31st January 2001
My most busy week of the year is now over thankfully.
Well the bad news is that neither my third ELVIS batch or my DIL sockets have yet arrived. As this third ELVIS batch is now a week overdue then over the last few days I have been checking on where it is.
To begin with I have confirmed that the manufacturer did dispatch these to me on the 19th, and that tracking of these went up to their safe arrival in the UK.
The problem then is that my third ELVIS batch is then passed to a UK company for delivery, who then use their own tracking numbers different from the ones I already had.
Anyway as I know the company who eventually delivers these programmers then today I contacted them to see if they had my packages, or if for some unknown reason they were being held up by customs.
From providing them with my two foreign tracking numbers they then provided me with their new UK tracking number. And from there I managed to find out what was going on.
As it seems that these packages did not quite have the correct postal code on them, which means that they have now spent over a week sitting in a depot in the east end of London. So as ME16 oddly got mixed up a some point with NE16 then that explains the delay.
What it does not explain however is how a large UK delivery service can fail to read an address. As quite simply one look at the word "Maidstone" would inform anyone with with an IQ above that of a Gold Fish that Maidstone is not a part of London.
Sure it may have got sent to the wrong depot to begin with, but once a local delivery was found to be impossible, then checking the address should have then got it resent to the correct location. This makes me wonder how long they would have kept my parcels sitting there if I had not poked them into action.
And so I would put the delay down to a stupid delivery company; who has been keeping my most expensive order ever sitting in the wrong shipping depot because they cannot read an address.
In the end my call would now have pointed out the obvious to them, which means that this large order would now be sent to the right depot and then eventually to me. This no doubt would take a day or two, which I guess means that my third ELVIS batch should be with me exactly two weeks after it was dispatched, with delivery on this Friday.
On better news then my huge quantities of power adapters (MPACK, MPACK2, and MPACK3) arrived yesterday, which means that I should not have to restock on these until April or May.
Apart from more UK2EU converter plugs arriving then I had two new items arrive with this order. This includes my now most expensive item ever, which is now one of several items to be included on my soon to appear Video / Audio page.
As I have many new items to add to this site then I will now work hard to get these new pages completed.
Since today is the last day of the month, then my December / January special offers have now been removed, which means that my February special offers will appear tomorrow.
My email system has been going faulty recently, which you can see details of on my email page.
Anyway lots to sort out, which means back to work.
26th January 2001
As expected s*** loads of orders were dispatched today, which as luck would have it did not cause the postmaster to run away screaming due to the quantity.
These were all of the received orders due for the second batch ELVIS programmers, but not those orders also wishing additional P8416 cards besides the free one.
About 60% of the card only orders for those people who got one of the first ELVIS batch programmers also went out today, but the remaining 40% of those orders are currently all ready to be dispatched tomorrow.
As the third ELVIS batch once again chose not to arrive today (or my DIL sockets) then I have now contacted my supplier to enquire about the delay, when today now makes one week when delivery normally take about 3 working days.
I am currently awaiting that reply, but until then I am wondering if this titanic third batch is being routed through China. I still do not foresee any problems beyond this delivery company having to move so many at once, which like for the previous two days makes delivery tomorrow my best bet.
Actually as tomorrow is Saturday then I guess the next possible delivery day is Monday. As if you recall this delivery company has a phobia about Saturday delivery.
Maybe my supplier has changed delivery company this time, which could also explain the delay. If so then that I will soon know this when I get my reply, and makes a good reason to not use them again.
As tomorrow will result in dispatch of all possible orders that can be dispatched, then until I decide what to do about the additional P8416 card orders this lack of work will mean that while the third batch holds out not arriving, then this will now delay the dispatch of the third batch orders.
Annoying, but at least it was pleasing to dispatch about 80% of all second batch orders in just one day.
This bulk was actually dispatched in two lots, with some going out in the morning, but with most going out in the afternoon. And this took about one hour in total of this post office workers time to process all these, which is not bad when they only have seven hours total in one day.
Still give it a year and a busy day like today would then take up all seven of their hours.
One thing I have forgot to mention is that as from the two days ago the number of orders received this month now exceeds the number of orders received in September, October, November, and December combined. This I guess makes it fortunate that my new business is structured to handle such large increases, which I have seen two times before.
These two previous times like with ELVIS are from when I support a new highly popular item, which in the previous two times were with my now discontinued items of MMAG and SECA.
From these previous two times I learned that you have to keep in constant contact with you customers. As when some of them are left to their own imagination then they often come to the most inaccurate, annoying, and damaging conclusion possible for delays. Which is most dangerous when it spreads to other people who just make up total rubbish.
In the past I did not have time to do this, because I had no No1 or No2 to do the vital work.
Also from the second time I learned the hard way that you just cannot put your faith in suppliers. As if any long delays are expected or any have already occurred then it is better to stop selling these items. This is because promises from my own suppliers often turn out to be worthless, which are then tried to be passed off with lies.
And I can certainly provide you with a whole list of items which have been promised to me, but then which then never arrived. And that list would start with the Galaxy II card, which I then made the bad choice to keep selling them while my own supplier changed from certain I would get more to discontinued.
This is why I now keep a close watch on popular items. As if there is any restocking problem beyond a couple of weeks, then items now get marked Out of Stock.
It is just a shame that like with the SEASON2 people still keep trying to buy it, which to start with then causes problems with their other ordered items. Also while the SEASON2 is expected back in stock about the middle of next month, I also know that it is possible that I may never see more of these loggers ever.
And so people not following my good advice are the ones that causes me most headaches.
Anyway what I am saying from this is that is is pleasing to see my business working so well despite having to suddenly handle five months worth of work in just one month. Not quite as much work as May when my new popular item then gave me almost 12 months worth of work to do, which due to these lying suppliers I mentioned then took me all of three months to sort out.
Had I got my cards back then I could have completed all orders almost three times faster. However as things go it was only the start of this month before I finally realized that my cards ordered the start of April were not going to turn up after all.
With those constant reminders concerning how much I dislike commercial suppliers, then you can rest assured that I soon won't forget why I started supplying items in the first place.
Also that reminds me that my request for further details as to why my merchant account application was refused was as predicted never answered. As rule one for a commercial business is that they do not answer questions which would eventually show that what they have done was incorrect and purely motivated by money.
Well I will send them a stronger reminder, but it could soon be time for Plan B.
And finally the ELVIS total for today stands at 4.645, which is only a little down on yesterday. One thing I have noticed is that people often buy lower priced items near the end of the month, which should make things interesting when next pay day comes around.
Well the end of one very busy day. And my left foot only hurt just a little today when I over used it.
25th January 2001
Well to begin with then my foot is still sore, but as I have been trying to not to over use it today then in one of two days it should be fully healed.
Bad news is that neither the third ELVIS batch or the DIL sockets arrived today, which means that I will now have to go and see what the hold up is. However one order did arrive today, which was to boost my stock levels of the PG753, UK2EU, ZONE4, as well as delivery of three new items for my soon to appear Video / Audio page.
As the weekend is almost here, and with no DIL sockets in sight, then I had to decide as to what choice I made would then make the most people happy. And this is why I decide to make my free P8416 card which comes with ELVIS without the usual DIL socket for the EEPROM.
This should not in any way affect the normal use with this programmer, as I really only added a DIL socket anyway in order to allow the PICPROG to fully program this card as well.
I believe that is the best option, as it is just silly to hold up all these quite expensive orders over a non-vital 4p socket. And as most people would have their ELVIS on Saturday then that should make a lot of people happy.
This I have extended to include all those ELVIS orders from the first batch where the very last few have not yet got their cards, which of course was a good idea when now they will get their cards.
However I decided to not yet do this for these cards when bought separately, which means that any order buying additional P8416 cards I will leave the dispatch until last (which won't take long). If sockets still have not arrived by the time all other second batch orders have been dispatched then I will reconsider what to do.
Anyway in all this means that vast amounts of orders will be dispatched tomorrow, which should be 80-90% of all remaining second batch orders and the following card only orders to fully complete the first batch. And I can now also report that all second batch ELVIS programmers have now been used, which means that if the third ELVIS batch does not arrive tomorrow then this would delay dispatches of third batch orders.
Now the problem with dispatching such vast amounts of orders in one go is how the postmaster will handle this, which I would estimate as one of the following...
A. He dies of shock at the vast amount to handle.
B. He runs away screaming.
C. He calls for additional help (recommended).
D. He processes all order dispatches delaying other customers by about an hour.
E. He processes order dispatches between serving other customers.
F. He refuses to handle so many in one day.
G. He asks for our return at 5pm, resulting in orders leaving on Saturday (not recommended).
No doubt his response will be something different, but as this would be a new dispatch quantity record by a long way then this is sure to be quite a shock.
Anyway once over all of the first batch orders and most of the second batch orders would have been fully completed.
Now as I missed of the ELVIS total yesterday then I can say this was an increase from 4.51 to 4.658. And as today increased to 4.671 then clearly a lot of people including myself expected ELVIS to arrive yesterday or today.
Well no doubt they are just having problems moving so many at once, which means that until I know differently then the third ELVIS batch arriving tomorrow seems the best bet.
More news tomorrow following one interesting day.
24th January 2001
Today is one of those strange days when before the day is over getting abducted by aliens and used in breeding experiments would not be entirely unexpected.
