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12th July 2011

Hallmark Canada Unveils First Consumer-Generated Card Collection

hallmarkFrom a family’s silly holiday photo to an unflattering picture of an elephant’s wrinkles, Hallmark Canada’s first card collection created by Canadians is now on the shelves at Hallmark stores across Canada.

For the first time this past February, Hallmark Canada gave Canadians a chance to use their creativity and wit by participating in the company’s first online greeting card competition called Now that’s funny, eh?  For the chance to see their own creation on Hallmark shelves, contestants were asked to submit a funny photo with a clever caption to create a hilarious birthday card.

The 24 talented winners of the competition each won $250 and their winning cards are now available for purchase at participating Hallmark Gold Crown stores across Canada and at other select retailers including Rexall pharmacies, Loblaws and most Walmart locations.  The cards retail at $3.59 each.

Hallmark Canada recently held a second competition called Your Crazy Pets.  The winners will be announced on July 25th and the winning cards from this competition will be available in stores November 2011.

“Hallmark Canada’s first and second greeting card competitions have been such a tremendous success” says Chris Kelly, Vice-President, Consumer Solutions and Brand Experience, Hallmark Canada. “We are so excited with the creativity and the number of applicants who submitted their card ideas, that we will be running a third competition to give Canadians another chance to WOW us with their originality and humour.”

For budding writers who missed the first two competitions, Hallmark Canada will provide another opportunity to showcase Canadian talent. The third competition, Girls Gotta Laugh, begins August 1 and ends September 23. Applicants can enter the competition online and can visit Hallmark Canada’s Facebook page to keep on top of exciting contest developments.

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11th July 2011

Mobilicity Prove It To You Tour News

mobilicityMobilicity has named Kathryn Tom as its CEO Blogger as the wireless company prepares to kick off its “Prove It To You” cross-Canada tour later this week.

As CEO Blogger, Tom, a 23-year-old Biomedical graduate from Markham, will be part of a small Mobilicity team that will document and share CEO Dave Dobbin’s two-week journey across Canada via social media. In addition to winning the trip, Tom will also receive a Mobilicity handset of her choice with a year of unlimited talk, text and data service, plus a 16 GB BlackBerry PlayBook.

The tour, which begins in Toronto on  July 14th, will put the spotlight on the people and landmarks Dobbin meets as he ventures across the nation, as well as Mobilicity’s affordable, national coverage – only 20-cents flat per minute outside of the company’s unlimited coverage zones in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. The tour will end in Vancouver on July 27th.

Tom won the Mobilicity CEO Blogger Contest after recently submitting a one-minute Facebook video on what makes her the ideal candidate for the role. Her entertaining submission shows a social-media-obsessed Tom blogging around town – inside a shopping cart, on the subway, in a science lab, on the roof of her house – even in a tree.

“We received some fantastic submissions; choosing just one video wasn’t easy,” said Dobbin. “Kathryn’s video showcases her creativity, sense of humour and passion for mobile communications. We are confident she will make an outstanding blogger and a welcome addition to our tour.”

Tom said she entered the contest to learn about the wireless business, see the country and share her travels in an exciting new way.

“Gone are the days when a road trip meant paper maps and cassette tapes,” Tom said. “I know this mission across our nation will bring new sights and memories that I can instantly share with the world.”

Upon arriving in each of Mobilicity’s five unlimited markets, Dobbin will host exclusive Customer Appreciation events to thank existing customers for their ongoing support and welcome new customers to Mobilicity. The Customer Appreciation events will feature $0 BlackBerry smartphones, special offers, free food and giveaways.

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11th July 2011

Contax Extreme Makeover ERP Edition Contest

contaxCONTAX Inc. introduces Extreme Makeover: ERP Edition, a promotional contest where companies can enter and one will win a free business software implementation of SAP® Business All-in-One. To enter the contest, organizations must submit an entry form online stating why their company needs a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in 500 words or less. To qualify for this contest, companies must be owned and operated in the United States or Canada and have revenue of less than $250 million in the last fiscal year.

CONTAX is giving away a free implementation of SAP Business All-in-One to promote this software solution to the mid-market. The software and implementation services for this contest have an estimated retail value up to $1,000,000 USD. SAP Business All-in-One is a comprehensive, proven solution with preconfigured, industry-specific business processes to enable predictable and affordable implementations. Optimized for midsize companies, SAP Business All-in-One has the flexibility to adapt and extend as a business evolves and grows.

“This solution was made for the midmarket, and we believe SAP truly understands the challenges that midsize companies face,” said Michael Pearson, president, CONTAX. “Many of our clients deal with tier-one retailers, and when they can walk into a meeting and say, ‘We run SAP,’ it’s a game changer for them. As an SAP channel partner, we understand the unique challenges that small businesses and midsize companies face, so we can better adapt our products and provide more tailored solutions to meet their needs.”

