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17th November 2010

Strong Canadian Showing For Spike Video Game Awards

Congratulations to all of the Canadian nominees who were named today by the Spike Video Game Awards show:

Bioware’s Mass Effect 2, is the only Canadian-made title in the Game of the Year category, and Bioware is the Spike VGAonly Canadian studio nominated for Studio of the Year. Mass Effect 2 was also named in the Xbox 360 Game of the Year, PC Game of the Year, Best RPG, Best DLC and Best Original Soundtrack categories.  Bioshock 2, which carries work done by Digital Extremes, is nominated as Best Shooter, while Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is nominated for Best Action Adventure but overlooked for Soundtrack. What I’m sure is a surprise to many, Shaun White Skateboarding is the only Canadian title nomintaed in the Best Individual Sports category, and unsurprisingly, EA Canada’s FIFA Soccer 11 was named in the Best Team Sports category.

Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions from Beenox received a nod in the Best Adapted Video Game category. In the voice performance categories, Martin Sheen has been nominated in the Best Performance By A Human Male for his role as the Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2, while Neil Patrick Harris was nominated for his portrayal of Peter Parker in Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions. As for the Best Performance By A Human Female, Mass Effect 2 gains two more chances to rack up some serious hardware with the nominations of Jennifer Hale as the female Commander Sheppard while Yvonne Strahovski was nominated for her role as Miranda Lawson. Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Chengdu share the nomination for Best Downloadable Game with Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game. ModNation Racers, the debut title from United Front Games, received two nominations – Best Driving Game and Best PS3 Game.

Bioware also revealed a new advertisement today, teasing gamers about the studio’s next big title – the name of which they will share with the world during the Spike VGA’s broadcast. Personally, I think it’s going to be Mass Effect 3. Take a look at the TV spot:

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EA Sports™ NBA JAM —in high definition and featuring online play (Restrictions and conditions apply)—for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® is in stores now throughout North America. Featuring gameplay that is true to the original, two distinct game modes—Classic Campaign and Remix Tour—plus a full complement of online modes, EA Sports NBA JAM offers something for everyone. EA Sports

For the first time ever play the arcade classic basketball game online with every online feature available immediately through a free title update for all connected fans. Gamers can take on all rivals playing Classic 2-on-2 online, measuring their success on Friends and Global Leaderboards. Connected fans will be able to team-up locally to compete online in Remix Games, including Domination Free-for-All, Elimination, and 21. Fans will also be able to make it a Jam Party online by inviting up to 3 friends on separate consoles to play. Plus, gamers will be able to take on the world in Online Progression, levelling up through a series of challengers and secret online NBA JAM Challenges to unlock online exclusive NBA Jamrewards and hidden content in the ultimate quest for global bragging rights.

In Classic Campaign, players can take a trip down memory lane, individually or with a friend, as they play all 30 teams in the NBA in a worst to first ladder tournament. In Remix Tour, players will be faced with a new twist on the traditional NBA JAM experience. From boss battles against some of the NBA’s greatest legends, to half-court game modes with distinct challenges and winning conditions, players will be taken through an NBA JAM experience completely unique to the basketball videogame genre while demonstrating classic arcade hoops at its best.

EA Sports stays true to the original NBA JAM with Tim Kitzrow reprising his role as the legendary announcer voicing all the classic lines from the original, unmatched player likeness and reactions that exaggerate the outrageous moves that make up the core NBA JAM experience, and hundreds of characters, secret teams, courts and secret items to unlock.

Described by Gamesradar.com as “virtually perfect”, EA Sports NBA JAM for Wii™ is available in stores now everywhere. It is currently the 8th highest rated sports game ever on the Wii (according to Metacritic.com as of Nov. 10). EA Sports NBA JAM is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB. The MSRP on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 versions is $49.99 USD.

EA MobileEA also announced today that through their partnership with Blue Planet Software, Inc., the company that manages the exclusive licensing rights to the Tetris® brand, Tetris by EA Mobile is now available for the PlayStation®Network (PSN). Millions of players worldwide on Sony PlayStation® 3 systems will now have the opportunity to download and play the game with crisp 1080p high-definition (HD) graphics, high-quality 5.1 surround sound audio, and all-new ways to play including online against other Tetris players from around the globe. The Tetris game is one of the best-selling games of all time, with more than 100 million paid mobile downloads.
Tetris for PS3
“EA has developed Tetris on more than 15 platforms to date, and we’re excited to bring Tetris to millions of gamers worldwide on PlayStation Network,” said Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing for EA Mobile. “With new gaming modes, stunning HD visuals and the enhanced audio experience, this truly is the definitive Tetris experience for PlayStation Network.”

“This is Tetris made for a big screen,” said Alexey Pajitnov, creator of the Tetris game. “We’re very excited to bring Tetris to PlayStation Network with new game modes offering different and fun new ways to play. With high-definition graphics and surround sound, this Tetris game is a full experience. We’re thrilled to bring this unique game to longtime fans and new players. We hope everyone shows it off in their home ‘theaters!’”

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In addition to stellar audio and visual qualities, Tetris players can now play online or locally with up to six friends in all-new game modes. For those that play well with others, “Shared” mode enables two players to team-up in a single matrix to combine efforts and clear lines together. On the other end of the spectrum, “Team Battle” is the ultimate competitive match-up that allows two teams of two to play against one another, alternating between offense and defense as they compete for the win. Even the well-known “Battle” mode has been enhanced with new Power-Ups for more fast-paced fun.

And long-time Tetris fans need not worry, as Tetris for PSN also includes the famous “Marathon” mode. But for a new twist, now multiplayer games let up to four players locally play “Marathon” mode at the same time. Also included is the new “Challenge” mode, which allows players playing “Marathon” mode or any of the 12 variants to try to beat “replays” of either friends or some of the best Tetris players in the world. Additionally, players can see how they stack up to the best Tetris players internationally by checking out worldwide and regional leader boards, which are refreshed weekly.

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16th November 2010

Harmony Launches New Title While Hothead Seeks Game Name

I apparently missed finding out about Microsoft’s GoDevMental programme when it was here in Vancouver…and I also missed the Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton and Ottawa dates…but hey, the tour is headed for Montreal (November 23rd), Winnipeg (December 7th) and Calgary (December 14th), so I can redeem myself at GoDevMentalleast a little. According to the initiative’s web site, Go DevMENTAL is Microsoft’s free academic tour designed to teach you coding for the coolest apps and platforms, connect you with the industry, help you pursue your career aspirations and a great chance to have a fun evening out with friends.

