16th March 2011

All Is Not Quiet On The Digital Front

Canada and JapanMembers of the game development industry have launched a site and Facebook group to help raise much needed aid funds for Japan. The group, called Play For Japan, is looking for gamerobilia (new word, like it?) that can be auctioned off. Please check out the site and the Facebook group and help out if you’re able. You can also find Play For Japan on Twitter.3vis

Upcoming Event: 3Vis and Chaos Group will be holding three product seminars across Canada to give interested digital creators a preview of V-Ray 2.0 for Maya. The presentations will be held in Vancouver on March 29th, Montreal on March 31st and Toronto on April 5th. Pre-register now on the event’s Facebook page.fez

Announced: Trapdoor and Polytron have officially announced their co-publishing deal for Polytron’s upcoming XBLA game FEZ. Late last year Trapdoor announced a publishing deal with EA Partners for stealth action game Warp™, the company’s first console title. Warp premiered alongside FEZ at PAX East this past weekend in Boston.

Canadian Games ConferenceConfirmed: The Canadian Games Conference has announced the first three speaker sessions for the upcoming May conference. Cyrus Greenall from Ubisoft Vancouver will present “Online Everywhere: Effectively Leverage the Competencies of Online & Develop Features that Appeal to a Wide Audience.” Matt Tanner from Snowed In Studios will present “Growing Your Game Studio Using Social Media Marketing” and Export Development Canada, RBC & Big Sandwich Games will present a panel titled “New Business Models-How to Self Fund Development.”

seniors circleNow Live: SeniorsCircle.ca is Canada’s most comprehensive website exclusively servicing the needs of seniors and their families. The site focuses on five primary topics: Health & Well Being, Services for Seniors, Housing Options, Lifestyle for Seniors, and Community & Contests. Each primary topic features a customized and comprehensive online directory of contacts (service providers, associations and government contacts), informative news articles, and related links for further information.

SeniorsCircle.ca communicates and engages with seniors and families through a monthly eNewsletter, business promotions, humour and fun topics and contests. Specialized features such as “Ask the Expert” and an interactive forum (community discussions) engage the users while also increasing the quality of information available. Our vast audience includes anyone 20 to 80+ years old who is seeking information and resources related to seniors. The site is user-friendly and its convenient platform enables any user anywhere to access essential information and resources in one spot that is easy to navigate.

tourism vancouverTourism Vancouver is holding two three-day seminars designed to teach interested parties how to submit conference and event host bids. The seminars are designed educate you on what Vancouver has to offer as a meeting destination, what Tourism Vancouver’s complimentary Be a Host program can do for you, as well as the opportunity to experience our city from a delegate’s point of view. Professional guest speakers will be on hand to give you the most up to date and relevant information that covers bid strategies, international lobbying, raising sponsorship, financial budgets, and many other subjects. please contact Kathy Nicolay at 604-631-2886 for more information.

Future ShopTwo downtown Future Shop stores, one each in Toronto and Vancouver, will be celebrating the release of the Nintendo 3DS with midnight openings later this month. Nintendo Canada is hosting interactive launch parties in Toronto (at Yonge-Dundas Square) and Vancouver (TD Square Granville & Georgia) where customers will be led to downtown Future Shop stores before midnight to be among the first Canadians to own and experience the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo parties start at 6pm local time.

Customers in line at the two stores will have the chance to win $400.00 gift cards, which will more than cover the purchase price of a N-3DS, a game or two and some accessories. The Midnight Launch Event will take place on Saturday March 26th at 11:59pm at these two Future Shop locations:

Gamer Heaven - Nintendo 3DSIn Toronto: 325 Yonge Street
In Vancouver: 798 Granville Street

If you missed our hands-on preview of the Nintendo 3DS, this new mobile gaming device is one of this year’s most exciting gaming technologies. The Nintendo 3DS comes in two colours and offers two screens – one of which requires no glasses to view in 3D, a telescopic stylus pen, motion and gyro sensors to detect motion, and much more. The Nintendo 3DS retails for $249.99, and can be pre-ordered now at Future Shop. Pre-orders also receive a free basic Starter Accessory kit as well. Some of the titles that will be available for the 3DS launch are from Ubisoft and Gameloft, including Asphalt 3D and Combat of Giants 3D. Assassin’s Creed Lost Legacy is scheduled for release on December 31st. A 3D edition of Splinter Cell has also been announced, but no release date has been given.

parta dialogueParta Dialogue Inc., an organization specializing in Social Media and Social Learning for businesses and operators of Edu-Performance Canada Inc., has announced that at its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders held on February 15, 2011, the Shareholders passed a special resolution amending Parta’s Articles to change its name to Parta Dialogue Inc. This rebranding reflects Parta’s newly refined business offerings focused on “online engagement” and “employee engagement” through social media.

Many visionary businesses already employ PARTA’s solutions for internal and external online engagement. Among these are Renault, Orange, Astra Zeneca, Hydro-Québec, Iusacell (Mexico), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Neslté Waters, and Fondaction.

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has finalized an agreement with China’s Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment Company to install 19 D-BOX MFX Seats at one of their prime Hong-Kong location. This transaction marks the first sale of D-BOX MFX Seats in Hong Kong and will generate licensing fees payable to D-BOX in accordance to the systems’ utilization. This installation will add to D-BOX’s presence in Asia as 31 motion systems are already installed at two different sites in Japan, with a further 35 agreements in place across North America and Europe.

“It’s very exciting to further expand in Asia with Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment Company,” declared President and CEO of D-BOX Technologies, Claude Mc Master. “With this breakthrough into a new and promising international marketplace, we look forward experiencing the same success and growth as we have elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, Orange Sky Golden Harvest Company’s vertical integration as a movie producer and their presence in several other Asian regions such as; Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore also represents very interesting growth opportunities for D-BOX. ”

sierra wirelessSierra Wireless has been chosen by next generation patient monitoring company PositiveID Corporation to provide AirPrime™ intelligent embedded modules which will power PositiveID’s iglucose™ mobile health solution for real-time diabetes management. Sierra Wireless will showcase the iglucose solution at its booth (1670) in the upcoming CTIA Wireless event in Orlando, Florida from March 22 to 24.

iglucose uses the power of Sierra Wireless’ AirPrime platform to revolutionize the way individuals with diabetes iglucosemanage their condition. The size of a smart phone and has a rechargeable battery, iglucose can be used anytime and anywhere. Once connected to a data-capable glucometer, iglucose seamlessly communicates data to the iglucose database; blood glucose readings can then be shared in real-time with family members and health care professionals. iglucose completely eliminates the burden of keeping journals and empowers individuals with diabetes to be more engaged in the self-management of their condition.

Sierra Wireless will provide the AirPrime™ Wireless Embedded GSM (global system for mobile communications) module that powers the wireless communication of iglucose. Sierra Wireless AirPrime wireless modules offer a seamless integration of hardware, software and services that significantly simplifies and accelerates the end-to-end development of M2M applications. For solution providers like PositiveID, this helps to reduce development costs and deliver products to market more quickly.

Trend MicroTrend Micro Incorporated and Montreal-based Radialpoint, a Digital Home Services solutions provider for consumer technology brands, have formed an alliance to develop, market and sell new online and data protection services built for service providers around the world.

This alliance will drive business results for service providers in an increasing effort to meet consumer demand for a protected “digital home”. By integrating Trend Micro’s capabilities into Radialpoint’s radialpointend-to-end Digital Home Services Platform, service providers will now have a powerful tool for supporting their customers’ need to manage and protect their devices, connectivity and content.

The first offering, to be named Managed Internet Security, powered by Trend Micro™announced as part of this alliance integrates industry leading Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Maximum Security with Radialpoint’s Digital Home Services Platform. Trend Micro will leverage Radialpoint’s platform to deliver its consumer security offering to the ISP channel, offering unique value and benefits for both service providers and their customers, with Virgin Media already signed up for the new offerings.

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17th February 2011

We Got Our Hands On A Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo CanadaYesterday afternoon Scott and I had the opportunity to visit Nintendo Canada and get some hands-on experience with the new Nintendo 3DS, which will be out in stores on March 27th.  I love my Nintendo DSLite – but I think I love the 3DS more, although the $249.99 price tag may mean some hefty saving-up in order to buy one. Scott tried out Madden Football while I stuck with one of my favourite franchise characters, Link. Those of you who are Zelda fans will not have truly experienced the game until you play it in 3D.  The experience was incredible, and the new analogue pad makes game play so smooth and intuitive. The “plus pad” is still present (it’s hiding under Scott’s thumb in the photo to the right), but the analogue pad is a great addition to the device. Madden-3DS

Along with the analogue pad, the 3DS features three exterior cameras (two facing forward, and one facing the player), a shiny telescopic stylus, SD Slot with 2gb memory card, built-in mic, six AR game cards and a wireless charging cradle. The portable game unit will initially be offered in two colours – aqua blue or cosmic black, and one new feature that many gamers are definitely going to like is that instead of needing a friend code for each individual game, the 3DS has one friend code assigned to the system itself. Nintendo has also improved the internet connectivity of the 3DS, making it more comparable to playing on a console than a portable device. The new 3DS also has the ability to play both MP3 and AAC file formats from the memory card.

