19th April 2011

Science Fair Fun Run Call For Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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19th April 2011

iRok2 Introduces Next Generation Music Game With Playbook Debut

iRok2 mediaKelowna-based iRok2 Media Inc. has announced the Playbook App release of its iRok2 Online social music game. iRok2 for BlackBerry PlayBook, a free app available on BlackBerry App World, provides users with a new rhythm music game customized and synchronized to a YouTube music video every day.  As well, it serves as a gateway to the infinite choice of iRok2 Online – essentially all the world’s music, more than 16 million tracks.  The game is quickly gathering user acceptance, already logging over a quarter million play sessions with users from North America, Asia and Europe.  iRok2 is accessible from anywhere – home, office or remote connection and can be played through a computer keyboard or by plugging a Guitar Hero or Rock Band guitar into your computer. Online play is free as well.

iRok2 CEO, Dr. Robert Arn, commented on the PlayBook introduction, “The unique rapid development capabilitities, high performance video streaming and support of Adobe Flash on the PlayBook platform have allowed us to create a Playbook App from elements of our online game – even before PlayBook hardware was available and our iRok2 Online game was still in Beta testing.”  Dr. Arn added, “Such speed and flexibility allow us to experiment with building synergy between pad, mobile and computer game versions in a totally new way.”irok2 media

iRok2 is based on new, patent-pending technology that automates the production of custom music games.  iRok2 servers analyze music videos as they stream from YouTube and create a unique custom game for each video.  If a user wants to play with a video that is not already in the catalog, it takes only a single click to request a new custom game which will appear in the catalog, available for everyone.  Users have already built up the iRok2 catalog to over ten thousand custom games and there is no barrier to it growing to match the scale of the tens of millions of available YouTube music videos – including the new ones that appear every day.  In play, the video streams to the player directly from YouTube and the custom game synchronizes to the video without storing or modifying the video or music in any way – in effect, an internet air guitar.

As well, iRok2 breaks down the barriers between players. iRok2 is a social game that allows players to connect to others of similar tastes around the world.  Players can issue direct challenges to other players or join in real-time multi-user tournaments.  A unique in-game scoring monitor allows players to directly see how their performance compares to others second-by-second, not just in final scores.

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19th April 2011

BC Creative Achievement Awards Call For Entries

BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations' ArtThe British Columbia Achievement Foundation today issued a Call for Submissions for the 5th annual BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations’ Art and for the 7th annual Carter Wosk BC Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design.

“Both awards celebrate BC’s rich cultural history and creative industry,” said Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. “Our goal is to showcase and celebrate the achievements of artists from across the province. The 2011 award recipients will join 46 British Columbians who have been recognized with creative awards since 2005.”

An artist may be nominated or self-submit to these juried awards. The deadline for submissions is May 26, 2011. The prizes have been increased for 2011 to $5,000 for each award. Presentation ceremonies will take place in the Fall in Vancouver.7th annual Carter Wosk BC Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design

Up to three awards will be presented to BC applied artists and designers whose work has a practical function. Jewellers, industrial and fashion designers, glassmakers, furniture designers, potters, weavers are examples of some of the fields honoured by this award. 2010 recipients include Duncan potter Cathi Jefferson, Vancouver clothing and accessories designer Natalie Purschwitz, and Vancouver’s furniture and lighting design group Propellor Design  (Toby Barratt, Pamela Goddard and Nik Rust ).  The 2010 lifetime award was presented to Doug Simpson of Feathercraft who has created a world-renowned folding kayak.

Up to five awards will be presented to artists affiliated with a BC First Nation working in either traditional or contemporary First Nations’ art. Carvers, printmakers, weavers, jewelers, painters and media artists are examples of art recognized by the BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations’ Art.  Alvin Adkins, Haida, Vancouver; Lisa Hageman, Haida, Masset; Peter Morin, Tahltan, Victoria; Tim Paul, Nuu-chah-nulth, Port Alberni and Richard Sumner Kwakwaka’wakw, Victoria received the awards in 2010.  The lifetime award was presented to basketmaker and cultural leader Rena Point Bolton, Sto:lo, Terrace.

