6th May 2011

Become An iPhone BeanNCounter Pro

beanNcountersA group of university students in BC have developed and released a colourful and challenging math game for mobile iOS. BeanNcounters by Think At The Park offers 8 levels of difficulty ranging from Grade 1 to PhD, a Daily Challenge and a Leader Board for the mathematically gifted, which I am not. The estimated time to get through each level is around the 1 or 2 minute mark, but they do admit that the more difficult puzzles could take longer. BeanNcounters is available now for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for $1.99 USD. It requires iOS 3.0 or later and is rated 4+. There will also be a version for Android, but a release date has not yet been announced.

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The development group also has two fundraising activities tied to the game. For every game purchased, they will donate 10 cents to Water.org, a charity ensuring sanitation and fresh drinking water for developing countries. The other contest is directed at various university clubs. For a one year period, each club has a special purchase code that they can give to fellow students, family and friends. Those people then enter the code when they buy the game, and this code translates into 50 cents for the club whose code is used. The contest seems easy to understand, but not easy to explain, so here’s the video explanation directly from the developers:

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3rd May 2011

Public Service Announcements

eebayBay Canada today announced the launch of two important sets of charity auctions, giving Canadians an opportunity to give back.

Starting today and for the next seven days, eBay buyers will have the opportunity to bid on dozens of hard-to-find items and unique experiences in support of two Canadian charities: the NHLPA’s Beard-a-thon to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer.

The auctions are live at:

To support the NHLPA Beard-a-thon
To support Rethink Breast Cancer

Notable items and experiences up for grabs include:

* A Harley Davidson 2010 Street Glide motorcycle in support of Rethink Breast Cancer.
* NHL jerseys signed by some of the top players in the NHL – past and present – including Wayne Gretzky, Saku Koivu, Henrik Sedin and Luke Schenn, in support of the NHLPA Beard-a-thon
* “Rethink the Date package” hotel stay at The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver.
* Signed NHL player photos from Roberto Luongo, Dion Phaneuf, and Alexander Ovechkin.

With bidding starting at $1.00 for many of the items, there’s an opportunity for everyone to bid and buyers will be helping to raise funds for two very important causes. The NHLPA Beard-a-thon is an exciting charitable initiative that will help the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for local hockey arenas and communities across Canada. Funds raised by Rethink Breast Cancer will go towards its vital education, research, and supportive care programs for young women with breast cancer.

astral mediaThis Thursday, May 5, 2011, Astral Media Inc. will hold its annual Astral Media National Day of Caring for Kids. The event will be broadcast live throughout the day on more than 60 English-language stations across Canada.

This national event is in support of about 20 major hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country. Last year, in twelve hours, the largest Radiothon event in North America raised over 7.1 million dollars.

This year again, all Astral radio stations have been very active on social networks and launched an online community that was quickly embraced by children’s hospital foundations, parents, young patients and listeners alike. Many touching and hope-filled stories, videos and passionate calls for listener generosity have been posted over the past few days by over 2,200 members of the Astral Radiothon Facebook group.

Astral has teamed up with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization that helps save the lives and improves the quality of life of sick kids by raising funds for children’s hospitals and healthcare foundations. To see the complete list of participating radio stations and beneficiaries, or to make a donation, please visit the radiothon site.

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2nd May 2011

Aeroplan Beyond Miles Initiative Takes Flight on Facebook

aeroplanAeroplan has announced a new Facebook initiative in celebration of the fifth anniversary of its Beyond Miles Program.  Starting today until May 31st, Aeroplan will donate 50 Aeroplan Miles to its nine Beyond Miles Program charitable partners for each ‘Like’ that Aeroplan receives on Facebook up to a total of 1.5 million Aeroplan Miles.

All miles donated for this initiative will be split equally amongst all of Aeroplan’s charitable partners including: Air Canada’s Kids’ Horizons, Athletes for Africa, Earth Day Canada, Engineers Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières, Schools Without Borders, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Veterinarians Without Borders and War Child Canada.  Each of these nine Canadian organizations is committed to improving lives and enriching communities across Canada and abroad.

