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12th November 2010

New Options For Learning, Development and Shopping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9th November 2010

Canadian War Museum Launches New Online Exhibit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada’s Naval History contains seven main sections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9th November 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9th November 2010

Canadian Students Say Science Is Not Cool

I see a great opportunity for Canadian interactive media developers, technology and schools coming about, perhaps spurred by the results in this study.

lets talk scienceScience and technology-based careers may have exploded in recent years, but Canada’s youth have little interest in studying science after they graduate from high school. According to a new Angus Reid Vision Critical survey, only one in three (37 per cent) Canadian teens aged 16 to 18 are interested in taking a science course at the post-secondary level – and these are teens who are currently enrolled in at least one high school science course.

This is a surprising statistic, especially given that more than eight out of 10 (82 per cent) teens recognize that studying science opens many different career options and believe that if fewer students pursue science it will have an impact on our society long-term (84 per cent). Across the country Canadians agree, with nearly 90 per cent saying that young people’s interest in science is essential for Canada’s future prosperity.

“There is clearly a disconnect between Canadians’ theoretical belief in the value of a science education and students’ actual intentions,” said Bonnie Schmidt, president and founder of Let’s Talk Science, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the importance of science learning. “We need to encourage more teens to pursue science and technology learning at high school and post-secondary levels. The reality is that science education opens many more doors for career opportunities than people realize. A basic understanding of science is also needed for everyday life.”

The problem may be that Canadian teens do not think of science as ‘cool’. According to the survey, Canadian teens perceive people working in science related professions as intelligent (81 per cent) and serious (54 per cent), but only four per cent think they are ‘cool’. Yet, the number and variety of science-related careers available to youth today is higher than it has ever been before – and go beyond the obvious careers in medicine and computer technology. Science can lead to careers in the sports and entertainment industry or the business and financial world.

W. Brett Wilson, Chairman of both Prairie Merchant Corporation and CANOE Financial LP, as well as a scientist and entrepreneur, wants to help Canadian youth see the value and ‘cool’ factor of science. “The scientific skills learned at the high-school and post-secondary levels are critically important to virtually every career area,” said Mr. Wilson. “For me, studying science as part of my engineering degree has made a world of difference in my success. I use those skills every day in my own business, and in analyzing the potential value and utility of new business ideas. Now I am encouraging my own children, who have all taken sciences at a post-secondary level, to leverage those skills in whatever career paths they might choose.”

Partnerships like those between Let’s Talk Science and Amgen Canada are essential when trying to raise awareness of the importance of a science education among Canadian youth. According to the survey, eight out of 10 Canadian teens said that having access to mentors or assistance with homework would help them be more successful in science. Let’s Talk Science is a pioneer in developing programs that stimulate the interest of young people in science, including outreach programs that provide role models and real-world experiences in science and CurioCity, an interactive ‘place’ tailor-made for teens to explore and discover the science, engineering and technology in their lives. At CurioCity, teens have access to insightful articles that relate to their own interests and activities, such as health issues, technology, entertainment, sports and relationships, as well as a careers profile section that highlights the integral role science plays in career opportunities.

“Making science relevant is key to helping teens see the possibilities science brings to their own future,” said Dr. Schmidt. “Resources, like CurioCity, take science to where teens are – online and mobile – so they can explore science in ways that are meaningful to them. It’s very exciting, and the feedback by those who have used the website is very encouraging.”

Supporting educators in an effort to engage students in science in novel ways is also important – especially given that 70 per cent of teens say their science teachers have influenced their perception of science. The Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence (AASTE) recognizes four outstanding Canadian science teachers each year for their extraordinary contribution to elevating science literacy through creativity and innovation in the classroom.

“As we move towards a knowledge-based economy, we need to work together with supporters of science education to ensure our youth understand its importance, as well as make the connection between cutting-edge science and its everyday applications,” said Karen Burke, director of regulatory affairs, Amgen and vice-president, Canadian Society for Chemistry.

“At Amgen Canada, we are committed to raising the value of science literacy in Canada and hope to attract bright young minds into the field of science for many years to come,” continues Daniel Billen, Vice President and General Manager of Amgen Canada.

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9th November 2010

Youth Privacy Online Conference In Toronto This December

Verney Conference ManagementInformation about a new Youth Privacy Online Conference just came my way. Presented by Verney Conference Management, this event will “explore social networking and its relationship to issues such as online advertising, online scams, identity theft and online predators. Through a number of case studies, keynote addresses and discussions, the conference will show how providing too much personal information through social networking activity can lead to embarrassment, loss of career opportunities, disciplinary action and even danger. Whether the concern is privacy, online relationships or cyber-bullying – this is a conference that no educator, public employee, parent or youth exploring the Web 2.0 world, will want to miss.

