Soft Mozart 2.0 Receives Support From Music Industry Titan John Barnes, Former Producer For King Of Pop Michael Jackson

Legendary music producer John Barnes has joined the campaign to support the development of Soft Mozart 2.0. He joins musicologist Hellene Hiner, who spearheaded the original Soft Mozart software. Soft Mozart, an innovative – yet traditional – system for learning the piano first launched in 2002 and continues to be used today in 60 different countries. Although he’s a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Barnes brings a pop sensibility to the project. Hiner envisions version 2.0 as bridging gaps between genres, uniting people under the common banner of music literacy. Learn more at indiegogo.com/projects/music-education-2-0-soft-mozart-way#/.

“I believe music education and music literacy are more important today than ever,” says Barnes. “Music prepares young people to do well in life, no matter what they do in terms of a career. Understanding the intricacies of music through practice and discipline can instill confidence. Learning music also develops creativity, patience and, when playing with others, an appreciation for teamwork. The versatility of Soft Mozart is what really got my attention. The software is great for schools of course, but people of any age and skill level can quickly become more proficient at the piano.”

Today, Barnes is CEO at Innersound Studios, where he and his team produce music for the entertainment industry, from movies and TV shows to studio recordings. His professional credits including working closely with artists like Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Kenny Loggins, Julio Iglesias, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Ciara and of course Michael Jackson. In 1985, he lent his talents to the USA for Africa campaign, the collaboration of leading popular musicians that resulted in the famous “We Are the World” song and video.

“Music has been such a vital part of my own life,” adds Barnes, “and I want to say ‘thanks’ by giving back to the community. Supporting the campaign for Soft Mozart 2.0 allows me to do that. My hope is that Hellene Hiner’s remarkable software product begins a new era in music education for the masses.”

Funding for music education in public schools has sadly been on a steady decline, particularly since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. According to Department of Education data shared by the NAMM Foundation, 40 percent of U.S. high schools in 2010 did not have an arts requirement for graduation. The situation is especially unfortunate because research shows enormous value in music education.

Learning to read music and play an instrument well confers advantages that extend into every other academic disciple, while also teaching important personal and social skills. A New York Times feature story on high achieving individuals revealed music as common tread. Listening, focusing and collaborating were singled out as important skills that music strengthens.

The connection between music and math has been noted for some time – learning piano, for instance, can strengthen the kind of cognitive functions that are equally important in understanding mathematics. Put another way, both music and math are a type of abstract language – learning one smooths the path to learning another.

The Indiegogo campaign for Soft Mozart 2.0 launched on December 3 and will run for two months. The goal is to raise $500,000, which will go toward updating the software, creating mobile apps, generating awareness and hiring technical support, among other tasks.

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FinTech Sandbox Celebrates Success Of The Forbes FinTech 50

Seven Members of the Sandbox Community Receive Inaugural Honor from Forbes Magazine

FinTech Sandbox, a nonprofit that helps FinTech startups access data and build great products, today proudly recognizes that seven of its community members were recently named to the prestigious Forbes FinTech 50 list for 2015. The winners include four Sandbox residents who rely on critical financial data to build and back-test their FinTech solutions, and three data providers who have agreed to provide FinTech Sandbox residents with free access to financial data.

Forbes reporters compiled the FinTech 50 List of the most influential financial technology companies of 2015 based on feedback from 300 startups, 150 CEOs and founders, and independent industry experts. The following Forbes FinTech 50 winners are all members of the FinTech Sandbox community:

Quantopian: a crowd-sourced hedge fund that provides the world’s first browser-based algorithmic trading platform.

Kensho: combines big data and machine-learning techniques to analyze how real-world events affect markets.

EquityZen: connects shareholders of private companies with investors seeking alternative investments.

CircleUp: a crowdfunding site that connects creators of new consumer products with investors and potential distribution partners.

Xignite: the leading provider of market data cloud solutions.

Plaid: the API for banking data, provides tools for FinTech startups to link back and credit accounts and process transactions.