The Extreme Makeover: ERP Edition contest closes on September 30, 2011 and entries will only be accepted online. Once all the written statements have been reviewed, five finalists will be selected and interviewed. A winner will be selected from the five finalists and announced on October 31, 2011. Visit the contest page to enter the CONTAX Extreme Makeover: ERP Edition contest or for more information and the official rules.

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6th July 2011

TransGaming Announces GameTree TV Competition Finalists

TransGamingTransGaming Inc. has announced the three finalists of the GameTree Developer Competition, which offered game developers worldwide the opportunity to submit their games for the chance to win a $50,000 grand prize. The finalists will be distributed on the GameTree TV platform, immediately delivering them to the forefront of the Smart TV gaming revolution in consumers’ connected living rooms. The three finalists in alphabetical order are:

Bubblenauts: The Hunt for Jolly Roger’s Treasure by Western Star Entertainment (USA) is a nautical-themed puzzle game where players can dive into the hunt for underwater treasure by solving puzzles to unlock special powers.
Smiles HD by Sykhronics Entertainment (Canada) is a new and addictive matching game, featuring incredibly fun game modes and adorable themes where players can rack up huge combos and even bigger scores.
Yo Deshi by Proper Games (Scotland) is a cerebral martial arts-themed board game that challenges players of all skill levels with customizable options in a unique, multi-player puzzle experience that will not disappoint!

The winner of the GameTree Developer Competition and the $50,000 grand prize will be determined by a panel of celebrity judges including actor, director, producer and writer LeVar Burton, President of Development at Jerry Bruckheimer Games Inc., Jay Cohen, and Lorne Lanning, Co-founder of Oddmobb, Inc. The winner will be announced at the industry-leading Casual Connect Seattle conference during the Minna Mingle on Wednesday, July 20th.

“The incredible response to the GameTree Developer Competition affirms that the game development community views our cloud gaming platform, GameTree TV, as a top choice for the distribution of their games on Smart TV”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “GameTree TV provides an unparalleled market opportunity for game developers worldwide to directly reach a rapidly growing audience.”

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5th July 2011

Alberta SouthWest Video Contest Now Open

alberta southwestAlberta SouthWest (AlbertaSW) is celebrating the launch of its new website with a video contest that answers the call ‘Show Us Your Alberta SouthWest’. The contest is open to any resident of Alberta 18 years of age and older.

“We want Albertans to send us their personal video clips that show us their favorite experiences in AlbertaSW – and almost anything goes – record your friends and family singing a song around a campfire, recite a poem, capture a sunset, a prairie field, a family at play…whatever AlbertaSW means to you, we would love you to share it with us,” says Bev Thornton, Executive Director, Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development.

“Alberta SouthWest is a place where people feel connected to the land, the communities, and the lifestyle that make this such a special place to live. We realize that creating a video clip is a bit more of a challenge than just sending a photo, but this is a great opportunity for images of our region to be seen by a great number of viewers. From historic landmarks to World Heritage Sites, from hiking and bird watching to some of Alberta’s best golf…you will find it here in Alberta SouthWest. And the people who live here and visit here come from all walks of life, each with their own story—a story about AlbertaSW—just waiting to be told.”

AlbertaSW also hopes to create greater awareness of the video contest by sending out its own videographers throughout the region to capture candid/impromptu moments with residents and/or visitors.

“The idea is that a videographer and a ‘reporter’ will intercept people on the street in various communities and ask them questions about the region – what they love, where they are from and whether they are residents or tourists. Like those submitted for the contest, these videos will be posted online.”

Adds Thornton, “Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance (AlbertaSW) is a group of 16 communities, working together for positive regional economic development. Collectively, we collaborative on initiatives that focus on creating the right environment in which balanced growth can occur thus increasing prosperity for all members.” AlbertaSW is bordered by Nanton in the North, Cardston to the east, Waterton Park to the south and Crowsnest Pass to the west.

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5th July 2011

Social Media Site For Sports Fans Launched

nextsportstarThe newly announced Nextsportstar.com is a social networking website combining the best of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and adds elements of Kijiji and Craigslist to create a unique social media site for one of our biggest passion touchpoints – and entertainment businesses – worldwide: Sports.

Nextsportstar.com is the digital meeting place for amateur athletes, teams, students and fans of all ages as well as amateur and professional coaches. Members (stars) share content and information for their passion for high school, college/university amateur sports and minor leagues.

Student and amateur male and female athletes create a profile (home page) of their sports achievements and share statistics, photos and video highlights. This information may just be of personal interest, but it will also be of interest to any amateur looking to gain a scholarship or be scouted for a professional team.

