The podcast should be working again…

The past few days, I’ve been working tirelessly to get the podcast back up. There have been a number of changes. The first is podpress is gone forever. I discovered this podcasting service called Blubrry PowerPress, and it seems to be way more stable and functional. It took forever because I had to modify every podcast that’s ever been posted since the import from podpress didn’t work. Also, I added ID3 tagging to all the posts so artwork shows up now. There are still some issues to work out. First, in order to add a podcast description, our webserver needs to be upgraded to php5. Not sure why, but I’m working on getting that done soon hopefully. Also, I’m working on updating the artwork for the iTunes store and for the ID3 tagging. We’ll see how that goes. Please use the “contact” link to report any issues you might have.

WordPress 3.0 upgrade broke the MTPB podcast…

Unfortunately, the WordPress 3.0 upgrade has broken quite a few things on the site including podpress, which is the plugin I use to post MTPB. I’ve been working on it for a while now and I can’t figure it out, and since this version of WordPress hasn’t been out for very long, there isn’t really any information out there on this problem. I’ll likely have to figure out a way to downgrade to the previous version. I have Soundwave practice tomorrow so it will likely stay broken through Thursday or Friday depending on how long it takes me to fix it. I’ve got the new MTPB podcast ready to post too! Please pray for me that I’ll find a fix quick.

Soundwave recording new album

This past weekend, Soundwave came together at my new place to record two new songs, and we got quite a bit done. I still have a lot of mixing to do, but the new studio is definitely helping. Check out the pics below:

On a side note, the piano was tuned last week, and I’ve got the next podcast recorded. I’m a bit rusty so it’s taking me longer than normal to edit, but I hope to finish it tonight. Stay tuned!

Something so inspiring to me…

I decided to go look at my podcast on the iTunes Store, and found some truly awesome “Customer Reviews”. They make my heart ache with the desire to record another podcast. Fortunately, we close on our new home a week from today so the next podcast should be coming soon.

We’re moving!

It’s not to another country or anything like that. Things are bad, but they’re not that bad yet. 😉 We’re just moving across the street to Buda. I probably should have blogged about this sooner but life has been full speed ahead! Since my last post, we’ve completely transformed this house into a new home staged beautifully. There have been a dozen people in and out of it helping us. We’ve got it listed for sale, packed up half of our stuff in boxes, and still have more to go. Somehow, I found time for a local Huey Lewis cover gig. We had a 10-piece band – there were 4 singers, two of which were the electric guitarist and drummer with an electronic pad, trombone, trumpet, and sax players, an organist with an old 60’s B3 and Leslie cabinet (beautiful sound), bass player,and myself with every synth sound I could hear in Huey’s songs. We performed for Valentines Day, and had a really great time. At work, we brought hundreds of servers into production in our new datacenter in San Antonio. It’s our primary datacenter supporting AT&T Wi-Fi Services. It’s huge, and I’m responsible for the network – lots and lots of pressure. 🙁 Yoko had her yearly Okinawa Tomonokai event in Downtown Austin where hundreds of people go experience traditional Okinawan food and dance. I also got to serve with Soundwave at a wonderful church in Bastrop, TX this morning. We had a great time – lots of similarities to my home church. I would have most certainly fit the podcast in if my piano were tuned. I’ve held off since it’ll need to be tuned after the move, which should be the beginning of April. In the new home, I’m going to turn a room into a studio where the piano will reside so recording podcasts will be so much easier. The new piano will just have to wait for now.

Below you’ll find a video I took of Sanban a while back on my iPhone, and I just had to share it.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next podcast. The next one will be recorded in our new home – stay tuned!

Piano out of tune…

I sat down at the piano last week ready to record the next podcast, and due to all the cold weather, it’s really caused my piano to get out of tune so 10 minutes into recording, I decided to wait until the piano gets tuned. It has been extremely busy at work the past couple of months because we are moving our datacenter to San Antonio and I’ve been put in charge of bringing up the network which is pretty complex so I’ve put in probably over 150 hours this week and last working and driving back and forth to San Antonio. I actually have to go in today to wrap some stuff up before Monday so I’m afraid that the podcast has been postponed yet again. I hope the archives can provide enough music for prayer in the interim. God bless.

Over a month and no podcast? Here’s why:

The past few weekends have been non-stop family and Soundwave. We had the “Night of Worship” on the 21st of November which encompassed a day of practice, Thanksgiving with the family the following weekend, two entire weekends of Soundwave recording, mixing, and mastering here in the studio after that, and I’ll be out in Sonora, TX hunting at the deer lease with dad and all my brothers this weekend. My goal is to take down the buck I passed on last season. (see last year’s blog and Youtube video) I’ll try and send out some tweets about the hunting experience if I can get online. The best part of it is going to be chillin’ with all my bros, David, Adam, and Josh for the first time in a very long time.