The 3DS also comes with an array of pre-loaded software such as Mii Maker – which will create your 3DS Mii from a photo you take of yourself, along with support software for the dual camera as well as for AR games such as Face Raiders – which is a very fun and challenging game requiring you to actually physically move around and shot tennis balls at your floating photo. A bit disconcerting at first, but the AR games are extremely easy to catch on to.  There is also the ability to make use of QR technology, but it is currently only available for Nintendo’s proprietary titles.

Also new to the 3DS are two modes known as Street Pass and Spot Pass. Street Pass is very similar to the Bark Mode seen in games like Nintendogs, whereby if you pass someone on the street who also has a 3DS, your games can engage is a quick battle – even in sleep mode – meaning that when you wake-up your 3DS, you may have won Gamer Heaven - Nintendo 3DS(or lost) a battle against someone else without any effort on your part. This could be a very cool way to earn rewards and items on your account.

If Spot Pass is enabled on your 3DS, whenever you enter an area where you’ve pre-configured a wifi hot-spot, Nintendo will automatically push content to your handheld – so you can easily gain access to new trailers, game content or items. This is a very effortless way to ensure that your titles and accounts are always up-to-date.

One other new feature that I particularly like is the “emergency pause” which lets you easily pause any game by simply tapping any icon on the menu screen. While this is handy for pausing the game, you can actually access the main tasks menu without losing where you are in-game, because the game picks up right where you were when you return to active game play. This does not, however, mean I would actually answer the phone if I were in the middle of a game.

The 3DS also has built-in motion-sensing abilities, a pedometre, an accelerometre and a gyro-sensor, which are used in various game functions such as the Face Raiders game mentioned above. You can also import your Mii from your Wii and alter it in whatever way you wish, but due to the 3D files, you cannot export your Mii from the 3DS to your Wii.

With the ability to set the intensity of the 3D feature, or even turn it off altogether, the 3DS did not drive my eyes buggy at all. My mind took a bit to catch-up to the new game screens, but my eyes had no problems at all with any level of 2D or 3D game play, and with the ability to turn off 3D, I can play all of my DSLite games on the 3DS. Unlike the DSLite, though, the 3DS does not have a slot for GameBoy Advance cards.

By making the 3DS dev kit available to studios earlier than what is normal for a new platform, Nintendo will be able to offer in the neighbourhood of thirty titles during the 3DS launch window, and apparently there will be some new announcements regarding the 3DS coming from Nintendo during E3.

Ubisoft announced its initial 3DS offering of eight titles last month, and included in that list is a new Splinter Cell title.  This game was not on hand to play yesterday, but according to product details, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D will follow Sam Fisher as he is sent behind enemy lines in the Korean Peninsula to prevent World War III. Sam will be sneaking around to find out who was  responsible for sinking the USS Clarence E Walsh, the U.S.’s most advanced cruiser.SplinterCell-3DS

Through his investigation, Sam learns that the key parties who are planning to use the Masse Kernels and launch World War III are war comrade Douglas Shetland, Displace International, and Admiral Otomo, the Third Echelon Information Self Defense Force (I-SDF) contact. His goal will be to infiltrate their lines and expose their deeds before they manage to launch a new and deadly worldwide conflict. The cutting edge hardware of the new Nintendo 3DS allows Splinter Cell fans and all stealth/action addicts to experience an immersive 3D adventure, interacting with the game like never before.

Some of the key features that will be available in Splinter Cell 3D are:

• Immersive 3D Action: Gameplay, Cinematic, Maps, HUD, Menus, Loading screens, and more are all rendered in stereoscopic 3D.
• Optimized Controls: New button mapping with the Slide Pad and Touch Screen gives the player seamless control to equip weapons and gadgets for incredible comfort and reactivity leading to improved skill in mission executions.
• Enhanced Weapons: Sam Fisher is equipped with enhanced weapons and top-notch gadgets to infiltrate the enemy: new fusion goggles, OCP electronic disabling device, wall mine, more add-ons to SC-20K rifle, smoke and gas grenades.
• Infiltration Evolved: Lock is more intuitive than ever thanks to the new Slide Pad that mimics the realism of lock picking. Hacking has also evolved from numeric codes to solving interactive 3D puzzles.

As with the Wii, Nintendo has put some excellent parental controls in place with the 3DS – parents can control the level of 3D viewing available to younger users – or turn it off entirely, requiring a password to enable the 3D option. The parental controls also enable or deny online access as well as Street Pass and Spot Pass – but of course these controls are only as good as the level of understanding of the parents allowing their children to use the device. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – if you are a parent who allows your children to game, then it is your responsibility to understand the features and controls, as well as the game ratings. (note, that last sentence is coming from me, not the Nintendo Corporation or its representatives)

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3rd February 2011

New And Noteworthy

Relic EntertainmentCongratulations to the team at Relic Entertainment for cracking the Top Ten of 2010 sales list on Steam with almost $11 million dollars US with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising, published by THQ, who yesterday announced that they have put the brakes on releasing Company of Heroes Online, citing a “reevaluation of its strategy of adapting certain Western content for free-to-play online games in Asian markets.”Hothead Games

There’s a new installment of the Dr. Mike tutorial video series about dealing with Swarmites. Watch closely and listen carefully as Dr. Mike teaches you how to score with a Swarmite in this upcoming action platformer from Hothead Games.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

For those unfamiliar with the game’s premise, you will take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.Garage Inc

Transgaming Studios has announced that the first update to the recently launched Garage Inc. is now live on the iPhone app store. This update includes Game Centre integration, Achievements and the ability to replay any completed day via a handy calendar. A second update is already in progress, which will include an Endless Day mode, which has been the most requested feature by both the press and gamers. The planned timeframe for the release of the second update is within the next 30 days.

psychicparrot gamesPsychic Parrot Games has released a new title on Kongregate. Built with Unity, MudFire is a 4×4 racing game that you can control with either your keyboard or USB Xbox gamepad. The game features options for setting the graphics and audio to your liking (or your computer’s specs) and starts you off in the 4×4 mudfireWander vehicle. Once you get into the winner’s circle, you can unlock the 4×4 Wander Paws, 4×4 Fire, the green Team Parrot 4×4, the Pink 4×4, Red Leader 4×4 and the Super Pickup 4×4. Recent improvements to MudFire include better in-vehicle cams and better vehicle handling.

Speaking of Unity, the Unity team has announced the continued Unityexpansion of its Asset Store. Announced at Unite 2010, the Unity Asset Store is a digital marketplace where developers can share and sell assets to each other to accelerate their workflows. It’s immediately accessible in the Unity editor under the Window > Asset Store menu so assets are at developers’ fingertips when they most need them.

Over the last two months, the Unity Asset Store catalogue has grown to more than 200 new items including a variety of assets such as free tutorials, open-source libraries, art packs and advanced script libraries. The majority of these assets have been produced by the Unity development community – who individually are bringing in revenues of thousands of dollars each month monetizing their assets. January’s top seller brought in more than $4,000. Top selling assets include:

· Unisky by Six Times Nothing
· GUIKit001 by Blackish
· EZ GUI by AB Software
· Sprite Manager by AB Software
· Shader Fusion by Kurt Loeffler

The Unity Asset Store features free assets that range from sophisticated terrain road and river tools to complete packages with learning materials. A popular release, C# Game Examples by Mark Hergaarden, includes five simple, but essential game examples to learn from and modify. Developers can spend hours programming obstacles to animate, swing, thump, follow paths and generally move around or accomplish the same thing in a matter of minutes with one of the top-downloaded free items, iTween, which brings intuitive and easy-to-use tweening animation to Unity.

“We’re getting great feedback from developers and it’s exciting to see content creators monetizing their assets and making thousands of dollars every month,” said Caitlyn Meeks, Asset Store Content Manager. “Our Asset Store user base has grown to more than 10,000 users in less than three months, and it’s quickly becoming the #1 marketplace of choice for Unity developers.”