The tour crew will be fiving you the opportunity to learn how to write apps and games for Windows Phone 7, get a handle on WebMatrix, an awesome free website building tool and punch-up your animation skills using Expression Blend for Silverlight. There will also be technology partners from the industry, offers and demonstrations of their latest technology and will be handing out DreamSpark Tokens for free software downloads and other freebies. You can get more details and register on the GoDevMental web site.

castle smashVancouver social game developer Harmony Arcade has announced the upcoming beta launch of Castle Smash, a medieval themed social game that gives players the chance to defeat villains, make friends, and destroy castles in all variety of locales. Castle Smash is a multiplayer physics-based castle destruction game now available on Facebook. Choose your weaponry, such as the slingshot or trebuchet, and equip magical items that give you extra advantage in battle, then smash your friends’ castles in order to win the gold they’re hoarding.

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Speaking of Vancouver studios, Hothead Games would like you to help them name their upcoming game, a dueling card game played by wizards. Check out the studio’s blog Hothead Games for full details and a bit of legal stuff, along with a game screenshot and a great pic of our friend Hamish…

WaveFront AC invites location-based app developers to attend a free breakfast seminar on November 18th and learn more about the new wavefrontNAVTEQ App Warehouse, a highly visual online catalog of location-focused applications which offers a unique matchmaking opportunity for developers and customers. Tom Tierney, Director of NAVTEQ’s Partner and Developer Program, will present how to market your LBS application through the App Warehouse including success rates and final NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge Winners. Other developer tools will be reviewed as well such as the Smart SDK for Mobile and turn-key location based advertising services. Revenues from mobile location-based services will exceed $12.7 billion by 2014 according to Juniper Research, so it’s now the time to capitalize on this opportunity.

At the end of the seminar there will be an opportunity for you to meet one-on-one with NAVTEQ to explore the commercial opportunities of working together, so please sign up when you register. When you register, feel free to submit questions/topics you would like covered by the panel.

CTVCTV has launched Bangatar, a promotional contest for The Big Bang Theory television series airing weekly, every Thursday on CTV at 8:00 PM (ET), where players must upload a photo of themselves to create a photo mashup, or “Bangatar.” Simply visit the Big Bang Theoryweb site, click on the Contest page, and complete and submit your entry by following the instructions found on the site – after you read the rules of the game.

The contest started on November 11th and will run until January 5, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. There is one grand prize consisting of a trip for two by air to Los Angeles (this means you must have a valid passport), two preferred seating tickets to a taping of an episode of The Big Bang Theory, a tour of the set and a signed script of an episode of The Big Bang Theory. There will also be twenty-four weekly prizes, each consisting of one The Big Bang Theory Bazinga t-shirt and one The Big Bang Theory DVD box set of Seasons 1-3. Please see The Rules for complete prize details and conditions. (Why did I just hear Sheldon’s voice say “the rules” when I typed that?)

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16th November 2010

More Holiday Fun With Books Bananas and 3D

Nintendo CanadaNintendo Canada invites you to go bananas at the RioCan Yonge Eglinton Centre this Saturday, November 20th. Celebrate and capture the excitement at the launch event for one of the most Donkey Kong Country Returnsanticipated games of the year, Donkey Kong Country™ Returns for the Nintendo Wii™.

Witness “The Tsunami” Takeru Kobayashi, the king of competitive eating, take on Donkey Kong Country Returns in a banana eating challenge. Donkey Kong fans of all ages will be given the exclusive opportunity to play the new side-scrolling adventure before launch.

Free play begins on the upper level of the mall just outside the Toys R Us store at 1pm and runs until 4pm. The Banana Eating Challenge starts at 3pm sharp.

Seeing as I broke my Grinch streak by posting earlier about the YTV holiday show line-up, here’s blurba great gift idea from the folks over at Blurb. You can make the best gift ever – one that’s totally original, highly individual, and available at the price you choose by creating your own beautiful, custom bookstore-quality photo book, cookbook, memoir, travel book, or almost any kind of book you want. If you want to know how you can get started, Blurb’s own Amanda Zweerink is hosting two upcoming webinars:

* Tips and tricks on bookmaking to help you start – and finish – your book before gift-giving day rolls around
* The how-to on getting started with Blurb BookSmart® or Bookify™, their new online bookmaking tool

Thursday, November 18, 1:00 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) — Register
Thursday, December 2, 1:00 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) — Register

DOCtorontoThe Toronto Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada and 3D FLIC (3D Film Innovation Consortium) invite you to 3D for Real: A Stereoscopic 3D Workshop for Documentary Filmmakers, a one-day crash course taking place on November 25th at the NFB Cinema (150 John Street in Toronto). Designed to take you through the practicalities and challenges of this fast-growing sector, this workshop will cover all steps of the production pipeline and is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for directors, producers, DOPs, editors, and aspiring stereographers. The day will include presentations by industry leaders and award-winning documentarians. The workshop, along with hands-on product demos and trend-setting case studies will bring you one step closer to the art & business of good 3D doc making. Tickets for this workshop are $75.00 for Doc Canada members or $100.00 for non-members. The programme schedule includes:

Stereo 3D: an Introduction – Enter the world of stereoscopic 3D with award winning documentary filmmaker York University Professor Ali Kazimi (3D FLIC Lead Filmmaker)

So what’s a Stereographer, anyway? – An interview with John Reeves, stereographer for CBC’s Queen Elizabeth in 3D

Case Study: A Park For All Seasons, Gwaii Haanas National Park – Behind the scenes on the first S-3D episode of this innovative nature series.

Taking up a New Post – Kenneth MacNeil of Creative Post shares the ins-and-outs of the S-3D post-production process.

The Future of 3D: a Panel Discussion – A look at the what’s ahead for S-3D Documentary Production.

Product Demos (throughout the afternoon) – The 3D Camera Company and 3reedom Digital will show off the latest and greatest in 3D Production Rigs.