What I mean is that within 5 minutes of getting up today I had sprained my ankle while trying to escape from the bathroom.
I guess that can be summed up by saying that I had got out of the wrong side of the bed today, but I had thought that I had previously figured that one out when getting out of the wrong side would require passing through a wall.
And of course when you first sprain your ankle you don't know you have. As apart from a painful knock and a suspicion that you may have everything feels fine. So not more then ten minutes later I had collected todays post from the postman.
However after about an hour you begin to notice small sharp pains whenever you move your injured foot the wrong way.
This while moving about through the day then made me realise that which people only remember whenever they sprain their ankle. As when you move about it feels fine enough, as it does when you are resting it, but then when you finish resting and begin to walk again then it is bl**dy painful!.
If I did not know better then the best cure for a sprained ankle would be to run a marathon, but in this case not feeling pain does not mean that further damage is then not being done.
As I am a busy person then I can hardly sit about all day. This means that today I have been doing all that was needed to be done until now in the grip of a full grown sprained ankle I am now just about immobile.
My last task today was therefore to send off another order to obtain more power adapters, more UK2EU converter plugs, and two new items.
This was an important order to get done. As although none of these items have run out, this order will allow me to keep in stock all of my power adapters for the next two and a half months.
Only problem is that as I now sell these by the hundreds then I am not fully sure yet where I am going to keep them all.
Anyway that one has now gone, but as I was almost on my hands and knees dispatching that last order then this is clearly a sign that any further moving I do will be very slowly and very carefully.
This can hardly have came at a worse time, when the last week of January is well known to be my most busy week of the year. So I hope that rest over the next couple of days will have me fixed. As I doubt that these tax people would be very understanding when I can hardly go anywhere to pay my taxes.
I suppose that I can slowly move between my computer and my soldering iron (to make more cards) but that is it. As everything else will now have be done by No1 and No2. They should be able to cope well enough for a couple of days, but as my job is "management" then any longer would cause my business to grind to a halt.
As I have now entered my busy week then I may just be too busy to keep in contact, which means that you should not be surprised if this page suddenly lacks updates for a few days.
In a way I find this strange when on getting up today it was "now is the big day to get everything done", then within 5 minutes my day was virtually ruined. I suppose I can put some things back a couple of days, but by the end of this month it will be game over.
Well I guess I was lucky that I was not today leaving to go on a holiday for example, but that does not mean that it is not very annoying. As I mean, any week of the year and it had to be this one.
Tomorrow's plan currently looks doubtful, which was to visit town, pay in some cheques, cash some foreign currency, and then wipe out all the local shops of their 8pin DIL sockets. I may get No2 to do some of those instead, but as he has other work to do then I will see.
Also as today was kind of weird, then there was no sign of the expected deliveries today. This included no third ELVIS batch, no items ordered yesterday, no Gold wafer, and no 8pin DIL sockets.
I am starting to suspect that my ELVIS supplier actually dispatched these on Monday. As that was the day when my account was debited, and also the day that he told me that they were dispatched on Friday. As dispatched on Friday would normally mean receipt on Tuesday or Wednesday, while dispatch on Monday would allow one extra day.
Anyway if these and other expected items do not arrive tomorrow then it is time to check on them. Still with ELVIS at least things may be talking longer this time due to the vast quantity that has to be moved.
As today was a disaster then I will hobble through the next few days as best I can, but unless I shatter all four limbs tomorrow morning then I will try to do another news update. However if tomorrow the sky is overcast with lightning due, then I will consider this an oman to stay in bed.
23rd January 2001
As the ELVIS sales demand figure dropped again today from 4.55 to 4.51, then the slow expected decline near the end of the month is now at hand. And of course when next month starts then the ELVIS sales could double, triple, or even go five time higher again, as it did this month.
I was wondering in a month of such high demand if there would be the usual end of month decline, but I guess customer pay day ranks along side other Universal Laws like Gravity, Time and Space.
As to the second ELVIS batch orders then good news is that PCBs for my P8416 cards arrived today as hoped, but bad news is that although many orders were dispatched today I have now ran out of DIL sockets for these cards.
These were supposed to arrive with my new UK2EU converter plugs, but as things go the one vital item from that order was marked as "to follow". Today I sent them a reminder to hurry up and send me some if not all, but if these do not arrive tomorrow as hoped then I will have to get some quickly from another source.
However those ones should be here soon anyway, as this supplier does not accept order for items if the delay is going to be more than a few days.
Anyway that is the way things go with these cards, when I just keep making them until one of the components run out. It is just a shame however that restocking it being delayed slightly this time.
For the third batch orders then those are starting to mount up, which is then fortunate that the third ELVIS batch should be here tomorrow. This third batch should last until the end of this month, but not much longer.
Anyway given a few days I am sure the backlog would have been fully cleared. I would give Tuesday or Wednesday the best chance for that to happen, but we will have to wait and see.
Today was one of those days when you have lots planned to do, but due to interruptions then some things now have to wait until tomorrow.
The most memorable interruption today was when I was trying to complete a non-urgent order to send off (just some items for my Video / Audio page), as I then received a phone call.
At first I thought it was one of my customers ignoring that phone contact is only allowed by prior agreement, which usually if ignored then interrupts other important work like dispatching orders.
However this turned out to be my old boss who I was last (not quite) employed by over two years ago when I decided that my work as being Cardman was then the better option. And oddly he had a desire to employ me again, which I found extremely strange when last time I spoke to him I made it clear that he could not afford me.
And as my business is like 40 times larger now, then I began to wonder if he had recently won the national lottery, but whatever way I don't believe that I would sack two workers and give up being just about the most highly recommended satellite equipment supplier around.
I guess he must have been desperate, but the answer to taking an undesirable job with a monthly pay equal to 1/5th of the gross income received in my recently passed record day was "no".
Then after getting back to work on this non-urgent order I then just 3 minutes later got a second phone call, which was only a company wishing me to provide a 10 minute survey on my business banking. Maybe I should send them a bill showing how much 10 minutes of my time was worth, as that would certainly stop most calls.
However generous me giving them 10 minutes for free then pushed back getting that order completed and sent off, which then pushed back everything else and some work into tomorrow.
Anyway lets now see what tomorrow holds.
22nd January 2001
Monday is never the best day to receive orders. As anyone sending their order over the weekend has a good chance of it leaving on Monday for delivery on Tuesday.
That means that although the ELVIS total fell from 4.63 to 4.55 today, it will be more interesting to see it tomorrow. However a slow decline near the end of the month is not unexpected, when orders could well double again when customer pay day next comes around.
One trend I have not yet mentioned are those customers ordering two ELVIS at once; or after receiving one ELVIS then sending me an order for a second one.
This is best explained by one of my customers who said that his ELVIS is now so popular that his friends keep on borrowing it. And so he decided that it was time to get a second one, so that he then had a chance to use one himself.
Generous person if you ask me, when most people would normally tell their friends to buy their own. Which then of course would explain those buying two, with one for themselves and one for a friend.
As all ELVIS from the first batch have now been dispatched, except for one or two problem orders then most time is now spent on the second batch.
These are currently all being made up ready for dispatch, but as I am still awaiting PCBs for my P8416 cards then these are temporarily on hold until they arrive. Already four large storage boxes have been filled with such orders, which now means that even larger storage boxes are used to hold them all.
When dispatch day soon arrives then this would be fun trying to move so many at once. As a forklift truck would have been ideal had such an idea been possible.
As to the PCBs then hopefully they are one of those weekend dispatches with arrival tomorrow, but as these are now important items then getting them here is now my priority.
I yet have no desire to dispatch such vast amounts of orders with cards to follow, as that would create quite some chaos and long delays for those orders behind them having to do each order twice.
However as I would certainly desire to have those dispatched long before this weekend then I may yet change my mind.
Before it comes to that however then all signs currently point to a dispatch tomorrow or Wednesday. And in case of unexpected problems then I can always implement my emergency plan to have a green type here within 24 hours.
Anyway leave it to Cardman to handle what is best for everyone. And all those waiting for a ELVIS from the second batch is sure to have it by this weekend, but I would be certain that the required cards would be sorted out quite soon.
Now as when I mention a new story I like to follow it up the following day with after thoughts, then now comes more news concerning Employees of Media Services.
After finding out more old orders then in a sudden brain wave I then remembered the name of one certain company, which I soon found the order for again after a database search. This was a special one for me, as after the first two mentioned yesterday in my first year I still do not know why these people wished my cards.
It was then this third order which then began to explain this reason to me.
However first I have to tell you that this third order now relocated was actually the second order of this type received. As the worrying one actually came in third. And I can tell you that had not this second one arrived first then I may well have been too concerned about this third such order to actually have dispatch it.
Also I should say that my concern when receiving the third one was in the case of telling a good story a little exaggerated. As sure it was worrying to see, but as this second one then gave me a second reason why I should receive such an order then my logic at this time was placing bets on this second reason.
And so that was why I decided to dispatch this third order, but as the rest of what I said was true then I was still quite concerned about it. As after all dispatching such a card to the station owner that the card could decode without no known reason why they wanted it, then makes you go through the many possible reasons why they did want it.
Anyway why they did want that first card is still unknown, but maybe this second received order explains why.
Now before I received this second one I had a very good chat to this person to see what they needed. And although I did notice the email address it never clicked until I received this persons order.
