22nd of December 2001
Well the last dispatch day before this Christmas holiday has now been and gone, when all outstanding orders that could be dispatched left yesterday. There are a handful of orders left, which usually have cards ordered needing the PIC16F628 and / or the 24LC65 EEPROM.
Anyway I expect these last delayed orders to be dispatched on either the 28th of this month or the 3rd of January next year, when these are my next two postal collection dates.
As yesterday's received orders will be last new orders to be dispatched until my business reopens on the 3rd of January, then that means that orders received from now onwards will only be processed from this date.
Sure you can still send me orders if that is what you desire, but just remember that order dispatches are currently no more. Also don't forget that my email contact system will close at 16:30 GMT later today, which is the point when all customer contact will cease and my 11 day Christmas and New Year holiday begins.
As I have said before it is then no use trying to contact me though other methods, when if you know what a holiday is then you will know that this has nothing to do with business and customers. So in case of a problem then just put it aside until we return on the 3rd.
This closing of the e-mail system also means that order collection will soon be no more, when unless you have already arranged a collection then unauthorised visits will be unhelpful. And one of those reasons is that my stock is very soon to be moved out of the way and therefore unavailable.
So anyway if you have anything important to say then this is the very last chance for you to do so, when later today I will put up a very clear Closed message.
I have seen that many suppliers are already on holiday, but I even know some who's holiday began the start of this month and they won't be back until the middle of next month.
Anyway, after all the hassle this year (not a bad as last year at least), then this annual holiday period is much welcome. When oddly enough this also gives me time to sort out problems and to do some site upgrades, which this time will include some digital coaxial audio cables and to add a second online payment system.
This one at least allows you to use your credit card, but as it is aimed at UK citizens, then I yet have no idea what will happen if people try using foreign credit cards. Anyway, as unlike NoChex there is no charge for loading your account from your bank or debit card, then that sounds the better system.
I have yet to sort out all the details, but that is one thing that should be here from the 3rd.
The other big change is the Euro when even now I own a Euro currency bank account, but unfortunately in the wrong name. And unless there exists such a thing as a Euro on-line payment system (like NoChex), then that account could remain unused.
I guess services like the French Minute Pay company must be moving to the Euro very soon, but these systems seem very single country orientated. This is like my new payment option soon to be added, when if they accept credit cards then why the UK only clause?
Well as the Euro is a multi-country system, then I don't see how a service that deals in the Euro can then accept Euro from one country and then refuse another. Anyway when the Euro becomes a hard (aka real) currency then that is the tool I need.
Actually it is more a case of someone with a Euro currency bank account in a non-Euro country would wish to make use of such a system. As you would not believe the nightmare I have had to go through to get a Euro currency account (in the wrong name) in the first place, when it seems that the UK financial services mostly choose to ignore that the Euro exists.
For some reason I suspect country zoneing of such services to avoid competition, even if the European Union would not like that one bit. Anyway, when some NoChex-like company can accept Euro from all countries and deliver it to mine, then I would be the first in the queue.
In the end I have yet to decide what to do about the Euro, when last year I gave it a shot before I found out what these Euro accounts my bank really offered. Well I desire to process Euro payments at the true exchange rate to Sterling with all the same payment options, but so far I only have a bank account that I cannot do much with.
True people can transfer their Euros into my account if that is what they desire (hopefully with no international transfer charges!), but as it is not a local account then paying in cash or cheques poses a problem. That from looking around is possible, but then as the account is not in the name "Cardman", then that is a problem to start with.
As transfers to my accounts are always expensive, then cheques are usually the much better option, but I have yet to see exactly how I go about paying Euro cheques and cash into my Euro bank account.
Maybe this holiday is a good time to see how easily (or difficult) Euros can move around within Europe at this time. And at least we are now just days away from hard cash, when maybe this switch over will help sort out such services.
Well at the current time it appears that I can accept Euro cheques no problem (except the name change), when the only real problem is that Citibank likes to keep me in the dark over what services they do offer. Hell I don't even yet know where my accounts are held, when what bank exactly is the 30 00 45 sort code for?
