Sing the National Anthem Anyway You Want

In the midst of fierce debate over immigration reform, a group of Latino recording artists have recorded their own version of the national anthem as a show of solidarity. “Nuestro Himno” (“Our Anthem”) has a Latin arrangement and mostly Spanish words, but keeps the traditional structure of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Some people are offended, including President Bush who suggested that Latinos and immigrants should take the time to learn English and then sing the national anthem in English.

Bah. We’re a culturally rich country with no official language. What’s wrong with celebrating the anthem and the freedom that defines America by singing your own cultural version of the song? Jimi Hendrix made his own version and for me it’s as patriotic as the one we sing at the ballpark. I think it’s decidely unpatriotic to say we can’t sing the national anthem with our own respectful flair.

Immigration is a tough issue–I’m not condoning illegal immigrants. We need to come up with a sensible solution. But squashing diversity isn’t the way to do it. We were all immigrants once. We evicted an entire people, co-opted their land and ditched their language. So we should be careful how loud we complain, lest we sound like a bunch of ungrateful hypocrites.

More Video: Ode to Facial Hair

Coincidentally, after I explored the world of online video, I discoverd that my west coast friend Josh had already given it a try, uploading his LED Throwies video to YouTube. I still think Vimeo is the nicer of the video sites and I’m not alone. As an update, Google finally verified my video but they urge me to “stay tuned–it will be live shortly.” Yawn.

So today I uploaded another video, this one an Ode to Facial Hair. It’s not really fair to call it a video either, it’s more a slideshow. I was basically experimenting with iMovie’s still picture feature and the Ken Burns effect a while back.

Ode to Facial Hair on Vimeo

Stupid Spammers

Just when you think they’re gone the spam keeps on coming. My server was clogged up again today with spam–you may have noticed the server 500 error. I’ve now disabled comments and trackbacks, so we’ll see what that accomplishes. Seems pretty lame to have a blog with no public interaction whatsoever, but I’m not sure what else to do. I guess I blogged for years without comments, so it won’t kill me.

Except now nobody can immediately and publically tell me how dumb I am. Yes. Let the innane blogging roll on!

Joining the Online Video Craze

I’m finally joining the online video craze. Today I finished editing a video of Speak and Mazie after a late spring snowstorm. I put the video together using iMovie and included music from the Supertones. But the big question was where to put it. There’s a ton of video sites out there, so I decided to try a bunch of them.

Vimeo: Snow Dogs
This one has to be my favorite. The site just looks nice. They paid attention to the details. Plus, no wait after uploading. Every other site had some kind of pokey verification process. My only complaint is that they limit you to 30 MB per week of uploads. This video was 26 MB and less than 3 minutes (formatted to the high res version they suggested), so I can’t imagine how you upload anything larger.

You Tube: Snow Dogs
This is the popular one that everybody’s talking about. I’m not sure why. The site is ugly and not as nice to use. They definitely encourage sharing videos, but it’s just not pretty. They had a short verification process and then the video was live. No fussing about how much you can upload either. That might be why it’s one of the biggest sites out there.

Google Video was supposed to be a big deal. Well, I’m still waiting for them to verify my video. Who knows how long that will take. That’s a pretty big barrier. On the plus side, Google lets you sell your video. Not sure who would buy it with sites like You Tube giving everything away, but it’s a cool feature.

Bleh. I uploaded my video twice and both times it had problems and wouldn’t work. Looks like they’re just trying to cram in too many features and not doing it right.

Spammers Shutting Down Blogosphere

Apparently I’m not the only one getting buried alive in spam. I’ve shut off the comments, though yesterday it was trackbacks that killed the site. I’m not even sure what to do anymore. I’m too busy to put much time into it, and most solutions require more tech know-how than I’ve got.

The only decent solution I can come up with to restore comments would be to use the typekey authentication. It would mean you’d have to sign in to comment. It sucks, but it is good at stopping spam. My only question is if that will solve the problem. I shut off comments and that didn’t stop the attacks–I actually had to change permissions on the comment script. If anyone has any wisdom they can e-mail me. How old school.

500 Server Doh

If you’ve had problems accessing my site lately you can thank spammers. My site has been getting hit with attack after attack after attack, and every time it hangs the server and you get nothing but a 500 server error. I’ve tried a couple things but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference, and I’m no techie genius.

So for now I’ve just shut off comments and trackbacks. Hopefully it’s only temporary.

37signals’ $120,000 Book

37signals is a web 2.0 company behind several successful web applications. They’re also professional, successful, published authors. About a month ago they self-published a PDF-only book about their software philosophy, Getting Real, which they sold only online for $19 (you could also buy a 10-copy license for $50). In 30 days they’ve sold 5,750 copies and raked in $120,000.

If this is your test case for online publishing, it’s the best possible scenario. Getting Real is very well written, edited and layed out. It’s no amateur job. 37signals also has a built in marketing base of eager buyers. So publishers don’t need to be shaking in their boots just yet. But they better be paying attention.