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23rd November 2010

Canadian Companies Need To Improve IT Risk Management

Ernst & YoungAccording to a study by Ernst & Young, less than a third of global businesses, including Canada’s, have an IT risk management program in place capable of addressing the risks related to the use of new technologies. Borderless Security, the firm’s annual global information security survey, reveals that in spite of the rapid emergence of new technology, only one in 10 companies consider examining new and emerging IT trends as a very important activity for the information security function to perform.

A significant increase in the use of external service providers and business adoption of new technologies, including cloud computing, social networking and Web 2.0, is recognized to increase risk as much as 60% for respondents. Yet, in spite of this fact, less than half (46%) intend to increase their annual investment in information security.

“Technology advances have provided Canadian companies with seemingly endless ways to connect and interact with colleagues, customers and clients across the globe,” says Tony Ritlop, Canadian Leader of Ernst & Young’s IT Risk and Assurance practice. “While these developments represent a massive opportunity for IT to deliver significant benefits to the organization, new technology also brings significant risk.”

For example, more than half of respondents state that increased workforce mobility poses a considerable challenge to the effective delivery of information security initiatives, due to widespread use of mobile computing devices, allowing individuals to access and distribute business information from anywhere at any time. For almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents, employees’ level of security awareness is recognized as a considerable challenge.

For the first time, continuous availability of critical IT resources was identified by respondents as one of the top five risks. Increased mobility and lack of control over end-user devices can cause problems when trying to implement effective and efficient business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities — identified by 50% of respondents as an area of increased expenditure.

Cloud computing services are gaining greater adoption: 23% of respondents are currently using cloud computing services and a further 15% are planning to use them within the next 12 months. When asked if an external certification of cloud service providers would increase trust, 85% of respondents said yes, with 43% stating that the certification should be based upon an agreed standard and 22% requiring accreditation for the certifying body.

“It’s vital that companies not only recognize these developing risks, but take action to avoid them,” says Mr. Ritlop.

According to Mr. Ritlop, in addition to implementing new technology solutions and re-engineering information flows, companies must focus on informing the workforce about risks. The delivery of effective, and regular, security awareness training is a critical success factor as companies attempt to keep pace with the changing environment.

Half of respondents plan to spend more over the next year on data leakage and data loss prevention — a seven percentage point increase from last year. To address potential new risks, 39% are making policy adjustments, 29% are implementing encryption techniques and 28% are implementing stronger identity and access management controls.

Communities are changing; populations are aging; competition for talent is intensifying; the economy is slowly recovering; values are evolving and technology is rapidly shifting. Can leadership, knowledge and innovation save us?

public policy forumThe Ideas Festival brings together emerging leaders with established leadership from across all sectors and industries to discuss a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to energy and technology to creativity.

The Public Policy Forum (PPF), an independent, non partisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of governance in Canada and 21inc are co-hosting the conference in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick at the Fairmont Algonquin, November 24-26. Event hashtag: #ideas2010

Topics include:

* Can innovation save health care? Business model innovation in health care
* Can Atlantic Canada be an energy hub?
* The Future of Media: How new media is changing our roles and relationships
* Conversations with people changing the game and shaping our future
* The Economic Future of Atlantic Canada

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation announced today that it has launched Absolute Manage Mobile Device Management (MDM) for iOS 4 devices, such as the iPhone® and iPad®. The breakthrough solution available with Absolute Manage allows IT departments to efficiently manage and secure iOS 4 devices alongside their PC and Mac® computers from their platform of choice, Mac or Windows.

“Apple mobile devices are immensely popular with consumers and are now making a notable impact in the enterprise. People want to use their preferred device at work as well, but IT has been hesitant due to a lack of solutions on the market that can provide security and management capabilities for Apple mobile devices. Absolute Software is a leader in managing and securing endpoints, and our customers asked us to extend our cross-platform capabilities to iOS 4 devices,” said Peter Frankl, vice president of lifecycle management at Absolute Software. “With the launch of Absolute Manage MDM for iOS 4, our customers can have the control and security they need for the enterprise while keeping their employees happy and increasing productivity.”

Absolute Manage is one of the first software solutions to allow IT administrators to remotely manage, wipe and lock Apple® iOS 4 devices from either a PC or Mac, computer -without the need for extra hardware or software infrastructure. With the addition of MDM, Absolute Manage customers can manage PCs, Mac computers and now iOS 4 devices from a single, comprehensive user interface in a PC or Mac infrastructure.

YANGAROOYangaroo has been granted Canada patent number 2,349,797 titled “Biometric Rights Management System” by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The Biometric Rights Management (“BRM”) patent relates to YANGAROO’s innovative use of biometric security measures to provide secure online distribution of digital media. The BRM patent will be in effect until June 2021.

“The receipt of this fourth patent grant is further confirmation that we continue to lead through innovation,” said Cliff Hunt, Chairman and COO of YANGAROO. “As more and more valuable media assets are made available online, the need to control and monitor the users accessing that media continues to grow. The utilization of BRM in our Digital Media Distribution System provides a secure, user-friendly and portable way to link media access rights to an individual through their unique traits, rather than to a machine or an easily shared password. This feature provides our customers with the most advanced solution available today.”

This BRM patent augments YANGAROO’S intellectual property portfolio, which includes the related United States patent number 7,003,670 titled “Biometric Rights Management System”, United States patent number 7,529,712 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and Canadian patent number 2,407,774 titled “Content Distribution System and Method”. YANGAROO also has pending U.S. continuation patent application number 12/398,238 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and U.S. patent application number 11/854,289 titled “Media File Distribution System and Method”. Together these provide a North America-wide safeguard for the company’s sector leading innovations.

Project X LtdToronto boutique advisory and technology services company Project X Ltd. has entered into a partnership with California-based BigDataLabs, Inc. to distribute the company’s technology in Canada.

Project X will be the sole Canadian partner for BigDataLabs GeoDash™ technology. GeoDash is a new way to add GeoSpatial context to business intelligence environments through the integration of MicroStrategy technology and Google Maps. GeoDash is a lightweight solution for the business intelligence market with no extra hardware or server costs and no extensive training needed for users.

Project X President, Stephen Hayward remarked, “BigDataLabs matches our rapid business intelligence model and like Project X, is focused on fast to market technology that demonstrates maximum innovation and value for customers.”

