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Cardman
3 Elmstone Close
Maidstone
Kent
ME16 8DQ
United Kingdom


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30th of July 2002

Today makes the last day that people in the UK can send me their order if they wish to take up my July Special Offer on this Magic CI CAM. For orders sent in the early post, then just First Class or Inland Recorded will be fine, but in the late afternoon you would have to use Special Delivery in order to have it here in time.

The last day for European customers was yesterday, when the postal system normally takes two days for EU delivery. So tomorrow will he the last day that this Special Offer will be available, when once the date reads August, then so will the August Special Offer replace this July one.

Well if by the time you read this it is too late to post me an order, then you still have a couple of choices.

First of all if you live anywhere near me, then for this last day alone I will allow customers to visit unannounced. That is of course if you wish to buy MAGIC or MAGICKIT only, when I can have those ready and waiting. And so for this day alone you could pick one up any time between 09:00 and 22:00 GMT.

The other option is to place a NoChex or PayHound on-line payment order, when as long as this is done before August starts, then so do customers still have a maximum of two weeks in order to send me payment for this order.

However, once August is here, then it will be simply impossible to take up this Special Offer.

And so late tomorrow I will be looking around and comparing supplier prices, when as I promised another supplier earlier this month, then so will my price be increased to match the lowest price in the UK.

25th of July 2002

Don't forget that there are not many days left before the end of this month now, which will also mean the end of my July Special Offer on this Magic Module CI CAM.

Since my price next month will be increased to match the price of the lowest rival supplier in this country, which is what I decided to agree earlier this month to avoid upsetting rival suppliers, then I am sure that my current price on this item will be the lowest that you will be able to buy this CAM for in what could be many months until natural competition reduces it to a similar price.

And so if you ever fancy the Magic Module CI CAM, then clearly if you wish to save money, then the time to buy is right now. As if you wait until next month, then the lowest price around then seem to currently be £10 (excluding VAT) more, but it is possible that a certain rival supplier could increase his price.

Although I will be matching the lowest rival UK price next month, you can rest assured that I will still have the lowest end price on this item. This is due to the fact that I do not seek to make profit on the postage cost, which is why UK postage from myself would be just £2 , while the current rival supplier with the lowest price currently charges £5 for the postage cost.

That means that next month I should still be £3 cheaper than the closest rival supplier, due to this saving on the postage cost, which will still make me the best value supplier to buy from.

I am already thinking about supporting other CAM types, when it is true to say that not everyone will feel the need for such a powerful and future-proof CAM. However, due to the large cost of stocking such a large volume of CAMs, and a large VAT payment next month, then how soon I could stock a second CAM type depends on the volume of sales over the next couple of weeks.

Currently I believe the best option would be to stock a lower volume of any second CAM type, which would result in less profit per CAM, but at least that would more quickly get the ball rolling. What CAM type I will support next has yet to be decided, but the current choices are the Astoncrypt v1.05 CI CAM, Cryptoworks CI CAM, Conax CI CAM, Irdeto II CI CAM (supporting Irdeto I & II) and the Viaccess (Red) CI CAM (supporting Viaccess I & II).

There certainly are other types that I could stock beyond these, but those do not seem to offer nearly as good value.

My current favourite for a second CAM I would say was the Viaccess one, which I believe will be the most popular type. Since that is only an estimate, then if you believe that I should stock a different type next, then why not say so.

Since I can promise the lowest price around of any noticeable UK supplier, then what CAM type I supply next should be of interest to any person in need of a CAM.

However, at this time it is my job to think up next month's Special Offer, while you should give some serious thought to the idea of if you need the Magic Module CI CAM or not. Sure I would like to offer you a great price next month as well, but I have already explained on this news page as to why it is a bad idea to upset rival suppliers, where I found out earlier this month that my temporary Special Offer price leaves them upset already.

And so you have just six days left in order to have your order here with me, where if you are late, then you will have to pay next month's higher price, even if this is still the lowest price in the UK.

That is what my Special Offers are about (insane prices), where next month the increased profit can at least help to speed up the stocking of this second CAM type.