Here’s the song we recorded. Jeremy wrote it for the DCYC event we’ll be serving an entire weekend at in late January. It is going to be awesome!

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

New way of recording the podcast

I mentioned in the last podcast that I would blog about the new method of recording used in the last podcast. Instead of the Roland R-09HR, I used a balanced pair of Rode NT5’s with the Apogee Duet as an audio interface. The results were pretty surprising. Normally the EQ I use will have massive peaks and valleys throughout, but with the NT5’s, very little EQ or anything else for that matter was needed.

This is a good shot from the front. You can see the XY pattern used.

NT5_XY_Pattern

This shows the XY pattern from the back, and the placement inside the piano. I actually used Westone in-ear monitors, which completely block out any sound and listened to what the mics picked up using various positions over the piano strings and soundboard. This is what I came up with.

XY_Pattern_Back

Here’s the MacBook Pro running Logic Studio 9 with the Apogee Duet ready to go. This thing is so quiet!

MBPro&Apogee_Duet

A shot of the whole setup.

NT5_Full_view

Because of Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll be taking this week off from the podcast to spend some time with the family. Next Saturday, Soundwave is going to record one of our new songs here at the Maestro Music studio, but I’ll try to get another podcast recorded next Sunday after church. Happy Thanksgiving!

Soundwave makes it in the top 25 again!

DSCF0542 [1280x768]

We did it again! With your support, we would love the chance to become #1 this year in the Austin Artist Showcase. Please check out the song we submitted, and vote for us – we would sincerely appreciate it!

http://www.theriver1023.com/pages/riverpages.html?feed=139053&article=6240204

On a side note – I recorded the podcast on Monday, but have been having issues with my Mac so I’m still trying to get it edited and mastered. Sorry for the delay.

First weekend back in the mix

This was one very busy Soundwave weekend. It started with shopping for “Soundwave” clothes on Friday night, a long practice and a photo shoot on Saturday, and a show right after church on Sunday. Each evening, I was left too exhausted to record a new podcast. I’m going to try and give it a shot this evening. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that after the big exam, I’d go back to weekly podcasts but I’ve decided to shoot for every other week for a number of reasons. I think this will help each podcast to be more unique and creative. Stay tuned for podcast #34!

Praise God! I got it! CCIE#25612!

CCIERouting_and_Switching_UseLogoThanks to everyone for their support. Below is the story of my journey I posted on one of the CCIE study groups I followed for years while preparing:

My journey began a little over 5 years ago. I had already obtained some Cisco professional level certs and figured the CCIE couldn’t be much harder so I booked a lab and a bootcamp with IPexpert. I had some experience, but nowhere near the skills necessary for a CCIE candidate, which I realized the first day of Scott Morris’s bootcamp back in 2005. That was back when ATM and ISDN were still on the exam. At any rate, I barely made it through layer 2, and got stuck on layer 3. I knew I didn’t have a chance.

3 years later after gaining some valuable experience on the job, and putting together a lab of 7x 2811’s, 5x 2600 series (2 of them XM’s), 3x 3560’s, and a 3550, I started hitting the books. I purchased the IPexpert Blended Learning Solution, and worked through all 3 volumes (Volume 1 I worked through twice), watched the videos and listened to the audio throughout my study time, and read the following Cisco Press books:

Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide

CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheets

Routing TCP/IP, Volumes 1 and 2

Internet Routing Architectures

CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide

Developing IP Multicast Networks

I started studying on a regular basis after I passed the written back in October of 2008, but really started hitting it hard the day they announced the change and I scheduled my lab date. For the OEQ’s, I used the IPexpert as well as the Internetwork Expert Core Knowledge sims. I’ve studied for more than 500 hours since May. I put everything on hold – the band, my “music to pray by” blog (http://musictoprayby.com), and my wife and 1 year old child. The only thing that didn’t go on hold was God and serving at the church. Yoko and I sacrificed celebrating our 10 year anniversary on September 25th so that I could wrap up preparing for the lab. My wife is awesome – she did this without complaining once. I couldn’t have done this without her support.

I just want to thank my LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ for being my inspiration and giving me the abilities I have. I also would like to thank IPexpert for putting together some of the most challenging material I’ve ever put myself through. After working through all the labs and understanding the solutions, I actually felt a little over-prepared, which is certainly not a bad thing. I would also like to thank everyone in groupstudy for helping me out with the questions I posted. I didn’t participate much compared to a lot of the other professionals who are a part of this awesome community, but I’ve been reading religiously for over a year now, and that knowledge gained from yall has been a tremendous help!

