19th August 2011

Federal Government Invests in GRAND

Government of Canada FedDev OntarioWestern Canada’s digital media sector will receive a major boost thanks to federal funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada. This investment will help Graphics Animation and New Media NCE Inc. (GRAND) improve technology transfer and research commercialization. The announcement took place at the first annual Design Thinking UnConference in Vancouver.grand

Our investment in GRAND will help provide enormous benefits for B.C.’s vibrant and growing digital economy, said Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. This project will provide new technologies, exciting knowledge-based jobs and stronger, more competitive companies.

Funding will help deliver a two-year targeted small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) outreach, commercialization, and technology transfer program. The program will take place first in British Columbia and then be expanded to Alberta in the second year.

The program will build partnerships and educate the digital media community about GRAND’s activities. Initiatives include targeted work with local SMEs on technology transfer and business creation projects, including the development of research that could form the basis of new companies, and workshops that teach businesses how to attract start-up funding.

The program expects to develop nine technology prototypes, conduct 40 technology demonstrations and bring nine technologies to market. WD funding signals the federal government’s continued support for Canada’s flourishing digital media industry.

GRANDis uniquely positioned to deliver cutting research to the marketplace, explained Kellogg Booth, scientific director, GRAND. Digital media research conducted within our network has the potential to directly impact the products, services and businesses of tomorrow and the everyday lives of Canadians. GRAND researchers are active all across Canada. The WD investment will be a catalyst for our western initiatives.

GRAND NCE is a multidisciplinary, federally funded research network focused in the areas of New Media, Animation and Games. Based in B.C. at the Great Northern Way Campus, GRAND has 24 university members across Canada (including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba), and more than 30 industry partners.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

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19th August 2011

GamerCamp Junior Confirmed

gamercampjrFrom the organizers of the very popular GamerCamp comes GamerCamp Jr. Toronto developers Mark and Jaime want to help the next generation of designers become more games literate and support any games-related ventures to express themselves whether it be as an enthusiastic player, a creative developers, or a thoughtful part of the media.

GamerCamp Junior offers a three part program to this venture for creative youngsters:

Game kits—We’re really excited for the game kits, which focus on critically thinking about why a game works or doesn’t work and then attempt to inspire remixing of the game to guide children in making their own games. For example, we took the beloved game Scrabble and created an entirely new game using the same board and pieces—this is one way to demonstrate to children that creating games isn’t bounded by programming experience or access to materials. We wanted to focus on kits that could be accessed from anywhere, so that children from across Canada can check us out. There are three kits right now spanning digital, physical, and board games: each are free to download on our website and come in a handy PDF.

Website—The Gamercamp Jr website will be the hub for all activity. We’ll be working with more game makers to create new kits to add to our library and as we find more information on helping children learn about making games we will post them to the website. We’d love to do a video on how games are made and are currently looking into resources to help accomplish this. The website is also where information about the meet-ups will be posted and you can also learn other ways to get involved with Gamercamp Jr!

Live Meet-ups—We think building a community is pretty amazing stuff—so having children and parents come together to work on games and meet other interested children and parents seems like a no-brainer. We know parents love making games too and trying out cool activities so Gamercamp Jr meet-ups requires both the child and parent/guardian to show up. Geared for kids 9 -13, the first GamerCamp Jr. Live Meet-up happens September 10, 2011 and is completely free. We’ll be working through the activities in the kits and more. Register now to participate.GamerCamp

By the way, the next regular GamerCamp takes place on November 25th through 27th. Tickets go on sale next month.

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19th August 2011

Open Mic Books Announces The Best of Funny Sexting

best of funny sextingIvana Murleau, who saw runaway success with her first ebook “The Best of Drunk Texter” knew that messages that seemed racy in the moment could often be equally hilarious, especially when the intended message didn’t go as planned. This growing phenomena is called “Sexting.”  Sexting is the act of sending explicit sex messages and images via cellphones and other PDA devices.

There have been an eruption of scandals involving sexting which have found many celebrities and politicians in hot water jeopardizing both careers and marriages.  For others, a sober “morning after” read through of a previous nights text can make for some regrettable and embarrassing moments.