And for the professional recruiter and scout, it is a great site that captures the available talent in one convenient location, helping them evaluate athletes while giving a site to promote their college/university or team to prospects.

When a new member registers on Nextsporstar.com as a member (star), they share their interests and passions while connecting with other members and their friends (fans) in Nextsportstar.com blogs, polls, forums and private or public chat rooms worldwide.

Plus Nextsportstar.com has a classified advertising section, similar to Kijiji and Craigslist, where members advertise products and services to other members of their sport communities. The classified section is directly linked to PayPal to make transactions convenient and worry-free.

“I love this website” says Josh Rimer, television and radio sports broadcast producer, “It’s a never ending way to connect with all levels of sport.”

Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito says, “Finally a social network that all hockey fans can connect with.”

Besides being a unique site to network with people who are passionate about sports, Nextsportstar.com is also giving members an opportunity to win money with the $1 Million Dollars Up For Grabs contest, a first-ever in social networking websites. In total, there’s $800,000 to be won by amateur athletes, with another $200,000 for schools’ athletic programs!

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5th July 2011

Fido Commits Funds To Environmental And Community Projects

fidoFido and Evergreen have announced the launch of Fido Share Your Care™, a campaign to support local environmental and community projects. Canadians are invited to vote for their favourite project at Share Your Care . In total, Fido will share $100,000 among 20 different local projects across Canada. “We want to work together and encourage Canadians to make choices that will reduce their ecological impact and benefit their communities directly,” says Steven Sarfin, Senior Director, Marketing, Fido. “We believe in making our cities more liveable and we know that our customers want this too. We’re happy to give Canadians the opportunity to show their support.” share your care

Each of the 20 projects involved with Share Your Care receive base support of $2,500 totaling $50,000. In addition, the remaining $50,000 will be distributed between the three projects which receive the most votes. From July 5th until August 14th, Facebook users can vote once per day for their favourite project. Votes will be gathered and ranked by popularity. The three community projects with the highest number of votes will be announced at the end of August.

Some of the organizations participating in Fido Share Your Care include the Gorge Waterway Initiative in Victoria, the Fletcher Wildlife Garden in Ottawa, Friends of the Coves Subwatershed in London, the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area in Calgary, and Befriending the Mountain in Montreal.

“It’s often difficult to see how we can make a difference in the face of global environmental issues,” explains Geoff Cape, the Executive Director of Evergreen. “That’s why we are pleased to be working with Fido to help local champions take up the challenge in their own way and in their own community, by applying a local solution through the Share Your Care initiative.”

Partners since 2009, Fido and Evergreen have worked together to restore degraded public spaces, increase opportunities for outdoor recreation, education and enjoyment, as well as improve the health and biodiversity of natural habitats in urban communities. To date, Fido has helped Evergreen support more than 190 school ground greening projects, 800 public greening events and workshops, engage more than 20,000 volunteers and plant over 40,000 trees and shrubs across Canada.  In addition, Fido has saved over 3.62 tonnes of paper through its online billing initiative.

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5th July 2011

Infoway Challenge Sparks Innovations for Health Care

imaginenationImagine having your child’s immunization record at the click of a mouse, as well as email alerts when they need a vaccination. Or using your cell phone to track the care that you need during pregnancy, your due date, and your ultrasounds.  Or using an app to manage your diabetes, with helpful advice on how to improve your results. These are just a few of the winning ideas submitted to the ImagineNation Ideas Challenge, which asked Canadians how they would improve health and health care through innovation in information and communications technologies (ICT).

“Canadians are passionate about our health system, and we wanted their ideas on how digital solutions could strengthen health care,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).  “The calibre of entries we received surpassed our high expectations and the range of ideas on leveraging ICT to improve access, safety, and efficiency of care is inspiring.”

When the Ideas Challenge was launched in March 2011, Canadians were asked to submit their ideas online. An independent panel of judges selected the top five bold and innovative ideas through two rounds of judging.

The first place submission and winner of a $10,000 award is a web-based system to record and schedule immunizations, based on the latest recommendations from the Canadian Immunization Guide.  The idea comes from Dr. Christopher Clarke based on his experience as a family doctor in Puslinch, Ontario. “I imagined a website where each patient would open an account to contain their comprehensive immunization history. More important, the website would continuously update a personalized plan for each patient’s future immunizations, using the latest Canadian guidelines and including any new vaccines,” said Dr. Clarke. “Modern IT is ideal for communicating this sort of complex information to both patients and clinicians.”

