12th July 2011

Maximizer Cloud CRM Solution Now On Azure Marketplace

maximizerMaximizer Software has announced that its new cloud-based CRM Solution, Maximizer™ CRM Live, is available for purchase on the Microsoft Windows Azure Marketplace. With an affordable, web-based monthly subscription model ($49/user/month), Maximizer CRM Live provides organizations with a proven, full-featured CRM solution, designed to drive more sales, improve marketing effectiveness, and enrich customer service interactions.

“We are excited to bring 20+ years of experience and proven success with CRM to the Windows Azure Marketplace,” said Vivek Thomas, President of Maximizer Software. “The availability of Maximizer CRM Live from the Windows Azure Marketplace will make it even more convenient for customers to access and start experiencing the power of our full-featured, cloud-based CRM solution.”

Recognition of the technological capabilities and robust features of Maximizer CRM Live is a further testament to Maximizer Software’s long standing relationship with Microsoft, including Gold Certified Partner status for over 5 years. After passing a rigorous selection and integration process, Maximizer CRM Live has been selected as the first CRM application available for purchase on the Windows Azure Marketplace. Customers can now gain access to the award-winning features of Maximizer CRM Live directly through the Windows Azure Marketplace.

“By accessing the Maximizer CRM Live solution from the Windows Azure Marketplace, customers will gain functionality, value, and quality,” said Sudhir Hasbe, senior product manager, Windows Azure, at Microsoft. “Maximizer CRM Live is one of the first commerce-enabled applications available through the Windows Azure Marketplace, and we welcome this feature-rich cloud-based CRM application.”

Maximizer CRM Live delivers an easy to use and flexible CRM solution to customers by leveraging the robustness and security of the award-wining Windows Azure platform. Accessible from anywhere on any computer or mobile device, users can manage sales opportunities, marketing initiatives, provide customer service and collaborate with teams all in real time. With no technical expertise required, customers can be up and running within moments of signing up. Customizable to fit any industry, Maximizer CRM Live is secure with a 99.5% uptime guarantee.

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12th July 2011

TutorPanel Announces Integration With Google Calendar

TutorPanelTutoring industry software provider TutorPanel has announced the addition of Google Calendar Sync to their tutor scheduling and invoicing software, which will allow for integration of tutors’ and students’ schedules with Google Calendar. This new feature allows companies to take advantage of additional features offered by Google Calendar such as syncing events to desktop calendars such as Microsoft Office, Apple iCal, Mozilla Sunbird. It also offers tutors and students the convenience of being able to view their tutoring schedule alongside other events on their calendars.

TutorPanel users have two ways to connect their TutorPanel calendars to their Google Calendar. First, tutors can sync events from their Google Calendar to their TutorPanel calendar. This feature makes it easier for tutors and administrators to find available time slots to schedule tutoring sessions.

The second way TutorPanel users can connect to Google Calendar is by displaying tutors’ lessons on their own Google Calendars. This allows tutors to have easier access to their lesson schedules and allows them to take advantage of Google Calendar’s sync feature with desktop calendars and mobile devices.

The addition of Google Calendar Sync to the TutorPanel system came in response to requests from TutorPanel users that felt their companies could benefit from this type of functionality. TutorPanel’s close relationship with tutoring companies and their ability to implement requested features plays an enormous role in the success of the software.

Tutoring companies interested in evaluating TutorPanel can learn more and try it free for 30-days by going to  the TutorPanel website.

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12th July 2011

Ponycorns Venture Onto iPad

ponycornsOne of the most original new titles that has taken the game industry by storm is now available for your iPad. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure by newcomer Cassie Creighton (and her Dad) was released earlier today on the iTunes Store for $2.99 and compatible with iPads running iOS 4.0 or later.ponycorns for ipad

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure began as a father-daughter project at TOJam, a Toronto-area Game Jam held in May. The game was designed in Flash and was originally released for play in web browsers, but the overwhelming success of Cassie’s game, for which she created the artwork and voice-overs, has led to additional releases for PlayBook and now the iPad. You can read the full story behind the game’s journey on Ryan’s blog over at Untold Entertainment.

