Saturday, April 19, 2024


I used to get dozens and sometimes hundreds of visitors in a day, and a lot them were looking at photos. Then it stopped. I became invisible in the search engines. Sure, if you knew the exact URL of one of my photos pages you could go there directly, shazam, it loads lots faster than the kludged-up database pages.

     How long ago was that. 2017, it looks like. My daily visitor count was still in the steady double figures in January, and then fell to single figures. I didn’t begin to notice it until March.

     I don’t remember when I began researching it. The search engines no longer could find me. I went through all the procedures to comply with the search engines, up to and including changing from the deprecated http address to the secure https address. Search engines ignored or red-flagged the sites without that extra “s” for security.

     I did all kinds of other things but nothing has brought back my previous presence on the web. Lots of my visitors were going to the Alvarez guitar catalog and the Seymour Duncan catalog, for instance, and now I never ever get any hits on those items.

     I changed all the Seymour pages to have the new Google ID numbers, but the fact remains that nobody goes there.

     Maybe I’m just paranoid. Maybe everybody else was shadow-banned, too.

      At one time if you searched for “copywriter,” I was in the top ten results because I was one of the first people to create a copywriting page. Colin Campbell, Copywriter, has had a website since 1995.

     Then I was in the top 100. Now I don’t exist.

     Nothing personal: if you google “copywriter” you will be hard pressed to find a person. Instead you get an endless list of intermediaries who will find the perfect copywriter for your task. Oh, and lots of how-to-become-a-copywriter tutorials.


     I ordered another Apple Magic Keyboard. The letter “N” has rubbed off–that’s a sign that I’ve reached the limit. The keys all still work but they don’t have the springiness of a new keyboard. I’ve been looking at prices for a month because there are sale prices once in a while. Not this time, $99 everywhere you look except Other World: $79.99. But I’ve ordered it from OWC twice and it arrives in a non-Apple box, and even though they swear it is not refurbished, just a bulk-order thing, I’ve found things I didn’t like about them both times. So I shrug and pay the extra $20 to get a Gen You Wine brand spanking new keyboard.

     I have no idea what they do to refurbish an Apple Magic Keyboard. Probably they open it and run a can of spray air over it and that’s it.

     All I know is that when I have a new keyboard it’s like it’s not even there, I’m flicking my fingers and the words appear onscreen. When the keyboard is old enough so that the lettering is worn off the N key, my fingers push down past the now-gone springiness and clank against the bottom. Maybe I learn to type softer.

     Well, a few years ago I saw an Underwood Upright at a garage sale and I was thinking, what if there’s some catastrophe that knocks out electricity for months? Maybe I should have a manual typewriter on hand, just in case.

     So I tried it out and I couldn’t believe how much travel there was in the keys, how the heck could I have typed 60 words per minute on this barbaric device? And then I wondered where I could get ribbons for the ancient thing. Certainly not at Lund’s Office Supplies. I have plenty of paper and pens on hand if the catastrophe occurs.  

      I was trying to hold off on the new keyboard because surely there’s something else more important that I could be spending $106.67 on.

18 reasons why I’m better than an AI text generator.

18 reasons why I’m better than an AI text generator.

     Or some number.

     AI can’t stick to the subject. It meanders off into the wild blue yonder. It remains trite and simplistic. Like Eliza, it spends a lot of wordage repeating your question back to you in cumbersome grammatical structures. It’s a chore to read more than a couple paragraphs of AI text.

     Who knows if AI can improve itself. It seems inevitable that it will fill in all the easy stuff. Ten or fifteen years ago I read about the app that wire services were starting to use to write high school sports stories. The app had access to school rosters so it could generate a couple paragraphs about the game if you inserted the box score. “Catcher Tom Smith slugged two doubles and drove in three runs while also throwing out two attempted base stealers in High’s 6-2 victory over their crosstown rivals.”

     I keep seeing PR bursts from other AI companies comparing their offerings to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Each and every one of them is better than ChatGPT, according to the PR.

     The main problem in expanding AI’s market share is that most people have no idea how to use AI for anything. Including me.

