Open Data app competition for City of Ottawa offers $38K in prizes


    ottawa open data apps4ottawaThe City of Ottawa wants to reward developers for creative and useful applications that use the City Of Ottawa’s OpenData

    OpenData can be used to create very useful applications. The City of Ottawa wants to encourage app developers to use City of Ottawa OpenData to create apps for city residents and visitors. All the details are available at Apps4Ottawa.ca, but I’ll summarize the big points here.

    Who can enter?

    Residents of a province or territory of Canada who have reached the age of majority. For a complete description of eligibility requirements refer to the rules.

    What kind of OpenData is available from the city?

    The City of Ottawa has a catalogue of OpenData you can choose from. You can find information about city beaches, ball diamonds, budgets, cycling networks, drinking water, elected officials, flu clinics, garbage and recycling schedules, libraries, museums, murals, city parking lots, recreation guides, sledding hills, splash pads, traffic web cams, wading pools and more.

    What are the categories?

    • On The Move – apps to help people get around the city, including public transit, driving, cycling, and walking.
    • Having Fun – apps aimed at supporting leisure and fun in Ottawa, including recreation, cultural events, libraries, and other activities
    • Your City – apps designed to help people understand what’s happening in their city regardless of subject matter
    • Data Analysis and Visualizations – apps that present city data in a way that provides better understanding of the city and its operations.

    What can I win?

    • $3,000 for first place, $ 2,000 for second place, $1,000 for third place in each category
    • $2,000 for the best Windows 8 app overall (did I mention Microsoft is sponsoring the competition?)
    • TIP: If you build for Windows 8, Windows Phone, or use Azure in your app, you could earn extra rewards through the Microsoft Canada Developer Movement. Just one app could earn you a Kinect or other cool rewards.

    Any good resources out there to help me?

    What are the important dates?

    • Idea campaign (submit and vote for best ideas) February 25 – March 11 – 2013
    • Competition entry period March 11 – May 13, 2013
    • Judging May 13 – May 31st, 2013
    • Awards June 2013

    So what would you build?

    You can pick one data source and build a useful app to present that information to users on a map or in a list. Or you can combine different data sources and get really creative. Here’s my idea, it’s a “Get the kids out of the house” app that based on the current weather conditions suggests a suitable nearby activity: It’s 36 degrees? find the nearest splash pad, its 5 degrees and raining? find a museum, its –5 and snowing? find a sledding hill. If you build that, let me know would you? I’d like to download it. OpenData is a powerful tool for great apps, more and more cities are providing OpenData for you to explore. You may start with an app for Ottawa but you may want to make additional apps for your city as well. Ottawa’s not the only city providing great data for developers.

    So what are you waiting for, get coding?

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Canadian and US Phone Developers can get rewards through DVLUP


    DVLUP programComplete challenges related to Windows Phone development, earn points, cash in points for rewards that can help you create great apps and help get them noticed!

    Canada has already got a great program to reward developers with cool stuff called Developer Movement. Now, Windows Phone developers can double down by registering for the DVLUP program.

    The DVLUP program provides you with different challenges, each challenge earns you points in the program.

    So let’s take a quick look at the important details about the DVLUP program:

    • How do I earn points?
    • What rewards can I get?
    • How do I register for DVLUP?

    How do I earn points?

    Every month there are new challenges added to the DVLUP program. Each challenge earns you points. When I registered today, here are two of the challenges that were listed.

    The LockScreen challenge (1300 points)

    This challenge is to create an app that allows the user to add their own information to the lock screen of their Lumia, so that it’s available to anyone who finds the phone. The user can decide what information they want to display, such as medical information, contact details, or even just a personal note in the event they lose their phone.

    Register for the NEXT APP STAR challenge (100 points)

    Microsoft has launched a new contest with a very special top prize – featured placement of the winner’s app in a Windows Phone primetime TV ad in the U.S. You’ll get 100 points just for registering with at least one eligible app and you can earn up to 10,000 points if you move forward and win the whole thing!

    What rewards can I get?

    When I registered, these were some of the rewards listed. When you register you can see the full list of rewards.

    How do I register for DVLUP?

    Just visit the DVLUP website and register today and don’t forget if you are a Canadian you can get rewards through Developer Movement as well!

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    Learn to build an HTML5 game and how to migrate HTML5 games to Windows 8


    Snow BumbleWednesday, March 6th, 2013 from 1-5PM Eastern catch an online Game developer camp for anyone interested in HTML5 game development.