All of the proceeds raised from the sale of Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure are going to pay for Cassie’s education once she is old enough to attend a post-secondary school. Since launch, Cassie’s game empire has also grown to encompass Ponycorn merchandising and appearances on TV and radio, as well as in mainstream print media.

For those who would like to chat first hand with Cassie’s Dad about his young game designer phenom or about Ponycorns, rainbow portals and evil lemons, Ryan will be attending Casual Connect next week in Seattle. Of course, Ryan does have his own projects he may want to discuss – but that’s outside the scope of this article, which is to send all of you iPad and PlayBook owners to the appropriate marketplaces and online stores to purchase Cassie’s game and support her education.

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12th July 2011

EA Welcomes PopCap To The Family

EA GamesAs pretty well everyone in the industry already suspected, Electronic Arts Inc. has now publicly confirmed an agreement to acquire PopCap Games.  Well-known for its blockbuster titles like Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, and Zuma, and a proven ability to create new hits, PopCap is a leader in the fast growing market for casual digital games with locations in Dublin, Vancouver (which creates all those PopCap Hidden Object titles), Seattle, San Francisco, Shanghai and Tokyo.

PopCap Games was founded eleven years ago by John Vechey, Jason Kapalka and Brian Fiete, three young gaming geeks who followed their passion – to make games. John and Brian met when they were both popcapattending Purdue University before working for Sierra. Meanwhile the token Canadian in the trio, Jason, graduated from the University of Alberta and had worked as a Senior Producer for Pogo.com – another casual game portal that was swallowed up by the EA publishing empire just as PopCap was getting its start.

“EA and PopCap are a compelling combination,” said EA CEO John Riccitiello. “PopCap’s great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA’s momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business. EA’s global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels.”

“We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games,” said David Roberts, CEO of PopCap. “By working with EA, we’ll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience.”

“PopCap has a proven financial trajectory with sustained revenue growth and double-digit operating margins,” said EA CFO Eric Brown. “On a non-GAAP basis, this deal is expected to be at least ten-cents accretive in fiscal year 2013.”

PopCap is one of the largest and most respected digital and social gaming companies with more than 150 million games installed and played worldwide on platforms such as Facebook®, RenRen, Google™, iPhone™, iPad™ and Android. In calendar year 2010, approximately 80% of PopCap’s revenue was on high growth digital platforms.

EA will pay approximately $650 million in cash and $100 million in shares of EA common stock to be issued to certain stockholders of PopCap. In addition, the PopCap sellers are entitled to additional variable cash consideration, contingent upon the achievement of certain non-GAAP earnings before interest and tax (“EBIT”) performance milestones through December 2013, EA’s third fiscal quarter end.

At the upper end of the earn-out, the performance targets for EBIT are approximately $343 million in total PopCap standalone EBIT generated over the two-year period through December 2013. The exact earn-out calculation is subject to adjustments. EA will also provide up to $50 million in long-term equity retention awards to PopCap employees to be granted over the next four years.

Transaction and Financial Highlights

* The transaction is expected to close in August 2011, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

* On a non-GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be EPS neutral to EA’s fiscal year 2012 results, as a result of one-time transaction costs, and at least $0.10 accretive to EA’s FY 2013 non-GAAP EPS.

* For the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, EA is announcing preliminary results of approximately:

*$500 million to $525 million in non-GAAP revenue versus guidance of $460 million to $500 million of non-GAAP revenue.

* ($0.40) to ($0.37) in non-GAAP diluted loss per share versus guidance of ($0.49) to ($0.44) in non-GAAP diluted loss per share.

EA is reaffirming its full year fiscal year 2012 non-GAAP guidance of $0.70 to $0.90 diluted earnings per share. EA is also increasing its full year non-GAAP revenue guidance to a range of $3,800 million to $4,025 million to account for the inclusion of PopCap for a portion of FY12. EA is announcing preliminary guidance for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 of non-GAAP diluted loss per share ranging from ($0.15) to ($0.05).

