Categories
iPhone

Creating An iPhone Setup In The Car – Part One

I am lost without music while driving. Sure, I can turn on the radio and listen to the same 5-10 songs which I actually enjoy, but that only lasts so long. Fortunately, I have had an iPod in one form or another for the past 5 years and, thanks to various options, have been able to listen to my iPod in my car whenever I want. My current car setup, however, isn’t ideal for my new iPhone, which means it’s time to shell out some cash and upgrade my setup to iPhone standards.

This upgrade will take place in two parts:

  1. iPhone car charger/audio adapter
  2. iPhone car mount

I will be discussing the first part today – the iPhone car charger/audio adapter.

My current car adapter is a Monster iCarCharger. Unfortunately, while I can still use the Monster for audio, it will not charge the iPhone 3G. My wife has the same Monster with the original iPhone and can charge hers without issue, so I blame Apple and their nefarious microchip allowing only “authorized” third party hardware to work with the 3G.

I looked at quite a few options, but was limited by the fact that I needed a car charger with an aux out jack or cable. Any car charger with an FM transmitter wasn’t an option. I also did not want a car charger with a built-in iPod/iPhone mount as I had my own mounting option planned. This eliminated items like the Griffin TuneFlex AUX or the Kensington LiquidAUX Deluxe. Monster had a newer version of the iCarCharger, but the iLounge website gave it a very bad rating (D+).

Fortunately, Kensington offered a standard version of it’s LiquidAUX. The LiquidAUX plugs into my cigarette lighter, just like any iPod charger, and has a Dock Connector cable as well as a separate audio out cable for the aux jack on my radio. The audio cable was just a tiny bit short to reach the aux jack, but Kensington also provided an extension cable to cover that potential issue.

I ordered my Kensington from AntONLINE and, when it arrived, was pleasently surprised to discover TWO LiquidAUXes in the package. I’m not sure if this was a packing mistake if this was the actual deal I purchased, but I’m not complaining. My wife got a LiquidAUX, too! She plugged hers in first and immediately reported improved sound quality in her car. I had nowhere to go, being Sunday, and was suffering from allergies, so I waited until Monday morning to test the LiquidAUX on my drive to work.

I am very pleased to say that the LiquidAUX does everything I want and more. Like my wife’s experience, the LiquidAUX’s sound quality is superb. No interferance from the phone portion of the iPhone at all. Also, the LiquidAUX comes with a remote control and a mount which velcros to the steering wheel, allowing me quick access to the Play, Back, Forward, and Shuffle options of the iPhone with my thumb without removing my hand from the wheel. The remote is removable from the mount so a passenger can also use it if they wish.

I am halfway to my goal. My next step, which I will report on in the future, is to put up my iPhone car mount and complete my iPhone car setup.

Kensington LiquidAUX – Link

LiquidAUX iLounge review – Link

Categories
App of the Day

iPhone App of the Day – Free Memory 1.4


One of the functions of Windows Mobile which I liked and miss in the iPhone is the Task Manager. Much like the TM in Windows, the Task Manager in Windows Mobile allowed me to force uncooperative applications to close, freeing up memory and avoiding the need to reset my PDA/smartphone.

Say hello to the solution – Free Memory 1.4. While you can’t shut down specific applications with Free Memory, you do have the ability to free up to 20 megabytes of space, space which disappears quickly with the start of each application. Just start the app and hit one button on the screen and you’re done.

This app has helped my wife avoid resetting her iPhone many times. I’ve installed it on my iPhone and find that it is very useful and easy to use. I highly recommend this app.

Free Memory 1.4 is available for $0.99 at the iPhone App Store – Link

Free Memory web site – Link

Categories
iPhone

Another iPhone Blog? Come On!!!

So, why am I starting a blog about the iPhone when just about every other tech pundit with more writing and tech savvy out there in the blogosphere already writes one?

Simple – I LOVE the iPhone.

Here’s the background. I have been a PDA power user for years. My first PDA was a Handspring Visor which I purchased in 2001. It ran the Palm OS, which I found incredibly useful. It was portable, which meant that I could track my calendar and to do items wherever I went. Once I found the Sprint cell phone add-on, I had my first smartphone. I eventually upgraded to the Palm Tungsten T in 2002, which had a slide-out bottom that covered the writing area of the Tungsten, making the PDA even more compact when you weren’t using it.

The problem with Palm, for me, began with the Tungsten T3, which I upgraded to thanks to my wife at Christmas of 2003 . By this point, the Palm OS was pretty stagnant. What’s more, the T3 had technical issues which required me to reset it at least once a day. By this point, my wife had moved away from Palm and was the owner of a Dell Axim x50. I got jealous and it was only a few months after I got the T3 that I had made my switch to Windows Mobile. I found a Dell Axim x30 on eBay and snatched it up as soon as possible.

