Happy Social Media Day, Canada – a good warm-up for tomorrow’s National birthday celebrations. Speaking of Canada Day, don’t forget that if you’re in Vancouver, there will be an abundance of  activities happening at Canada Place on July 1st. If you haven’t tried Ubisoft Vancouver’s latest soccer title, Pure Football , stop by the the BC Soccer event area at Canada Place and give it a go. In celebration of Canada Day and the World Cup, we will be giving away a copy of Pure Football tomorrow, courtesy of Ubisoft Vancouver. Check back tomorrow for the details on this giveaway.
Advance tickets for our local SIGGRAPH chapter’s Spark Animation  conference go on sale tomorrow. There isn’t very much information available yet, but word at last night’s Making of ModNation Racers event was that there will be Early Bird prices available, so check the site tomorrow for more details.
Starting today, the National Film Board of Canada  (NFB) has its own iPad app, available free of charge at the iTunes Store or at the NFB’s download page. One of the first Canadian film apps for the iPad, the NFB app allows users to enjoy over 1,000 NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers, streamed over Wi-Fi and 3G wireless networks. It includes a selection of films in 3-D and stunning high definition. Users will also be able to download and store a film for up to 48 hours, for off-line viewing.
The app has the same features as the NFB’s iPhone app but has been optimized to take advantage of the inherent qualities of the iPad:
• Watch over 1,000 free movies
• Access a kids’ channel with fun and educational content for children
• Store films for up to 48 hours for off-line viewing
• Browse films by channel/category
• Search for films by title
• Bookmark your favourite films
• Browse related content while viewing a film thanks to split-screen technology
The NFB’s iPad application builds on the success of its popular iPhone app, launched last fall. The NFB’s iPhone app was selected as one of the best apps of 2009 by iTunes Canada and named Best Use of Content in 2009 by TheAppleBlog. Since its launch in October 2009, the NFB’s iPhone app has been downloaded more than 235,000 times, with 821,000 film views, as of June 1, 2010. 
Fans of Dragon Age: Origins  will be pleased to know that Issue 2 of the Dragon Age comic book series from IDW has been released and is now on store shelves. You can get an inside look over at Issuu’s web site .
CTV  announced today that the Gemini Award-winning series FlashPoint  will present a special Season 3 sneak peek episode on Friday, July 16 at 10 p.m. on CTV. A quick-hit teaser of a third season locked and loaded with hard-hitting storylines, painful decisions, and Team One’s toughest adversaries yet, the mid-summer primer is a can’t miss target for FlashPoint fans. Earlier this month CTV announced the pick-up of a fourth season which will begin production in Toronto for the 2010/2011 season. Following its television broadcast, the Season 3 sneak peek will be available on demand on the CTV Video Player  at CTV.ca .
In the Season 3 sneak peek, entitled “Unconditional Love” (July 16), Team One must resolve a standoff at a seedy motel with a fugitive whose shot two police officers and taken a teenager, Paul Wilder (Devon Bostick, BEING ERICA), hostage. At first, Paul seems like a good kid in a bad situation, but as the team digs deeper it uncovers chilling secrets that reveal Paul is far from innocent. What began as a standoff ends as a desperate chase through the city’s sewer system, and it’s up to Parker (Enrico Colantoni) to stop Paul from making a mistake that will change him forever. Meanwhile, Ed (Hugh Dillon) discovers that his cop brother Roy (Colin Cunningham, Da Vinci’s Inquest) might have been responsible for one of the officers getting shot… and that his wife is, unexpectedly, expecting.
Also launching on Friday, July 16 is FlashPoint: Training Day , an interactive, online simulation game that gives FlashPoint fans the chance to become virtual members of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Adopting the role of a rookie recruit, website visitors enter FlashPoint: Training Day and explore SRU training with tactical and strategic training modules, including real time negotiations with a hostage taker. FlashPoint: Training Day uses actors from the show to create a realistic training environment, bringing players inside the SRU. Players undertake a recruitment test and training modules and eventually the final tests to see if they have what it takes to become an SRU officer.
Starbucks Canada  will turn on free Wi-Fi with one click on July 1 as a part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing the customer experience. Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, tablets and mobile phones will have unlimited Internet access to surf the Web, connect with social networks, search for jobs or work at their neighborhood Starbucks. Most recently, the free Wi-Fi benefit was limited to two hours a day and only available to members of the My Starbucks Rewards program. The new, unlimited Wi-Fi offering features a one-click entry point, so a username or password will not be required. more than 750 company-operated Canadian stores will now have free Wi-Fi. Bell is the Wi-Fi provider in Canada and has worked with Starbucks since 2005.
Congratulations to Vancouver’s Mingleverse Laboratories , recipient of the “Most Innovative use of 4G WiMAX in a Mobile Broadband Application” Award by the Stanford Centre for Professional Development. Andy DiPaolo, Senior Associate Dean, School of Engineering, Stanford University, authorized the presentation of the Stanford certificate to Mingelverse. Mingleverse was selected from a field of highly select finalists consisting of private industry, startups, and university applications.
Robert Katayama, manager for this Stanford event stated, “Mingleverse has demonstrated an application that really shows why next-generation mobile networks are so exciting. Their application showcases the richness of voice, video and digital media interaction and collaboration that is possible when you have true broadband on mobile devices.”