Recipients are selected by a panel of experts who consider creativity, originality, innovation and aesthetics when making decisions.

The awards are presented by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province in 2003 to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service. Polygon Homes Ltd. sponsors the BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations’ Art and Dr. Yosef Wosk supports the BC Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design.

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19th April 2011

Two Canadian Shorts Chosen As Official Selections At Cannes

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce that Ce n’est rien, by Nicolas Roy, and Big Muddy, by Jefferson Moneo, will be presented as Official Selections at the 64th edition of the Cannes Festival, which runs from May 12 to 22, 2011. In addition, the film At Night, They Dance (La Nuit, elles dansent), by Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault, will be screened during the 43rd Directors’ Fortnight, a section held in parallel to the Festival.

“The Cannes Festival’s Official Selection is a mark of international recognition,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “It also serves as a major springboard for the careers of the films and their creators. Congratulations to Nicolas Roy and Jefferson Moneo.”

“In addition, each year the Directors’ Fortnight highlights a number of innovative, original works worthy of our attention,” added Brabant. “We are therefore very proud that the talents of Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault have been recognized.”

In a news release issued today, the Official Selection announced that nine short films would be presented in official competition, among them the Quebec short Ce n’est rien, directed by Nicolas Roy and produced by Voyous Films. The jury awarding the Palme d’Or for best short film will be chaired by French filmmaker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

In addition, Cinéfondation, part of the Official Selection at the Cannes Festival, will this year present 16 works from graduating students at film schools in 11 countries, chosen from 1,589 works submitted. Among the selected films is Big Muddy, directed by Saskatchewan filmmaker Jefferson Moneo, who studied at Columbia University in New York. The film was produced by Prowler Pictures. Michel Gondry will also award the three Cinéfondation prizes.

Shot in Cairo, At Night, They Dance is a feature documentary that takes viewers into the heart of a clan of women among whom the art of dance has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. In official competition at the 2010 RIDM (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal), the film received a Mention from the jury of the Kino Pen Award. The film also earned a rave review from Variety.

Directors: Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault
Producer: Les Films du Tricycle
Distributor: Les Films du 3 mars
International sales: Autlook Films

Telefilm Canada is proud to have participated in the funding of this film through the Theatrical Documentary Program.

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19th April 2011

Burn The Rope On Your Mac

igdaThe IGDA has posted a response to Amazon’s clarification of seller terms for its digital marketplace, stating that the company’s policy is still unfair to developers and fails to fully address developer concerns. The article urges developers to join the conversation and let Amazon know that their policies need to be changed.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble’s Burn the Rope has ignited puzzle gaming on the iPhone and iPad, and will soon be burn the rope for macdoing the same for the Mac OS. Wickman has been looking to make his next move, and with brand new cursor and keyboard-driven controls, Burn the Rope for Mac OS brings the original hit mobile gaming experience and proven flame-lighting fun to Mac gaming enthusiasts everywhere, now from the Mac App Store.

The goal of Burn the Rope is to burn as much rope as possible on each level. The fire only burns upwards, so the player must rotate the rope to keep the flame going – once all the flames are out, it’s game over. With clever puzzle designs for each level and rope-crawling insects that add to the game-play in unique and interesting ways, Burn the Rope is one of the hottest apps in the App Store. Burn the Rope is fast-paced addictive fun, and the Burn the Rope for Mac OS is sure to please puzzle game fans of any age.