EA has executed a commitment letter for a $550 million senior unsecured bridge facility with Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., UBS Securities LLC, and UBS Loan Finance LLC, that EA may choose to draw upon prior to closing the acquisition. EA expects to explore permanent financing options in connection with the funding of this acquisition. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC provided EA’s board of directors valuation advice in connection with the transaction. EA was also assisted by UBS Investment Bank.

In addition, the $600 million share repurchase program that EA announced in February, 2011 remains in effect. As of July 1, 2011, EA has repurchased 7.1 million shares for a total of $149 million under this program. EA is not obligated to repurchase any specific number of shares under the program and the repurchase program may be modified, suspended or discontinued at any time.

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12th July 2011

Streaming Colour Studios Releases Baby’s Musical Hands

streaming colour studiosStreaming Colour Studios proudly introduces Baby’s Musical Hands for iPad (99 cents Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later), featuring 15 brightly coloured squares that your baby can touch. Red squares make drum sounds, yellow squares play piano notes, and blue squares play guitar notes. Every time your baby touches the screen, colorful stars will burst from their fingers. Watch them delight in the audio and visual feedback!

“As a game designer and developer, I love my iPad. But as a new father, I realized how much my son loves it too. I decided I could put my experience developing for iPad to use, and build an app for my son to play with, and Baby’s Musical Hands was born!” says creator Owen Goss, founder of Streaming Colour Studios.

Features:

* Baby’s Musical Hands supports full multi-touch, meaning your baby gets the kind of feedback they expect when touching the screen.
* Baby’s Musical Hands respects the iPad’s mute switch and volume buttons, if you want your baby to enjoy a visual feast without the sounds.

Always one to encourage early adoption, here is a video of Trainyard creator Matt Rix’s  son Toren testing out the technology:

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+100 for cuteness ;)

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12th July 2011

Spooky Squid Games Releases Debut Trailer for They Bleed Pixels

spooky squid gamesIndependent game developer Spooky Squid Games has released the debut trailer for They Bleed Pixels, a fast-paced, “gothic lo-fi” platforming beat-em-up coming to Xbox Live Indie Games in Summer 2011.

Featuring a distinct visual style that blends pixel art with paper and ink textures, They Bleed Pixels is a singular mix of intense platforming and fierce beat-em-up action.  It tells the story of a young girl haunted by a mysterious book and her violent Lovecraftian nightmares.

They Bleed Pixels uses a simple one-button combat scheme with surprising depth at its core. Button mashing is discouraged while kicking shadowy monsters into saws, pits and spikes is rewarded thanks to a unique checkpoint earning system: instead of being evenly distributed at set locations, players must earn and place checkpoints through stylish kills.  The more and better you kill, the faster you fill your checkpoint meter. Avoid combat or button mash mindlessly and you’ll find checkpoints uncomfortably far apart.

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“We’re crafting They Bleed Pixels with a healthy respect for the player’s abilities and the belief that action games should offer a genuine challenge,” says Miguel Sternberg, Creative Director at Spooky Squid Games. “We wanted to create a game that demands that players excel at both combat and platforming. Want a checkpoint before you take on that series of spike-lined pits? Then dash into the nearest enemy launch him in the air and juggle him into that nearby skill saw.”

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12th July 2011

Ortsbo Accelerates User Engagement On Azure

ortsboIntertainment Media Inc. has announced that its social media, real time, experiential translation platform Ortsbo generated over 68 Million minutes of user engagement for the second half of June 2011 along with 12.8 Million Online Sessions, 53 Million Page Views and 9.6 Million Unique Users in only 15 days from June 15thto June 30th. This represents a significant increase to the previously reported numbers, as Ortsbo has made the initial transition to Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform, providing a Cloud environment allowing virtually unlimited technology growth opportunities.

Over the past 45 days, Ortsbo has been transitioning its systems to the Cloud to provide a more robust user experience and will continue through Summer 2011 to improve the services. To date, these improvements have increased the speed and access to the Ortsbo platform allowing users to spend more time engaged in the experience. During the initial overhaul process, Ortsbo suspended number reporting, as it rebuilt and retooled the entire system. On a go forward basis, the reporting of metrics is expected to be twice a month.

