27th of August, 2007

Well I am pleased to say that the payment to restock on these Matrix Reborn CAMs from Germany was issued on Friday and departed my bank account on Saturday. This means that since this supplier should certainly be credited with this payment before the end of this week then so should I receive these CAMs shortly following.

This transfer took a lot longer than expected to issue, involving three visits to my bank in all, but then I recall previously mentioning my dislike with having to deal with German suppliers simply because it takes a lot longer and with more problems than usual. Unfortunately since the Germans currently have a much better satellite reception hardware market over other European countries then at times like this that is unavoidable.

In this latest example this German supplier required a lot more information about my business than usual before he would even provide an order quote, which in all wasted a few days, but this was at least fruitful when he provided a better price than I was expecting. And sure enough he soon provided his IBAN transfer details for the common payment method for German business. Unfortunately these Germans tend to overlook that IBAN transfers are a lot more problematic and costly outside of Germany.

My first trip to the bank was wasted when this German supplier failed to mention the name and address of his bank in his payment details. I had already noticed that this information was missing, and even tried to look it up on-line, but due to wanting to get this payment quickly dispatched then I ran under the assumption that if my bank needed it then so could they look it up from the related information. It however seems that they do not keep track of German banking numbers which made me on the same day go and ask this German supplier.

Following two or three messages to this supplier then about one week later I got his reply. Sure enough to my request for him to provide his bank address he went and replied with one line from his business address. Now I am not sure what the deal is with German natives but my best guess is that any word they do not understand in English text they simply guess at instead of doing a proper external translation.

In any case I quickly pointed out his mistake and using much more clear wording I got his reply back the same day including all his missing bank details. So on Thursday visit two to my bank came around where this also proved to be fruitless when now my bank questioned my identity and where my usual signature was not good enough. Apparently this turned out to be due to pages one and two of my home assembled transfer details containing two different dates, which was due to correcting a spelling mistake just after the clock turned midnight on page one.

So following the return to my bank on Friday was my bank was made happy and this transfer was issued. And once this supplier receives this payment later this week then shortly following I will get my CAMs at a price even below the old price I used to pay locally.

At least on this third visit to my bank I insisted that my bank provide me with several of their Money Mover forms used to make these IBAN and other international transfers. This is so that I do not even need to waste time queuing at my bank when I can just post these forms to them instead.

This did start to make me wonder though when an even better method would be to simply do IBAN transfers through my on-line bank account, except that despite every bank account in the EU now having an IBAN number, then neither Lloyds-TSB nor Citibank actually support on-line IBAN transfers.

So this began my desire to obtain me a bank account in the UK that actually supports on-line IBAN transfers. The only problem is that I do not know where to start when I have never seen such a thing. So if anyone is aware of any on-line banking system that supports EU-wide Euro currency IBAN transfers then please let me know.

At this time I have defaulted back to my long standing problem of finding me a Euro bank account in a Euro supporting country. Previously I gave up on the idea when even my GBP bank account can receive USD and EUR with only a 2.25% value loss, but beyond the zero loss possibility then easy IBAN transfers now provides a second reason.

In case you don't know then one reason why the Germans love their bank accounts over on-line services like PayPal is because one EU regulation states that the bank in question cannot charge more for EU IBAN Euro currency transfers than they do for local inter-bank transfers. So since the German banks mostly do free local transfers than so do they also do free international IBAN transfers. And the German banks proceed to kick banking butt by having great on-line IBAN transfer support. So easy and free IBAN transfers without even leaving your computer, which certainly beats my three bank visits and 20 GBP paid so far.

The only thing about the German banking system is that they like to reject non-nationals. So at the current time it seems to me that the only way a non-national could get a German bank account is to go around like 20 German banks and on the 20th bank to obtain an account though strapping themselves with a bomb and saying "Open me an account or everyone dies". Followed by a short lived account and a long jail term.

There is a second method though to obtain a German bank account when if a person lives and works in Germany for at least six months then so do some banks provide you an account if you insist. You can begin to see that lacking a desire to live and work in Germany for over half a year makes obtaining a German bank account near impossible.

So it seems to me that my best option at this time, to obtain my ideal Euro bank account, is to fake it. This then goes along the line of obtaining the assistance of a German local, where in exchange for generous funding, to assist me in obtaining an account. From what I can see this requires a German address, suitable proof that I live there (a temp change in a utility bill name can do that), and where maybe nationality and local employment can be skipped. They could even pretend to be me for the most part, but it really requires good understanding of the German banking system to know how best to do this.

So if any German local reading this in interested in easily earning a nice pile of Euros to let me know.