DOC is offering a special membership promotion at the 3D for Real Workshop: if you sign up for your regular-priced 2011 membership at the event, you can get in at member prices for this event (to qualify for member pricing on the 3D for Real Workshop you must bring a cheque for your membership dues with you to the event).

communitechFinally, speaking of 3D and news that I missed on Friday, there was cause to celebrate another landmark for The Communitech Hub as the new innovative 3D HIVE from Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. (Christie) was officially commissioned. The equipment was installed in part thanks to $280,000 in funding provided by the Community Adjustment Fund of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, through which $1 billion in funding is being provided across the country over two years to address short-term economic needs of communities impacted by the global recession.

“The Communitech Hub will foster the development of important new digital media products and is expected to create thousands of new jobs in Canada over the next five years,” said Peter Braid, MP Kitchener-Waterloo. “This investment will support entrepreneurship, create jobs and further strengthen this region’s reputation as a centre of innovation.”

Also participating in the celebration was Harold Albrecht, MP Kitchener-Conestoga. The Hub occupies 30,000 square feet of a renovated downtown Kitchener Tannery building and houses start-up companies, small-medium enterprises, and global multi-nationals with the goal of accelerating the pace of development of new ideas and products in the digital media sector. Christie is a founding partner company and has provided advanced visualization tools and integration expertise to help startup companies explore new concepts and advance their programs.

“We look forward to seeing the results of collaboration and mentoring at The Hub which will undoubtedly produce new initiatives in digital media and contribute to long-term success, not only for the vibrant high tech community locally, but for Canada on the international scale,” said Gerry Remers, president and COO, Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc.
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16th November 2010

meshmarketing Focuses on Future of Marketing in a Digital World

For those seeking a better understanding of the impact that new trends and technologies will have on digital marketing strategy and tactics, meshmarketing, Toronto’s digital marketing conference is for you – and is happening tomorrow at the Exhibition Place’s Allstream Centre in Toronto.

meshmarketing: a one-day event on November 17 will provide insight, perspective and information from some of the most innovative minds in digital marketing to embrace and capitalize on emerging trends, tools, and companies. mesh conference

“It’s going to be an exciting event. There have been so many leaps and bounds in just about every facet of the digital space over the past year — I’m looking forward to seeing what our speakers and panels bring,” said Stuart MacDonald, mesh co-founder and a moderator of meshmarketing 2010.

Tickets are on sale now for $539 with an allotted 50 spots for students at a sale price of $99. Keynote speakers, attendees, panels and workshops at this year’s meshmarketing conference include:

* Michael Slaby, Executive Vice President, Edelman Public Relations, Global Practice Chair, Digital: As the voice of long-term digital strategy and development for the world’s largest private public relations company, Slaby is a guiding figure in the future of digital marketing. Slaby’s presentation will focus on providing social media insight from strategic and tactical standpoints. Prior to joining Edelman, Slaby served as a technology and new media advisor to the Obama administration and Livestrong.
* Natania Dashner, Marketing Manager, Pepsi Canada: One of the key faces in launching the Pepsi Refresh Project in Canada, Dashner’s work with what Forbes.com recognized as one of the top five “Best Ever Social Media Campaigns” has been essential to bringing this innovative, democratically inclined initiative across the border.
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16th November 2010

University of Waterloo Senate Approves Games Institute Proposal

via UWaterloo: At a meeting of the University of Waterloo Senate last evening, a proposal for a Games Institute, drawing on Waterloo expertise in such fields as animation, gambling, simulation, neurobiology and wellness, was approved to move forward. The proposal, which was backed by the senate’s Graduate and Research Council and the Dean of Arts, drew on “core faculty members” in systems design engineering, drama and speech communication, psychology, anthropology, management sciences, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, English language and literature, and computer science.

University of WaterlooThe summary, which allowed that the Games Institute vision is very broad, incorporating game research that may have non-gaming applications, non-gaming research that may have game-related applications, hardware, software, and interaction, would seek funding from government (SSHRC, NSERC, MRl, etc.) and industry (Google, Microsoft, partners in the games industry and related industries); and UW seed funding. The proposal also went on to state that:

“The games industry is growing rapidly throughout Ontario, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and offers numerous and wide-ranging areas for cross-faculty and multi-institutional interdisciplinary research collaborations. Furthermore, the games field is an area of strong interest for students, as researchers, creators and industry employees. The games industry is receiving substantial funding and incentives from governments, including the Ontario government.

“The Games Institute is proposed to advance research and knowledge in game-related interactions and technologies. The institute aims to establish strong academic and academic-industry research projects and programs, establish a richly cross-disciplinary graduate teaching and research institution, develop commercialization projects with industry partners, strengthen community ties, encourage student engagement, and enhance educational and employment opportunities for students. Research will cover video and computer games (including online games), social games, mobile games, educational and serious games, simulations and virtual worlds, more traditional non-digital games, board games and gambling games.

Also listed in the proposal were examples of some of the research studies and questions that researchers in the institute could tackle. Among them: “What are the psychological and psychophysiological aspects of gaming that contribute to addiction? What aspects of interface design can we learn from games? How can machine learning and AI influence new games? How can we optimize code for networked mobile games? How do we incorporate ideas from board games into new digital technologies? What public policy recommendations should be made with regard to games?”

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15th November 2010

Check Out These New and Upcoming Releases

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure continues its new release pace with the availability today of 21 blackjack21: Blackjack, a game built exclusively for the Nintendo DSi that lets you take the thrill of the casino on-the-go with a variety of gameplay options to take your skills to the next level. For 200 Wii Points, you can change the payouts, number of decks in play, splitting options and even if the dealer hits on a soft 17, but these are just a few of the many advanced gameplay options. Want to know how well you’ve been playing or how many Blackjack’s have taken you to a winning hand, then check out a full range of player stats available for viewing at any time. Now’s your chance to Hit, Stand or Double Down with 21: Blackjack.

Mood MediaMood Media Corporation has added PopCap Games‘ multi-million selling casual games Bejeweled, Zuma and Bookworm to its increasingly popular casual games retail program. Under the agreement with PopCap, the games will be sold through Mood Media’s Somerset Entertainment interactive displays, which allow customers to sample the game before purchasing. The overall strategy involves providing multiple entertainment titles and continuing to bring innovation to the shopping experience.

