1st September 2011

Wajam Goes Local

wajamPopular social search plug-in Wajam has expanded with Wajam Places, which shows users location-based results from their friends directly in Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.

Now it’s even easier to find relevant information from friends who live in the places you’re searching such as places that friends and associates have liked in any given locale, along with places they have checked-in to and photos they may have taken at that location.

Users who are new to Wajam’s service will start seeing results based on location directly in their compatible search engines, while longtime users will see Wajam Places along with regular results as the service crawls location markers that Wajam has already stored for you.

As an early adopter, I’ve been using Wajam for several months, and I find this to be an invaluable add-on for my search results, especially when I know someone mentioned something but I can’t remember whom – a simple Google Wajam search on the topic and there it is. Wajam is easy to install and very easy to use; for me it’s become an important part of my research toolkit.

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1st September 2011

Shaw To Build Broadband Wireless Network

Shaw CableShaw Communications Inc. has announced the results of its strategic review of the wireless business opportunity, including the potential value of wireless in the traditional cable bundle, the rapid evolution of wireless technologies, the capital needed to build a competitive wireless network (including additional spectrum requirements), recent changes in the wireless competitive environment, and the impact that wireless would have on long-term shareholder value.

When the corporation first started looking at the wireless opportunity, it saw wireless as a complementary product in a world where broadband Internet access is moving increasingly to wireless devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks, etc). A wireless offering could give Shaw a platform from which to extend current services and leverage its broadband, video, voice and content/programming businesses. Editor’s note: this could also translate into a bonus for Canadian programming like Endgame, the Gemini Award-nominated crime drama which many are hoping will be renewed for at least a second season.

However, the economics of a conventional wireless business as a new entrant are extremely challenging. New entrants lack the economies of scale and scope to compete effectively against well established incumbents with ubiquitous coverage, extensive device ecosystems, deep spectrum positions and large retail networks. Even with Shaw’s established base and considerable strengths and assets, the company could not justify a wireless network build at this time.

The corporation believes that a more prudent approach is to provide a managed Wi-Fi network that will allow customers to extend their Shaw services beyond the home. This will achieve the company’s objectives without risking well over $1 billion in capital expenditures on a traditional wireless network build.

As a wireless broadband technology Wi-Fi is evolving rapidly with significant improvements in throughput, coverage and reliability. Wi-Fi technologies are now capable of providing seamless hand-off and extensive metropolitan area coverage. Wi-Fi is in virtually all portable consumer devices and customers are actively seeking Wi-Fi hot spots to reduce data costs and improve their wireless broadband experience. The vast majority of tablets sold to date are Wi-Fi only devices. Wireless broadband is increasingly viewed as a portable and nomadic service for the consumption of media rich content and video.

Major wireless carriers worldwide are deploying Wi-Fi as means of offloading 3G/4G traffic thereby reducing network build costs, and improving capacity and coverage. Shaw believes that cable operators are uniquely positioned to take advantage of Wi-Fi.

In addition, given that Wi-Fi spectrum is free and there are no device subsidies, Shaw can build extensive Wi-Fi coverage at a substantially lower cost relative to a traditional wireless network and still provide customers with an excellent broadband wireless experience.

“We have decided to focus on strengthening our core business and leveraging our media and programming assets to support our leadership position in broadband and video,” said Brad Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Shaw. “Our decision not to pursue a conventional wireless business is consistent with this strategic approach and our focus on shareholder value.”

Shaw held a conference call earlier today to discuss additional details regarding the announcement, with further news forthcoming.

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1st September 2011

Coming Up At WordFest

WordFest has announced the full Festival line-up for the 16th annual WordFest, which runs from October 11-16. Outside of the more than 60 events during the six day festival, WordFest is also hosting two special events in November featuring Adrienne Clarkson (November 1) and Wade Davis (November 9).Adrienne Clarkson

On Tuesday, November 1, WordFest presents Adrienne Clarkson at the Central Library, John Dutton Theatre (616 Macleod Trail SE in Calgary) at 7pm. The event will feature the former governor general of Canada presenting her new book, Room For All of Us, followed by a signing. Clarkson’s book is a collection of personal stories that explore the immigrant experience. Tickets are $15.