EA Black BoxEA Black Box invites you to experience the white-hot intensity of illicit street racing in the all-new Team Escape mode in Need for Speed™ World, the Play4Free online PC action racing game from EA. Available now, players can team up with three friends to win the race while battling a determined police force. This is a race to the finish line using any means necessary including roadblocks, spike strips and deadly rhino SUVs. Players can also fight back with two brand new power-ups; Team Emergency Evade, which can be used to save friends from getting busted with a more powerful blast than regular evade, and Team Slingshot which gives one team a huge burst of speed. NFSW car customization

Need for Speed World players will be the world’s first game to use Dolby® Axon voice technology. This innovative new technology lets players stay in constant contact as they organize objectives, create race strategies and perfect escape tactics without requiring a separate application or any drain on bandwidth.

Additionally, Need for Speed World players can now further personalize their cars with an enhanced visual customization system featuring window tints, underbody neons, license plates, wheels, and lowering kits.

Need for Speed World brings together best-in-class action racing with an unparalleled social experience on the PC. Players can compete against their friends and family or pick from thousands of players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits. Gamers race the way they want in an ever-expanding world with a constant stream of new content, cars, and features.

Eidos MontrealSquare Enix Ltd. has announced that Deus Ex: Human Revolution™ Collector’s Edition, an extremely limited, exclusive product will be releasing in select European countries on August 26, 2011 and in Australia and New Zealand on August 25, 2011, snubbing the Deus Ex fans in the home country of developer Eidos Montreal – unless the publisher is being coy and simply not yet announcing something special for the NTSC zone gamers, but why do something that will blatantly alienate the gamer community the studio has worked very hard at engaging prior to the game’s release?

The Collector’s Edition will include some extras that can be purchased with one of the Augmented Reality versions or as a standard edition pre-order bonus (I’ve had an AR copy on pre-order since the title showed up in the GameStop computers), and while this newly announced edition will include all of the previously mentioned bonuses, it will also include the highly coveted and highly collectable Adam Jensen action figurine designed by Play Arts Kai – a Square Enix company.

This is not the first time Canadian gamers have been shut out of collectable extras sold by the publishers of Canadian-made titles. One of the most recent incidences was with Assassin’s Creed 2, when gamers in Canada (and the USA) could not purchase the AC2 CE with Ezio dressed in black Assassin’s garb, only white. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Canadian developers recognize their “hometown” supporters with a Canada-only special edition?

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19th April 2011

Impact Awards Names Judges

impact awardsExperts from across Canada have come together to select the most impactful .CA websites. Their highly valued knowledge and industry experience in eLearning, small business, not-for profit and web technology and design means ensures that the best websites will be recognized and honoured with a .CA Impact Award.

The .CA Impact Awards celebrate people and organizations using their .CA websites to make a positive difference in the lives of their users and their communities. Impact can be social, cultural, political, technological, or economic.

The judging panel is comprised of the following seven members:

  1. Tony Bates: President and CEO of Tony Bates Associates Ltd., a consulting firm in Vancouver. He has authored nine books and has given hundreds of talks on the importance of technology in higher education.
  2. David Molenhuis: National Chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students which assists students and provides them a united voice to change policy provincially and nationally.
  3. Catherine Swift: Chairwoman, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She has a depth of experience in the federal government with the Departments of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, and Industry and Communications. She was also a Senior Economist with the TD Bank.
  4. Maggie Leithead: President and CEO of Charity Village and Webmaster of Charity Village.com, an online source of information, news, jobs, services and resources for the Canadian non-profit community. Ever since she bought her first Commodore Vic 20, she has had a deep interest in computers and technology.
  5. Karen Branscombe: Superintendent of New Brunswick’s largest school district and a leader in developing Professional Learning Communities. In 2010, she was recognized as one of the most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network. She is an avid volunteer and is a past board member of the United Way and the Moncton Rotary Club.
  6. Jean-Guy Rens – Senior Vice President of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), the largest high-tech association in Canada. He specializes in public policy and marketing assistance for the introduction of new products and services. He has produced many independent studies revolving around the IT market in Canada.
  7. Ben LewisBen Lewis holds a Master’s degree in Communications and Culture from Ryerson University. He has authored papers on the dangers of restrictive copyright legislation, public space on the Internet, and the use of Internet technologies in Canadian universities and colleges. He likes to build things with pixels, blocks, and acrylic paint.