“Our Beyond Miles partners use Aeroplan Miles to offset travel costs including flights, hotel accommodation and car rentals for projects they work on in Canada and abroad,” said geneviève bich, Vice President, People and Culture, Groupe Aeroplan Canada.  “We couldn’t be more proud of our members as we recently reached the milestone of 200 million miles donated by members to our Beyond Miles partners.  We hope our members and the general public will ‘like’ us on Facebook so that together we can support the incredible work each organization is doing.” Read the rest of this entry »

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28th April 2011

ProtoGalaxy Now On Impulse

Deadline Extension: The final closing date for the Canada Media Fund English POV Program has been changed from May 9th to May 20th 2011.
Final Deadline: Online Registration for Canada 3.0 Forum closes today.
Live Tweets: Are you like me and couldn’t attend Merging Media? Follow the live tweets at #mergingmedia and #transmedia.

source studioSource Studio has released their space shooter game ProtoGalaxy on Impulse for the PC, giving you arcade action, smart puzzles, space exploration and a built-in level editor for only $9.99.  In ProtoGalaxy, up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend Earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game players will brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

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“ProtoGalaxy is an intense space themed dungeon crawler,” said Alex Brown, company founder. “The game includes a built in editor which allows players to easily create entirely new levels. Players can share their creations online and download other people’s levels for endless game play,” Brown added.

Game features:

·         Level editor to create new galaxies
·         Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
·         Array of weapon choice
·         Ship customization with large selection of parts
·         Use physics to solve problems
·         Includes free DLC: Proto Defense

Game publisher and distributor G4Box Inc. has announced the results of the donation drive for victims of the G4Boxdisaster in Japan hosted by its popular online military shooter, Cross Fire. G4Box and Cross Fire held the month-long “Cross Fire For Japan” charity drive from March 24th to April 24th and donated 10% of all sales of the game’s Panda and Japan Name Card Items to the Red Cross Japan Disaster Relief Fund. The Cross Fire player community showed their love and support for Japan by sporting Panda items and Japan Flag Name cards in-game and collectively helped Cross Fire and G4Box to donate more than $5,000 to the Red Cross Japan Disaster Relief Fund.Crossfire Humans

“The people affected by the tragedy in Japan are still facing so many tribulations and our community really stepped up to support them and donate to the cause during their time of need,” said Jason Yang, CEO of G4Box Inc. “We are lucky to have a very loyal and caring Cross Fire community who gladly supported this very important cause.”

Cross Fire is a free online military first-person shooter for Windows PCs. Players assume the role of either a Black List or Global Risk operative and compete in various modes of play including Team Death Match, the Mutant infested Mutation Mode, attack and defend Escape Mode, and the exclusive stealth-action Ghost Mode. Cross Fire includes a military ranking system, in-game friends lists, an integrated clan system, deep character customization options and social media integration via the Cross Fire website. Cross Fire is part of the Z8Games platform of free-to-play games.

gamerkraftAnother Toronto publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has revealed two more playable character classes in its upcoming Free-to-play MMORPG Brawler, Aida Arenas. In these dual gameplay trailers, the Gladiator and the Priestess, after a brief warm-up, venture into Aida’s seedy underbelly to fight some baddies and round up some treasure.

When it comes to swords, the Gladiator has no problem wielding a blade almost twice his size. The bigger the better is his motto; just remember to hold on tight with both hands.  Overall, the Gladiator is a well-rounded class that can hold his own against monsters and arena PvPers alike.

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With her faithful pet Cocoli and a library of magical knowledge at her disposal, the Priestess comes equipped with a spell for just about any situation. On a story quest or in the competitive PvP arena, the Priestess is an essential part of any complete party.

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Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters,compete  with friends and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft. Combining elements of the classic beat ’em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs – Aida Arenas offers an action-packed game-play experience unlike any you’ve seen before.

Women Presidents OrganizationsWell this makes me feel somewhat better, even though only one Canadian company made the Top Fifty list and most of these women started their businesses years ago. They aren’t currently trying to mash a whole slew of ideas into one cohesive business unit while trying to extricate oneself from an unrelated family business.  The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in partnership with American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express, has released the fourth ranking of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/led companies in North America. The Top 50 generated a combined $4.1 billion in 2010 revenues (mean of $82.7 million) and collectively employed 24,650 in 2010 (projected average for 2011 is 557 employees).

The lone Canadian company on this US-dominated list is SIMAC Canada, Inc., an Ontario-based company lead by President and CEO Gloria Bajkumar. SIMAC is a company that co-ordinates independent medical assessments.