Ray ArdentIf you haven’t yet played Ray Ardent Science Ninja by Shane Neville, I would have to ask you what you’re waiting for – go play it now over at Armor Games – it’s free – and it uses science, so it’s also educational! Over 211, 000 attempts have been made thus far as gamers take on the persona of ninja scientist Dr. Ray Ardent, battling through dangers and surviving to talk about it – nearly 200 of them have rewarded the game by marking it as a favourite, too. You can also check out a myriad of nerdy t-shirts designed by Shane, and really get your geek on by adding them to your wardrobe.EA Sports

EA Sports has released a first look video for Fight Night Champion, which will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2011. EA has declared that Fight Night Champion will set a new standard in sports videogames by delivering the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category.

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Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.

Featuring a refined physics-based animation system that incorporates improved locomotion, punching and stamina mechanics, Fight Night Champion will enable users to move, attack and dodge with the speed and power of the best champions, contenders and pretenders in the world of boxing. In addition, an all-new control scheme, dubbed Full Spectrum Punch Control, will deliver the most realistic punching system ever seen in a simulation fighting game, while still delivering an accessible experience that will make Fight Night Champion the most user-friendly title in the franchise’s history. Fight Night Champion has not yet been rated by the ESRB

RentClick.ca is the first Western Canadian company to offer a free iPhone app that conveniently allows rentclickcustomers to view rental listings for apartments, condos, houses and vacation properties on their mobile device. Renters can quickly view the following information for each listing: monthly rent, available date, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, community name, address, square feet, parking, pets, smoking, area amenities, listing ID number, a detailed property description and the landlord’s contact information. Additionally, Property Management companies can feature their listings under the Property Manager tab.

Customers can easily refine their search in the app by property type, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, area of the city, monthly rent and listing ID number. Customers can also tag listings as their favorites. Currently, the app features Calgary and Edmonton apartments, condos, houses for rent.

bistrainerOnline training solution provider BIS Trainer is preparing to launch the latest version of their proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) in Q1 or 2011. This new release will include system features like the ability to create a master package of courses with one unique certification and reverse course navigation using a chaptering system.

The new features are built on the specifications of various clients and regulatory bodies to ensure adaptability and security. Master packaging of courses will include checks and balances to confirm each course in succession is completed successfully before the next course can be started. Upon successful completion of all course in the package, the end-users will receive a certificate for from the employer or authorized content owner.

BIS provides custom content development for online training courses. Each course is tailored to achieve specific learning objectives for the client as well delivering key messages that provide employees or learners with information required to improve performance.

Off-the-shelve online courses from BIS clients include WHMIS, First Aid, Oil Sand Orientation, and Winter Driving Fundamentals. Additional off-the-shelf content in development schedule for early 2011 release include hazard assessment, drug and alcohol awareness, incident investigation, workplace harassment and OSHA courses.

Peel School BoardOntario’s Peel District School Board students will find out on November 18 and 19 if 5,000 students can really make a difference when they come together for Leadership Now! at the Powerade Centre. The event features inspirational speakers and live entertainment—all designed to motivate youth to speak up and take action. The conference is part of the Peel board’s Student Leadership for Global Development program which is produced with the support of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency.

“Leadership Now! teaches students about global issues and encourages them to become active at school and within their community. It’s an action-packed day to inspire and motivate students to affect change and make a difference,” says Tony Pontes, director of education, Peel District School Board.

The November 18th event is for middle school students. Secondary students will attend the event on November 19th, with both days presenting a similar program that includes keynote presentations from the following presenters:

* Dev Aujla, social entrepreneur, founder of DreamNow
* Sol Guy, Canadian music producer, social activist and host of MTV’s 4REAL

“Leadership NOW! teaches young people about finding their passion and their ability to help themselves and others,” says Guy. “Change does not happen by attending an event, but the inspiration can happen. How to take an action step and then integrate into your life so that giving becomes part of who you are and what you do. In that way you affect yourself in others in ways you could never imagine.”

“Events like Leadership NOW! inspire students to become active citizens,” says Aujla. “Students need to tap into their creative ideas because they have the power to change lives.”

Students will also be entertained by VYbE Dance Company who will perform breaking, pop/wave/tut and fusion acts. VybE has worked with a number of well-known artists and groups like Shaggy and the Toronto Raptors Dance Pack. They have raised money each year for local and international charities such as Hamilton Health Sciences, Art Starts, Free the Children and Evergreen. In addition to speakers, the event will include emcees from Absolute Leadership and live music from Hearts in Stereo.

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15th November 2010

Upcoming Events and New Contests Announced

AnnexProThere a number of events recently announced for the Canadian interactive and digital media industries, including the Annex Pro Expo 2011, which will be held on December 8th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This free-to-attend event will feature some of the latest technology solutions for VFX, animation, games as well as post-production for TV, film and music.

Expo Agenda:

3:00 p.m. – Technology Open House featuring Adobe, AJA, Aspera, Autodesk, Avid Audio + Video, Chaos V-Ray, Craft Animations, G-Tech, HP, Wacom and Blue Arc
5:00 p.m. – Drinks + Apps, Industry Networking, Open House
6:00 p.m. – Keynote: “Trends in Post-production Infrastructure” presented by Tom Burns from Technicolor Creative Services
7:00 p.m.+ Drinks and Open House

Space for the Annex Pro Expo 2011 is limited, so make sure you’re on the list by pre-registering now.

IABC TorontoBlogs, online conversations, and social networking have exploded over the past couple of years, making social media expertise a must-have skill for today’s communicators. Opportunities for online engagement, promotion, and monetization are limitless, but when adopting social media, it is critical to demonstrate its business value.

In an exclusive breakfast seminar taking place at the Marriott Downtown on November 17th, Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC, Founding Partner of Advantis Communication and IABC/Toronto Board Member, will draw on his experience as a communications expert to offer practical advice on integrating social media into communication programs and measuring success.

In Selling, Implementing and Measuring Social Media, communicators will learn how to develop their sales pitch and a practical plan to integrate social media into external communications. They’ll also learn how to get approval to double their budget the next time around by tracking the right metrics with the right tools.

