22nd August 2011

Augment Yourself in Real Life With Official Deus Ex: Human Revolution Clothing Line

Eidos MontrealPioneering online fashion retailer musterbrand LLC has unveiled its latest range of high-end gaming fashion – the adam jensen coatDeus Ex: Human RevolutionTM collection. Set to launch on the same day as the long-awaited Deus Ex: Human Revolution game,  the officially licensed clothing line allows gamers to ‘become’ Adam Jensen, the iconic, trenchcoat-wearing hero of Square Enix’s forthcoming blockbuster videogame. Fans can gear up in Adam’s signature outfit, or purchase clothing and accessories from other in-game characters, as well as other items inspired by the game.

Available in North America and Europe at the Deus Ex store, the Deus Ex: Human Revolution range of clothing has been designed in partnership with game developer Eidos-Montreal, ensuring the closest real-world version of the virtual items as possible.

The standout item in the Deus Ex: Human Revolution is Adam Jensen’s coat—a futuristic interpretation of a trench coat. This slick trench, adorned with signature vented holes, and structured sleeves, is inspired by Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s cyber-renaissance art direction. Just remember that you’re not actually augmented before leaving on your adventures.

dxhr bell tower security“Standard logoed T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats are the norm,” said Knut Jochen Bergel, CEO, musterbrand. “musterbrand’s clothing lines are designed by top stylists, woven from the highest quality material, and cut so sharply they should come with a warning. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is already drawing praise for its unique design and playability – we’re aiming to replicate the game’s popularity with our clothing line too.”

“musterbrand has done an amazing job at not only bringing the clothing in Deus Ex: Human Revolution to life, but producing cool, wearable clothing inspired by the game,” says Jonathan Jacque-Belletete. “It’s of utmost importance to me to always retain the integrity and signature look and style of the game in everything we produce. I think Deus Ex: Human Revolution fans will be stoked at musterbrand’s offerings!”

Deus Ex: Human Revolution will be releasing in North American stores tomorrow, August 23rd for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Windows® PC, Steam® and OnLive®.

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22nd August 2011

Watch The SouthPaw Technology SIGGRAPH 2011 Tactic Demo On Video

Southpaw TechnologySouthPaw Technology, developers of digital asset software Tactic, have released the TACTIC 3.6 demo video from their SIGGRAPH 2011 presentation. If you weren’t able to stop by their booth at the conference, or are looking for a solution to manage your studio’s digital assets, check out this in-depth look at what Tactic has to offer.

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TACTIC is a Web-based Production Asset Management system that combines digital asset management with detailed project management to simplify, secure and speed the complex process of creating digital content. Not only does TACTIC manage assets in a secure database, it moves them through their entire life cycle with workflow automation tools, and automatically tracks their progress in real-time so that a project’s status is never in doubt.  Add to that an open API and a completely configurable Web-based interface, and TACTIC becomes the central pipeline through which all assets flow.

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22nd August 2011

ITOptimizer Version 2.0 Available Now From Consulting Portal

Consulting PortalIT service management firm Consulting-Portal has announced the launch of ITOptimizer Version 2.0, a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution designed to help organizations achieve efficiencies by improving their Information Technology and Business processes.

“ITOptimizer 2.0 represents a major enhancement to the product and we are excited to provide this capability to our clients,” says David Mainville CEO and Co-founder of Consulting-Portal.

ITOptimizer Version 2.0 is the 5th release of our Business Process Management (BPM) software and is used by many Fortune 500 companies, along with numerous small to medium businesses, across North America and abroad.

“IT Optimizer is a great tool which has helped Telx assess, design and simplify our end-to-end revenue process. We are looking forward to the capabilities of version 2.0,” says Eric Shepcaro, CEO of TELX, provider of interconnection, colocation and business exchange services in strategic, high demand North American markets.

The software provides the following capabilities:

Process Assessment: Configure and administer questionnaires designed to measure the maturity of your ITSM and Business processes with provisioned templates based on the COBIT and ITIL standards or you can build your own. Data is securely gathered over the Internet and stored centrally for reporting.

Process Design: Define and document your ITSM and Business Processes using an easy to use interface and a library of ready to use templates based on the ITIL standard. Easily capture all the elements of the process in a central repository then automatically create process documentation.