“The Top 50 list includes a group of trailblazing women entrepreneurs who represent a variety of industries ranging from staffing to electronic systems providers, language services to security,” said Marsha Firestone, Ph. D., president and founder of the WPO. “We are pleased to partner with American Express OPEN to honor these powerful women and recognize their triumphs.”

In order to help the Top 50 continue to seize even more business opportunities, each of the honored business owners will be offered a Business Platinum Card(based on approvals) from American Express OPEN. The card will include 100,000 Membership Rewards® points, which may be used on capital investments including: the funding of employee recognition programs, business travel or the purchase of office equipment and supplies.

“Based on American Express OPEN’s ‘State of Women-Owned Businesses’ report, there are an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people,” said Nancy Hood, Vice President at American Express OPEN. “We at OPEN are honored to support this elite group of women who diversify the full spectrum of industries and have become leaders within the women business community.”

All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth. From this list, the 50 Fastest were selected. To be qualified for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies in the U.S. or Canada and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2006 and $2 million in 2010.

More about the 2011 Top 50:

  • Founded the Business: 90%
  • Current CEO is actively involved in the day-to-day operations: 100%
  • Average years in business: 16
  • Average age: 47
  • Average Number of Projected 2011 Employees: 557

All 50 companies will be honoured tonight at a special event hosted by American Express OPEN at the 2011 WPO Annual Conference taking place here in Vancouver. The awards reception will take place from 6:30PM to 9:30PM at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.

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19th April 2011

Science Fair Fun Run Call For Photos

PMC-Sierra Science Fair Fun RunThe Science Fair Fun Run is holding a photo contest for past participants, who are being asked to contribute 1 or 2 photos (2 is the max per person), which will be used in the photo albums on the Fun Run’s New Facebook Fan Page. Those who send in a photo or two will be automatically entered into a draw to win either: EA Sports NHL 2011 for XBox 360 or Hasbro Family Game Night for PlayStation 2. Include the race year, your name and your phone number. Photos can be of you and your friends, or of the race in general.PMC Sierra Science Fair Fun Run

Deadline for photo entries is May 28, 2011. Please note that photos submitted will become the property of the PMC-Sierra Science Fair Fun Run and will be posted on our Facebook Fan Page. Only photos of the PMC-Sierra Science Fair Fun Run will be accepted. One of each prize will be awarded by random draw from all entries. Prizes are non-transferable and must be accepted as awarded.

Remember this year’s Science Fair Fun Run takes place on the morning of Sunday, May 29th at Athlete’s Village Plaza in downtown Vancouver. Registration and Check-in starts at 07:30 with the Run starting at 09:00. The run route is 5k, with a mini 1k run starting at 09:05. Strollers are welcome. Participants will also receive free admission to Telus Science World after the race, as long as they have their run bib and/or T-shirt.

All proceeds raised from the PMC-Sierra Science Fair Fun Run will go to The Dr. Michael Smith Science Fair Endowment to support the promotion and development of Science Fair Programs throughout British Columbia.

koboKobo has closed a $50 Million investment round which saw Indigo Books & Music Inc. contributing $13 million of the $50 million in financing with the balance contributed by  leading institutional investors, as well as current Kobo investor Cheung Kong Holdings. This round of investment adjusts Indigo’s majority ownership to 51%.

“Kobo will use the new funding to continue its explosive growth internationally,” said Greg Twinney, CFO of Kobo. “As the eReading space continues to heat up, Kobo is committed to providing an innovative experience that lets consumers read anytime, anyplace and share their love of reading with friends.”

Kobo kicked off its European expansion last week, with the announcement of its plans to launch local content stores in Germany – the largest book market outside of the US – and Spain starting in May 2011. Local stores for France, Italy and the Netherlands will follow this summer – an industry first. In providing local content and reading experiences for European readers, Kobo continues to build on the vision of giving people around the world the freedom to read on any device, and share their love of reading with friends.

Starting today, consumers can buy the highly anticipated BlackBerry® PlayBook(TM) which comes pre-loaded with the Kobo eReading app – in leading retailers across the US and Canada. RIM selected Kobo as its strategic eReading partner, given its ability to service customers around the globe.

The Kobo eReading app delivers a personalized reading experience and allows users to choose the perfect text size and style, select between day and night mode, both featuring uninterrupted reading with seamless page turns and chapter transitions. Plus, readers can switch between single or side-by-side page view simply in landscape orientation or simply rotate the Playbook to read in portrait orientation. Kobo is offering a free copy of Thomas Cleary’s translation of The Art of War exclusively to BlackBerry PlayBook customers. Users can sign in or create their Kobo account from the BlackBerry PlayBook and the free eBook will be added directly to their library.

