16th December 2010

Working To Improve The Learning Experience

UserfulCalgary’s Userful and California-based DisplayLink have announced a software/hardware partnership that will allow schools to deploy large numbers of Linux-based computer stations in the classroom for very low cost. Working in conjunction with DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology, the Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011 software turns one Linux-based computer into 11 high-performance independent computer stations, ultimately giving students the features and computing experience of a full PC, but at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, Userful is running a special promotion, offering every DisplayLink USB docking station customers a free two-user version of their MultiSeat Linux 2011 software.

“We have enjoyed great success deploying our Linux-based zero client solutions in developing regions such as Latin America and Asia because of the low cost of implementation and the growing awareness of the long term economic benefits of deploying Linux desktops in education,” said Tim Griffin, president of Userful. “Regardless of region, however, over 50,000 schools around the world have adopted Userful MultiSeat Linux not only because of the cost-effectiveness, but also the ease of configurability, and the high-quality computing experience that it provides students.”
userful stations
The combined solution reduces hardware costs by up to 80 percent, and reduces required infrastructure (power plugs, cabling, etc.) by a factor of 10 as compared to a traditional PC-per-seat solution. It also reduces energy costs by up to 90 percent, enabling organizations to recover the cost of their computers through electricity cost savings over a few years. On average, customers report saving 60 percent in up-front costs, and 80 percent in annual power savings as compared to their previous PC-per-station solutions. The significant savings could bring computing to millions of people without access today.

“We are excited to work with Userful on the development of drivers and MultiSeat Linux software solutions that enable the use of our USB virtual graphics on a robust open-source platform,” said Dennis Crespo, executive vice president of marketing and business development at DisplayLink. “Now schools can spend less time and money configuring systems, and more time providing students with practical computing experience.”

Currently, the Userful software solution and their high-performance DisplayLink Linux driver is compatible with the full line of DisplayLink chips, allowing plug and play graphics over standard USB cables. DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology has been widely adopted and can be found in devices like adapters, docking stations, monitors and projectors from leading PC accessory and monitor OEMs.

staples canadaThere is only one week left to enter the Staples Canada Recycle For Education Computer Lab Contest – rewarding the country’s most eco-responsible school with a $50,000 computer lab.

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from schools throughout the country, and delighted to learn about the environmental programs that our young people are taking part in,” says Steve Matyas, President of Staples Canada.

The Computer Lab contest is the first of its kind for the office supply retailer, who will determine the top five schools in January before declaring its winner in the spring.

“This is a chance for schools to improve both their community, and their school by winning this contest. We also feel this will get more people motivated to start eco-responsible programs if they haven’t already done so,” says Matyas.

Entries will be accepted until December 23, and will consist of a 500-word essay on a school’s environmental activities which have been in existence for at least one calendar year.

Teaching With TechnologyCDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions for Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors, today launched its third annual Teaching with Technology™ Story Contest and Sweepstakes, offering Canadian educators and administrators opportunities to win information technology (IT) for their classrooms and schools by entering a three-tiered contest. With a total prize value of over $20,000 this year, the contest begins today and runs until Monday, February 28, 2011. The Contest is open to legal residents of (who are currently living in) Canada. Residents of (who are currently living in) Quebec are not eligible to enter the Contest.

Educators and administrators can enter the Teaching with Technology contest in three ways:

  • The ‘Story Contest’ asks entrants to describe how incorporating IT into school classrooms enhances the learning experience for their students.
  • The ‘Tweet UR Tech Tale’ contest asks teachers to submit their technology story via Twitter in no more than 140 characters.
  • A ‘Sweepstakes’ is open to all Canadian educators, administrators and — new this year — IT managers/staff at school boards.

“Inspired by the many terrific technology stories from devoted educators during the first two years of the Teaching with Technology contest, CDW Canada is proud to include IT managers at school boards for the first time this year,” said Mary Ann Yule, General Manager, CDW Canada. “Educating students is a process that requires dedication from those in all levels of education, from the classroom, where committed teachers and administrators fill young minds with knowledge, to the school boards that provide the technology and infrastructure policies for imparting that knowledge. We appreciate the value that technology adds to this process and are excited to keep bringing this contest to Canadians.”

Entering its third year, the contest has received exceptional support from a number of CDW Canada’s technology partners. Sponsors of this year’s contest include the following: premier sponsors HP and AMD; gold sponsors Epson, Lenovo and Microsoft; silver sponsors BenQ, Cables To Go, Cisco, InFocus, Kodak, Netgear, OKI Data, Polycom, PolyVision and Watchguard; and bronze sponsors Sony, Targus and Xerox.

CDW Canada developed the Teaching with Technology contest in recognition of the need for educational institutions to have the best available IT tools to enhance students’ education. Each year the contest presents an opportunity for Canadian educators and administrators of K-12 schools to win partial or complete IT packages to enrich the learning environments of their students. Started in 2008, the contest features three tiers of prizing each with a different entry method. Participation is easy and incorporates interactive elements providing an in-depth look at the contributions of technology to the education system.

“These tools will help me improve students’ safe social networking skills by demonstrating responsible Internet behaviour and creating positive learning-based communities online,” said Richmond, B.C. teacher Grace Ho, a grand-prize winner in last year’s contest. “They will also enable me to hold video conferences with students across the globe, opening my classroom to the world, giving students an authentic experience and stimulating their interest in language.”

Story contest submissions – Story contest submissions must be between 200-500 words and describe the role technology plays in that entrant’s school or classroom.

For example:

  • How have students been more engaged in the learning process since the introduction of IT equipment into the classroom?
  • Discuss the role technology will play once integrated into lessons and how it will enhance the learning experience.

Stories can be submitted online, via email or via postal mail. Online and e-mail entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. Mail entries must be postmarked no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. Entrants must provide their full name and contact information along with title, school and board of current employment.

A panel of IT experts will judge entries according to educational value and distinctiveness of the described technology solution. Three winners will be selected from all entries to receive one of three prize bundles. Each bundle includes a desktop computer, laptop computer, projector, printer, pocket video camera, e-reader, digital camera, document camera and hardware and laptop accessories.

A random draw will select the five winners. Each will receive a prize consisting of either a printer, hardware bundle, e-reader, projector or netbook.

Tweet UR Tech Tale Contest Entry – Submissions must be made through Twitter, within the 140-character limit and include the hashtag #twtcda. The tweet must describe how the technology has been, or will be, used in the classroom or school. Tweets must be posted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28, 2011. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges based on the creativity, relevance and educational value of their tweet. One winner will receive an interactive whiteboard.

New this year, six sweepstakes prizes will be awarded to IT managers at Canadian school boards. Complete rules and regulations for all three contests are available online.

For holiday lesson ideas and to read the article 12 Holiday Websites that bring the Spirit of the Season into your Classroom.

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15th December 2010

New Games For Canadians On The Go

streaming colourGuelph independent developer Streaming Colour Studios has a new game out in the iTunes App Store.Dirty Diapers Dirty Diapers features a nursery full of babies. Your mission is to them all happy by feeding, changing and rocking them to stop them from crying.