     The main stumbling block for AI companies is not the technology per se, it is the growing social pushback against it as the intentions and agendas behind the programming emerge into view. AI has to be “trained”–GPT stands for “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer.” If you train AI on Nazi garbage, that’s what you’ll get back.

     Also, the powers of AI are so stupendous that they must be kept out of the hands of the raggedy-assed masses. Why, if they gave us unrestricted access, the internet would be flooded with Taylor Swift porn videos.

     AI is still not good enough to produce a fake video of Joe Biden making sense.

DALL-E Whales

DALL-E Whales

One problem is that AI does what it wants, not what you want.
I asked AI image generator DALL-E to create  “a photo-realistic image of a pod of whales surfacing near Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara.”

It created a couple images and told me, “A photo-realistic image depicting a pod of whales gracefully surfacing the ocean’s surface near Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara. The scene is set during the golden hour.”

Where did “the golden hour” come from?

I modified it: “Just one whale, high noon.”

The sun angle is not high noon. The water at that point next to Stearns Wharf is about five feet deep and whales can’t be there unless they are floating dead. The sign says “STEARS WNARF.”

Some people know how to coax better images out of AI generators. The new name for them is “prompt engineers.”

You have to accept the AI as a partner in whatever you’re trying to do. It helpfully inserts “at the golden hour” out of the goodness of its heart.

I’ve been reading an article by a former Google employee who says the rampant wokism in Google’s “Gemini” AI image generator was no accident. Every aspect of Gemini was deliberately programmed to further the woke agenda.

I hadn’t been aware of the AI re-writing the input request until the Gemini scandal erupted. If you typed in, “Show a scene of the Founding Fathers together on July 4, 1776,” you got a bunch of humans dressed in mostly accurate 18th-century garments, but they are 50% women and racially of every hue except white. George Washington as an Indian in feather headdress.

Gemini inserted instructions to add diversity and equity into every picture it generated.

Google Analytics update 2

Google Analytics Update 2

     Google Analytics did not report any visits to my Seymour Duncan pages.

      Huh. I wonder what I did wrong. Maybe it takes Google a couple days to look at my pages out of the hundred billion visits to web pages every day.     

      Searching around, some advice is to put the Analytics code first thing after the <head> HTML code. That’s what I did yesterday and no hits were counted.      

       I tried using the Chrome Tag Assistant but by the time I learned how to open it, I found out it was a deprecated legacy version, sigh.      

       Poking around at length, I discovered that the Seymour Duncan page hits were being recorded, all right, it’s just that they are not showing up in the reports. I’m still fumbling around trying to find out how to generate a report, and Analytics wants to show me the 23,903 different reports it can generate but won’t tell me how to find the report I want.

            Well, that’s enough of that for today. The Analytics code is working that I placed directly after the <head>. I can continue placing it into my old HTML pages and eventually I’ll find out how to view reports of the visitors. 

Google Analytics update

Google Analytics update

I’ve started a project to update the Google tracking code to the 3,500 pages on my site.

The pages already have my tracking code but Google switched to a new code and now I have to manually change the code on each and every page, sigh.

I started with my campaigns for Seymour Duncan Electric Guitar Pickups. Seymour was well known in the rock-star community for his custom hand-made electric guitar pickups.

But his mom & pop business operation couldn’t survive on sales to rock stars. He needed to reach the mass market.

I wrote a brochure that was introduced at the National Association of Music Manufacturer’s convention. The brochure was an instant hit, catapulting Seymour Duncan into the industry leadership.

Copy-Driven Design

Copy-driven design.

My most successful brochures (and ads) have been the ones in which I analyzed the company/product and then arranged the information in sequences and gave the art director thumbnails of what should go where, what attributes should be illustrated, etc. I give the art director a strong foundation to build on–and the result is that my art directors have won a lot of awards.

I start with an attitude of throwing the company wide open for inspection, of making an effort to explain the company rather than expecting the outside world to make the effort. I write brochures that give a client a fresh look, a clear window into the company that invites response. I can make any company interesting to an outsider.