When it did arrive it had the company name/logo on the envelope, which then caused everything to suddenly click into place.
As it so happens that the name in question is one company that happens to own a few satellites. And of course it clicked into place as I still even this day swing my dish around to see what they are currently broadcasting.
Now as this person had included a print out of our discussion attached to his order, then even today it is quite clear the reason why he wanted what he bought.
Back then I began to wonder why an employee of such a technical company would have ever needed my help, but finding this answer then explained to me why everyone else from these companies also came to me.
As of course once you look behind the company then what you see are average people, who certainly in their own eyes prefer to keep their work and private life separate. Also when you think about it then even in a technical company such as this one then very few of the employees would actually know much about satellite reception.
And so that one order then provided me with the answer why I got that third order and every order since. However of course with any such order where I had not talked to the person first then there is always a question mark over why they needed it.
Some could order out of simple curiosity, others for their own dark purposes, but the greater majority for exactly the same reason as everyone else came to me.
This order also demonstrated one other unusual fact about these orders. As it is only those people who have been around and have some knowledge of satellite reception that do talk to me, as everyone else who lack this knowledge would then just order.
So I have never seen a total satellite newbie for one of these companies, which I guess means that without general understanding of the environment then they prefer the easy and direct route. And of course as mentioned those that were unsure of themselves would then just order without me ever knowing who they worked for.
Those people not talking to me I find a great shame. As although I find it best not to mention the company when talking to such people those that do talk about their work I find most interesting.
What I mean is that I am always interested in the whole area of satellite broadcast and reception, which means that these rare glimpses into how the other have live and work are quite special for me.
And so all those people just ordering without saying "hi" is a major loss for me. As sure these people may consider what they do as quite mundane, but if they wish to see someone awe-struck over how they push some buttons then just say "hi" to Cardman.
Anyway that second order was the one that helped me to understand why I get these orders from these employees at many different levels within their company. As look beyond the company name and you will find normal people, who just prefer to be more careful when doing what everyone else then came to me for.
These people could well be surprised to know that they are by far not the only ones. As although I cannot say how news of Cardman spreads in such groups I can say that if you name the company then I would give you good odds for a known encounter.
It is just a shame that the envelope for that second order went in the bin long ago with that company logo on it. As actually getting an order from someone within that company I consider quite an important event for me.
Consider it like a royal flush in poker; as stations would be the queens, service providers (complete packages) would be the kings, and owners of satellites just have to be the aces. Which in all means that I have now collected the whole set and more.
As I have not mentioned employees of service providers yet, then lets just say that I once helped one of them by providing full details for how to install a satellite system on their new home. And that of course went through required equipment and reception possibilities, but even now it is still difficult to estimate the available equipment in another country.
That is one of the many orders I have yet to find out, that is if I can still relocate that one after all this time. And of course one never forgets certain company email addresses.
Well I guess I am just about finished with this subject. As the last time I mentioned it was two years ago, which means that it could be another two years before I mention it again.
Actually as I have a more unique view on the subject then most, then is it not a bit ironic how STOP was created by these companies. When after all the employees of these companies are using that which STOP is trying to stop.
I guess that could be the difference between the official and unofficial routes, but my greatest hope for these special customers is that they now have better understanding for the rest of us. What I mean is that there are certain stations that I would desire to subscribe to, but due to they way things are that is just not officially possible.
And as I am completely certain that these very same stations happen to own some of my cards, then just how about now returning the favour?. Well I guess for now that I will put that down as an "I owe you", even if I expect that one to be outstanding for a long time yet.
Anyway to finish up then should such an employee read this, then just remember that you are not the first and you certainly won't be the last. As you can wonder if I already have your company logo on my wall, and if your fellow workers or even bosses already own my now discontinued cards.
Well I will never tell, but you can always try to add a new company logo to my collection. And please feel free to say "hi" to Cardman, when after all there is little harm in learning more about what the other does. I still doubt that many will, but those that do would make my week.
More Important News...
Elvis has been found alive and living on Mount Everest with Bigfoot!
Hold on that's not it, let me try again.
More Important (Valid) News...
My third batch of ELVIS programmers were dispatched to me on Friday (19th), which means that they will be here within days.
This early receipt will mean that once all outstanding order have been cleared then there will be no unusual dispatch delays until at least next month. Very good news when the popularity demand has now been beat.
21st January 2001
First of all as promised the new ELVIS total after processing all of yesterday's order now stands at 4.63, which is again below the average for this month.
This slow fall is not at all unexpected when most orders are usually near the start of the month (when people get paid), as well as that the third ELVIS batch will be here next week.
As this third one won't be all pre-sold before they arrive then I guess it makes more sense to order when they arrive.
Anyway I guess this is better news when demand recently has been quite extreme.
From what I have been hearing then my daily news is proving quite popular for both those people waiting for ELVIS, and those just interested in my stories.
So today I thought I would talk more about another aspect of my business, which is employees of satellite media companies.
To begin with then it is a fact that people working for satellite media companies get interested in satellite reception through their work. And as I am a satellite equipment supplier then naturally these employees use my services, which I hope their bosses unofficially approve of when this "educates" them in satellite technology. As well as learning about foreign services can help to improve their own.
That I guess is why quite a few of my orders recently have been going to Livingston in West Lothian, but of course I won't be confirming or denying anything to do with large employers in that region.
Anyway the point of this is that I deal with quite a lot of employees of large satellite media companies, and I am sure that there are many more such customers that I don't know about. It is always nice to know these people, but if they wish to remain incognito then that is their choice.
What I am trying to say here is that when I get an order with one of these satellite media companies official logo on it, which sometimes goes straight to their HQ, then previously I have not given this much extra thought.
Now unlike with the average employee of such a media company those with the official company logo on it mean business. As of course the average employee would prefer to remain hidden, while those with the company logo on it often come from people like "the regional manager".
No matter the level of the employee they usually all come to me for the same thing, but as mentioned before now I have not gave the logo ones much extra thought.
As it happened that ten days ago I got two of these logo ones in on the same day, which was a first when normally I only see one every week or two, then this got me thinking.
What I was thinking about is that over the past three years I have dealt with quite a lot of these satellite media companies, and simply vast amounts more of non-satellite related companies. Anyway as I never gave this that much thought before, other then a mental note in my head about yet another one, then I did the usual of envelope in the bin (with logo on) and deal with this order like usual.
After those latest two however I began trying hard to remember all the satellite media companies that I have dealt with, but due to so many over so long then only making a mental note has proved not good enough.
And so today I began searching both my old and new business databases in order to try and patch together my forgotten information, but this time I thought that I would compile a better record.
As so I will now dig out these old orders and compile them together into one nice wall display, which will make a good testament to my business even if no visitor will ever be allowed to see it.
After starting this search then I began to curse myself for throwing away all these logo displayed envelopes over time. As not all order forms then repeated this logo, which then makes it damned hard trying to find what you know exists. And even if you do find them then you would be missing the all important logo for my new display.
I suppose I could request those customers to place another order (to get the logo again), but even offering them a special discount would not always mean that they would accept. And as mentioned some of them would prove so hard to relocate as to now be impossible.
Also as I have never contacted a customer beyond sorting out a problem with their order, then I have little desire to change this. However this does get me thinking about what a powerful collection of information this would be, as pick the company and in minutes I could be asking "what is going on 'ere then".
As mentioned I have never once attempted to do this. As beyond sorting out this unusual customer with what they need then what have I previously cared about what their company was up to.
Interesting, but if I will ever make use of this power is only known to the future.
Anyway as the search has now started then already I am up to four, which are my first two ever and my last two ever. And actually this time I managed to save one of the latest two envelopes from the bin.
Now these first two ever orders makes for a couple of interesting stories, but I was surprised to find out that the first ever such order I received I had totally forgotten about until I managed to relocate it.
The very first order now in front of me came from a certain well known international station, who was in the satellite news at the time because they were thinking long and hard about joining a certain service.
And it just so happens that back then I was providing cards for that service, which this customer had a great desire to purchase.
Now as this station later dropped the idea to join this service, then of course you have to wonder. As although the odds are against it being true, but the possibility exists that maybe my supplied card affected that decision.
That answer I have been wondering about for years, but at least this station did later join services in countries like Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK.
The second such order also makes an interesting story. As when that one arrived and I saw the company logo I then experienced such a wave of concern that it almost bordered on pure terror.
Now although I have dealt with many similar orders since, I can certainly tell you that the first time you get an order from one of the station operators in the service that you are supplying certain cards for, then it is certainly brown stain time.
When I opened that letter I was expecting to see words like "we don't like what your doing, sonny", but I was almost as shocked to see an order for one of my cards.
Even this at the time gave me great concern when this order had both the logo and the email address.
In fact as this was a first time for me then I did a complete Internet search for this person, which then told me that this was no minor employee I was dealing with.
I then spent the next few hours wondering what to with that one, before then dispatching what was ordered. However I was polite enough to disable the access for their own station to make it as legally friendly as you could get, but to cover both bases I did also include extra instructions telling this person how to enable it again.
Anyway that was the true story for the first two such orders ever received, but from that day onwards up to May last year when I discontinued all those cards, and the nature of my business changed, then a similar logo always made me wonder if it contained the words "we don't like what your doing, sonny".
