On July/08/2008, Toshiba had invited us to get our hands on their student geared line up of TV’s and laptops. Taken into consideration is the Video Game lifestyle of today’s student aged culture. More primary on showcase was the Toshiba Qosmio X300 gaming lap top and the new Toshiba Regza LCD TV’s with specific “Video Game” modes.
Toshiba Qosmio X300 – Flirting at a suggested retail price of $1 999, this behemoth of a laptop delivers on the promises of a “Video Gaming”- centric laptop computer. Even though portable, the laptop is slightly more bulky than other offerings out there, but definitely makes up for it in gaming power.
The games running that were on display were Call of Juarez and Rainbow Six Vegas for Windows PC. Both games ran smoothly on the machine with ease at close to 1080p resolution on screen with a built in NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GTS graphics card. The X300 has also provided simple integrated output options for easy connectivity to your LCD TV so that your computer can double as a console (that easily competes with current Next-Gen systems albeit at a much higher price) to be enjoyed on a bigger screen.
If you wish to play directly from the laptop screen, Toshiba has ensured that you won’t be losing anything when it comes to sound. The X300 comes equipped with renowned Harmon Kardon speakers. Built in are 4 speakers and a subwoofer strategically placed to provide surround sound whenever playing on the go.
Significantly absent is a Blu-Ray drive to take advantage of the hardware to watch Hi-Def movies either on the computer itself or when attached to a High Definition television. It is understandable as explained to me, that Tohsiba, which was the major backer of HD DVD format, lost the format war to Blu-Ray only recently while this product was in the pipeline. Future consideration will be made in potential iterations of the model.
The unique exterior design of the computer (red flames etched on the computer itself) is something left to be desired but it’s all subjective. Unfortunately this model specifically does not have any alternative designs available. As with all new Qosmio computers on display that day, included is face recognition software that is used as a sign on when using the Vista OS.
Regza XF Series – To further compliment the X300 as well as the Video Gaming culture, Toshiba has shown off the their Regza XF series of LCD televisions. Included is “Video Game” mode where the feature eliminates any lag time between commands made on the control pad on whatever system to translate onto screen quicker without any significant changes to the display.
These new televisions have also included HDMI CEC. As mentioned, most new Toshiba lap tops on display have incorporated HDMI output to your television. When connected to your Regza televisons and with Vista Media center loaded on your laptop, the user will now be able to control your television interface directly from your computer.
Further improvements to their line of televisions include an increased attention to environmental responsibility with the usage of fewer parts in production which translates into decreased weight and disassembly time, as well overall lower power consumption. The new line also sports a slimmer border around the screen that provides the consumer with the same screen size at a lesser space consumption for the living room.
Regza televisions come in 32-inch, 37-inch, 42-inch, 46-inch and 52-inch models.
After 14 years, the World Electronic Music Festival (WEMF) is coming to an end. The 2008 edition of North America’s largest and longest running festival of its kind is returning to its roots with a massive three-day, two-night outdoor party that will welcome back many of the top DJs and electronic music stars who got their start at the legendary music fest. “Having been a rite of passage for a generation of fans, musicians and party people, WEMF has come full circle for its epic conclusion,” says co-promoter Jesse Brown.
“WEMF was the first successful multi-day electronic event in North America,” says founder and DJ Ryan Kruger, “and its longevity has proven that the music we love was never just a fad but rather a way of life for a large part of our generation and those that came after.” While Kruger says recent WEMF’s have seen close to 5000 people gathering to party, this year’s final WEMF saw 1000 “super early bird” tickets sell out within a single day—even before any information had been released about the line-up of acts.
The astonishing 200+ acts now announced for the festival are a mix of exciting new talent and longtime WEMF favourites, many of whom returning for the first time in years. The major headliners include:
Christopher Lawrence, an American DJ ranked #4 in the world on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 in 2006, describes his sound as “underground progressive house and techno trance with a groove.” He last appeared at WEMF in 2002.
Andy C, a UK icon crowned Best DJ by Drum & Bass Arena for the 7th successive year (a record) and named as one of the top ten “ultimate power” club figures by dance music bible Mixmag. New to WEMF, he’ll be working the crowd with a stunning three-hour set on three decks.