The Youth Privacy Conference will take place on December 1st at the Toronto Renaissance Hotel, with individual tickets priced at $349.00 (+ HST). Group ticket pricing is also available.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) CIRAwill be hosting two invitation-only events tomorrow, November 10th – one in Winnipeg, the other in Halifax. Both consultations will centre on how Canadians view the role of the Internet in their lives and the economy

The consultations are part of a CIRA-led initiative with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Media Awareness Network (MNet) to discuss, debate and propose directions for the development, deployment and governance of the Internet in Canada. IISD will help CIRA facilitate a group of about 20 participants in Winnipeg which will focus on the development of Canada’s digital economy, while in Halifax the discussion will centre on issues regarding digital literacy, including online privacy and identity, social media, social cohesion, and ethics.

Open TextOpen Text Corporation will convene with customers, partners, and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry experts from across the globe to share best practices, learn how to yield maximum benefits from content management technology and hear about Open Text’s vision and long-term strategy at Content World 2010, November 8-12 in Washington D.C. The company will also showcase its just released ECM Suite 2010, which was announced in September.

The power of ECM Suite 2010 is its wide ranging new functionality covering 90 products and modules linked through a consistent integration framework, and spanning everything from compliance, business process management and portals to integrated mobile experience and enterprise information archiving. The result gives customers the most complete content management environment available to handle the vast array of content types, languages, applications, user needs and business processes in their organizations.

The six-day conference, attended and sponsored by the world’s leading brands, is being staged at the award-winning Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and offers more than 110 sessions, peer-to-peer networking events, panel discussions and a distinguished keynote speaker, this year’s event will explore how to ensure governance, improve efficiency and drive monetization of enterprise content management. Participants will also learn vital information about how to optimize current Open Text solutions—whether their focus is on lifecycle management, engagement, or transactional content. They will also learn how Open Text Everywhere boosts productivity by bringing the full power of the ECM Suite to smartphones.

YANGAROOToronto’s Yangaroo Inc. has signed an agreement with the Academy of Country Music (ACM) to power online review and professional member voting for the forthcoming 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards to be held in the spring of 2011. The Academy will employ Yangaroo’s patented Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS) Awards solution to securely distribute ballots in digital formats to its voting members. Through DMDS, members will be able to review materials online and vote electronically at the time that is most convenient for them.

Each year, the Academy presents awards honoring country music’s top talent and the industry’s hottest emerging talent. Awards are voted on in three rounds by the Academy’s professional members. The 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast LIVE on the CBS Television Network, on an as-yet-unannounced date.

The agreement with the Academy follows similar, previous deals Yangaroo has inked with The Grammys, The Junos, and others to provide award shows with a cost-saving and environmentally friendly solution.

“The Academy has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technology that serves our membership and our mission to support the country music industry,” said Michelle Goble, Vice President, Membership and Events for the Academy. “We’re delighted to work with DMDS to streamline the time our dedicated professional members spend on the voting process.”

“Since the launch of our DMDS Awards solution two years ago, it has quickly become the standard for music industry award shows,” said Scott Wambolt, CEO of Yangaroo. “DMDS offers an easy to implement, cost-saving, environmentally friendly solution for music and broadcasting trade organizations. We are honored to be providing this for a renowned organization like the ACM and this is consistent with our profitable growth strategy of expanding our strategic relationships with key players across multiple music genres.”

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9th November 2010

Disney Institute To Teach A Day of Quality At Kwantlen

Disney InstituteDisney Institute is bringing its renowned professional development program, “Disney’s Approach to Quality Service” to Surrey BC this November 30th. Sponsored locally by Kwantlen Polytechnic University School of Business and the Surrey Board of Trade, the full-day event will demonstrate how anticipating and reacting to customers’ needs, wants, and emotions is an integral aspect of delivering quality service and achieving business results.

The program will be held at the Cedar Building Conference Centre in Surrey, and give participants new ideas for creating a service-driven organization that delivers excellence.Kwantlen Polytechnic University School of Business

Program registration is $395 per person and includes Breakfast, Lunch and all course materials. For more information or to register, call 877-544-2384 or visit the event information page.

