21st December 2010

A Tale of Many Games And Then Some

Game Prototype ChallengeVersion 2 of the Game Prototype Challenge closed yesterday – and this go-round of fast prototyping saw ten entries for the Immortality and Thin Ice theme – a big increase over the number of participants in version 1 of the challenge, which took place in November. I’ve included the list of entries here, but please visit the Game Prototype Challenge Blog for a full run-down on Version 2 plus links for post-mortems and information on Version 3, which will be coming at you in February 2011.

GPCv2 Entries:snowboggan

Snowball Jones and the Last Crusade by Rocket5Studios
Ice Skating Vampires by Kyle Rodgers
Lifetrek by Jason P. Kaplan
Immo and Thic! by Kyle Dwyer
Snowboggan by Chris Kaitila
Phoenix Rising by Regan Chan
Shatterfist by Jon Remedios
Made of Mirrors by Damian Sommer
Main by Vytenis Krukonis
Titan Miners by Dale Wick

gnometechI found out today about another Canadian-made free-to-play MMO game titled Greenwood Faire, which is currently in a publicly-playable alpha release stage. The game is being developed by Toronto-based greenwood faireGnometech Inc.

According to the game’s site, Greenwood Faire is a massive multiplayer social game experience set in and around the small town of Greenwood. Chat with your friends or make new ones. Listen to music in the tavern and play a board game. Play an instrument yourself, or get a medieval band together and put on a show. Learn to create fireworks and wait until nightfall to set them off. All of this and more is possible within the 3D environment of Greenwood Faire. If you would like to read more about the game’s development, check out the feature on Torque Powered.

UbisoftUbisoft has released a patch for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood that solves both the Animus Bug as well as restoring Trophy functionality for PlayStation players. While we do not yet have a final ETA for this patch, we can assure you that it will be coming very soon… all you have to do is apply the patch once it is released (your console should automatically prompt you to do so).

Fixes (MP)

* Sometimes players may remain stuck during matchmaking (game never starts)Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
* In extremely rare occasions, a crash may occur if another player of the same session quits while another player is loading the map at the exact same time
* When joining a session In Manhunt, in the chased team, you may have a sound present during the entire session

Fixes (Singleplayer)

* The player may remain stuck in the present optional (2012), in a spawning loop in Monterigioni, while interacting with the Animus (Animus Bug)
* Using fast travel towards Northern Campagna may result in Ezio getting continuously desynchronized
* Sometimes a bug can occur that prevents the player from unlocking any additional Trophies (Trophy Bug)
* On rare occasion, if the player changes their outfit at the completion of a mission, they will respawn in the same world, being stuck, without any possibility of returning to Rome

A sneak preview for Moderation Town episode three is now out and about; let’s see how our favourite moderators and dealing with real life and the internet

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Canadian Film CentreIn celebration of Black History Month and presented by TD, the Canadian Film Centre and Clement Virgo are pleased to host a special evening at the Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre 8 in conversation with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee to discuss the role of music in his films. A notable writer, director, producer, actor and author who revolutionized both the landscape of independent cinema and the role of black talent in film, Spike Lee is widely regarded as a premiere filmmaker and a forerunner in the ‘do it yourself’ school of filmmaking. His films are often provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions, not only about race, but class and gender identity as well while incorporating a distinctive and powerful use of music. The evening (Tuesday, January 25th 2011,7 – 8:30 p.m.) will combine conversation and film clips to examine the use of music in Lee’s films – from his musical collaborations with his father, Bill Lee, a jazz bassist, to Prince, Stevie Wonder and composer Terence Blanchard. Tickets are $20.00 (all proceeds will go towards the CFC Diversity Scholarship). Tickets can be purchased at www.totix.ca or at the venue on the night of the event.

Government of CanadaSome lucky Canadians will be revelling in a sparkling new smart phone this holiday season, and others will amuse themselves by downloading games and other online applications. But while mobile technologies can be useful and fun, it’s important to recognize their impact on your personal information, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, says.

“A fully-loaded smart phone is like carrying around a tiny little communications satellite, bristling with sensors and antennas,” the Commissioner explains. “It’s constantly sending and receiving data about your activities and your whereabouts. But where is the data going? What is it saying about you? And what is the effect on your privacy?”

In the third quarter of 2010 alone, more than 400 million mobile phones were purchased worldwide, and smart phones accounted for about one-fifth of that market. But, relative to regular cellphones, smart phones are exploding in popularity. While sales of all mobile phones increased by a third from the year before, smart phone sales actually doubled. In fact, industry observers predict that smart phones will comprise the largest share of the mobile phone market by the end of next year.