Ajo Abraham, BigDataLabs founder commented, “We looked for a Canadian partner with the right combination of experience and passion for delivering business intelligence solutions with the best technology available and found Project X. As we expand into the Canadian market, they will lead the way.”

AOL CanadaAOL Canada Corp. is making big gains heading into the holiday season. According to comScore’s Media Metrix, Canada, All Locations October 2010 data, the AOL Inc. owned and operated web properties have grown by 10% from last month to 9.2M unique visitors. With the reach of their ad network, Advertising.com, AOL advertising properties reach over 20 million Canadians each and every month.

This upsurge in traffic is largely attributed to the strategic acquisitions of the web properties TechCrunch and 5Min. TechCrunch brings with it breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups to the AOL Technology suite of sites, and matches perfectly with the expert content of their marquis tech property, Engadget.com. The acquisition of 5Min allows AOL to significantly expand its consumer offering of contextually relevant, high-quality video across its sites and increases AOL’s appeal to advertisers, allowing it to capture share the growing video advertising spend. This combo delivers a power punch technology content offering and expands the affluent male audience key to advertisers in this category. (AOL Networks: Technology is 78% more likely than the average Internet web site to generate page views with males 25-34 and 103% more likely with males age 35-44 as well as 47% more likely to attract unique visitors with a household income of more than $100k. comScore Media Metrix. Canada, All Locations. October 2010.)

To support this growing business AOL Canada has made a number of strategic hires as well. Since Graham Moysey joined AOL in August of this year, he has grown his team by 10, most recently hiring Laura Pearce as Director of Marketing, Dana Toering as Director of Business Development and Tanya Iliakis, Account Executive. Laura brings with her valued experience in online media and marketing, hailing from Postmedia Network and companies such as Trader Media and Dell Canada, and will be key to the strategy of positioning AOL to consumers and advertisers as a leader in premium content and network advertising, under an innovative and creative global brand.

Other hires include Michelle Edwards-Boldt, heading up Moysey’s office, Melissa McLintock, Alia Iannuzzi and Tanya Penala, all Account Managers and previously announced Brad Cressman, Head of Content, Julie Howlett, Account Director & Allison Burley, Account Executive.

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23rd November 2010

Funding And Strategies Will Move Us Forward In A Digital Economy

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF), successor organization to the Canadian Television Fund (CTF), has published the CTF 2009-2010 Annual Report (French) outlining its funding activities over the past year, which saw the CTF disburse a record amount of $327 million to help produce 4,400 hours of programming, including 932 hours of new broadcast programs. Flashpoint, The Young Romantic, Les Invincibles, and Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin are only a few examples of programs that received numerous awards, attracting many repeat viewers as indicated by audience rating numbers.

“If there were a theme to this year, that theme would be dialogue” said Louis Roquet, Chair of the Board of Directors. “The dialogue between the various stakeholders of the corporation was strengthened through an extensive year-long consultation”. The consultation process and the significant review of content funding parameters led to the creation of programs and policies currently provided by the Canada Media Fund.

Highlights of the CTF 2009-2010 Annual Report include:

· The CTF supported a total of 931 projects, including 476 Production and 352 Development projects.
· Development funding reached a record high of $9.8 M.
· 427 CTF funded programs were nominated for awards and won 95 Gemini and Gémeaux awards.
· 2009–2010 total production budgets climbed above $1 billion, or 20% above the average of the preceding four years.
· Performance envelopes (BPEs) were allocated to 59 English and 20 French broadcasters; five new broadcasters received envelopes in 2009–2010.
· Regional production received 30% of the funding allocated in 2009-2010 (including Aboriginal Language Projects).
· The Digital Media Pilot Program budget grew from 2 to 10 million dollars. The number of projects funded by the program increased almost twofold from 30 to 77.

Government of CanadaThe full text of the speech delivered by The Honourable Tony Clement, PC, MP Minister of Industry at the International Institute of Communications Canada Conference which is currently underway in Ottawa, is now available online.

In speaking on Canada’s future in a digital economy, Minister Clement stated that he is looking to the future “with confidence, even optimism. Not because I am insensitive to the challenges, but because, like you, I see the possibilities. And few areas offer greater reason for optimism than the digital economy.” He also outlined what we can expect when the Digital Economy strategy is launched in the spring of 2011, saying that “it will be a living document, one that will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of changing times. But it will be an important milestone in Canada’s path to greater competitiveness and innovation.”

Minister Clement went on to reiterate five areas of particle interest that are critical to creating a digital Canada:

* building a world-class infrastructure that connects ideas, individuals and opportunities.
* encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies to boost their productivity and drive innovation.
* developing a digitally skilled workforce to take advantage of the opportunities these technologies provide.
* growing successful Canadian companies — to supply digital technologies to global markets.
* creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms to bring Canada to the world.

Following this, Minister Clement touched on several areas of forthcoming change for both the digital industry and industry at large, in Canada. These include changes to policy at the Business Development Bank which will see ICT becoming a focus for new and expanding enterprises. He also covered other areas to be visited by the Minister Clement playing NFS at EA Canada in August 2010. Source: Richard LamDigital Economy strategy, including access to broadband in all regions of Canada and the cost of services from our telecom providers. Minister Clement also touched on what the government is working on in regards to ensuring “a well-functioning digital marketplace by introducing important new laws and amendments — including copyright, anti-spam and privacy legislation.”

Minister Clement also spoke about the need to nurture Canadian ICT talent and educational programmes, whereupon he announced the “awarding of 25 Knowledge Synthesis Grants on the Digital Economy. The research proposed by the recipients reflects both the diversity of Canada’s intellectual capital and the diversity of the digital economy itself.” He concluded his presentation with discussion of growing Canada’s digital economy both within our borders and internationally, as well drawing attention to the Canada Media Fund and Canada 3.0. During his speech, Minister Clement also noted that The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, will be presenting more about digital skills development today at IIC (see below). You can read the full text of Minister Clement’s speech on the Industry Canada web site.

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, delivered her comments this morning at IIC as part of her update on Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley (photo Government of Canada)development at an industry conference earlier today, opening her presentation with the acknowledgement that technology is becoming more and more intertwined in Canadians’ everyday lives, and supporting digital skills development will be key to our future economic success.