“This ebook is definitely much raunchier than my first ebook” says Murleau who needed to add an adult content disclaimer on the sales page.

With her mix of wit and commentary, you’ll enjoy the taking the journey with Ms. Murleau through sexting gone wrong, from horrible misspellings to “wish you could die” misdirected messages. In anticipation to its popularity, Apple, Sony, and Kobo allowed Open Mic Press to jump the upload queue in time for a September 1, 2011 launch.

Ivana Murleau edited her first book “The Best Of Drunk Texter”  which made Bookstorechart.com’s Top 50 Humor eBooks available for download on your iPad and iPhone, resulting in a global sales increase of 5600% in May 2011 over the previous month.??In an effort to help readers enjoy both titles, most ebook vendors have committed to offering a discount on “The Best of Drunk Texter” bundled with “The Best of Funny Sexting”. The ebook has a simultaneous online release in the UK, Australia, Canada and the United States.?? Open Mic Press is an ebook publisher with a focus on promoting comics, joke books and general humour publications.

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19th August 2011

Arius3D to Acquire Masterfile

arius 3dArius3D Corp. and Masterfile Corporationare pleased to announce that Arius3D has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Masterfile to purchase, on certain conditions, all of the issued and outstanding securities of Masterfile for a purchase price equal to CDN$21,379,580.

Masterfile, headquartered in Toronto, is one of the world’s largest providers of premium still images in terms of masterfilerevenues. Masterfile was created within a subsidiary of the Toronto Sun in 1981 and managed by Steve Pigeon until it was sold by the Toronto Sun to Mr. Pigeon and a consortium of employees and contributing photographers in 1984. Since its founding, Masterfile’s growth has been primarily organic, and today it has approximately 100 employees worldwide.

Set out below is selected financial information from Masterfile’s audited financial statements for each of the fiscal years ended February 28, 2009 and 2010:

FISCAL YEAR 2010 2009
(in Canadian dollars)
Revenue 22,308,000 27,495,000
Net Income 1,516,000 197,000
Total Assets 10,478,000 11,235,000
Total Liabilities 8,311,000 10,627,000

A decline of approximately $5.2 million in revenue between fiscal years 2010 and 2009 was consistent with overall industry results and is largely attributable to the impact of the world financial crisis. Net income improved by approximately $1.3 million over that same time period despite the revenue decline. Masterfile is only now in a position to benefit from a more normalized business environment, although there continues to be pressure on operating results.

Under the terms of the Share Purchase Agreement, Masterfile has agreed to provide the Company with its audited financial statements for fiscal 2011 prior to closing. With the acquisition of Masterfile, it is believed that the Company will be the only image distributor in the world offering traditional 2D images together with high resolution 3D images produced using Arius3D’s world renowned technologies.

John Wood, the CEO of Arius3D stated “I believe there is a significant opportunity in the 3D market and Masterfile is a great platform to enable Arius3D to take a leadership position in this market. Masterfile is a leading player in the 2D stock photo industry and has profited from the industry’s spectacular growth through more than two decades. Demand for 2D stock photo content is continuing to grow, however, crowd-sourced supply is impacting the business. As a result, combining the unique content of Arius3D with Masterfile has significant potential. Masterfile’s completely redesigned website released in July 2011 is the perfect platform to showcase 3D content on the internet. Users of the new class of consumer computing devices are demanding rich and interactive content, but 2D photographs are not interactive. 3D content provides the solution and we believe the potential growth in demand for 3D content could replicate or exceed that of 2D stock photo content.”

“Since 1999, Arius3D has developed proprietary, patented 3D technologies, capable of producing extraordinarily rich and interactive 3D image content. That content provides the users of the new class of computing devices with a dramatically enhanced experience. The acquisition of Masterfile should enable Arius3D to commercialize its proprietary capabilities profitably and more quickly, with the objective of making the combined company a leader in the 3D segment of our industry.”

