 2011

Book4Time Selects TripCraft As Mobile Development Partner

book4timeReservations Software provider Book4Time, Inc. has named US company TripCraft as its mobile development partner, announcing the launch of powerful mobile solutions for both consumers and spa operators later this year. This partnership provides Book4Time customers with world-class mobile capabilities on the TripCraft platform, seamlessly integrated into Book4time’s leading cloud-based spa solutions. Book4Time currently operates in 16 countries, with many of the leading international spa brands utilizing its robust platform.

“We’re excited to launch both consumer and business mobile solutions for our clients, extending our industry leading cloud-based spa software offering into mobile commerce,” remarked Roger Sholanki, CEO of Book4Time. “Leading the industry with the first web-based spa software platform and processing the first real-time online spa reservation, mobile solutions provide a new landscape to continue our innovation and market leadership.”

“This partnership with Book4time is incredibly exciting. We believe our mobile capabilities paired with Book4time’s robust spa solutions makes a powerful offering for spa operators looking to engage guests in new and compelling ways,” says Mike Murray, Co-Founder of TripCraft.

Book4Time’s web-based spa management system has completed over 20 million real-time spa appointments and currently averages over 500,000 appointments every month, peaking at nearly 40% coming from Book4Time’s reservation portals.

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13th July 2011

CardSwap In Top Three for Harvard Business School Alumni New Venture Contest

cardswapThe Harvard Business School Club of Toronto Alumni New Venture Contest winner, CardSwap, advanced to the ‘final 3’ out of 12 companies at the global finals hosted in Boston. The competition brought together regional finalists from HBS Alumni Clubs worldwide, including U.S., Brazil, Germany, India, Shanghai, South Africa and the UAE.

CardSwap is Canada’s largest online platform to buy, sell and donate gift cards. In Canada, each year over $1.0B of gift cards go unredeemed. Canadian’s can now convert their unused gift cards, and merchandiseThe CardSwap team comprised of Zaheed Poptia (MBA 2006), Frances Ho and Desmond Leung, all pictured here with HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. (CardSwap Inc) credits, into cash. Savvy shoppers can further save money by purchasing gift cards for leading Canadian retailers at discounts of up to 30% off and even be notified when a discounted gift card for one of their favourite retailers becomes available.

“The response to our business was very enthusiastic and the educational sessions really helped us refine our model,” said Frances.

CardSwap recently announced partnerships with selected Canadian Charities, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region and Covenant House Greater Toronto, where donors can now donate their gift cards to support these worthwhile causes and receive a tax-receipt for their gift card donations.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to represent the HBS Club of Toronto and Canadian entrepreneurship at-large,” said Zaheed.

The Harvard Business School Club of Toronto is the official organization for the 600+ HBS alumni living in the GTA. The Club organizes educational, social and community services activities for alumni.

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