Estimize: an open financial estimates platform which facilitates the aggregation of fundamental estimates from independent analysts and consumer sentiment.

FinTech Sandbox facilitates free access to financial data and infrastructure for highly qualified FinTech startups. The Sandbox is an industry-lead organization that doesn’t require equity or fees from residents who are selected into the program. Instead, residents are expected to collaborate with each other in order to share learning and promote advances that benefit the entire FinTech ecosystem. The six-month program includes:

A robust set of data feeds and APIs from a wide array of data partners

Cloud hosting from industry-leading infrastructure partners

Membership in a vibrant, global FinTech community

“We are ecstatic that seven out of the Forbes FinTech 50 award winners are members of the Sandbox community,” said Jean Donnelly, executive director of FinTech Sandbox. “We’re very excited to see both startups and innovative partners who play a key part in the financial data ecosystem honored. Congratulations to all seven well-deserved Sandbox community members who made the Forbes Fintech 50 list.”

About FinTech Sandbox

FinTech Sandbox is a Boston-based nonprofit founded to promote financial technology innovation globally by providing free access to critical data and resources to FinTech entrepreneurs and startups. Sponsors include Fidelity Investments, F-Prime Capital, Thomson Reuters, Silicon Valley Bank, Amazon Web Services, Intel, SIX Financial Information, Goodwin Procter, and .406 Ventures.

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Over 700 Alternative Financing Resources For Businesses, Individuals And Charitable Causes Cataloged By The Kaplan Group

The searchable directory allows businesses, individuals and charitable causes to find the right alternative financing and crowdfunding resources from over 700 vendors

Over 700 providers of alternative financing and crowdfunding for businesses, consumers and charitable causes have been compiled into a searchable database by The Kaplan Group. Anyone seeking funding can create a custom list of potential sources based on the use, amount needed, and type of financing desired. This free resource is the largest list of alternative financing and crowdfunding sources anywhere and the only one searchable based on financing criteria.

The amount of alternative financing completed is more than doubling each year. From only $2 billion in 2012, the $34 billion projected for 2015 is more than venture capitalists are expected to invest this year. This market is expected to reach $300 billion by 2019 and the total addressable market exceeds $3 trillion.

This evolving market now caters to both businesses and consumers with excellent, mediocre or terrible credit. The search tool includes:

260 providers of business loans;

99 providers of consumer loans;

153 platforms for raising equity;

274 platforms for raising donations for charitable causes;

Eight different debt type products for businesses from four types of financing sources were identified. The interest rate or implied cost of funds ranges from as low as 5% to over 100% on some merchant cash advances. The tool makes it easy for a borrower to find multiple potential sources for the specific type of financing to then compare costs and other terms. Many providers have a 10 minute application process and an approval process that takes only two hours to two days.

The Kaplan Group, a commercial collection agency specializing in large claims, began receiving claims from alternative finance providers in 2013. “We quickly learned that there were new resources available for companies and individuals who needed financing. As we solved problems for our clients, we also saw the opportunity to connect other businesses with past due invoices to tap financial markets and get current on delinquent payables” says Dean Kaplan, President. “But, there was no easy way for people to find the best source with the lowest cost, which led us to creating this resource.”

The database includes crowdfunding, peer to peer lending, direct lenders and brokers from over 50 countries offering financing and donation raising services to a worldwide audience. To help people understand the various types of alternative financing, we have provided explanations, warnings and an implied interest rate calculator in our free report Alternative Financing Landscape.

About The Kaplan Group:

The Kaplan Group, Inc. is a commercial collection agency founded in 1991. Known in the industry as “The Large Claim Experts”, the company provides B2B debt collection services on a contingency basis throughout the USA for domestic and international clients. Dean Kaplan has completed over $500 million in transactions during his career and personally handles all large claims.

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Ringwill Releases The World’s First Flowchart Programming Electronic Development Platform

Targeting electronic developers with a non-technical background, Ringwill Inc. has released its first product Wikit – the world’s first flowchart programming electronic development platform based on visual IDE. It is intended to allow students, inventors, hobbyists and artists to make interactive projects without technical barriers.