WordCamp Fraser Valley, which will be taking place at the SFU Surrey Campus on November 20th has posted its schedule:

John Bollwitt – Building an Intranet using WordPresswordcamp fraser valley
Raul Pacheco – Build your Online Community
Tris Hussey – Hacking and Creating Your Own Theme
Dave Zile – WordPress SEO BootCamp
Danny Bradbury – Tools for Gathering Topics for Blog Posts
Lynne Robson – Designing with Child Themes
Kulpreet Singh – To be announced
Leah Cross – Video Blogging

Tickets for this full day event are available online, and cost $45.00 each.

the citizen labThe Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs that ferrets out cyber attacks and espionage, will be awarded the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) 2010 Vox Libera Award. The Citizen Lab was selected for its dedication to free expression and access to information online. World leaders in the field of “hacktivism,” the Citizen Lab’s members focus their research on documenting cases of internet espionage and censorship around the world, reinforcing the idea that the Internet should remain a safe, public domain.

In 2010, Citizen Lab (and its partner the SecDev Group) uncovered 1,294 computers in 103 countries (embassies, government agencies etc. including to the desktop of the Dalai Lama) that had been compromised by a virus originating out of servers in China. The Citizen Lab developed the psiphon censorship circumvention software, and continues to provide “red team” research, threat analysis, and support for open source development for Psiphon Inc through the Psi-Lab project.

Victor Malarek, investigative reporter on CTV’s W5, and Anne-Marie Mediwake, news anchor and co-host of CBC News, will emcee the evening that honours the Citizen Lab and journalists from Cameroon and Mexico at the 13th annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Fearless Reporting at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Thursday, November 25, 2010.

“Freedom of expression on the Internet is very much under threat today,” said Ron Deibert, Founder/Director of the Citizen Lab and Professor of Political Science. “Citizen Lab is very proud to have been selected for this year’s CJFE Vox Libera Award. We hope that our work and that of our partners will help raise awareness of these threats and safeguard the Internet as an open commons.”

The Vox Libera Award is an annual award granted to a Canadian or Canadian organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression and has made an important and sustained contribution at home or abroad to those same principles. The CJFE Gala brings together approximately 500 members of Canada’s media, business and professional communities in support of journalists who are putting their lives on the line to defend freedom of expression. CJFE recognizes its annual award winners as well as journalists worldwide for their extraordinary courage and for overcoming tremendous odds to report on controversial stories despite dangerous circumstances.

Canadian Food Blog AwardsNominations for the 1st annual edition of the Canadian Food Blog Awards (CFBAs) will open on November 21st. Food lovers and blog readers alike are invited to nominate their favourite food and drink blogs from across Canada in sixteen categories including Best Writing, Best Photography, Best Professional Blog, Best Seasonal/Local Blog and Best Baking and Dessert Blog.

“We think there are some fantastic food bloggers across the country and it’s time that they were recognized and supported for their efforts,” says CFBA co-founder and veteran food blogger Sheryl Kirby. “Our hope is that through these awards, we will find Canada’s best online food writers, and that by presenting them with awards to acknowledge their work, this will set a standard of excellence to which food bloggers from coast to coast will aspire.”

Nominations will remain open until December 21st, after which a shortlist will be created for each category, and given to a judges’ panel to select the winners. The panel will consist of a veritable who’s who of Canada’s food and drink scene, including chefs, food writers, newspaper and magazine columnists, and industry experts. The list of judges, which continues to grow as more are confirmed, is available on the CFBA website.

In addition, there will be a special “People’s Choice” award for the overall Best Canadian Food Blog, which will be selected and awarded based on a public vote. Judging and voting will take place January 1st to 15th, and the winners in all categories will be announced on January 31st, 2011.

clickboxClickbox Software, creators of the ilumii.com Social Learning Community & Marketplace, have announced an exciting contest that will give aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to win everything they need to start their very own virtual school or training academy online. The “Teach The World” contest is part of the initiatives to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week–a global movement meant to inspire, connect, mentor, and engage young entrepreneurs around the world.

The grand prize package includes all the tools needed for an entrepreneur to launch and manage a fully-operational online school on ilumii.com. ilumii’s Virtual Academies, a new addition to the ilumii.com platform, allow entrepreneurs to deliver live, instructor-led educational courses online, receive payments for educational services, manage multiple instructors, and market their online schools across the globe. The grand prize, valued at close to $10,000, also includes training, advice, and the opportunity to be featured in advertising campaigns.

Daniel Del Mastro, CEO of Clickbox Software, said, “Our goal is to kick-start young entrepreneurs that are interested in education, and in sharing their knowledge with the world using technology. We know that there are many young, creative entrepreneurs out there wanting to start an education-based business, and through this contest, we can help them fast-track their business set-up and quickly get them sharing their knowledge, generating revenue, and creating jobs.”

To enter the contest, entrepreneurs must follow @ilumii on Twitter and tell us in 140 characters: “What would you teach the world if you won an ilumii online school?” Clickbox Software will select the top ten most compelling and innovative entries, in conjunction with votes collected by Twitter users, and one grand-prize winner will be chosen from this group. In addition to the grand prize, Clickbox Software is also giving away runner-up prizes, including books on entrepreneurship by Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin, and free upgraded instructor memberships on the ilumii.com platform.

staples canadaEighty per cent of Canadians who use social media are on Facebook, and now, you can follow Canada’s largest office supply retailer on Facebook and Twitter as well – plus you could win a laptop complete with software, and a day as the president of Staples Canada via the company’s Easy Button Photo Contest. One lucky Staples Canada Facebook and Twitter follower who posts a picture or video with the Easy button in it has a chance to win an HP laptop with Microsoft Office Suite, and spend a day with the president of Staples Canada (excluding Quebec).

“Canadians are a plugged-in society, and very much interested in anything to do with social media. On Randy with his EasyButton in TorontoOctober 16th, we launched our social network pages on Facebook and Twitter to inform customers about promotions and deals, and any social corporate giving news, as well as invite them to communicate with us,” said Jameel Lalji, innovation and business consultant for Staples Canada.

“We’ve seen some great examples of people taking pictures with the Easy button around the globe. For example, it has been to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and in the delivery room while a woman gave birth. We want to see people be creative – maybe underwater deep sea diving or in a jet. Who knows – the sky’s the limit,” continued Lalji.

Staples will fly the winner to Toronto for the day, where they will be presented with a new software-loaded laptop and spend the day with the president.

Best Buy CanadaAnd, starting today, Best Buy is asking Canadians to upload unboxing videos and videos capturing precious holiday moments for its first ever UNboxing Day Facebook contest.