“For Canada to be a leader in a rapidly developing, global digital economy, Canadians need to have strong digital skills,” said Minister Finley. “That’s why the Government of Canada will develop and implement a strategy that will help us work in collaboration with our industry, education and government partners to build a skilled workforce and a stronger Canada.”

As Canada heads towards economic recovery, new digital skills needs are being added to existing labour market challenges. Recent public consultations on the digital economy will help the Government develop a strategy to address many broad challenges.

The conference, entitled Connections, Content and Consumers: Towards a National Digital Strategy for Canada, was hosted by the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications (IIC Canada).

Mr. Bernard Lord, Chair of IIC Canada, welcomed the Minister’s remarks. “The Government of Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart the path Canadians will take towards prosperity in the 21st century,” said Mr. Lord. “Networks and connections will enable that prosperity, but it will be the digital skills, hard work and inspiration of Canadians that will maximize it.”

While elements of digital skills training can be found in existing Government of Canada programming, developing an overarching Digital Economy Strategy will improve our innovation and competitiveness and help prepare Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow.

DIG London 2010A coalition of over 40 Canadian video game developers, academic institutions, and intermediate enabling organizations are working together to establish Canada as the globally recognized innovator and exporter of digital interactive game development software, technology, and IP. Meeting at the Digital Interactive Game Developer’s conference, DIG 2010, key partners discussed this initiative, striking an action committee to define the initiative’s strategic priorities and execution plan, with hopes to launch in the summer of 2011.

Through a robust partnership, industry, academics, NGOs from across Canada are working to create a Centre for testing, validation, and commercialization of game development IP. With over $5.5 million raised in cash and $5.5 million in-kind contributions, the team is committed to levering existing investments and assets to create a competitive advantage for Canadian game developers. The partners are putting together a program to:

* Identify and aggregate existing digital interactive game technology IP
* Support small and medium sized game developers to access the resources required to identify, validate, and accelerate the commercialization and licensing of their IP
* Facilitate and promote the ongoing collaboration among and between industry, academia, and national networks to mobilize the resources needed to solve technology related problems and develop marketable digital interactive game technology
* Develop, attracting, and retaining highly skilled software developers and engineers, researchers, and IT professionals
* Provide a conduit for digital interactive game developers to leverage access to industry information
* Host an annual series of national workshops – physical and virtual to bring together partner organizations for education, networking, and development of new programs
* Contribute to Canada’s digital media content creation by establishing and facilitating a path to market for hundreds of new Canadian digital interactive game technology licenses and content

“An opportunity exists to position Canada as a global leader in the creation, commercialization, and licensing of digital interactive game technology. This opportunity will be achieved by enabling synergistic interactions at all levels of game technology development through access to technologies that enable development, industry intelligence, and research,” says Michael Schmalz, a key leader of this initiative. “Our recent application to the National Centres of Excellence was not funded, but our team is committed to moving forward with our plan and defining the best opportunity for our industry,” adds Schmalz.

“It is ultimately our intent, shared by many supporters in industry, academia, and government across Canada, to create increased opportunities for Canadian digital interactive media technology developers, commercialize their IP, and export Canadian Digital interactive media technology globally,” says Douglas Robertson, President and CEO of Tech Southeast in New Brunswick.

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22nd November 2010

New Drum Studio Coming Soon

All Seeing Eye GamesVancouver indie studio All Seeing Eye Games is pleased to announce that its new game Drum Studio: Platinum Edition will be available this December on the Xbox LIVE indie games channel of Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Record songs, share them online, and jam with your friends in real-time over Xbox LIVE in Drum Studio: Platinum Edition. The follow-up to the multiple award-winning Drum Studio expands upon the original virtual drum recording tool with all-new graphics, Xbox 360 Avatar support, and extensive online features. Players will be able to meet online, chat, share songs, listen to each other play, and jam together in real-time. Lead Programmer Darren Joe says, “Music has always been about sharing. Drum Studio put music creation in the player’s hands. Now, Drum Studio: Platinum Edition allows players from around the world to share their creations with each other.”

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Drum Studio: Platinum Edition also features all new art by graphic artist Terry Wong (Cirque Du Soleil, National Geographic, Electronic Gaming Monthly) and full Xbox 360 Avatar support, allowing players to turn their Xbox 360 Avatars into full-fledged animated virtual drummers. It features the same simple yet powerful song recording interface as the award-winning original and hundreds of high-quality drum sounds to choose from. Players can play with any combination of one to four Xbox 360 drum kits or controllers.

The original title in the series, Drum Studio, received widespread critical acclaim & multiple awards upon its release, including an Editor’s Choice Award from teamxbox.com, who declared that it “takes music games to a whole new level”. You can get the original Drum Studio game now from Xbox Live Indie Games for 80 MS Points.

desert bus for hopeOnce again the clock tells me that it is high time I head for my day job at “the salt mine” but before I go, I’d like to draw attention to two events currently underway – the first is Desert Bus for Hope – which, according to the event’s FAQ, is an “internet telethon by accident – you give donations to Child’s Play, and we play Desert Bus.  It’s really boring and mind numbing and generally unpleasant. The more you donate the longer we play. To keep you and us amused, and to increase the donations we auction off  and give away prizes, have celebrity guests stop by, and become your monkeys. Want us to sing “Still Alive?” Sure, we’ll do it for a $20 donation.  We play 24 hours a day until you stop donating.” Be sure to visit the site and check out their Challenges, Giveaways and Auctions.

The second event is happening at Velocity, the University of Waterloo’s Start-Up Incubator. The 7 cubed Project involves a group of coders who, beginning on November 20th, locked themselves in for seven days with, to quote “food, energy drinks, and beanbag chairs” during which time they will attempt to write an app a day for seven days. The group has promised video summaries of each day, and according to the Project’s site, the participants firmly believe “that seven smart people with perfect communication, mutual trust, and an agile mindset can get more done in a day than anyone would believe. And if all that isn’t enough, we have no intention of being timid. We’ll choose difficult problems, and we’ll probably fail once or twice. If we didn’t, we would know we didn’t shoot high enough. We’ll work insanely hard, probing the limits of human creativity and team productivity.”

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19th November 2010

October 17 Media and Future Shop Team Up For Holiday Contest

October 17 MediaThe holiday season is here and what better way for families to get into the holiday spirit than by decorating a personal online living room? Vancouver-based online marketing firm October 17 Media has teamed up with Future Shop once again to embrace the gift of giving by creating an innovative online contest with weekly and instant chances to win fantastic prizes.