Here’s a little bit about my lab experience:

I flew into San Jose from Austin on Wednesday just so that I’d have Thursday to relax and get mentally prepared for the big day. On Friday morning, we met the proctor. I actually remembered him from my last lab date over 4 years ago. He showed us to the lab, and to my surprise, there were these really nice Dell 24″ displays at each station. I remember them being junky CRT’s the last time I was there. The OEQ’s were not super easy, and if I would have relied solely on my lab experiences, I probably would not have passed. I think the reading I did certainly prepared me for these more than anything else. The irritating things were my keyboard’s space bar made this squeaky sound that was really annoying and the guy next to me had this habit of humming, but once I started my lab, I zoned in and finished in a little over 4 hours. At this point, I’m freaking out thinking there has to be a page missing or something. So I took a little over 2 hours going over everything again very carefully and found a few mistakes. At 3:15, I figured it was pointless to stay any longer so I did another round of tclsh pings and write mems and left.

Thanks again to everyone who has already congratulated me. Now, it’s on to the SP track before they add OEQ’s!

Well, I just got the piano tuned yesterday, and I can’t wait to do the next MTPB podcast! Look for it to be posted sometime on Sunday.

Some huge improvements to the podcast coming…

For the past 2 weeks, study time was cut in half, but I’ve started picking up speed again for the 2 month stretch I have left. During this time off, I spent a bit of time researching the new Yamaha Disklavier Mark 4 System. I even went to the local dealer and played one of the grand pianos that was built with the system. 5 word summary: It completely blew me away! They recorded about a minute of my music, and the playback was exactly what I played – sustain pedal and every meticulous keystroke made. There’s a lot more it will do. The benefits would be huge for my family, the Music To Pray By ministry, and me:

  1. The chance to playback the MIDI from the old Music To Pray By Album on an unbelievably sounding Yamaha 7′ 6″ Acoustic Grand, record it, and make it available to you.
  2. The ability to record MIDI first, not having to worry about the bird, the dogs, or anything, edit out the mistakes, play it back and record the flawless audio.
  3. Huge built-in teaching tools for SanBan. I plan to start teaching him as early as 3.
  4. SOUND!!! THE UNBELIEVABLE SOUND A HUGE 7′ 6″ YAMAHA GRAND PIANO MAKES!!! :mrgreen:

Needless to say, this is something very exciting to me. Upon further research, I discovered these things aint cheap. They are basically the cost of a new Mercedes ML500. During my research, an opportunity to buy a used one grabbed my attention. It was an S series which are crafted with much finer wood, it was only 2 years old, it was the pro version, which normally costs substantially more, and it was practically half off due to the seller’s circumstance. I came very close to making a very bad decision by going into debt, but thanks to some very wise counsel from my father, I turned down the offer and decided to start saving up for it. In the meantime, I’ve thought about doing the podcast with a keyboard instead of the Yamaha C2 Grand. This way, I could go back and record those podcasts with the Yamaha DC7M4 when I get it. What do you think?

Here’s a picture of it:

Yamaha DC7M4 Accoustic Grand Piano

Life and podcast on pause…

Something unexpected happened last week. I found out that the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab Exam is in for a huge change on October 18th. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Sr. Network Engineer at AT&T WiFi Services. A simple description of my day job is basically building and maintaining the Internet. It’s fun and very complicated. In order to further my career, I’ve committed to passing the CCIE R&S Lab exam. My plan was to take the 8 hour exam sometime in December, but that all changed the day Cisco announced the changes coming in October. I registered the day it was official, and the closest date I could get was October 2nd, which is 2 months earlier than I had planned on taking it. This certification has been compared to a doctorate degree, and is referred to as “the MBA of Networking”. Candidates literally spend hundreds if not thousands of hours studying for the exam, and I have less than 5 months to get prepared. My plan is to spend at least 40 hours a week from now till the day I take the exam which means I will have no social life. This also means that the podcast and any music or recording outside of Sunday morning church will not be possible if I intend to get in the number of hours of study I need to pass. Part of my plan was to spend a few hours a day at work studying but due to the AT&T acquisition, there are a number of projects on my plate that are due over the next few months that will likely reduce if not eliminate any free time I had at work to study. I truly am sorry about this, but I believe that the reward at the end of this journey will be well worth it. As soon as this is over, I will do my best to go back to weekly podcasts. God bless!

MTPB podcast post missing???