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11th April 2011

Monday News Wrap-Up

Register: TOJam is happening May 13 – 15th in Toronto & registration opens sometime today
Speaker Session: Consoles Are Dinosaurs – May 12th in Vancouver
Final Day: To submit Speaker Proposals for the Montreal International Game Summit

Strategy FirstSoftware publisher Strategy First Inc. will increase from 20% of all sales to 30% of all sales from their game store to further assist with the ongoing crisis in Japan. The website will feature both hardcore and casual games so that everyone in the family may purchase and support Japan.

The efforts are to help the RED CROSS with the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami relief efforts. The Earthquakes and Tsunami   have devastated the country and its people. Strategy First is extending its commitment to helping the region and its people through the Red Cross until April 18th, and anyone who purchases one of the other over 300 titles available on the website will directly help the Red Cross provide relief to the victims in Japan.

Some of the available titles featured are, Ninja Blade Online, Dark Fall Lost Souls, Crash Time III, Darkstar The Interactive Movie, Steel Fury, Jagged Alliance II Gold with casual titles, Rail Way Mogul, Air Port Control Simulator  and many more. Along with Hard Core Strategy, and Casual Games other genres include, Simulation, Arcade Action, Racing, RPG, Adventure, Grand Strategy, and Train Simulator. All titles are available for your donation.

“With the unfortunate news coming from Japan we are renewing our efforts to support the country and its people through the Red Cross.” Says Strategy First Director Emanuel Wall, “Our games will provide an opportunity to help others while providing good quality entertainment to Gamers.”

With your support the Red Cross can continue to provide life-saving medical care, shelter, supplies and most importantly – hope, to earthquake and tsunami survivors.  The needs are great but you can make a difference. All funds raised will support the Red Cross.

DejeroWaterloo’s Dejero Labs Inc. has announced that the Panasonic NAB exhibit will feature a Panasonic Toughbook laptop that integrates the Dejero LIVE Transmitter software to demonstrate a live HD video transmission solution that is highly mobile with 4G wireless capability. This innovative transmission solution integrates store and forward capabilities and can also upload clips, photos, and files as well as stream live video. The collaboration between Panasonic and Dejero delivers on the simple premise: broadcast live or remotely located high-quality video without the high cost or complexity of satellite or microwave transmission. Television broadcasters can view at NAB for the first time, a new choice to cover breaking news faster, with less set-up time, and with the ability to transmit anywhere cellular or Ethernet networks are available. The Dejero-enabled Toughbook laptop demonstration is at the Panasonic NAB exhibit # C3707 (in the Central Hall).

“Collaborating with Panasonic on a new HD mobile video transmission solution offers broadcasters a view of a more flexible future for live and remote file-based transmission,” said Dan Mance, Dejero CEO. “Toughbook continues Panasonic’s tradition of delivering no-compromise reliable computing for mission critical users and is the ideal Dejero enabled laptop platform.”

Solution Highlights:

  • Toughbook CF-31 Laptop
  • Bonded 4G Modem Module
  • HD-SDI Input
  • Adaptive Bit-rate H.264 Transmission
  • LIVE + Store and Forward
  • Direct to Web Streaming Solution
  • File Transfer Clips, Photos or Files
  • HD-SDI to HD-SDI, Web Stream or FTP/Folder
  • Low Latency
  • High Quality Video

The Panasonic and Dejero live HD video transmission solution includes the Panasonic Toughbook CF-31, the sixth generation of flagship Toughbook clamshell notebooks, which have become the gold standard of rugged computing over the past 14 years, boasting the lowest failure rates in the industry. The Toughbook incorporates the Dejero LIVE Transmitter software, to produce a portable HD/SD transmitter that connects to a camera and goes live with the push of a button. The complete solution also includes the Dejero LIVE Video Manager, the online manager that connects transmitters to video receiving servers; and the Dejero LIVE Video Server, the receiving unit that typically resides in a studio rack to decode the live video transmission for ingest.

vixsAlso at NABS is Toronto’s ViXS Systems Inc., and they invite attendees to experience how the next generation multimedia processors by ViXS are enabling new broadcast and professional applications.  Key to these digital media revolutions will be advanced transcoding, encoding and media processing from ViXS Systems.