Meeks continued, “An exciting growth area of the Asset Store can be found in the Editor Extensions category. The Unity editor is surprisingly extensible with editor classes so that the actual development environment itself can be customised to a degree that one would think only possible with source-level modification, including vehicle wizards, procedural sky systems, UI toolbars and added functionality to the workspace.”

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation has launched a closed beta of Computrace® Mobile for the Android platform. This new solution will deliver asset administration, data protection and geolocation tracking for the popular Android line of devices, which generally includes tablets and smartphones.

Computrace Mobile for the Android platform will deliver:

* Reduced operational costs associated with managing mobile devices by leveraging the Computrace platform’s integrated Customer Center reporting for hardware, software and user information.
* An additional layer of data protection and increased compliance with government data breach laws through remote Data Delete capabilities.
* The ability to geolocate a device and display it on an internet map including current and historical locations (only performed with the prior consent of the device owner on corporate liable devices).

During the beta testing period, some of Absolute’s current commercial customers have privileged, pre-release access to Computrace Mobile for Android at no additional cost. Interested journalists and product reviewers may also request a demonstration of the solution prior to its general availability.

Computrace Mobile is supported on the following platforms: Windows Mobile® 5, 6, 6.1, 6.2, and 6.5 handheld devices; Symbian – S60 Third Edition and later releases; and BlackBerry® Mobile Versions 4.5 and later. Absolute Manage Mobile Device Management allows organizations to manage the Apple® iOS devices (iPad™, iPhone®, iPod touch®) in their deployment.

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28th January 2011

Canadians Like Hippos In Their Digital Media

koboKobo Wireless eReader is now available at Best Buy Canada, both in-store and online. You can pick up the Onyx, Pearlized Lilac or Metallic Silver eReaders for $149.00 each from Best Buy, Chapters-Indigo or Walmart stores across Canada.

Canada 3.0The 2011 Canada 3.0 conference has opened registration for this year’s event, which will take place in Stratford on May 2nd through 5th. The Early Bird rate of $495.00 + taxes and service charge will be available until midnight on March 3th, when ticket prices will go up to $695.00 + taxes and processing charge. There is a StartUp/Small Business/Non-Profit price available for $225.00 + taxes and service charge as well as ticketing options for students. If you register before February 18th you will automatically be entered for a draw to win a copy of MacroWikinomics, personally addressed and signed by author Anthony D. Williams. Please see the Canada 3.0 web site for this year’s confirmed speakers.

bug trackerMonde Media and Bug Tracker have made two personnel announcements this morning – Jean-Robert Michel, Monde Media’s former General Manager has moved into the dual role of Production Director for both Bug-Tracker and Monde Media, while Monde Media’s former COO has become the new Client Relationship Director for both entities.

In other comings and goings, the BC Technology Industry Association announced today that its President, Pascal BCTIASpothelfer will leave the organization June 30th to return to the corporate sector. Spothelfer was appointed President & CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association in November of 2007, and since that time has successfully raised the level of recognition of the organization and BC’s technology industry through his leadership, commitment to collaboration, and tireless advocacy efforts.

“My past three years at the BCTIA have allowed me to get to know our technology community on a very different level. It has been most rewarding both personally and professionally,” said Spothelfer. “I have met and worked with incredibly smart, engaged and inspiring people – experiences that will fuel my passion to assist in the further growth of BC’s technology industry not just until my departure from the BCTIA, but in whatever role I pursue in the future. “

Paul Gorton, Chair of the BCTIA commented, “We will greatly miss having Pascal’s passion and vision. On behalf of the Board, I thank Pascal for his commitment to the BCTIA, and we wish him the utmost success in the future.”

Pascal will continue to lead the BCTIA and work with the board on the leadership transition until his departure at the end of June. A formal search has been initiated by the BCTIA and will be facilitated by Odgers Berndtson. Please contact Caroline Jellinck at 604 602 2556 for more information.

Canadian developers seem to have a thing for hippos – here is some info from three Canadian enterprises which contain “hippo” in their names.

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd has launched the second closed beta for its cartoon-style third person action shooter, MicroVolts. This second phase of testing will continue for approximately two weeks in preparation for the official release day. In addition, the company has released all-new screen shots of the game and is holding a special “Free-for-All” tournament which will kick off Saturday, February 5th. Winning players will be awarded their choice of any weapon they want to use with the launch of the Open Beta. Players who visit the game’s website will be able to learn more about the game and the events as well as register for a beta key.
MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years. No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World. All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!

With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games. Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept.

tiny hipposTiny Hippos, a start-up based in Waterloo, has a product which will be of interest to all of you mobile developers out there. According to its site, this product, which is named Ripple Emulator, is a multi-platform mobile environment emulator that runs in a web browser and is custom-tailored to HTML5 mobile application testing. Ripple aims to reduce the challenges being faced by mobile developers caused by today’s platform fragmentation in the marketplace.

Ripple is built as a Chrome extension, running as part of the Chrome browser and takes advantage of our back-end services to perform some of the more complex operations. It offers the ability to look under the hood of your mobile applications, gaining full visibility into what your it is doing. It also allows for the use of existing tools to perform JavaScript debugging, HTML DOM inspection, automated testing, as well as multiple device and screen resolution emulation in real-time without having to redeploy the mobile application or restart the emulator.

mercury groveMeanwhile, just down the highway a bit from Tiny Hippos is Mercury Grove, an Ottawa-based developer who has an enterprise called Network Hippo, which according to network hippoMercury Grove’s site connects to users’ email, address books, and social networks to consolidate all of their professional contacts, remind them to stay in touch with important people, and makes it easy to connect online or through email. Mercury Grove also offers a service called Web Collaboration, which is an online workspaces for internal teams, partners, and clients. Unlike other team sharing services, Web Collaboration can be setup in minutes and requires no download, installation or administration.

JostleAnother collaboration-style service I stumbled across is Vancouver-developed Jostle. I found this site because the person behind Jostle’s Twitter account retweeted one of my Game Design Expo live tweets. According to the Jostle web site, a People Engagement Platform™ that glues enterprises together. This platform enables innovative companies to clarify their organization, reveal hidden expertise and engage their employees. Jostle is enterprise software that is accessible from any web-enabled device and works like a website, without the need to install software.

blue74Toronto’s Blue74 Labs has released a statement announcing that IIA, the studio’s critically acclaimed real-life massively multiplayer “outdoor” role-playing game sold tens of thousands of memberships in the first 48 hours of its release, making it the fastest-selling ARG game of all time. The IIA Spy Game is being compared to blockbuster hits “The Game”, “Spy Game”, and “Halting State”, a book by Charles Stross.

The IIA (International Intelligence Agency) is a real life multi-player game that gives players a real life, real feel, “off computer” role-playing game. Players don’t know about the actual game play until they are engaged in the game, which was made globally available on January 24th via a small posting on the popular “Ycombinator: Hacker News”, a web site for Internet start-ups. Expectations were less than 100 memberships to be sold the first day, Mike Curry noticed a very heavy load on his web server – realizing the game had gone viral. Registration for the game is $5.00, which interested players send via PayPal.

The company does have an official site for the game, however they are not releasing the information until its members exercise a critical classified mission. It’s believed that the mission entails a Remote Controlled UAV helicopter taking aerial photographs of the building that houses their website. It’s believed they are doing this to antic entertainmentensure the security of the building.

In an article released yesterday on Gamasutra, Nexon America VP of Business Development Won Il Sue spoke with reporter Chris Nutt about the million dollar Nexon iNitiative, during which the publisher asked for game dev submissions from studios around the world. Coming out at the top of heap with signed deals: One2Tribe from Poland, and Ontario studio Antic Entertainment. Nexon did not reveal exactly what type of game the London, ON Antic team is working on, other than to say one of the studios is working on a Facebook game and that both games, while somewhat of an unusual nature for Nexon, will be of the social media genre. In the meantime, check out Antic’s free to play Junk Battles, a teletoon retrobrowser-based free-to-play fast-paced vehicle combat game.

All’s fair in love and war in cartoon-land as TeleToon Retro couples pursue the love of fans and a spot in TeleToon Retro’s Hall of Fame as the Top 5 Sweethearts in honour of Valentine’s Day. Starting today and running until Sunday, February 6, viewers can vote online for their top 5 favourite cartoon love matches, for a place in TeleToon Retro history.

