Our condolences to everyone at Frozen North Games , the latest Canadian studio to shut its doors. I have been criticized in the recent past for having a bias and not covering the news of studio lay-offs and closings. Perhaps its my innate desire to try to focus on the positive events in our industry, or it’s the fact that bad news often travels much faster than good and in the midst of the negative, perhaps by accenting the good things going on we can all move past that “gutted” feeling and find more positive aspects on which to direct our focus and ambitions. It doesn’t mean that the recent closing of Propaganda and the lay-offs at other studios such as EA Canada, United Front Games and others don’t touch me, they do, because I have friends employed at those studios, it just means that I would rather find the news about who is hiring or announcing new projects, so that I can pass that information along to those who have been affected by downturns in the industry. If you know who’s hiring or of upcoming events that would be great for introductions and the passing along of career interests, please let me know  and I’ll get the information out there. Our audience grows with each passing week, and we’re always getting fresh eyes on the site who just may be looking for that next opportunity.
Microsoft  has updated the Windows Phone 7 Developer Training Kit . According to the Developer blog , this update includes a refresh to almost all the labs along with a bug cleanup and the ability for the labs to run on real phone devices as well as the emulator. Two new labs, Accessing Windows Phone 7 Devices and Multi-touch Game Development XNA Framework, have also been added to the Kit. The Using Push Notification lab has also been updated so that it uses the latest Windows Phone Push Notification Library.
Early Bird registration is now open for the second annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference , which will take place this coming April 9th and 10th at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto. Professional writers, producers, directors, and executives will benefit from this gathering of the best creative talent, authors and speakers in writing for screen-based media.
The Toronto Screenwriting Conference offers attendees extraordinary key-note sessions with high-profile show-runners and screenwriters along with breakout sessions lead by international screenwriting academics, book authors and industry execs as well as the opportunity to participate in a level of education and skills development unparalleled by any other screenwriting event.
Confirmed speakers thus far include Christopher Vogler, Pen Densham, Sheldon Bull, Dara Marks, Christine Zander and one writer whom I would really like to meet and hear speak, Kevin Shortt, scriptwriter and story designer at Ubisoft Montreal. The Toronto Screenwriting Conference is sponsored by Meridian Artists  and the National Screen Institute . Early Bird tickets are priced at $279.00 (+HST) and are available until 5pm EST, February 28th.
Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance  executives Claude Martel Ph.D. (chairman) and Jay Bahlis Ph.D. (director) are co-chairing the Distributed Learning conference track at MODSIM World Canada 2011 , being held this June 20th – 22nd in Ottawa.
In the Distributed Learning conference track, the CeLEA will be seeking to present a range of speakers who will describe the training and learning challenges they face, and discuss how they are applying new tools and technologies to meet the challenges in an increasingly digital world. A decade or so ago, computer and web-based learning technologies were limited in their scope and capabilities. Since then we have seen the emergence of social networks and collaboration tools, mobile learning, virtual worlds, Internet television, simulations and games, all enabled by increasingly available bandwidth, computers and mobile devices. Educators and trainers are adopting these solutions to create new, hybrid ways to distribute knowledge, both in the classroom and at a distance.
To that end, the CeLEA directors are seeking proposals for 8 session speakers for the CeLEA track. If you are interested please contact Claude Martel  immediately and request the Speaker package. All proposal must be in by February 21st.
This stream will showcase innovative training solutions and blends that have lead to practical, adaptive and innovative learning environments and resolved specific challenges – including:
* Collaborative learning
* Mobile learning
* Web television
* Serious gaming
* Virtual reality and
* Electronic performance support tools
* Hybrid programs
We urge you to participate, share your expertise and innovative solutions. MODSIM offers a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian innovation in learning technology and network with buyers and colleagues in the educational and training field in North America. MODSIM is also looking for speakers for other tracks, please see the conference web site  for more information.