The x30 blew away all of my other PDAs easily. It was the fastest processor out there, had a great screen, and had Bluetooth and wi-fi, which meant I could get online either by connecting to my phone or via the wireless router at home. An SD card slot also meant I had plenty of storage space available. I used the Axim faithfully until March of 2008. This is when the Tilt came to my awareness.

The AT&T Tilt, also known as the HTC TyTN II, had a major benefit over my Axim – It was a full-out smartphone. I no longer had to carry both my PDA and phone on my belt. I loved my Tilt, especially the slide out keyboard and tilting screen, which is what gave the Tilt it’s name. Unfortunately, the Tilt was so good, it showed the cracks in Windows Mobile which version 6 and, to a larger extent, 6.1 had. Like Palm’s OS before it, Windows Mobile was showing it’s age, and it wasn’t pretty.

Of course, by this time, the iPhone was THE must have tech item. By the time I bought my iPhone, just over a week before this blog began, the iPhone’s OS was on version 2.2.1 and both the phone and the software were highly praised for what they could do, which was a lot. I already owned an iPod (2, in fact), and the ability to combine my PDA, phone, and mp3 player in such an attractive hardware package was too good to pass up. Only a year after getting the Tilt, I moved on yet again.

Now, after all of that, here’s the reason I am writing this blog. The iPhone does many things, but I need my iPhone to take care of specific functions:

1. mp3 player

  • Car Charger – Kensington LiquidAUX
  • Car Mount
  • Headphones

2. Phone

  • Bluetooth Headset

3. Personal information manager

  • Calendar
  • To-do list/tasks
  • Contact/address book
  • Notes
  • Email – Work and personal

4. Finance

  • Checkbook
  • Budget tracker
  • Sync with Windows version of Quicken 2009

5. Task Manager – Free Memory 1.4

6. Streaming Audio

  • Music
  • Baseball – MLB At Bat 2009

This is just the short list. As I think of more uses for the iPhone, and there are many, I will add to the list. For starters, however, I’ll be focusing on the above list and finding the apps which do what I want, which includes the built-in options if they suffice.

Categories
Podcast

Box Center Episode 2009-3

The latest episode of Box Center is now available for download. In this week’s episode, Drum Corps Planet’s Managing News Editor, Kevin Gamin, interviews Chris Green, Corps Director of Memphis Sound. Chris discusses the corps’ plans for 2009 and beyond as the organization prepares to relocate to Dallas, Texas.

Listen to it Now!

Categories
Podcast

Box Center Episode 2009-2

Box Center episode 2009-2 is now available for download. In this episode, Drum Corps Planet Managing News Editor Kevin Gamin interviews Cam Stasa of Music for All and Bands of America. Cam talks about BOA’s inaugural experience with Lucas Oil Stadium, what both BOA and DCI learned from the experience, and what DCI fans can expect from Lucas Oil as well as Indianapolis for 2009 and beyond. Kevin also interviews Carl Diefenbach, program coordinator for Capital Regiment. Carl gives some insight into the 2009 program for Cap Reg, “The Storm”, and about the return of the corps to competitive status this season.

Listen to it Now!

Categories
Podcast

Box Center Episode 2009-1

The first episode of 2009 for Box Center takes the time to remember Michael “Cozy” Baker. Cozy, who passed away this past December at the age of 60, was a major part of the drum corps activity as a fan, writer, volunteer, performer, and promoter/evangelist of drum and bugle corps. This memorial, recorded on the same day many of Cozy’s family, friends, and fellow drum corps lovers gathered to pay tribute to his life, will feature Cozy memories from people like Frank Dorrite and Tony DiCarlo, as well as audio clips of drum corps performances featuring Cozy. Please feel free to download this episode and join in remembering a true drum corps fanatic.

Listen to it Now

Categories
Uncategorized

Cozy Baker Memorial/Tribute Podcast Update

Hey everybody.

I just wanted to give you an update on the Cozy memorial/tribute podcast I’m putting together.

First of all, I’d like to thank those of you who have called or emailed me with stories and messages about Cozy. Playing these stories and reading these messages will demonstrate yet again what a wonderful man Cozy was and how much he touched all of our lives.

It’s a week until Cozy’s memorial in Alabama. I’d like to put together the final recording of the podcast this Wednesday evening (1/14/09). If you haven’t called and left a message or emailed me with your Cozy memories, I’d love it if you did so. If you’ve posted a story about Cozy in this thread and would like it used in the tribute podcast, just email me the link to your post and I will add it to the finished show.

Here’s the contact info to participate in the tribute podcast:
Phone – (330) 871-7965
Skype – kevingamin
Email – boxcenter@drumcorpsplanet.com

You can also PM me via DCP.