TeleToon Retro has narrowed the field to 18 classic animated admirers and is inviting fans to select which couples are the Top 5 Sweethearts of all-time. The list of nominees for the Top 5 Sweethearts is made up of the following cartoon couples:

  • Smurfette and Hefty Smurf
  • The Baroness and Destro (G.I. Joe)
  • He-Man and Frosta
  • Pepe Le Pew and Penelope cat
  • Fred and Wilma Flintstone
  • Batman and Catwoman
  • Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Alvin and Britney
  • George and Jane Jetson
  • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo
  • Clark Kent and Lois Lane
  • Granny and Tweety
  • Fred and Daphne (Scooby Doo)
  • Optimus Prime and Elita One
  • Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble
  • Josie and Alan M (Josie and the Pussycats)
  • Wonder Woman and Superman (Superfriends)
  • She-Ra and Pirate Sea Hawke

Following the voting period, the Top 5 Sweethearts will be announced on Friday, February 11 and a special programming marathon featuring all five couples will air as part of the “Retro Rewind” programming block on Sunday, February 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. These winners will be inducted into the TeleToon Retro Hall of Fame, joining the Top 5 favourite cartoon characters of all-time as chosen by the fans in December 2010.

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posted in Animation, Associations, Business News, Careers, Digital Products, Events, Everyone 10+, Game Dev, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Peripherals, Shooters, Simulations, Social Media, Software, Studios, Teen, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

7th January 2011

Kobo Expands Educational Offerings

Reminder: Deadline to enter the Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Contest is January 14th.

Reminder: The Call For Papers submission deadline for the Canadian Games Conference is January 25th.

Reminder: The nominations deadline for the Women In Film Vancouver Spotlight Awards is January 31st.

Registration for Grow 2011 is now open. The conference, which will be held in Vancouver on August 17th – 19th, is agrow 2011 technology event designed to bring investors and innovators together under one roof for three days of inspiration. Grow 2011 opens with the invitation-only Idea Exchange Programme and concludes with two days of presentations, discussions and networking opportunities with some of the top entrepreneurs and financiers in today’s technology industries.

CloudCamp is an unconference being held in Waterloo on March 2nd, 2011. It is that here early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchangeCloudCamp Waterloo ideas and share experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

koboKobo has introduced more than 175,000 PDFs geared towards education and self-education for much less than the cost of a textbook. Content is in digital PDF format and is available to download and read through the Kobo Desktop Application, on Kobo eReaders, and for users of Adobe Digital Editions software. Kobo boasts a comprehensive selection of informational PDF content, including:

* Medical texts and dictionaries
* Economics and business manuals
* Technical manuals
* Academic and scientific texts

“Learning happens everywhere. Kobo believes that everyone should have digital access to textbooks, reference works, and academic materials anywhere in the world,” said Michael Tamblyn, EVP Sales & Merchandising for Kobo. “The simplicity of downloading PDFs to an eReader or a laptop allows increased access to educational materials and expanded mobility and reading options. Whether it’s a university text, new and relevant “For Dummies” book, or a Medical dictionary, we are allowing Kobo users in 200 countries access to the latest academic and scientific content.”

Over 2,000 participating publishers have provided titles, including Prentice-Hall, McGraw-Hill, Blackwell, Palgrave, The World Bank, Springer, Financial Times Press, Routledge, and university presses including Cambridge, Yale, Wharton, Harvard Business School, Rutgers and many, many more. Kobo’s most popular PDFs include titles from the business, health and marketing categories, including:

1. “The Art of Business Seduction”
2. “Handbook of Women’s Health”
3. “Social Media Marketing All-in-One for Dummies”
4. “Global Warming for Dim Wits: A Scientist’s Perspective of Climate Change”
5. “Webster’s New World Medical Dictionary”

Kobo continues to focus on open standards and partnering with OEMs and software companies to consistently allow users to read on any device. Kobo customers can compile lifetime libraries as they choose, and read on multiple devices by downloading the free eReading app. Kobo offers an extensive collection of free books, allows users to borrow and read eBooks from their local library and allows eReading of Kobo eBooks on other dedicated eReaders, such as the Sony eReader and Nook.

clickfreeStorage Appliance Corporation, the inventors of Clickfree™ Automatic Backup, the world’s easiest-to-use computer backup products has received funding from Intel Capital, which builds upon a recent venture round of $15 million in August 2010, bringing the total venture capital raised by Storage Appliance Corporation to more than $33 million.

“As the global market for consumer backup continues its explosive growth, we are ideally positioned to meet the backup needs of consumers worldwide with our totally automated products,” said Bryan McLeod, chief executive officer, Storage Appliance Corporation. “Our phenomenal growth of 64,000 percent over the last 5 years and number one position on Deloitte’s Fast 50 Canadian Technology Companies for 2010 demonstrates a huge demand for consumer backup and illustrates the success of Clickfree’s cleverly simple products to date.”

Clickfree’s patented automatic backup solutions provide consumers with an amazingly simple way to backup all of the content on their PCs and Macs. All the customer has to do is to plug a Clickfree device into the computer’s USB port and Clickfree’s smart technology will do the rest, automatically searching for more than 400 file types and backing them up. Clickfree customers do not have to download and install software or answer any questions about their computer settings.

“With the extraordinary growth of data and media, consumers need user friendly technologies to keep digital content safe and available,” said Bryan Wolf, Managing Director, Intel Capital. “Clickfree’s storage solutions combine ease-of-use with the latest storage innovations, helping consumers effortlessly back up digital information.”

This latest round of funding will fuel Clickfree’s continued development of its industry-leading technology as it expands its worldwide presence. Already available in 35 countries and more than 7,000 retail locations, Clickfree offers a variety of innovative backup products designed to meet a wide range of consumer lifestyle needs and budgets. Along with Intel Capital funding, the Intel PC client group and Clickfree are working on business and technical collaboration to further enhance PC backup capabilities.

covarityCovarity, a Waterloo lender solutions provider has announced the availability of their Mobile Lender Dashboard, a smartphone-ready business solution providing banks with a covarity for iphonesecure means to conduct field operations with access to customer and loan reporting data through handheld devices. The solution is ideal for client field examination or account management activities commonly conducted remotely.

“Our goal is to put the power of information in the hands of customer-facing employees to make them more effective at managing their clients at both the individual and portfolio level, no matter where they are” stated Rod Foster, Covarity President and CEO. “We’re extremely excited that the Covarity Mobile Lender Dashboard is the first solution to of its kind in commercial banking.”

Currently supported on popular BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, the Mobile Lender Dashboard provides borrower financial trend reporting, loan review summaries, as well as covarity for ipadborrowing base, ratio and covenant analysis reports. Use of the Mobile Lender Dashboard reduces the use of paper in field work, contributing to a more secure and efficient operation.

With Covarity’s Mobile Lender Dashboard:

* Relationship Managers can now access a borrower’s profile and credit information, such as their available borrowing base during an onsite visit
* Commercial executives will receive early warning alerts via their BlackBerry
* Field Examiners can review inventory and A/R listings

“The need for mobile applications in commercial loan management reflects the importance of field activities in the lending operation,” added Susan Feinberg, a Senior Research Director with TowerGroup. “Providing secure, convenient access to data improves bank staff productivity and has the potential to enrich client interaction. “

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6th January 2011

Business Shorts – What Casual News Is Wearing Today

iConnectivityCalgary-based startup iConnectivity has introduced iConnectMIDI, the high performance way to connect your Apple iOS device (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) to digital musical instruments. Professional and amateur musicians with iConnectMIDI and an iOS device can load up an app and start jamming. Enhance your creativity with this state of the art music interface for computers and handhelds. MIDI Keyboards, guitar controllers, pedals, control surfaces, drum pads, DAWs, iOS devices and computers can now all play together. iConnectivity spent some time presenting to press and media iConnectMIDI at the Startup Debut as a precursor to International CES this week. Press and media at CES had the opportunity to view iConnectMIDI in advance of the trade show – feedback on the device and its capabilities is said to have been very positive.

koboKobo has announced that its open platform pure-play global eReading service has gained access to more than 20 million consumers through securing relationships with over a dozen partners that include tablet and eReader original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), mobile operators and retail outlets. Kobo has attracted key partners including Samsung and RIM with its unique, innovative, strategy of making eReading available on any device from its open, cloud-based platform, and is demonstrating the application at CES on Freescale’s new Smart Application Blueprint for Rapid Engineering (SABRE) for Tablets based on i.MX53 running Android. By including the Kobo eReading App, OEMs have a simple path to meeting customer expectations for a compelling tablet reading experience.