None ever has, which I was certainly thankful for.
I have always found this whole situation quite ironic myself, which is a bit two-faced. However as I know these special people are little different from the rest of us, then they will be glad to know that Cardman fully understands.
Anyway I will continue my search and find as many such old orders as I possibly can, which if there are any interesting stories to tell then here you will find the details with of course no names attached.
And so my total of four will soon grow, but any qualifying employee old or new is always welcome to help boost my new private collection.
However of course none of that "we don't like what your doing, sonny" stuff. As although I know well what I am doing, there is still room for concern at something unexpected.
For I am certain that out of the official and unofficial routes I am certain that I only see the unofficial one. What I mean is that although the name of Cardman may go around the HQ, that is certainly where it officially ends. Which I guess means that unlike the spy business, then unless I name names then no satellite media service knows what the other satellite media services get up to.
Well if I was not morally bound then that would make a good book, but to avoid everyone making excuses then my customer details come very well protected and will cease when I do. Hopefully however they will one day get this copyright issue sorted out, but as I do not see that happening soon then my collection will continue to grow.
As for the rest of you then I hope you enjoyed my latest ultra true story, but you should remember that although some customers are more interesting than others, none are less important.
20th January 2001
As expected my second batch of ELVIS programmers arrived yesterday, which means that these will allow me to dispatch all orders received up to and including Monday (15th).
The last of the first batch mostly went out without cards as expected yesterday, but for some reason currently unknown to myself the very last few will actually leave today.
Also today I received in more Gold wafer cards in my second additional batch this month. As I have had an order for these outstanding with another supplier since the start of this month, but while I still await those I have to keep getting in more to meet demand.
Hopefully this supplier will soon complete my order and I get my main batch, as since I started supplying these again they have proved quite popular.
For the ELVIS popularity figure then the last figure of 5.09 has now shrunk to 4.76 on yesterday's total, but I will no doubt tell you today's figure tomorrow.
As for bad news today then it seems that the final part for my Credit/Debit card system is causing problems. This I did believe was already completed, but it seems that my Merchant account application was denied.
And the reason they gave for this quite oddly was that they would not process payments for one or more items that I am supplying, but unfortunately they did not care to say what.
Now it is the case that they usually only deny this for areas such as gambling, pornography, or anything illegal. Which then makes me wonder what they have in their tiny little minds, when I am more than certain that all my items are fully legal.
That I cannot say when no other supplier I know has problems selling these exact same items, even using this exact same provider.
In fact were I to supply any illegal items then I would soon have STOP after me, but as them like me know the covering laws well enough then that is certainly proof enough that I am fully legal. As of course they are known to over reach themselves at times, by even telling one supplier I know that his serial cables were illegal.
Well what can I say to that logic, when everyone reading this can look behind their computer to see all those STOP assumed illegal cables. That I guess is why they choose to leave this supplier alone after that, when apart from these one or two rare cases all suppliers such as my myself have never encountered even the slightest legal problem in all these years of trading.
And if you wish more ultra true STOP stories then I remember once when one supplier was raided; and as the police did not know what they were looking for then they got the STOP expert to point out the illegal items. And you have to laugh when the first item they pointed out was nothing but a harmless printer.
Still at least STOP are doing better these days, when it seems they may have actually found themselves one or two people doing bad things. Well it may have taken them lots of practice runs, but they got there in the end.
Anyway while I wonder if my provider has something against my power supplies or remote controls (or serial cables?), then I have sent them a reply requesting more information.
As I can only presume that they based this decision on some false information, which I would not be too surprised about when this is quite a technical subject area. For example even DHL every time I send a package through them ask if my smartcards are for telephone use, when of course that is not yet a known use.
Maybe I should get myself some GSM Sim cards, as I am still wondering what they would say if I said "yes".
So hopefully I can soon put my provider right and get this sorted out, but as these are "commercial" people we are talking about then I would be lucky to even know what item they don't like.
Personally I would say Bollocks [tm] to the whole thing, but as you customers wish this service then I will do my best to fight this commercial dragon to obtain victory.
However as the whole situation has so far been the mess you would expect from such a commercial system then I currently have doubts concerning the service even when I get this sorted out. In fact I find it quite ironic that they choose to deny me, when of course my natural instincts is to avoid such systems.
Anyway, back to work. And I will leave it to you to guess which one of my many items they don't like. In fact I would turn it into a competition with a prize for the winner, but as I am not sure that I will ever know the answer then we will have to play the game of wait and see.
18th January 2001
Well today is the big one when I can now report that after processing all of today's orders then I see that my ELVIS sales increase figure has now increased from yesterday's figure of 4.8 up to the new record high figure of 5.09.
And so it is now official when I Cardman am now selling ELVIS programmers over 5 times faster then what I did last month.
I can also report today that gross sales this month have now doubled that of December, which is not bad when you consider that before this month ends I could well be reporting that sales have tripled.
Some good news today is that I have now added one new item to this site. This is my UK2EU converter plug, which arrived just today, and is now available for sale on my Power Supplies page.
The reason why I got this one done quickly was that news on how great ELVIS is now spreads even faster to other countries. And so I am sure that they would desire a power adapter for use with this programmer, then as mine are designed for UK use then this new converter plug would make using my excellent value models a simple matter of plugging them in.
And so for those European customers seeking to use ELVIS with a Power Adapter then Cardman now has the answer.
As I got one other new item in today then now I have a whole host of items awaiting to be put on this site, but I will only do that once I have had time to fully test them.
Also unlike other suppliers I am not a "box shifter", which means that when I supply a new item items then I make sure that all the support items are available. An example of this was when I started selling ELVIS and the MPACK at the same time, which then allowed customers to be up and running on receipt of their order.
The first of the other two delays is that new pages take extra time to create, which you will understand when my new two pages appear. And these new two pages will be titled "LNBs" and "Video / Audio" in case you were wondering.
And finally new programers take lots of time to complete, when I have to sort out support items, software, and of course new detailed instructions.
This means that BUILD5 and ALIEN is already with me, but these will still take time to appear.
Also I would prefer to have some photos done for these items before they appear, but as a required sunny day is a rare sight at this time of the year then that could take time.
Anyway as tomorrow is the day when the second batch of ELVIS programmers arrive then I certainly hope that they do. As if not then this slow delivery company will only then be delivering them next on Monday.
And if you have not yet read yesterday's news then I recommend doing so. As considering at least one volcanically explosive super impatient customer seen today then I am starting to think about a new game called "name and shame".
Now I try to be patient with these rare customers, but I certainly draw the line when they start abusing my employees.
I would prefer not accepting orders from such people, but unfortunately you cannot tell this when you receive their order. And then you cannot also tell if it is just a normal person with the wrong end of the stick.
Well I guess Hell would not exist if there were no mortal people destined to visit.
17th January 2001
Today before I start with the important news about ELVIS and other stock issues I thought that I would first talk about the 0.1% of my customers whom I will leave to you to label after reading this.
Now of course anyone just browsing this news page would soon notice that ELVIS has been proving quite popular this month. As I mentioned just two days of being reopened after Christmas and New Year that my sales of ELVIS in the first two days alone exceeded their total sales for the whole of November.
And you can certainly scroll to the bottom of this page to see where I said that these were now out of stock and the date that I estimated that ELVIS would be back in stock.
Anyway if you care to read further then you will also notice that I have been providing daily news updates to keep everyone informed during this busy time, which is so that customers can see for themselves when they will get their order.
What this means is that anyone sending me an order this month from the 5th of January onwards would clearly have been informed about a delay. And well if you check last months news as well then I also gave an even earlier warning.
So that means no one should have expected delivery of their order no sooner then the dates provided on this page, which of course is when these batches actually turn up around their estimated arrival date plus two or three days to give me time to dispatch them.
Sounds all very simple, which it indeed is for the greatly vast numbers of my customers who while impatient to play with their new toy know that all they have to do is wait. As for soon enough they would have their order with them.
This however is where my 0.1% of customers come in. As it seems that these people have not followed through this simple idea that if you wait a week or two then your order would be with you.
As unfortunately these people like to complain at every opportunity. And to the annoyance of my other patient customers they also like to make themselves heard.
And in case you happen to browse the satellite boards then that explains what is currently what going on, but don't believe everything they say. As it is also true that if they don't have much ammunition then I have a few provable cases that they clearly say things which are not true.
This problem is mostly due to the fact that my name "Cardman" and now the most recommended programmer around "ELVIS" often gets mentioned around the four corners of the satellite part of the Internet. Which of course you can see for yourself by just searching any satellite group you wish for the above two names.
Now it is also the case that anyone who did not read this page before they ordered (very unlikely) would then eventually find it when revisiting to find out where their order is. Or instead they certainly could have been pointed to it by someone else, when of course even my non-customers can visit here to see what is going on.
That means that after seeing this page they should then grasp the idea that they were pre-warned about a delay; and therefore they have no valid reason to complain about this delay which they accepted by sending me their order in the first place.
Again a fine idea, but even a smaller percentage of this previously moaning 0.1% would still complain about a delay. And in all get quite hot and bothered about it, which is kind of like banging your head against a brick wall.
And so I calmly point out these facts and explain to them when they should receive their order, but again this is not good enough for them as they say they need it "urgently".