As these devices gain in popularity and sophistication, more and more applications (or apps) are being developed to run on them. These range from quirky quizzes to handy mapping and navigational programs, diet-tracking tools and social networking sites.

Increasingly, apps are also capitalizing on the capacity of smart phones to reveal their owner’s location. One widely used app, for instance, automatically transmits coupons and other bonuses to the user’s mobile device every time the user patronizes certain establishments.

But just as apps vary in type and quality, so do their privacy policies and practices. From a technical standpoint, there’s little to stop developers from programming apps in a way that enables them to collect, use or share the personal information of users – and often that of their contacts or networks.

Users may never even know this is happening, and might not approve of the practice if they did. Indeed, the inappropriate collection, use or disclosure of personal information could expose people to surreptitious surveillance, or unwanted targeting by unscrupulous marketers or swindlers.

“Smart phones can do a lot of great things for you,” says Commissioner Stoddart. “But when it comes to protecting your personal information, it’s up to you to make the first call.”

Here are some tips for smarter smart phone use this holiday season:

Do your due diligence – Before you download a dazzling new app, check it out. Does it tell you what personal information it collects, and how it will use it? If not, do your own research. Many online forums discuss apps and provide authoritative reviews about important matters, including privacy.

Think it through – Downloading an app may be a snap, but take your time and do a cost-benefit analysis first. Your personal information has real value, which is why app developers, marketers and many others want to get their hands on it. But don’t give it away. Trade it for something worthwhile, including a solid assurance that it will be treated with care.

Keep it safe – If you lose your smart phone, a lot of your personal information can fall into the wrong hands. Make sure you always use a strong password to protect your data. If you give, trade or throw away your smart phone, be sure you first follow the manufacturer’s directions for thoroughly deleting all the data that was on it.

amazonFor those who just haven’t spent enough money this holiday season, Amazon.ca has announced that beginning December 25th and running through January 2nd, customers can take advantage of amazing Boxing Week promotions on everything from electronics and books to home and garden products and men’s watches. Beginning on Christmas Day, customers can explore The Deals Store to find the full list of Boxing Week special promotions. Customers are encouraged to shop early as these offers are only available while supplies last.

“Christmas week is a time that people want to be with family and friends, but still be able to take advantage of post-holiday deals and promotions,” said John Nemeth, director of Amazon.ca. “With incredible savings, thousands of products and free shipping on eligible products, customers can enjoy the best of both worlds by shopping on Amazon.ca from the comfort of their home.”

Customers will find great discounts on a variety of well-known and trusted brands, including Panasonic, Canon, KitchenAid and Garmin. In addition, Amazon.ca offers customers FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders of eligible products of $25 and over.

Please note that product prices and availability of products and deals are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this release was sent. However, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.ca.

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16th December 2010

Working To Improve The Learning Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15th December 2010

EA Mobile Announces Bad Company 2 For iPhone

EA MobileEA Mobile is excited to announce that their biggest, baddest FPS, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, will be appearing for the first time ever on the App Store – hopefully becoming available tomorrow, DecemberBattlefield Bad Company 2 for iPhone 16th. Available at the killer price of 99 cents USD, Bad Company 2 is based on  the bestselling console game from DICE. Let the battle rage in the jungle, snow, and desert, in close-quarter combat, and in the air. Utilize intuitive controls as you destroy enemies with tanks and choppers in state-of the-art vehicular combat. Go all-out in full online multiplayer mode, and get a modern-warfare simulation for iPhone® & iPod touch® that’s second to none.

Your iPhone or iPod touch becomes the staging ground for the total Battlefield: BC2 experience. Track 14 single-player missions across 5 intensely detailed battle zones. Capture emplacements in jungle heat, arctic snow, and desert dust. Feel the adrenaline-pumping intensity of close-quarter combat and also unleash devastation from the air. It’s good to be Bad.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 for iPhoneWreak havoc on enemy forces with a plethora of powerful weapons and vehicles. Access an arsenal of up to 14 weapons – from a simple knife to a rocket-propelled grenade. Also drive the action with multiple vehicle types, including a tank and helicopter.

Access 3 different controls systems. Use gesture controls with no control buttons visible on screen, or add the virtual fire button, or choose to have both fire button and analog stick. Select the system that suits your preferred fighting style!