At the current time I am working on a back-up plan when I know that pending any future issues I can obtain a bank account in Latvia. The main problem here being that Latvia won't be using the Euro as their national currency for another 4 to 6 years. Still, it is tempting when even 4 to 6 years in minor compared to getting a German Euro account. It is also true to say that once Latvia has gone the way of the Euro that the shock to the local banking system can also make them reject new non-nationals.

Let us not forget that the Euro and certain EU regulations has already killed off the Euro currency cheque. Do you know of another currency where banks do not issue cheque books?

Well it is nice that the EU desires to make the Euro in Europe as easy as the Dollar in the United States, but it is also quite clear that EU counties are only too happy to play islands drifting apart. And for myself in the UK then there is no greater waste of my time than to get this damned Euro to work as it should ideally work.

By comparison then on Tuesday departs my application form to open me a USD account with a certain bank in New York. I can already say that compared to the Euro and EU banks this one will be as easy as pie. Best of all there will be no problems linking this account to PayPal and other on-line payment services unlike what can be said for my former USD account with Citibank. I discovered the hard way with Citibank UK that such accounts are no use if you cannot put the vast majority of such funding into them.

So soon I will be able to put my mounting USD funding into a USD bank account. I have been trying to avoid transferring such funds to GBP due to the USD lacking a lot of its former value these days. And once that account is operational I will be able to accept USD checks once again even if I may need to charge a small extra due to the international postage cost. I would have preferred such checks being sent directly to this new bank but that does not seem possible when this bank desires that I endorse them on the back.

So hopefully in about two weeks time I can report that my new USD account is now operational. As to my desired Euro account in any Euro supporting country then I can only feel that the fight there will go on until one Latvia account converts to Euros by default in 4 to 6 years from now.

8th of August, 2007

I can say that the very first step in my multiswitch upgrade is now complete when an electrician earlier today installed a dual power socket in my loft so that I could power this multiswitch in the first place. The second socket can be used for expansion, when I am sure that other items will need powering in the future, where a masthead amplifier already comes to mind.

This electrician did spend about 25 minutes figuring out how best to provide new power to these sockets through. As to begin with I did believe that the lighting circuit would need to be used but the 5 Amp limitation here made that undesirable. In any case my theory that the electric shower did come better powered did turn out to be true when this cable supported a 45 Amp supply.

This turned out to be a choice between the shower and the new electrical sockets though when since that electric shower is currently unused anyway, in favour of the second gas fuelled shower, then it was not such a hard choice. And as it turned out some former electrical incompetence from before I moved here made this a good idea without including this new upgrade. What I mean is that the length of the electrical cable between the power switch and the shower was much longer than regulations allowed. This problem goes on to explain why a new higher-powered electric shower was known to blow the fuse in the shower's power switch as well as starting to melt some of the wires.

So the removal of this fire hazard turned out to be a good thing. I did to begin with think that the visit of another electrician would be required to create a new shower power link, this time within regulations, but in the end it seems better to (take the much more expensive option) and to remodel the bathroom to make better use of the hot water supply from the downstairs boiler. This gas powered option is cheaper than the electricity powered option anyway.

In any case this main 45 Amp cable now easily provides power for these two 13 Amp sockets. This in the end means that I can now start planning to run around 150 meters of FT125 coaxial cable all around the house. The very next step though is to figure out how I can put a Quatro output LNB on my mini-dish and to find a suitable LNB holder for four LNBs on my 1.2m Channel Master dish. I will have to see how long this takes when it is easier said than done for both dish upgrades.

Well since that is now done then I will cover other recent news.

The first thing I can say is that the restocking order for the SEASON3 has now been placed and should hopefully be here tomorrow which is when the two slightly delayed orders for this item should also depart. I can also say that I decided not to buy more Matrix Reborn CAMs from this source when this time I am going to import them from a German supplier in order to avoid the price increase of this local source. This is good news when I won't have to now increase my CAM prices.

The only downside here is that I don't much like dealing with German suppliers when beyond their love of IBAN bank transfers, which come with extra cost and time to sort out, then the language problem makes for longer communication delays. Like in one previous example one German supplier did not provide the right order quote following several requests where in the end I had to pay him what I calculated to be the right total.

As obtaining totals excluding the German 16% VAT rate from such a supplier can vary between suppliers than when dealing with the Germans I can only hope for one with suitable cross-language communication skills. This latest example does not look too promising in this respect but at least a 2-day reply indicates a desire to get this sorted out.

In any case if I can get this payment transferred within this week then I should have plenty of these CAMs arrive sometime next week, but if payment gets delayed into next week then they may only be here the following week.

The only other stock matter is that I now have to restock on the Ultimate Dual CA CAM, when I just sold the last CAM of the current batch, but at least all signs point to this being no problem at all.

Well as I expect the next news update to be sometime next week then I will now get back to other work.