You play the game by dragging actions from the bottom of the screen to unhappy babies in order to soothe them. But as time ticks on, they’ll get fussy more quickly. Can you keep up? Keep a cool head to master this frantically fun game, available now for 99 cents USD. Streaming Colour’s previous iPhone titles include Landformer, Monkeys In Space, and Dapple.

LudiaLudia Games and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) have announced that their Family Feud Decades App is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, starting at $2.99USD. The app, based on the popular family game show, offers hours of retro fun fueled by thousands of survey questions from four different eras of the Family Feud TV show, set against the backdrop of stages, scoreboards and wardrobe items from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.

The Family Feud Decades App retains all of the treasured game play elements found in the original Family Feud App, including the “face off,” “fast money rounds,” “strikes” and “stealing.” Additionally, players can interact in multiplayer challenges with family and friends.

“We are thrilled to bring Family Feud Decades to the App Store,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This latest release builds on the success of the first Family Feud App and is sure to keep players coming back for more. The app’s uniquely entertaining take on the family favorite game show, flavored by four decades of sets, stages and wardrobes, promises to make game play fun as well as a nostalgic experience for all.”

Features of the Family Feud Decades App include:family feud decades

  • Single and multiplayer game modes with three levels of difficulty.
  • Authentic sets and stages modeled after four decades of the TV show with wardrobe items to match.
  • Fully customizable player avatars: choose hairstyles, clothing, accessories and more.
  • Predictive text input and auto-spell checker for lightning fast answering.
  • Bonus items that unlock as questions are answered and levels are passed.

“Now in its 4th decade on television, the Emmy-award winning Family Feud continues to be one of the most beloved game shows in broadcast history,” said Olivier Delfosse, Director, Interactive, FME Americas. “We are pleased to see the game franchise continue to thrive on the App store.”

Also brand new from Ludia and Classic Media is ‘Where’s Waldo?® in Hollywood‘ App which is also available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, for $2.99USD (iPhone and iPod touch) or $4.99USD (HD for iPad). Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood brings the search for the world traveler to the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown, set against a backdrop of red carpet events and epic Hollywood film sets, such as “Robin Hood,” “The Wild West” and “The Three Musketeers.” In the star-studded scenes, search-and-find game play is enhanced with engaging animations, eye-popping color and detail, and new game play modes and features that provide fans with a new way to interact with the game.Waldo In Hollywood

“We are excited to bring Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood to fans worldwide,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This latest title keeps all the favorite elements that made the first Where’s Waldo? a top selling app, but adds new thrills that take full advantage of the high-resolution display and innovative Multi Touch interface of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.”

The Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood App has several new gameplay modes and features, including:

  • Beat Odlaw “Versus” Mode: Play against Waldo’s arch-nemesis, Odlaw, in a timed hunt for hidden objects.
  • Two-Player “Versus” Mode (iPad only):  Compete against friends and family from the same device.
  • Story Mode: Explore the game in untimed “free play” while accompanied by Waldo and his friends, Wenda, Woof and Wizard Whitebeard.
  • Star-Studded Challenges: Search for Waldo and explore ten paparazzi-filled red carpet events and epic Hollywood film sets, including: “Silent Movie,” “The Wild West,” “The Three Musketeers,” “Song and Dance,” “Robin Hood,” and more!
  • Enhanced Player Experience: Broaden the search field with scrollable maps, Pinch-to-zoom and Multi Touch, which aid in a player’s ability to spot small objects and look for clues that lead to cleverly camouflaged items.

“We are excited to partner with Ludia on the Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood App,” said Nicole Blake, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “The new app delivers the search-and-find game play that helped make the first app an international favorite as well as exciting new features and content that allows users to interact with the game in a whole new way.”

By the way, Ludia is hiring.

Sarbakan Game StudioSarbakan has signed an agreement with a multinational corporation for the creation of a game for the PlayStation®3 system, using the PlayStation®Move motion controller, launched in September 2010. Sony’s PlayStation®Move redefines motion gaming with the most immersive and realistic gaming experience only possible on the PlayStation®3.

Under the agreement and in conjunction with a leading, worldwide publisher, Sarbakan will develop a game, yet to be named publically, which will be sold globally in retail stores next year. It is just one of the first PlayStation®3 games with the PlayStation®Move that Sarbakan plans to develop. More details on Sarbakan’s PlayStation development and this partnership will be available over the upcoming months.

“From iOS to Kinect to now PlayStation®Move development, Sarbakan continues its goal in offering development services for any type of game, whether you are on the couch, on the net or on the go,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan.

Sarbakan also appeared recently on NHK Special, one of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s most prominent television programs, on December 12 at 9 pm. The program was aired during Japan’s prime-time and broadcasted nationally to an audience of over 40 million.

NHK Special covered the latest trends in the video game industry, profiling innovative developers around the globe. The program’s focused on game development in Quebec, as a Canadian province that has carved an enviable position as one of the world’s largest hubs in the game industry. Sarbakan was chosen by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation because of its long-standing experience in the video game industry, with over 700 titles under its belt.

“We are thrilled to have represented Québec City in showing Japanese audiences just how much our hometown is a hotbed for creativity and innovation,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan.”We are even more thrilled that NHK recognizes the important role independent developers play in pushing the game industry’s technology envelope further.”

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation nationally operates five television channels and three radio services. Internationally, NHK offers two television services: NHK World TV and NHK World Premium, along with NHK World Radio Japan, which provides news in 18 languages. NHK World TV programs and Radio Japan’s news can be accessed on the internet. NHK has 54 stations across Japan and correspondents in 31 locations around the world.

Government of CanadaAs many of you already know, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced yesterday that Apple Canada has been granted approval under the Investment Canada Act to establish iBookstore Canada.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” said Minister Moore. “Apple has demonstrated how iBookstore Canada represents new opportunities for Canadian authors and publishers, and I have determined that this investment will be of net benefit to Canada.”

This decision is based on commitments made by Apple Canada, which include:

* Promotion of Canadian-authored books–both French- and English-language titles–in iBookstore in Canada and other iBookstores internationally;
* Increased opportunities for Canadian publishers and authors, including new and independent writers;
* Increased access to titles from Aboriginal authors and publishers;
* Assistance to Canadian publishers in streamlining processes of e-book creation and enhancement; and
* Jobs for Canadians and improved services for Canadian consumers, including an iBookstore tailored to Canadian readers.

The Government of Canada ordered a review to determine if the investment by Apple Canada would be of net benefit to Canada. Under the Investment Canada Act, all reviews and approvals of investments in the cultural sector are the responsibility of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

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15th December 2010

OpenText Launches New Version of eDocs DM

Open TextOpenText Corporation has launched OpenText eDOCS DM 5.3, a significant upgrade to the eDOCS product portfolio designed to help lower total cost of ownership and deliver a more individualized user experience. The new version of eDOCS also features tight integration with OpenText ECM Suite 2010 for customers requiring scalability across large enterprise deployments.

eDOCS complements the OpenText product portfolio and is widely used by law firms, public sector agencies and across other industries to help reduce the time and complexity associated with storing, organizing and locating information. Extensive platform and structural updates in the new eDOCS DM lay the foundation for the next major release slated for 2012.

