Thursday, September 26, 2019

Quadraphonic Surround Sound..... again - Dolby Atmos Music?

Dolby Atmos Music looks to be taking another run at the Surround Sound Music format.  Discrete, SQ and QS Quadraphonic came and went decades ago as I wrote previously.

Now this appears to be slightly different from the Dolby Atmos used for Movies.

I haven't been able to workout exactly what that is from the marketing hype I've read. Does it have multiple discrete HiFi Audio channels?  Do not know.

Do know that it only fits on a Blu-Ray movie disc, which indicates that it might.

Will it take off?

Probably not.

I expect it is more about DOLBY trying to get a license fee out of every new music playing device rather than any great benefit to the users who now want to just stream not so high quality sound to their headphones anyway...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

WEBTOONS and their Huge Reader Base.

We did an experiment and put a variation of one of our Webcomics on WEBTOONS.COM

It is called BOTS IN SPACE if you want to search for it.  It took a bit of work to convert it into vertical single panels, 800 x 1135 in my case. Been there a week and put up 4 episodes.

My Dashboard view is like this:

This was an experiment to see if this massive Webcomics site would result in people reading it without me actually promoting it, and seeing if it differed much from my own website hosting.  To see if the fact it was on Webtoons made any difference at all. 

I had read it did.

Found that it didn't...

Now it isn't a teen high school, fantasy or romance thing, which is what popular Japanese Manga and Anime are, and what looks like the bulk of the popular series there are.  So not a typical work for that market, and as I only have 4 episodes there, that may comprise the result too. 

WEBTOONS comics from the front page look very much like Shonen Jump, one of the main Japanese Manga and the place all this hugely popular ANIME came from.  Very much aimed at 'teens. There is also the girls version.  My comic here does not fit that market at all, but think the next things I try must.

But so far being on WEBTOONS.COM didn't mean anything.  Promoting it to people that are interested seems more important than the actual site it is hosted on.  The WEBTOONS Phone App is slick and makes reading even a 1000 pages easy.  That is how I read Sithrah. But I would say Jason Brubaker already had an audience interested in his previous work reMIND anyway, that made it a success on WEBTOONS, independent of the fact they were paying him to do so.

My Historical/Autobiographical work had a lot of interest when I posted it to a small group very interested in the things I developed during my career. They already knew me, and that is why they read it and gave the positive feedback they did.   If I made a version for Webtoons, I expect it too would only have the same 6 views. I had also posted a link to that on a Facebeook comic page that had given some great feedback on a few pages from it, but the group itself was not interested in it at all. After following that group for a while, and seeing many dozens of the members post their version of Batman, Superman or Sexy Girl Superhero it was pretty obvious story and actual Sequential Art isn't upmost in their thoughts.

So getting possible readers to know why your interesting would seem important before anyone will give your comic a try. Is this just the celebrity culture around now or just a case of it isn't what you know but who you know, or rather who knows you in the world of social media?

An interesting Japan Times article:  South Korea's booming 'webtoons' put Japan's print manga on notice

Update: Sep 26 2019. Now a couple of weeks later, and still at 6 followers. Unless you know where to look, the comic is not easy to find now, being lost in all the other new and updated comics. This just enforces our view that the site itself doesn't help your comic with its vast reader base without additional promotion. Webtoons doesn't help you with that at all.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Designing Synthesizers and Electronic Musical Instruments

I did that, how I earned my living, for a bit over 20 years.

Some of the story of that is covered here, with a look at our work at Fairlight Instruments and Roland Japan.

I went to University to study Electrical Engineering. But I learnt most of what I actually used from Electronics and Micro-Computer Magazines ( and there are few of these things around any more) and learning design from everywhere and building things.  I started that learning process 3 years before I got to University.  Don't see how the current web is anywhere near equivalent to that.  At the time I was far more technical than a musician.

All the companies that were doing Synthesizers at the time are either not around now or are dramatically different. Reflects the music of the era as well. Things don't stay the same.

Even Roland Japan almost went out of business around 2011 with the valuation of the company and all its factories worth very little.  If I thought they were doing the right thing I wouldn't have left in 2001, so that did not come as a shock to me at the time.

You can now do with software what used to take much hardware, but that doesn't make it any easier to do, or stay in business.

I then spent over 20 years developing electronics and software in other industries and the reality is most of it is the same. It is engineering work, solving real problems, and time and time again, the skill require for that was completely undervalued in the business in Australia.   

We can be contacted at ArtAndTechnology

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Organic Search Drops Over 10 years

We have had the current website for over 15 years and have had joy and pain with organic search results. This will be a few thoughts on all this from what I can uncover and what seems to be basic trends.