4th of August, 2007

Well I am pleased to say that just two days ago arrived several new great value items from my latest new wholesaler. Three of these items you can already see on-line where the most important fourth item should be on-line before Monday.

To show you what good value these new items are then take a look at my Satellite Finder Kit (SATKIT) on my recently renamed Signal Meters page. I can say that the old PG753 version I used to sell for 30 each but where the new Kong manufacturered version now costs just 12 each. Beyond the huge saving of 60% this new kit although almost a clone of the old PG753 kit now includes an improved signal meter covering 950 to 2300 Mhz. So this kit is a real bargain for anyone looking into installing or moving their satellite dish.

On this same page you can see my new low cost SatBeeper signal meter. And at just 7 each this is certainly the lowest price you can buy this model for on the market. Looks like I should soon redo that photo though when it turned out darker than expected.

As for some reason I decided to spend all my funding on signal meters in order to push this purchase up above the minimum order level of this wholesaler then this helps to explain why I now stock my first Terrestrial Signal Meter. Well when buying cheap items you need to buy a lot of them and too many of one type can seem too many. In any case this functional model at 109 each may sound expensive but this is also the lowest price on the market that I have seen.

The best item in this new delivery I will soon put on-line on my Video/Audio page when the MACROX version is now obsolete and after far too many months of research I now have the very best model that you can certainly find anywhere to replace it. That model I now called the MACRO+ and I can say that it supports both Macrovision and CGMS removal allowing DVD copying, DVD recording and VCR recording. Beyond its Scart, Phono, S-Video support in both PAL and NTSC then this model I will sell for just 17 each. And should you be quick then you will see that my old MACROX model, beyond lacking CGMS removal, I used to sell for 35 each. And the reason why I am currently so happy is that if I have sold hundreds of this former MACROX model up until now then just imagine how many of this better model I will sell now that they cost less than half my old price? A damned lot is the correct answer.

Well the future will say how well that one will sell but as I doubt my prediction is wrong then that explains why I currently have so many in stock that it is hard to find space to store them all. You can help to reduce my stock level from tomorrow, if desired, when this model should be on-line by then.

The best news of all is that since this new wholesaler is a lot better than some of the ones that I have been using in the past then so in the future will you see many more great value new items as well as a price reduction on some that I already sell.

Beyond these new stock arrivals then during the following week I plan to restock on my SEASON3 device, when an odd sales surge since I returned from holiday, including people at my door buying them in groups of three, has now put me out of stock. No problem restocking this SEASON3 device except that I desire to increase my stock on my Matrix Reborn CAMs at the same time. A problem here is slowing down this restocking order when my wholesaler has just increased his price by 3 per CAM. And to try and avoid increasing my prices by 3 per CAM as well then I am looking around to try and find a better source. So once I know where I am getting these CAMs from can this restocking order be placed. In any case that is unlikely to take more than a few days now.

On more personal news then I am just about to have an electrical socket installed in my loft where this vital step is to soon power my Chess 17x8 multiswitch that I purchased near the end of last year. Back then I thought I would have this multiswitch installed during the summer months and where now is a good time as any.

In case you don't know what a multiswitch is then this one device will be able to receive four satellite locations at once using four of my Smart 0.2dB Quatro output LNBs which in my case will point at 28.2e, 19.2e, 13e and 1w. Beyond the thousands of stations available from satellite then this device can also distribute terrestrial TV as well including FreeView/TopUpTV. And with one extra device to diplex TV and radio together than I will soon be able to have analogue and digital radio as well.

The cool part is that this device supports 8 outputs which means that my house will soon have satellite tv, terrestrial tv and radio in every room in my house. This will be three to the living room, two to my bedroom, one to each of the other two bedrooms and the eighth one to the kitchen. I was considering putting the eighth one in the bathroom, for TV while in the shower, but finding suitable water-proof equipment makes the kitchen more desirable.

This system works by the multiswitch diplexing these signals together and sending them down the one cable where a diplexer wall plate seperates these back out with three sockets for satellite, tv and radio. Best of all is that satellite receivers can just use the standard DiSEqC commands to switch between the four LNBs now recreated at the multiswich.

Sounds like a dream reception system to me which is why I am soon to buy around 150 meters of FT125 coaxial cable in order to wire this all together. My small mini-dish will be doing the Quatro trick at 28.2e while my big dish poining at 4.8e in order to get 19.2e, 13e and 1w on a multi-head system.

Adding 16 more coaxial cables up the front wall, and 3 more coaxial cables down the front wall, won't look too nice but I will see what I can do to minimise this black blob.

Well since getting in an electrician to put in an electrical socket is just the first step in this huge installation project then I will let you know when the different aspects start working. For now then someone you know has to get a certain MACRO+ model on-line.