“As this latest release illustrates, OpenText is continuing to respond to eDOCS customer requirements, giving firms a rich set of upgrades and enhancements that will deliver immediate benefits such as lower support costs and enhanced user productivity,” said Todd Partridge, Vice President and General Manager for eDOCS and Legal Solutions at OpenText. “We are continuing to see strong momentum around eDOCS with customers adopting it as their strategic hub for document and legal content management, and with this release are moving to capitalize on this momentum now and going forward.”

To help lower costs, eDOCS DM 5.3 adds support for remote deployment tools that significantly reduce the work required to deploy eDOCS to user communities. Rapid system deployments are achieved without visiting workstations, and maintenance is simplified with Web and Microsoft Windows utilities that support centralized as well as delegated system management.

Now with support for Microsoft Office 2010, eDOCS provides a rich user experience that minimizes time spent learning the document and records management system and boosts productivity. To accommodate a variety of work styles, eDOCS DM gives users the ability to easily create their own eDOCS ribbons from within Microsoft Office 2010 applications.

For very large enterprise-wide deployments, eDOCS incorporates updates and integrations that allow customers to tap the OpenText ECM Suite 2010 for comprehensive library and archiving capabilities, helping to eliminate islands of information, improve information discovery, and reduce storage and infrastructure costs. In 2011, eDOCS customers will also be able to take advantage of OpenText social media applications to boost organizational effectiveness.

“Document management with OpenText eDOCS is becoming more and more important to our organization and gives us a consistent, reliable, traceable, and secure knowledge repository,” said Brook Lee, Chief Information Officer at Fox Rothschild LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 500 lawyers and 16 offices across the U.S. “We are extremely pleased with the performance of eDOCS within our firm and look forward to upgrading to the new version in the near future. We’re confident in OpenText’s continuing commitment to bring state-of-the-art content management solutions to the legal industry.”

digital journalAs one of the first news outlets to bring user-generated content to mobile phones, Digital Journal is extending its presence to smartphones in partnership with Polar Mobile. Today, Digital Journal announces apps for almost every smartphone on the market.

Digital Journal has partnered with Polar Mobile to release free news apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch as well as BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone devices. Available for free at app.digitaljournal.com, the apps enable smartphone users to read news from Digital Journalists working in 175 countries around the world. Readers can follow breaking news via Digital Journal’s smartphone app and share articles via Facebook, Twitter and email from within the apps.Polar Mobile

“We’re very excited about bringing user-generated content to virtually all smartphone platforms at once,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal Inc. “Mobile platforms are shaping the future of media, and we’re happy to partner with Polar Mobile to bring our engaging news network into the palm of your hand.” Read the rest of this entry »

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13th December 2010

Enter The 2011 Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Adobe Design Achievement Awards 2011Students! Teachers! Get your entries in for the 2011 Adobe® Design Achievement Awards. This competition is open to all individuals 18 years or older who are students or faculty at an accredited institution of higher education. For group entries, everyone who worked on the entry must be listed on the entry form and must meet these requirements. One of these people must be indicated on the entry form as the group leader. Due to U.S. export regulations (which Adobe has to follow, being an American company), this contest is not open to any resident of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

All entries must be uploaded to the competition website no later than 5 p.m. (PDT) on June 24, 2011. Please see the ADAA site for complete contest information and rules.

Both individuals and groups may enter up to two unique projects in the following categories during each judging phase. You are eligible to enter again if you are not already holding a Semi-Finalist status, either as an individual, Team Leader, or team member, within the same category:

* Interactive Media: Browser-Based Design, Non-Browser Based Design, Application Development, Mobile Design, Game Design, Installation Design, Innovation in Interactive Media in Education
* Web and Mobile Analytics: Web Analytics and Mobile Application Analytics
* Video and Motion: Animation, Live Action, Motion Graphics, Innovation in Video and Motion in Education
* Traditional Media: Illustration, Packaging, Photography, Print Communications, Innovation in Traditional Media in Education

Individuals and groups will compete with one another in all categories. The following list of prizes describes both individual and group.

Individual Student category winners receive:

* US$3,000 cash, a winner’s certificate, and a 3D award
* Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Master Collection education version
* Complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei during the 2011 IDA Congress and two nights’ accommodation in lodgings.
* A one-year mentorship with a design leader.
* Be appointed to an Icograda Youth Advisory Panel.

Individual Faculty category winners receive:

* US$3,000 to be used as an educational grant for the educational institution
* Winner’s certificate and 3D Award
* Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Master Collection education version
* Complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei during the 2011 IDA Congress and two nights’ accommodation in lodgings.

Student Group category winners receive:

* US$3,000 cash to be split by the winning team members and one 3D award
* Each team member gets his or her choice of the education version of either Design Premium (US$599 value), Web Premium (US$499 value), or Production Premium (US$599 value); a winner’s certificate; and an invitation to the awards event
* Group’s designated leader receives complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei and two nights’ accommodation during the 2011 IDA Congress.
* Group’s designated leader receives one-year mentorship with a Design leader working in their area of interest or in geographic proximity. Mentors would be available to students in an online environment to offer work review, answer questions and provide career advice
* Group’s designated leader is appointed to an Icograda Youth Advisory Panel. the Panel would be consulted by the Icograda Board to ensure that Icograda’s programming and policy is relevant not only to current members but also the next generation.

Faculty Group category winners receive:

* US$3,000 in cash to be used as an educational grant for the educational institution, one 3D award, and group member certificates
* Each team member gets his or her choice of the education version of either Design Premium (US$599 value), Web Premium (US$499 value), or Production Premium (US$599 value); a winner’s certificate; and an invitation to the awards event
* Group’s designated leader receives complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei and two nights’ accommodation during the 2011 IDA Congress.

Other Student individual finalists receive:

* Finalist certificate
* A choice of the education version of either Design Premium, Web Premium, or Production Premium
* Complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei and two nights’ accommodation in lodgings during the 2011 IDA Congress.
* Portfolio review by a member of the Icograda Executive Board

Student Group finalists receive:

* Each team member receives a finalist’s certificate
* Each team member receives a choice of the education version of either Design Standard or Web Standard or a choice of three individual products
* Group’s designated leader receives complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei and two nights’ accommodation during the 2011 IDA Congress.
* Group’s designated leader receives a Portfolio review by a member of the Icograda Executive Board

Faculty Group finalists receive:

* Each faculty team member receives a finalist’s certificate
* One education version of either Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium, Web Premium, or Production Premium
* Group’s designated leader receives complimentary round-trip economy class airfare to Taipei and two nights’ accommodation during the 2011 IDA Congress.
* Individual, faculty, and group honorable mention winners receive:
* One Adobe education version software product of their choice, an honorable mention certificate, and an invitation to the awards event

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8th December 2010

Partnerships and Competitions To Benefit The Canadian Psyche

BCIC New VenturesBCIC-New Ventures has announced the top 20 finalists in its newly launched BCIC New Ventures – Regional Competition for early-stage BC technology entrepreneurs based outside the Lower Mainland. Similar to the province-wide competition that celebrated its 10th anniversary in September, the four-month, three-round regional competition includes a unique mix of business education, networking and mentoring. This year’s regional competition attracted more than 40 applications from technology startups across our province.

