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!

DCYC 2010 – Never be the same.

This past weekend was an amazing experience. One I will likely not forget. It was by far the largest motivating crowd of young people Soundwave has ever had the honor of serving. It was the most performing we’ve ever done as a band over a weekend as well. It started Thursday for us. We set up till midnight and was back at it around 8:00 AM. There was sound and lighting work, sound check, practice for the band and the Youth Animators, and things kicked off that evening. The Youth Animators actually taught movements choreographed to our song that we recorded in my studio to a crowd of over 1,800 excited young people. We then got to perform it live all throughout the weekend. Friday, Karli became very ill and had to go to the hospital Sunday morning at 2:00 AM. We’ve been praying for her. Jeremy’s last tweet says she’s doing fine, but please remember her in your prayers. I hope this video will lift their spirits. After the stills at the beginning, there’s video. All of it was shot from my iPhone except for some of the pics Jeremy tweeted. I shot the video portion at the end while we were tearing down after a massively huge and motivating God-filled weekend!


Piano update: It’s still not tuned, and I will be blogging very soon why – sorry for the long stretch between podcasts.

Tech update

After waiting over 2 weeks, I finally received confirmation from (ISC)2 that I passed the CISSP exam! Thank you for your prayers and support.

The iPhone 2.1 update came out today. I’ve upgraded but haven’t had a chance to see if there’s an improvement in 3G performance. Apple said this update is supposed to fix the 3G signal problems as well as the following:

– decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
– significantly improve battery life for most users
– dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
– improve email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
– faster installation of 3rd party applications
– fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes if you have lots of 3rd party applications
– improved performance in text messaging
– faster loading and searching of contacts
– improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
– repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
– option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
– Genius playlist creation

I went ahead and got the Roland Edirol R-09HR for recording the Music To Pray By blog. I’ll also be using it as a stereo mic when I use in-ear monitors during live performance in order to hear the room since the Westones block out everything. I currently do this with the R-09’s and it works really well. I’ve already recorded some of this week’s posting with the R-09HR, but haven’t had a chance to compare yet. I hope it’s an improvement in sound quality over the R-09. According to Roland, the mic pre’s are supposed to be better, and it records at 24 bit 96k, which is double the sample over the older version. I’ll be listing the R-09 on eBay this Tuesday to recoup some of the costs. Why Tuesday you might ask? Ask me in a comment and I’ll elaborate…

Because of hurricane Ike, I decided to pull my antenna that was mounted on the side of my house and move it inside, and surprisingly enough, Windows Vista Media Center is reporting better signals inside at a lower altitude than what I was getting outside with it mounted much higher. It must have been the attenuation of the added cable and grounding required. On a side note, my family is in the path of this hurricane so please be in prayer for them as they ride it out.

Week 8’s podcast will be posted sometime tomorrow as long as we don’t loose power. Based on the current Ike forecast, that shouldn’t be an issue – just a bunch of much needed rain.

Tech talk…

I have some tech stuff to blog about:


First, as some of you know, I’ve been studying very hard for the past few months for the CISSP examination, which turned out to be a big waste of time since most of what I studied was material NOT on the exam. I woke up early this morning, drove to San Antonio, sat down to take the test at 8:45 AM and didn’t leave till 2:30 PM. It is by far the hardest written exam I’ve ever taken. Also, they must have recently changed the structure of the exam because I was expecting to see a lot more technical questions, and there were around 5 out of 250. At least I know I got 5 of the questions right! I won’t find out what my score is for a while. They told me up to 6 weeks, but I’m sure I’ll blog or twit about it as soon as the results come in.

Secondly, I have to apologize for the most recent podcast.  I forgot that my R-09 was set to record to MP3 instead of WAV. This got changed when I used it to record a practice for the upcoming Austin Jazz Music Festival gig next weekend and I needed extra recording time. Of course, an R-09HR with a 32GB SD Card would fix this. Okay, I pledge to use any donations minus 10% for tithe towards the purchase of one! 🙂 I’ve been listening to the podcast as I write this post and I’ve noticed that it has a darker sound than my previous podcasts. I had the R-09 positioned like I always do. It either had to be converting MP3 to WAV while importing the audio into Logic Pro, then back to MP3 for the post, or the way the R-09 handles recording to MP3. There may have been some stuff I could have done with EQ, but initially I didn’t really hear any difference on my studio monitors. I should have done a comparison with previous podcast audio prior to bouncing… Lesson learned.

Lastly, as you may have heard, the iPhone 3G signal problem has been narrowed down to the Infineon chipset used in the manufacturing of the new iPhone. Apple has been very quiet about this whole thing, but Steve Jobs wrote a letter to some complaining customers that this issue affects approximately 2% of iPhone 3G owners which comes out to around 60,000 iPhones. Personally, I believe it’s much more than that since I haven’t seen an iPhone 3G that didn’t have the same issue as mine, plus like I mentioned before, I’m on my 3rd one. On a positive note, Jobs assured the customers in the letter that this issue can be resolved with a firmware update. Unfortunately, the recent 2.0.2 update didn’t resolve it, although it did fix some problems I was having with software hanging and GPS seems to come up faster. I really want my 3G though! Come on Apple – help out a loyal fan!

iPhone 3G signal problems???

Ok… So I know what you’re thinking right about now… What in the world does signal problems with the iPhone 3G have to do with Music to Pray by??? Well, I could probably make something up, but I won’t. I hope to use this blog to discuss every day techie stuff too. Please leave a comment if you think this is a horrible idea, and I’ll stop. 🙂

For starters, I am on my third iPhone 3G, and I am still having a huge issue with 3G signal even when I’m in the center of Austin, which is supposed to have complete coverage based on AT&T’s 3G coverage map. There have been a couple of articles on CNet News regarding this issue, and have you seen the Apple Discussions thread???? I think there are almost 2,000 responses now. Below are screen captures I did on my iPhone one right after the other as you can see by the time, and I was here in my home office with the iPhone completely stationary. For those of you who don’t know where I live, I’m not even a quarter of a mile from I-35 in Kyle, TX which is well within the 3G coverage area…

Here are my thoughts based on what I have read. If the next version of the iPhone software release does not contain a fix, it is likely a hardware issue. The fact that there wasn’t a fix in the 2.0.1 release, and Apple’s lack of admission that there is a 3G reception issue somewhat makes the case for a hardware problem which would really be a bummer for all of us early adopters… I guess it’s the price we pay unfortunately. Any comments?

iPhone and other mobile devices now supported!

I’ve installed a plug-in for the MTPB blog that has specially designed views for the iPhone and other mobile devices. It has a great look on the iPhone:

I also verified that the MTPB music can be streamed directly to the iPhone so it isn’t necessary to download the audio into iTunes first, although, buffering the most recent audio blog over the Edge network or even 3G for that matter could take quite a bit of time. It only took about 5 seconds over WiFi though. Drop a comment if you were able to stream the music using a mobile device other than the iPhone – I’d love to hear about it. Podcasting will be coming soon! There just aren’t enough hours in the day…