Monday, February 28, 2005   Tomorrow Starts Today sees major boostHard on the heels of last month’s announcement that Telefilm Canada’s Canada New Media Fund would see an injection of $5 million, the federal government has made public a big $178-million a year for five years renewal of the Tomorrow Starts Today funding initiative. The program is an umbrella for several programs including the Canada New Media Fund, the Canadian Culture Online Program, and the Trade Routes project. It’s likely to early to know how the new funding, announced as part of the February 23 federal budget, will be spent, but new media producers are hopeful that the Telefilm envelope could be topped up to the $30-million-plus per year that industry lobbyists have been calling for. High-profile new media producers currently on an Australian trade mission have reacted positively to the news, and Canadian NEW MEDIA will have further details in its next full issue.Rogers intros Wi-Fi at Second Cup storesWi-Fi wireless Internet access is being made available at select Second Cup coffee stores by Rogers Wireless Inc. Customers can choose to either bill the service at $0.15/minute to their Rogers phone accounts, or pay by credit card at $9 per hour or $15 for a full day off access. Access is being offered for free until April to promote the service, according to a media release.Australian opportunities becoming clearA group of 12 Canadian new media content producers are halfway through an intensive trade mission to Australia, and contracts arising from the trip are expected to be signed soon. One highlight was the surprise announcement at the Adelaide International Documentary Conference that the second place team in a pitch session, presented by Xenophile Media head Patrick Crowe and an Australian producer, will be assisted with $7,000 in development cash by the South Australian Film Commission from its interactive envelope. Cash was also handed out to the winning team that included Decode Entertainment. Producers have been surprised by the absence of ubiquitous broadband in the country, a situation that may limit the opportunities to sell interactive products in Australia. Funding agencies, however, have been peppering mission director Andra Sheffer of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund about that program, and hopes are high that money could be tapped by Canadians in co-productions if the expected sale of the government’s stake in national telco Telstra results in new content funds. A session in Sydney on Friday will explore potential ways to spur co-productions. Canadian NEW MEDIA will have further details on the Australian perspective and Canadian opportunities for new media sales and collaboration in its next issue.Electronic signature regulations finalizedRegulations to govern the use of electronic signatures under the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act were gazetted on February 1 by the federal government. The rules get around the thorny issue of lack of standards by putting the determination of which certification authorities – companies that verify electronic signatures – will be legally recognized in Ottawa’s hands. The rules read:”Digital signature technology is the only known technology today that can provide the requisite characteristics of a secure electronic signature. Even then, a secure electronic signature is trustworthy only if the digital signature certificate is issued by a reliable Certification Authority. Currently, there are no recognized standards for accrediting those Certification Authorities which are reliable. Accordingly, the Regulations provide that only those digital signature certificates are deemed to be sufficiently trustworthy that are issued by Certification Authorities which:(i) the President of the Treasury Board has verified as having the capacity to issue certificates in a secure and reliable manner, and as fulfilling the four characteristics set out in subsection 48(2); and (ii) the President of the Treasury Board has listed on the website of the Treasury Board Secretariat.”Beethoven’s Hair launchesA new web/TV project, Beethoven’s Hair, was premiered February 24 on CBC. The television documentary follows the history of a lock of the composer’s hair since it was first cut through to the present day. A web site built by Xenophile Media provides further information about the hair’s history, contextual historical information, and extensive video and audio archives. Readers can visit the site at http://www.beethovenshair.ca.New Media BC intros Mobile MuseNew Media BC, with the assistance of Canadian Heritage’s Canadian Culture Online Program, and in partnership with several B.C. schools and community groups, has launched its new Mobile MUSE project. The University of British Columbia’s David Vogt will be the project’s first executive director. The names stands for Media-rich urban shared experience, and is intended to foster wireless telecommunications projects, partly in anticipation of the 2010 Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver. Partners also include TELUS Corp., Nokia Corp., and Nortel Networks.