Unboxing, the Internet trend of sharing videos where people open hot new electronics, has garnered a cult-like following in Canada and around the globe. Simultaneously, YouTube videos of exuberant children opening holiday gifts can garner millions of views in mere days. With its UNboxing Day contest, Best Buy celebrates both phenomena and offers Canadians the chance to win one of two $2,500 Best Buy gift cards.

Whether it is carefully unpackaging the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy tablet or the shrieking joy of a child in front of the tree on Christmas morning, Best Buy is looking for Canadians to share their special moments with technology.

Canadians 18 and older can enter by uploading their best unboxing video between November 10 and December 31. Electronics enthusiasts and proud parents can go to the Best Buy Facebook page, click on the UNboxing Day tab and enter to win. Anyone who uploads a video by November 30, will also qualify to win the Early Bird prize of a $150 Best Buy gift card.

Videos will be shared on the Facebook page starting December 1, 2010. At that point, people are encouraged to ask friends and family to vote for their videos. The two videos with the most number of votes on December 31, 2010, will win the $2,500 gift card grand prizes. The Grand Prize winners will be announced on January 3, 2011.

The UNboxing Day prizes break down as follows:Best Buy Unboxing Day Contest

Grand Prize: Two $2,500 CAD Best Buy Gift Cards – The two videos that receive the highest number of Best Buy Canada fan votes on the UNboxing Day Facebook Page will win the two $2,500 CAD Grand Prizes.

Early Bird Prize: One $150 CAD Best Buy Gift Card – One $150 gift card is available to be won by anyone who uploads an ‘UNBoxing Day’ video on the UNboxing Day Facebook Page by November 30, 2010.

Weekly Prizes: Three $150 CAD Best Buy Gift Cards for voters and three $150 CAD Best Buy Gift Card for video clip submissions

As of December 1, for every vote made and every video uploaded, individuals will be entered into a weekly draw to win one of six $150 CAD Best Buy Gift Card prizes. The weekly prize draws will take place on December 13, 2010, December 20, 2010 and December 27, 2010 and will be selected through a random draw. Winners will be contacted via Twitter and/or Facebook and telephone.

For complete contest details, including eligibility, video uploading instruction, winner selection and prize description, visit the UNboxing Day Facebook tab. No purchase necessary, correct answer to skill-testing question required in order to win.

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12th November 2010

New Options For Learning, Development and Shopping

Mindshare LearningMindShare Learning has partnered with San Diego based Tech4Learning Inc. to win a bid to provide 21st Century skill based creativity software to all Ontario public elementary schools.

“With the Ontario Ministry of Education’s licensing of Tech4Learning’s Pixie 2 software, one of the Ontario Software Acquisition program Advisory Committee’s (OSAPAC’s) key licensing mandates was met. The committee sought to recommend software that would address graphic painting software needs for students in Grades JK-3. Pixie 2 is engaging, award winning, educational software elementary students can use to further their exploration of the world around them. Pixie 2 combines a paint program with text options, clip art, voice recording, and standards-based curriculum activities, helping students build 21st century skills as they develop podcasts, online storybooks, videos, and Flash animations,” said Mark Carbone, OSAPAC Committee Member & Chief Information Officer.

“The OSAPAC Committee is excited by the licensing of Pixie 2, which will perform well in Windows and Macintosh computing environments in our Ontario classrooms,” said Mark Carbone, OSAPAC Committee Member & Chief Information Officer for the Waterloo Region District School Board.

The Tech4Learning Pixie 2 software will begin shipping to Ontario school districts later this fall. Pixie 2 is available to Ontario teachers through their educational site Ontario Educational Software Service (O.E.S.S.) representative.

“We are thrilled to see Pixie selected as a tool to help students across Ontario build 21st century skills as they develop podcasts, online storybooks, videos, and Flash animations,” said David Wagner, CEO, Tech4Learning, Inc.

tvokidsTVO invites young viewers and families across the province to tune in to TVOKids between 4-5 pm on Tuesday, November 16 to find out who will be the Grand Prize winner in the “Where’s Polkaroo?” photo contest. The announcement will be made live in The Space, TVOKids’ interactive after-school program block (weekdays from 3:30 pm – 7 pm).

The Grand Prize winner will receive a day behind the scenes at TVO’s Toronto studios for up to six people, including:

* A tour of TVO’s Toronto studios and sets
* A meet and greet with TVO’s hosts
* The opportunity for kids and adults to attend production meetings and rehearsals
* An inside look at a live TV production from the control room

Since the contest launched in September as part of TVO’s special 40th anniversary initiatives, the iconic Polkaroo has been captured in photos from all over the province including: Kingston, Ottawa, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Toronto, North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Waterloo, London and Windsor.

The “Where’s Polkaroo?” photo contest encouraged Ontarians to upload photos to polkaroo.com that reflected their pride-of-place. Entries included a diverse range of beloved landmarks such as: Canada’s Wonderland, Saunders Farm in Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Toronto Zoo, Marine Land, and beautiful parks and beaches across Ontario.

Rogers WirelessConsumer appetite for mobile apps is growing at a rapid pace and the mobile application market is poised to generate revenues reaching $10 billion by the year 2015, according to data from the North American Mobile Market Report (North American Mobile Market, Commerce, Content & Applications 2010-2015). To cater to Canadian consumer demand for new, next-generation mobile applications, Rogers Communications Inc., has announced that it is giving the developer community unprecedented access to Rogers’ wireless network assets through the new Rogers Catalyst beta program, designed to enable the cost-effective, fast creation of mobile apps and services customized for the Rogers network.

A centralized, no charge, third-party developer portal, Rogers Catalyst provides online access to several of Rogers’ application programming interfaces (APIs) including SMS, location-based services and carrier billing. Leveraging the power of Rogers network API’s, the handset-agnostic platform enables smartphone-like functionality on a large variety of Rogers mobile devices. With faster time to market, Rogers Catalyst allows developers to innovate quickly, test applications in minutes and enable a variety of mobile apps and services that can be accessed by Rogers’ more than 8.5 million wireless subscribers.

Through a simplified registration and project creation process, Rogers Catalyst enables developers to gain access to a number of SOAP and RESTfull APIs that will allow them to build compelling new cloud-based services which leverage the Rogers network. In addition, Rogers Catalyst includes access to click through agreements, code samples, documentation, tips and tricks, a development sandbox, as well as a larger developer community and the ability to interact with Rogers Catalyst program managers.