ViXS’ smart processors put it firmly at the center of the next generation encoders and transcoders, enabling a large array of devices, including: cable/satellite/IPTV encoders; switched digital systems; multi-screen (TV, PC, mobile) transcoders; ingest systems; on-demand video delivery systems; video conferencing; surveillance and many others.  The following demonstration line will be shown at ViXS’ private suite:

  • XCodePro® multi-stream transcoder solution for broadcast and professional applications
  • XCodePro® HD/SD encoder solution for broadcast and professional applications
  • Over-the-top and content mobility solutions to address the anytime, anywhere entertainment; streaming to iPAD®s, tablets and other mobile devices

bpsresolverBPS Resolver Inc., a recognized leader in governance, risk and compliance (GRC) management software headquartered in Toronto has announced the release of the latest version of its flagship GRC application, GRC Cloud. Version 5.4 builds on and expands many key features in response to feedback from BPS Resolver’s customers, many of whom are leading companies in their industries. These enhancements include:

  • Greater capabilities for non-Administrative users with new advanced permissions to add items and edit items within the framework from their normal working screens
  • More flexibility in determining how users access and interact with reports in the home page dashboard.
  • Enhanced abilities to efficiently remove or purge external documents from the application
  • Capability to determine the display order of mathematical  functions and include function results in more chart types

“This release of GRC Cloud brings to fruition ideas generated both by our own product team and our customers, and allows companies to assign greater responsibility for maintenance of the GRC framework to qualified users across their organization.” said Steve Taylor, CEO, BPS Resolver Inc.

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5th April 2011

Microsoft Canada Breakfast Campaign Launched

msnEveryone knows the best way to start the day is with a good breakfast, but it’s something many Canadian children miss out on. That’s why Microsoft Canada teamed up with long-time partner Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to create the MSN.ca Breakfast Campaign, which launches nationally today.

“Close to 700,000 Canadian children live below the poverty line. Boys and Girls Clubs in 700 communities across Canada support critical areas of healthy child development, including addressing child hunger through the provision of nutritious meals and snacks to thousands of young people in need,” says Pam Jolliffe, President and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “Our longstanding partnership with Microsoft is having a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canadatremendous impact on the lives of the more than 200,000 children, youth and families we serve, and we are thrilled to be working with the MSN.ca team on this Breakfast Campaign, which will help us have an even greater impact on child hunger and nutrition in Canada.”

The eight-week social media campaign encourages Canadians to reset their homepage to MSN.ca – for every homepage reset, Microsoft Canada will donate a breakfast to Boys Microsoft Canadaand Girls Clubs of Canada. With a target of 100,000 homepage resets and breakfast donations, the campaign is anchored by a Facebook application that allows users to ‘toast’ their profile photo and post it to the Wall of Toast, share the cause with their social networks on Facebook and visit MSN.ca to reset their homepage.

“Microsoft Canada has proudly partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada for over a decade through programs like CanTech, Digital Arts competitions and an Annual Holiday Greeting Card competition,” says Gavin Thompson, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft Canada. “We are thrilled to offer our Facebook fanbase a unique way to engage with MSN.ca and make a difference in the lives of Canadian kids through the breakfast campaign.”

distribution360Distribution360 has been very busy over in Europe. Earlier today the company announced that it has secured the worldwide distribution rights—excluding the UK—for the brand new animated preschool adventure series, Olive the Ostrich (52 x 5’), created by BAFTA-winning animation studio Blue-Zoo. The series will premiere in the UK on Nick Jr. in September 2011.olive the ostrich

Written in a highly descriptive, storybook style, Olive the Ostrich is a CGI animated series for kids, which chronicles the adventures of a young ostrich named Olive on her imaginary travels to all sorts of amazing places. In each episode, animators bring to life real pictures drawn by children and submitted through an integrated online component. These animations create all the guest characters, places and objects that Olive encounters. Inquisitive and enthusiastic, Olive loves to solve problems and help people whenever she can. She’ll try anything once, which can get her into trouble, but always finds fun and inventive ways of getting herself out of it.

“Olive the Ostrich is a wonderful new series, and we’re very pleased to be partnering with Blue-Zoo to bring Olive’s adventures to markets internationally,” says Stéphanie Röckmann-Portier, Head of Sales, Distribution360. ?This truly engaging and interactive property allows us to further explore the preschool market for new and exciting opportunities.”