“The debut of Wikit will transform the traditional electronic programming method. The key feature of Wikit is that it applies flowcharts to programming, which enables people who don’t have technical background the ability to engage in creative thinking,” said Jie Fu, co-founder of Ringwill.

Wikit is a tiny computer that users can program to process inputs and outputs going to and from the chip. A Wikit toolkit includes a USB powered Wikit board, consisting of a Lattice FPGA, flash, a crystal or oscillator and a linear voltage regulator as well as the Wikit IDE (Integrated Development Environment), a free software and app.

The Wikit IDE provides an interactive interface for users to program in flowchart form language that the Wikit understands as easy as drag and drop. Instructions can be downloaded to the Wikit board through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, then the Wikit board will carry out these instructions and interact with the outside world.

“The innovative flowchart programming provided by Wikit allows makers from various fields to participate in electronic design, liberate their creativity and experience the joy of inventing,” commented David Li, founder and CEO of Ardublock and Shanghai XINCHEJIAN fab-lab, as one of the first users of Wikit.

The Wikit board offers great expandability by exposing its FPGA’s I/O pins to enable users to connect those pins to other circuits or to sensors. A short list of supported circuits and sensors includes but is not limited to wireless buttons, wireless light sensors, touch buttons, moisture sensors, PIR motion sensors, RBG LEDs and noise sensors. Other functionalities of the Wikit board include 16 digital GPIOs, four 12 bit ADC channels running under a 200 KHz clock, 10+ GND and VCC pins, 5V-3.3V compatible IOS, built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, wireless programming and debugging, and 200 MHz execution speed.

The Wikit IDE supports a drag and drop programming style that help users avoid the burden of learning various programming languages. It also provides more than 20 examples to help users from beginner to expert level and offers built-in IO drivers to support I2C, CAN, SPI, UART, GPIO, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

With the help of detailed hardware connection guidance and self-testing function, users can get rid of any hardware trouble before programming, which greatly shortens development time and reduces debugging difficulty. The first version of Wikit IDE for iPad will be available on the App Store in near future.

The flowchart programming methodology lowers technical requirement for developers, therefore users without programming knowledge can be able to build a quick prototype on Wikit.

“Wikit is easy-to-use, modular and allows even non-technical people to understand and build hardware prototypes. It is also a vital tool for hardware startups that want to build and test quickly as speed is essential in the dynamic and competitive space of consumer electronics,” explained Ran Ma, founder and CEO of SIREN CARE.

Students in Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab and startups from Shanghai lab fab are incorporating Wikit as prototyping tool to create innovative solutions and test ideas. Wikit will launch user survey on Thunderclap as well as crowdfunding in near future.

About Ringwill

Established in 2015, Ringwill is a design house for start-ups and offers rapid prototyping solutions as well as mass production service. The company is currently based in Shanghai.

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Med-X, Inc. Launches Cannabis Industry’s First Regulation A+ Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

Company’s Products to Professionalize the Cannabis Industry by Keeping Medical-Grade, Unregulated Cannabis Safe from Pesticides, Mold and Other Harmful Substances

Med-X, Inc. (Med-X) today launched an equity crowdfunding initiative as the next phase in the company’s fundraising strategy. The company announced late last month that it had been qualified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell shares to the general public through the Regulation A+ equity crowdfunding initiative, making Med-X the first company in the cannabis industry to be qualified by the SEC for a public offering under these rules. The company will be offering anyone interested in embracing the rapidly emerging cannabis industry, expected to yield billions annually, the chance to reserve shares early.

Blazing the trail with research and development, agriculture, manufacturing and a media division, Med-X’s mission is to expand the medical and recreational cannabis industry by educating the community and developing products that are safe, effective and affordable. The company’s relationships in the medical and biochemistry fields give it the ability to position itself as a long-term player in the industry.