The only other thing that I have done recently was to update my description of this Magic Module CI CAM, which was to include the hardware description and to point out that reflashing the CAMs takes longer than the initial flashing. Also I clearly pointed out that this CAM is not in any way supported by the manufacturers of these conditional access systems (like S.E.C.A with Mediaguard), when my first description did not make that fact fully clear.

Well I will now go do something, when of course there are orders needing to be dispatched. Now while No1 handles that aspect, the fact is that I have to make sure that all that No1 needs is ready when needed.

17th of July 2002

Well I can finally say that my cardman.co.uk site is back on-line after being down just over three long weeks.

This was due to my hosting provider detagging my domain name without telling me, when until today I had them take care of my domain name, even if I soon came to regret that choice.

And so it took me about two days to spot the exact problem. My hosting provider took about five days to reply to my e-mail. Another day before I decided what to do. Then NominetUK (who eventually retagged the domain name) took a whole week to fax me the final form to sign. Where once I had faxed the signed form back, then it took them another five days to finally retag my domain name.

Now that CHC Internet is now my new tag holder, then they attached my provided domain servers within hours, where I just had to wait for the following day's update before my site once again appeared over the whole of the Internet.

Since I have just added all the changes in the past three weeks to this site, like my whole CAMs page, then so is it (I hope) back in fully working order.

Now that I have control of this domain name, then all I have to worry about is my hosting provider keeping my site working.

Well take a look at this restored site if you want, but for those people who believe that I vanished for the past three weeks, then obviously you have not noticed my fully working cardman.com site during all this time.

All I have to do now is to sort out the e-mail, when currently my own local server only collects e-mail from my cardman.com site. Since my local server will be collecting e-mail from the cardman.co.uk site later this evening, then so will these two sites be running separate e-mail systems. And unless my Internet cable modem connection goes down, even if I have a backup, then my e-mail system should now always be functional.

Although it took long enough, then it is pleasing to see that my cardman.co.uk site is now back on-line once more.

15th of July 2002

It appears that I have finally solved the problem of why the letters sent to Citibank in order to pay in these Euro and US Dollar items have once in a while been going missing.

To first remind you of the history, then in order to accept the Euro and US Dollar at the TRUE EXCHANGE RATE, then I have to receive and spend this currency without involving any extra costs. And thanks to Citibank then receiving and spending them is no problem, but getting it to my bank in the first place has been much more of a problem than what it first appears.

Since Citibank is kind enough to provide pre-paid envelopes in order to pay in items to my accounts, then here was the perfect method in order to avoid extra costs in handling this currency. However, as I have recently discovered, then so here is the trap that has resulted in the lost of two (and almost three) out of six dispatches to my bank.

After sending out two dispatches to my bank that arrived fine, then as mentioned on my news page on the 14th of February I sent out a third dispatch. And I mentioned this third dispatch on my news page, due to my concern over sending large amounts of EUR cash through the post.

Seems that it was a bad omen to mentioned that "until one gets lost, then I will keep doing it that way" along with the mention of the usual "one out of a thousand average loss rate", when days later this became the first of these two dispatches to get lost.

I was naturally most annoyed when one out of three lost is far above the normal average loss rate. And I was even more annoyed due to the loss of one Euro Currency Cheque (from a customer in Ireland) and what must have been over 800 EUR in cash.

The cash was naturally unrecoverable and lost forever, which made me then decide never to send out cash to my bank unrecorded again. However, since a cheque is only authorization to collect payment and not actually payment, then that is one item that will need to be replaced by this Irish customer.

Due to loss of my accounts during this time, then I have lacked the desire to sort through thousands of order forms in order to find this exact one. Not to mention the exact reason for this loss has yet to be established. However, since that reason for loss is now known, then very soon I will be sending a letter to this customer mentioning loss of his first cheque and the requirement to provide another.

Since this loss was after receipt, then it is only fair to allow this customer to deduct fair costs in providing a new one.

Following that loss I then switched to using Special Delivery, which insured the safe delivery of two further dispatches to my bank.

However, as this Special Delivery is most expensive, which is causing loses over accepting the Euro and US Dollar over Sterling, then on the 29th of May I swapped to using the Inland Recorded service instead.