Open standards are essential to giving users the freedom to build and access their lifetime libraries as they chonew koboose, something that Kobo’s partners are aligned with. Kobo’s content is accessible through more than ten platforms including most smartphones, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Android Tablets, PC and Windows Tablets, MAC and Linux. Kobo’s free applications are consistently among consumers’ favorites, regularly a top ten app in the iTunes store for 2010. Throughout 2011, Kobo will introduce support for additional platforms including QNX for the Blackberry Playbook. In addition, Kobo offers the Kobo Wireless eReader to sell through partner channels such as Walmart, BestBuy and Chapters Indigo. The new stylishly designed Kobo Wireless eReader holds up to 1000 eBooks and connects wirelessly to Kobo’s robust library allowing customers to shop on the go.

In 2011, customers will expect eReading to be available on their devices out-of-the-box. With a catalogue of more than 2.2 million eBooks, magazines, newspapers and an open platform, Kobo enables tablet OEMs and mobile operators to easily bring eReading to their customers. Kobo recently launched the Kobo Android app for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which offers a “Readers Hub” powered by Kobo – in addition to reading eBooks with the app, which was designed especially for the Galaxy Tab, users also have access to the entire Kobo book store.

Animated Media IncFinnish-based Rightware Oy, a leader in 3D user interface (UI) technology and Toronto-based Animated Media Inc. (AMI), a technology company focused on creating Adobe Flash-compatible multimedia software products, have announced a partnership that provides their customers with the best of both 3D and 2D UI development and design tools. Rightware’s Kanzi UI Solution provides rapid creation of visually rich 3D UIs with a high performance engine for embedded systems. The Kanzi UI Solution also supports stereoscopic 3D, multi-touch, gestures and physics, and porting to any smart platform that supports OpenGL ES 1.x or 2.0 is an easy and straightforward process. AMI’s VGK Platform with its innovative Flash-enabling technology facilitates rapid prototyping, compact code development and cross-platform support. The integrated solution will empower customers with more choices to create their UIs by giving them a solid path from legacy 2D to true-3D, with options to add in a mixture of Flash animations, videos and audio with 3D objects.

Both companies have extensive experience within embedded markets and understand the need for cross-platform compatibility, hardware optimization and efficient usage of CPU, GPU, and memory resources; the integrated solution meets these requirements. Another benefit of the integrated solution is that it can support a development group’s current workflow between its designers who use Flash and its engineers, enabling seamless transitions and simplifying the development process. The key markets for the integrated solution will be mobile, consumer electronics, and automotive, with a focus on supporting those platforms being adopted widely including Android, MeeGo, and several other Linux variants. Rightware and AMI will be showcasing their solutions at CES and if you want to see demos or hear more about the solutions, contact them to set a meeting time and location.

ciscoCisco has named the winners of the Cisco® Networking Academy® NetRiders Skills Challenge, an interactive contest designed by Cisco to give technical education students the opportunity to showcase their information communications technology (ICT) and networking skills and to recognize excellence among Networking Academy students. More than 1,000 college and university students from across the United States and Canada competed in the competition, which consisted of three rounds culminating Dec. 8, 2010, in a live virtual event.

The NetRiders is an annual competition which uses Cisco Web 2.0 technologies to create an interactive experience, enhance classroom learning, and motivate young people to further pursue technology education and training. Over the past year, more than 10,000 students across 80 countries competed in regional NetRiders competitions, with the U.S. and Canada NetRiders Theater Finale competition involving more than 45 teams representing 42 states and five provinces.

Networking Academy students competed in a variety of activities, including a timed theoretical exam, a Cisco Packet Tracer network simulation activity, and a Cisco Packet Tracer exam. The top 10 winners received prizes, including a grand-prize study trip to Cisco U.S. headquarters in San Jose, Calif., in January 2011, which was awarded to the first- and second-place teams. Other prizes included Flip™ video cameras and Linksys wireless routers.

The U.S. and Canada Theater Winners are:

o 1st Place: Carl Verge and Brian Wilson, Algonquin College (Ontario)
o 2nd Place: Jeremiah Shore and Nathan Buchholz, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (West Virginia)
o 3rd Place: Alandra Oukrop and Kent Savage, Montana State University-Billings (Montana)
o 4th Place: Ryan Stalets and Albert Kennis, University of Illinois-Springfield (Illinois)
o 5th Place: Zachary Lichliter and Donald Block, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Kentucky)
o 6th Place: Michael Lowry and Michael Schanck, New Hampshire Technical Institute-Concord (New Hampshire)
o 7th Place: Michael Antonette and Feng Yang, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Alberta)
o 8th Place: Michael Eckhart and Barry Fedon, Northampton Community College (Pennsylvania)
o 9th Place: Ross Weseloh and Brian Berg, Lake Area Technical Institute (South Dakota)
o 10th Place: Nathan Miller and Stephen Mesik, Youngstown State University (Ohio)

Cisco’s Networking Academy is a global technology education program that develops curricula to provide students with networking and technical skills and prepare them for careers in the 21st century. Committed to providing the highest standard of information technology education to students of all nationalities, genders and economic brackets, the program is designed to offer students real-world skills that will position them for employment and career growth.

winmagicToronto’s WinMagic® Inc. has released SecureDoc v5, the comprehensive full-disk encryption solution that makes it easy and cost effective for organizations to seamlessly integrate data protection with existing security policies to protect sensitive data in any Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)/Vista/XP, Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard/Snow Leopard and/or Linux environment.

SecureDoc v5 features a single integrated enterprise console for policies and profiles which provides support for Microsoft Windows (including Windows 7 64 bit), Mac OS and/or Linux support, OPAL Self-Encrypting Drives (SED), Full-Disk and File Folder Encryption, removable media encryption, portable and secure USB encryption (no additional software installation or administration access rights required) and Intel® Anti-Theft Technology. SecureDoc v5 also provides a multi-language client available in English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

SecureDoc makes easy to centrally-manage self-encrypting drives, including Seagate Drive Trust Momentus hard drives and Opal compliant drives and also makes it simple for organizations to deploy sector-based full-disk encryption, file-and-folder encryption, container encryption and self-extractor encryption. And, in the event that a password is forgotten or the user is unavailable, SecureDoc v5 utilizes centralized escrow and management of encryption keys to ensure critical data can be accessed. SecureDoc v5 also adds full-disk encryption and encryption management to Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT) – a laptop theft deterrence mechanism enabling organizations to issue a “poison pill” to disable stolen laptops whether or not they are connected to the internet – ensuring data cannot be accessed before a laptop is disabled, even if the hard drive is removed and installed on another computer.

SecureDoc v5 enables administrators to create and securely share key files (or encryption policies) as well as link SES profiles with specific users or specific Windows/Mac devices – making it easy to ensure compliance with security policies when sharing data with co-workers, clients and customers. Additionally, SecureDoc v5’s audit functionality enables administrators to track data security down to the individual user or device level and includes enhanced features for Mac OS X users, including Password Synchronization and the OS Picker, which enables access to an external recovery/repair CD/DVD from an encrypted Mac. Please see the product’s website for a full list of features.

PriceMetrixPriceMetrix, a Toronto-based software firm that helps retail wealth management firms and their advisors optimize selling efforts, manage clients, identify growth opportunities, and enhance practice management, announced today the launch of ClientCheck, a state of the art client dashboard for advisors. At the click of a mouse, ClientCheck gives advisors a complete snapshot of each client at the household level. ClientCheck, available exclusively to PriceMetrix ValueOne customers, delivers all the important vitals an advisor needs to know to better service and enhance their client relationships.  Powered by an automated search and proprietary business intelligence engine, ClientCheck:

* Instantly delivers pertinent details for a specific household, including: ranking of the household by assets, revenue, product breadth, asset, and revenue mix, historical trending compared to the rest of the advisor’s book and peer group; and key business metrics (e.g., recurring revenue, total revenue opportunity, and average ticket size).
* Reveals three revenue-generating options to support the advisor’s business and client goals.
* Is accessible through the PriceMetrix advisor Workstation and is designed to be used by advisors and their teams on a daily basis to improve productivity.

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7th December 2010

Flip Video Announces NHL Cameras

Flip VideoOne of hockey’s most iconic phrases – “he shoots, he scores” may soon be replaced by “he shoots, he shares” – as Cisco’s Flip Video™, and the National Hockey League® (NHL) team up to offer 30 uniquely designed NHL team Flip video cameras. In addition, Flip Video will offer Facebook fans a chance to win Flip cameras and a trip to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover. Select NHL.com reporters will also receive NHL-branded Flip video cameras to capture all the hockey action on and off the ice.

