Box Center Episode 2009-4 – Brian McBride Interview

This week’s episode features a departure from the regular drum corps discussion with an interview of Brian McBride, author of Drummers: Rites of Passage on the Parade Route.  Brian has completed the first book of these memoirs, entitled The Trainee.  Brain talks with DCP News Managing Editor Kevin Gamin about his experiences coming of age with the Long Beach Junior Concert Band

Download the episode here.

Show notes:

Discussion Thread on Drum Corps Planet

Crawley Vanguard Begins March Towards DCUK Finals

Musicians from all over Crawley are getting together to celebrate 30 years of marching and music excellence in Crawley. Members of all marching bands and drum corps from the past 30 years are getting together to form one massed corps. “The first rehearsal went so well, we want everyone who has marched or played an instrument in a Sussex marching band or drum corps in the last 30 years to get in touch quickly as places are filling up.” Enthused Mark Gasson, the newly formed leader of the Crawley Vanguard. “We are going to play at finals and our aim is to re-unite old friendships, make new friends and have lots of fun too.”

Read the rest of the article here.

iPhone App of the Day – WordPress

I am writing this post on my iPhone. This is thanks to the WordPress app I just installed. This app allows me to create and edit blog posts. It is also free. Does this get any better?

Yes, it does! Unlike most apps which involve typing, I can type my posts in WordPress in Landscape mode. Typing with my thumbs was never this good.

I’ll add more to this article as I discover more features.

WordPress iPhone app

iPhone App of the Day – Skype


You may look at the image to the left and ask yourself, “Kevin, why on Earth would I want to install an application that makes phone calls? I have an iPhone for cryin’ out loud!!!” If you are asking me this, then you don’t know about Skype.

Skype was originally designed for use on PCs. After installing it, you could then instant message anybody who was also a Skype member (membership is free). The bonus is that you can also CALL other Skype members. For free.

That’s right, you can call any other Skype member, regardless of whether they’re in London, Ohio, or London, England. During these calls, you don’t sound like you’re on a phone, either. You sound like you’re in the same room. This is the beauty of making calls between Voice over IP (VoIP) users.

Now, you can also make calls to non-Skype users, hence the need for the keypad you see in the image. Those calls sound like regular phone calls and cost about 3 cents a minute, depending on where you’re calling. This was great on a PC, especially for myself and other podcasters who did interviews over the phone while recording their shows on their computer.

The beauty of Skype on the iPhone is this: If you’re in a low cell phone signal area, yet have access to wi-fi, you can make your call via Skype instead of AT&T. If you’re low on AT&T minutes, you can use Skype instead over either wi-fi or 3G to make your call. If who you’re calling is also on Skype, you can call them via Skype without spending any money and with better call quality. Oh, and there’s that IM functionality I mentioned earlier. Why call them if you don’t have to and why spend the money to text them when you can just Skype them?

The iPhone edition of Skype was released today so I am just checking it out now, but the latest edition of the MacBreakWeekly talks about the Skype app. You can find that episode here.

Skype – Link

Skype for iPhone – Link

iPhone App of the Day – Pandora Radio


Pandora Radio may be the biggest thing to hit streaming music in, well, ever. For those of you who haven’t heard of or used Pandora as of yet, here’s the breakdown.

  1. Go to http://www.pandora.com/
  2. Enter in a favorite song or artist
  3. Pandora creates a “station” which will play songs similar to the song/artist you entered, including songs you won’t know, but may like.

Pretty simple, right? Here’s the best part: The Pandora Radio app for the iPhone works exactly the same way, except it’s totally portable on your iPhone and, with your data connection, will work just about anywhere. That includes your car.

Chances are, you have some type of setup in your car to plug your iPod or iPhone in so you can jam to your favorite tunes while crusin’. Now, when you get tired of your own music, you can just pop on Pandora and get treated to your own personal radio station.

Oh, and the icing on the cake is that an account with Pandora and the iPhone Pandora Radio app are both FREE.

If you’re not downloading this app to your iPhone by now, I don’t know what you’re thinking.

Pandora Radio – Link

Pandora Radio iPhone app – Link

iPhone App of the Day – MLB.com At Bat 2009


Oh, happy day!!!

You should all know that I am a baseball nerd. Not even a geek, which I am for just about everything else, I am an extremist when it comes to my love for baseball. I try to follow baseball, especially the Cleveland Indians, whenever I can. And now, thanks to MLB and Apple, my wish is granted.

MLB.com At Bat 2009 is released as of today.

Here’s what you get in At Bat 2009:

  • Exclusive pitch type, location, and speed data
  • LIVE regular season and Postseason game audio with choice of home or visiting team announcers
  • Video highlights made available shortly after they happen
  • Real-time game updates
  • League standings
  • Entire season schedule

Truth be told, I wanted this app mainly for the Gameday Audio option. I have GA for the PC ($14.99/year) and used GA for Windows Mobile ($4.99/month) so I could listen to games in the car and anywhere I didn’t have a radio or my laptop.

The best part? $9.99. That’s it. No monthly fee like the WM version.

It’s like they knew I wanted this.

MLB.com At Bat 2009 page – Link

MLB.com At Bat 2009 at the App Store – Link

3/30 Update – Gameday Audio will not be available until 4/6, the first day of the regular season for MLB.

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

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

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.