Fine I then say, as I am perfectly happy to allow a few orders to jump the queue, but only if you can provide me with a valid reason why you deserve one of these programmer sooner then anyone else, as then I am perfectly happy to quickly send you one.
And I can say that despite quite a few customers saying they need it "urgently" not a single one of them have even attempted to provide a valid reason.
So I would put these 0.1% of customers down to clear impatience, when I often have to remind them that "patience is a virtue". Which for some reason never seems to sink in.
As mentioned above I will leave whatever else you wish to call them up to you, but I have learned not to condemn these people. For as I have seen in the past once you can hit the switch labeled "logic and understanding" then at least several of them can find out that Cardman is quite a nice supplier after all.
And so I would personally label those people ones who prefer to take the long route just to learn that much most other people can see almost instantly.
Kind of odd people if you ask me, but I can assure you that they are indeed quite annoying and they often waste quite a lot of my valuable time having to deal with them.
Anyway now that you know that then of course you should remember the vast amount of my customers prefer to at minimum wait perfectly patiently, while some I would term extremely friendly or even saintly.
Back to news on ELVIS, then as expected I placed my third order this month for yet another batch of these. And as I decided on all of 460% the size of the last batch in November, then this means that this third batch will be bigger than the first two batches this month combined.
And due to this size then they should now last to the end of this month, which could well mean that once these arrive then after a few days the dispatch delay queue will be no more (at least for now).
Possible good news to start with on this third batch is that the manufacturer says that he may be able to have this third titanic batch dispatched to me this week, but in order to do this then he would have to pressure his component supplier hard.
Well even if not then these should be here soon enough, and I would need time to dispatch all of the second batch due this Friday anyway.
As to the last of the first batch of orders then I hope to get the very last few out on Friday with P8416 cards, but as my own supplier of these is having his own high demand problem then hopefully I will get some PCBs by Friday.
He expects some this week, which he is happy to share with me. However if these will arrive by Friday I don't know, which is why I said that I may dispatch orders with these to follow.
And I have not yet decided what to do if he says they will be with me on Saturday. As although I consider two dispatches in two days a bit of a waste many of my customers would like their ELVIS to play with this weekend.
Whatever happens then these few remaining customers can now be told that your orders are now all fully ready to go, with just the hopefully soon to be built P8416 cards waiting to be put in..
So No1 can now start to relax for one whole day before the second even large batch requires our full attention.
As today is a Tuesday then today's orders were above normal, which means that the ELVIS demand increase has now increased to the new record high value of 4.8. Also I have to confess that yesterday's total was invalid, as I forget to adjust for the passing of a Sunday meaning that the value was lower than it really was.
Also as now many of the first batch of ELVIS orders have started to arrive then the customer response can be summed up as WOW!.
And that at least gets my full support, when many customers quickly learn that the one to two week wait was indeed well worth it.
16th January 2001
To begin with then the last of my even larger batch of ELVIS programmers estimated to arrive later this week was sold today, but most of today's orders will have to wait for my third batch to arrive around the 24th.
These I can say were higher then the average this month so that yesterday's figure of 4.437 has regained ground to the current high figure of 4.548.
As today was the last day that my supplier could have dispatched my second ELVIS order to me for normal delivery on Friday, then I will soon check if he did. However if he did not then I will change the delivery option to next day, which for a large charge will allow two extra days with delivery still by Friday.
He does seem to be taking longer this time, but as that order was received with him one day after the current one was dispatched then maybe he is just shifting to the higher gear I require. And as I have not heard much from him lately then no doubt he has been working his behind off getting these built.
Anyway I will do whatever is possible to have this second batch here this week, but that is in the hands of the manufacturer who so far claims that my large demand won't be a problem.
That I will soon press to the limit when tomorrow he will receive my order for the third batch of ELVIS programmers, which this time will be as large as the previous two batches combined. And of course if this one arrives around the expected date of the 24th then these 9 to 14 day completion days will be over for the known future.
Hopefully all that work won't be too stressful, but if he is lucky then like the tale of the "Elves and the Shoemaker" he will have little helpers building ELVIS programmers while he sleeps. :-]
Ok maybe not, but if he happens to sleep walk then with the right training he can make them while he sleeps.
As to the dispatch of the current batch of ELVIS orders then I can confirm that mostly all order up to the 9th have now been dispatch, but as this took slightly longer then planned then most of the remaining few will be dispatched tomorrow.
However unfortunately not ever one will be dispatched as I have run out of PCBs for my P8416 cards, which of course comes free with every ELVIS. This was because demand has increased since I reordered these last week, but as these should be here any day then I will make sure that the manufacturer gets some in the post tomorrow if he cannot yet send all of them.
And so I should have these last few orders gone by Thursday, but if I still do not have enough PCBs on Friday then I will dispatch these few remaining orders with the P8416 to follow.
Anyway while I await deliveries from supplies then I will use every last PCB I can find to get most of the remaining few dispatch tomorrow.
I can also say that due to the large amount of orders going out recently then my local postal service has had to provide special services just for me. This is provided so that dispatching all my orders does not greatly delay processing other customers.
Finally as mostly all orders up to the 9th has now been dispatch, then some people would have got their orders today, some will get theirs tomorrow, but mostly everyone should have received their order before this weekend.
And so I just have to get these last few dispatched before my attention is fully on this second batch of ELVIS programmers now due to soon arrive.
I have now confirmed that the second batch of ELVIS programmers this month was dispatched to me today, which means that these should be here about Thursday or Friday.
Good news when unlike last time I will have the weekend to get many of them ready for dispatch.
Also as this page is getting large then I have now moved December's news to it's own page sooner then is normal.
15th January 2001
As expected my first batch of ELVIS programmers arrived today, which as well documented on this page will allow me to complete all orders received up to and mostly including the 9th of this month.
About 45% of those orders will have been dispatched before the day is over, and the remaining 55% will be all dispatched by tomorrow.
And of course later on this week my second batch of ELVIS programmers will arrive, which this time will allow me to complete all orders received up to today and maybe some from tomorrow.
Also today I received lots more items.
To begin with then those where the stock had recently expired includes the MPACK, MPACK2, MPACK3, and BABY. Which I can now say are very much back in stock.
Those where I wished to boost my low stock levels were the SMART2, SERIAL, DIS2 and DIS4.
And finally one new programmer to arrive today will have the new ordering code of ALIEN.
So after restocking following a post-Christmas holiday will mean that every currently outstanding order should be dispatched before the week is up. Which I must say is very good going completing orders in less than two weeks at such a time when demand is a lot higher.
When I find time between handling these ELVIS orders then I will process the orders received today and later report the results right here.
After processing today's orders then I see these were less than usual, which as today is Monday is not unexpected when most orders arrive on the Tuesday.
Anyway Saturday's ELVIS popularity figure has decreased from the very high figure of 4.887 to the still very high figure of 4.437.
This means that the last few of the second ELVIS batch estimated to arrive later this week will be sold early tomorrow.
Also one of today's orders was from one of those rare people who desire not to pay VAT. And while I have little desire to do so myself I know that should I not collect Her Majesties Customs and Excise payment from this customer then these ruthless people would soon have him in thumbscrews. ;-]
Ok, so thumbscrews was made obsolete long ago when they have now devised something a lot more nasty. :-]
13th January 2001
Well I have some good news to start today. As after an extra long wait I have now been approved to use on-line Credit/Debit card services.
The only problem is that from first looks it does not appear that I can implement this in two stages as I had hoped. As to begin with I had hoped to be able to accept such orders by fax and post, followed later by the big on-line shopping.
To do both stages in one go during the time when I am selling my most expensive programmer like I was given away £50 notes for free, would I am certain be totally insane. As of course to suddenly impose a month payment gap between selling items and getting payment for them would not help when trying to buy the next even larger batch.
Therefore I could not even consider doing such a thing while this huge demand continues. And therefore it could be February or even March before I started to offer this now possible payment option.
I will have to give this lots of thought to see what is possible, but even packing my three credit card balances up to maximum would not even touch my current monthly income/expenditure.
Now that my required items to restock have now all been ordered and awaiting delivery, then I know that all my stock excluding ELVIS will last over a month.
Suspending sales of ELVIS is another option, but I can already glimpse my death at the hands of angry customers should I try that route. However not accepting ELVIS orders on credit/debit card would make things possible if not too helpful.
I guess for now at least I will talk to my new provider and see what is possible, but whatever way this is going to take time to sort out and I am usually quite busy.
I am still considering how to implement credit/debit card acceptance. As while ELVIS continues to be super popular then I do not see how this will be possible while avoiding a month's delay in receiving payments.
I will have to do some future financial estimates to see what I would need to spend money on should I implement accepting credit/debit cards on the 1st of February. I would expect 80-90% of orders to move to this payment option, which means that I would have to be very careful not suffer a cash flow problem when I would not see those payments before March.
As I have now processed all of today's orders then I can tell you that as this was above the monthly average then the ELVIS sales figure for this month has now increased from yesterday's 4.75 figure to the new 4.887.
Based on this then my second batch of ELVIS programmers to arrive later next week will all be sold during the first few orders received on the 16th. That is unless Monday's sales are above average and they all are sold on the 15th.
As both batches of ELVIS programmers will be sold by the 16th, then the third batch of ELVIS programmers will arrive on about the 24th, after being ordered on the 17th.