Initiate combat with 4-player action across dedicated maps. Engage in 2-4 player Free for Alls and Squad Deathmatches. The game supports OTA, WiFi, 3G, and BT Multiplayer. Push invitations to friends to join you in online battles.

After four years of increasingly successful operations, during which more than $33 million in early-stage capital has National Angel Capital Organizationbeen deployed to Ontarian companies via Angel groups, the National Angel Organization – Ontario (NAO-Ontario) has promoted Paul Connor to the position of Executive Director, succeeding retiring President W. Daniel Mothersill. This appointment initiates a process of renewal and preparation to realize the full potential of Angel investing in the Province of Ontario, while maintaining the experience and expertise developed to date.

With a background in management and communications, Paul has had positions of escalating responsibility at Paul ConnorNAO-Ontario over the past three years, becoming increasingly aware of the challenges and opportunities of organized Angel investing. He is focused on delivering both support and best practices to Ontario’s Angel investor groups with the support of Bryan Watson, advisor to the Angel Network Program and Executive Director of the National Angel Capital Organization, who helped create the Angel Network Program in 2007.

“I’d like to thank Dan for his years of service to the Angel investment community in Ontario as Director of the Angel Network Program. His creativity and drive validated Ontarian Angels’ constructive role in innovation and growth. As a result, NAO-Ontario can be an important collaborator in the Ministry of Research and Innovation’s new Ontario Network of Excellence, and FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation program,” said Patricia Lorenz, chair of NAO-Ontario.

NAO-Ontario Executive Director Paul Connor stated, “The Angel Network Program has shown that every dollar put towards Angel investors organizing their peers yields an order of magnitude more in early-stage capital investments. Even more value is added by the independent and experienced judgment of Angel investors holding a stake in the future of innovative companies. I am dedicated to realizing the full potential of both to contribute to Ontario’s future bootupprosperity.”

Bootup Entrepreneurial Society is hosting a free seminar about Government Funding at their office in Vancouver on the morning of January 19th. The session will feature speaker Rizwan J. Kheraj, Industrial Technology Advisor for the National Research Council, IRAP and will help you evaluate funding programmes offered by the Provincial and Federal governments, and how to determine if you and your company are eligible.

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15th December 2010

VFS Third Annual Game Design Scholarship For Women

VFSVancouver Film School (VFS) is pleased to present the third annual Women in Games Scholarship – the first scholarship of its kind in the world – to encourage greater opportunities for women pursuing a career in game design.

The Women in Games Scholarship, valued at up to $50,000, covers the full tuition for a female aspiring game designer to attend VFS’s acclaimed one-year Game Design program, named by the Los Angeles Times as a Top 10 school “favoured by industry recruiters”.

Since the scholarship was introduced two years ago, the percentage of female VFS Game Design students has increased from 2% in 2008 to 8% in 2010, an encouraging trend for the future of the industry. Female VFS Game Design graduates have gone on to work successfully in the industry, including Tara Mustapha and Charmie Kim of Microsoft Game Studios, Pamela Livara of XMG Studio, and Melanie Genereux of Longtail Studios in PEI.

Along with the Women in Games Scholarship, VFS is partnering with Game Design Expo sponsors G4TechTV, Annex Pro and 3vis to celebrate the fifth year of Game Design Expo with an additional $50,000 in scholarships. The ten individual $5,000 awards are open to all aspiring game designers.
Game Design Expo 2011
Full details of the Women in Games Scholarship will be announced at the free Sunday Open House as part of Game Design Expo 2011 on January 22-23, 2011. Application forms for the $5,000 VFS Game Design scholarships are currently available for download.

Attendees of the Open House will also be able to hear about the program, meet students and faculty, take sample classes, and visit the Women in Games Vancouver (WIGeh) booth. Space is limited, so anyone interested in attending the always-popular Open House is strongly encouraged to register now.

VFS is proud to partner with the following event sponsors to realize Game Design Expo 2011: G4, 3vis, Annex Pro, Pixologic, Radical Entertainment, Sumo Lounge, HP, and The Georgia Straight.

DomtarDomtar Corporation has extended the use of HP’s patented ColorLok® Technology to all of its Domtar branded business papers to provide a higher quality printing experience compared to papers that do not have ColorLok Technology. This technology will now be more widely available to customers, allowing them to keep pace with advancements in printing technology found in digital printing systems.