The winners of the 2010 BCIC-New Ventures Competition: Regional will be announced February 24, 2011 at a special reception in Kelowna. The top 20 finalists include businesses in the life sciences, cleantech, sustainability, new media and high technology sectors:

A22 Rent-A-Bike, AC Global Systems Ltd, EcoMeter by EnviroSpeak Media, Find It EZ, HuStream Technologies Inc.,
Hydra Cat Performance System, JuliasWild.com, KoK Technologies Inc, Map Jungle, MemoryLeaf Media Inc., Rapid Water Testing Ltd., Reef Safe Fish Inc., Resonessence Labs, Ripcharger, SchedulePanda.com, SideStix Ventures Inc.,
Smile software (Smart Menu), TRiBiNET, Vida, Wolf Trailer Company, Inc.

The top 20 companies will now be paired with a team of mentors and will attend a final business education seminar in January. Each company will have one more chance to present to a panel of experts from February 9-11 in Victoria and Kelowna where they will convince a jury of venture capitalists, financiers and angel investors of the commercial viability of their business idea and that they have what it takes to succeed in the marketplace.

BCIC is the title sponsor of the 2010 BCIC-New Ventures Competition: Regional and proud to support the competition’s top three prize packages for a total of $60,000. They include the $30,000 BCIC First Prize, $20,000 BCIC Second Prize and $10,000 BCIC Third Prize. This contribution is part of BCIC’s overall commitment of $390,000 as title sponsor of both the regional and larger provincial technology idea competition advancing BC’s emerging technology industry.

ROVEOttawa-based mobile IT solution company Rove has announced its support for tablet computing form factors. Offering true portability without sacrificing screen resolution, tablets are an ideal platform for business applications, giving users “always-on” access to the systems and services they need to get the job done. Rove Mobile Admin on Samsung Galaxy Tab

“We’re seeing mobility become an integral part of IT Service Management practices, with many of our customers looking at tablets such as the iPad, Galaxy Tab and RIM’s PlayBook as providing an ideal interface for the IT professional on the move,” said Russell Ure, President, Rove. “To this end, providing support for Rove Mobile Admin on tablets is a key priority for us.”

One of eWEEK’s 2010 Products of the Year – “offerings that had the biggest impact in their spaces and that did the most to move enterprise technology forward” – Rove Mobile Admin was singled out along with products by Cisco, VMware, Apple, Microsoft, salesforce.com and Red Hat. Rove Mobile Admin delivers advanced mobile IT administration capability, providing IT staff with comprehensive, secure access to a wide range of servers, services and platforms. With Mobile Admin in hand, IT professionals can identify, diagnose, triage and resolve IT issues without the need for a laptop computer or internet connection, enabling them to reduce network downtime and provide their users with exceptional customer service.

At the forefront of providing mobile IT solutions, Rove will continue to lead this dynamically evolving market and introduce software optimized for the variety of tablets becoming available. To date over 3,000 customers worldwide, including many of the world’s financial institutions, have deployed Rove Mobile Admin – get a free 14 day trial now.

postmedia networkIf you’re looking for newspaper apps, you’re in luck because earlier today Postmedia Network announced that nine Canadian cities now have a new way to experience their local newspapers with new apps for iPad use in the App Store. The ten Canadian newspapers with apps for iPad are: The Vancouver Sun, Times Colonist (Victoria), The Province (Vancouver), the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Leader-Post (Regina), The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon), the Ottawa Citizen, The Windsor Star and The Gazette (Montreal). The Postmedia newspaper apps are available at no cost to the reader. This is made possible through sponsorships from Air Canada, CISCO, Rogers Communications Inc. and Disney’s TRON Legacy.

“This is the latest step in our digital first strategy,” said Malcolm Kirk, Executive Vice President, Digital Media. “By combining innovative technology with our newspapers’ compelling content, we are proud to invite our readers to experience the latest innovation in Canadian publishing, on iPad. The new apps also give our advertisers an opportunity to reach their target audiences in dynamic new ways.”

The new newspaper apps give users a rich and personalized experience and include the following features:

* Heat Map – readers see and read “Stories Around Me” and check out which stories are most popular in their neighbourhoods and across the country
* My Articles – saves and stores articles that users want to read later
* Social Media Tools – the ability to comment live on stories and share with friends through Facebook, Twitter and email
* Integrated Video Player – readers can view a variety of videos within articles
* Photo Gallery – a wealth of high resolution photos and inline photo galleries

Each of the apps takes advantage of iPad’s large, high-resolution display and innovative Multi Touch interface, and feature customized newspaper content pulled from the best of the web and print editions as well as mobile specific content. Readers can download, save, comment, interact and customize the content, their way.

RaytheonRaytheon Canada Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of USA-based Raytheon Company, has partnered with Let’s Talk Science to engage Canadian youth in science and technology. As an innovative technology and engineering company, Raytheon Canada is keenly aware of the need to motivate young people to continue their studies in science and technology.
lets talk science
Let’s Talk Science is an award-winning, national, nonprofit science outreach organization. Let’s Talk Science creates and delivers science learning programs and services that turn kids on to science, keep them engaged in learning, and develop their potential to become 21st century stewards, innovators and citizens.

“Raytheon Canada employs some of the smartest, most innovative and capable engineers in our industry, and we understand that the future of our country depends on the skills of the next generation,” said Denny Roberts, country manager for Raytheon Canada Limited. “This partnership will help meet our responsibilities to young Canadians.”

“Science education opens many more doors for career opportunities than today’s youth realize,” said Let’s Talk Science President and Founder Bonnie Schmidt. “Raytheon Canada, like Let’s Talk Science, understands the acute need to get kids excited about the possibilities of science, so they stay in science in high school and pursue it at the post-secondary level. Through this partnership, we hope to showcase the unique career opportunities available with a background in science, engineering and technology.”

This holiday season, shoppers will have a way to check how busy malls and mall parking lots are before they venture out to buy gifts. PayPal Canada is introducing “mall traffic reports” on Twitter through @PayPalCA. The reports are an easy way for shoppers to share information about wait times, store lineups and congested parking lots by posting tweets or real time pictures, alerting others to the busiest shopping destinations using the hashtag #ESCTheMall.

The campaign is a response to the findings of a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of PayPal Canada, which revealed that half of all Canadians find the crowds and long lines of holiday shopping frustrating. The survey also found that holiday shoppingEscape The Mall takes a lot of time – an average of five trips to the mall and 11 hours for Canadians.