On Wednesday, November 9, WordFest returns to the Central Library, John Dutton Theatre to present bestselling author and adventurer Wade Davis at 7pm. Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, will present his latest book, Into the Silence: the Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest. Tickets are $15.

Jo Steffens, Festival Director, revealed the list of 76 writers showcased in the Festival with an eager response from readers, local writers, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, media and WordFest patrons. WordFest will Wade Davisfeature 17 Albertan writers, 64 Canadian artists and writers from Australia, Germany, Mexico, Scotland, St. Lucia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“I am really excited about this year’s line-up, there’s an exceptional group of Canadian and Albertan writers and some very strong emerging and first-time novelists,” said Steffens. “WordFest is introducing new programming this year, including more free events in addition to annual favourites.”

“This year WordFest is sharing the power of words in new ways. The Festival is showcasing a radio play based on the work of Jessica Westhead and a text-based installation on outdoor billboards. With this mix of talent, genres and themes there is really something for everyone,” said Steffens.

Annual WordFest favourites are included in the line-up of events this year, including Poetry Bash, Lattes, Love and Laughter and the Evening Showcases. New events such as Alberta (Un)Bound, Persuasion, Word Powered Art and Franklin Family Fun Day! show the breadth of WordFest programming that includes industry events, poetry and diverse multilingual programming. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st September 2011

OpenText Solutions Named KMWorld 2011 Trend-Setting Products

Open TextKMWorld Magazine has named the OpenText ECM Suite 2010 a “Trend-Setting Product of 2011” along with business process management (BPM) offerings from OpenText Metastorm and OpenText Global 360. Multiple OpenText products have been named to the KMWorld list of trend-setting products over the years, and in recognition of the company’s ongoing innovation KMWorld last year inducted OpenText into its Hall of Fame.

KMWorld’s Trend-Setting Product awards were first launched in 2003. This year, more than 800 products were assessed by KMWorld’s judging panel, which consisted of editorial colleagues, analysts, system integrators, vendors, line-of-business managers and users. All products selected demonstrate identifiable technology breakthroughs that serve the vendors’ full spectrum of constituencies, especially their customers.

“We’re consistently impressed by the level of innovation and product excellence OpenText has demonstrated year after year,” said KMWorld Editor-in-chief Hugh McKellar. “That said, we take a fresh look at every product in compiling this list, and once again OpenText’s ECM and BPM offerings stood out as true trend-setters in knowledge management.”

OpenText products named to the KMWorld list included:

OpenText ECM Suite 2010 – Representing the largest innovation effort in the company’s history, the latest release of the OpenText ECM Suite is the industry’s most comprehensive, fully integrated ECM solution suite. It adds wide-ranging new functionality linked through numerous integration points covering 90 products and modules, and spanning compliance, portals, enterprise information archiving and mobility.

OpenText Metastorm – The latest OpenText Metastorm software, enhanced by extensive Social BPM capabilities, delivers a complete business transformation platform for enterprise and business architecture, business process analysis, and business process management to help companies outperform their business goals. It helps organizations close the gap between strategy and execution and includes support for requirements gathering, design, deployment and optimization of complex business processes.

OpenText Global 360 – By tapping into all the advantages of the cloud, OpenText Global 360 introduces enterprises to collaborative process discovery driven by friendly wizard-based guides based on BPM best practices and extensive research. Using Global 360, organizations can design Microsoft Visio® process models and simulations, develop a reusable knowledge base, inform stakeholders of the latest discovery efforts, and track projects milestones and deadlines.

“If there’s one thing you can count on in the knowledge management market it is rapid change, and to stay relevant as a vendor continual innovation is a must,” said Lubor Ptacek, Vice President, Strategic Marketing and General Manager for the Microsoft Solutions Group at OpenText. “Therefore, it is important for us to always be pushing forward with new product capabilities and driving innovation that helps our customers, and this award reflects that commitment.”