“The team at October 17 Media knows a thing or two about getting into the holiday spirit,” said Tamara Brooks, Partner, October 17. “We welcomed the opportunity to develop a marketing idea that would put Canadian Thrilling To Winfamilies in a festive mood and highlight Future Shop as the go-to destination for holiday gift buying. In preparation for this contest, the October 17 team began listening to Christmas music weeks before Halloween had arrived!”

October 17 Media prides itself as a local leader in creating cutting-edge virtual contests, collaborating with businesses to develop elaborate viral campaigns focused on an organization’s particular needs. The “Thrilling to Win!” campaign is the company’s fourth collaboration with Future Shop.

“We’re excited to partner with October 17 Media again to launch another fun-filled holiday contest,” said Nikki Hellyer, Director of Marketing, Future Shop. “We know Canadians will enjoy this year’s online contest where they create their own virtual holiday-themed living rooms and have the chance to win incredible prizes.”

Between November 19 and December 16, Canadians are invited to visit the contest’s page to register online and dive into the holiday spirit with online activities for chances to winFuture Shop prizes such as Apple product bundles. Special codes will be available in-store and through other Future Shop online marketing channels and can be redeemed on the contest site to unlock unique holiday activity options and increase the chances of winning.

Participants can spread the holiday cheer by inviting friends and family to their virtual decorated living room through social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, for every user that registers online, Future Shop will donate $1 for every room created – up to $25,000 – to put gifts under the tree for deserving kids across Canada.

BCTIABCTIA presents Part II of the MOBCOM speaker series, Always Connected: The Risk & Opportunity of 24/7 Connectivity this November 23rd at CBC Vancouver’s Studio 700, 700 Hamilton Street. The doors open at 5:30pm, and tickets are $45.00 each.

Mobile market Update:

Mobile computing is enhancing connections between people, businesses, and machines. In this opening presentation Jonathan reveals emerging market trends and new business models as consumers and business shift from eCommerce to mCommerce.

Panel Discussion:

Moderator:

Speakers:

Mobile connectivity has become ubiquitous. People now carry connected devices where ever they go – even to bed. This level of connectivity is unprecedented but what does this mean for business? How are consumer behaviours and expectations changing? The Vancouver Sun’s Gillian Shaw leads an insightful discussion with a multidisciplinary panel of industry experts about the unprecedented growth of personal mobile computing and how location-aware, 24/7 connectivity is changing the way business is done.

Case Study:

Research shows that extending applications to the smartphone platform can improve workforce productivity, enhance customer service and communication, and reduce operating costs. But how does it all really happen? And what is the impact on the business when customers can access service instantly? Trevor will share lessons from a customer case study – Sykes Assistance Services Corporation. Learn how Sykes plans to reduce operating costs and enhance their customers’ experience by extending their roadside assistance program to GPS-enabled BlackBerry smartphone and iPhone applications for Canada’s leading luxury auto manufacturers.

After the presentations, join speakers and attendees for drinks (first drink free) and lively discussion at the BREAD GARDEN (outside and next to the front doors of CBC Vancouver).

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19th November 2010

Entertainment and Safety For Our Canadian Kids

Youth Media AllianceThe Alliance for Children and Television is expanding its base and changing its name to Youth Media Alliance (YMA). The association’s chair Peter Moss made the announcement today in conjunction with the Média-Jeunes conference currently underway in Montreal. “This new name more clearly defines our current mission, at a time when we’re working in various ways to improve the quality of screen-based content for Canadian children and teens. In a world where more and more content is being delivered on new platforms, especially for young people, Youth Media Alliance intends to continue focusing its efforts on all screen-based media,” said Moss.

“Our association has been around for over 35 years and now represents over 100 television and new media professionals,” said Caroline Fortier, the association’s executive director. “By adopting this more inclusive name, Youth Media Alliance hopes to engage more new-media creators in its mission and allow them to actively contribute to the association’s directions.”

The Alliance’s new name reflects the shift that the organization began about a dozen years ago, when its annual conference (known as Média-Jeunes since 2000) already incorporated a new-media component, given these platforms’ growing influence with young audiences. Since then, the media revolution has completely transformed the way content is produced and delivered.

In this new media landscape, young people must continue having access to quality content. For the Alliance, this means screen-based productions that offer excellence in form and content, meet their target audience’s needs and expectations, and comply with recognized production standards. The content of productions should be relevant and entertaining, stimulate the intellect and the imagination, and foster openness to others. It should accurately reflect the world in which young people grow up, while respecting their dignity and promoting learning.

Youth Media Alliance seeks to enrich the lives of Canadian children and teens by helping improve the quality of the content created for them on all screen-based media. The Alliance pursues its mission by presenting annual awards of excellence to the best productions targeting young English- and French-speaking Canadians. It offers ongoing training tailored to the special needs of youth production professionals and also conducts research investigating media’s impact on young people. Finally, Youth Media Alliance lobbies governments to generate interest in all matters concerning screen-based content for young Canadians.

textED.caAs a mom of two young children, Mrs. Laureen Harper knows first-hand the importance of teaching today’s youth to be safe and responsible texters. Mrs. Harper was on hand at Toronto’s Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School today for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s national launch of textED.ca – an innovative website designed to help teach children safe texting practices.

“It’s amazing to think that we live in a time where our children know more about today’s technology than we do,” said Mrs. Laureen Harper. “It’s so important that we become familiar with the technologies our kids use and the risks they face so we are in the best position to help keep them safe. TextED.ca is a great resource to help familiarize parents with today’s texting issues, but more importantly, one their children will enjoy and learn from as well.”

Designed for students in Grade 7 and higher, the textED.ca website provides a fun, interactive platform for children to learn about the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with texting. The initiative also includes lesson plans designed to help educators teach youth about safe texting and life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world. All lessons are tied to provincial curriculum outcomes, making them ideal for use in Canadian classrooms.

“Considering the main form of communication for much of today’s generation is through text-messaging, the need for safe-texting education is imperative,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Texting is having an impact at home and in the classroom, and so there is a shared responsibility to teach our kids how to use this technology safely. Like parents, many teachers are struggling with the issues that arise from this technology. It’s a completely new area they didn’t have to deal with before. TextEd.ca will help them address texting in a fun, interactive way.”