Beginning December 7, fans can choose their own official NHL Flip video camera with a custom design from any one of the 30 NHL teams from the U.S. and Canada. A perfect gift for hockey lovers, the new Flip designs are available through the Flip Video online store. The NHL-branded Flips will be offered on all of the latest Flip video cameras Flip Canucksincluding the Flip UltraHD and MinoHD starting at $159, for anytime shoot and share fun.

Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin are among the many celebrities and sports icons featured in the Flip Video 2010 holiday campaign ‘Do You Flip?’

“Flip is the only video camera on the market that consumers can customize and select from thousands of unique designs. Our ability to offer customization has enabled us to team with the NBA and now the NHL, which was a natural extension for our brand,” said Jodi Lipe, director of marketing for Cisco’s Consumer Products. “Whether it’s at the Stanley Cup Final or an afternoon snowball fight with friends, Flip video cameras are a fun and simple way to capture and share videos with friends and family.”

“Hockey fans are in a class of their own when it comes to diehard loyalty,” said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President Integrated Marketing. “Owning a Flip video camera representing their favorite team is a great way for fans to show support and more importantly have fun sharing their passion with fellow hockey fans and friends around the world.”

To help promote the new NHL designs, Flip is hosting a contest called the Flip Video Fan Face-off that will give away one grand prize trip for two to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina, January 30, as well as daily prizes of NHL-custom designed team Flips every day in December. Hockey fans can face-off for these cool prizes starting on December 9, 2010. If Village Gamer had a couple of these Canucks Flip Cameras with the new external mic attachment, we would be all set for filming interviews and game events – easy filming, easy uploading and easy to carry around all the time.

Flip Video is the only video camera line to feature official designs from the NHL and all 30 NHL teams so fans can show their affinity for their favorite NHL team while shooting and sharing video with others at games, parties or events. Flip video cameras make it easy to share video via email, Facebook™, YouTube™, Twitter™ and even on a TV.

ciscoCisco is also equipping the team of 20 NHL.com reporters with their own NHL logo Flip video camera to use as they travel to NHL games around the U.S. and Canada. With their official NHL Flips, the on-the-scene reporters will be able to greatly enhance their coverage by capturing video footage to post to the NHL.com web site.

Agile Web SolutionsToronto-based Agile Web Solutions proudly announces the Windows version of its award-winning password management application, 1Password. 1Password for Windows brings the full suite of secure information management tools from its Mac counterpart to Windows, including form-filling support for all modern browsers.

1Password has been the the top password manager on the Mac for years, featuring highly-secure storage of passwords, login info, secure notes, software licenses and more. Combined with its strong password-generation tools and advanced form-filling capabilities, surfing the web securely is more convenient than ever before. Now, this security and convenience is available to Windows users as well.

Licenses for 1Password for Mac and Windows are sold separately, 1passwordbut a bundle license which covers both operating systems can be purchased at a discount. Using the Dropbox sync capabilities of 1Password, logins and other information can be easily synchronized between both platforms, as well as multiple computers and devices (1Password is also available for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and Android). Now, users can access their secure information wherever they go! Family licenses (5 users) are also available.

As a limited-time introductory offer, customers can save $10 off the purchase of a 1Password for Windows license, or $20 off of a family license. A Single User license of 1Password for Windows is available for US$29.95 (normally $39.95) and a five-user Family License for US$49.95 (normally $69.95).

Users who would like to use 1Password on both Mac and Windows can purchase a bundled license, allowing them to run 1Password on both platforms for only $59.95 for a single user, or $99.95 for a 5-user Family License. A fully-functional, 30-day trial of 1Password may be downloaded for free from Agile Web Solutions’ Downloads page. After 30 days, 1Password will continue to run for free, but will be limited to 20 items.

interacInterac e-Transfer (formerly known as Interac® Email Money Transfer) now provides participating financial institutions with the opportunity to allow customers to send or receive money almost instantaneously with their mobile phone or their desktop, by either using a mobile phone number or an email address. Central 1, in partnership with BC’s Prospera Credit Union, and Teachers Credit Union of Ontario, are the first financial institutions to offer this new functionality.

“We are committed to serving the needs of our financial institution clients by bringing them innovative services to support and grow their businesses,” said Mark O’Connell, President and CEO, Acxsys Corporation and Interac Association. “By expanding Interac e-Transfer into the mobile space, we are giving consumers more flexibility to make person-to-person payments quickly and securely.”

Interac e-Transfer is the new name of Interac Email Money Transfer. With the addition of mobile to the existing online functionality, the new name better reflects the cross-channel capabilities of the service.

Interac e-Transfer is a fast, secure and convenient way to send and receive money in near real time across the country, from one bank account to another through online or mobile banking. Importantly, money never travels by email or text message; this is used only to notify the recipient and to provide the recipient with instructions on how to deposit the money.

The sender’s financial institution and the recipient’s financial institution transfer funds using established and secure banking procedures. Personal or financial information, such as address, phone number and bank account information, is not shared and remains private. Recipients can deposit a funds transfer by clicking on the link contained in the text message or email notification, or the link contained in the notification can be typed into a browser – no matter how the recipient is notified, the individual can deposit the transfer using any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.

“Central 1’s decision to be the first to offer the mobile functionality of Interac e-Transfer speaks to the organization’s commitment to offer innovative payment options to Central 1 members and their clients,” said Mr. O’Connell.

“We are pleased to work with our organizations to provide this innovative mobile payment system that leads the way in the Canadian financial system,” said Oscar van der Meer, Chief Technology Officer at Central 1. “Credit unions are able to move quickly to introduce enhanced developments like Interac e-Transfer.”

Support for notifying recipients via text message and adding recipient mobile phone information is optional for each participating financial institution. More information about the Interac e-Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found online.

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute Software has announced that its SaaS computer tracking solution Computrace® now includes Remote File Retrieval. With this new data leakage prevention (DLP) feature, IT administrators can use the Computrace cloud to identify and retrieve sensitive company files that are exposed on end point devices. This can be done proactively to mitigate the risk of data loss, or as an emergency response action on missing or stolen devices prior to remotely wiping the hard drive for complete corporate data security.

In addition to being an exciting new security feature in Computrace, the Remote File Retrieval (RFR) feature can be an essential productivity tool. For example, a travelling executive works on a confidential PowerPoint presentation on the plane, but leaves her laptop in a cab on the way to her hotel. Once notified, IT may be able to remotely retrieve the lost file and send it to the executive in time for her partner meetings.

The Remote File Retrieval feature can be easily initiated by Computrace customers 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week via their online Customer Center portal. Once a file is selected for remote retrieval, the file is unobtrusively downloaded to the secure Absolute Monitoring Center where it can be accessed by authorized staff. The Remote File Retrieval feature of Computrace is now live in existing customers’ Customer Center accounts at no additional cost.

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18th November 2010

Play Coming To Vancouver Next Month

Play!Jason Michael Paul Productions, Inc. has announced that PLAY! a symphony concert world tour with music from a catalogue of blockbuster video game titles will be making a stop in Vancouver for a special concert on Monday, December 6th at 8:00 pm at the Orpheum with the Vancouver Symphony and Chorus.

As a special treat for fans prolific composer Jeremy Soule (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Guild Wars, Prey and Company of Heroes) will be in attendance along with Oleksa Lozowchuk (Dead Rising 2), Michael Curran and Geoff Knorr (Civilization 5). All will be signing items after the show as part of special meet and greet.

Music and visuals from Civilization 5 will be premiered as part of this concert. In cooperation with 2K Games and Firaxis, there will be a drawing to give away 10 copies of Civilization 5, and a limited number of free Civilization 5 soundtracks will be available for those who attend the meet & greet. Tickets are priced from $29.00 – $68.00 plus fees and taxes.

Canadian Youth Business FoundationIn conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Canada, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), Canada’s entrepreneur gateway and official host of GEW Canada, is pleased to announce the opening of a new regional office in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The opening is a momentous occasion for the organization, which has worked diligently to foster youth entrepreneurship from coast to coast to coast since its inception in 1996.

The office, located at 230-3025 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg’s St. James neighbourhood, provides an environment for young entrepreneurs to learn about CYBF’s start-up financing, pre-launch coaching, mentorship and online resources. The new location also features access to mobile workstations, additional business resources and complimentary wireless internet access.

“The growing interest in entrepreneurial careers combined with the desire to ‘come home’ to Manitoba creates significant opportunities for CYBF to begin to reverse the historic outward migration and cultivate future business leaders within the province,” says Joelle Foster, director of Manitoba, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, CYBF. “CYBF looks forward to working with young entrepreneurs and helping to turn their fresh ideas into a reality.”