“Delivering great service is critical for companies looking to survive and prosper,” said Jeff James, vice president for Disney Institute. “This program is a rare opportunity for Vancouver-area business professionals to go inside the Disney organization and learn innovative, easy-to-implement best practices that can give them the competitive edge.”

The full-day “Disney’s Approach to Quality Service” program will give participants an “insider’s look” at business practices that have helped Disney become respected for product and service quality. In 2010, Fortune magazine recognized Disney as the world’s most admired company for quality. Participants will learn how to exceed customer expectations using a well-defined service infrastructure, ongoing research and service standards.Surrey Board of Trade

“In an era where everyone is competing for business and market share, excellent customer service isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” James said. “This program is made for organizations – large and small – that are looking to create a service experience that exceeds customer expectations and drives repeat business.”

Disney Institute was created to showcase “the business behind the magic” – Disney best practices that easily adapt to other organizations. One of the most recognized names in professional development, Disney Institute travels the world offering engaging seminars, workshops and presentations, as well as fully customized programming. Immersive learning experiences are also offered at Disney destinations in the Americas, Europe and Asia, enabling participants to go behind the scenes and see firsthand how business theory drives operational excellence. The Disney Institute client roster includes Fortune 500 companies as well as a wide range of small businesses, non-profits and government agencies.

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8th November 2010

Lest We Forget Workshops Coming Soon

CanadaLibrary and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the Canadian War Museum have officially announced a collaborative agreement for the delivery of Lest We Forget workshops across Canada. These workshops allow students to consult and research primary source documents by looking through the military service files of Canadian soldiers, doctors or nurses who served in the First World War or who were killed in action in the Second World War.

Under the terms of the collaboration, librarians and other trained individuals across Canada will be able to organize and deliver Lest We Forget workshops using the online tools provided by Library and Archives Canada.

The workshops will be held in four libraries across the country as well as at the Canadian War Museum. Current collaborating libraries include the Burlington Public Library, the Fraser Valley Regional Library, the Winnipeg Public Library, and the Toronto Public Library.

“We are delighted to see that our Lest We Forget project is being expanded,” said Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. “This new collaboration with the Canadian Urban Libraries Council and the Canadian War Museum will allow students from across Canada to experience a Lest We Forget workshop with a trained facilitator.” Read the rest of this entry »

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5th November 2010

GameOn Finance 2011 Open For Registration

GameON FinanceGameON: Finance 2011 will return to the Design Exchange on January 20 and 21, 2011, and the Kick-off rate of $489.00 is available now through November 15th 2010. Early Bird Tickets go on sale from November 16th through December 15th, with a price of $559.00. Once the Early Bird rate expires, ticket prices will go up to $699.00 if you purchase online, or $874.00 if you want and buy them at the conference. Interactive Ontario members will save an additional 30% off all ticket prices. See the event site for details.

GameON: Finance is Canada’s top business forum for the interactive entertainment industry connecting developers, innovators, investors and industry leaders. Delegates will gather in downtown Toronto for two days of keynotes, case-studies, lectures and panel discussions which will provide insight on topics such as:

* Emerging opportunities in game project financing
* The bottom line on equity investments
* Dealmaking across transmedia platforms
* Tips and tricks to optimize public finance opportunities

GameON: Finance’s 2011 Advisory Board members are: David Crow (Influitive), Jason Della Rocca (Perimeter Partners), Vikas Gupta (TransGaming Technologies), Marc Jackson (Seahorn Capital Group), Sean Kauppinen (International Digital Entertainment Agency), Jim Laird (Bedlam Games), Wanda Meloni (M2 Research), Ray Sharma (XMG Studio), Scott Steinberg (TechSavvy Global), John Sutyak (DDM) and Dean Takahashi (GamesBeat).

To compliment the release of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, Ubisoft has launched Your Shape Centre, a Ubisoftwebsite which works in tandem with the game, offering a truly personal online gym centre.

· Track your workouts and set yourself fitness challenges
· Compete and compare your progress with friends
· Set yourself fitness challenges
· Get advice from other players and fitness experts to help you reach your fitness goals
· Share your fitness achievements on your Facebook or Twitter

Open TextTo help organizations meet expanding requirements for archiving, eDiscovery and regulatory compliance, Waterloo’s Open Text will embed Oracle technology to deliver a new set of enterprise content solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th November 2010

New Title For Paramount Coming From EA and A2M

EA GamesElectronic Arts Inc. and Paramount Digital Entertainment today announced a distribution agreement that will catapult an upcoming Paramount property into the hands of gamers worldwide. Rango The Video Game is an action-adventure title inspired by the upcoming animated feature film starring the voice of Johnny Depp.