Due to now paying a lot less for postage, including that it would be recorded on receipt (where ever that may be), then that seemed the then best answer to these problems.

Unfortunately item number RB515807358GB was the second dispatch to become lost. And this time another Euro cheque got lost, as well as one US Dollar check and another wad of hundreds of pounds worth of Euro currency.

Again I got extremely annoyed (now believing that these were being stolen) due to the super high loss rate of two out of six dispatches being lost, where obviously when you send something in the post, then obviously it must end up some place.

This was the time I decided to never send any cash to my bank through the post again. Or at least if I do so, then to use the Special Delivery service, which has been successful 100% of the time so far, which also offers realistic compensation for the lost.

I am not sure if that covers cash, but as that is what the Royal Mail recommended following this second loss, then so will I point out this recommendation if they question any future and most unlikely loss.

Believing that these items were now being stolen, then so did I move to stage two.

This stage two involved putting the Kent Police Authority logo on the front of these pre-paid envelopes along with the words "POLICE TRACKED ITEM". When after all any postal worker stealing that one would have nerves of steel, when this looked most realistic.

I also included the words "CONFIRM ADDRESS BEFORE DELIVERY", which I hoped would ensure that the delivery person would stick this letter through the right letter box.

On purpose it sent this item unrecorded, using a known unsafe delivery method. When after all I was concerned if stage two would work or not, where using Special Delivery would void the test.

Since this package did not arrived within the expected time, then so did I fear the failure of stage two, when stage three would have meant charging my customers extra in order to ensure that I could send their cheques to my bank using an always safe and expensive method.

Naturally I quickly got on to the Royal Mail to point out this latest event, where three letters lost out of seven letters dispatched indicates a seriously flawed postal system. And here it was that the reason for these loses was finally made clear, when the W6 0YU post code mentioned on these pre-paid envelopes was confirmed by the Royal Mail as invalid.

They also said that this may explain these loses. This I certainly believe as well, when I know that the Royal Mail (including their Parcel Force service) is extremely bad if the address and post code do not match. When after all last January even one of my fridge-freezer sized ELVIS batches (including serial cables) became lost during the correction of the fact that my supplier put the wrong post code on it, which despite a correct address resulted in it being sent to East London.

Naturally spotting this post code mistake they sent it on, where it became lost on the way to this correct address, where as that very expensive order was sent insured, then so did the insurance company have to pay heavily for Parcel Force's incompetence.

Again with the Royal Mail it is all about post codes, where it seems that the address is ignored on the way through the system. Both these facts provides big clues to what happened here, where these letters were sent only God knows where, but where the Royal Mail lost them after discovery of the invalid post code.

Now the question of why Citibank on their pre-paid envelopes are listing a post code that the Royal Mail has never heard of remains to be seen, when right now I am awaiting a reply from them on this very subject. Since I could not believe that such a large organization as a bank would sent out pre-paid envelopes to many thousands of customers with an invalid post code on it, then so did I not even consider this possibility.

After all these were pre-paid envelopes issued by a bank, where most people would assume that they must know their own post code.

Since they have also provided me with the correct post code, which I have certainly confirmed with the Royal Mail as valid, then so did I send off the latest received Euro cheque to test this. And sure enough my Citibank Euro account shows receipt of this cheque the very next day.

Today poses a much more interesting day, when today shows that Citibank has now received the third package (the stage two one), which I had recently feared lost. And since it arrived even later than the following dispatch, then this highlight that stage two was successful in preventing loss, even if not for the reason that I first expected.

What no doubt happened here was that this letter was due to follow the previous two lost items to oblivion, but due to these extra additions then some postal worker took extra care of it by sending it on to the correct address. Had I not spent several hours marking these pre-paid envelopes this way, then I am sure that this letter would have ended up lost as well, when after all no other letter to my bank has arrived late before.

Well once Citibank send me some pre-paid envelopes with the correct post code on them, then so here should be the system that is perfectly fine. As losing one out of a thousand, which is the rate I now hope to see, would be a perfectly acceptable rate of loss.