I will post the finished product on Sunday. This way those of you who can’t be in Alabama can hold your own memorial and share in the moment with those who are there. I will also see about getting the show burned to CD and delivered to Cozy’s family so they have a permanent reminder of how much we all loved Cozy.

Thank you all.

Categories
Show Review

2007 Phantom Regiment Review – DCI Fan Network Finals Video

2007 Show Concept – On Air

2007 Repertoire:
Vespertine Formations
1000 Airplanes on the Roof Amazon
Flower Duet (from Lakme)
Suggestion Diabolique
Firebird Suite Amazon

The corps opens in a giant open oval, kind of like a bird egg, considering the theme.  Guard members are carrying double flags serving as wings and are “flying” around the field.  Some members of the horn line also start “flocking” and “flying” as the pit opens the show.  The horns come in backfield, then turn front before moving into the main portion of the opener.  The horns have a nice effect when they play triplet chords, decrescendoing and turning backfield at the same time, then turning front to repeat the effect.  Drum feature gives each section a quick chance to shine before the horns come back in.  A big PR foot kick halt finishes the opener, although the corps turns backfield and plays some more to transition into the Flower Duet.  The final formation looks kind of like a kite, again appearing to keep with the theme.

A lot more running around by the horns occurs before the duet begins, played by two flugelhorns.  The duet was pretty solid throughout the year, and this final performance is no exception.  Sabers are in pairs during the end of the first, main duet, and perform a toss where the person behind the tosser reaches around and catches.  The horns perform the main theme, climaxing in a big chord, before the duet returns one more time.

Tubas get their moment in the sun during Suggestion Diablolique, opening the piece before the horns come in and suggest something diabolical, complete with dischordant trills.  Mellophones really wail during one of the hits of the piece, for which I am eternally grateful to J.D. Shaw.  Percussion gets a larger feature in this piece and show they haven’t lost a thing from their 2006 champion line.  It gives you an idea of how strong Blue Devils’ line had to be to take the title away in 2007.  A fun effect in the guard:  Groups of guard members carry another member who is holding wing flags, looking like they’re flying from the stands.

The wing flags come into play again to start the closer, as the baritone soloist for the beginning of Firebird Suite appears from behind a partition, holding his arms out while a guard member holds wing flags behind him, making him look like they’re his wings.  The final guard costume for the closer looks like they have solid black versions of the PR chevron, which is a nice effect.  Mellophones go totally insane during Firebird, playing more notes in 30 seconds than some sections play in their entire show.  They follow that up with a giant sustain of a unison note before the corps finishes the show, complete with Phantom wedge formation and leg kick.

Final impressions – I personally thought Phantom had the best musical performance of the night.  I am biased towards the techniques which their horn line utilizes, plus I love the sound of the King horns, both of which are opinions which I know not everybody shares.  Alas, Blue Devils beat Phantom in both brass and percussion, but not by much.  The weakness of this show was definitely GE.  The attempts to portray the On Air theme just did not achieve what the designers hoped for.  Between the poorly designed guard uniforms, which looked like molting birds instead of flying birds, and teh strange bauldric and gauntlet designs which were supposed to elicit images of bird feathers, it was hard to take the theme of the show seriously.  This is a show I can listen to over and over again.  Watching this show, however, won’t happen as often.

Categories
Show Review

2007 Cavaliers Review – DCI Fan Network Finals Video

2007 Show Theme:  Billy Joel: Music of An American Icon

2007 Repertoire:
The Stranger
Angry Young Man
And So It Goes
Invention in C Minor
Pressure
I’ve Loved These Days
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

The show opens with a lone soloist playing the theme from The Stranger as the rest of the corps saunters around the field.  After Brandt Crocker announces the corps, the running starts.  First running in the drill as the corps plays backfield and builds to the first big hit from Italian Restaurant.  The corps once again saunters during the hit, performing very laid back while wailing away.  After the hit, it’s off and running again for the Cavies as they play the opening from Angry Young Man, which serves as the percussion feature.  At one point, the horns do a ripple, half the line of a company front rolling and tumbling from left to right very quickly.  This gets a positive reaction from the crowd.  During a more introspective moment of Angry Young Man, trios of horn players drop out of the ensemble, do another roll on the ground, and pop back up.  The pit gets a lot of work during this piece, playing the piano part of the song, which is full of triplet 16th notes.  The song ends with one last build and blast from the horns.

The second piece, a medley of And So It Goes and the Intervention in C Minor, opens with a pit interlude, joined by a baritone soloist who plays a tasteful counter melody.  The Intervention opens with each section of the horns blowing out from a straight line moving across the field from left to right, form arcs, and joining in a fugue-like musical moment, before returning to the And So It Goes theme.  The guard is on sabers and beautiful violet silk flags.  The song finishes with the pit and another horn ripple, this time having the front horn player fall back into the back horn player’s arms, then raising his hat in the air to form a line of white above the line of horns.