Also I have yet to receive a cheque or paying in book for these accounts, but that is because you have to request them when they don't send them automatically. And even then you can only order cheque books and not paying in books on-line.
This whole situation came about when I tried to open a Euro account with Citibank in my business name of "Cardman", but as I discovered the first unnamed fact about them is that they do not deal in business bank accounts.
While that does not sound helpful to me they did wish to open these accounts in my real name. And as such accounts were no use to me at all when my payments are all as "Cardman", then as this broke the vital condition in my additional letter, then we then both agreed at that time that the accounts would not be open.
Hell they even rejected my account opening cheque, which was addressed to "Cardman" from "Cardman". This they oddly claimed that this was "third" person, but I cannot see that when the desired accounts were supposed to have been in the name "Cardman". As after all this cheque was wrote out to me (as Cardman) and signed from me (as Cardman).
And so you could tell that I was surprised when I received an opening account letter and then debit card from them, which is still attached to the received form four months later I can say.
Following that I sent them a letter saying how these account should never have been opened in the first place and how I reject all ownership of them. And naturally I said change them to the name "Cardman" and I will use them, but it is no use having accounts in one name while all payments destined are in another.
Since they chose to ignore that then their accounts in my name have been losing money, when as of today the Euro account is 46.37 Euro overdrawn. That is because as they rejected my required opening cheque (how they can then open an account is unknown), then any balance below £1000 is charged fees on.
Oddly this 15 Euro per month fee is called a "relationship fee", which then means nothing to me. Maybe it is kind of a "You suck and we don't like you fee", but then I have no idea under I check their terms and conditions.
Well I told them that until they do open the accounts I require (slim chance of that), then no transactions will pass through these accounts. Still it is odd how 4 months later and they keep sending me statements and yet do not more clearly point out the overdrawn aspect, which would then allow me a good chance to show how they are in fact the owners of these accounts.
In the end as these are not the accounts I requested, we already agreed would not be opened, and what I have since rejected ownership of, then they stand no chance in hell of every making me pay their fees.
And so for the last three months we have been playing mind games, when I refuse to use them when they are not what I want. And then they believe that I will give in given enough time.
I am starting to suspect that they could win, when having a Euro account even in the wrong name has many advantages. Best of all when used with an in-between Euro payment gateway.
However that is not something that I would wish to do, when if I start using two names then it would only confuse customers. What I mean is that then Euro cheques could come addressed to "Cardman", while standard cheques would use my real name. Although the second aspect is actually of benefit, when my bank charges me £0.70 for each cheque paid in.
Then my bank would not like me putting thousands of cheques through my private account if I moved fully to my real name, but I guess in the long term Citibank could get upset as well.
Using my real name is a bad idea for many reason, which includes that many people will not even be able to spell it correctly when it comes to cheque writing. Well I think that I will phone them one of these days, when it is about time that I heard some response from them concerning this.
Well here in the UK the Euro is a nightmare to deal with, when average banks change a fortune for each cheque cashed. Now with Citibank on the other hand do that for free (makes you wonder why my own bank cannot), but then they do not deal with business customers.
As to Euro cash then I will be able to accept that immediately, but how and the used rates are currently unknown. What I mean is that the Euro is worth more to me if I can spend it as the Euro instead of converting it to Sterling, when that would cause it to lose value.
Putting Euro cash into my Euro bank account is another good question, when I would be concerned enough already about sending cheques in the post. I hear that it is possible to pay in cheques to my Citibank accounts through Lloyds-TSB, but if that includes Euro cheques or even Euro cash is currently an unknown.
I think that today I will have to phone Citibank and find out how their accounts really work, when they oddly do not put such vital information online. Maybe I will get me a paying in book, some of these pre-paid envelopes for sending cheques to them, whatever is needed to pay in through Lloyds-TSB, then maybe even some cheque books.
And if all goes well, then maybe I will transfer in the £1000 minimum balance they want. However I will be needing to speak to them about the minus 46.37 Euro value, when why should I pay this fee worth about £28 when these accounts were opened without my approval.
