Mobile Publishers and Advertisers: Get Excited About the iPad Mini

This article was originally posted by Salman Habib on

Apple unveiled its iPad mini 7.9 inch tablet on Oct 23rd. This is good news for mobile publishers and advertisers.

The iPad appealed to a different consumer. The approach Apple took with the iPad showed that people would use it lying down, at home, on the couch… it was very seldom presented as an on-the-go-tablet. The convenience of a smaller device will appeal to more females and anyone always on the go. It can fit inside a jacket pocket very easily.

The Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle are competitors of this device. Google and Amazon have identified that there is a market for mini tablet users. The iPad mini will aim to bridge the gap between iPhone and iPad users.

The screen resolution is the same as the iPad 2, resulting in little concern for mobile publishers and advertisers to create new ad formats. Apple has done a great job in keeping screen sizes and resolutions limited. As we see with Android, it poses many hurdles with the large range of smartphone and tablet sizes.

All in all, Apple adding a new device to its repertoire is beneficial, as it provides more opportunities for mobile publishers and advertisers to reach out to existing and new consumers with Apple’s ever-increasing consumer base.

Play Classical Music with Simple Gestures, as Inspired by Glenn Gould in 1969

This article was originally posted by Eliot Van Buskirk on

The Glenn Gould estate authorized the late performer’s tacit endorsement of Piano Invention, a classical music-playing app released today for free in the iTunes app store for iPhone and iPad.

Who’s Glenn Gould? Let me google that for you. Anyway, in 1969, good old Glenn Gould apparently had the idea that music would be created by gestures, rather than by playing individual notes on a piano. In 2012, he’s starting to be right.

Spun out from one of the scenes in Art Jam Universe, Piano Invention lets amateurs and even children as young as five years old have fun with songs from the great classical canon by playing notes that are part of the songs; activating chords; altering motifs; and triggering loops from the music of Bach, Beethoven, and others. All you have to do is tap little animated elements, which is easy enough, although the app does reward musical thought.

It might be tempting to dismiss this as a gimmick, given the child-friendly, cartoonish design of some of the scenes (more images). But once we got our hands, er, fingertips dirty with the app — especially in the variation of Bach’s “Prelude in C” (listen to our first, faltering efforts in the video below) — we realized it’s for real.

“We’ve added some cool features since [Art Jam Universe], including swipe control of musical phrasing, and a multi track recording feature – and added more content (there are seven scenes in the app now),” Piano Invention creator Shaun Elder told “[It's] interesting to note that Steve Jobs was a huge fan of Gould – Apple even approached the Gould Estate to have Gould included in the “Think Different” campaign (approval was given, but Gould didn’t end up making it into the campaign). Isaacson mentions Gould in his bio of Jobs. Kind of cool that Gould’s vision for technology gets realized on Jobs’ iPad.”

Each song in this Piano Invention app is represented by a different graphical scene, with all sorts of elements to unlock and play. The result is something of a classical remix that retains vestiges of the original composition while granting the user a degree of compositional leeway.

In other words, it’s fun, and the sounds it makes do not suck.

If this sounds intriguing, we recommend simply installing the app and trying it for yourself, because it’s free — or, rather, two of the songs/scenes (Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and Bach’s aforementioned “Prelude in C”) are free. Each of the additional seven songs/scenes costs $2. If you get hooked, you could find yourself installing some of these.

What’s your motivation? Well, we found the app pretty relaxing, and stimulating from a creative point of view, but in an interesting twist, you can also brag a bit by recording up to 90 seconds of your performance, so that the app can automatically upload it as a YouTube video, showing each of the elements you triggered. These videos get submitted to a special channel on YouTube dedicated to these videos, called “Glenn Gould @80 Online Tribute.”

Perhaps more satisfyingly, you can also submit them to Facebook so your friends and family can wonder at your classical music prowess, even though all you really did was tap a bit on your screen during your commute to work.

Here’s the demonstration video and announcement:



The Voice: Lindsey Goodchild

What is it: A mobile app that engages people in living a sustainable lifestyle, while providing feedback and rewards for their actions.

What sparked the idea: “Initially we got started because I was a sustainability consultant and I was working for companies in government doing these long-term sustainability plans.  I felt as though when it came to implementing strategies and making them happen it was sometimes difficult to keep people involved.

