Google Custom Seach Engine = Brilliant! CSE Troubleshooting Tips

The Google Custom Search allows a simple addition of code to your site that creates a customized search engine run by Google.   This is often added via your adsense account (under ads / search) and it is a brilliant way to add search to you site that helps monetize your peeps with google advertising placed next to a list of your web pages.

HOWEVER I just spent a bit too much time fixing a simple problem so I thought I’d start a list of Google Custom Search Troubleshooting tips:

ONE:  It’ll only show indexed content so be sure to create a sitemap for Google. Also a good idea to place some links to your pages from other sites  so Google can find them more easily.


be sure to add  *.*  to the specific URLs you want to custom search.     For our RetireUSA retirement custom search I needed to add this to the URLs box to make sure it picked up all of our indexed content:*.**.*

Check out our Retirement Search tomorrow at

Affiliate West Summit Contest from Shoemoney

Dear Staff of Shoemoney (SOSs), Shoemoney, and fellow Affiliate Americans –

Honestly you probably will not  and probably should not  choose me for the Shoemoney Affiliate Summit West Contest.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty good guy, fun to hang out with, and fairly well informed.   Heck, I might even have a few tricks of the trade you haven’t heard about, although I’ve always been impressed with Shoemoney’s well informed, no-nonsense, experimental approaches to internet marketing, particularly his very clever experiments with Facebook advertising a few years back that were very cleverly written up in a powerpoint for, I think, an Affiliate Summit conference.

I also appreciate how Shoemoney and other world class search marketing fellows like Aaron WallDave Naylor, and Todd Malicoat will share a lot of valuable insight and information both at conferences and online, even to those who don’t buy their stuff.    These are smart and clever guys and prospective internet marketing folks should listen to what they have to say, though they should also be aware that “hype” is very much a part of that business and very few people are able to make a good online living regardless of their approaches.   Most of the folks who do have been around a long, long time and benefit from old websites with high authority and the free Google traffic this provides to them.   Before you spend much money on advice you should read the free stuff, especially the single best source for search optimization and search penalties – Matt Cutts blog.   Matt is a great guy and is Google’s spam cop.   You  cross his search optimizing advice at your own peril.  Believe me, I know this from a lot of experience with many sites  over many years.

So even though I’m well aware of Shoe’s great personal success I’m generally skeptical that his good advice will transfers well to the degree others need to make enough money online to drop the day job.    You’ll be hard pressed to convince me otherwise which is probably the main reason I should NOT win this contest – however it shakes out I’ll blog the results honestly.

Another reason is that I’m already scheduled to fly to Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show – CES 2012 – on the 9th.   I’ll be reporting that conference for my tech blog ” Technology Report ” as I have been for several years.  Of course since I’ve never been to an Affiliate Summit I would change my flight to a bit earlier to hang with the Shoemoney Man.   I have a lot of questions for him about my modestly successful internet projects and some upcoming ones and how affilations (vs Google Adsense) might help improve our bottom line.

Another reason I’m a bad choice is that I’m already doing pretty well with my online ventures.  Nothing amazing yet, but we do OK with a US History website, US Travel site, and a really neat new Retirement planning project I’m finishing up right now.    As much as I’d like more advice from Shoe and his clever staff, it might be better used on somebody who is just starting out.

Oh, there is ONE reason you SHOULD choose me for the contest.  If I win I will consider Shoemoney’s expert advice enough reward for me and I will donate *all* the proceeds to my favorite charity “Room to Read“.  They build libraries and schools in poor countries and are simply an awesome way for those of us lucky enough to live here to give back a little and help make the world a better and safer place.

This donation will include any blackjack winnings.   All I’d ask from Shoe and the great Shoemoney gang would be to help me promote Room to Read however he sees fit.

So, there you have it!    Good luck to everybody with the Affiliate Summit Shoemoney contest and, win or lose, I hope to see you in Vegas baby!

Joe Duck / Joe Hunkins

You’ll probably want to ignore this post unless you are … Googlebot! Or Retired. Or a Retired Googlebot?

Retirement | Poudre Property Services | Cadence Bank |   UT Medical Group | Eskaton | Palm Springs Family Care Center

OK, so this is kind of clever and kind of pathetic all at the same time.    Google can take too long to index new content, but Joe Duck has good “authority” with Google (ie Google knows the blog is legitimate, regularly updated, and thus sort of assumes it’s actually read by real people who are breathing real globally warmed earthly air).   Links from this blog are therefore often “indexed” by Google, which again reasonably assumes those links are not spammy junk.    Often Googlebot will “follow” the links at those links in an effort to fully index and rank new content as it pours online.