“Law enforcement officers, dedicated to online child sexual exploitation investigations across the country, have never been as well trained and equipped as they are today. Even so, we desperately need parents and young people to be more proactive about their online safety,” said Det. Sgt. Kim Scanlan, with the Toronto Police Services Child Exploitation Unit.

“Cell phones – and especially text messaging – have become one of the most important tools for Canadian families to stay connected and keep safe,” said Bernard Lord, President & CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). “But while wireless communications provide convenient and immediate contact, it is essential that young people be educated about the appropriate and responsible use of the technology.”rock paper scissors

In partnership with the CWTA, the Canadian Centre first launched textED.ca as a pilot project in January 2010. Based on feedback received from teachers, students and other educational professionals in the months that followed, the Canadian Centre made numerous improvements and enhancements to the textED.ca lessons and online components. Included in the changes was the creation of an innovative text-based Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) game that also provides users with a safe texting tip following the completion of each game. Any potential text message fees associated with playing this game have been waived by Canadian wireless service providers, so the game is free to all Canadian users. Our thanks to: Bell, Fido, Koodo, MTS, SaskTel, Solo, Rogers, TELUS, Vidéotron and Virgin Mobile for waiving fees and for their ongoing support of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Concerns surrounding children and teens sending sexual messages, nude photos and videos via text messaging is on the rise, yet the vast majority of kids doing so are unaware of the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with their actions.

Since adolescent behavior is less inhibited with the use of technology, it’s important they are aware of the risks and know how to deal with the various situations new technologies present. textED.ca is a comprehensive in-class and online program that will help educators teach youth about safe texting and life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world. While some teachers have introduced safe texting education to their students, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection identified a gap in the delivery of comprehensive text education programming in Canada’s schools.

To address this, the Canadian Centre developed the textED.ca program, which consists of an innovative and interactive new website and a series of associated lesson plans for teachers to use with their Grade 7 students. Importantly, all of the lessons are tied to provincial curriculum outcomes, making them ideal for use in classrooms right across the country.

From learning how to deal with textual harassers to helping teens deal with stress or a break-up, the textED.ca website incorporates games, quizzes, discussion pages, and other fun tools to help them navigate through the issues.

In partnership with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the Canadian Centre first launched textED.ca as a pilot project in January 2010. In total, more than 350 Grade 7 classes took part in the pilot between January 21, 2010 and April 30, 2010. During that time, 1,292 users signed up on the site and 441 teachers signed up for access to the lesson plans. In conjunction with the feedback received from teachers, students and other educational professionals, the Canadian Centre made numerous improvements and enhancements to the textED.ca lessons and online components.

Texting Stats:

• In Canada, 4.6 billion peer-to-peer text messages were sent in June 2010. This represents a 10% increase over the last reported March 2010 total of 4.2 billion messages.
• The total number of person-to-person text messages sent during the first six months of 2010 was 25.7 billion, which already represents 73% of the 2009 total of 35.3 billion.
• In June 2010, Canadians sent an average of 154.1 million messages per day. This is up from the average 135.4 million messages per day in March 2010.

(Source: Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, as of October 2010)

Teen Texting Stats:

• The average teen sends 3,339 texts per month. That’s more than six texts per waking hour.
• For teens age 13 to 17, female teens send an average 4,050 texts per month while male teens send an average 2,539 texts per month.
• These teens are sending eight times more texts than they were this time last year.
• Other age groups don’t come close to this level of texting. The average 18-24-year-old sends only 1,650 texts per month. The average drops further with other age groups.

(Source: The Nielsen Company study released October 2010)

astral mediaAstral’s Playhouse Disney will follow suit with its U.S. counterpart and re-brand its English and French-language networks as Disney Junior in May 2011. Continuing the promise to provide the best in entertaining, development-based programming for younger viewers, Disney Junior will launch with new series such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and programming that taps into Disney’s rich legacy of classic characters as featured in such programs as Disney Poetry Shorts. The re-branded multiplex channel will also expand on its educational mandate to layer in learning that focuses on social values, the environment and healthy living.

“Since its launch in November 2007, Playhouse Disney has continued to build its viewership, program offering and prestige,” said Joe Tedesco, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Family and Playhouse Disney. “The evolution of Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior comes at an exciting time and will add a new energy to the network while disney playhouseremaining dedicated to bringing highly entertaining, home-grown and Disney programming to Canadian families.”

Coinciding with the re-brand, Jake and the Never Land Pirates will premiere on Disney Junior in May 2011. The animated adventure has classic Disney characters Captain Hook and Smee joined by a new crew of kid pirates led by the courageous Jake. The series, which emphasizes teamwork, features original pirate-rock music performed by The Never Land Pirate Band and stars David Arquette as the voice of the lookout parrot, Skully. Other new Disney programming set to premiere on Disney Junior includes Disney Poetry Shorts which showcases poems for children set against classic Disney animation and the short-form series Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps encouraging healthy lifestyles for preschoolers and families.

These new series will join new episodes of popular series such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, Jungle Junction and Imagination Movers. Original Canadian series on Disney Junior will include the popular Franny’s Feet, The Secret World of Benjamin Bear and new episodes of Stella and Sam.

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18th November 2010

Play Coming To Vancouver Next Month

Play!Jason Michael Paul Productions, Inc. has announced that PLAY! a symphony concert world tour with music from a catalogue of blockbuster video game titles will be making a stop in Vancouver for a special concert on Monday, December 6th at 8:00 pm at the Orpheum with the Vancouver Symphony and Chorus.

As a special treat for fans prolific composer Jeremy Soule (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Guild Wars, Prey and Company of Heroes) will be in attendance along with Oleksa Lozowchuk (Dead Rising 2), Michael Curran and Geoff Knorr (Civilization 5). All will be signing items after the show as part of special meet and greet.

Music and visuals from Civilization 5 will be premiered as part of this concert. In cooperation with 2K Games and Firaxis, there will be a drawing to give away 10 copies of Civilization 5, and a limited number of free Civilization 5 soundtracks will be available for those who attend the meet & greet. Tickets are priced from $29.00 – $68.00 plus fees and taxes.

Canadian Youth Business FoundationIn conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Canada, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), Canada’s entrepreneur gateway and official host of GEW Canada, is pleased to announce the opening of a new regional office in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The opening is a momentous occasion for the organization, which has worked diligently to foster youth entrepreneurship from coast to coast to coast since its inception in 1996.