“Then a kind of fluke thing happened, I walked past a poster that asked for ideas on how to create some mobile apps that helped to address sustainability problems in business.  So I had an idea of those problems, had an idea of a solution, I put that forward and that’s actually how this all got started”. She decided to quit her job and went on to build a software team.

Benefit to Ryerson Students: Students, staff and faculty will receive tips for campus sustainability and information about sustainable things on and around campus like local food markets, how to get back to nature, what restaurants use local ingredients, and where to get the most sustainable types of beer.

“There’s all kinds of cool stuff happening in and around this campus that we want to share with students, and so as students use the app and start to understand what’s happening around them they earn points. As they do the sustainable thing or make a sustainable choice they earn points and then the university will reward them with gift cards or different types of prizes.”

Launch Date: During Orientation Week at Ryerson

How to get access: During Orientation week, Greengage team members dressed in green will be running around campus giving out candy and pamphlets which will feature QR codes which can be scanned to download the app. Posters with QR codes will also be around campus.

This post was originally posted by Astoria Luzzi on The EyeOpener

Greengage Mobile and Venngage Selected to Join the JOLT Accelerator Program

Greengage Mobile and Venngage

JOLT, the first early-stage accelerator program from MaRS Discovery District, has announced the six startups that will comprise its first ever summer cohort, and two startups come from the Digital Media Zone – Greengage Mobile and Venngage.

As part of the summer cohort, Greengage and Venngage hope to dramatically increase their product’s execution and time-to-market. By participating in workshops, meeting with advisors and attending special speaker events, the teams will focus intently on getting their product ready for market. JOLT selected Greengage and Venngage based on their potential to transform the way consumers and enterprises interact with technologies.

See the profiles of both Greengage and Venngage published recently in the National Post, and follow the latest news from all the JOLT teams here.

Kytephone Grows Up, Adds Kid-Friendly SMS

This post was originally posted by Martin Drashkov on

Check out the latest news from Kytephone:

“We launched Kytephone four months ago with a simple vision: be the first smartphone every child gets. Despite kids growing up playing with touchscreen devices and getting phones at an increasingly younger age, parents are still rightfully hesitant to give a full smartphone to their kids. With Kytephone, we were able to offer kids a simple, child-friendly UI that ran all their favourite games, while parents got the call and app controls they needed to feel comfortable.

In the last few months since our launch we got a great number of happy users and yet, a nagging, recurring theme emerged. Parents found it hard to sell Kytephone to kids older than about 8 because it was too simple, too childish and lacked SMS. Parents with older kids wanted to use Kytephone, but their kids either put up a big fight and refused to use a phone at all, or used it and were unhappy. As one parent told us, “My kids curse your name, though they don’t realize they wouldn’t have a phone without you guys.”

We wanted Kytephone to work for older kids as well, so we knew the next version had to look more like a regular phone and have SMS messaging, while still maintaining the parental controls parents needed.

We released version 2 of Kytephone on Friday and based on initial feedback, we think it will make a big difference to a lot of families. The new homescreen looks more grown up, but retains child-friendly elements like big icons and text with a playful font. While we tried several different approaches, we found the now-standard left-to-right set of pages with a grid of icons to really be the simplest we could make it.

One area where we think we think we’ve managed to simplify the standard smartphone experience is our approach to phone calls and SMS messages. Smartphones today usually have separate Contacts, Phone and SMS apps, with many ways to get from one to the other and many different but related views – Call Log, SMS threads, etc, etc. Rather than trying to replicate that, we decided to combine all the communication under a single “People” app.

When kids click the “People” icon, they see their list of contacts and then click the phone icon to make a call or the message icon to go the Conversation screen. There, kids see not only their text messages in a standard chat screen, but also all incoming, outgoing and missed calls inter-weaved in between. When kids get a notification (missed call or incoming message), clicking on the notification takes them straight to this page. We believe this is a much simpler and more holistic way to handle calls, SMS and call logs, and it leaves the door open to easily add other communication channels in the same interface in the future.

We’re very proud of our latest release, so check it out on Google Play. We’d love to hear your feedback.”