“PayPal’s goal this holiday season is to help those who are frustrated by the typical, overcrowded shopping experience to escape the mall,” said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing at PayPal Canada. “With so many merchants now accepting PayPal through their websites, why not do more of your holiday shopping online, from the warmth and comfort of your home?”

The Twitter feed will also provide online shopping tips as well as timely retail news, and will be integrated with PayPal Canada’s other online platforms including its Blog, Facebook page and Escape The Mall microsite, aimed at helping Canadians find holiday deals online.

In addition, starting today, PayPal is launching a contest through which Canadian shoppers can enter to win a $2,500 online shopping spree. The Escape the Mall contest, promoted through the PayPal Canada Facebook page and a newly-launched microsite, encourages Canadians to vote on the best Holiday gift from a range of gifts available online and runs until December 20th, 2010. Through several rounds of voting, contestants can enter to win one of ten gifts valued at approximately $100 each, and also be entered into a draw for the Grand Prize – $2,500 transferred into their PayPal account.

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7th December 2010

Flip Video Announces NHL Cameras

Flip VideoOne of hockey’s most iconic phrases – “he shoots, he scores” may soon be replaced by “he shoots, he shares” – as Cisco’s Flip Video™, and the National Hockey League® (NHL) team up to offer 30 uniquely designed NHL team Flip video cameras. In addition, Flip Video will offer Facebook fans a chance to win Flip cameras and a trip to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover. Select NHL.com reporters will also receive NHL-branded Flip video cameras to capture all the hockey action on and off the ice.

Beginning December 7, fans can choose their own official NHL Flip video camera with a custom design from any one of the 30 NHL teams from the U.S. and Canada. A perfect gift for hockey lovers, the new Flip designs are available through the Flip Video online store. The NHL-branded Flips will be offered on all of the latest Flip video cameras Flip Canucksincluding the Flip UltraHD and MinoHD starting at $159, for anytime shoot and share fun.

Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin are among the many celebrities and sports icons featured in the Flip Video 2010 holiday campaign ‘Do You Flip?’

“Flip is the only video camera on the market that consumers can customize and select from thousands of unique designs. Our ability to offer customization has enabled us to team with the NBA and now the NHL, which was a natural extension for our brand,” said Jodi Lipe, director of marketing for Cisco’s Consumer Products. “Whether it’s at the Stanley Cup Final or an afternoon snowball fight with friends, Flip video cameras are a fun and simple way to capture and share videos with friends and family.”

“Hockey fans are in a class of their own when it comes to diehard loyalty,” said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President Integrated Marketing. “Owning a Flip video camera representing their favorite team is a great way for fans to show support and more importantly have fun sharing their passion with fellow hockey fans and friends around the world.”

To help promote the new NHL designs, Flip is hosting a contest called the Flip Video Fan Face-off that will give away one grand prize trip for two to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina, January 30, as well as daily prizes of NHL-custom designed team Flips every day in December. Hockey fans can face-off for these cool prizes starting on December 9, 2010. If Village Gamer had a couple of these Canucks Flip Cameras with the new external mic attachment, we would be all set for filming interviews and game events – easy filming, easy uploading and easy to carry around all the time.

Flip Video is the only video camera line to feature official designs from the NHL and all 30 NHL teams so fans can show their affinity for their favorite NHL team while shooting and sharing video with others at games, parties or events. Flip video cameras make it easy to share video via email, Facebook™, YouTube™, Twitter™ and even on a TV.

ciscoCisco is also equipping the team of 20 NHL.com reporters with their own NHL logo Flip video camera to use as they travel to NHL games around the U.S. and Canada. With their official NHL Flips, the on-the-scene reporters will be able to greatly enhance their coverage by capturing video footage to post to the NHL.com web site.

Agile Web SolutionsToronto-based Agile Web Solutions proudly announces the Windows version of its award-winning password management application, 1Password. 1Password for Windows brings the full suite of secure information management tools from its Mac counterpart to Windows, including form-filling support for all modern browsers.

1Password has been the the top password manager on the Mac for years, featuring highly-secure storage of passwords, login info, secure notes, software licenses and more. Combined with its strong password-generation tools and advanced form-filling capabilities, surfing the web securely is more convenient than ever before. Now, this security and convenience is available to Windows users as well.

Licenses for 1Password for Mac and Windows are sold separately, 1passwordbut a bundle license which covers both operating systems can be purchased at a discount. Using the Dropbox sync capabilities of 1Password, logins and other information can be easily synchronized between both platforms, as well as multiple computers and devices (1Password is also available for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and Android). Now, users can access their secure information wherever they go! Family licenses (5 users) are also available.

As a limited-time introductory offer, customers can save $10 off the purchase of a 1Password for Windows license, or $20 off of a family license. A Single User license of 1Password for Windows is available for US$29.95 (normally $39.95) and a five-user Family License for US$49.95 (normally $69.95).

Users who would like to use 1Password on both Mac and Windows can purchase a bundled license, allowing them to run 1Password on both platforms for only $59.95 for a single user, or $99.95 for a 5-user Family License. A fully-functional, 30-day trial of 1Password may be downloaded for free from Agile Web Solutions’ Downloads page. After 30 days, 1Password will continue to run for free, but will be limited to 20 items.

interacInterac e-Transfer (formerly known as Interac® Email Money Transfer) now provides participating financial institutions with the opportunity to allow customers to send or receive money almost instantaneously with their mobile phone or their desktop, by either using a mobile phone number or an email address. Central 1, in partnership with BC’s Prospera Credit Union, and Teachers Credit Union of Ontario, are the first financial institutions to offer this new functionality.

“We are committed to serving the needs of our financial institution clients by bringing them innovative services to support and grow their businesses,” said Mark O’Connell, President and CEO, Acxsys Corporation and Interac Association. “By expanding Interac e-Transfer into the mobile space, we are giving consumers more flexibility to make person-to-person payments quickly and securely.”

Interac e-Transfer is the new name of Interac Email Money Transfer. With the addition of mobile to the existing online functionality, the new name better reflects the cross-channel capabilities of the service.

Interac e-Transfer is a fast, secure and convenient way to send and receive money in near real time across the country, from one bank account to another through online or mobile banking. Importantly, money never travels by email or text message; this is used only to notify the recipient and to provide the recipient with instructions on how to deposit the money.

The sender’s financial institution and the recipient’s financial institution transfer funds using established and secure banking procedures. Personal or financial information, such as address, phone number and bank account information, is not shared and remains private. Recipients can deposit a funds transfer by clicking on the link contained in the text message or email notification, or the link contained in the notification can be typed into a browser – no matter how the recipient is notified, the individual can deposit the transfer using any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.

“Central 1’s decision to be the first to offer the mobile functionality of Interac e-Transfer speaks to the organization’s commitment to offer innovative payment options to Central 1 members and their clients,” said Mr. O’Connell.

“We are pleased to work with our organizations to provide this innovative mobile payment system that leads the way in the Canadian financial system,” said Oscar van der Meer, Chief Technology Officer at Central 1. “Credit unions are able to move quickly to introduce enhanced developments like Interac e-Transfer.”