Max Graham, an Ottawa native who hasn’t played WEMF since 2001. He combines pure house music and promises “a roller coaster ride of funky basslines, energetic rhythms and uplifting melodies.”
Freq Nasty, a UK breakbeat innovator who’s become a legendary presence at music festivals around the world, notably Burning Man. Arriving to play his first WEMF, his reggae-tinged sound carves radical aural geometry out of uncut bassline material.
There will be many other performers making their debut at this final festival—exciting acts like Toronto favourites Manzone and Strong, trance legend Stoneface and 102.1 The Edge chart-favourites USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers)—but what will really make this last WEMF a historic weekend is the return of some veteran performers and crowd favourites, like:
OS/2 and Mystical Influence, who’ve both played all 14 years
Mark EG and Chris Liberator, regarded as “WEMF legends”
Anabolic Frolic, who publicly vowed six years ago never to play the festival again
Jelo, who got his start at the third event
Mickey Finn, not seen at WEMF since 1999
Dr. Trance, a rave pioneer now coming out of retirement for one last classic set
Arguably the most dazzling comeback at WEMF will be that of Steve Towers, part owner of Sound Academy (formerly The Docks) and owner of Towers Productions. He’ll be building the incredible stages this year, long after getting his start working on the very first WEMF in 1995. Towers promises a spectacular, over-the-top concert setting, featuring massive lighting, sound and robotic arms that has never done on this scale before in WEMF history and that would rival the Virgin Festival.
Four spectacular stages, over 200 performers and thousands of fans camping out for three days will need a whole lot of space. The promoters have found it in Madawaska, Ontario—a farm town just south of Algonquin Park. Like in its classic beginnings, the festival’s exact site will remain secret until a week beforehand. Promoter Jesse Brown says, “Being the final WEMF, we wanted to take it back outdoors to the type of site that made WEMF famous—a scenic location with ample space for parking, camping and the biggest party of its kind in Canada…a completely outdoor experience, literally in the middle of nowhere!”
Kruger says the best part is the give and take: while the festival enjoys a large, safe and secure environment with woods and a beach, Madawaska will gain from $750,000 to $1 million in economic benefit from the thousands of educated and enthusiastic 18-34 year old music lovers visiting from all over Canada and the US. This final festival, says Brown, will be a weekend to remember: “Camping, dancing, enjoying the company of friends and the music that brings us all together!” There’s nothing else like it, says Kruger: “The energy is electric!”
Why stop now?
After 14 years we felt it was time to move on to a new challenge. WEMF was the first successful multi-day electronic event in North America and with its longevity has proven that the music we love was never just a fad but rather a way of life for a large part of our generation and those that came after. I think we’ve accomplished what we set out to do and now its time to focus on other projects – many of which also involve music, festivals and changing the way people perceive the world around them!
What is taken into consideration when booking the artists/DJs?
This one is all about us! We chose the acts that we like and combined them with hundreds of names from the past 13 years. If nothing else its going to be the best weekend of music I’ve ever produced!
Most memorable moment over the first thirteen years?
At our first event at around midnight on the first night a tornado ripped through the area destroying the circus tents and flattening the sound system. We were obviously devastated and figured our lives were over but come Saturday morning our sound people had put enough equipment back together to get one stage going. This fact went out on the Toronto radio stations and people flooded into the event. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and established the event as a thing of legend in many minds!
Memorable character who sets themselves apart from all others.
This has to be Mark EG. The man is a ball of non stop energy on stage and leaves a path of destruction behind him. Likely most famous in Canada for cracking his head open while smashing a turntable over head at WEMF in Sauble Beach he is usually found jumping on the decks, biting records in half, screaming insults at the crowd while giving them the finger.
Best Steve Towers story.
Haha – he will kill me because he hasn’t had a drink in more than a decade but the WEMF on Christian Island saw him have quite a few and at some point on Sunday morning he decided to see exactly what the main sound system would do – he cranked up the legendary S4 Wall of Sound and managed to blow 90% of the speakers! I don’t think he was the most popular guy in the office the next week but he likely just blamed me!
What did it take to get Dr. Trance out of retirement?