Well the Euro is almost here, then it would be a serious mistake to ignore it.
Maybe my plan for a direct Euro to Sterling rate conversion is much too advanced for the poor UK financial system to handle. As if a can handle the Euro as well as the rest of Europe does, then that is both better for my customers and myself.
For example one ELVIS (including this months special offer) is currently worth 79 Euro using direct conversion, which with Europe zone postage then totals in at 89 Euro (105 Euro including VAT). That if I had my way would be all you had to pay, but currently a German customer would pay 190 / 220 DM. And as this currency is Euro linked, then those values are equal to 97 and 113 Euro.
As you can see a value of 8 Euro (£5) is lost with each ELVIS sale for not dealing with the Euro directly, but maybe I can soon solve that problem. On-line Euro payment I wish for, Euro Cheques are possible, but Euro cash is only possible at the true rate if I can pay it into my Euro account. Unfortunately I cannot accept Euro cents, when this country just won't deal with such small coins.
I can however accept the 1 and 2 Euro coins, when at worst I can just exchange them as foreign currency at a small loss. Anyway, during my holiday I could get all this sorted out, but any ideas would be welcome.
First up I will go and look into what exact service Citibank does offer, when I hope their Euro account is as charge free as they say.
Well after all this don't forget that my business closes for an 11 day holiday at 16:30 GMT today, which means that it is also time to sort out the e-mail.
7th of December 2001
Oddly enough my first order of GOLD2 cards arrived today, which I guess shows how much faster manufacturers will move when faced with the possibility of a high value order cancellation.
This order took in all 51 days for them to complete, which was not at all helpful.
Anyway, my second order of GOLD2 cards that arrived just three days ago have since dropped to 25% stock quantity due to dispatch of all these orders, then when those are all gone I will switch these cards over to my usual type.
So that in all means that I won't be running out of GOLD2 cards until at least February, but then again increasing demand could make that date a bit sooner.
Recently I have seen that the continuing loss of my computer information has caused the time to process each order dispatch to double, which is why recent dispatch of the delayed GOLD2 orders took three days instead of the expected two.
Since a whole load of orders left with the postal collection today, then that is just about the end of the delayed orders.
Well since yesterday was exactly one month after my computers were seized, then they sure are taking their time when I could have done the job myself in just two days. This I do not find unexpected when these people seek disruption and not justice.
Anyway time to contact my solicitor again, when their fourth mentioned return estimate has been and gone, which means that I will soon be hearing "next week" once again.
Currently I am reaching a point where by the time they do try to return these items, then I just won't need them any more. So I could accept the return of just my hard disks, where I will then send them a bill for the rest.
As since they forced me to buy new computer equipment, then what do I now need the old equipment for?
Well as I now understand who these people are, then I expect that a month from now they will still have my equipment. That would make a good time to make an official police complaint, when I should never have been raided for that invalid reason in the first place.
Moving on to cards then it is nice to see my SILVER and PURPLE cards selling well, but I have more card types to still support. Anyway that is for the near future, where thanks to FACT the number of cards I supply has just now greatly increased.
And I could move to super advertising as well, when that would at least triple card sales.
I ordered more ELVIS today, when yesterday I regained control of my bank account, which should therefore be here around Christmas.
Since last month's raid screwed up last month's special offer, then on my Programmer page I have now put the ELVIS stock expirey date back to January. As had I not been raided last month, then around now would have been departing the last of that stock.
Instead that has now been put back a month, when the new stock should have arrived about a week before then.
Since I have not really mentioned Christmas yet, then my business will close on the 22nd (dispatches end on the 21st). And next year it will reopen on the 3rd of January, where it is always a good idea to leave one day to recover from the hangover.
This means that while you can still send me orders during this time, these however will not be dispatched before my business reopens on the 3rd. However I expect that I will arrange an extra collection date between these two dates to handle anything extra important.
Also do not overlook that all customer contact will end of the 22nd, where like last year if you have a problem then just put it aside and enjoy Christmas. For when we return on the 3rd, then I expect it can be sorted out in no time.