Process Governance: Define specific control objectives for your processes then measure compliance through the assignment of tasks and the collection of evidence. We supply ready to use COBIT and ITIL templates or you can build your own governance model to support SOX, ISO20000 and more.

Process Education: All subscribers to ITOptimizer have access to free instructor-led classes on ITIL V3 Foundations, Process Assessment, Process Design and Process Governance.

As a SaaS application there is nothing to install in your environment. Advanced security protocols ensure your data is safe. Setup is easy and we help you be productive within hours. We also have a comprehensive suite of consulting services to compliment your in-house capabilities.

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22nd August 2011

Espial TV Browser Powers Smart TV Experience Across the Globe

espial TVOttawa’s Espial® has announced that the Espial TV Browser is now powering a wide range of consumer devices including Smart TVs, set-top boxes and digital media players. The Espial TV Browser is now commercially shipping in more than 25 languages across the world. To support this global reach, the Espial TV Browser has been optimized to support more than two dozen languages as well as the most popular search, news, video, photo, social and sports sites in dozens of countries.

“We’re pleased to bring the full web experience to Smart TV consumers across the globe” stated Dilshan De Silva, Director Browser Products, Espial.  “The Espial TV Browser, based on WebKit, provides connected TVs with a complete web and video experience including Flash 10.1 and HTML5 support.”

About Espial TV Browser:

  • The Espial TV Browser is now powering Smart TVs, Digital Media Adapters, Set-top boxes and other consumer electronic devices across the world.
  • The Espial TV Browser provides access to popular Search, News, Video, Photo, Social Networking and Sport Sites. The most popular websites are preset into the browser including Yahoo, Google, YouTube, Daily Motion, Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, and more.
  • The Espial TV Browser is based on WebKit, supports 25+ languages and is optimized to industry leading chipsets. It supports languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, European, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many more.
  • The Espial TV Browser, based on WebKit, delivers a PC-like web browsing experience, applications, widgets, video, HTML5 and Adobe Flash 10.1.

Next month, visitors to IBC 2011 in Amsterdam can see the Espial TV Browser demonstrated at the Espial TV booth (A18) in Hall 5.

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21st August 2011

EndGame Fans Voice Their Passion For The Show

endgameThis weekend has seen a coming together of the fans of Endgame, a TV series produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films for Showcase, a Shaw Media television station. This ragtag group of people, who hail from all over the globe have been chatting up their love for the show and its actors on Twitter, FaceBook, through hangouts on Google+ and on IRC, hoping beyond hope that there will be at least a Season Two for the show – especially now that the show has been nominated in five categories by the Gemini Awards, including one for the interactive episode that puts you behind the eight ball with a challenge to solve the crime.

The fans of the TV show banded together when it was learned that Showcase had cancelled the quirky crime drama after its inaugural season. Prior to the nomination announcements, Showcase had removed Endgame from its show list, but it was hastily re-added to the site shortly after the Gemini Awards press conference.

For those not familiar with the show, Endgame is set and filmed in Vancouver, with the Westin Bayshore taking on the central role as The Huxley, a hotel in which Russian chess master Arkady Balagan (Shawn Doyle) has unwittingly become imprisoned. At the start of the season, and in small clues doled out as the weekly drama unfolded, viewers would learn that Arkady’s beloved fiancee Rosemary (Lisa Ray) had been the victim of a violent and lethal attack in front of the hotel. Witness to the attack and her death, Arkady has become an agoraphobic unable to walk out the front door of The Huxley.

As a chess master, Arkady has become adept at solving very difficult puzzles with his mind, and it is through this talent that he is able to remain the sole tenant in one of The Huxley’s penthouse suites – much to the chagrin of endgame casthotel security chief Hugo (Patrick Gallagher) and hotel manager Barbara Stillwell (Veena Sood), who would much rather see the self-absorbed and world-renowned barefoot genius vacate the hotel. Arkady works his way through each episode’s puzzle – everything from a kidnapped boy to saving a polar bear from ending up as bear steaks – with logic and visualization. With his inability to leave the hotel, Arkady depends on hotel staff members to assist him in finding the missing pieces to bring each case to the right conclusion.

Arkady’s right hand man is college student Sam (Torrance Coombs), who is studying to become a game designer. As a fan of the chess great, Sam willingly runs errands and gathers information in exchange for chess matches with Arkady. Also aiding Arkady are bartender Danni (Katharine Isabelle) and chamber maid Alcina (Carmen Aguirre). Added to the mix are security assistant Gurjit (Gary Gill), and Rosemary’s sister Pippa (Melanie Papalia).