“We are offering this chance to reserve shares through an equity crowdfunding campaign to give all Americans the chance to be a part of a positive phase in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry,” said Dr. David Toomey, CEO of Med-X. “We see tremendous growth potential for the industry at large with both medical and recreational users, as well as a tremendous need for products that the public can trust not to be contaminated with pesticides, mold, or other problematic substances.”

In February 2015, Med-X opened its first patient cooperative to cultivate 100% natural and organically grown medical cannabis for its research and development program. Med-X’s management team recognized a huge need to bring safe, medical-grade cannabis to the medical community that is free of pesticides, mold and other harmful substances. Medical cannabis dispensaries in California remain unregulated for the most part, despite cannabis’ use as a holistic alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. As more states legalize medical and recreational cannabis, cultivation centers are likely to face mandated product testing for potency and contaminants and, as a result, many will subsequently be forced to close if they aren’t complying.

Med-X’s Nature-Cide product was created to solve the pesticide problem with all natural green solutions and is one of the first to market. Nature-Cide All Purpose Insecticide has been tested safe for cannabis cultivation, is EPA Registered nationally with the states which require registration and has been approved by the Colorado Department of Agriculture for use in cannabis cultivation.

Individuals interested in learning more about the opportunity to reserve shares in Med-X can visit StartEngine.com. Med-X will be one of the first ten companies utilizing StartEngine.com.

SEC Disclaimer

AN OFFERING STATEMENT REGARDING THIS OFFERING HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE SEC. THE SEC HAS QUALIFIED THAT OFFERING STATEMENT, WHICH ONLY MEANS THAT THE COMPANY MAY MAKE SALES OF THE SECURITIES DESCRIBED BY THE OFFERING STATEMENT. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE SEC HAS APPROVED, PASSED UPON THE MERITS OR PASSED UPON THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INFORMATION IN THE OFFERING STATEMENT. YOU MAY OBTAIN A COPY OF THE OFFERING CIRCULAR THAT IS PART OF THAT OFFERING STATEMENT FROM:

MED-X, INC. 8326 REMMET AVENUE CANOGA PARK, CA 91304
YOU SHOULD READ THE OFFERING CIRCULAR BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT.

About Med-X, Inc.

Med-X, Inc. is a Nevada corporation formed in February 2014 to cultivate and support the fast paced emerging cannabis industry through such activities as compound identification and extraction of the identified cannabidiol (CBD) compounds for the present medical industry demand. The company also plans to create and publish high quality cannabis industry media content through the company’s online media platform, marijuanatimes.org to generate revenue from advertisers as well as sell industry related merchandise to patients and consumers. The company is also gearing up to supply products to the cannabis agricultural and provisioning industries through manufacturing partnerships.

About StartEngine Crowdfunding, Inc.

StartEngine is the premier equity crowdfunding platform, connecting entrepreneurs and aspiring investors with tomorrow’s progressive companies. Based in Los Angeles, the company was created in 2013 by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Ron Miller. StartEngine aims to revolutionize the startup business model by helping individuals invest in private companies on a public platform for the first time in history, thereby helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements regarding projected business performance, operating results, financial condition and other aspects of the company, expressed by such language as “expected,” “anticipated,” “projected” and “forecasted.” Please be advised that such statements are estimates only and there is no assurance that the results stated or implied by forward-looking statements will actually be realized by the company. Forward-looking statements may be based on management assumptions that prove to be wrong. The company and its business are subject to substantial risks and potential events beyond its control that would cause material differences between predicted results and actual results, including the company incurring operating losses and experiencing unexpected material adverse events.

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High-Tech Tinsel Brings Good Tidings

Inventor’s Epiphany Inspires Internet-Connected Christmas Tree Ornament

Legend has it that the tradition of the Christmas tree began in Latvia in the year 1510. Today about 40 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S., and double that amount worldwide.

But the humble tree has not changed much in the past 500 years; that is, until now, with the introduction of Jolly, the world’s first smart connected Christmas tree ornament.

Barton Listick, Jolly’s inventor, explains that, “A few months ago while working on a different gadget project, my thoughts drifted to Christmas, and I realized in a flash that a Christmas tree ornament, using today’s tiny technology and an Internet connection, could bring new fun and interactivity to the age-old Christmas tree. I immediately dropped my other project and set out to build that ornament.”