However I have good news here, as this third batch will be between 400% and 450% the size of the last December batch, when the first two batches this month were 200% and 250%.
This means that this third batch should last until the 30th of this month if 400%, or the 31st if 450%.
So although demand is extremely high at this time you can see that I am fighting equally hard to beat demand when this titanic third batch will be in-stock for 6 or 7 whole days once they have arrived. That is of course unless demand increases yet further to yet another high new level.
Should my customers not swamp me with further orders then I could well have beat the current demand when the fourth batch to arrive this month should be here around the time that the third batch expires. However of course when these first two batches arrive then this would create a "recycle point" when demand could well then double.
Anyway as both of the first two batches would have been totally sold by Tuesday then it is not even worth me taking them out of the box and putting them on the shelf when they will be instantly dispatched.
I will be busy helping No1 dispatch orders next week, which means that I won't have much time to do anything else. And I may take on extra temporary help to shift these orders out faster when I hope to have all orders completed by next weekend.
So I will be looking forwards to Monday and then Wednesday when these first two batches will arrive, but as I will be very busy then it is best to send your email to No2.
Also today I can report that gross income this month is now the highest ever, which as this is now only half way in the month then gross income could well double my previous record month of May 2000.
Currently my gross income graph looks like a ski slope since my business reopened in September, but when the month is over then this would more look like a cliff face. And as I doubt that next month would be any less, then hold on to your underwear in February. As if January will look like a cliff face then February could well look like a shuttle launch.
Anyway due to my hard fight against the current high ELVIS demand, then you can see that in the third round this month Cardman will dispatch a killer blow to show demand just who the boss is around here.
12th January 2001
I have now confirmed that my first batch of ELVIS programmers this month will be with me on Monday (15th).
Ideally they should have came tomorrow, but unfortunately this delivery company does not do deliveries on Saturdays. I will have to remember to get these delivered using a faster company next time, but as these will be here on the 15th then the second batch should arrive about two days later.
Not much else to say except that orders received today were slightly below the monthly average, but anyway yesterday's ELVIS score of 4.703 increased only slightly today to 4.75.
11th January 2001
I always find it interesting when dealing with customers to see who they work for. As being in the satellite (reception) business myself means that amongst a variety of well known companies I also deal with employees of large satellite companies.
And over time there is not many satellite broadcasters, or even owner, who I have not dealt with through their employees. Also I can say that these employees are not just the common staff, when orders supporting their company logo quite often come from the managers.
Now although I would love to name names, that is not something that I would ever do. As I am sure some employees would much prefer not to have their boss know what they have been doing.
The reason I mention this is that just today I noticed the logos of two more satellite related companies. And for a short time I hoped that one of them would be more interested in my unusual business structure, but as with every such logo stamped letter so far that one was just another order.
Anyway that is two more companies on my list of known satellite broadcasters, users, and owners, but I am sure that the most interesting employees are those that I don't know about. As apart from knowing where people work from their orders and e-mail addresses then what customers do not share then I do not know.
Back to normal matters, then the not so good news is that orders received today were higher than normal. As today the number of received orders fell half way between that which is normal for this month, and then the record breaking number of orders received just yesterday.
For those customers who actually read my news then the increase from 4.387 to the latest 4.703 should make sense.
That is not the best news however when tomorrow I could well be reporting that I am now selling ELVIS programmers all of 5 times faster than what I did in the previous record month of December.
Yesterday I could have also claimed that the number of ELVIS programmers sold this month exceeded the numbers sold in all the previous months combined. That may sound interesting, but what is more interesting is that due to the massive increase in sales of this item over the months then I could also have claimed that fact every previous month since I started selling them.
And I can also be certain that I will be claiming that again next month when sales would not have to increase by much on this month.
As the MPACK3 increased in price two days ago then today was my last day to allow customers time to adjust for this. This means that any order received post dated after today will need correction if they have paid the old price.
Unfortunately my 1st ELVIS batch this month did not arrive today, which means that I hope that it will arrive tomorrow. I will let you know here on my news page if it does or does not, but if not then slow-mo-mail should have it here very soon.
I have been busy today making many more P8416 cards for dispatch with ELVIS orders. Also I have had to make some more DOUBLER devices, which I will finish tomorrow.
Also tomorrow I will be ordering all the items I need in order to restock on all low and just recently out of stock items.
10th January 2001
I have seen today that even during popular times that my customers can still spring a surprise on me.
As at about 08:30 today I received a large pile of orders in the post, which after counting them equaled about double the number of orders received in each average day this month.
Anyway after processing them then I have seen that along with double the orders in one day comes double the amount of orders from people who prefer to use their own payment system instead of mine.
While those ones await correction then the important and very clear fact about today was that many of my business records were smashed today, which among many include...
Most orders ever received in one day.
Highest gross income ever received in one day.
Most ELVIS programmers ever sold in one day.
And not to forget...
Longest time ever taken to process the accounts part for one days orders (6 hours).
Although most businesses would consider this good news; I while pleased also recognise the more worrying aspect. In that if this is a start of new higher selling level then well I am in for one large headache.
What I mean by this is that due to the record number of ELVIS programmers sold today, then my monthly figure now stands at the alarming increase from yesterday's expected 3.59 times the sales of December up to the new figure of 4.387.
Quite high now being over four times the sales of December, but in all something that I can easily handle. However what is worrying about this is that if you take today's sales and extend it over a month then that monthly increase would currently stand at 10.74.
Therefore as I have little desire to sell ELVIS programmers at 10 times that of the previous record month then I certainly hope that today won't be seen again anytime soon.
However as today is at what I call the "recycling point" then such a sudden increase not being just a "one off" then is a possibility.
What I mean by "recycling point" is that most Christmas customers would have received their orders about a week ago. And when these customers see what a great programmer they have then they have to show it off to their friends. And of course then have a good laugh at their friends budget DIY programmer.
Anyway as their friends would then desire this model as well, then all these friends of my recent customers would then place an order around the same time thereby creating my "recycling point".
And as you can see, then depending on how many friends my customers have, then sales can often jump to new higher levels in a continuous cycle.
Hopefully that won't prove the case this time, as I have little desire to sell ELVIS programmers quite so fast so soon.
Anyway as today was the first day that I was collecting for my second batch to arrive this month, then these orders received today will be dispatched later next week.
As previously mentioned then my second batch of ELVIS programmers was ordered today. And this time I squeezed out another 25% more programmers then the previous double sized batch.
This should mean that this second batch of ELVIS programmers will be all sold by the 17th at the current monthly rate. I was hoping to keep stock until after the 20th, but today's record sales have now shortened that time.
Now while my first ELVIS batch this month should be here within the next 48 hours, the ordering of the third even more massive batch of ELVIS programmers should occur also on the 17th.
As this is starting to get complex then my ELVIS orders this month are...
1st batch, size = 200%, ordered = 5th, delivery = 11/12, sold by = 9th.
2nd batch, size = 250%, ordered = 10th, delivery = 17th*, sold by = 17th*.
3rd batch, size = 300%*, ordered = 17th, delivery = 24th*, sold by = ???.
* = estimate.
I guess by the looks of that then I could well even order a 4th batch this month somewhere around the 24th. And so far I am keeping up with this high demand, even if all ELVIS's will for the near future all be pre-sold even before they arrive.
If demand goes down between 2 to 3 on my scale then ELVIS will eventually be back in stock. Between 3 and 4 will mean that all ELVIS will keep being pre-sold, but 4 or above will mean that I just cannot turn your money around fast enough to buy yet more of them.
Anyway as all ELVIS orders will be completed within the week then things are not too bad at the moment, but as mentioned demand above 4 times the previous month will move dispatch back to up to 2 weeks.
As today is now at figure 4.387 then I will celebrate tonight, but I will watch the next few days carefully, as I soon could be in for a post-celebration hangover.
9th January 2001
Well today as expected I sold the last ELVIS programmer in the batch due the end of this week. And in all only about 3 of those orders received today will have to wait until the next ELVIS delivery due about a week later.
Also today makes the day when the total number of ELVIS programmers sold this month now exceeds the old record number of ELVIS programmers sold last month. This is not bad if you consider that there have only been 7 postal delivery days this month so far, with another 19 more to go.
The current figure for ELVIS sales increase has now dropped to the still high figure of 3.59, but due to all soon to arrive ELVIS programmers now being all sold then this should soon drop, only to then increase near the end of next week.
It should not be overlooked however that the sooner you order the sooner you will join the queue to be dispatched. And so leaving ordering until to late next week would push your dispatch date back two or three days.
Also unlike one customer mentioned today then I am not overloaded with ELVIS orders. As the only problem is getting them here quick enough, as all outstanding orders would be dispatched within 2 or 3 days of getting them.
And so this problem is more like the normal delayed restocking of some items, but in this case that restocking is just more frequent. As currently I will be restocking three times this month.
Now should received orders increase to four times their current rate then No1 would need to be joined by No3, but that should not happen any time before March.
Anyway as these are all now gone then I am now collecting orders for dispatch around next weekend.
Also I learned today that my latest double sized ELVIS batch has now been dispatched to me, which should therefore arrive on about Thursday, with maybe a day either side. This is good to know when the manufacturer will be surprised by an even larger order sent to him tomorrow, with delivery later next week.
I can also now say that the manufacturer expects no supply problems even if my ELVIS sales double each month for the next two months, but history will tell how correct that will prove.