Support for notifying recipients via text message and adding recipient mobile phone information is optional for each participating financial institution. More information about the Interac e-Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found online.

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute Software has announced that its SaaS computer tracking solution Computrace® now includes Remote File Retrieval. With this new data leakage prevention (DLP) feature, IT administrators can use the Computrace cloud to identify and retrieve sensitive company files that are exposed on end point devices. This can be done proactively to mitigate the risk of data loss, or as an emergency response action on missing or stolen devices prior to remotely wiping the hard drive for complete corporate data security.

In addition to being an exciting new security feature in Computrace, the Remote File Retrieval (RFR) feature can be an essential productivity tool. For example, a travelling executive works on a confidential PowerPoint presentation on the plane, but leaves her laptop in a cab on the way to her hotel. Once notified, IT may be able to remotely retrieve the lost file and send it to the executive in time for her partner meetings.

The Remote File Retrieval feature can be easily initiated by Computrace customers 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week via their online Customer Center portal. Once a file is selected for remote retrieval, the file is unobtrusively downloaded to the secure Absolute Monitoring Center where it can be accessed by authorized staff. The Remote File Retrieval feature of Computrace is now live in existing customers’ Customer Center accounts at no additional cost.

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2nd December 2010

Contests Awards and Conferences

Garage IncTransgaming Studios has launched a contest for its upcoming title Garage Inc., with a copy of the game and wall poster as prizes. There are three ways to enter: create a piece of fan art, answer a trivia question about the Angelo, the game’s main character, or get your friends on FaceBook to like the game’s page and post a message that they are helping you to win. The trivia question has already been won, but you can still enter the fan art and “Like” segments of the contest. Fan art submissions will be accepted until noon ET on Monday. Please see the Garage Inc. page on Facebook for complete details.

Canadian Games ConferenceThe Canadian Games Conference has put out a call for submissions for its 2011 conference, taking place in Vancouver next May 19 & 20th. Submissions will be accepted until midnight on January 25, 2011, with invited speakers being notified by March 10, 2011. Session formats this year will include 25 and 60 minute lectures, panels and roundtables. The Advisory Board will be selecting submissions based on depth of content, relevance and interest, speaker credentials, and takeaway value. The intellectual property rights of those submitting papers for review will be respected throughout the process.

2011 Conference Topics:

    • New Business Models
    • Rapid Game Development
    • Box vs. Bits – Alternative Distribution Models
    • Game Design Stories
    • Social Games
    • Games on the Go
    • Content Creation
    • Programming
    • Student Stories

The Canadian Games Conference has also released information for its 2011 Sponsorship Levels (PDF), with packages ranging in price from $1 000.00 for a quarter page ad in the conference programme or conference bag insert up to $30 000.00 for Title Sponsor (one only). There are many options available for sponsorship, including sessions, coffee breaks, receptions, lanyards, pens and more. Exhibition booths start at $3 500.00 for a 10′ x 10′ booth (includes 5 conference passes), and B2B meeting rooms start at $7 000.00. Each category of sponsorship includes many benefits, the least of which is of course, supporting the Canadian Games Conference and helping the event to become an annual success.

Canadian New Media AwardsBy now most of you know who the big winners were at last night’s Canadian New Media Awards, but I am going to list them here anyway, and add my congratulations to the mix.

Best Branded Entertainment: The Weak Shop DDB Canada/Tribal Vancouver
Best Cross-Platform Project: The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games – Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium – CTV Inc.
Best in Canadian Culture Interactive: Redress Remix – Stitch Media
Best Kids Interactive: The M.I. High Game: The Grand Mistress Mystery – Xenophile Media
Best Mobile Application: 2010 Guide – Official Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Mobile Spectator Guide – Xomo Digital Inc.
Best Online Advertising: Tourism Montreal – Montreal buzz – Sid Lee
Best Online Portal: Urbania.ca – TOXA
Best Online Programme, Series or Film: GDP – Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis – National Film Board of Canada
Best Use of Social Media: Doritos Viralocity – Proximity Canada
Best Web-Based Game: One Ocean Interactive – Tactica Interactive, Merit Motion Pictures,and Complex Games
Community Campaign of the Year: The NFB Test Tube with David Suzuki – National Film Board of Canada
Digital Media Technology of the Year: HootSuite – HootSuite Media, Inc
Developer of the Year: Kris McLaughlin
Digital Media Woman of the Year: Nadia G (aka Nadia Giosia)
Executive of the Year: Alon Marcovici
Interactive Designer of the Year: Myron Campbell
Producer of the Year: Philippe Lamarre
Special Achievement Award: Adam Froman
Online Artist of the Year: Down With Webster
Promising New Company of the Year: Polar Mobile
Company of the Year: Syncapse Corp.

BC BusinessIn other awards, BC Business has named their picks for the Top 100 BC Companies of 2010, with Strangeloop Networks (Digital Tech & Tech Services and Small Business categories) and 6S Marketing (Professional Services & Communications category) being named in the Top 10 overall. Other Digital Tech & Tech Services winners were: Contigo Systems Inc., Work at Play Media Labs Ltd., Mobidia Technology Inc. and Incognito Software Inc.

mingleverseVancouver-based Mingleverse, an award winning next generation 3D telecommunications technology and service for consumers on broadband mobile networks announced today that it has raised $1.4 million in seed financing from Yaletown Venture Partners, angel investors and company co-founder/CEO Ron Stevens.

“We are extremely pleased to have Yaletown Venture Partners join us as the first institutional investor in Mingleverse,” said Stevens. “It’s difficult for Canadian startups to access early-stage financing these days, but at Mingleverse we’ve been very fortunate to draw the attention of this top-tier Canadian VC and to tap into their experience and networks.”

The proceeds of this financing will allow Mingleverse to expand the marketing programs for its mobile offering and move forward with integration into social networking platforms to help meet the needs of cellular carriers.

“Our investment recognizes Mingleverse’s potential to move the “state of the art” for internet and mobile communications beyond mere person-to-person video calling,” said Mike Satterfield, Partner with Yaletown. “The technology is compelling, and the range of applications for Mingleverse seems limited only by the imagination of its growing community of enthusiastic users.”

The Mingleverse live social communication service, now with users in 196 countries, enhances the way people use social networking. Mingling allows natural conversation in 3D high def voice while sharing media (pictures, TV or YouTube) with anyone in your network. The virtual room can be displayed in either 2D or 3D, decorated to suit the individual, admission-based, or ad-enabled to derive revenue. Users can mingle around the room, and watch the same content on one big screen like in their living room, office, or sports bar.

Mingleverse is working with cellular carriers and handset makers to deliver an approved Live Social Network service they can customize and offer to their subscribers. Carriers will offer new service models around media sharing, advertising, and multi-person voice during a mingle call. New revenue can also be derived from virtual goods, room decoration, and live Mingle event ticketing. Currently, the Mingleverse application is quick to install in your browser and allows 2 to 50 participants to be on a live 3D voice call while viewing the same content, which is a big improvement over the normal limitation of just a one-to-one video call.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel AwardAmazon.com, along with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, is pleased to announce the fourth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition (including Canada) seeking the next popular novel. The competition will once again award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

The Breakthrough Novel Award brings together talented writers, reviewers, and publishing experts to find and develop new voices in fiction. If you’re an author with an unpublished or previously self-published novel waiting to be discovered, visit CreateSpace to sign up for regular contest updates. Open submissions for manuscripts will begin on January 24, 2011 and run through February 6, 2011. See the official contest rules for more information on how to enter.