In development at Artificial Mind & Movement, Rango The Video Game invites players to continue on Rango’s wild journey through new adventures inspired by the movie. The game is set in the Old West town of ‘Dirt’ where players romp through a gritty, pint-sized, Wild West filled with wild rides, off-color characters and frantic shoot-outs. Rango is Paramount Pictures’ first full-length animated feature film; both the film and the video game will be released in March 2011. A2M

“We are thrilled to be working with Paramount and the upcoming release of the video game version of its first animated feature,” said Sinjin Bain, Vice President of EA Partners at Electronic Arts. “Rango is a one-of-a-kind character that we know kids will love. We’re excited to give families worldwide the opportunity to take the humor and fun from the big screen into their living rooms.”

“We are pleased to team up with EA to deliver an exciting, action-packed adventure game that captures the spirit of the film and puts the fate of Dirt in players’ hands,” said Tom Lesinski, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment. “We’ve added exciting twists and turns in the video game that will challenge players of all levels on their adventures as Rango.”

Rango The Video Game will be available on console platforms including the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Nintendo Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ in March 2011. Rango The Video Game has not been rated by the ESRB.

Sales of EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer EA Sportsfranchise titles has surpassed 100 million units lifetime during the launch of FIFA Soccer 11, according to EA internal sales data. The best-selling sports videogame franchise in the world, now in its 18th year, sold a record-breaking 2.6 million copies in the first five days after launching FIFA Soccer 11 to become the fastest selling sports videogame of all time. Counting the first four weeks of sales, FIFA Soccer 11 sales are up 20% versus last year on a comparable basis with sell-in approaching 8 million units. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd November 2010

ESAC and Women In Games Vancouver Hold Panel For Media Literacy Week

Media Awareness NetworkMedia Awareness Network (MNet) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) marked the launch of Canada’s Media Literacy Week yesterday by highlighting the need for parents, educators and youth to talk about the ways that gender is portrayed in media and how this can influence young people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

“Teachers see first-hand how media and information technology influence the manner in which students interact with each other and how they view the world around them. Media Literacy Week is an opportunity for teachers to discuss with and engage young people so they can become literate in the understanding of visual images and media messages,” says CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly.

Media Literacy Week has been promoting the integration of media literacy activities in communities, schools and families across Canada for the past five years. The week underscores the importance of nurturing critical thinking skills in youth that will help them understand and effectively navigate their media-rich world.

“Media play a powerful role in the lives of youth,” said MNet Co-Executive Director, Cathy Wing. “We need to make sure young people have the skills and knowledge to ensure that their interactions with media are positive and enriching. Media Literacy Week reminds us how important these skills are for our kids.”

Over 40 organizations are collaborating in the week this year, promoting media and digital literacy and hosting a wide range of activities – from film screenings and contests, to discussion panels and workshops – to provide opportunities for adults and youth to think about and discuss media.

esac As part of its involvement in Media Literacy Week, Women In Games Vancouver will be participating in an educational panel sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. Moderated by Briana McIvorElectric Playground personality Briana McIvor, the event will be held this Friday at Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver, one of the few high schools in BC to recognize the importance of digital media careers by offering Grade 11 and 12 students a training programme by way of its Digital Media Academy.

An invitation has been extended to Argyle’s grade 9 & 10 girls for the afternoon panel, which will feature discussion about what types of video games they and their friends like to play, what goes into making some of their favourite video games, and what it takes to work in the video game industry. Several women who work in the Vancouver development industry will be participating and sharing their knowledge with female students who are interested in interactive media careers.

Participants in the panel discussion include Zoë Curnoe (EA Canada), Bryna Dabby (Smoking Gun Interactive), Tara Mustapha (Microsoft), Michelle Chua (United Front Games), Erin Olorenshaw (EA Blackbox). I will also be taking part in the panel, along with Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour) and three female students from Argyle Secondary.

One of the goals of this panel is to let girls know that there are many careers within the digital media industry to choose from, and not everyone has to be an artist or a programmer. Panel facilitators Wendy Boylan, Communications Director for Ubisoft Vancouver Inc. and Julien LaVoie, Director of Public Relations for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada will also be present at this event, which will be live-tweeted – just look for the #G&G hashtag on Twitter this Friday.

Please see the Media Literacy Week web site for a complete list of the activities going on across the country.

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