And naturally if you wish to avoid turning me into a crazed axe murderer, then remember that it is a very bad idea to interrupt our holiday by contacting us using other methods.
Naturally I will repeat all this information on the 22nd at the head of my News page, when from previous years I have seen that I need to be very clear about this point.
Anyway I see no problems at all why my outstanding order count cannot fall to zero on the 22nd, when I already have enough stock of my most important items. And then the less popular items can usually be obtained very quickly if they happen to run out.
Well that is my battle plan for Christmas, which is mostly a repeat of the fairly smooth operation of last year. And at least this year I am expecting a large surge in orders next month, when this holiday causes more people to browse the Net and find myself.
It is bound to be an interesting month anyway.
4th of December 2001
As I prophesied just a few days ago, then my order for GOLD2 cards from a second manufacturer has now arrived. And a very nice looking card they are too, with a higher than usual GOLD2 wafer and die quality level, which makes them highly recommended.
This means that all delayed orders, which should be a month old at worst, will be dispatched between today and tomorrow.
Since my first order for PURPLE cards arrived today, which was also in the time I expected, then I had to pity the delivery person, when he could hardly lift this box containing both GOLD2 and PURPLE cards.
I guess that shows how many cards I deal with these days, but even this twin order is not as large as the GOLD2 order that has been outstanding for almost 7 weeks now. I will have to take a look into that now when it could be better to change this order to this new manufacturer.
Normally I would have done that before had I been aware of the delay, but as switching to say a manufacturer in say China or Taiwan would add on a couple of weeks (or possibly longer), then only with a second UK manufacturer can they be obtained quickly.
Anyway if you can read this (doh!) then my new PURPLE card is now available to buy, with review details on my Cards page. As unlike with other suppliers I am sure you would be interested in what this card is all about, when others do not even list technical information like capacity.
I notice that my Cards page is getting a bit large, when I now have details on 17 blank PCB and Wafer card types. This means that I will have to figure out how to break this page down more, but maybe the best idea is to have a card index to jump to the one you want.
Well anyway as I have lots of work to do today and tomorrow, then I had best get to it. And if you wish to be one of the first people to order and own my new PURPLE card, then now you can.
As GOLD2 cards are now in stock, then my Cards page now reflects that. However I will have to keep a close eye on demand this month, when the Christmas period causes longer restocking delays.
3rd of December 2001
More good news today when my supplier has just confirmed that my AT90S8515A + 24LC64 PURPLE and my PIC16F84A + 24LC16B GOLD2 cards have now been dispatched.
These GOLD2 cards, as already mentioned, are from a second manufacturer (the same supplier of my SILVER and PURPLE cards), when my first order with another manufacturer has still not arrived after many weeks.
This means that all delayed GOLD2 card orders will be completed between tomorrow and Wednesday, but I will very soon get ready PURPLE card details, which I will upload to this site as soon as they arrive tomorrow.
I see that these morally confused people into ITV Digital piracy are starting to be a problem again. This is no doubt due to my recent long discussion on the subject caused by you know who.
What I mean is that people seeking such an illegal use is usually a rare event, where until now I usually explain that what they are trying to do is illegal, and then to provide some moral advice. When after all some people will not be aware of the moral and legal situation.
After the event on the 6th of last month then my fuse now a lot less, which means that anyone now seeking such help I now simply point to the Go F*** Yourself Home Page. As after all that I said last month about the subject, then anyone seeking such support must clearly be a sadist.
On the 24th of July, following the last time when this increased above the usual rare few, then I pointed out the moral and legal aspect on this very news page. This you can certainly still see for yourself if you wish to check for this date in my old news section.
The following month when I notice that one news reporter lacked similar bad moral values, then that made a good time to add a more fixed message to this site. And that you can still see on my In The News page.
That I can say served its purpose, when the rare few returned to being just that. When such people hopefully then followed my advice and simply went away, or they were at least wise enough to not make their illegal actions known.
After those recent messages, then you must be surprised as I was for the reason for this raid. When these two events prove them wrong even before they even start. And as they would have since seen my email log contains many other examples.