Experience the Tactile Audio Chair at Rainbow Cinemas

From May 4 to June 3, the public is invited to experience a new tactile dimension to film

TORONTO, April 26, 2012 — Tactile Audio Displays Inc (TADs Inc), a Toronto-based research and development company, in collaboration with Rainbow Cinemas, is inviting the public to experience its revolutionary tactile audio display system for the first time. Two TAD chairs are available for seating during screenings in Theatre 3 at Rainbow Cinemas Market Square between May 1 and June 3, 2012. Use of the chairs will be free with ticket purchase on a first-come, first-served basis, with users asked to complete a short online survey providing feedback on their experience. Completion of the survey will also enter participants into a draw to win free tickets to Rainbow Cinemas. For more information, visit To learn more about TAD, visit . To view current film schedules for Rainbow Cinemas Market Square, visit

“The TAD system presents the next evolution in entertainment,” said Dr Maria Karam, TADs Inc. founder, CEO and one of the inventors. “First movies were silent, then ‘talkies’ added the element of sound. A tactile display creates a whole new layer of depth by adding a third sense, the sense of touch, to the entertainment experience. Once filmgoers experience the immersive qualities of the TAD system and its ability to take you deeper into the movie or music experience, it will reveal a new sensation that you won’t want to do without.”

“At Rainbow Cinemas we’re always looking for ways to enhance our customers’ movie experience,” said Jacquelyn Mathé, Rainbow Cinemas Market Square General Manager. “We are excited to collaborate with a local technology start-up company and to be the first to offer TAD’s tactile audio display technology to our patrons.”

The TAD tactile audio display technology was originally conceived of as part of a research project called the Emoti-Chair, headed up by Ryerson University Professor Deborah Fels, with collaborator Frank Russo. The Emoti-Chair was designed as an assistive technology device aimed at providing members of the deaf community with access to the emotional effects of sounds accompanying movies or music. Once developed, the tactile audio technology was determined to not only provide benefits for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences, but also enhance the audio and visual entertainment experience for all users. TADs Inc was then formed to commercialize the technology and to continue expanding research initiatives in the field of sensory substitution for tactile-audio translations.

The TAD system is designed to mimic the way the human inner ear collects, translates and processes sound waves. Embedded into each system is an array of voice coils aligned along strategic points on the chair’s structure. The coils translate sound information into physical sensations that are presented to the skin, thus enhancing and reinforcing the audio to the corresponding video content. This creates a new experience that will immerse and connect you deeper into the audio-visual entertainment world.

Founded in 2010, Tactile Audio Displays (TADs Inc.) is a worldwide pioneer in providing tactile sound technologies, services, and integrated solutions to help individuals and vertical markets add a new dimension of sensory experience to their everyday, mediated world. The company is currently based out of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone start-up incubator.

For more information, visit

Tads Inc. will be holding a media launch at Rainbow Cinemas on Tuesday, May 1st 2012 between 10am and 12pm at the Market Square location, 80 Front Street E. at Jarvis St, Toronto, Canada.

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For further information, please contact Garth Wichstrom,
Chief Operations Officer, Tactile Audio Displays Inc.

Ryerson Cloud Computing Competition ’12 Features Cloud-Based Student Ideas

Yesterday evening’s 4th Annual Ryerson Cloud Computing Showcase proved to be a successful event on many levels. Computer science students from the CPS630 course, as taught by DMZ Research Director Dr. Hossein Rahnama and mentored by current DMZ research and development staff, showcased their cloud-based prototypes to various industry professionals. Some guests and sponsors were so impressed by the ideas featured last night that some students even received job interviews and interest for follow up right on the spot.

The event was supported by Canadian Tire and OpenText to allow students to learn application development in consumer-driven and enterprise computing sectors. The students were required to transform an idea into a fully developed application in less than two months, utilizing the help of six DMZ R&D staff.

As Dr. Rahnama said, “the DMZ is demonstrating its potential in helping students create more innovative and relevant applications for the industry as part of their curriculum.” In what he described as a “win-win situation for industry and students,” the Cloud Competition featured 11 teams made up of 40 students. Each team demonstrated their cloud-based business service prototype, some of which ranged from a hands-free driver’s assistance application to an augmented reality shopping navigation platform. Team 5, as featured in the below video, created an email encryption application that ensures total security when emailing information:

Here’s a full list of the teams featured at last night’s showcase:

Team 1: A workout tracking rewards platform that rewards users with coupons to commercial businesses

Team 2: 3D Twitter visualization engine where the user virtually flies above the city to see what’s trending in various neighbourhoods