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1st December 2010

Shaw Rocket Prize Winner Named

notsoftOshawa indie game studio NotSoft is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away the full version of their casual game, Wytches Brew, free of charge.

Wytches Brew features five modes of play, including an epic 52 chapter quest that has the player share a year long journey with 3 Wytches as they travel around their island brewing up magical potions for those in need. With four other play wytches brewmodes, including timed modes and modes with relaxed rules, Wytches Brew offers something for casual gamers of every skill level.

“We don’t have much of a marketing budget, and with the game’s story mode beginning on Yuletide we thought giving it away during the holiday season would be a great way to attract new players,” said Steven J. Hill (aka bignobody), the man behind NotSoft, “Especially since people’s budgets are often tight at this time of year.”

I have been playing Wytches Brew off and on for a few months now, and while I haven’t yet completed the game, I have found it to be a different take on the match 3+ genre. I will be writing a review for this game once I have played through to the end, but as I have often confessed, I am more of a console gamer than a PC gamer – my PC is just too closely related to…work. 😉

shaw rocket prizeCongratulations to Dino Dan from Sinking Ship Entertainment, winner of the prestigious $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize for 2010 after being voted the best in Canadian kids’ programming for ages 6-12. Dino Dan is an entertaining and educational TV show about a 10-year-old boy who loves interacting with dinosaurs in his imagination and learning about them. This show was favourited by kids of all ages across Canada as well as in the US, where it recently achieved the record as the highest watched debut episode on Nick Jr. in its history. Dino Dan was judged for quality and content both for the TV show and its online content. The kids jury loved playing games and digging up dinosaurs on dinodan.com.

Other titles in the running for this year’s Rocket Prize were:

How to Be Indie (DHX Media)
In Real Life (Apartment 11)
Jimmy Two-Shoes (Breakthrough Entertainment)
League of Super Evil (Nerd Corps)

OpenFeint DevelopersAs the freemium model continues to gain momentum in the mobile gaming space, developers are looking for the best ways to apply the lucrative model to their games. Today, OpenFeint is encouraging developers sell downloadable content in their games by announcing a $1 million free-to-play mobile games challenge.

The OFX Freemium Challenge waives the revenue share on OpenFeint’s just released OFX software development kit for up to $10,000 per developer, available to the first 100 games that go live. With this challenge, developers can implement OFX and sell up to $10,000 in downloadable content in game before sharing any revenue.

“With the OFX Freemium Challenge, developers will see how easy-to-use and profitable OFX can be in their games with little commitment,” says Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint. “We’ve all seen that the freemium model is generating some amazing results. OFX gives developers the tools they need to take advantage of this emerging model.”

Mega Jump has proved to us that the freemium model is a great way to earn revenue as an independent developer,” said Derek van Vliet of Get Set Games. “Since changing the game to freemium we’ve seen a 400% increase in overall revenue.”
Mega Jump Celebrates 7 million
Mega Jump celebrated 7 million downloads, and stated on their site that “hot on the heals of Update 10, Update 11 is just around the corner, featuring the astonishing new upgradable Jump Boots and a couple of new rascals who will be joining the growing Mega Jump family of characters.”

Released today, OFX is a set of client and cloud based services that help game developers sell new content in their games without having to submit full game updates to Apple. Future updates will allow game developers to offer virtual currency and virtual goods for sale in their games. OFX is completely free for game developers to download and implement in their games. OpenFeint only shares in revenue earned from the sale of paid downloadable content in games sold with OFX.

intuitIntuit’s online personal finance service Mint.com is now available to Canadians. Mint helps people see where their money goes, keep their spending on track by creating budgets they’ll stick with, and uncovers opportunities to save them money. And it’s free.
mint
“Canadians are global leaders when it comes to the use of online banking, social media and other online activities, so bringing Mint.com to Canada was a natural next step,” said Aaron Patzer, general manager and vice president of Intuit Personal Finance and founder of Mint.com. “A uniquely Canadian version of Mint will help Canadians make informed decisions as they plan their financial lives.”

Setting up a Mint account takes about five minutes – users register anonymously using a valid e-mail address, and then add login information for the online banking, credit card and other financial accounts they want to consolidate. Mint connects securely to more than 40 Canadian banking financial institutions, and is adding more. Users can ask Mint to add support for their favourite bank from within their account.

After users register, Mint automatically aggregates their accounts and transaction information, and provides up-to-date and accurate views of their financial life. Mint offers many ways to view and graph information, and the flexibility to scan the big picture or focus on specific details:

* Analyzes spending – Mint reveals spending patterns by automatically categorizing expenses, showing how much a user pays for gas, groceries, parking, rent, restaurants, entertainment and more.
* Makes recommendations – Mint also saves users money by providing unique, money-saving and money-making suggestions based on users’ individual spending patterns. Slowly paying down a high-interest credit card? Mint will recommend a lower-interest card. Paying more for life insurance than others of a similar age in your region? Mint can often find a better deal. Offer data for the recommendations is provided by RateSupermarket.ca, Canada’s largest independent and impartial rate comparison service for personal finance products.

In addition, Mint is available for those on the go. Users can view their Mint account from a password-protected website or check in on the go with the free Mint.com mobile applications for iPhone and Android mobile phones, available on the iTunes Canada app store and Android Market. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th November 2010

Magic Santa Is Giving Away A Trip To Walt Disney World

sympaticoCanadian users of the Magic Santa video platform now have another reason to share the joy of the holiday season – a chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World from Sympatico.ca. Canadian residents can win a family vacation valued at $10,000 by creating a free Magic Santa video message for the children in their lives, and then submitting a photo or video that captures the priceless expression on their child’s face as they watch their personalized Magic Santa video. Digital photo or video submissions can be uploaded to Sympatico.ca’s user-generated-content (UGC) platform until December 19, 2010.

kids help phone

Magic Santa is a video platform and application that enables parents and extended family members to very quickly and easily create and then view personalized and unique video messages to their kids from Santa.  Creating a video takes less than five minutes, with users submitting only essential information (no complex questionnaire), yet will leave a lasting impression as children marvel at the idea that Santa knows their name, what they want for Christmas, and more. The free service is available both online and as a free downloadable iPhone application from the iTunes App Store. Whether a video message was created using Magic Santa online or the iPhone app, families can “share the magic” with others through Facebook, Twitter or email at the click of a button.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

This holiday season, Sympatico.ca is also sharing the magic with Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only phone and on-line counselling service for youth, by donating $0.25 to the organization for every Magic Santa video created, up to $50,000.