As the season unfolds, viewers are brought deeper into the lives of each of these central characters, catching glimpses of their pasts and personal mysteries. The central plot to the show is of course who killed Rosemary, and web journalist Pippa is determined to solve the crime, often butting heads with the grieving Arkady, who alternates between wanting to solve the one puzzle whose solution eludes him and wanting to let go. Pippa continues to overturn rocks, often disturbing what lies beneath, and the first season ended with a cliffhanger that saw a staff member dead and Arkady bound with duct tape, driven around the city, threatened,  before being dumped on The Huxley’s front drive.

Fans of the show, ourselves included, were extremely disappointed by Showcase’s decision to drop the show, and began a public-awareness campaign to reach Endgame fans around the world, calling them to action in a last-ditch effort to save the show. A web site was launched, followed by a petition, which led to the Facebook page and a growing community of viewers who did not want to see Endgame fade to black forever. The petition currently has 6137 signatures, with more added every day. Next came an auction of Endgame memorabilia, which is open for bids until September 21st, 2011. The community members held a vote, and decided that proceeds raised through the auction would be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association in honour of Arkady Balagan and to draw attention to the very real conditon of agoraphobia.

What is perhaps most surprising is the number of international fans Endgame has won over – considering the show has only aired on Showcase Canada. Finding the show through various online channels, these people have come together to fight to keep Endgame in production. Over the course of this weekend, the fans have gotten to know each other on a more personal basis, talking together on irc – where they have been treated to conversations with some of the show’s stars – Shawn Doyle, Torrance Coombs, Patrick Gallagher, Melanie Papalia  and Gary Gill have all been present throughout yesterday and today, discussing Endgame’s plots as well as their careers – and expressing their thanks for the effort to get Endgame on the air with a new season. As I was writing this, efforts were being made to get Veena and Carmen to pop by for a visit as well.

They have all been real troopers, answering many, many questions (when they could) about life behind-the-scenes at The Huxley, what they’re working on now, as well as general chat. The actors have shown another reason why they, and Endgame, are fan favourites – their chemistry and camaraderie both on and off the set, their approachability, excellent humour and all-around human-ness. Also stopping in for a brief chat was Alyssa Campanella – the reigning Miss America, Canucks fan and significant other of Torrance Coombs. She came in for a visit while awaiting her flight to the Miss Universe Pageant taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The chat room has also seen a few Vancouver actors stopping by to express their support for Endgame.

Since the Gemini nominations, Endgame has been getting more and more attention, being listed as the Number 1 show to watch by the Globe and Mail in its daily “5 Shows to Watch Tonight” feature on August 9th, and several publications, including The Vancouver Sun, have taken note of the efforts to keep Endgame going. It is the group’s  firm belief that with proper promotion and an appropriate time slot, possibly on another network such as Global, Endgame and its story will flourish, and it is this belief that fuels the support of the show’s global fan force.

This weekend has proven the power of social media in bringing together a group of strangers from around the world, uniting them in a common cause to save not only a high-quality television show, but in putting their passion towards helping the well-being of those inflicted with mental health challenges.

Are you listening, Showcase? We’d like our show back. Thank you.

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20th August 2011

Federal Government Promoting Children’s Art Tax Credit

Government of Canada The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, accompanied by Ed Holder, Member of Parliament for London West, today visited the London Children’s Museum to promote the new children’s arts tax credit, a new non-refundable credit passed this year in the 2011 federal budget.

“Parents whose children participate in paid artistic, cultural, recreational, and developmental programs will now enjoy the same benefit as parents whose children participate in paid programs of physical activity. Our Government believes whether a child is inspired by Justin Bieber, Karen Kain, Brett Lawrie, or The Tragically Hip, parents should receive a tax credit to help pay for the programs that will help their children live out those dreams,” said Minister Shea. (Editor’s note: what if your child is inspired by ReBoot, How To Be Indie, Club Penguin or their favourite iPhone app? Are these considered Visual or Creative Arts? The broad language of Canada Revenue leaves much to interpretation and the whim of the tax auditor, it seems.)

“One need not look further than the London Children’s Museum to be reminded of the infinite curiosity and thirst for knowledge our kids possess. I am pleased that our government’s Children’s Art Tax credit will help London families enrich their children’s lives in developing their cultural knowledge and creativity” added Ed Holder.