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1st September 2011

CIOs Surveyed Say Workplace Communication Will Favour Real-Time Tools

Robert HalfEmail may soon become the new snail mail, a new Robert Half Technology survey suggests. Nearly half (48 per cent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed recently said real-time workplace communication tools will surpass traditional email in popularity within the next five years.

The Canadian survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CIOs from companies across Canada with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “In the next five years, do you think real-time workplace communication tools – for example, Instant Messaging, SharePoint, Yammer, etc.,  will be more or less popular than email among employees?”

Their responses:

  • Much More Popular……………….. 15%
  • Somewhat more popular……………. 33%
  • The same……………………….. 38%
  • Somewhat less popular……………. 6%
  • Much less popular……………….. 1%
  • Don’t know/ no answer……………. 7%

Robert Half Technology outlines three benefits a transition to real-time tools could have on the workplace:

  • Speed: Instant messaging (IM) allows employees to have conversations at the click of a button, without opening emails or waiting for responses. IM also enables employees in different locations to have real-time conversations, thus resolving issues more quickly.
  • Convenience: Many programs include a host of features like IM, microblogging, forums, and document collaboration and management. This eliminates the need to switch between separate programs to communicate. Not only does this have the potential to improve efficiency, but it can increase collaboration on projects and reduce the need for meetings.
  • Social Aspect: Enterprise social networking sites, such as Yammer or Chatter, are useful for collaboration and sharing ideas and best practices within the company. This technology also has the potential to foster teamwork and camaraderie among employees.

“Although there is a definite place for email in the workplace, using real-time tools allows workers to solve problems and get the answers they seek much more quickly than constructing an email and waiting for a reply,” said Lara Dodo, a regional vice-president for Robert Half Technology in Canada. “IT professionals need to be sure to keep pace with new technologies – as expertise in these real-time tools can enhance their marketability and stay competitive in the job market.”

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1st September 2011

The Baconing is Now Released for All Platforms

Hothead GamesIndie game developer Hothead Games is very excited to announce that gamers can now eat up their tastiest action RPG, The Baconing on Xbox LIVE® Arcade, PlayStation®Network, Windows-based PC, and Mac. This epic adventure of bacon goodness is available on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 for 1200 Microsoft Points, and on PlayStation®Network, Steam, and the Mac App Store for $14.99.

Mike Inglehart, Producer on The Baconing commented: “This stand alone sci-fi adventure is our best game yet. If you like Hothead’s games, be prepared for plenty of our charm, humor and adventure. If you never played a DeathSpank game before, jump in with The Baconing – it’s very, very tasty and available for everyone, regardless of what system you want to play on.”

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In The Baconing, hero DeathSpank, oblivious of an ancient Thongolith myth, carelessly pulls on all six Thongs of Virtue at the same time, summoning an unspeakable self-evil, the AntiSpank. DeathSpank must bear the incredible heat and enter the Fires of Bacon to destroy five of the six thongs to vanquish the AntiSpank.

With an improved tactical combat system, players can defeat evil on their own or partner up with new side-kick, Bob from Marketing and other characters for local co-op play. Along the way, DeathSpank travels through sci-fi inspired worlds, meeting a hilarious cast of characters, and obtains new Weapons of Justice and suits of armor as he fights to return peace to his beloved Spanktopia.

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1st September 2011

Euroleague Basketball Represented In NBA Jam On Fire Edition

EA SportsElectronic Arts and Euroleague Basketball have announced a licensing partnership that makes the global interactive entertainment software company an official partner under the video gaming category. Under this agreement EA Sports will include Turkish Airlines Euroleague players in the upcoming release of the mythical arcade game NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.NBA Jam On Fire Edition

This is the first time that European clubs will be officially represented in the NBA JAM franchise, one of the most successful video games in sports history. All fans will be able to choose any of the four participating teams in the last Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Dimitris Diamantidis and Mike Batiste of Panathinaikos Athens, Lior Eliyahu and Sofoklis Schortsanitis of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, Bo McCalebb and Ksistof Lavrinovic of Montepaschi Siena, Sergio Llull and Carlos Suarez of Real Madrid will be amongst the players representing the four Euroleague teams in the 2–on–2 basketball games.