Websites are evaluated based on four categories of expertise:

  • Small Business – celebrating a company whose website or application has helped a business contribute to its community, foster sales or create jobs.
  • eLearning – recognizing youth and educators who use their .CA website to share knowledge and promote education.
  • Not-for-Profit – distinguishing an NGO or association whose website or application is making a difference in the lives of members, donors, or the public.
  • Web Technology and Design – recognizing individuals and organizations for innovation and impact in enhancing the speed, reliability, practicality and/or security of the Internet for all users.

The top winners of each category will win $5,000 and their names will be announced at the Awards Gala on the opening night of mesh in Toronto on May 25, 2011.

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19th April 2011

Kay Gruenwoldt Leaving Vancouver For SFO

The executive board of Berlin based MMO game publisher Frogster Interactive Pictures AG named Kay Gruenwoldt General Manager of Frogster America Inc. Kay Gruenwoldt will lead the US subsidiary based in San Francisco and be responsible for growing the company’s presence in the region together with the CFO.

The boards of Frogster Interactive and Frogster America see Kay Gruenwoldt as a key addition to the Kay Gruenwoldtmanagement team to facilitate the further growth of North American operations. Frogster America has successfully run the free-to-play fantasy MMO game ‘Runes of Magic’ for over two years. The board of Frogster is convinced that with the assistance of Kay Gruenwoldt, the US subsidiary will grow its product portfolio, staff, scope and revenues substantially.

Kay Gruenwoldt is a 15-year veteran of the game and entertainment industries and has held executive level management positions in operations, sales, design, development and marketing with companies including JoWood and Nokia, where he was responsible for all North American marketing. Most recently, Gruenwoldt was the founder and managing director of Walking Squid, a boutique consulting agency in the space of digital and mobile media and games and CEO of the Games Academy in Vancouver – a design school which has not yet opened, although when I spoke to Mr. Gruenwoldt last May, the school was near launch.

Gruenwoldt advised multiple global entertainment companies in the social games, MMO and mobile spaces and has extensive experience launching and supporting new original IPs as well as platforms. Working for General Electric’s Industrial Systems in Europe and North America, Gruenwoldt gained extensive experience in project management and new product development. Gruenwoldt is a member of IGDA and AIAS, an Advisory Board member for the Dubai World Games and Canadian Videogames Awards, member of the board of Games Academy Vancouver as well as a frequent speaker at industry events around the world.

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19th April 2011

WinMagic Launches SecureDoc v5.2

winmagicWinMagic® has launched SecureDoc Version 5.2, the only full-disk encryption (FDE) solution to support Lenovo® Hardware Password Manager (HPM) on ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops. Hardware passwords prevent access to hard drives, including self-encrypting drives, to deter theft by making stolen devices worthless.

Lenovo and WinMagic have teamed to integrate HPM with WinMagic’s SecureDoc Enterprise Server (SES) to enable administrators to centrally manage all four standard hardware passwords from the same console that manages enterprise-wide encryption – making it simple to utilize SED (Self-Encrypting Drive) and BIOS credentials, monitor device status and reset BIOS passwords to ensure forgotten passwords do not negatively impact productivity.

SecureDoc v5.2 is also the first FDE solution to incorporate Pre-Boot Networking (PBN) and Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (AES-NI) to make FDE easier to manage and faster than ever before – enabling organizations to provide all the security benefits of FDE without any of the management, user or network performance headaches associated with encrypting endpoint devices.

PBN enables SecureDoc v5.2 to authenticate fully-encrypted endpoint devices against Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) and the SES from the pre-boot environment – before the key to decrypt and load the operating system is available. By eliminating the need for users to authenticate locally in the pre-boot environment to unlock the system and connect to the network, PBN makes it just as easy for users to access the network from an encrypted device as an unencrypted device. Read the rest of this entry »

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