“The move to the Cloud with Microsoft Azure has allowed Ortsbo to accelerate growth and we are seeing the results immediately,” said David Lucatch, President of Ortsbo and CEO Intertainment Media.

Intertainment has acquired rights to a United States patent application with respect to the automated translation within a browser in consideration for a payment of $200,000. The company has taken over all the rights associated with the patent application as well as any derivatives thereof. The vendor will receive additional payments upon the issuance of the patent and any continuation or continuation-in-part claiming priority from the patent application. In addition, the vendor will be entitled to receive 10% of any licensing revenue generated in connection with the patent.

“We believe that the acquisition of the patent application and the associated rights will further strengthen Intertainment’s portfolio in the area of automated online translation and communication,” commented Lucatch.

Ortsbo has appointed New York based translation industry veteran Mr. Matthew Grotenstein to lead global business development and partner acquisition. Mr. Grotenstein brings over 10 years experience growing businesses in the communications, social media, and management consulting space. Most recently, Mr. Grotenstein led US Business Development for CLS Communication, one of the world’s largest language translation providers.

“We are excited to have Matt onboard to lead our global commercial business development and partner programs as he brings a wealth of industry knowledge and relationships to the Ortsbo team,” said Lucatch. “We are eager to combine our current successes with Matt’s industry leadership. His first objective will be to monetize the brand across a commercial landscape.”

Together with the recently integrated Commobility team, Ortsbo has upgraded a number of technology parameters allowing the company to update its previously filed mobile version of Ortsbo for the Apple iPhone. Ortsbo to Ortsbo, or “O2O”, for which a patent has been applied for, is nearing completion for application and commercialization through Apple iTunes.

Recent upgrades to the Ortsbo platform have resulted in a streamlined process for mobile implementation. Together with its pilot for the Apple iPhone, Ortsbo is now piloting an Android version of its Ortsbo applications with other system applications expected through Summer 2011.

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12th July 2011

EFT Canada to Acquire Credit Card Gateway

eft canadaEFT Canada Inc. has announced that it has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire the technology assets of privately held, Toronto-based Linterna Technologies Ltd. (“LTL”) for a total purchase price of $650,000. The acquisition is expected to close on August 19th, 2011 and is subject to certain customary conditions, as well as the completion and signing of a definitive agreement and approval by the TSX Venture Exchange.

LTL operates mainly as an electronic transaction processing consulting firm specializing in operational processes, banking relationships and fraud related controls. The java based software provides its users a web-based point of sale interface that merchants can utilize to accept server to server credit card transactions and the ability for a variety of mobile e-wallet options. In addition, the technology has a built in rules based fraud detection system that is integrated with a number of third-party services that will allow EFT Canada to expand its product offering beyond just financial transactions.

EFT Canada will pay LTL for its technological assets, namely the credit card processing gateway, a total of $650,000 by way of $325,000 in cash, of which $125,000 is due on the closing date, and $325,000 payable in common shares of EFT Canada. The remaining cash payment of $200,000 is due on the twelve month following the closing date, subject to delay and reduction if operating targets are met.

Common shares of EFT Canada issued to LTL will immediately be held in escrow and released in three equal installments following months 6, 12 and 18 following the closing date.

In addition to the purchase price, LTL will be paid by EFT Canada $0.05 per credit card transaction processed for a period of three years following the closing date. Such payments shall not to exceed an aggregate of $330,000.

On the closing date and as part of the agreement, James Watt, a principal of LTL, will enter into a two year consulting agreement with EFT Canada. Further, EFT will be creating and filling two new employment positions to support the new credit card gateway platform.

SMEs are increasingly using internet based services to manage their businesses and there is a growing demand for cost effective and secure transaction processing services, coupled with high levels of support. The acquisition of the LTL credit card gateway technology is an important step in fulfilling EFT Canada’s vision to provide a business solution to SMEs which enables them to transact in EFT’s, debit and credit card transactions. EFT Canada believes the acquisition will allow it to significantly increase gross revenues.