The Canada’s Choice Award winner – determined through thousands of votes cast by Canadians – is “Mom2B”, a mobile telephone app for expectant mothers based on health guidance from Canadian experts. It would offer help at every stage, from fertility planning to tracking contractions. The “Mom2B” idea was submitted by Jeff Biletchi and colleagues at Niagara Region Public Health.

The following three submissions round out the top 5 winning ideas.  Each entry has earned a $5,000 award:

  • “Empower persons with diabetes interactively with enhanced reporting on iPads,” including tracking their health condition, viewing information from their health team and lab results, and receiving personalized advice to reduce the risk of complications (submitted by Jonathan Lapointe, Montreal)
  • “Head Home, Speak Up:  Empower patients and health care providers with an online voice at discharge” to improve the hand-off between hospital and home (submitted by Pamela Chan and Richard Norman, Toronto)
  • “Connected health care…The whole life EHR” to track key health information for individuals with chronic conditions, such as vital signs or medications dispensed, and make it available to them and their health team (submitted by Donna Byrne and her team from Quebec)

“Innovation is a driving force behind what we do at Infoway – and is key to the future of health care,” added Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, Senior Vice-President of Clinical Adoption and Innovation, Infoway. “The ImagineNation Ideas Challenge identified some great ideas and helped to get Canadians thinking and talking about health care in the digital age.”

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5th July 2011

Time For An Indie Summer Uprising

IGSUTaking note of the commercial and critical success of the Indie Game Uprising last winter, a Summer Indie Uprising has been declared. Several Xbox Live independent developers have banded together to again promote some of the most outstanding titles which best represent their platform. Immediately following Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade, gamers will have the opportunity to play some of the greatest titles to grace the platform.

The group’s goal is clear – just as the previous uprising had successfully done, they are raising consumer awareness of the platform by showcasing some of the most creatively diverse titles offered on XBLIG. There will be a total of 8 developer-voted titles released each business day beginning on  Monday, August 22nd and ending on Wednesday, August 31st.

Community input is requested, for  in addition to the developer selected titles, the gaming community will have the opportunity to vote for their two favorite candidates from the 70+ developer submissions on the IGSU Facebook page from August  1st until August 15th. The community favorites will be released at the tail end of the promotion on Thursday September 1st and Friday September 2nd. The winners will be announced at the IGSU Developer Twitter chat, which will occur the day after the polls close on Tuesday August 16th – 8PM EST, using the hash tag #IGSU.  Moreover, the chat will offer the community a chance to communicate directly with all of the developers in a creative and immersive environment.

Indie Games Uprising Summer Schedule:

July 4th – July 18th: Developer voting for 8 titles to represent the platform
August 1st – August 15th: Community voting for 2 additional titles they would most like to play
August 16th – 9PM EST: IGSU Developer Twitter chat, community winners announced
August 22nd – September 2nd: Promotion and release of 8 developer and 2 community voted titles

Visit the new Indie Games Uprising web site for a full list of candidates, trailers, screenshots and more.

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4th July 2011

Need For Speed The Run Seeks European Spokesmodel

EA GamesFor our European readers: Hot cars, exotic travel and Need for Speed, the world’s top racing video game – are you up for the ultimate job? Beginning today, EA and Need for Speed is conducting the 2011 ‘Need for Speed European Spokesmodel Search’. This continent-wide search is set to discover two women with boundless energy, an outgoing personality and an edgy style fused with a passion for cars and gaming.

The winners will act as Need for Speed ambassadors at events throughout 2012 including representing Need for Speed products at high profile gaming events across Europe and our Team Need for Speed racing team in the prestigious FIA GT3 European Championship and Euro Drift program.NFS-The Run

Models searches are being conducted in Six territories: France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Finalists will be selected from each territory with the final two winners being announced in November in conjunction with the release of Need for Speed The Run.

Along with the chance to represent the UK in the grand final, two UK regional finalists will win £1500 worth of entertainment merchandise. The UK regional competition is now live for online entries.

Since 1994, Need for Speed has been a leading force in gaming and automotive culture.  With over 115 million units sold, Need for Speed has debuted some of the world’s hottest cars like the Pagani Huayra and Nissan GT-R.  It has also featured actors, models, musicians including Brooke Burke, Kelly Brook, Maggie Q, Kanye West, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Prodigy.

EA Black BoxFrom the Golden Gate to the Empire State, Need for Speed The Run, in development at EA Black Box, takes players on a heart-pounding, high-stakes race that will have players surrounded by the constant feeling of danger. The heat is on and lethal action unfolds as gamers not only get out of the car for the first time, but also get up-close and personal with the franchise’s first hero, Jack – all while battling hundreds of the world’s most notorious racers. Weaving through dense urban traffic, rocketing down icy mountain passes and navigating narrow canyons at breakneck speeds, players will be challenged in this illicit race for their life.

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