In addition to fitness programs covered by the children’s fitness tax credit, parents can now claim money spent on programs that focus on fine arts, music, performing arts, outdoor wilderness training, learning a language, studying a culture, tutoring, and more. When parents claim the children’s arts tax credit—up to a maximum of $500 of the cost of programs—they save as much as $75 at tax time per child claimed.

More Information From The Art Tax Credit Web Page:

1. What is the Children’s Art Tax Credit (CATC)?

For 2011 and subsequent years, the budget proposes a new non-refundable tax credit based on eligible expenses paid for the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity (eligible program). Read the rest of this entry »

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20th August 2011

QuickMobile Closes Funding Round

quickmobileQuickMobile, a supplier of mobile solutions for the meetings and events industry has closed a $2.3 million round of funding. The investment, a combination of debt and equity from angel investors, will be used to support new product development, innovation and to expand QuickMobile’s customer base internationally.  QuickMobile is on pace in 2011 to record a 500 percent increase in bookings compared to 2010.

“Already the market leader in mobile event management, QuickMobile is continuing its rapid growth by adding significant new Fortune 100 clients quarter after quarter,” said investor Steve Harmer. “QuickMobile has the right team, strategy and solutions to clearly stand out in this rapidly evolving mobile application space.”

“We have seen exponential growth over the last year as meeting planners have moved away from traditional print-based media and adopted our mobile conference app to fully leverage the ubiquity and interactive capabilities of mobile devices,” said Patrick Payne, chief executive officer of QuickMobile. “As evidenced by our growth, both conference organizers and meeting attendees are looking for more efficient tools and environmentally friendly solutions to their static event program guides. Our apps are much more than simple replacements for the paperbound agenda, providing an unprecedented level of interactivity, connectivity and engagement while also dramatically reducing paper and printing.”

In the United States alone there are 1.8 million meetings per year with more than 205 million attendees. The size of the market and ever-increasing reliability on mobile technology, coupled with the fact that less than 10% of events use mobile applications, creates a major opportunity for QuickMobile.

Payne added, “The growing reliability on mobile devices and increased usage of social media is changing the way event planners and organizers use technology for managing their events. This new investment will help us capitalize on the growing market for mobile apps, allowing us to pursue and fund our aggressive growth strategy.”

QuickMobile’s mobile meeting applications vary in complexity, customization, interactivity and features. Based on the needs of individual customers, QuickMobile can develop a branded, highly-customized, robust application for events of all sizes and budgets. Among other features, the apps include social media tools, real-time content updating, surveys, audio and video streams and game-style incentives and are available for nearly every mobile device and operating system. In addition to expanding its customer base, QuickMobile continues to generate an 85% renewal rate from its global customers such as Accenture, Cisco, Dell, Disney, World Economic Forum, Global Business Travel Association, Google, Hilton Worldwide, Intel, Microsoft, PhocusWright, SAP, Salesforce.com, and the San Francisco, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals.

Among the features available in QuickMobile’s custom applications are the following:

•   Mobile analytics and instant user feedback, so that clients can understand end-user behavior and preferences
•   Mobile sponsorship and advertising
•   Integrated Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FourSquare and others
•   PUSH messaging
•   Program guides or event schedules
•   Personal scheduling
•   Speaker and Attendees Lists
•   Participant messaging
•   City Guides
•   Surveys, polling and real-time audience interaction
•   mCommerce capabilities
•   Personalization and privacy setting
•   User-generated content such as Photo Gallery and speak-out boards
•   Rich media – podcasts, videos and other content
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20th August 2011

Can Stock Photo Surpasses Five Million Images

can stock photoCan Stock Photo’s independent library of images has surpassed the 5 million mark, reaffirming the company as one of the world’s biggest independent stock photography collections. The microstock photography company has seen strong library growth in the past year, largely attributed to significantly increasing contributor earnings and a file submission process that is widely regarded as one of the fastest and most efficient in the industry. This has enabled the company to add over 2 million new images in just the past year.

The prestige of having over 5 million independent images in Can Stock Photo’s library is something that few stock photography companies in the world can match. While many competing agencies share and distribute their images to one another to increase their advertised image count, Can Stock Photo’s library is independent of such sharing & licensing agreements.