Rogers is committed to working with developers and customers to provide the means to bring new wireless data solutions, products and services to Canadians. In addition to the newly-launched Rogers Catalyst program, Rogers has launched several initiatives to promote and foster innovation in Canada including the Rogers Data Alliance, a technology program designed to help machine-to-machine solutions and connected device providers bring their products and services to market quickly and easily on the Rogers network.

tiger directTigerDirect.ca® has announced the unveiling of its six remodeled Canadian retail outlets featuring Retail 2.0® technology.

Retail 2.0 provides online product information to in-store customers as they shop: product-by-product, aisle-by-aisle. Customers can access all product information, owner’s manuals, reviews, product tutorials, pictures, installation detail, and availability—whatever they need to make purchasing decisions—literally right at their fingertips. Customers are also free to browse competitor sites and comparison shop as if they were in the comfort of their own home or office.

All desktops, laptops, monitors and televisions – more than 200 screens per store—are connected to dedicated computers, providing direct, single key access to all production information on the item from the Internet and allowing further discovery—even outside of the TigerDirect.ca website.

“We are happy to now offer our Retail 2.0 concept in all of our TigerDirect retail stores in Canada,” said Gilbert Fiorentino, Chief Executive of the Systemax Technology Products Group, which includes TigerDirect. “With touch screens, hands-on product/internet capabilities and greater communication of promotions to our in-store customers, we feel that this enhanced new take on retail will provide a richer shopping experience for our customers.”

The enhanced Markham store will provide shoppers the ease of finding extensive product information for many devices including GPS, cellphones, MP3 players and cameras. These items are attached via a “waterfall display” allowing customers to touch & feel each item—activating Retail 2.0 by simply lifting the item from the unit.

The Retail 2.0 concept empowers and educates consumers as well as employees who can easily access all product information…a resource that has increased customer service and satisfaction. “Knowledge is power,” added Fiorentino. “Retail 2.0 has made our staff—and customers—instant experts in electronics.”

The Markham TigerDirect retail store is located at 8401 Woodbine Avenue in Markham. Store hours are Monday–Saturday 9am–9pm; Sunday 11am–6pm.

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9th November 2010

Canadian War Museum Launches New Online Exhibit

Canadian War MuseumThe Canadian War Museum is marking the 100th anniversary of Canada’s navy with a dynamic new online exhibition that brings Canada’s rich naval history to life. Canada’s Naval History is a compelling and substantial resource offering online access to an extraordinary range of evocative photographs and art, rare artifacts, fascinating archival documents, and educational materials.

“Canada’s Naval History explores the wide range of this country’s naval experiences over the past century, making this a valuable addition to the Museum’s online offerings,” said Mark O’Neill, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “This online exhibition is both an innovative means to preserve and share Canada’s naval history with all Canadians, and a wonderful way to mark the Canadian navy’s centennial.”

This new online exhibition allows users to explore Canada’s naval history from its origins to today. The exhibition showcases about 750 items in a contemporary, visually engaging format that will help to tell the story of the country’s naval history and highlight the experiences of the men and women associated with it. The exhibition will appeal to a wide range of visitors from across Canada and around the world, who can navigate the site to explore highlights from Canada’s naval collections, research the past and use a variety of educational resources.

The War Museum is committed to the continued development of freely accessible, bilingual information through web initiatives, and to presenting Canada’s unique history by preserving and providing access to a nationally important collection of artifacts, artworks, and archival material collected over the past 125 years. Past collaborations have led to the creation of the online exhibition Canada and the First World War, and the digital archive Democracy at War: Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War.

The Museum is also marking the navy’s centennial with a travelling art exhibition. The Navy: A Century in Art opens at the War Museum in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, November 11, and closes on March 20, 2011. It has been presented at The Military Museums in Calgary and at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Already, more than 85,000 patrons have viewed the exhibition.

Canada’s Naval History is funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage, and draws on a wide selection of material from the collections of the Canadian War Museum and its partners, including the Department of National Defence, the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, the Naval Museum of Alberta, and the Naval Museum of Quebec.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national Museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions.

The Canadian War Museum’s new online exhibition, Canada’s Naval History, provides a fascinating and extensive overview of the country’s naval history in war and peace over the past century. The exhibition’s launch takes place during the centennial year of Canada’s navy, which was created in 1910.

Visitors to the online exhibition will discover almost 750 historical objects, photographs, artworks and archival documents that have been photographed and digitized specifically for this project. Each item can be examined in detail and is accompanied by an extensive caption.

Drawn from the collections of the Museum and its partners, the Department of National Defence, the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, the Naval Museum of Alberta, and the Naval Museum of Quebec, these artifacts present Canada’s unique naval heritage, including the experiences of Canadians at sea and ashore, and the navy’s roles in war and peace.

Canada’s Naval History contains seven main sections:

1. Introduction – Michael Whitby, the distinguished Senior Naval Historian at the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage, provides an overview of the Canadian naval experience since 1910.
2. Explore History – Presents Canada’s naval history across the past century, including the birth of the navy (1910-1914), the First World War (1914-1918), the interwar period (1919-1939), the Second World War (1939-1945), the early Cold War, including the Korean War (1945-1968), the later Cold War (1968-1990) and the navy today (1990-2010).
3. Special Themes – Presents works from The Navy: A Century in Art, a travelling naval art exhibition created by the Canadian War Museum, and materials relating to naval culture and traditions
4. Objects and Photographs – Allows visitors to explore the exhibition’s collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, documents and artworks.
5. Teacher Resources – Offers educators and students of all ages access to a wide variety of activities and curriculum-linked programs based on content presented in the exhibition. Visitors can also find resources that include references for further reading and links to external online resources.
6. Navy at 100 – Contains information and links for events and programs related to the Canadian navy’s centennial celebrations.
7. My Navy – Allows visitors to store their favourite objects and exhibition content for future reference.

Ancestry.caIn honour of Remembrance Day, Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website1, today announced the first ever online launch of the largest collection of Canadian military records related to the death and burial of soldiers who fought in the First World War. The company has also announced that select Canadian, US and British military records will be available for free from November 11 to 14, 2010.

The collections, Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919, and Canada, CEF Burial Registers, First World War, 1914-1919 will be of immense interest to the millions of Canadians with ancestors who fought in the Great War. For the 30 per cent of Canadians who claim not to know whether their ancestors took part, the collections can help them potentially make discoveries about previously unknown military heroes in their family tree.