Pressure opens with the percussion playing a groove, stopping a couple times for the corps to whisper “pressure!”.  This piece is all about drums and drill, although the brass has some moments of their own, including a moment during the “all your life is Time Magazine” section where the brass dissolves from a block triangle formation as a line of guard runs through the block from right to left, itself dissolving.  During the percussion feature, we get a mini Fight Club moment before the horns come back in and build to the big Pressure theme finale.  One final Stranger quote leads into the finish of the piece.

The closer opens with the pit returning to the And So It Goes theme before passing off to the horns with I’ve Loved These Days, which the corps plays backfield.  A quick drill moment leads into a company front with the corps stating the Bottle of White, Bottle of Red theme fro Italian Restaurant.  Earlier in the season, this was the end of the show, but the Cavies added the real closer around San Antonio, continuing with the Italian Restaurant theme, this time from the Ballad of Brenda and Eddie.  Mellos get a chance to shine here.  As has been the case during the Michael Gaines drill years, the closer is full of fast paced kaleidoscopic insanity.  The show finishes with one last build to a climax, similar to the end of the opener.

Final impressions:  The Cavaliers have been accused of not utilizing their brass, either in terms of difficulty level or volume, over the past few years.  Whether or not this is true is for others to debate, but it should be said that the 2007 brass line was one of the weaker Cavaliers’ horn lines of the new century.  Much of this can be chalked up to a larger number of rookies in the line than usual, although it is difficult to take pop or rock music and arrange it to the level of difficulty which modern drum corps demands of its top units.  That Richard Saucedo accomplished as much as he did with his 2007 arrangements is yet another testament to his abilities.  This was also the second year for Jim Casella’s percussion arrangements and, while the book was very tasteful and fit the theme, there was still an adjustment period occurring for the drum line.

Categories
Show Review

2007 Cadets Review – DCI Fan Network Finals Video

2007 Show Concept:  This I Believe. Truth, Value and the Personal Experience Called Drum Corps

2007 Repertoie:

Symphonic Movement
Blue Shades Amazon
Adiemus: Cantata II Amazon

Show information courtesy of corpsreps.com

The corps starts spread out on the field on every yard line, forming a giant block.  The horns start backfield and open with the opening chords of Symphonic Movement.  Members of the hornline drop out of the form, walk across the field, and speak to the crowd, wearing wireless microphones controlled from the sound board in front of the field.  Major fast paced drill action after an accelerando leads into a company front with a huge statement from the horns.  The opener features small brass ensembles throughout the piece, especially during a wicked double tonguing moment from the trumpets while half time marching towards the front, which leads into a big statement.  Each major section of the music is introduced by a member of the corps as they start to play the next segment.  The opening is very fast paced, which we’ve come to expect from the Cadets.  A great rifle and saber ripple across the front leads into the final segmant of the opener, which finishes faster and louder than any other part of the piece.

The second piece opens with a quote from Martha Graham.  Stabs from Blue Shades are interspersed through the quote.  This section of the show deals with an average corps rehearsal day:  Basics block, brass ensemble, and full corps rehearsal, complete with staff quotes.  The year started with a lot of negative quotes from the “staff”, although still very benign compared to what staff REALLY says when the corps doesn’t perform well.  After building up to what seems to be a hit, the corps stops and a member says, “OK, let’s do something with NO voice!”.  The crowd roars, either in amusement or approval.  A trumpet soloist does a great job leading the corps into the big hit of Blue Shades, while the mellophones get their moment in the sun during the hit itself.  A few more positive staff quotes, then the corps “brings it in” for the finish.

The closer focuses on one member of the corps, who, up until Finals, talked about how he didn’t fit in until he found music.  This was changed for the last show, removing any “emo” aspects of the narration and just focus on how he loves music in its various forms.  The music itself is intense and the corps is running all over the place, including a very crazy drill move with the horns in a block rectangle moving across the field from left to right.  Two blocks within the rectangle rotate in opposite directions during the move, while the guard runs through the middle of the block, moving from right to left across the field.  The drum feature is just as intense, complete with an insane bass roll and a finish which thunders throughout the stadium.  With a final statement of what he believes, the narrator leads the corps into the final moments of the show, the fastest and hardest drill of the performance, finishing in a company front at the front of the field.

Final impressions – First off, let me state right off that I am not a fan of narration.  It is rare for me to enjoy a show which features narration.  2007 Cadets is no exception.  While I am amazed at what the music and visual programs achieve throughout this show, I am constantly annoyed by the voice overs which only serve to block my appreciation of those musical and visual achievements.  For a corps with so much talent to purposely hide it for the sake of concept is a problem.  Despite my strong feelings about this show, it placed exactly where it belonged.  The talent of the corps, as well as the incredible music and visual program, pushed this show right to the edge and was championship calibur.  In the end, Blue Devils simply performed better.