“Every single image on our site was submitted directly to us, inspected by our staff, and is maintained by us. We don’t license outside images. Our approach is increasingly rare among our competitors, and provides us with the significant advantage of being able to provide more accountability to our customers. Our clients know exactly where our images came from, and know that they all meet our high independent standards.” – Duncan Enman, general manager

The news of reaching the 5 million image mark comes on the heels of another major announcement by the company last month, who launched a new version of its website, complete with a high-tech search engine that is billed as one of the fastest in the industry. By combining their new design, search engine, and growing library, Can Stock Photo aims to provide one of the biggest independent stock photography collections with one of the quickest stock photo search engines.

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20th August 2011

Telefilm Canada Support Four English-Language Feature Films

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada has announced its support of four English-language feature films from the Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario & Nunavut regions under the selective component of the Canada Feature Film Fund (CFFF).

“This new crop of regional English-language projects is very promising,” said Michel Pradier, Director of Project Financing at Telefilm Canada. “The subjects are diverse and the creators are talented. Telefilm believes these bold, innovative projects will contribute to the development of Canadian talent and have wide audience appeal at home and abroad.”

To be eligible as a regional project, the project must have a budget under $2.5 million and request a contribution of less than $750,000 from Telefilm.

Atlantic Region

Beat Down
Director: Deanne Foley
Writer: Iain MacLeod
Producer: Pope Productions Ltd.

Fran, 18, wants to wrestle. Her single father, Whitey, is a former pro with broken dreams who won’t let her follow his example. Fran is determined though and when Whitey’s old rival, Jimmy, comes to town she runs away with his tour. But Jimmy’s only using Fran to get at Whitey and ultimately daughter and father have to reunite and defeat the villain.

Quebec Region

Canada-Ireland coproduction
Director and writer: Wiebke Von Carolsfeld
Producer: Amérique Film inc.

Stay tells the story of an unlikely love between Abbey, a young Canadian, and a much older Irish man who has lived for years as a recluse in a remote Irish fishing village. Through their failures they ultimately find redemption, hope and love.

Ontario & Nunavut Region

Dead Before Dawn
Director: April Mullen
Writer: Tim Doiron
Producer: Way of the Tosser Inc.

Casper Galloway is afraid of everything in life, especially his future.  With only two weeks until college graduation he still lives with his mother, has never touched a girl and is one credit away from failing.  But just when Casper thinks things couldn’t get any worse, he and his friends accidentally unleash a curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zombie Demons, aka Zemons.  That’s right… Zemons. Armed with a slew of homemade weapons and a Winnebago the team races through the night, killing Zemons and fighting time, frantically searching for a way to reverse the curse.  But as the Zemon army starts to overpower the team, Casper finds himself with no choice but to face his fears and become the unlikeliest of heroes.  Will Casper be able to reverse the curse and save the world, or will he and all his friends be “dead before dawn”?

The Mithras Conspiracy
Director and writer: Chris MacBride
Producer: Resolute Management Group Inc.
Distributor: Entertainment One Films Canada Inc.

Two childhood friends and filmmakers make a documentary about the incredible growth of the global conspiracy culture.  But their tiny project takes a mysterious turn when the chief subject of their film disappears without a trace.

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20th August 2011

AstraQom Moves HQ To Ottawa

Telecommunications operator AstraQom, a company which specializes in hosted pbx, home phone, co-location, and fax to email, announces a move to new headquarters in Ottawa. The new office is located fifteen minutes from downtown Ottawa and twenty minutes from the Ottawa Airport.

The facility, with plenty of spacious room, will provide generous capacity for AstraQom’s marketing, accounts, product management, human resources, sales, research, development and engineering departments. The new facility enables AstraQom to effective combine its existing Canadian sites in one “campus.: This will improve communication, lower cost, and increase efficiency. It will assist the company to collaborate with its satellite groups in other nations such as USA, Mexico, Philippines, United Kingdom, and Colombia.

“The new headquarters will provide a convenient location for business visitors as an AstraQom conference area for our current and potential clients, colleagues and partners. I am excited to be a part of moving our resources of people to a place they can be proud of and moving our products showcase to this impressive and convenient facility. Ottawa is the best place for technology companies,” states Jonathan Sowah. “Our new place will enable us to meet the growing demand for AstraQom to be accessible to our global visitors easily from the airport and will assist us to speed up the new AstraQom development projects lineup.”

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