    HTML5 game development is a great way to build casual games for the web or for Windows 8. So, we’ve got a Game Developer camp planned to help you learn about both HTML5 game development and how to take an HTML5 game to Windows 8.

    During this camp you will learn how to

    • Create an HTML5 Game (basic overview)
    • Create an HTML5 Game Components such as sprites, input, collision, and sound
    • Migrate an HTML5 Game to Windows 8
    • Extend an HTML5 game on Windows 8 with Windows Store Features such as accelerometers, live tiles, and ads.

    The first two sessions on HTML5 game development are a great introduction for XNA or any interested casual game developers who haven’t had a chance to learn the programming model for HTML5 game development with Canvas and JavaScript. If you have already explored developing games with HTML5, then check out the last two sessions and find out how you can take an existing HTML5 game and bring it to the Windows 8 app store.

    You can find all the details when you visit the site to Register today! Don’t forget if you do publish a game to the Windows 8 store you could earn rewards through developer movement

    By the way, if you are wondering why I have the abominable snowman as the image with this post…Trust me if you attend the camp it will make sense, meanwhile click on that image to watch a video that I think is one of Microsoft’s more creative Marketing efforts.

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    Engadget Readers Choice Awards Microsoft Kinect Peripheral of the Year


    Engadget readers choice awardsLast week Engadget announced their Readers Choice awards, no less than three Microsoft products were featured including the Kinect as peripheral of the year.

    Engadget just announced their 2012 readers choice awards. I am taking a moment to look at each of the Microsoft products that earned an award. Last week I talked about SmartPhone of the Year: Nokia Lumia 920, and Tablet of the Year: Surface RT. Today I’d like to talk a bit about the final Microsoft product selected by Engadget readers:

    Peripheral of the year: Microsoft Kinect

    The Kinect lends itself to innovation. With a price point of somewhere around $250-$300 in Canada, the average developer can purchase a device that captures images, multi-directional sound, and 3D motion. Microsoft’s release of the Kinect for Windows complete with APIs means developers no longer need turn to hacking to leverage this capabilities of the device.

    Being a Star Wars and Star Trek fan, one of my favorite Kinect projects this year was developed by a team at the Human Media Lab at Queens university. They used the Kinect sensors to create a 3D holographic projection called Telehuman.


    The Kinect is also a popular feature in Imagine Cup entries.

    • Canada’s team Greeni from George Brown College used the Kinect to help control building environmental controls to save energy.
    • Team HealthConnect from Spain used the Kinect as a way of collecting information from patients to provide remote healthcare.
    • Team Technology Lanterns from Qatar used a helmet mounted Kinect camera to help create a system that would allow the visually impaired to sense where objects are located using sound frequency and providing information about their surroundings by reading customized tags.

    It’s clear the Kinect has empowered developers around the world, I can’t wait to see the Kinect projects at Imagine Cup 2013!

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    In the Vancouver area? Got a cool app idea to pitch?


    The App Pitch Competition is coming to Launch Academy in Vancouver March 13, 2013

    The App Pitch is the opportunity to show the Vancouver startup‚ student and developer community your app ideas for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
    Register to pitch your app as an individual or as a team of two. You will have three minutes to pitch your app idea to a team of judges. You can find all the details about who is judging and how you do your pitch here.

    You may be reading this thinking, I am a student, in the summer I work for a big company, I am not a startup.  When you build and publish an app, you become and entrepreneur and a startup, with options like advertising, in app purchases, and paid apps, if you treat your app idea like a business idea, it becomes one. This is a great and easy way to start! Here are the details on The App Pitch:


    #300 – 128 West Hastings Street
    Vancouver, BC


    Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 6:00PM to 10:00PM PST
    Registration @ 6:00 PM-6:30 PM
    Event Begins @ 6:30 PM
    Pizza and Pop will be served @ 6:00 PM


    This event is for Startups‚ Students‚ Developers and Designers to pitch their ideas for Windows 8 apps and Windows Phone 8 apps!


    Pitch your app in three minutes to the judges, explain what your app is great at, wireframes or screenshots of your app design, and the business case for your app. You can find details here.


    First Place – Receives a $500 CAD Gift Card

    Top Three Finalists – Tickets to Vancouver Polyglot {Un}Conference May 24th - 26th, 2013.

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