The office, located at 230-3025 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg’s St. James neighbourhood, provides an environment for young entrepreneurs to learn about CYBF’s start-up financing, pre-launch coaching, mentorship and online resources. The new location also features access to mobile workstations, additional business resources and complimentary wireless internet access.

“The growing interest in entrepreneurial careers combined with the desire to ‘come home’ to Manitoba creates significant opportunities for CYBF to begin to reverse the historic outward migration and cultivate future business leaders within the province,” says Joelle Foster, director of Manitoba, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, CYBF. “CYBF looks forward to working with young entrepreneurs and helping to turn their fresh ideas into a reality.”

The expansion of CYBF into Manitoba comes at a pivotal time in Canada’s economic recovery. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, more Canadians living in the regions most affected by the crisis, including Manitoba, have stated their intentions to start a business. Currently, there are 90,000 self-employed entrepreneurs in the province, a number that has risen nearly 70 per cent over the last three decades. CYBF aims to further encourage this persuasion towards entrepreneurship and provide the necessary supports for success. One such program is the CYBF Newcomer Entrepreneur Program, which offers flexible loan assessments and a hand-matched mentor to provide new Canadians with insight into running a business in Canada.

Cineplex Entertainment today announced movies can now be digitally downloaded into your home with Download To Own (DTO) and Video on Demand (VoD) service from the Cineplex Store. New releases will be available for digital download on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. This new service complements the DVD and Blu-ray products already available for purchase at the Cineplex Store. Customers will now have the option to easily and seamlessly select whichever option best suits their movie-watching needs. Effective today, digital downloads purchased from Cineplex.com can be played on your PC or other compatible devices.

To celebrate the launch of the download service, Cineplex Entertainment is offering a buy one get one free promotion until December 31, 2010 where customers who purchase any regularly-priced DTO movie will receive a second movie of equal or lesser value free. Some restrictions apply so visit Cineplex.com for full promotional details.

DTO and VoD purchases made from the Cineplex Store can be stored either on a customer’s hard drive or in a digital locker contained within the Cineplex Player that customers will download when they make their first digital download purchase. The locker enables purchasers to store their movie safely and securely without depleting space on their device’s hard drive while still allowing unlimited future downloads of DTO titles. The Cineplex Player and digital locker technology are powered by RoxioNow™ from Sonic Solutions®.

Today’s launch is the first of a multiphase rollout, with several key features planned for a 2011 update. Cineplex.com will feature streaming High Definition content for DTO and VoD titles and, once available, the ability to store content in a cloud-based UltraViolet™ account. UltraViolet™ is a digital rights locker and account management system that will allow consumers to watch their digital entertainment across multiple platforms, such as connected TVs, PCs, game consoles, smartphones and tablet PCs, in an easy, consistent way.

Poynt Corporation has announced that their Poynt Local Search app is available for poyntWindows Phone 7 in the United Kingdom. Poynt harnesses the power of multiple applications in one intuitive package. Users can view search results, call businesses, and get driving directions, as well as view restaurant information, make dinner reservations, and view local weather forecasts. Poynt’s integrated weather screen allows users to view real-time weather conditions. The movie section provides showtimes, trailers and features movie ratings. Poynt for Windows Phone 7 also features movie ratings.

Poynt is a free application that connects Windows Phone 7 users to business, movie, retailer, restaurant, and local weather information. The App integrates with the device using click-to-call, click-to-browse, map location and email results to friend in addition to including some of the unique features of the device including the pivot feature to facilitate toggling between different features and screens.

“As the company continues to grow and build momentum, adding Windows Phone 7 to the variety of platforms Poynt is already available on in the United Kingdom extends our local search solution to even more consumers in the region,” said Andrew Osis, CEO, Poynt Corp. “Windows Phone 7 is poised to be a successful platform worldwide and we are extremely excited to be among the early developers.”

Radiant CommunicationsRadiant Communications Corp. today announced the opening of its cloud datacenter located at 151 Front Street in Toronto, expanding the company’s cloud computing infrastructure to two facilities. Radiant’s other facility is located in Vancouver. Together, the two datacenters provide one of the widest cloud computing footprints in the country.

“The availability of Radiant’s AlwaysThere Enterprise Cloud platform in Toronto gives companies greater geographic options when selecting their cloud or managed hosting partner,” said Radiant’s President and CEO, David Buffett. “Located at a central downtown address, the Toronto facility provides companies situated near the datacenter with the added advantage of geographic proximity and high end-user performance.

“The central location of our facility in downtown Toronto minimizes network latency for Toronto based customers and provides a disaster recovery location for our Vancouver based clients,” said Buffett.

When a company selects a cloud hosting provider, the services are typically delivered from a single datacenter, making the customer vulnerable to disaster based outages in that area.

Radiant has two datacenters situated in Western and Eastern Canada, which allows customers to select the datacenter nearest their offices, providing the best end user experience possible while also taking advantage of Radiant’s disaster recovery services hosted in the other datacenter.

Another competitive advantage of Radiant’s AlwaysThere cloud infrastructure is that it is based in Canada and not subject to the U.S. Patriot Act. Under the provisions of this legislation, American authorities can access and collect companies’ data without their knowledge or consent.

“Some Canadian businesses want assurance that their data will remain under the jurisdiction of Canadian privacy laws,” said Buffett. “They are more comfortable knowing their data is kept here, always under the control of a Canadian corporation.”

Radiant’s infrastructure reflects this focus on privacy. “Our approach is quite unique in Canada in that we bundle cloud services with high-speed business Internet and private networking security products to create a hosted ‘private cloud’ with security and user experiences comparable to any internal IT infrastructure,” said Buffett.

AlwaysThere cloud-based solutions are flexible, reliable and affordable. Radiant’s AlwaysThere products are sold on a pay-as-you-use pricing model. Virtual servers are available from $149 per month and the company’s flagship Hosted Microsoft Exchange service is available for between $4.95 and $14.95 per user, per month. Radiant’s AlwaysThere services are sold by a direct sales force to midsize businesses in Canada and through partner programs with IT service vendors across the country.