“We are pleased to extend ColorLok Technology, a performance-based standard, to all Domtar branded business papers, and in so doing, providing our customers with high-quality, environmentally responsible paper products, in both virgin and recycled content options,” said Karin Flemming, Domtar Marketing Manager, Business Papers.

Domtar first agreed to support the performance standards of ColorLok in early 2008 by incorporating the technology into its First Choice® line of business papers, a premium quality product with 98 brightness, and soon after with its Imageprint® brand multiuse papers. Now Domtar Copy®, Domtar EarthChoice® Office Paper, Husky® Copy and Recycled Husky® Copy, will be available with ColorLok Technology, providing customers with a 92 brightness alternative in both virgin and recycled content options.

Paper that uses the ColorLok logo must pass a precise set of standards for print quality, as well as physical and electrostatic standards for quality and reliability. Criteria for meeting the ColorLok performance standard includes improved image quality, dry time and consistency for printer performance. For inkjet printers, the benefits of ColorLok include bolder, sharper images and faster drying times. Benefits for laser printers include reliable printing, consistent imaging and an extended printer life, based on testing by Buyers Lab Inc., August 2010.

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13th December 2010

Enter The 2011 Adobe Design Achievement Awards

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

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

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

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

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

Individual Student category winners receive:

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

Individual Faculty category winners receive:

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

Student Group category winners receive:

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

Faculty Group category winners receive:

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

Other Student individual finalists receive:

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

Student Group finalists receive:

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

Faculty Group finalists receive:

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

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8th December 2010

What You Could Be Doing Next Week

VFSVancouver Film School presents its Digital Design Winter Graduation Show, Delicious Bites of Digital Design, on Wednesday, December 15th at the VFS Main Theatre.

Not your typical grad show, this event is open only to those from the design industry, and each graduate will be presenting the one project of which he or she is most proud in back-to-back three minute presentations. The presentations will be followed by a festive mingler with interactive portfolio kiosks and plenty of food and drink in the lobby.

Come and meet these promising designers before they are snatched by others in the industry who are looking for talented team members and be among the first to sample the tastiest student work in areas such as branding, music videos, interactive design, experimental motion design and iPad applications.

Special guest Adam Neilson from the Nation Film Board will be kicking off the evening’s festivities as he walks guests through the NFB’s most immersive, interactive projects, such as Test Tube and Waterlife, that have swept the design awards this year, including SXSW Interactive.

Wine, beer, eggnog and hot chocolate at 5:00pm with the presentations starting promptly at 5:30pm. Please see this event’s Facebook page for information on how to register – deadline for registration is December 13th.

CanWITThe BC chapter of CanWIT (formerly CATA WIT) will be holding its  Holiday Networking Event from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday December 15th at the Yaletown Milestones restaurant on Hamilton Street. This event is free, but pre-registration is required.

You are invited to come network with other professional women in the tech community and learn about our exciting programs for the new year. During the event, CanWIT representatives would like to hear from you about your interests and suggestions for future CanWIT workshops. Be sure to bring your business card for door prizes. We look forward to seeing you for holiday cheer!

49 pixelsPixel To Product and 49 Pixels would like to invite you to a casual 2 hour working session, where attendees will gather to hear from digital media professionals about the kind of work they do and what they’re interested in learning more about where it concerns the habits of those who work in the Canadian digital media space.

This event is part of the 49 Pixels study currently underway across the country which is gathering information to aid Canadian in their drive to understand the digital media space we work in, one of the goals of our research study is to get a sense for the size of the digital media workforce; how many professionals are employed in our industry, their geographical location, salary, benefits and other qualitative, quantitative and behavioural data.

Jet Cooper
5:30: Pre-event networking
6:00pm: Gather in the event space to set the context for the conversation
8:00pm: Wrap-up and break for the evening

Many thanks to Jet Cooper for donating their space at Jet Cooper # 307 – 20 Maud Street, Toronto, and helping to convene this working session, which is being styled as a roll up your sleeves, break-out-your-moleskin working session with clear goals and deliverables. Expect a casual working session with smart and creative industry personalities like yourself working together towards a larger outcome.

The next industry survey will be looking at the qualitative, quantitative and behavioural aspects of Canada’s digital media professionals; namely, where they’re located, what they do, and their working habits. The outcomes of this working session will be a draft list of questions for this survey, a strategy to distribute and promote the survey as well as put together a team of advocates to help further spread the word.

Register online by selecting the ticket type that best describes you in the list.
Add your contact information, and tell us what gifts you’re bringing to the table. Remember to check your inbox afterwards, as you will receive an email confirmation of your registration.

