Archive

Archive for March, 2009

The Paul Oakenfold Goa Mix

March 16, 2009 1 comment

For anyone who has ever appreciated Goa trance music, there are moments that make you say wow. One such moment happened to me this weekend, when I listened to the Essential Mix dubbed the “Goa Mix.” This was broadcast on 18 December 1994 on Radio One in the UK, and became the most requested rebroadcast ever. Listening to it, one can understand why exactly. Paul Oakenfold created a timeless classic.

Goa trance is the precursor to modern psychedelic trance. The beats are somewhat slower, sound more melodic and chunky. Often there are live instruments in the recording, or a wider range than in psytrance. The whole sound is very different. I’ve been a fan of both genre’s now for many years, but only in the last few months have I begun to understand just what I missed in Goa. It’s music to take you on a mental exploration trip. It’s tough to get hold of some of the records now, but it won’t stop me from trying. Man with No Name, Cosmosis, Juno Reactor, Hallucinogen, Astral Projection and others shaped a movement that enlightened me many years later.

Getting back to the mix, this was in the days before Oakenfold was a superstar and moved into commercial trance. He also mixed an album for Dragonfly Records, A Voyage into Trance, which is another classic in its genre.  The mix starts off slow, but with plenty of vocals, piano riffs and moderate pace, before a vocal interlude changes everything. Suddenly it gets dark and moody, full of the acid noises trance is famous for. It really is a marvel to listen to. As the mix goes on, it goes deeper into that, before lightening up again after the hour mark. After some more chunky dancing type of music, it goes back into Goa heaven, but not perhaps as dark as the first half. There is a wide range of movie extracts in the mix, as added vocals and filler for a quick breaks. The whole experience can be called cinematic, ahead of its time.

The amazing thing is that this mix still is as fresh as the day it was made. I dare say, it stands heads above what most current dj’s can offer. The music hasn’t aged a day, and I think this mix could be a floor killer still. I find it sad that Goa died down, as psytrance sometimes doesn’t have the same quality to it. It can be quite similar between artists, and while the beat is more dance orientated, it doesn’t quite take you on that same trip.

The mix can be hard to get hold of, but if you can, listen to it and wonder at the greatness of it. I just wish there could be a movement back to classic Goa, a sort of return to the source. One can hope 🙂

Measuring disk space usage graphically

One very useful tool I’ve made use of quite a bit since I discovered it is JDiskReport. It’s a small program written in Java that runs on multiple platforms. It’s purpose is to scan a drive/folder and prepare a graphical output of how much space files or folders are consuming. It can also tell you the top 50 biggest files on your disk/in your folder, as well as provide an age breakdown on the files. These is also a very handy graph that shows how much space different file types are taking up, e.g. Word .doc files take up 20MB in that folder.

It can often reveal suprising amounts of disk space being wasted on your computer, and it becomes even more handy on a network, where its simple graphs can do more to drive a point home than a written memo. I recently scanned the pupil and staff drives at my new job, and it brought to light people who were storing huge amounts of data in their personal folders. It also unearthed games and other things students were not supposed to have.

You can download the tool here: http://www.jgoodies.com/downloads/index.html

Clonezilla

March 8, 2009 1 comment

I first heard about the Clonezilla project a while ago, while doing research into cloning/backup software. I never got a chance to do more with it besides learn the name, until recently that is. I got hold of a copy of the Live edition a week or so ago, and have been experimenting with it, learning how to use it and so on. There are 2 editions, the previously mentioned Live edition, and a server edition that is for large scale deployments ala Symantec Ghost Corporate. Both editions are completely open source, released under the GPL.

My main reason that I ended up playing with Clonezilla was to try and backup as well as clone a Smoothwall Linux firewall, which I had not been able to do with either Ghost or Acronis True Image. With either of those programs, after a clone or a restoration of the backed up image, the LILO boot loader would hang, and despite seeing some solutions on the net, I couldn’t get it working again. Clonezilla is basically a live Linux based utility, so I had hopes that it could do a better job than the commercial programs.

Using Clonezilla wasn’t all that hard, but I have to state flat out that the interface is basically text mode only. While it works and is functional, it is also terribly spartan, and can be confusing at times. I don’t know if this was intentional in the design or what, but this is where True Image takes the cake for ease of use. However, the plus side is that I was successfully able to clone and back up the Smoothwall, and I tested this by erasing the hard drive before restore, as well as restoring to a bigger hard drive. Even more impressive, the program was able to store the back up to a NTFS formatted drive, which is pretty much the norm if you work in a Windows world. Clonezilla is also supposed to be able to back up and clone NTFS drives, though I have not tested this myself yet.

Next on my list is to test out the server edition, and learn how to use that. That is a pretty complex system to set up, and you need a computer running Linux for the server, but that is a small price to pay. If I can get it properly set up, I will no longer need to use Symantec Ghost Corp in the future, which is a good thing, as Ghost only recognises certain file systems, whereas Clonezilla can do anything. It offers the same multicasting facillity, which works like a charm when doing more than one pc at a time.

Overall, if you a network admin or a pc tech that needs a good tool to back up data, you may want to look into it. The Live CD interface is ugly yet functional, which is what counts I guess. The server edition can save you license costs in a school or small business environment, all you need is some patience to set it up and test it out. Along with the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, this is one tool I suggest every tech keeps in their cd wallet.

Check out http://www.clonezilla.org for more information and to donwload some software.