Bell today announced it has begun to double HSPA+ network speeds to a maximum of 42 Bell CanadaMegabits per second (42 Mbps), and will introduce initial commercial service in Toronto with the launch of the Novatel Wireless U547 Turbo Stick – the first 42 Mbps product available in North America – on November 23.Novatel Wireless U547 Turbo Stick

“Canada’s Best Network just got better. By implementing HSPA+ Dual Cell technology, Bell Mobility offers clients the ability to access the Internet and other data services at what we believe are the fastest mobile data speeds commercially available from any wireless carrier in North America,” said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility & Residential Services, and Bell’s Chief Brand Officer. “Bell is leading the way in Canadian wireless investment and innovation, enabling the mobile ecosystem that supports the development of new apps and data services by Canadian developers for mobile users here and abroad.”

HSPA+ Dual Cell technology combines two wireless 21 Mbps data carriers through multiplexing techniques at individual HSPA+ cell sites, increasing top-end data speeds from 21 Mbps to 42 Mbps for compatible products. Bell will continue enhancing HSPA+ network with Dual Cell technology to serve more Canadian cities and towns through 2011.

Coordinated through Bell Development Labs, this HSPA+ Dual Cell network enhancement leveraged the technical expertise of chipset, radio and core network infrastructure manufacturers and suppliers, including Huawei, Novatel Wireless and Qualcomm. Already providing speeds up to 21 Mbps to consumer and business clients, Bell Mobility’s HSPA+ network provides a robust platform on which developers continue to deliver a wide range of innovative business, entertainment and productivity applications.

Bell introduced broadband HSPA+ service in November 2009, bringing high-speed wireless service to 93% of the Canadian population in rural and remote locations, small towns and major urban centres across the country. The new network has supported the development of industry-leading data services such as Bell Mobile TV and rapid wireless growth at Bell, including a 39% increase in mobile data revenue and a 74% increase in the company’s base of smartphone users year over year.

The first product able to take advantage of 42 Mbps Dual Cell technology is the U547 Turbo Stick from Novatel Wireless, available at Bell retail locations, including The Source, in Toronto next Tuesday November 23. When paired with a laptop or netbook. Novatel Wireless’ latest Turbo Stick will allow Bell Mobility clients to experience mobile access speeds never before available for the fastest mobile Internet access, business applications, video streaming, gaming and much more.

Bell will also introduce new speed-based pricing with the launch of these Dual Cell compatible devices. A $10 add-on feature will be available on all Mobile Internet pricing plans to allow Bell clients to take advantage of speeds up to 42 Mbps. The pricing model aligns with the approach for fixed broadband services, which ensures clients benefit from the value associated with the highest access speeds available.

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17th November 2010

Business and Education Rounds Out The Day

49 pixelsVia 49 Pixels: In 2008, Canada’s digital media industry, comprised of approximately 3,000 interactive digital media companies, generated approximately $3.8 billion dollars through the hard work of over 50,000 industry professionals.

Canada, with everything we know about our industry and where it’s been, we know very little about where it’s headed. Who are these companies? Where are they located? Are their businesses growing? What types of skill-sets are they looking to acquire over the next year? Given the disparity of available data in this area, the Pixel to Product research team decided to take it upon themselves to ask these important questions.
Justin Kozuch
This social media news release is announcing that Justin Kozuch, winner of the Mesh Prize and Lead Researcher for the Pixel to Product research study, is launching Canada’s first nation-wide digital media census, designed to answer these and a few dozen other questions about the state of our digital media ecosystem.

The survey can be completed in both in English and en Francais, and in the time it will take you to drink a Tim Horton’s Double Double, you can complete the survey and add your voice to our collective digital legacy.

We’re also incredibly excited to announce you can now receive project updates, breaking news and important development on your mobile device. This morning, in conjunction with our partners at Broadplay, we launched an opt-in SMS campaign to help us further spread the word about our research to the approximately 70% of Canadians who own a mobile device. To opt-in to our SMS broadcast system, simply text 497957 (49PXLS) to 123411.

We need your help in getting this survey out to as many digital agency owners, web startups, and freelancers in order to capture the highest quality data we can muster. We have a number of short term and long term needs; please visit the Actionable Tasks page on our wiki for more information about how you can contribute your gifts to our initiative. Tweet, post to your wall, blog about this release or visit our census page and help us get the word out!

Edmonton’s Digital School, a licensed private vocational career college built on 25 years of digital schoolasynchronous technical training experience is excited to announce a revolutionized form of e-Learning, called Global e-Training.

Global e-Training includes highly effective online Autodesk software training programs which can be done from virtually anywhere to meet each learner’s own personal requirements. Its interactive and engaging fashion lets the learner dictate the entire training process to suit their particular learning style, making it one of the most desirable and advanced Autodesk e-training solution available in the world.

Global e-Training (GeT) is an enhanced form of e-learning which prepares and engages users of Autodesk’s design software programs in a revolutionary and interactive manner. It allows the user to effectively acquire all practical knowledge and skills required to carry out specific tasks on Autodesk software. A user is fully trained on the programs so they can hit the ground running. Unlike e-learning, which includes knowledge based resource tools, e-training by GeT on the Autodesk programs enhances skills acquisition and retention in a way which is real and useful to the user. It gives users an opportunity to immediately apply the software skills at the same time they are learning it. This is something no other competitor can offer, and may be especially beneficial to those who desire flexibility in their learning environment.

Global e-Training (GeT) is comprised of two main elements:

GeT Interactive is a self-paced online Autodesk software training program which lets students study on their own schedule, using visual, auditory and hands-on learning methods. Milestone tracking along with competency based progress ensures that students stay focused to complete their program. GeT Interactive courses include: AutoCAD 2D & 3D, Revit Architecture, Inventor and Civil 3D with more titles scheduled for release.

GeT Live Network is a collaborative learning platform which brings students and instructors together through the use of the Internet. It is a virtual classroom interface which enables students and instructors to interact with one another in real time. Instructors are brought into contact with students from around the globe, increasing class sizes and reducing overhead costs. It also allows quality training providers to host and market live courses on the network, making it a truly revolutionary training tool.

All of the GeT programs are designed to be fun and interactive, combining the best e-learning practices into a highly effective e-Training system. Global e-Training represents the future of online learning on Autodesk software.

D-BoxTwo more Canadian tech devs are celebrating expansions this week as well. D-Box Technologies has penned deals with two more American theatre companies who will be installing the D-Box MFX seats.

