Lotus + Raptor + Studio = Psi(Awesome)

..and the Mellotron unraveled
Creative Commons License photo credit: zyphichore

What a week; Perth was recently graced with the third coming of Opeth, my new laptop arrived and I finally laid claim to my very own Velociraptor. So, before these words start clambering over one another in a furious rush to the front of the sentence, here is a synopsis for your easy viewing pleasure.

Opeth

A most fantastic performance by both the old and new members of the band. Their deliverance (no pun! honest!) was impeccable and the raw emotion of the concert was tantalising. Åkerfeldt sported a Conan the Barbarian shirt which brought a smile to my face. In quite a few interviews he has mentioned his love for games, and while im not dissilusioned enough to think he plays Age of Conan, it was still a connecting moment. Their setlist pretty much covered the “biggest” songs from each of their albums; when you have 9 albums with average song lengths of 9:23 it is hard to have good coverage in just two hours. However, it really made my day to hear Serenity Painted Death and Master’s Apprentice live, not to mention my regular favourites: Demon of the Fall, Baying of the Hounds, and Deliverance.

As always, Åkerfeld’s banter between songs was priceless and the audience really felt welcomed (except the lady with the shoe who was carted off from the D at the beginning of the concert). We got a reprise of the “Guess this riff” game that kept us entertained during the power outage in 2006, but the main feeling of the show was that of celebration; a touching testament to fantastic music. The setlist was as follows:

Heir Apparent
Master’s Apprentice
Baying of the Hounds
Serenity Painted Death
To Rid the Disease
The Lotus Eater
Bleak
Night and the Silent Water
Deliverance
Demon of the Fall
Encore: The Drapery Falls

The warmup band, Virgin Black, were another story. Once you got past the female guitarist’s epilleptic headbanging in reubato, and if you ignore the fact that the entire concert was predominantly pre-recorded and dubbed, their resulting sound is a handy segue to my next point. For a similar sound could in fact be procured from 3 velociraptors bathed in mascara and set loose in a steamworks factory. Scratch, hiss, cry; and so was borne Raptor Metal!

Western Digital's Velociraptor

Western Digital released their newest 10000rpm drive not long ago, and I finally worked up the courage (read: money) to purchase one. With 16mb of cache, my 300gb drive was immediately loaded with Vista x64 and the result is nothing short of jawbreaking. I recorded the startup time of vista on a standard 300gb 5400rpm drive as comparison (which will soon make its way to youtube) and the difference is simply night and day. While installing updates, I picked up my book after hitting the Restart button. No sooner had I found my place on the page that windows was chiming for my attention. It was done and wanted to know if I was happy with the change in my Dolby output. The drive itself is only 2.5″ mounted inside a 3.5″ heatsink and is currently residing in a modified floppy disk drive bay that looks like it could have been the work of McGuyver. Looks aside, this thing is the harbinger of my doom, because I never want to buy a filthy “Common” drive again. And so it was said, and so it was done.

Dell's new Studio 15 laptop

What does look sexy, however is the new Studio 15 laptop from Dell. I recently lost my laptop to careless hotel staff in Thailand, and needed a cheap replacement fast. I chose the Studio 15 for its size and weight, and its increadible value for money. The system set me back less than $1900 AUD and has a WLED 1400×900 lcd, backlit keyboard, 4gb ram and a 7200rpm drive. I have only just got it up and running with Vista x64, but already it is promising to be a fantastic unit. Expect a full review in the next week, after I have spent some time getting a feel for it. First impressions, though; it feels amazingly solid! Build quality like this has been sorely missing from too much these past couple of years. Each generation of DAP feels more like a Happy Meal toy than the last, and RMA’s are becoming far too frequent. The Studio 15 feels like it will stand resolute by your side through nuclear winter and out the other side.