There is a long term WEMF trivia question that asks who has played every event. The answer used to be myself (OS/2), Mystical Influence and Dr. Trance. Since his retirement 3 years ago it just been the two of. All I had to do was remind him of his importance to the event and the amount of people that had asked to see him one last time! Who could resist being part of history?
We started the Cutting Edge Music Festival (www.cemf.com) a few years ago. Its a four day camping festival in Grand Bend. While its focus is cutting edge rock, we have added a dance element as well. Our goal is to see it grow into the Coachella of Canada one day!
Akon – Sean Paul – Wyclef Jean
Thursday, July 10th
At The Molson Ampitheatre
Tickets available at:
Molson Ampitheatre Box Office
All Ticketmaster Outlets
Call 416-870-8000 to charge by phone
Order online at livenation.com or ticketmaster.ca
The winner gets a pair of tix @ ‘Will Call’
There were several reasons why I chose Atlanta over other cities in the US. Other than the fact that I have a lot of support in ATL from fans, I’m working with Vip Nightlife and Elev8 Entertainent one of the biggest promoters here in conjunction with AG Entertainment. AG owns several of the major clubs in Atlanta and sets the trend in upscale nightclubs. Atlanta is also home to major producers, hip hop artists, celebrities, and athletes. I work with a lot of them, so being here makes it much more accessible to do mixtapes, interviews for my radio shows and produce for them.
Was it difficult to obtain a resident/work visa?
Not at all. I got a P-2 visa which took 2 weeks for me to get.
Tell us about your house?
I got a beautiful 3 bedroom house in a city called Stockbridge. My neighbours are Slim from 112, T.I. and Monica. When are you guys gonna visit?!
Will you be working with the same team in Canada while based in Atlanta?
While I’m out in the US, I’ll still be with The Substance Group and Foundation Creative Group. With the internet, I don’t need them to be with me at all times.
When and where are you booked? Residency? Describe the crowd, vibe as opposed to Toronto.
My residencies are at Dreamz on Fridays, Velvet Room on Saturdays and the W Hotel on Mondays. The nights are primarily mash-ups, top 40 and electro music. These nights don’t differ too much from the nights I’ve been doing in Toronto, but when I start the Urban nights in ATL on Sundays, it’s nothing but dirty south music which is totally different in Toronto.
What is your first special project in the US?
I already confirmed doing a mixtape with Akon and also Bow Wow! The list is about to get bigger and I just got here 4 days ago.
Message to Canada…
I just wanna thank everyone for coming out to my going away party, and the rest of my supporters!..thank you Peace mag!! And big shouts to the Substance Group, Foundation, 4D events, VIP night life, Elev8 Ent, AG Ent, Soundmind, Real Mark Inc, XM, League Crew and Violator DJs!!
Holla at me
In the current age of gaming with multi-million dollar production budgets, life like graphics, and increased finger dexterity, it’s hard to imagine where PC gaming has evolved from in the last 30 years. Powerhouses like Commodore and Atari were at the forefront of the market, and games like Kings Quest and Karateka were groundbreaking at the time. Though you’ll be hard pressed to find the now simple game play and dated graphics in the pipeline for any system, good PC games from any era still do what they were meant to do: entertain.
On June 23rd 2008, Games for Windows presented Evolution: 30 years of PC gaming. It was a perfect display of the dramatic difference in PC gaming from then to now. From Space Invaders on the Commodore PET via cassette tape to Gears of War on a souped-up Windows PC and HD display.
The classic personal computers and the games that were on display were still not without its charm. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as a text only game immersed yourself in an interactive novel and let your imagination produce the graphics. Choplifter added that extra element to “shoot’em ups” by having to rescue POWs in enemy territory. Rampage was one of the first games to come out where it gave you the satisfaction of being the bad guy: a monster destroying everything in sight and eating innocent bystanders. Half-life and Quake were defining moments in what is now the ever so popular first person shooter genre. Ms. Pac Man….well….is Ms. Pac man.
To see the evolution of PC gaming on display, you can’t help but wonder where do video games go from here? Gaming body suit controllers that reacts to every muscle reflex? Fully interactive games that would involve all your senses? Or systems that tap directly into your brain? As far fetched as those ideas may seem, at the pace video games evolve at, who knows, maybe…
Sean Capisonda for consolecreatures.com