As to future cash, then if I need to send it to my bank (for spending), then so will that only be done (at my expense) by Special Delivery.

And so by all accounts this problem should now be fixed, even if will have to do further testing in order to confirm that things are as they should be. Therefore it is also a suitable time to seeing about getting these three lost cheques replaced, where I will also be having words with Citibank concerning how their invalid post code has lost me over one thousand pounds worth of Euro cash.

So today I can finally say that my system of accepting the Euro and US Dollar currently is both open and fully functional. Or at least I can only hope that it is.

9th of July 2002

Since I like to tell my site visitors anything interesting, then today I have been having a most interesting conversation with a rival (and large) supplier (who I will keep nameless) of this Magic CI CAM.

This conversation, first by e-mail and then by phone, went along the line that he wanted me to increase my prices. Most unhappy about my Special Offer this month it seems, when now he and other suppliers are selling less CAMs.

I guess this came about, when now his customers are wanting him to match my special offer price. And since he likes profit, then so does he tell them "no" and tries to solve the problem instead.

Normally I would not even consider the suggested artificial price fixing, but as I well know this supplier, then so I thought that I should at least hear him out.

Well it did not take me long to discount his recommendation that I should immediately increase my price to the Recommended Retail Price, when after all Internet Mail Order prices are by default lower anyway.

Also I had to point out that this month I had promised my customers this Special Offer price, where there was totally no way in hell that I was going to end this offer early. At least he did take some comfort in the fact that my price will increase next month, even if it seems that I had to confirm that several times before he believed it enough.

As to my price next month, then already you can see my planned price on my CAMs page, when deduct my Special Offer discount and there it is.

This I had planned in order to complete my CAM implementation (by making customers aware that I now supply CAMs), which was aimed to be just slightly below the lowest current rival UK price. When that would allow me an extra advantage for a short time before natural price competition would lower it anyway.

Considering how upset this big supplier was, then I decided that some change was needed. And so next month my price will increase above what I had planned, where next month it will match whatever is the lowest rival price in the UK.

That price match is my normal business policy anyway. When I learned a very long time ago that if you compete with other suppliers over the price, then soon enough there would be just not enough profit in it.

For that reason I try to avoid price competition, but as I am a clever supplier, then so do I match (or sometimes stay slightly behind) their price. However, I would then beat them on service quality. When I have yet to see another supplier take me on with such things as providing the best instructions or site description.

And so even without having the lowest price, then I still provide the best value deal.

Well since Cardman does not like to go around scaring other suppliers (boo!), then so did I decide to fall in line slightly earlier than planned.

That means that my Special Offer has just become even more special. For when this Special Offer ends when this month does, then so is my price is to go up beyond what I had expected. And since I have a feeling that market prices are going increase anyway (this one supplier seems insistent that they will), then this price change may not be a small one.

I guess that my Special Offers have now reached a new extreme, when never before have I had a rival supplier call me up and demand that I increase my prices!

Sure I could have told him to flick off, but since he did have a valid point to his request, then so my CAM pricing will not be quite as aggressive. Upset these rival suppliers after all and a price war would soon see you selling items for less than you have bought them for.

Well I guess having other suppliers breaking out in a cold sweat is proof enough that my special offer price is the best around, but do not forget that this offer certainly will end when this month does. And I have a feeling that I won't do a special offer on this item again, when other suppliers could then lynch mob me. ;-]

A most strange supplier anyway, when if a rival supplier beats my prices, then I do not phone them up demanding a price increase. After all fair competition means avoiding artificial price fixing, which means that even in fair price setting I would never allow profit on any one item to get too extreme.

Want the Magic CI CAM for just £99?. Better hurry up if you do then. When it seems that breaking the £100 mark won't be happening again for what could be months, when doing so has already upset a few rival suppliers.

Since it is a great CAM anyway, being like 8 whole CAMs in one, then I am sure that even next month's high price will still be good value.

Also it seems that my cardman.co.uk site is taking slightly longer to reappear than first expected, but you can rest assured that this second site will be back on-line any day now.

The only other news I can think of is that this Pentacrypt CAM firmware has increased in version yet again, when it seems that this firmware author certainly believes in live testing.