Masterfile President, Steve Pigeon adds: “We believe the combination of Arius3D’s unique technology with Masterfile’s skill and experience in acquiring, marketing and licensing creative content globally provides a wonderful opportunity to build a powerful new enterprise that will benefit our clientele, contributing artists and other stakeholders around the world. This promises to be an exciting, challenging and hopefully rewarding adventure for all of us.” Read the rest of this entry »

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19th August 2011

Pizza 73 Releases Order App

pizza 73Pizza operator Pizza 73 has launched its iPhone application to make ordering pizza both convenient and fast. The launch is the first of its kind from a Western Canadian-based pizza chain. Developed by Break Point Creative, the new app can be downloaded from the App Store for all iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad™ devices.

This innovative application will fundamentally change the ordering experience, making it fast and convenient, all at the swipe of a finger. Users have access to the menu, specials, and to completely customize their pizzas and other menu choices. By using location-based services (LBS), it can map out the nearest Pizza 73 location. Registered users also receive added convenience with saved profile information and can choose their last order with just one tap.

Pizza 73 was one of the first in the industry to launch online ordering over ten years ago and has a strong online customer base, due to its user-friendly system and promotional activity, such as the current “Spin to Win” game when you order online. They are now first to market with the iPhone ordering app.

“We are committed to mobile as a part of our overall strategy to provide a fast and convenient ordering experience for our customers. As the leading pizza chain in Western Canada, we strive to be at the forefront of technology to set new standards within the pizza industry. Being a trend-setter is key to winning over new customers and providing another service to our existing customers.” said Pat Finelli, Chief Marketing Officer of Pizza Pizza / Pizza 73.

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19th August 2011

Chris Dallin Joins Karacters Design Group

karactersVancouver studio Karacters’ Design Group, the integrated branding and design division of DDB Canada, has appointed Chris Dallin as director of branding and design. Prior to joining Karacters, Dallin led brand strategy at Red Rocket Creative Strategies.

“Chris is a seasoned pro with extensive experience in executing impressive brand design programs across a wide range of business sectors including telecom, tourism and retail,” says Lance Saunders, EVP managing director, DDB Canada, Vancouver.  “Chris has been responsible for an impressive body of work and is highly respected in the industry.  We are thrilled to have someone of Chris’ stature lead the Karacters team.”  chris dallin

With 20 years’ experience, Dallin brings his strategic planning expertise, creative thinking and branding insight to the agency.  Working closely with Karacters’ creative director James Bateman, Dallin will help Karacters to further deepen its presence regionally, nationally and internationally as well as help develop creative brand solutions for clients, including brand identity, creative platforms, packaging and environmental design.

“Not only do I ascribe to DDB’s belief that creativity is the most powerful force in business, but I’ve been a long-time fan of Karacters’ world-class work,” says Dallin.  “The opportunity to lead the team at Karacters was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”

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18th August 2011

Market Research for the Social Generation by Tiipz

tiipzSquamish-based Tiipz has been selected from hundreds of start-ups across Canada to present its social new approach to market research today at Launch @GROW,happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Launch @GROW, an important platform for emerging companies, selects four brilliant new ventures each year to present their stories to more than 600 investors and influencers from Canada and Silicon Valley.

Explains Jason Cyr, who co-Founded Tiipz with partners Mark Nickson and Gesvyn Tjandra, “Today we have an exciting opportunity to explain how Tiipz will define a new approach to market research in the age of social media.”

Tiipz hasn’t yet officially launched, and already the company is working with clients including Westbeach, Kokanee, and Budweiser. Through a partnership with brand.LIVE, brands including Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Sennheiser and Mattel will be using Tiipz to undertake interactive customer research at the Live at Squamish concert happening this weekend.

Says Jason, “As a research tool, Tiipz is based entirely on engagement. The consumer benefits from a fun experience and a tangible reward for participation; they can share their opinion with others and possibly change the course of action for a business.”

“The business benefits from stronger market insights and increased brand loyalty. There’s no other research tool that’s nearly this engaging in the marketplace!”