Please note, space is limited for this working session, so please do not register unless you’re absolutely certain you can attend. If your plans change, please let us know as soon as possible so that we may offer your ticket to the next person on the wait list.

Canadian Games ConferenceAlso, a reminder that the Call for Papers for the Canadian Games Conference 2011 is now open. Everyone loves a good story….and there are many out there. If you have a riveting tale to tell about challenges faced or success achieved in the Game industry – we want to hear about it!

The Conference will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre next May 19th and 20th. All entries must be received by midnight of January 25th, 2011. Invited speakers will be notified by March 10th, 2011.

2011 Conference Topics:

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

Session formats this year will include 25 and 60 minute lectures, panels and roundtables. The advisory board will be selecting submissions based on depth of content, relevance and interest, speaker credentials, and takeaway value. The intellectual property rights of those submitting papers for review will be respected throughout the process.

Submissions will only be accepted online, please provide the following information with your submission:

Name of speaker
Phone number
E-mail Address
Expertise Level: (Executive, Management, Developer, Publisher)
General Theme (see below)
Topic (25 words or less)
Abstract (250 words or less)
Bio (200 words or less)

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8th December 2010

Partnerships and Competitions To Benefit The Canadian Psyche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3rd December 2010

SIGGRAPH 2011 Call For Submissions and Volunteers

Siggraph 2011SIGGRAPH announces the 2011 Call for Submissions for contributors and volunteers for the 38th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, Sunday 7 August through Thursday, 11 August 2011 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This marks the first time that SIGGRAPH (North America) will be held outside of the United States.

From students to studio executives, from scientists to researchers, SIGGRAPH is home to the best and brightest minds in computer graphics. The theme behind SIGGRAPH 2011 is to “Make it Home” based along the philosophical idea that “home” is a positive place where everyone gathers, and they are free to exchange ideas and different outlooks. Home is a place where bonds are made or strengthened and sharing is a core belief.

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“We are excited to call such a world-class city home for SIGGRAPH 2011, the first time in our history to be outside the United States: furthermore, we are encouraging our community to feel comfortable submitting and discussing wide-ranging ideas or concepts just as they would in their homes,” says Pete Braccio, SIGGRAPH 2011 Conference Chair from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. “Vancouver already has a broad and fertile computer graphics atmosphere, and it is our goal to enrich it even further with your help, ideas, and inspirations.”

All work submitted to SIGGRAPH 2011 through the Call for Submissions is reviewed by a highly qualified jury composed of top practitioners in the relevant field. Because each jury needs time to review each piece carefully, submission deadlines generally are several months before the conference. All submission deadlines are 22:00 UTC/GMT and are strictly enforced.

The latest submission deadlines are:

Art Gallery and Art Papers: Friday, 14 January 2011
Game Papers: Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Technical Papers: Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Student Volunteer Applications: Monday, 14 February 2011
General Submission (Courses, Emerging Technologies, Panels, Posters , Talks, The Studio): Friday, 18 February 2011
SIGGRAPH Dailies!: Friday, 18 February 2011
Real-Time Live!: Friday, 15 April 2011
Computer Animation Festival – Films: Friday, 15 April 2011
Late-Breaking Work (Late-Breaking Posters, Late-Breaking Talks): Friday, 6 May 2011
Computer Animation Festival – Animation Clinic: Tuesday, 10 May 2011

In 2011, Make It Home – To Vancouver

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3rd December 2010

Will Facebook Connect Requirement Stop You From Nominating a Title

According to my Twitterfeed this morning, congratulations are due to David Lightbown, Senior Artistic Waldorf Comic and Zine FairTechnical Director at Behaviour Interactive for being named as the winner of the Autodesk® Maya® Master Award. Check out his Autodesk interview on the Autodesk interview.

The Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver will be holding a Comic and Zine Fair on Sunday, December 19th from 11:30am – 7:00pm. The event will feature American artist Dame Darcy, who will be signing books and performing with her band, Death by Doll. Other comic artists and zine makers who will be in attendance include Ed Brisson, Robin Bougin, Cloudscape Comic Collective among others. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more information and table space availability.