“Olive is a unique property that has been brought to life by children for children. Core to Olive is story making and creativity – both important ingredients in creating a successful property, said Oli Hyatt,Director Blue-Zoo. “We are pleased to be working with Distribution360, and hopefully Olive will now be enjoyed by children in many more countries.”

panduitJoin your peers and industry experts from Panduit, The Uptime Institute, Cisco, and Emerson at the Novotel Toronto Centre in Downtown Toronto on May 26th to learn how you can drive change within your enterprise to become more efficient, productive and agile.

Panduit’s ‘The Nature of Transformation’ Roadshows feature presentations, interactive sessions, and roundtable discussions with industry experts that will address business challenges such as evolving customer expectations, technologies, regulations and sustainability initiatives. With a focus on best practices and methodologies, Panduit, Emerson, and Cisco will also discuss cutting-edge solutions in data center and building planning, design, and management that reduce costs while enhancing business performance. Space is limited, so register early if you want to attend.

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1st April 2011

Big Blue Bubble Is Having a Big Blue Sale

Gamers Heart Japan will be airing this weekend, with its premiere on April 3rd at 4pm in all CityTV markets, G4 at 6pm in all markets and on SPACE at 7pm ET (4pm PT).

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Watch, Enjoy, Donate.

Reminder: Battle of the Apps Round 2 is open for submissions until April 15th.
Tickets: Canadian Video Game Awards tickets are on sale now at TicketMaster.
Just In: Seth Green will reprising his role as Joker in the upcoming Mass Effect 3.

factorFACTOR is now accepting applications for the 2011-2012 fiscal year through FACTOR’s Online Application System. Visit onlineapp.factor.ca to create an account, review new program guidelines, as well as create, save and submit online applications for all FACTOR programs. New Program Guidelines are available online. 

Apparently the Eastern Arctic region of our country has entered into a thaw, because Big Blue Bubble is Big Blue Bubblecelebrating Spring. Starting tonight at 5PM ET a large selection of the studio’s iOS titles will be on sale for 24 hours, so if you’ve been meaning to download some of their games and haven’t gotten around to it, now is the time for action.  Big Blue Bubble’s Administrative Assistant Amanda Thorpe hinted that the studio has some great things coming up for their iOS games in the next few weeks, so she suggested that you stock up now while they are at a reduced price.

These iPhone and iPod Touch Titles will be available for 99 cents USD:

The following universal titles (they work on all iOS mobile devices) will also be available for only 99 cents USD:

The following iPad titles are also on sale:

Three of Big Blue Bubble’s 99¢ games will now be free permanently:

kidobiHenning Software Solutions property Kidobi has added several children’s series to its growing library of videos for preschoolers, which are part of new distribution partnerships with top children’s content producers, including Organa LLC and Toronto’s CCI Entertainment.

“These additional series bring us one step closer to our ultimate goal, which is to provide videos that entertain young minds while showing them their imagination and potential is limitless,” said Eric Sorenson, Director of Research & Content, Kidobi.

New Additions Include:

“The Adventures of Mouse and Mole” about the everyday adventures of these lovable companions as they help each other to navigate through both good times and bad, from Los Angeles-based Organa LLC.

The Longhouse Tales” (26×30’) about the fantasy and fun adventures of a young coyote and his animal friends, and “Farzzles World” (130×3’), which shows the real world seen from a baby’s point of view, CCI Entertainment.

A subscription to Kidobi provides a personalized playlist for each child based on their skills, interests, educational needs and more. By creating playlists for individual children, Kidobi ensures a unique and engaging experience for each viewer. Parents can rest assured that while their children watch videos from Kidobi’s current library they are surfing on a site that is entirely age appropriate and free of advertising.

Kidobi, which is currently seeking Beta testers, was developed with experts in child development, education, psychology and children’s media. Kidobi creates personalized video playlists based on the educational needs and entertainment tastes of individual children.

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31st March 2011

Shenanigans Releases Awards and Student Development

gamers heart japanReminder: The Gamers Heart Japan television special will be airing on SPACE and G4 on April 4th. Watch, Enjoy, Donate.