Apart from ELVIS then there is more in and out stock news today.
To begin with then those that are now in stock are the PIC16F84 chips for my P8416 cards and one of my new items. My P8416 card stock had not expired due to most going out free with delayed ELVIS orders, but once ELVIS turns up then I had better had lots more P8416 cards made.
Receipt of my new item reminds me to soon add them to this site. As there are three new items outstanding, with another 4 new items planned to arrive soon. However these could be the last new items supported until all my spare funds no longer has to buy ELVIS programmers as fast as possible.
As to items that are now sold out, then that now includes all my power supplies. And when I say "all" then that means that my MPACK, MPACK2 and MPACK3 all sold out on the same day.
This is unusual when these first batches of MPACK2 and MPACK3 were only bought in numbers to see how well they sell, which means that my first quick guess was a very good one to have them expire on the same day almost 2 months after receipt.
Anyway it won't be more than a couple of days before those are back in stock. However as when I first got the MPACK3 I mentioned that I got it at a special discount price, then as those ones are now all sold, I now have to increase the MPACK3 price from £7 up to £9 in order to maintain the good idea of selling items for more then what I buy them as.
Today I noticed that yet more orders for the SEASON2 was received, which is not very helpful when I stopped selling these all of three days ago. Also as one person wanted one of these, but then did not know what the correct price was, then that is a second thing that needs correction.
For some odd reason I have always suspected that when I mention that X item has now sold out, then some customers then get the odd idea of "Well I had better order one then". As I am sure that like with the SEASON2 that sales actually increase above their normal levels when I stop selling them.
Then again maybe I just notice these orders more because they have ordered sold out items, which means that I should really check my data to see if what I suspect is correct.
However with the new case of the MPACK3 then maybe some of my customers are actually "mind readers". As I was just thinking yesterday that I only had one MPACK3 left, which means I will increase that price when that one is sold.
And as my customers can smell fear then today I only sold enough MPACK3s to normally cover a whole month, which I can confirm is certainly a new daily MPACK3 record.
Also one interesting new customer story is one ELVIS order received a few days ago, which then did not include any payment. And as I always take special measures to insure that no such error is ever my fault (or that of the postal service), then as my four checks to avoid such mistakes all turned out as negative then I was totally certain beyond doubt that this customer had not included the quoted payment.
When he was told of this by email I believe he mentioned something about his wife handling the cash payment and dispatch, which then made me wonder if the "wife" had not then approved of his purchase and decided to spend the payment on something more useful.
Anyway today it turns out that I finally received his payment, as it seems that he made a small mistake and had actually left his payment for his order in his local Post Office.
8th January 2001
I believe my problem is that when I see a great new item (at a good price) then I heavily promote this. And then when my customers see that what I say is correct then news of this great item spreads faster then a plague.
Anyway as I know that ELVIS is soon to have a large software upgrade to make this model even more powerful and easier to use then let see how many other people I can infect with this 'must purchase' bug (which they then spread to others).
First of all then ELVIS is soon to support many more chips then it does now (49+ currently), but what these are I cannot yet say. However I do know that the PIC16C622 + 24C65 wafer card (OTP, but also includes the new PIC16F628 'flash' version) is soon to be supported.
The most useful card addition is the Sim-card for GSM phones, as very soon this software is to include its own fully integrated editing software. And no doubt this new addition would make the whole task a piece of cake.
Another change is that many more card types will be easily programmed in the WinPhoenix style, which as users know is a simple yet powerful piece of software.
Also as ELVIS is currently a little lacking in the card research section, then this is soon to change in a new CardExplorer-like addition. As I am sure that area would be popular for those wishing to run script (eg .crd) files.
As this software will also be used by ELVIS's USB brother to appear later this year, then that is more good news when you later on can choose between a Serial and USB model without losing this great software.
Anyway this soon to appear ELVIS software will now cause me think long and hard for a card that it does not yet support, but if such a card exists then you can always put ELVIS in it's Smartmouse/Phoenix mode to support it that way.
I suppose one good thing about my promotion of good items is that this extra popularity give the manufacturer the incentive to make it even better. As would such additions be included nearly as soon without my help taking ELVIS to the lips of everyone making a card programmer recommendation to others would then prove doubtful.
The only other thing is that since the day I first used ELVIS I knew that this model would one day become the top model that people used and recommended. Anyway as four months down the line I see that day is now much closer then hopefully other programmer manufacturers won't be suffering too much.
ELVIS as it goes sets a very high bar for other manufacturers to reach. And considering the soon to appear additions then I would dare say that ELVIS sets a new high standard for card programmers.
I now wonder just how long it will take for magazines like What Satellite to review this model. As I am sure that many people would be interested in an independent comparison of the most powerful programmers around.
Their choice, but they always know who to ask if they need to source a review model in the UK.
Until then I can always quote some of my customers views, as I have heard it called 'The dogs b****cks!' several times. :-]
Anyway flee you infected beasties. As I know from my sales figures that you will only go and infect other with this bug, which won't help my overloaded ELVIS sales much when these additional features will soon appear.
Not many days now before my latest ELVIS batch arrives, but by tomorrow all those units should have been pre-sold. I will be needing to fund to two further batches of this size to just meet this month's demand. Well I will do my best, but hopefully this 3.43 times increase won't continue on for too long.
Today I have been going through my finances and seeing what else I have to buy and more importantly when I could afford the next batch of ELVIS programmers.
The result is good news when the second batch of ELVIS programmers will be ordered on the 10th. This means that while the batch expected around the 12th will be all sold by the 9th, the second batch ordered on the 10th should be here around the 19th.
I have recently explained my expected demand requirements for this programmer to the manufacturer for both this month and for February and March. And I am hoping that these large numbers won't be causing him supply problems, but I am awaiting the word on that one.
Anyway the good news is that by placing an order on the 10th I should once these arrive have ELVIS "in stock" for maybe one or two whole days!. This means that the current high demand for ELVIS is not quite that bad at the moment, but as mentioned if this high demand continues then dispatch times could take up to 2 weeks.
I may be able to squeeze a few more ELVIS programmers out of my funds in the next batch, instead of just repeating the last quantity. However as I cannot be totally sure how much these will cost me before they arrive, then I have to leave some funds spare just in case these cost more than expected.
And having two orders outstanding where the totals can only be estimated means that I have to leave double the error margin just in case.
As all those expected around Friday should be all sold by tomorrow afternoon then I will now be taking orders which should be completed around next Friday.
After that second batch then I just have to start saving up for the third batch in order to meet the demand requirements for this month.
Next month I could well have to double these batch sizes once again in order to meet the new demand, but as that demand is in the hands of my customers then my job is to just wait and see.
Also today I better estimated the total number of ELVIS sales for this month, which this time used the same system as I used to estimate monthly gross income. As this system accounts for the number of delivery days within the month, which of course then excludes days like Sunday.
Anyway now including today's ELVIS sales then the more crude 3.43 figure mentioned below has just increased to 3.857. This is not such good news when I much prefer the value to be 2 or less, but as mentioned January is normally a weird month and so things should soon start to settle down.
One other thing that comes to mind is one customer who recently wished to cancel his ELVIS order after myself having his order for just two days. Now such short cancellation times often annoys me when I have already spent valuable time processing that order, but the main problem with cancelling this order was that the cheque had already gone to the bank.
The problem here was that I then cannot cancel cashing the cheque in question, which means that I then have to wait at least a week while my bank credits me with those funds.
However as the customer can cancel his cheque at any time then I know that even when I have his funds, then if this cheque gets cancelled then those funds would then get removed from my account.
Therefore it is only about two weeks after I cash a cheque that I am certain enough that those funds are mine in order to be able to offer a refund. However as cashing and issuing cheques costs me money then I am perfectly willing to charge such impatient customers £2 for the cheque refund (but a credit note for the total is free).
Anyway as the customer in question was informed of these facts he then decided to wait the 8 days for his order dispatch instead of 15 days for his refund dispatch. A wise choice if you ask me, but it is always a good idea for customers to be certain that they want items before ordering.
7th January 2001
I was thinking that I would provide you with a clearer picture of ELVIS sales. As my first estimate was only done quickly based on the sales the start of this month (which sold fast) compared to sales at the start of last month (which only started selling faster about a week into the month).
Anyway as I started selling my ELVIS programmer in September, then all you need to do to understand the following values is to know that 1 unit equals the total sales of ELVIS programmers sold in September.
Therefore the very factual sales of the following months were...
October = 2.77
November = 4.88
December = 10.33
And the current estimate for January sales based on this first week would then place January at figure 35.5, but of course that figure will be subject to change as the next three weeks pass.
Anyway as the maximum increase that I could handle without causing supply delays would be about double the previous month, then December went slightly above that while January has problems due to being 3.43 times the sales of December.
So I am currently selling ELVIS programmers over 35 times faster then what I did in September, but at least even with going above my 'problem free' expansion rate level, then the maximum dispatch time for orders would be around two weeks after receipt. As unfortunately that time is spent amassing enough credits to pay for the next even larger batch (well ELVIS is one of the most expensive items that I sell), and then actually waiting for that new batch to arrive.
As January is not unknown to be a freak month, due to more people browsing the Internet during the past holiday, then February sales are sure to settle down to somewhere around that of 70 times that of September.