Currently in development at EA Canada,  NBA JAM: On Fire Edition will change the way players play this iconic franchise. All your favorite moves, spins and dunks are still available but now includes a host of gameplay improvements.  NBA JAM: On Fire Edition brings you even more to this basketball arcade classic.  Enhanced gameplay, ground breaking artificial intelligence and exciting online features continue to bring countless hours of enjoyment to this over-the-top experience.  The game will be available via digital download.

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1st September 2011

Bearville Passes 20 Million Avatars

frima studioFrima Studio and Build-A-Bear-Workshop® have announced that Bearville.com™, the online virtual world extension of the Build-A-Bear Workshop brand, has surpassed 20 million avatars. Bearville™ is a premier virtual world experience for children, families and fans of the Build-A-Bear-Workshop brand. Co-developed and maintained with Frima Studio, Bearville is a free online virtual world and entertainment destination where Guests bring their furry friends to life, interact with other users, play games, take on virtual jobs, buy virtual items and explore.Bearville

Since its launch in 2007, Bearville has entertained millions of young fans and earned a spot as one of the top children’s virtual worlds. With exciting adventures, avatar customization and mini-games, Bearville has solidified Build-A-Bear Workshop as a leader in kids interactive entertainment. With the success of Bearville, the company continues to extend its brand from retail shops into e-commerce, online virtual worlds, mobile entertainment apps, and more.

“We’re extremely proud to reach the twenty million avatar milestone with Bearville and are thankful to all of our loyal fans who visit the virtual world each day,” commented Maxine Clark, Founder and Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear-Workshop. “This achievement reinforces our commitment to provide a fun, interactive experience for our guests.”

“Frima Studio has been a critical partner for us in developing the online world on Bearville.com. From concept to twenty million Guests, Frima has been with us every step of the way,” noted Dave Finnegan, Chief Information Bear, Build-A-Bear-Workshop. “Their strategic partnership, creative thinking and technical expertise have been essential to the success of Bearville.”

“This has been an exciting project for us from the start and we’re honored to have been a trusted partner of Build-A-Bear-Workshop for almost five years now,” remarked Steve Couture, CEO, Frima Studio. “Bearville is one of our biggest projects here at Frima, an incredible family brand and a very forward thinking entertainment company.”

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1st September 2011

DHX Media Appoints Home Entertainment Partner For Rastamouse

dhx mediaHalifax studio DHX Media has appointed Universal Pictures UK as home entertainment partner for Rastamouse, the CBeebies stop-motion animated series, which is scoring high ratings on the UK channel and BBC iPlayer. Universal will release the first Rastamouse DVD on 3 October 2011. It will feature six episodes including Da Crucial Plan, Bakin’ an Breakin’, Mice Camera Action, Da Rhymin Teef, Pie Widout Cheese and Toots Re-routes alongside exclusive bonus content: three sing-along songs from Rastamouse & Da Easy Crew and fun printable activities. The Rastamouse DVD will retail at £12.99 and will be supported by a TV advertising campaign.

Jessica Horne, A & R Manager for Universal Pictures UK commented: “We’re delighted to be releasing Rastamouse rastamouseon DVD. In a crowded market, this is a pre-school series with a genuine USP. Rastamouse is the coolest licensed character on the market and the show’s humour and musical content really connect with pre-schoolers and their parents.”

Josh Scherba, SVP Distribution at DHX Media added: “There is a significant demand for Rastamouse DVDs in the UK and in Universal we feel that we have the right partner on board to handle the home entertainment element of the brand. With the album available via EMI and toys set to hit the market through Character Options in the Autumn, there is a growing consumer presence for the brand in the UK which is supported by a strong performance of the series on CBeebies.”