PlayTest: zinc Roe is looking for kids (ages 3-6) in the Toronto area to playtest some of the studio’s upcoming projects. Contact them via their website or email if you’re interested.

ubisoftYannis Mallat, President & CEO of Ubisoft Montréal & Toronto will be offering a glimpse into the secrets which enabled Canada’s video game developing industry to grow into the world leader it is today when he makes a presentation to the Canadian Club of Montreal on April 4th. Mr. Mallat’s speech is titled Myths and Realities of the Canadian Video Game Industry, and during his presentation, Mr. Mallat will also address what he considers to be the type of strategic thinking that should be encouraged in order to ensure a sustainable Canadian economy.

Yesterday Quebec newspaper Rue Frontenac broke the story that Ubisoft Montreal has fortified its court injunction barring THQ Montreal from further actively recruiting Ubisoft staff. THQ has already successfully obtained the development services of Mark Besner, Jean-Francois Boivin and Alex Drouin, all of whom worked on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise, and it’s suspected that other Ubisoft developers will be switching work addresses if they haven’t already. The first inkling of trouble between the two Montreal studios came last spring when THQ signed Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets, who was named to head up the THQ studio beginning this May.

And with that news bit, I will segue over to some Dawn of War II news. Owners of  Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Retribution™ will soon be able to purchase a custom Dark Angels Space Marine chapter for use in multiplayer. The Dark Angels Pack is scheduled to be available for download on Steam, the THQ E-Shop and select digital retailers on 6 April for a suggested price of $7.50 USD.

The Dark Angels Pack adds the iconic Space Marine chapter to the game with eight unique models for the major multiplayer units as well as new color schemes for the others.  The Force Commander is replaced by a Dark Angels Company Master complete with winged helmet, the Tactical Marine squad all sport the iconic Dark Angels robes.  Additionally, the Scout Squad, Assault Marine Squad and Terminators all receive similar chapter-specific revisions. The Space Marine vehicles also get a visual makeover with this DLC pack, adding custom designs and emblems to differentiate them from the standard vehicles.

Beenox StudiosActivision Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Entertainment, LLC have officially announced Spider-Man™: Edge of Time, where Spider-Man faces one of his greatest challenges ever — saving Spider-Man. Developed by Activision-owned studio Beenox, Spider-Man: Edge of Time challenges the player to take on the roles of both classic Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 to correct a time-stream gone awry and prevent a catastrophic future brought on by the early and untimely death of Peter Parker.

“The first Spider-Man entry by Beenox, Spider-Man™: Shattered Dimensions, was touted as one of the wall-crawler’s best Spider-Man games to date from both critics and fans,” said Vicharin Vadakan, Director, Global Brand Management. “Beenox is once again taking a fresh and different approach to bring a fast-paced and high-octane adventure and unexpected story to life in Spider-Man: Edge of Time.”

“At Beenox, we are constantly listening to the fans and looking for new and creative ways to innovate the gameplay experience for them,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head, Beenox. “We want to create a totally distinct experience in Spider-Man: Edge of Time by working with Peter David on the story and creating this urgent, high-stakes experience where time is working against you and the fate of Spider-Man hangs in the balance.”

Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a focused, action-packed adventure set in two connected and evolving timelines, from the contemporary times of the Amazing Spider-Man to the corrupted future world of Spider-Man 2099, against the backdrop of a rich, tightly crafted narrative by acclaimed Marvel veteran Peter David (co-creator of the comic book series Spider-Man 2099). The game features all-new “cause-and-effect” gameplay, where players will see how the immediate and sometimes unexpected effects of their actions as one Spider-Man changes the timeline of the other Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Edge of Time is slated for release this fall.

frima studioCongratulations to Frima Studios, whose Zombie Tycoon: IceField Demo has reached the FITC finals for Technical Excellence in Flash and Excellence in 3D. The title is also nominated for an FITC People’s Choice Award. Voting is open now and will remain open until midnight on April 22nd. You can play the Zombie Tycoon Interactive Demo on Adobe Molehill.

“We’re honored to be nominated for two FITC awards,” said Steve Couture, Frima’s CEO. “Our R&D team has worked extremely hard to ensure we’re always on the leading edge of technology and it feels fantastic to be recognized.”

Built using a combination of Adobe’s Molehill technology and Frima’s proprietary IceField 3D engine, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most advanced Flash games to be released. In Zombie Tycoon, players control their very own horde of ravenous zombies! Developed in just a few months by Frima Studio’s R&D team, the Zombie Tycoon: IceField Demo offers three levels of zombie madness. Two game modes are available to try; mild, which offers FITCplayers a chance to explore and conquer the game world, and chunky mode which offers players the chance to see the full power of the new technology with over a hundred zombies moving on the screen at the same time.