Team 3: Augmented reality shopping navigation platform that directs the user where to go while shopping in a store

Team 4: Cross-platform “smart” calendar organizer that revamps the traditional calendar into an artistic infographic

Team 5: Secure document email platform

Team 6: Location-based gaming app based on Ryerson University campus, where each campus building features a new “character” to challenge

Team 7: Document modification tracking tool that’s like a Twitter widget for document collaboration

Team 8: Hands-free driver’s assistance application that provides the user with road information, as well as the proximity of emergency vehicles

Team 9: Social matchmaking tool where a user’s privacy is protected while being co-located with other people nearby

Team 10: Shopping navigation and user assistance platform where users utilize QR codes to request help in a store

Team 11: Secure document sharing module where each paper version of the document comes with a QR code, which can be scanned to see the most updated version of the same document

Click here to see a full description of all the projects.


With the success of last night’s event, the DMZ will continue to support student initiatives and their passion to advance digital innovation. For more coverage on last night’s event, check out this article on

The Walrus Expands the Canadian Conversation with THE WALRUS SOAPBOX

Toronto – On April 18, The Walrus Foundation and will launch The Walrus SoapBox at

The Walrus SoapBox is a new and nimble online platform that puts your ideas in the hands of key decision makers. The Walrus SoapBox is a strategic and innovative voting tool that will allow Canadians from coast to coast to coast and around the globe to engage with us, and with each other, about content they read in The Walrus magazine or at, see on, or explore at the Walrus Foundation’s national events.

The Walrus SoapBox is designed for community-based change; it is a perfect extension of our educational mandate to promote debate on matters vital to Canadians. With a focus on user experience, The Walrus SoapBox will expand our ability to offer a public forum for vital conversations—on the page, stage, and online—around the issues that matter.

Traditionally, a soapbox was a way in which citizens could be heard through an impromptu or unofficial burst of public speaking. The Walrus SoapBox at will enable users to post or evaluate (with a thumbs up or thumbs down) ideas, and connect with other users quickly, easily, and in real time. This modern form of the soapbox elevates the blog format to include the collective voice of its users.

“In addition to publishing The Walrus magazine, providing a high standard of content at,, and on; and producing national events, we’re thrilled to be able to engage more Canadians in important conversations through this innovative and exciting new realm called The Walrus SoapBox,” says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus magazine and executive director of the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation.

The Walrus Foundation invites all Canadians to help launch The Walrus SoapBox at on April 18. Our inaugural topic will be the relevance of art in daily life. On May 2, we will hold a public debate on the same topic: The Walrus National Gallery Debate in Ottawa ( Submissions on The Walrus SoapBox will be referenced before, during, and after the debate – so your voice will be heard. The debate will move from the digital realm of The Walrus SoapBox to the stage, to the page, to the screen, and back to the digital realm.

“We’re thrilled to partner with The Walrus, an established thought leader committed to engaging readers in new and innovative ways. For us, a company all about ideas, it is a perfect fit. Through our platform, The Walrus audience will be able to interact and shape content and events in a meaningful way, adding a new dynamic to the already conversational nature of the magazine,” says founder and CEO, Brennan McEachran.

To join us on The Walrus SoapBox: simply go to, click “sign up” to create a user account (or alternatively log-in to The Walrus SoapBox through Facebook), and then engage in the conversation.

For tickets to The Walrus National Gallery Debate in Ottawa on May 2, visit

We are grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts at The Walrus National Gallery Debate and to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Media Development Corporation for their ongoing support of our digital strategy.

For more information, please contact:
David Leonard at the Walrus Foundation or 416.971.5004 x222

About The Walrus Foundation
The Walrus Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization with a mandate to promote public discourse on matters vital to our country. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting Canadian writers, artists, readers, education, ideas, and debate.

About HitSend
HitSend Inc. is dedicated to increasing collective happiness by making tools that empower communities to set and achieve goals. HitSend’s first product, SoapBox, is an online platform for community-based change that allows each person to get their idea in the hands of key decision makers. SoapBox was originally envisioned by Brennan McEachran, who as a student at Ryerson University wanted to create a way to make his school a better place by aggregating the input of his fellow students. HitSend is currently based in the Ryerson Digital Media Zone, a startup incubator in Toronto, Canada. For more information, please visit