10 years ago Organic Search results meant we did OK doing Freelance illustration just onLine from our website. Customers could find us, and kept us busy enough.  It was all very encouraging that this online world helped guys like me.  We had Google ads and they helped pay our hosting fees. All was good.

Then 9 years ago Google rebooted their database after some design change. That is that BIG dip in the above graph on the left.   We dropped off  the planet and our site was only displayed on the 3rd or so page. We hadn't changed anything and we just have what Google always recommended you do. Content with the keywords and phrases people would search for.  Customer numbers contacting us really dropped.

It proved to me then that I couldn't rely on Google or the Internet to "do the right thing" for people with Illustrator sites like ours, which mostly has samples of our work with text describing it, or articles describing how we do what we do.  Mostly meant we had to that traditional "other job", or "other jobs" as well.

At the time we determined there wasn't anything we were doing, or could do to fix our lack of find-ability.  But after 9 months, it jumped back to close to what it was before. This was good, but meant we didn't always have time to do the jobs customers wanted because of those "other job" commitments we had taken on, and needed for financial stability.

Since that time Google made many random changes that contributed to that download slope, and there is nothing you can do about them, but not be reliant on Google.  One that lasted some time was other sites effectively displayed our images and gallerias via exploiting something in Google Image search. Watermarking all our images with our URL helped a little, but not being able to click the image and go to our site had a surprising large impact at the time.

About this time, Facebook become popular, and my theory (backed up with research from others findings I must add) is that many people stopped using Google search to do something useful and just filled in time watching their Facebook time line instead, and posted photos of their lunch to it.

Many people now pretty much just use Facebook, and don't have any other email or messaging. Facebook is also a great time waster. That infinitely scrolling page is designed to keep you looking for something interesting even when there isn't anything and exploits the "fear of missing out".   Stopping myself from doing that is really hard to do, as it is designed to be addictive.

At the same time, Google decided to prefer sites local to the searching customers location. So being in Australia really hurts us in that, even if the way we work means our location is irrelevant.  We do everything with email.  In reality we have only ever had customers from America, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We went to Facebook too, but it didn't take long for Facebook to lock out the rest of the Internet, and stop showing your posts to your followers.  Facebook only shows something you post to 1% of your followers  (without paying to BOOST it) , and they may not see it anyway in the scrolling time line anyway. Indications are that any link to an outside website is shown to even less.

Even the way things are now, our website has been far better at getting customers than ANYTHING on Facebook or Twitter we have ever tried.   I just don't believe anything I hear now about Social Media benefits. It is good for celebrities, but not me.  Have heard that an artist with 6,000 followers on Twitter had only 1 customer from Twitter.  Have equally found Facebook Likes to be worthless.
Our YouTube channel has some 170+ subscribers, but have only every had spam comments, so those things aren't working the way you would expect either.

I can be found easily on Google with normal search for "car caricature logo"  or something like that and probably at the top of the first page at the moment in 2019. BUT, You will see that current levels of site visits are about what they were during the big drop 9 years ago.  And this isn't just me, but a general trend for websites like ours from everything I have found.

But if I look at my sites "how did they find us data"  in Analytics, it comes out like this:

56% was Organic Search and 25% was Social Media for this interval. Not sure how that fits into everything else.

I have seen that YouTubers have found that Google changing the recommending algorithm has punished longer detailed content and favours "click bait" published often.  They are also doing the same as Facebook, such that a subscription to a channel does not mean you will actually be informed of new uploads. I assume these same attitudes  have been implemented in standard search and recommendation in the results and so punishes long lived , consistent but only slowly updated content websites, such as our art samples pages.  Makes the web a more trivial place.

It has meant that Google Adverts aren't worth the effort and website clutter, and I removed most of them, and replaced them with  links to my own eBook, T-Shirts and Mugs.  Seen others also say they have done this too, years after I did it.

I get contacted by SEO companies wanting to redesign my website (that I code myself ) 5 times a week, so it isn't that I cannot be found. People just aren't searching, they don't like my Art style, or they find some one else local to them instead, rather than me.

This all just reflects a change in the use of the Internet, and it will only get worse if Internet Neutrality is lost.  Not relying on just the Internet seems to be the safest thing to keep those customers coming and coming back.

Blogs like this also get far few accesses these days.  So when will Google pull the plug on Blogger I wonder?   My analytics show these posts are mainly accessed by Internet Bots and not people anyway. Post a link on Twitter and 9 bots access it in 800 milliseconds!

Love to hear your thoughts on this.  I can be contacted at ArtAndTechnology