“Magic Santa was created to bring the magic of the holidays to life for kids. With the launch of our Magic Santa contest, that magic can now live on at Walt Disney World for one lucky family,” says Michele Ferrari, SVP – Portal Content English, Business Strategy at Sympatico.ca. “We are proud to be helping parents share the joy of Christmas with their families, and at the same time enabling those families to support Kids Help Phone, an incredible organization that is there for kids across the country whenever they need someone to talk to.”

Magic Santa is not only a free application, it is also free of advertising, enabling Sympatico.ca to help families across Canada keep the spirit of Christmas alive for young kids, without commercialization.

Photo and Video Submission Guidelines

– All entries submitted to contest.magicsanta.ca will be reviewed for eligibility according to the contest rules. Eligible entries will be processed within one to three business days after a submission has been made.magic santa

– There is a per person limit of one contest entry per day and ten contest entries over the entire contest period.

– The odds of winning depend on the number of valid entries received during the contest period.

– The contest runs until December 19, 2010 at 11:50pm (ET).

– On December 21, 2010 at 1:00pm (ET), one entry will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries received during the contest period.

– Full contest rules are available online.

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29th November 2010

Sarbakan To Develop Two Kinect Titles

Game Prototype ChallengeAttention game devs – Game Prototype Challenge founder Jason Kaplan will officially announce Game Prototype Challenge V2 at noon EST on Wednesday, December 1. The new themes will be announced on December 13th, and the challenge will run from December 13 through December 20th. Get your thinking caps on, limber up those design skills and get ready for some informal designing fun. If you aren’t familiar with Game Prototype Challenge, check out their site and see all of the great ideas that were shared in Version 1.

Sarbakan Game StudioQuebec-based Sarbakan Game Studio has announced an agreement has been signed with a multinational corporation for the creation of multiple games on Microsoft’s Kinect, the controller-free, motion-based gaming device for the Xbox 360, released in November 2010.

Under the agreement, Sarbakan will develop two games, yet to be named publicly, based on the Kinect platform. The games, which will be sold in retail stores across the United States and Europe next year, are just the beginning of what promises to be a new era in video game development. More details on Sarbakan’s Kinect development and this partnership will be available over the upcoming months.

“We are truly poised as a forward-developing studio,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan. “As we broadened our services to include iOS and Kinect platforms, our existing and potential partners have really Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusaderamped up their creative development with Sarbakan to provide their titles and brands across multiple platforms.”

Along with the partnership announcement, Sarbakan has launched a revamp of its corporate web site. With a new look and high-tech underpinnings, the web site provides Sarbakan clients, partners and friends easier access to all Sarbakan has to offer in innovative game design and development. Although the web site is only it is first phase, visitors can quickly view the company’s latest developments and keep up-to-date on upcoming happenings. New features and information will be added over the course of the upcoming months.

With its indie vibe but larger-than-life ambitions, Sarbakan is on the hunt for talented, high-octane candidates, from game designers to programmers, to fulfill the company’s growing needs. Interested candidates can contact Sarbakan to learn more. Zombies and pencil pushers need not apply.

Previous titles from Sarbakan include The Incredibles save The Day, Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusade and Tron: Legacy Digital DJ web games and Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound on the Nintendo DS for Disney Interactive as well as Lazy Raiders for XBLA.

Sunday MuseAs a leading voice actor specializing in animation, Sunday Muse has become the go-to person for those wanting to learn how to become an actor in the animation industry. Her original techniques show students how they can animate their bodies and voice through connecting to the emotions and actions of the characters they’re playing.

Sunday Muse joins Voice Over Experts with her podcast lesson on “How to Introduce Your Child to Voice Acting” to help parents prepare their children for getting involved in cartoon voice acting. Sunday’s podcast is full of industry knowledge, casting expectations and exciting tips that will help parents prepare their child You Can Do Voices Toofor what it might be like to be a working voice over actor. Sunday has also produced a book with CD titled You Can Do Cartoon Voices, Too! and it is currently listed on her site for a limited-time special of 30% off.

The Voice Over Experts is hosted by Voices.com, the online voice over marketplace. The podcasts are an educational library of free voice acting lessons designed for those just starting out and are a treasure trove of resources for established voice actors who want to refine their knowledge and skills from the privacy of their own home and at their own pace. The Voice Over Experts Podcast can be found in the iTunes Podcast Directory and online at the Voices.com Podcast Center.

Whistler Film FestivalWhistler Film Festival 2010 now has an app for that – their new iPhone app is now available in the App Store. Developed by QuickMobile, this free app will allow you to access the 10th Anniversary Whistler Film Festival (running December 1st through 5th) from the palm of your hand. Get inspired by filmmaker interviews, panels, industry programmes, and behind-the-scenes coverage.nextMEDIA Toronto

NextMedia Toronto is currently underway, and if you were unable to attend, there are loads of live tweets to be found, just search the #nextmedia hashtag on twitter. If you are in the Toronto area and would like attend tomorrow, there are still day passes available.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has sent out the announcement for their next iLunch event, which will be held on December 10th at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. Titled Relationships with Multiple Partners: Can It Work, this session will feature case-studies on creative partnerships, how these relationships were instigated and structured, plus highlights of the challenges and successes producing the resulting properties. Knowing and securing the right partners for your project is paramount to its success, and featured speakers James Milward (Secret Location), Trevor Fencott (Bedlam Games) and Garry Flahive (NFB) will focus your attention on several key points, including cross platform relationships, methodology, ROI, brand expansion, the limitations and benefits of IDM partnerships and much, much more. Purchase your tickets now to get the whole story.

Shaw CableOn the heels of raising 2.6 million pounds of food and $250,000 as part of the Fill the Food Banks campaign (PDF), Shaw has launched Shaw’s Amazing Family Reunion contest, the next initiative in their Together is Amazing movement.

The contest invites Canadians to create a virtual scrapbook page sharing their story of why together is amazingthey would like to reunite their family. Ten deserving families will be chosen by a panel of judges and will create their dream family reunion, each valued up to $25,000.

“There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing families come together,” said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc. “Over the past couple of months we’ve had the great pleasure of watching as our communities united to fill food banks across Canada as part of our Together is Amazing movement. Nothing would make us happier than to see that sense of ‘togetherness’ continue.”

Canadians can enter online from November 29, 2010 to January 15, 2011. Entries are limited to one per person, and applicants are asked to create virtual scrapbooks of their family memories and their dream reunion as part of the submission process.flightnetwork on blackberry

flight networkFlight Network, one of Canada’s leaders in online travel, has launched its free iPhone, and BlackBerry mobile applications. Unique to the FlightNetwork.com, this mobile application offers the ability to search and compare the lowest airfares available in the country, then seamlessly book a flight within the native app, without being re-directed to another webpage or having to telephone in payment information.

Additional features of the FlightNetwork.com mobile application include an option to connect instantly with one of FlightNetwork.com’s 65 flight specialists for customer support. Also, easy sharing of airfares with friends and family is available through email, Facebook and Twitter. It also allows customers to book in either US or Canadian dollars and provides secure 128 bit encryption for payments.

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