Rastamouse, the animated series based on the critically acclaimed books by Genevieve Webster and Michael De Souza, launched on CBeebies in January 2011 and has since engaged a following of preschoolers and parents alike. The series features Rastamouse, Scratchy and Zoomer of Da Easy Crew, the mystery-solving, reggae-playing band who always make a bad ting good and live by their motto “redemption, not retribution.”

A Rastamouse Company Production for CBeebies, Rastamouse is produced by Greg Boardman and Eugenio Perez of Three Stones Media, in association with Dinamo Productions, Little Roots and DHX Media, which handles worldwide TV sales (excluding the UK) and worldwide licensing and merchandising.  The production is supported by the Wales Creative IP Fund.

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1st September 2011

D-Link Enhances Business Storage Portfolio

d-linkD-Link has announced the ShareCenter® Pro network storage solutions supporting concurrent NAS and iSCSI connectivity, designed for small and medium-sized business environments. With the ShareCenter Pro N-Series and S-Series models, D-Link has expanded its business storage offerings to deliver cost-effective unified storage solutions with built-in security, data protection, and disaster recovery functionality ideal for file sharing, data backup and IP video archival, to complement their existing xStack® Storage family of high performance iSCSI SAN arrays.

According to Gartner, the top storage priorities for small businesses center on data security, backup and disaster recovery. And, of the small businesses that are deploying network storage, approximately 50 percent rely on NAS solutions and 30 percent rely on iSCSI connectivity, according to Gartner User Survey Analysis: Why Small-Business Storage Is a Tough Sell, February 2011.

D-Link® ShareCenter Pro storage solutions offer the best of both worlds – high-end NAS features and performance often found in more costly SAN arrays, including iSCSI connectivity to support small business server applications, dual Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, snapshots, encrypted volumes, virtual disk drive (VDD) expansion and remote backup. In addition, the ShareCenter Pro models are Windows, Mac and Linux compatible, and come with a five-year warranty (vs. the typical one-to-three year warranty) as well as an extended five-year warranty option for a total of 10 years, offering industry leading ease-of-integration and support.

Gerrit Koester, technology and facilities manager at the Filutowski Cataract & LASIK Institute in Orlando, Fla., was tasked with optimizing and managing a network infrastructure that ensured quick and easy access to over 100,000 patient records containing over two million electronic image files. “What I needed was a highly available, redundant storage solution offering easy backup and iSCSI support,” said Koester.

After evaluating the D-Link ShareCenter Pro DNS-1200-05, Koester was extremely surprised by the performance the solution achieved, as well as the flexibility and affordable price. Koester said, “We should get great speeds, probably as good as USB 2.0, maybe 40 megabytes a second, give or take. We got well over a hundred, and I said, ‘Wow, this is faster than some of the SANs we’ve evaluated. This is a phenomenal product and is truly cutting edge, but it is using existing technologies in a smart way that makes it very easy to configure, and it guarantees that it is going to be reliable.”

D-Link understands that small and medium-businesses have limited IT resources and staff, and provides these companies with end-to-end networking solutions to ensure interoperability, ease of integration and a single support call for troubleshooting. D-Link can offer small and medium-sized businesses scalability, reliability, performance, and lower initial and ongoing costs. Through D-Link’s superior economic model, businesses can leverage these affordable networking and storage solutions in multi-vendor IT infrastructures without being locked into proprietary hardware, software or service requirements.

“Small businesses evaluating network storage often have a checklist of the latest ‘must have’ features, but need to realize that reliability, data protection and network interoperability are paramount,” said Joseph Martins, managing director and analyst, Data Mobility Group. “The D-Link ShareCenter Pro models support non-proprietary hardware in a unified system with NAS and iSCSI support for added flexibility, ease of use and cost savings.” Read the rest of this entry »

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