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18th August 2011

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Now On Facebook

LudiaLudia Inc. and Mark Burnett’s One Three Television LLC have announced the availability of the Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? game for Facebook platform. Based on the syndicated TV game show, players across North America can now enjoy a multiplayer Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? experience with friends, family and the larger Facebook community.

“Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? is an acclaimed TV game show franchise that translates into an extremely Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?fun and social game on Facebook,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “We’re thrilled to release yet another top game show property featuring multiplayer, simultaneous game play- a unique formula that has proven to be highly addictive for players and very successful for Ludia.”

Contestants simultaneously compete to correctly answer eight multiple choice questions pooled from different school subjects such as Art, World Geography, Earth Science, Math, Languages, and others, with the ability to use the “copy” cheat to help answer difficult questions. The top three players at the end of the first round have a chance at boosting “cash” earnings by correctly answering a 5th Grader Bonus Question. At the end of the game, a successful contestant can share winnings with friends, and brag about the win by posting it on his/her Facebook Wall.

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? on Facebook features:

  • Live, multiplayer game play with friends and other Are You Smarter 5th Grader fans, and the ability to follow friends’ grades and progress in the game.
  • Favorite elements from the You Smarter Than A 5th Grader TV show, including thousands of questions drawn from 10 different academic subjects, authentic theme music and the familiar “classroom” setting.
  • The ability to choose Facebook friends as “cheats” from whom players can “copy” an answer in order to earn bonus points and increase the chances of winning.

“This exciting game release brings a whole new dimension and audience to Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?,” said Mark Burnett. “We’re delighted to see the franchise continue to thrive on Facebook so that fans of the TV show and players who enjoy social games will have an outstanding interactive experience with the brand.”

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18th August 2011

Non-Profits Engaged On Social Media

ldatdAccording a recent study, 97% of non-profit organizations are using social media, where 40% of corporations use social media to engage and connect with their communities and raise cause/brand awareness.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto District (LDATD) is one of the non-profit organizations going through a communication shift by creating an online presence through social media, connecting with members and the outside community through blogs, facebook and twitter and also undergoing a website refresh to facilitate sharing, community building and easier navigation.

“We are slowly and gradually noticing increased traffic to all our sites,” says Mimi Hoffman, Executive Director of the LDATD. “This translates to more of our population receiving much needed programs and services. We intend to continue our social media campaign to reach as many as possible,” Hoffman adds.

Noticing the misconception of learning disabilities both on and offline, the LDATD understands that reaching out to people through social media platforms is a good way to inform about learning disabilities and to clear the stigma around it.

Slowly, the LDATD is embracing social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, as well as blogging to over 200 fans and followers about the LDATD. These social media outlets will help children, parents and adults with learning disabilities, and give a clearer sense of what learning disabilities are.

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18th August 2011

Ontario Student Releases Game To Encourage Voting

Canadian Federation of StudentsWith just seven weeks left until the Ontario election, Damian Sommer, a student at George Brown College, has developed a video game where the player must dodge obstacles like tuition fees, debt and apathy to tackle a ballot box. The game is part of the Canadian Federation of StudentsOntarioTake It Over‘ campaign and can be played online.

“Drawing on the skills of our members, this game was designed to be a fun way to engage Ontarians about voting on October 6,” said Cindy Brownlee, Director of Education and Equity for the Student Association of George Brown College. “George Brown students, like students across Ontario, are struggling to pay high tuition fees and high levels of debt, so it’s important for us to encourage students to vote.”take it over

“As students face another year of a five per cent tuition fee increase, we decided to offer them some relief from the stress that growing student debt causes through this game,” said Sandy Hudson. “The ‘Take It Over’ campaign has several components that are interactive and we hope that Ontarians will take the  chance to tackle the ballot box through our game, and then vote in the fall.”

The Nintendo-style game launched this morning as a browser game and will be available as a mobile app in the next few weeks. To date, students have released seven videos, held actions across Ontario and talked to hundreds of students about the importance of voting and the promises being made by the political parties to reduce the costs of college and university education.

The Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university undergraduate and graduate students studying at post-secondary institutions in all regions the province.

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