We have a great new project launching any minute now called “”   The idea is a database of Retirement related information, organized by about 250 popular retirement city / regions across the United States.

So Googlebot, please start indexing our thousands of records at Retire USA!   Thanks Google!     Any humans reading NOTE that these records will be changed and improved over the co ming weeks as I complete the templates for this project.    The  index or “home page” will soon have a clickable map of states from which Retirement folks can drill down to cities of interest and from there to categories of interest.   We’re also enlisting quite a few folks to help with the blog portion which will feature writing about retirement issues from experts all over the country.

If you are interested in writing about Retirement issues such as travel, retirement communities, real estate, or travel please send me an email at  These are NOT paid positions but fame may await you if we succeed … and you are patient …

We’ve faced many challenges

Got Bias? Does Bill Moyers ?

I’m having a great discussion with my good pal Keith about whether Bill Moyers is “biased”.   I think Bill Moyers has become an authoritative and articulate spokesperson for the mainstream American left.   To me, that is almost the definition of bias.   I like Moyers and agree with him on many topics  (see below) but I don’t like his virulently anti-corporate & anti-republican stridency.

Wild speculation Dept:   I think Moyers’ stridency is largely an overreaction to the guilt he feels about his prominent role during the Johnson Administration as Press Secretary. There, he helped with deceptions and promotion of the many illegal US activities in Vietnam.   Ironically I think I’d  cut him a lot more slack on this than he  would now that I’ve come to realize how well regarded the USA was by most of the Vietnamese people.

What do YOU think?  What is media bias?   Glenn Beck’s and Rush Limbaugh commentary is clearly a great example of right wing bias – could anybody disagree with that?

In my view, Wikipedia is often an excellent example of media approaching an *unbiased* standard.  Typically WikiP presents a lot of facts and then a very balanced discussion of the opinions about a thing or a person.   For contentious issues (e.g. Israel stuff) they often close the page to freewheeling edits but then provide a forum for people to rant or disagree, but that’s separated from the more reasoned analysis of the pages.

Here’s an excellent bio and, IMHO, a very good example of an unbiased discussion of Mr. Bill. on Bill_Moyers

To me the article strongly supports the notion that he’s an authoritative and articulate spokesperson for the mainstream American left.   How can this not be called …  bias?   I’d agree Moyers’ views are not born of ignorant opportunistic nonsense like, say, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck’s views, but like those ignorant dudes Moyers also has strongly held opinions that seriously color his perceptions of many issues.

How does religion affect one’s world view?   My jury is still out on how much religious beliefs will color somebody’s reporting and commentary.   For a “progressive Christian” like Moyers  the world’s going to be seen very differently than for a Muslim, Buddhist, or Jew.    Is this bias and if so how does it influence reporting and commentary?

Help me out here – give examples of some biased *left wing* US commentary and why you think it’s biased.   How are you calibrating “American left and right”?

Surely we should not suggest that bias relates to agreement with OUR OWN ideas?   Don’t call me Shirley!

I would strongly agree with Bill Moyers on many topics – support for gay marriage, on promoting health and education internationally, on a progressive foreign policy, and many other things, but I share his “left bias” on those topics even as I don’t share it on economic topics.

But to me this political and economic view convergence/divergence is completely SEPARATE from the issue of bias!    I think I like the idea of folks reporting their political stances and then working to report as best as they can rather than trying to maintain the pretense of “no bias at all”.

I actually cite most of the reporting of big outlets as examples of fairly politically unbiased media reporting, though story selection leans to the superficial in all cases.

Biased outlets where there are political content constraints from above – FOX and Al Jazeera come to mind – are still pretty good on most topics.  Clearly they show some bias by *omission* of important stories.  On Fox we won’t see much favorable coverage of President Obama and on Al Jazeera we won’t tend to see a lot of negative discussion about theocracies and sharia law and abuses of power and wealth by those in power.

Fox is, to me, the definitively biased source but this is mostly in terms of the nonsense commentary from their foolish pundits like Sean Hannity.  Much of the news coverage by Anchors like Shepard Smith is actually fine in terms of reporting the facts on the ground without much political spin.