Anyway, as I see that these immoral people are starting to become a problem again, then I am soon to do something about that. However it is unlikely that my more morally sound customers would notice these changes, but I am sure that some changes you will notice.
In the end if you pay for that offered to you, then you cannot go wrong. And that is why I currently have four subscriptions including ITV Digital twice.
Anyway GOLD2 and PURPLE cards will be here tomorrow, which are naturally only for customers with legal uses in mind. And I am sure that mostly everyone does use them for legal purposes, when after all illegal uses like ITV Digital is a rare exception.
1st of December 2001
A new month means a new special offer, when last months special offer is now no more. However due to this month being December, then like last year it is now time for two Special Offers lasting two whole months each.
These special offers will last for two whole months because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. As naturally the postal service won't be working too well the end of this month, which means that it is just not a good idea to end one special offer and to start a new one on days that it is not working.
And as naturally January deserves a special offer of it's own, then that is why I am offering two special offers instead of just one.
Moving on to other good news, then my second order of GOLD2 cards will be here on Tuesday for certain. And when I say certain then only an act of God will cause an exception, when all the purchase details have already been agreed and payment now made.
So while this first supplier has been off and on for weeks, this second order with another supplier will be here on Tuesday. And I am sure that this is good news for those customers both patiently and impatiently awaiting these cards.
The last piece of good news is that one awesome item arrived today, which I have been hinting at and sorting out for the past few weeks. This just happens to be the GoldMate/PC Plus model, which you can now see on my Programmers page.
So finally that is the reason why I renamed my old GOLDMATE model to GOLDCOPY in order to avoid this confusion, when I would have eventually had two models called GoldMate.
Well that was the plan, but as GOLDCOPY stock has since expired and I no longer have contact information for that supplier (on computer), then I cannot currently buy more to sell more. And so I since decided that as the new GoldMate/PC Plus model can do all that the last one could and more, then this new model has now replaced the old one.
And as the new model is very much better, then in the end that is no major loss.
I decided to keep the recent running out of stock of the GOLDCOPY model to myself, when this model change was already in the works. This means that the last few people buying the GOLDCOPY model will from today receive the GMPC+ model instead, which is naturally perfect when the new model can still do everything that the old one could.
So that means those few people will get a much better model for the same price, which in a way applies to new purchases as well. As since the new model will cost you just £39, then you will get a hell of a lot more for that small price increase.
And as I should really be selling that model for more, then it could be wise to buy one now before I decide to put the price up. Well the common price for the previous model version is currently £6 more, which means that I am currently undercutting everyone else.
That is also not to mention that this model is technically not available anywhere else for a short time, when this was a very new version and I was at the front of the queue. And when I say new model, then I mean that this was really made for the first time like just yesterday.
So in the end what with the latest hardware upgrade, including support for two new card types, then the true price is bound to be higher still.
And that is why I say that if you want one, then there is currently no better time or price than now. Also I have yet to mention that I got this first batch at a special low price, which is why I can afford to undercut all other suppliers for a short time.
Well that is certainly an awesome model, but I am sure that you can now take a look for yourself and then decide if you need one.
The final thing is that I have had to strip off last months news early to put in my old news section, when my poor HTML editor simply could not handle that much text. Still as I expected back the middle of last month it did indeed break my record for most news text in one month.
As during my ELVIS supply problem back in January I wrote 130k worth of news, but last month I just about topped that with 132k worth of news. And if you have never read such a vast amount of ramble before (I write most when annoyed), then both old and new month records can be seen by following the old news link at the base of this page.
I doubt if I will write that much text this month what with the holiday and all, but as it will be my computers one month of seized ownership anniversary on the 6th, then I am sure that I still have more than a few thing to say about it.
Maybe I will send my computers some flowers or something, when they could well be upset being enslaved by those FACT morons. Well I am still surprised that in nearly one month now they have not yet spotted those countless messages clearly pointing out that I don't support ITV Digital piracy.
Well anyway as this first day of the month should be a fun and happy day, then why not go look at my new Special Offers and maybe then my new GoldMate/PC Plus model.