The expansion of CYBF into Manitoba comes at a pivotal time in Canada’s economic recovery. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, more Canadians living in the regions most affected by the crisis, including Manitoba, have stated their intentions to start a business. Currently, there are 90,000 self-employed entrepreneurs in the province, a number that has risen nearly 70 per cent over the last three decades. CYBF aims to further encourage this persuasion towards entrepreneurship and provide the necessary supports for success. One such program is the CYBF Newcomer Entrepreneur Program, which offers flexible loan assessments and a hand-matched mentor to provide new Canadians with insight into running a business in Canada.

Cineplex Entertainment today announced movies can now be digitally downloaded into your home with Download To Own (DTO) and Video on Demand (VoD) service from the Cineplex Store. New releases will be available for digital download on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. This new service complements the DVD and Blu-ray products already available for purchase at the Cineplex Store. Customers will now have the option to easily and seamlessly select whichever option best suits their movie-watching needs. Effective today, digital downloads purchased from Cineplex.com can be played on your PC or other compatible devices.

To celebrate the launch of the download service, Cineplex Entertainment is offering a buy one get one free promotion until December 31, 2010 where customers who purchase any regularly-priced DTO movie will receive a second movie of equal or lesser value free. Some restrictions apply so visit Cineplex.com for full promotional details.

DTO and VoD purchases made from the Cineplex Store can be stored either on a customer’s hard drive or in a digital locker contained within the Cineplex Player that customers will download when they make their first digital download purchase. The locker enables purchasers to store their movie safely and securely without depleting space on their device’s hard drive while still allowing unlimited future downloads of DTO titles. The Cineplex Player and digital locker technology are powered by RoxioNow™ from Sonic Solutions®.

Today’s launch is the first of a multiphase rollout, with several key features planned for a 2011 update. Cineplex.com will feature streaming High Definition content for DTO and VoD titles and, once available, the ability to store content in a cloud-based UltraViolet™ account. UltraViolet™ is a digital rights locker and account management system that will allow consumers to watch their digital entertainment across multiple platforms, such as connected TVs, PCs, game consoles, smartphones and tablet PCs, in an easy, consistent way.

Poynt Corporation has announced that their Poynt Local Search app is available for poyntWindows Phone 7 in the United Kingdom. Poynt harnesses the power of multiple applications in one intuitive package. Users can view search results, call businesses, and get driving directions, as well as view restaurant information, make dinner reservations, and view local weather forecasts. Poynt’s integrated weather screen allows users to view real-time weather conditions. The movie section provides showtimes, trailers and features movie ratings. Poynt for Windows Phone 7 also features movie ratings.

Poynt is a free application that connects Windows Phone 7 users to business, movie, retailer, restaurant, and local weather information. The App integrates with the device using click-to-call, click-to-browse, map location and email results to friend in addition to including some of the unique features of the device including the pivot feature to facilitate toggling between different features and screens.

“As the company continues to grow and build momentum, adding Windows Phone 7 to the variety of platforms Poynt is already available on in the United Kingdom extends our local search solution to even more consumers in the region,” said Andrew Osis, CEO, Poynt Corp. “Windows Phone 7 is poised to be a successful platform worldwide and we are extremely excited to be among the early developers.”

Radiant CommunicationsRadiant Communications Corp. today announced the opening of its cloud datacenter located at 151 Front Street in Toronto, expanding the company’s cloud computing infrastructure to two facilities. Radiant’s other facility is located in Vancouver. Together, the two datacenters provide one of the widest cloud computing footprints in the country.

“The availability of Radiant’s AlwaysThere Enterprise Cloud platform in Toronto gives companies greater geographic options when selecting their cloud or managed hosting partner,” said Radiant’s President and CEO, David Buffett. “Located at a central downtown address, the Toronto facility provides companies situated near the datacenter with the added advantage of geographic proximity and high end-user performance.

“The central location of our facility in downtown Toronto minimizes network latency for Toronto based customers and provides a disaster recovery location for our Vancouver based clients,” said Buffett.

When a company selects a cloud hosting provider, the services are typically delivered from a single datacenter, making the customer vulnerable to disaster based outages in that area.

Radiant has two datacenters situated in Western and Eastern Canada, which allows customers to select the datacenter nearest their offices, providing the best end user experience possible while also taking advantage of Radiant’s disaster recovery services hosted in the other datacenter.

Another competitive advantage of Radiant’s AlwaysThere cloud infrastructure is that it is based in Canada and not subject to the U.S. Patriot Act. Under the provisions of this legislation, American authorities can access and collect companies’ data without their knowledge or consent.

“Some Canadian businesses want assurance that their data will remain under the jurisdiction of Canadian privacy laws,” said Buffett. “They are more comfortable knowing their data is kept here, always under the control of a Canadian corporation.”

Radiant’s infrastructure reflects this focus on privacy. “Our approach is quite unique in Canada in that we bundle cloud services with high-speed business Internet and private networking security products to create a hosted ‘private cloud’ with security and user experiences comparable to any internal IT infrastructure,” said Buffett.

AlwaysThere cloud-based solutions are flexible, reliable and affordable. Radiant’s AlwaysThere products are sold on a pay-as-you-use pricing model. Virtual servers are available from $149 per month and the company’s flagship Hosted Microsoft Exchange service is available for between $4.95 and $14.95 per user, per month. Radiant’s AlwaysThere services are sold by a direct sales force to midsize businesses in Canada and through partner programs with IT service vendors across the country.

Bell today announced it has begun to double HSPA+ network speeds to a maximum of 42 Bell CanadaMegabits per second (42 Mbps), and will introduce initial commercial service in Toronto with the launch of the Novatel Wireless U547 Turbo Stick – the first 42 Mbps product available in North America – on November 23.Novatel Wireless U547 Turbo Stick

“Canada’s Best Network just got better. By implementing HSPA+ Dual Cell technology, Bell Mobility offers clients the ability to access the Internet and other data services at what we believe are the fastest mobile data speeds commercially available from any wireless carrier in North America,” said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility & Residential Services, and Bell’s Chief Brand Officer. “Bell is leading the way in Canadian wireless investment and innovation, enabling the mobile ecosystem that supports the development of new apps and data services by Canadian developers for mobile users here and abroad.”

HSPA+ Dual Cell technology combines two wireless 21 Mbps data carriers through multiplexing techniques at individual HSPA+ cell sites, increasing top-end data speeds from 21 Mbps to 42 Mbps for compatible products. Bell will continue enhancing HSPA+ network with Dual Cell technology to serve more Canadian cities and towns through 2011.

Coordinated through Bell Development Labs, this HSPA+ Dual Cell network enhancement leveraged the technical expertise of chipset, radio and core network infrastructure manufacturers and suppliers, including Huawei, Novatel Wireless and Qualcomm. Already providing speeds up to 21 Mbps to consumer and business clients, Bell Mobility’s HSPA+ network provides a robust platform on which developers continue to deliver a wide range of innovative business, entertainment and productivity applications.

Bell introduced broadband HSPA+ service in November 2009, bringing high-speed wireless service to 93% of the Canadian population in rural and remote locations, small towns and major urban centres across the country. The new network has supported the development of industry-leading data services such as Bell Mobile TV and rapid wireless growth at Bell, including a 39% increase in mobile data revenue and a 74% increase in the company’s base of smartphone users year over year.

The first product able to take advantage of 42 Mbps Dual Cell technology is the U547 Turbo Stick from Novatel Wireless, available at Bell retail locations, including The Source, in Toronto next Tuesday November 23. When paired with a laptop or netbook. Novatel Wireless’ latest Turbo Stick will allow Bell Mobility clients to experience mobile access speeds never before available for the fastest mobile Internet access, business applications, video streaming, gaming and much more.

Bell will also introduce new speed-based pricing with the launch of these Dual Cell compatible devices. A $10 add-on feature will be available on all Mobile Internet pricing plans to allow Bell clients to take advantage of speeds up to 42 Mbps. The pricing model aligns with the approach for fixed broadband services, which ensures clients benefit from the value associated with the highest access speeds available.

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12th November 2010

D-Box Expands To Casinos While Kobo Invites Readers To Stack and Win

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has signed a multi-year development and sales agreement with US-based WMS Industries Inc., a leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of games and gaming machines to the global gaming industry. Under the terms of this agreement, D-BOX’s realistic motion technology will be incorporated into future WMS products that will enable casino players to hear, see and feel their gaming experience. This agreement provides WMS with the capability to maintain exclusive rights to D-BOX’s motion technology for casino gaming applications subject to the achievement of specific performance thresholds.