Once the acquired asset has been integrated, in addition to electronic funds transfer, EFT Canada will be able offer its client base of over 800 SME’s, credit card processing services.

Jonathan Pasternak, President of EFT Canada, commented: “The technology being acquired from Linterna, represents an important part of EFT’s vision to place under one umbrella organization all services needed by our merchants to process electronic payments. Moreover, we anticipate excellent long-term value and shareholder appreciation in the combined entity”.

EFT Canada has not entered into any definitive financing arrangements at this time and believes it will be able to complete the acquisition using existing capital resources.

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12th July 2011

triOS College Bursary Blitz Across Ontario

trios collegetriOS College has announced the kick-off of its annual 241 Pizza Fresh Start Scholarship. Interested students can instantly receive a $500 scholarship towards their tuition to triOS College. Over 3,000,000 homes across Ontario will receive the flyer or participants can pick one up at any 241 Pizza location. Students can use this bursary towards triOS College Diploma programs in the Business, Law, Technology and Healthcare industries.

“At triOS, we have always had a strong commitment in supporting the communities that we are a part of,” says Stuart Bentley, triOS College President. “triOS gives individuals the opportunity to restart their lives and get into careers they have always dreamed of. This bursary will open doors for individuals considering career training and give them some financial assistance to get a head start on the next chapter in their lives.”

triOS College offers major benefits for those that want to train for a specific career. Compared to other colleges, triOS offers year-round starting points so students don’t have to wait until September or January to join, triOS has shorter hours of instruction so students can work part-time while they study, programs are shorter in length so graduates can get into the workforce faster, internships are included in most programs and at triOS, students receive substantial career services assistance to prepare them for obtaining a career with their field.

Citytv, Kiss FM and 241 Pizza are glad to be partnered with this bursary program that will help to improve lives for those considering training in Ontario. “It is our pleasure at 241 to be joined with an educational institution that will train and position individuals into the working world,” says Peter Lepidas, Marketing Manager for 241 Pizza.

 

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12th July 2011

New App Offers World’s Largest Library of 360-Degree Videos

immersive mediaImmersive Media Company has launched im360/im360 Lite, the first iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app that lets consumers watch amazing 360-degree videos on their mobile devices, using the touch screen or motion-control feature to manage what they see. Viewers have access to the world’s largest library of 360-degree videos available today. Whether it’s base-jumping in Malaysia, or exploring the Vegas Strip, im360 ($1.99) and im360 Lite (free, ad supported) allows users to direct the action and take control of their viewing experience.

With the app, viewers select from a diverse set of videos in the online library that they can download to put themselves in the middle of the action. As each video plays, they can move the video up and down, pan left and right, and zoom in and out to see everything in the scene as if they are actually there.im360

“With im360, everyone can be an armchair adventurer. If you’ve always wanted to surf the world’s biggest waves or explore the Chicago Art Institute, you can do it all from your iPhone or iPad,” said Myles McGovern, CEO, Immersive Media. “This is the same cutting-edge technology we’ve provided to the Black Eyed Peas for their BEP360 app and to ABC.com for the Oscars, among many others such as NBC, CNN and Google. It is disruptive and addictive technology that really demonstrates the interactive power of mobile devices.”

Videos include content in the following categories: Arts & Entertainment, City Highlights, Helicopter Tours, Museums & Science, Nature & Wildlife, News & Events, Parks & Gardens and Sports & Action.

The currently available videos include Red Bull’s extreme sports competitions; helicopter tours over Alcatraz, the Vegas Strip, Los Angeles and Chicago; footage from Northstudio360 of the June 15 Vancouver riots; tours of leading museums, zoos and botanical gardens; and much more. Future upgrades will enable access to live, streaming videos of concerts, sports events and other real-time content.

Two versions of the app are available for download on iTunes: im360 Lite is free with ads; the ads-free im360, which costs $1.99, offers users the ability to use Immersive Media’s publishing tools to view their own images in 360 degrees. Both versions come with a “View in 3D” setting that allows viewing the 360-degree videos in 3D as well. Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

 

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