2nd of July 2002

Well I see that during this past weekend the Pentacrypt firmware for the Magic Module CI CAM has jumped all the way from version 1.01 up to the latest version of 1.04.

Version 1.02 was an unreleased test version. Version 1.03 fixed the Viaccess II bugs and more, which means that Viaccess II is now listed as a working conditional access system on my CAMs page. And finally version 1.04 provided another couple of bug fixes found during early testing of the 1.03 version.

Naturally I gave it a quick spin in order to confirm that it works, but very soon I will give it a full test to see exactly what has changed.

Well this is good news seeing that I sold my first MAGICKIT today, which was about as fast as was possible to sell one seeing that any post sent over the weekend within the UK is normally delivered on a Tuesday.

Since this first customer paid my already lowest price before this month's Special Offer made it even lower, then so before this order could be dispatched I had to issue a credit note for the price difference. Therefore after quickly writing the required instructions, then this now included details for version 1.04 including Viaccess II.

No doubt when this current firmware has been totally debugged, then so will the author start to include yet more conditional access systems.

Well I am certainly going to ship bucket loads of this Magic Module CI CAM this month; seeing that it is the best CAM around, where I certainly have the lowest price in this Universe for it. And I am sure that anyone reading my CAMs page will at minimum have a desire to own one.

My cardman.co.uk site is still currently not working after my hosting provider detagged this domain name without telling me, but as I sent off all the required forms to have this domain name retagged last night, then so will it be working again as soon as they get around to it.

Unfortunately NominetUK, who has to do this fix, is currently suffering a 4 to 5 day backlog. This means that it could take as long as this weekend before my cardman.co.uk site is working once again. Since I will then be in full control of my domain name, then so will my hosting provider not be able to break it again, but causing hosting problems is a different matter.

Yesterday I finally received *some* of my order for two different types of new Scart leads, where this wholesaler certainly takes time to provide their new items. What I mean is that I ordered these over five weeks ago, where they have now sent some of one of the two types ordered.

What this type is can be described as is the Professional Quality version (the other type is the High Quality version) of this brand new type of scart lead that supports Positive Locking.

For those that do not know about Positive Locking, then if like me playing about with your equipment tends to cause the scart cables to fall out, or worse to came partly disconnected causing video or audio faults. And what is even worse (if not a miniture nightmare) is trying to reach behind your equipment in the darkness trying to find the socket to plug it back in.

Positive Locking offers a solution to this problem, which why when I first saw a review of this cable type that it instantly went on my "must buy" list, when I will certainly be using them, where I am sure that my customers who know this problem as well will desire to use them as well.

All Positive Locking involves is "lungs" or more correctly four of them. These lungs happen to cause the result that when you push this connector into your equipment, then so is it far from easy to get it back out again.

The official documentation for Positive Locking, in order to show the strength of this connection, displays a picture of a guy swinging a Video Recorder around his head by holding the other end of the scart cable. However, I would not recommend trying this same thing at home, when you could give your loved one a concussion in the process.

Since scart connections are built to a standard, then so will scart cables supporting Positive Locking work on all equipment.

As I am sure that nearly all scart cables will one day work this way, then if you want to own this "future" 1.5 meter long fully wired Professional Quality cable, then just order the SPLOCK item on my Order Form.

However since my customers have a habit of not buying my items unless they first see a photo of it, then so do I not expect any orders for this item over the next few days until I add this item to my Cables (Audio/Video) page.

Well I will soon see to that, but due to this supply delay I may have thrown away the monthly magazine that had this item in it, which means that as this was the only magazine that included this lead, then so may I have to ask this wholesaler as to the manufacturer of this blue coloured Professional Quality type.

1st of July 2002

Another month and another Special Offer. So go and take a look and then tell everyone you know so that they do not miss out on this unbeatable Special Offer.

The order forms are updated along with this site's Euro and US Dollar currency rates. Also it is worth noting that these two currency rates are now very close, where the Euro leads the Dollar by just 1.48 cents to the Pound.

If they truly meet at the exact same exchange rate, then they could merge into one new currency. :-]

Duro? Eurollar?

The mind boggles.