“Mingleverse virtual telepresence could be the ‘killer app’ for 4G Mobile. The ability to connect 2 to 50 people instantly to talk live while sharing media live in a fun, life-like, 2D or 3D virtual room is a real breakthrough for socially networked youth to mingle between countries,” said Ron Stevens CEO and Co-Founder of Mingleverse. “The raw speed, low-latency and throughput of 4G allows Mingleverse’s rich media sharing and scalable 3D voice technology to really perform”, Stevens said. “Tens of thousands of people from 191 countries have already experienced Mingling but to have all this on a mobile platform is a real game changer.”
Mingleverse has deployed a beta version of its service to Windows PCs and Macs and this week has successfully demonstrated its service on Android. Android, iPad and iPhone 4 versions of Mingleverse are under development and will soon be available for release later this summer. Users can access Mingleverse directly through mingleverse.com or via the recently-launched Facebook Application .
Mingleverse, a member and participant of the Clear 4G WiMAX Innovation Network, used the Innovation Network in the beta demonstration of its award-winning product. “It was great to have Mingleverse demonstrate its award winning application on our 4G WiMAX Innovation network,” said Todd Lewellen, Director, Developer Program for Clearwire. “Combining the speed and power of true mobile broadband, Mingleverse has clearly demonstrated the advantages of application development on a 4G network.”
“With so much communication migrating towards social networks, Mingleverse is well positioned to be the tool that people use to share their pictures, video, media, and lives with their friends and families in real-time virtual get-togethers”, said Derek Kerton, Chairman, Telecom Council of Silicon Valley.
“Congratulations to Mingleverse for their accomplishment at the Stanford University 4G WiMax symposium,” said Kevin McGinnis, Director of Product Management and Development for Sprint. “Sprint is thrilled to see developers taking advantage of the capabilities of the Sprint 4G network to create innovative and useful apps for both consumers and business users.”
The Amber Alert GPS Global Monitoring System  has now been launched from coast to coast across Canada and is powered by the Rogers Wireless™ Network . The corporate objective is clearly focused and direct in providing Canadian families easy to use GPS monitoring and security for the safety of their children and other vulnerable family members. In brief, this new system provides a child safety blanket across Canada for families to access, tailor to their needs, and easily manage from both their computer and or their cell phone.
The Amber Alert GPS 2G device incorporates state-of-the-art next generation GPS and Cellular communications technology. Currently one of the worlds smallest GPS device one of the many features include an SOS button, which the user can press in the event of an emergency. Once activated the device sends a text message to the parent or care-giver along with up to 5 pre-determined family members with a map location for immediate response. The system will continue to send messages every five minutes with an updated location of the child until the parent or caregiver cancels it. The system is developed for parents of children between the ages of 2 and 12, families caring for children suffering from Autism, and also for the care of elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s.
“The world has changed, no longer can we assume that our loved ones are safe at all times” said MobileLBS  President, Keith Pitts. “The Amber Alert GPS System gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind and comfort that they are doing everything they can to insure their loved ones safety. The Amber Alert is easy to set up and use. It incorporated advanced features such as geo-fencing and destination alerts to maximize parental awareness.”
“MobileLBS  will provide us with a much needed direct sales and support presence in the Greater Toronto Area” said Amber Alert GPS Canada President Kenneth Corey. “Keith and his team are knowledgeable industry experts with over ten years’ experience with GPS based solutions. We are pleased to have them represent Amber Alert GPS in Canada”.
Tech company growth in Waterloo Region has burgeoned over the past two years, with a 21 percent increase reported in the recently published 2010 edition of the Waterloo Region Tech Directory and State of the Industry report. Full release of the 2010 Tech Directory will coincide with the Communitech 2010 Tech Leadership Conference  slated for Wednesday, July 14 in Waterloo Region.
“We’re pleased to see this proof point of growth in the technology sector in Waterloo Region, especially in a time when many other opportunities contracted due to economic challenges,” said Iain Klugman, president and CEO of Communitech , the organization that commissions the annual State of the Industry report. “One of the key drivers for this is digital media, which for the first time is mentioned in the report and which, along with Information, Communication and Technology, and software companies, now comprises 50 percent of the high-tech companies.”
The study, based on a survey and an inventory of technology firms in Waterloo Region and area in January and February this year, says that the number of tech companies in the region has now hit 700 compared to 550 in 2008. Total invested venture capital in Waterloo Region tech companies exceeds $300 million, and tech firms account for $18 billion in annual revenues. It’s the first time that digital media has been mentioned in the report.
“The rise of interest and investment in the digital media sector reflects the emphasis being placed on this sector by the Canadian Digital Media Network along with increased focus from government and business,” said Klugman. “It’s great timing for this groundswell of support since we are currently attracting tenants to the Communitech Hub hosting digital media start-up companies.”
Other key findings in the study include:
– Majority of regional tech firms are small to medium enterprises with 51 percent having between 1 and 5 employees;
– Waterloo Region boasts 25 publicly-traded tech companies,10 of which have headquarters elsewhere;
– Four of the five top 50 Canadian merger and acquisition deals were with Waterloo Region-based companies.
The Waterloo Region continues to have 2,000 tech job openings and currently has 30,000 people employed in tech companies. Advance copies of the Waterloo Region 2010 Tech Directory are available at the Communitech offices in the Accelerator Centre, and will be available in full at the Tech Leadership Conference.