Held from May 2-4, 2011 in Toronto, FITC is a three day event of presentations, demonstrations, networking opportunities and parties about the creative, technical and business aspects of Flash and digital media. Topped off with the FITC Award Show, the event aims to leave the attendees inspired, energized and awed while covering the Flash and digital media industries.


Shaw CableFollowing its successful launch on iPad, Shaw Media today announced their Global Video App is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. The Global Video App offers Canadian viewers on-the-go access the network’s blockbuster library of premium content, including full episodes of House, The Good Wife, NCIS: LA, The Office, Rookie Blue and Survivor along with previous broadcasts of Global National and 16:9:The Bigger Picture.

Highlights of the Global Video App include:

* Full-length episodes and clips
* Superb video quality
* Sleek interface design with user-friendly features
* Progress bars to indicate runtime – allowing viewers to exit the app and to resume viewing at the same spot
* Schedule guide for Global programs with listings up to two weeks in advance
* Behind-the-scenes footage and Web-exclusive content

pearsonAs college enrollments surge to record levels, thousands of students are arriving to campus finding they lack the basic math and English skills needed to succeed in their studies. Many of these students are coming from the high-school system, are non-native speakers or are displaced workers looking to improve their workforce skills, necessitating enrollment in remedial programs that help address basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Providing students with a way to quickly improve their math, reading and writing skills is the basis for MyFoundationsLab from Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Suitable for multiple college and career readiness programs, including boot camps, high school bridge programs and student success centers, MyFoundationsLab is a complete online resource for assessing and remediating developmental skills. The program also includes comprehensive learning modules to improve students’ general skills, such as note taking, test taking and critical thinking.

Built specifically for Canadian students in mind, MyFoundationsLab delivers interactive, customizable features, including a comprehensive diagnostic tool, personalized content modules specific to each student’s skill level and self-paced learning activities that allow students to measure their progress toward the skills needed for continued academic and workplace success. “Colleges need flexible resources to help students learn the math and English required to succeed in their courses, and MyFoundationsLab can be tailored specifically to the needs of any learning environment,” said Steve O’Hearn, President of the Higher Education division of Pearson Canada. “Pearson’s investments in new technologies and learning solutions like MyFoundationsLab are designed to support institutions and instructors in their efforts to improve student achievement and retention.”

Pearson’s award-winning MyLabs and Mastering programs have personalized learning for millions of students around the globe, delivering proven results for institutions looking to improve student performance and lower costs. Available in a range of subjects including math, English composition, the sciences, foreign languages, economics and IT training, the programs provide immediate feedback and targeted help where and when students need it the most. Students learn at their own pace, in their own style, while educators are able to monitor student progress and communicate with their students online to keep them engaged and accountable for their work.


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28th March 2011

Strategy First Sales To Support Red Cross Japan Relief

Strategy FirstStarting today, March 28th and running until April 11th, Montreal software publisher Strategy First Inc will donate 20% of all titles sales from its online store to the Red Cross in an effort are to help with the Japan Relief Plan. Anyone who purchases one of the other over 300 titles available on the website will directly help the Red Cross provide relief to the victims in Japan.

Some of the available titles featured are, Dangerous Waters, Flat Out Ultimate Carnage, Jagged Alliance, Space Empires, Disciples, Darkness Within 2, TRAINZ, Making History II, Rise of Flight: Iron Cross Edition along with casual titles Cradle of Rome, Air Port Control Simulator and many more.

“For generations Japan has contributed and shaped the Video Game industry. We would like to do our part in giving back to a country and its people who have given us some of the greatest games of all time.” Says Strategy First Director Emanuel Wall, “By offering both Hardcore and Casual games we are hoping that we can offer games for everyone in the family in return for their generous donation.”

With your support the Red Cross can continue to provide life-saving medical care, shelter, supplies and most importantly – hope, to earthquake and tsunami survivors.

Along with Hard Core Strategy, and Casual Games other genres include, Simulation, Arcade Action, Racing, RPG, Adventure, Grand Strategy, and Train Simulator. All titles are available for your donation. The needs are great but you can make a difference. All funds raised will go to support the Red Cross.

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