Then again as many more people now know that ELVIS is truely the king, then maybe the popularity climb of this model could make that one very steep hill to climb. Anyway as my customers are now informed that dispatch times for this item could be from a couple of days up to two weeks then if you order now or wait until sales become less extreme is all up to you.
And won't I have fun when ELVIS's brother arrives here later this year. :-]
6th January 2001
During my restocking of all the required items I have now confirmed that I will be able to obtain more SEASON2; as for a while I feared that this great item would join the list of other great discontinued items, which currently includes the Galaxy II wafer card.
Always it is great sadness to lose the best items ever made, but thankfully the day the SEASON2 died is not here yet.
Only problem is that these are now not normally obtainable, which means that they need to be specially made. And the problem is that when these will be here with me falls in the unknown region.
Therefore as these could be here from next week until maybe months from now, then I have now marked this item "Out of Stock". As it is best not to try selling these when getting more could take a while.
The other thing I have been wondering about recently is if I should support the white coloured Gold wafer instead of the gold coloured Gold wafer, as of course apart from the colour they are still the same card.
As I normally prefer the traditional gold coloured ones, as this avoids confusion with newbies looking to buy cards. However I have seen that as the white type is now more common then supporting these coloured ones in large quantities could provide better prices.
Therefore as I could promise a *minimum* price discount of £2 per card on my current prices, then before going ahead with this I would like to obtain the views of my customers.
And so for those interested then please let me know if I should stick with the traditional gold colour, or instead move to the white colour and have the lowest price around that you can buy these cards for.
This is your choice and so let me (Cardman) know, but if you do approve this change then you won't see any price discount before February at the earliest.
Also I may move into CAMs soon after following my new three items, but again I only provide what people want, which means that if you don't ask for what you want then you won't get it. Actually thinking about it then customer feedback for what they want is a bit lacking at the moment, which means that maybe I should use a different system.
Now that I have processed today's orders then I see that there is two more news items.
The first is that two more of my £15 credit vouchers have been claimed, which will upset other future customers in both Belgium and Morocco. And as usual you can see the details on my Special Offers page.
The other news is about my latest restocking of ELVIS. As the 500% sales increase per month continues onwards and upwards.
Anyway there is currently no sign that this latest batch will arrive any later than expected, but the not so good news is that from today 75% of this latest double sized order has already been sold.
That is kind of worrying when the remaining 25% will also be sold by Tuesday at the current rate, which means that for the first time all models will be sold before they even arrive.
<Insert multiple rude words here!>
Anyway I guess it is time to start planning the next super massive batch, but unfortunately changing credits into the required debit cannot be done quickly.
Hopefully this popularity climb for this model will soon reach it's peak, or else I will start having to tell people to go away as they cannot buy it. And due to the latest figures then ELVIS cannot be far off becoming the most popular programmer around, but it would take a lot longer to beat the total sales for the Keymaster/Millenium.
I suppose that the best news from this is that at least the manufacturer has no problems as yet meeting my demand, as I place an order and they turn up around the expected date. So the only real problem is one mentioned on my welcome page, being one of over popularity.
Anyway I will try my best to meet the demand, but if I cannot move your payments around fast enough then I will just have to ration sales. Or I suppose the only other choice is to seek additional funding, but I have never been one to have outstanding debts.
The only other news is linked to that problem, as still my provider of my credit card services has not provided what I have paid for. I sent them a reminder, but as I yet have no reply then maybe their still on some extra long Christmas holiday.
Anyway please do not start sending me credit/debit card orders before I can accept them. And as just providing the details by e-mail is not totally safe then please wait until I provide the possible secure payment methods.
I have only accepted one such order so far, but this customer was informed that his order will only be dispatched once these payment services has been confirmed as in place.
The worrying aspect about this whole subject is that if you combine the 500% currently monthly increase in ELVIS sales along with the 4 to 5 weeks that it takes me to receive your credit/debit card payment once your order has been dispatched, then you end up with one major bottleneck.
That means that once this payment option becomes reality then I will have to be very carefully to not to suffer a major cash flow problem, by having vast amounts of cash in a holding account for the next 5 weeks.
What this means to you is that to avoid this problem then I may have to limit the number of accepted credit/debit card orders to begin with, that is if most people then choose this payment method as expected.
So in the end I am currently suffering one of those over popularity issues, which this time fortunately is solely limited to a maximum two week delay queue while I turn all credits into payment for yet more ELVIS. And if you don't like that idea then you will only please me by not ordering.
Anyway one day ELVIS sales are sure to peak, or at least slow down to normal growth levels. In which case would then allow me for the first time ever to be able to stock enough without selling out within days.
5th January 2001
Today I finally added Iran to my Special Offers page, which makes yet another £15 credit voucher given away. This took a few days to confirm, as this order both came from and will be delivered to the United Arab Emirates.
That makes quite a story, as quoted on my Special Offers page.
Also I recently read in a local News Paper that Greece has now joined the Single currency (Euro). And what was worrying was that this article also mentioned that international trading of the Greek Drachma has now ceased.
That would pose a problem for me, as I cannot accept currency which I cannot change to Sterling.
However as I have seen no other sign that trading has ceased then I will have to ask around getting the views of different people currently trading in this currency.
Anyway as Greece now has the Euro then Europe's oldest currency will one day be discontinued. And that reminds me that the Euro will become a hard currency sometime soon, which will make me now go and check the actual date.
As that is one currency to add to my currency converter when it exists, but then I have to consider when to discontinue accepting the Euro-linked currencies. I suppose that should be shortly after the Euro arrives, as those people paying in the Euro instead should not pose a problem.
I just wish that the UK had much better Euro currency support, as at the moment treating it as just another foreign currency very much sucks. And one day the UK could be using the Euro as well.
Maybe I should get myself a bank account in Ireland, but then if they knew that I was in the UK then they would only charge me extreme rates.
I will have to see if there is anyway around that, as if so then I could also accept Euro currency cheques and the hard cash with zero extra charge. And as I could spend the Euro just as easily as GBP then I would not even have to use the buy rate above the normal currency rates.
Anyway if anyone has any idea for how to obtain a Euro currency account for no more then local business account rates then please let me know. As after all, should that prove possible then it will greatly help many of my customers by being able to offer lower Euro prices.
4th January 2001
Well I see that my customers intend to keep me busy this month.
As yesterday I received very many orders in the post, which even exceeded the usual quantity of orders received each day back in my very busy May month.
And today I received that same large number plus another nine orders on top of that, which took me from about 7am until 1pm just to do the accounts part of processing them.
What is more worrying is that all those orders over the first two days were just the UK ones, which means that I could be even more busy when the foreign orders start arriving.
As things have been selling a lot faster then already I have had to start restocking on the more popular items.
First out of stock is ELVIS once again, which should be back in stock in about 8 days time. Hopefully this new order will last until the end of this month, now being double the size of the previous order.
However those people who remember that my start of December monthly estimate only lasted just 10 days won't have much faith when sales of these programmers just keep getting faster and faster.
Also I should point out that this same quantity, as with my early December prediction, this month would only have lasted just 2 days. I guess that means that I now sell them 5 times faster (if not 15 times faster), but it will be interesting to see the vast quantities that I will soon be dealing with.
One day I will be able to stock these without selling out in mere days, but that won't be soon if the popularity of ELVIS keeps increasing.
Next out of stock is my PIC16F84 chips, as used in my P8416 cards, but I should get more of those in on Saturday.
My SEASON2 is now down to about one remaining. And as I am not fully sure that it is possible to restock on this model then I would strongly recommend waiting for further news before ordering.
The final item worth mentioning is that I sold my last BABY programmer today, but it should only take a few days before I have a new batch of them in stock.
As to my credit/debit card handling system then I will soon have to give my provider a poke and remind them that this so far 15 day process should have taken more around two days. As I am sure that at some point after taking my payment they should have told me just how to use their system and provided me with the required software.
Well Christmas and New Year were in those 15 days, but I am not about to wait forever.
The final subject must be the e-mail received during my short holiday, as after fearing the worst the only e-mail received were some singular ones. This means that e-mail address changes won't be needed and it is unlikely that I will have to "slap" people for moaning about lack of service when they have not read the stated information.
Anyway well done, even though I will have to remind a few people to read before they write. As it now shows that my new information system is currently working well enough.
And I just fixed the PIC16F84 link on the Cards page, as Microchip have been changing around their site.
3rd January 2001
As expected my service is now once again open following my Christmas holiday.
My holiday has been mostly peaceful except for a couple of occasions due customers who prefer to annoy than wait.
I have yet to sort out the e-mail received during this holiday and see how many people ignore my advice. If this is just a few people not following my rules then they will get a "slap", but if this is found to be many people then all my e-mail addresses will very soon change.
Anyway now that I am back then very soon I will add options to pay by credit/debit card, followed by details for my three new items.
This month will prove to be a very busy month for me, what with another expected new record for orders received. And then not to forget the endless number of tax forms to complete, and then large payments to dispatch.
No doubt I will need another holiday to recover from January. And with a little luck my main holiday this year will be in the later end of the first half of this year. As unlike in previous years my Christmas holiday was not extended to include my main holiday.
To end my first message for 2001 then my best wishes to all my friends/customers for this new year. Welcome to the real 21st century, also known as the 3rd millennium.