Muvico Entertainment’s Pompano 18 in Pompano, Florida will introduce D-BOX to its patrons on November 19th with the long-awaited release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The theatre is the first location in Florida to offer the immersive moviegoing experience. Meanwhile over in Texas, Premiere Cinemas will be adding its second outlet offering D-Box seats when the El Paso Premiere Cinema 18 offers 22 D-BOX MFX Seats for the Deathly Gallows opening.

YANGAROOYangaroo has signed a multi-year agreement with BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International Inc. to deliver artist and music-related audiovisual content to BET properties – including the primary BET channel, BET Digital Networks, BET.com, BET International, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop – using YANGAROO’s patented Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS), as well as integrate DMDS with BET Network’s internal workflow. BET Networks will actively promote and recommend to the entertainment industry to utilize DMDS to send content digitally to BET Networks.

Yangaroo’s technology team worked closely with BET Networks’ engineers to refine the DMDS process for digitally distributing SD and HD television broadcast-quality video to integrate with and enhance BET Networks’ workflows. DMDS also transcodes the television broadcast file for online availability for streaming and provision of a frame-accurate preview quality version of the file with the time-code burned in, which improves reviewing and editing processes. The television broadcast-quality video file can be easily integrated into Online Editing Suites, On-Air Playback Servers and stored in a Digital Archive Server.

maximizerStrengthening its presence in the Ontario market, Vancouver’s Maximizer Software, a provider of simple, accessible CRM and mobile CRM solutions, has announced the appointment of software and sales veteran Alastair McKeating as Key Account Manager for the Ontario region. With more than a decade of experience in software solution sales, McKeating will focus on helping customers and prospects increase the value of their investment in Maximizer CRM.

“This is a critical appointment for Maximizer in our strategy to bring an expanded focus to Ontario. Alastair was the ideal candidate based on his in-depth knowledge of triangulating software technology with business process and user adoption to drive value and change management at large-scale organizations,” said Vivek Thomas, president, Maximizer Software. “Ontario is a growing market and revenue opportunity for Maximizer, and having a dedicated local representative is our first step in offering higher value to current and new clients with more sophisticated and broader CRM integration deployments.”

McKeating has an extensive software industry background, previously holding software sales positions with prestigious organizations including SAP, Business Objects and Computer Associates. He began his career in IT working as a data systems and applications architect for organizations such as Canadian Tire, the Ontario government and Manulife Financial.

Mobilicity has marched into Vancouver and Edmonton, rallying against wireless contracts and the surprise charges and extra fees consumers have been forced to pay the country’s incumbent carriers – until now.
mobilicity
The unlimited wireless carrier, which will have over 100 points of distribution in the Greater Vancouver Area when it launches its state-of-the-art 3.5G network tomorrow, deployed its troops (literally) to spread the good news to Vancouverites.

Edmontonians will also appreciate Mobilicity’s lineup of popular name-brand handsets and smartphones. Prices start at $49.99 without a contract and include crowd-pleasers like the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Curve 3G and the Nexus One™ by Google™ Android™ 2.2 device.Mobilicity YVR

Today, the carrier announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola Spice™, Canada’s only sub-$200 name-brand Android™ 2.1 device, and the $99.99 LG Wink™ slider phone.

Dressed in magenta fatigues (Mobilicity’s signature colour) and singing the praises of contract-free unlimited wireless, the ‘Magenta Militia’ paraded through the city while Mobilicity executives held a press conference at the carrier’s corporate store in Richmond.

Mobilicity Chairman John Bitove said consumers have the power to bring down Vancouver’s high price of wireless by not surrendering to Telus Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility, commonly known as the country’s wireless oligarchy.

And to round out the news for today, here is a recall notice for iPod users:

The Electrical Safety Authority is notifying the public that Emerge Technologies has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately.

Name of Product: Retrak iPod retractable wall charger.
Units: 11,359 units in Ontario and 4,429 units in the rest of Canada.
Manufacturer/Importer: Emerge Technologies, Inc.
Hazard: The affected products have not been tested to determine whether they have been compliant with the Canadian Standards for product safety.
Incidents/Injuries: There have been no injuries or damage reported.
Description/Models: ETIPODCHGW is a white wall charger with retractable cable. ETIPODCHGWB is a black wall charger with retractable cable.
Sold by: Best Buy, GEM-SEN Distribution, Micro Channel Management, Staples and Tiger Direct for $24.00.
When was distributed: Between August 2008 and October 2010.
Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Customer should contact Emerge Technologies directly by calling toll free: 877-499-6072 or fax: 972-456-4220 or by email. Product to be returned to Emerge Technologies and customer will receive a full refund, including shipping costs.

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17th November 2010

Whistler Film Festival Only Two Weeks Away

Whistler Film FestivalFrom December 1 to 5, 2010, the entertainment industry will meet in the mountains at the Whistler Film Festival’s industry forum. Designed to facilitate international alliances and financial partnerships, the Whistler Summit presents 21 informative and thought provoking sessions that address filmmaking in the digital age and the range of issues affecting the film, television and digital media industry. Sessions are complimented by networking opportunities including one-on-one meetings, roundtable information sessions, luncheons and receptions.

“As new tools and formats emerge, boundaries are breaking down like never before, and today’s filmmakers are telling their stories across multiple media platforms,” says Kryssta Mills, Whistler Summit Industry Program Producer. “The Whistler Summit is a unique gathering for the international industry to connect with Canadian producers to address the impact of filmmaking in the digital age, build relationships and take projects to new heights, all in an intimate and an inspiring setting.”

The Whistler Summit opens on Wednesday, December 1st with a networking reception that precedes the Festival’s Opening Gala. The program officially launches on Thursday, December 2nd with a focus on the international business of feature film production and cross platform collaboration. Producer roundtables begin the day with a series of ‘no pitch’, small group meetings with high-level industry executives. Panels include International Financing & Distribution: The View from L.A., an in depth dissection of the recent upturn in the international market after a very challenging few years, with some of the best in business, and Navigating the Digital Domain, an inside look at how film, television and digital media professionals can work together for cross-platform success. The Keynote Luncheon features Mass Animation founder and former Sony Pictures Digital President, Yair Landau, who will address collaboration in the digital age from his unique perspective, followed by One-on-one Meetings with attending International industry executives (pre registration is required) and the much-anticipated Merging Media Pitch, which features five advanced convergent media projects pitched before an international jury of digital content buyers and a live audience. An après networking reception rounds off day one of the Summit.
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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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