The resulting product is called Jolly, and is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo (igg.me/at/jolly).

Jolly automatically brings a variety of holiday-themed entertainment into the home throughout the season, including a Christmas calendar countdown, Santa tracker, Bible verses, personalized animations, and photos of family and friends from photo sites, phones and social networks. All features are easily configured using the Jolly app on an iPhone or Android.

“Imagine receiving holiday greetings from friends and family displayed right on your tree,”
says Listick. “We’ve dubbed that feature ‘tree mail,’ and it’s just one of the crazy but fun possibilities that this new ornament makes possible.”

For more information, please visit getjollynow.com.

ABOUT BARTON LISTICK:

Over the past 25 years, Barton and his team at Trylonix Corp. have developed and launched many top-selling and award-winning products for families and children, including JumpStart (the educational game series with many millions of copies sold), Stride Academy (an online adaptive K12 learning system currently serving hundreds of thousands of students), and the My Reward Board children’s motivational program.

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Manulife Awards $10,000 At FinTech Hackathon

Winning idea looks to reward customers for good banking habits

Manulife hosted its first public hackathon on Dec. 1 and 2, a 48-hour event held at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, involving employees and members of the local tech community, working together to develop innovative financial technology concepts.

The event, called Unleash Toronto: From Paper to Prototype began with an initial brainstorming of 61 concepts by aspiring hackers, which was narrowed down to 11 best concepts. The first place team, which goes by the name 7 Deadly Hacks, received $10,000 and will be awarded a reception with Manulife senior leaders and strategic sessions with Manulife’s Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT), a new innovation hub for Manulife. The team’s core idea is to reward Manulife Bank customers for their positive financial habits.

“We plan to take the energy and ideas from Unleash Toronto to feed ongoing development of our next generation of products,” said Unleash Toronto judge, Tim Ramza, Manulife’s Chief Innovation Officer. “By hosting events like the hackathon, we engage our global employee base to deliver solutions that deeply resonate with the evolving needs of our customers.”

Other judges included Warren Thomson, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Manulife and Chairman of Manulife Asset Management; Steve Roder, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Rahim Hirji, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer; Kai Sotorp, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Wealth and Asset Management; Tim Ramza, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer; Stephani Kingsmill, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Communications; Sebastian Blandizzi, Senior Vice President, Global Solutions Delivery and Chief Information Officer, Investment Division; Paul Lorentz, Senior Vice President, Investment Products; and John Palmer, Board Director.

Throughout the 48 hours, participants pitched, built and refined new business offerings, products and services to answer the following question: How might we help our customers reimagine and redefine what it means to invest with Manulife, utilizing new business models, channels and technology? Unleash Toronto brought together 140 participants, including public innovators, Manulife employees from Canada, Asia, Europe and the U.S. (where Manulife operates as John Hancock).

“We want to be an organization that is disruptive and forward-thinking,” Joseph Cooper, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Global Services, Manulife. “Through LOFT events like this, we’re building upon that culture and spirit internally.”

Other concepts prototyped at the hackathon included developing a virtual personal assistant, a crowdfunding website, an app for millennials to “swipe right” for investment opportunities, and a product that marries virtual reality with financial services.

Manulife’s Toronto location for its Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) is located in MaRS Discovery District’s FinTech Cluster – the largest of its kind in Canada. Centered on innovation, the tangible LOFT spaces provide a platform for employees across the company to collaborate and devise new technological solutions for Manulife’s various wealth and asset management, and insurance business lines.

Manulife opened a LOFT site in Boston in July 2015, and there are plans to expand its innovation network to Singapore. In 2014, Manulife launched another innovation hub in Waterloo Region’s Communitech Hub called RED Lab.

Manulife’s LOFT can be found at @InnovateForward on Instagram, Twitter and Periscope.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2014, we had 28,000 employees, 58,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers. At the end of September 2015, we had $888 billion (US$663 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $23 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.

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