Canadian Video Game AwardsThe first nominees for the 2011 Canadian Video Game Awards have been announced: Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, EA Sports Active 2, Trainyard, Lil Pirates and Top Bar. Make sure your favourite Canadian-made games of 2010 are nominated, submit your choices today. Please note that the nomination process does require Facebook Connect – I’ve noticed that a few people have stated that they will not send in their nominations due to that fact, and while it’s a step that I too could do without, I hope that it will not deter too many of you from nominating games to the awards process. We also use Facebook Connect on this site, as we thought it would make it more convenient for cybele negrisreaders to comment on articles if they wanted – is this not the case? Do you find Facebook Connect to be an intrusion?

Webnames.ca President and Co-Founder Cybele Negris will be participating in the launch of Momcafé in the Fraser Valley on January 13th, 2011 (9:00 – 11:00a.m.). Join Cybele and Chillwack mayor Sharon Gaetz at the Clayburn Gourmet Gallery as they discuss how they have navigated their way through different career paths to find their passion while balancing the responsibilities of family. Childcare is available during this event, and a portion of ticket sales will be donated to Matthew’s House. Please see the registration page for complete list of ticket prices and options.
EA Sports
EA Sports has released two new videos for Fight Night Champion featuring boxer Andre Bishop. You can view Part One here, Part Two is also posted on our YouTube channel. Fight Night Champion takes the boxing experience one giant step forward by delivering an experience never before seen in an EA Sports video game. Fighting as contender Andre Bishop in an all-new story-based Champion Mode or as one of more than 50 legends or future champions, battle your way to the top in the boxing revolution that builds upon the best-in-class gameplay and physics engine of the critically acclaimed Fight Night Round 4.

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Indie studio SillySoft has released v1.12 of their board game-inspired title Castle Vox for the PC. The developers offer a free demo download which includes a Tutorial map, a Hex Barons medieval kings map, and a World War 2 – Axis vs Allies modern map.sillysoft

The reasonable purchase price of $14.00 allows players to access  over 40 more hand-crafted maps including the American Civil War, the Hundred Years War, Napoleon, the Roman Empire and a Map Editor that can be used to create even more Geographic and Hex maps.

Play online multi-player games with once-a-day moves, or fast online skirmishes. Team-chat lets you collaborate in team scenarios. Achievements track your progress through the different wars. Impressive rank titles accompany your advances.

Rogers WirelessRogers Communications Inc. has unveiled the company’s vision for tablet and mini tablet devices. Anchored by growing customer demand to be connected on multiple devices any time, any place, Rogers announced three new initiatives including new data sharing plans, the upcoming launch of Rogers On Demand Online for tablets and plans to introduce remote PVR capabilities on tablets and smartphones for its Rogers Digital Cable customers.

“The tablet is the command centre – a mobile hub through which our customers will be able to access everything in their world – from reading email for work to looking at photos, programming their televisions to turning on lights at home, checking on friends on Facebook and even updating their personal finances,” says John Boynton, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Rogers Communications. “Our role is to enable these experiences seamlessly and reliably across all devices. Our announcement today reflects our commitment to ensuring we continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

Rogers also unveiled the results of a recent poll of tablet and non-tablet owners, conducted by the Strategic Counsel. Close to 60 per cent of those surveyed who currently do not own a tablet agree that tablets will transform the way we live, work and play, and 42 per cent say they plan to purchase a tablet within the next year. Of those surveyed who have already purchased a tablet, the vast majority (69 per cent) claim they take their tablet everywhere they go and 58 per cent state their tablet is typically the first device they turn on in the morning.

“What we are seeing is a shift from one device to many devices connected together, anytime, anyplace,” Boynton continues. “The tablet is the dashboard for the highways of tomorrow, where people can easily access the same personalized experiences at work, in the home or on the go. We will provide the best tablet selection, integrate Rogers content on devices and build new pricing structures to make it easy for customers to make tablets part of their work, home and personal lives.”

Boynton made the remarks in a keynote speech at Rogers TabLife TO, an event Rogers organized to showcase the way tablets are changing the way we live work and play. The event brought industry leaders, manufacturers and experts to share experiences with tablets in communications, healthcare, business, media and entertainment. More information on Rogers TabLife TO conference can be found at www.tablife.ca.

A tablet-optimized version of Rogers On Demand Online will feature hours of primetime TV, movies, sports, music and will adapt perfectly to a variety of tablet screen sizes and operating systems. In 2011, customers will be able to go online on any tablet free of charge (standard data rates apply) to access Rogers On Demand as well as Rogers’ new Remote PVR service to set and manage recordings from any tablet, and smartphone anywhere, anytime. Rogers On Demand Online and Remote PVR for tablets will be available in early 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st December 2010

Shaw Rocket Prize Winner Named

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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