Sorry for missing this week. Yoko and San Ban have been gone for a week now and I’m missing my inspiration! They have gone to Okinawa, Japan to visit family. I sure do miss them. 1 week down, 3 weeks to go. Needless to say, I probably won’t do another podcast till they get back. Jeremy is coming over on the 17th to do accoustic versions of two Soundwave songs so I’ll be sure to post audio of that. Also, I promised my dad that I would record and post the theme from “Terms of Endurement” so I may try to get that done as well. Please keep us in your prayers.

yoko_and_sanban

We’re opening up for Robbie Seay Band tomorrow!

I know this somewhat of a short notice, but Soundwave is opening for the Robbie Seay Band tomorrow in Lockhart. If you’d like to go, you can buy tickets at the door or at lockhart.org for $12. I’m looking forward to seeing Michael Lisenbe in action. I believe they call him “Tank” now… We used to serve together a while back at The Ark Family Church. Please come if you can – it is going to be freakin’ awesome!

posterrobbieseay

MTPB coming tomorrow!

I recorded it yesterday, and I’m about half way through editing and mixing, but I’m falling asleep at the keyboard I’m so exhausted. A really good friend of the family, Don, is helping me build a new fence and patio. Today we actually got quite a bit done. Yesterday, I ripped all the old fence panels off the posts. Today, Don pulled all the old posts with concrete out of the ground, and I broke off the concrete and rounded up all the old stuff while Don set the first row of new posts that are 4×4’s rather than lanscape timbers. I’m not used to all this hard labor! I’ll be sure to blog in more detail about the whole experience once we finish – pictures and all. At any rate, I will use lunch time tomorrow to finish up the podcast and get it posted. I appologize for the delay.

Plans don’t always work out…

Today after church, we had group, left there a little after 3:30, Sanban fell asleep on the way home, so we took a nap for about an hour and a half, then Yoko and I sat down for a while to talk about what to do about our house. We have lots of repairs to do – electrical outlets on the outside of the house are dead, fence was blown down by the strong winds we had the past couple of days, etc., then my dad called me and we chatted for a little over an hour about the beautiful property surrounding the Austin area. Yoko and I came really close to buying a house on a postage stamp lot in Buda, and decided not to because it didn’t make sense financially. My dad did convince me that a better investment would be a home on some acreage. At any rate, we’re putting SanBan to bed right now and we haven’t even eaten dinner yet. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to do the podcast today, which kills me. Something else I haven’t blogged about – one of my goals is to get the CCIE certification by November, which is going to require practically every spare moment I have studying. I’ll blog more detail about this sometime in the near future. I know the podcast is eternally important, and I do plan on continuing it, but I feel that it is necessary to cut back to once every 2 weeks since it is a 4-5 hour commitment of my free time on the weekend, and free time is very scarce right now with family, church, studying, and the band. I hope you understand, and I do plan on going back to a weekly podcast as soon as I obtain the CCIE certification later this year. When August hits, I may have to go to monthly podcasts through November or December since my studies will pick up the closer I get to the test date. If all goes well, I’ll start January of ’10 with weekly podcasts. Another personal goal is to compile an album of “The Best of Music to Pray By”, and get it mastered, duplicated, and professionally packaged with album art and everything. I hope to have that album available by the middle of 2010. That will require an enormous amount of time since it will involve listening to hours of the MTPB podcasts, going back to the original uncompressed files, and preparing about an hour’s worth of music for mastering, but I believe it will totally be worth the effort. Please let me know what you think – good decision, bad decision, priorities out of whack? I’d love to hear what ya’ll think! At any rate, This would be my weekend off (involuntary 😉 ) so I will put the podcast at the top of the priority list for next weekend.

10,000 downloads and still counting!

 

10000Actually, the site hit 10,000 a little over a week ago, I just haven’t had a chance to blog about it till now. Yoko and I have been pretty occupied with house hunting. We’ve decided to wait it out and save as much as possible right now with the current condition of the economy though. Maybe in a few years we’ll look at picking up some land. Anyway, just wanted to shout out a big “Thank You” to everyone who is subscribed to the podcast or uses the website regularly for prayer. There have been over 10,000 plays and downloads of the podcasts since I launched the website late July of ’08. One of these days I’ll have to blog about the different countries all over the world I’ve seen download the podcast. It is truly amazing – they don’t call it the “world wide web” for nothing! I hope and pray the music continues to be a blessing to you – that is reward enough for me. The plan is to have “Week 28″ posted by tomorrow evening. Thanks again, and God bless!

The ultimate clense…

I just finished a 5 day fast that was required for the clense I decided to do, and that is the longest I’ve ever gone without eating. All I had from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon was apple juice, water, some coffee, green tea, and the herbal suplements I purchased from Blessed Herbs. My brother, David suggested it to me. I do feel a lot better today, but felt horrible over the weekend. That is why I was unable to do a MTPB podcast. I think it was worth it though. Sorry for missing last week. I’ll do my best to make this week’s even better!