Individual records contain rich information about the soldiers who fought, such as their unit number, religious affiliation, date of death, circumstances of death, burial and name of nearest relative (next of kin).

The new collections will add to what is already the largest online collection of Canadian military records; one that includes Soldiers of the First World War, which contains the original Attestation Papers of all the 600,000 Canadians who enlisted. Soldiers of the First World War, along with all US and select British military collections, will be free to access from November 11 to 14.

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 contains more than 43 thousand records detailing the circumstances of death of approximately two thirds of the 68,000 Canadian soldiers who fought and died in the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom.

Canada, CEF Burial Registers, First World War, 1914-1919 detail the temporary and final resting place of Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War. The authorities at the time kept track of the name and place of temporary burial locations. After the war, remains were brought together in the vast national military cemeteries.

Ancestry.ca Managing Director Karen Peterson comments: “Millions of Canadians have had an ancestor or a loved one sacrifice to serve our country, and some may not even be aware of their military heritage and how proud they should be. These new collections will offer so many an opportunity to discover more details about their ancestors’ invaluable and courageous contributions.”

Of interest in the collections is the date April 9, 1917, which stands out not only as the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but also as the date with the most Canadian deaths recorded in this collection, with records of death for 4,344 Canadian soldiers.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought against the Germans in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France from April 9 to 12, 1917. The brave Canadian troops managed to capture the ridge within three days – a key turning point in the War in spite of the massive casualties suffered by the Canadian troops.

September 15, 1916 was another day of infamy, which is reflected in the death records for 1,832 Canadian soldiers. This date marked the last great Allied effort to achieve a breakthrough in the Somme Offensive, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Two Canadian divisions were part of the battle that is remembered historically for being the first ever to feature tank warfare.

The collections also provide opportunities for Canadians to learn the details of the death and final resting grounds of some of the key figures of the war, including:

* John McCrae (1872-1918) - soldier and poet; author of the famous poem recited by Canadians of every age at Remembrance Day, In Flanders’ Fields
* George Lawrence Price (1898-1918) – the last Commonwealth soldier killed in the First World War. Price was shot and killed at 10:58 a.m., November 11, 1918, just two minutes before the armistice ceasefire that ended the war went into effect at 11:00 a.m.
* Henry Norwest (1884-1918) – the most famous sniper in The Great War, he held a record 115 fatal shots and was often selected for special missions due to his superb stealth tactical skills and expert use of camouflage

These collections were created by the Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, predecessor of the Department of National Defense. Along with all of Ancestry’s military collections, they can now be accessed at www.ancestry.ca/Remember.

Access to this collection, along with the other 128 million historical Canadian records available at Ancestry.ca, is part of the reason the company was recently short-listed by Canada’s History Society for the 2010 Pierre Berton Award, Canada’s top history prize, recognizing excellence in bringing Canada’s history to a wider popular audience.

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9th November 2010

The Changing Views of Social Media and How It Can Invoke Change

accountempsAs social media makes its way into the workplace, executives are weighing the potential risks and benefits. Nearly half (47 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently for an Accountemps survey said their greatest concern is that employees are wasting time during business hours using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. CFOs also expressed worries their staff may behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online. However, almost one in four financial executives (24 per cent) said these sites can help staff members expand their networks of valuable business contacts.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?” Their responses:

Wasting time at work………………….. 47%
Behaving unprofessionally……………… 14%
Posting negative comments about company…. 11%
Posting financial/confidential company information… 5%
No concerns………………………….. 12%
Access not allowed……………………. 3%
Other……………………………….. 3%
Don’t know/no answer………………….. 6%

Total: 101% (*Responses do not total 100% due to rounding)

CFOs were asked, “What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?” Their responses:

Expand networks of valuable contacts……. 24%
Enhance company’s reputation…………… 22%
Provide better customer service………… 18%
Can secure new business……………….. 5%
No benefits………………………….. 21%
Access not allowed……………………. 3%
Don’t know/no answer………………….. 8%

Total: 101% (*Responses do not total 100% due to rounding)

“Many organisations are still determining how social media fits into their workplaces,” said Kathryn Bolt, Canadian division president of Accountemps. “Executives are concerned with the possibility of added distraction from their employees’ daily duties, which may affect productivity and efficiency on the job.”

Bolt also added, “On the other hand, more firms are realizing that the rewards may outweigh the risks, as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be used by employees to expand their networks of valuable business contacts and enhance the company’s reputation.”

war child canadaMeanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, four digitally savvy and socially conscious young blogging Canadians are socially suiting up for an opportunity of a lifetime that will see one of them join War Child on an upcoming visit to Ethiopia.

War Child Canada‘s War Child Challenge has bloggers reporting on a variety of issues to win a ten-day trip with War Child to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The challengers are blogging for the chance to tweet and report on War Child Canada’s Ethiopian efforts.

“The War Child Challenge is one example demonstrating War Child’s consistent leadership in adopting new social media practices,” said James Topham, director of communications, War Child Canada.  “Thanks to funding from the Canadian International Development Agency, the War Child Challenge can illuminate the issues faced in Ethiopia in particular, and the developed world more generally, by communicating on a platform that is much more apt to generate discussion and concern around global youth issues and the Millennium Goals.”

Challengers Joel Kelly (Halifax, NS), Sara Hamil (Belleville, ON), Christine Estima (Toronto, ON) and Ben Boudreau (Halifax, NS) are tackling a variety of multi-media citizen journalism challenges. The War Child Challenge is made up of three main parts: the challenges, vote tallies and post evaluation by a youth jury for clarity, focus, originality and creativity.  The challenges include:

  • Creating an image gallery of an event occurring in their community which offers a contribution to overcoming Hunger/Poverty, Conflict, HIV/AIDS, Basic Education, or Gender Equality.

  • Profiling a person or organization in their community who is making a difference in one of the following areas: Hunger/Poverty, Conflict, HIV/AIDS, Basic Education, Gender Equality.
  • Creating a video up to 5 minutes in length that conveys their thoughts, feelings, etc. regarding the global impact of Hunger/Poverty, Conflict, HIV/AIDS, Basic Education, or Gender Equality.
  • Building a feature article which includes video, text, audio and images to tell their story of why they want win the War Child Challenge.

The War Child Challenge officially ends on Monday, December 20.

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