Standouts to me as “fairly non biased” reporting:
Most BBC non-UK coverage. In general the BBC seems remarkably unbiased to my way of thinking .
Charlie Rose (PBS and CBS)

Jim Lehrer (PBS)

Ray Suarez (PBS – I think he’s one of the best in the world at concealing his opinions).

FYI a huge standouts as “biased left” even as she’s one of my favorite pundits because she’s so sharp and funny is Rachel Maddow (MSNBC).

“Clearly biased right” would be Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity.
Mainstream Anchors like Brian O’Neil, Katic Couric, Anderson Cooper, etc, etc?   I don’t really like most of their reporting because I feel it’s very superficial both in coverage and topics, but I’d call them pretty politically balanced, though with the likely left of center sensibilities that are found by most studies of journalist’s political leanings.
Now,  I do maintain there is a lot of “bias” in almost all media towards “superficial but interesting” topics over “substantive” topics.
The really big global stories of our time relate to food, TB, malaria, intestinal parasites, literacy, oral rehydration therapy, etc, etc.  People grow tired of those stories quickly and won’t tolerate “too much” of that, so we get Lindsay Lohan and Obama’s Turkey Pardon.
Ommission of the simple solutions to major global suffering  is the most insidious form of bias and it infects pretty much all the news, but it’s not a conspiracy to keep the downtrodden down trodden.   We are programmed to pay more attention to stupid pet tricks and ignore distant suffering.

CES 2012 at Technology Report ?! OMG!


The rumors, of course, are true.   Starting immediately, over at Technology Report, I’m covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with “pre show” coverage.  In January I’ll be there roaming the halls in real time looking for the next big thing in Consumer Technology.    One of the fun things about CES is that it’s something of an “industry insiders” show, so you have pretty good access to folks that might otherwise be hard to talk to.  This photo is from the 2009 conference where I had a chance to ask Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally if  Ford would be taking bailout money from the US Government.


Photo Credit @JoeDuck Technology Report. Use with attribution OK.

Mulally told me he did not think so, and very much to Ford’s credit he has remained true to that comment.  In fact Ford recently pulled a commercial, some say in response to White House pressure, where they noted this as the commercial takes a big dig at the other places that did take bailout money.

In an industry with what generally seem like a lot of lackluster intellects, Mulally was a very impressive speaker during his keynote talk as well as an impressive  “real time answers” guy in the give and take after the event (pictured here).   An aerospace engineer by training, Mulally is clearly a key factor in Ford’s apparently successful efforts to recover despite many global economic obstacles.  But Auto technology is not my specialty.  However in theory if not in practice I really *am* an expert at “social media” since I do have a …. wait for it….  Masters degree in the Social Sciences and about 20 years in various technology fields, mostly relating to using the internet to promote travel, tourism, and destination marketing.

But ome to think of it, NOTHING is really my speciality.   I’m a jack of some trades and master of none, except maybe table tennis, and then only for somebody of anglo saxon heritage. That said, most of what I’m hoping to report on at the show will be the latest and greatest computing devices and social media trends.    CES is not really focused on the content and programming portions of internet technologies, but there are always great examples of presentations and programming at the show.    In fact one of the most impressive tech things I’ve seen *anywhere* was at CES 2010 – Intel’s “Web Cube”, a superb blend of fast hardware and clever real time internet information flow where you could have the system go out and find people talking online about something and then pull those comments and information about them into the cube.   It was visually, conceptually, and informatively striking and I only hope they don’t just strand that technology in the exhibit.   Need to check as they may have this in use in other online places already.

Specialists vs Generalists

In My Humble Opinion ….. it seems that many of the most fascinating people tend to be *specialists* in their fields – highly focused experts in academia, cooking or sport or film or whatever.  Yet it seems the most interesting life you can lead is that of a *generalist*, dipping more lightly into the many amazing things the world has to offer a curious person.

This creates something of a problem if you want to be … interesting.   You can beef up your expertise in a small number of things and enjoy the attention or praise for your virtuousity, but this means you’ll have less time to simply enjoy the simpler things in life and less time to explore the almost infinite number of things going on around you.


Save time by watching more  TV instead of experiencing real stuff !  ?   : )

Be an expert in a few things you love, but save the rest of your time for exploration?

Travel More!   I love this option!