“We are very pleased with this multi-year agreement with WMS Industries and D-BOX’s breakthrough into the casino gaming segment.” declared Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies. “Over the years, WMS has built a distinctive culture of innovation which aligns perfectly with D-BOX’s own vision. This agreement also fits in very well with our strategy to expand outside our core segment of commercial theatre applications to other markets, allowing us to accelerate our growth based on the strengths and networks of quality business partners.”

Commenting on behalf of WMS Industries, Larry Pacey, Executive Vice President – Global Products and Chief Innovation Officer of WMS, added: “As part of our ongoing player-driven focus, our creative teams continuously seek new and advanced technologies that will enable us to set new standards for innovation and gaming excitement. D-BOX Technologies has demonstrated innovative leadership in developing and utilizing motion technology, and this agreement will expand our range of capabilities. We see D-BOX as a key collaborator in the future in establishing new entertainment experiences, and we look forward to building a strong relationship with them.”

koboKobo, a global digital reading service, today announced a contest in which all Kobo customers, with the purchase of an eBook, are eligible to win one of many exciting prizes – including the grand prize: a one week stay at a Fairmont Hotels Caribbean Resort. The “Kobo Stack and Win” contest, ending November 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET, makes shoppers eligible for a prizing category based on the number of eBooks they purchase.

“We are very excited to be able to offer really great prizes to Kobo customers right before the holiday season,” said Liz Ridout, V.P. Marketing and Communications at Kobo. “People can treat themselves to great new reads and be entered to win one of many fantastic prizes to make their holidays even more enjoyable.”

Separate prize drawings will take place after the conclusion of the contest on November 20, 2010. All eligible shoppers during the contest period will be automatically entered into different prize drawings based on the number of eBooks purchased throughout the contest.

The prize draw categories are as follows:

* 1 eBook = an Apple TV
* 2 eBooks = Kobo Wireless eReader
* 3 eBooks = Wayspa gift card
* 4 eBooks = Apple iPad
* 5 eBooks = Microsoft Kinect Xbox 360 Package

PLUS – all shoppers who buy eBooks during the prize window will automatically be entered into the grand prize draw for a week’s stay at a Fairmont Hotels Caribbean Resort – in addition to being entered into the draw for the prizes outlined above.

Kobo offers over 2.2 million eBooks, from New York Times best sellers, the hottest new releases, romance, suspense, and more. Consumers can try eReading for free by selecting from hundreds of thousands of free titles, ranging from 18th century romance novels to thrillers, to the most famous literary masterpieces. With Kobo, users can read across a selection of popular devices ranging from smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops by downloading the free Kobo reading app, or read on the Kobo Wireless eReader – in addition to other eReaders. Reading is seamless across devices, as users can pick up on the last page they were reading with Kobo Sync.

Kobo also offers a selection of the most popular newspapers and magazines, delivered automatically to the Kobo Wireless eReader as well as the Kobo iPhone and iPad reading apps. With Kobo eReading is easy.

Roaring PenguinIn response to Red Hat’s announcement of the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL 6) Roaring Penguin Software Inc., makers of the acclaimed CanIt line of anti-spam solutions, today announced the availability of packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 on Intel i386 and x86_64 for CanIt-PRO and CanIt-Domain-PRO.

RHEL 6 features a completely updated core and a newer Kernel. Also included are support for virtualization and next generation networking (including comprehensive IPv6 support). We expect that Roaring Penguin’s core customer set will take advantage of Virtualization and IPv6 support features.

Roaring Penguin Software offers three anti-spam solutions. CanIt-PRO is available as a software solution or as an on-premises “soft-appliance” for the client’s site; CanIt-Domain-PRO is a centralized spam filter for the solution provider who provides anti-spam to multiple clients from their Data Center; and Hosted CanIt, a completely outsourced anti-spam service hosted by Roaring Penguin. Hosted CanIt is not affected by the release of RHEL 6.

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10th November 2010

Nintendo Files Trademark Application

source studioSource Studio is holding a little code hunt contest on their site this week. Galactic Treasure Hunt will give site visitors a to win a free copy of their action title, ProtoGalaxy. Sometime on Friday, November 12, a special code will be hidden somewhere on the Source Studio web site. The first person to find the code and e-mail it to the address provided on the site will win a free copy of ProtoGalaxy, which was launched on Steam in October.

Nintendo CanadaNews out of the Nintendo Canada office today is that in honour of the upcoming Nov. 21 launch of Donkey Kong Country™ Returns for the Wii™ console, Nintendo has filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the pop-culture phrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” For those unfamiliar with the term, “It’s on like Donkey Kong” is an old, popular Nintendo phrase that has a number of possible interpretations depending on how it’s used. In addition to Nintendo’s use, it has been Donkey Kong Country Returnsused in popular music, television and film over the years, pointing to Donkey Kong’s status as an enduring pop-culture icon and video game superstar.

Donkey Kong™ is one of the oldest and most recognizable video game characters. He has been a pop-culture icon since the launch of his 1981 self-titled arcade game. Donkey Kong again rose to prominence in the 1994 Super NES™ game Donkey Kong Country – one of the games which I used to introduce the CaveChild to the world of video games oh so long ago. DK’s new game, Donkey Kong Country Returns, marks his triumphant return in a new side-scrolling adventure with new challenges amid a beautiful setting. The game features the first simultaneous cooperative game-play mode for the series, with one player controlling Donkey Kong and the other controlling his agile pal, Diddy Kong™. And yes, we have this title on pre-order at our local-ish EB Games outlet.

Nintendo Canada has a full line-up of holiday titles perfect for giving this season for everyone from the classic gamer looking for nostalgic appeal, social gamers looking for a little friendly competition or adventure seekers looking to explore new worlds Nintendo is sure they will have something for you this holiday season.

Rusty Axe GamesBC-based Rusty Axe Games has partnered with UK developer Rigzsoft to create a new value package called The Game Designers Toolkit. TGDT combines The Timeline FX Editor which is a great particle effects creation tool and Dungeon Demon which is a dungeon editing tool for both computer and RPG game designers. TGDT is available for the low price of $49.99 – that’s about $30 off the combined price of both packages!

Dungeon Demon comes with roughly 200 pieces of artwork that you can use in your games royalty free, and there are more low cost art packs available from the Rusty Axe website. Timeline FX comes with a ton of canned particle effects that can be written out directly as bitmaps or imported into games using the tools XML output format. The Dungeon Demon 1.1 release roadmap is now available – Dungeon Demon is sold with a free updates forever policy, and if you are working on a top down 2D game of any kind, you should really take a look as the canned effects and prepackaged artwork alone are going to save you money.

Rogers WirelessRogers Communications Inc. today announced it is bringing another of those new digital products that I wish I could afford to the Canadian wireless market. The Dell Streak mobile pocket tablet features a 5-inch display that combines touch screen entertainment, gaming and navigation experiences.

According to recent data by Juniper Research (Tablets & Connected Devices, Opportunities, Strategies & Forecast Scenarios 2010-2015, Juniper Research, 01/11/2010), annual shipments of tablet devices will hit 81 million by 2015. With built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth capability and available 3G wireless connectivity, the Dell Streak, while the smallest tablet available in Canada, makes no compromise in delivering a high quality viewing experience. Leveraging the strength of Rogers’ 3G reliable wireless network and joining Rogers’ high definition device lineup for gaming, photos and entertainment, the Dell Streak’s high resolution 5 MP camera and 5-inch multi-touch high quality WVGA display enables full-size web page browsing and integrated Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, street and satellite views.
Dell Streak
“The tablet category is changing the way people interact, transact and stay entertained,” says Raj Doshi, Vice President, Mobile Product Management, Rogers Communications Inc. “The Dell Streak represents an innovative offering, giving customers the next-generation experience of a tablet with the portability and connectivity of a smartphone. Rogers is pleased be first to bring the Dell Streak to our customers and further extend our leadership as the carrier with the most Android choices in Canada.”

Designed with the future in mind, the Dell Streak will support over-the-air updates including Android platform upgrades, Adobe Flash 10.1, video chat applications enhancements and other software innovations.

“The Dell Streak does something no other tablet does – it delivers your whole world on a 5-inch screen that easily fits in your pocket. Its unique size will help Rogers’ customers discover new ways to enjoy the web, connect with friends, and navigate their lives..” – Michael Tatelman, Dell vice president and general manager, Dell consumer sales and marketing.

The Dell Streak is available today exclusively through Rogers for $149.99 on any three year voice and data plan, backed by Rogers’ exclusive Handset Protection Guarantee Program in the event a customer’s device becomes lost, stolen or broken.

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