28th of June 2002
From the index on the left you will see that I now have CAMs.
A lot of people have asked me for CAMs over the years, but due to the high cost and the usually low profit of these items, then not until this new Magic Module CI CAM was offered to me did I become highly interested in supplying CAMs.
Well you can read all about this fairly new CAM on my new CAMs page, but I can say that my testing today produced better results than I had expected. What I mean is that it seems to work better than my FreeCAM2 at the very functions that the FreeCAM2 supports, but naturally supporting the native mode for other conditional access systems put this new Magic Module CI CAM way beyond what the FreeCAM2 can do.
So far I have tested it with Irdeto I, Mediaguard I and Betacrypt I, where I had no problems at all beyond a slow switch between systems. When the Viaccess II mode has been debugged, then so do I have a card to test that one as well.
Since I have already looked around, then so do I know that my prices for these items are the lowest that I have seen. And you can certainly take a look around for yourself if you do not believe me, when I even beat all the European Euro prices I saw as well.
Well I told you yesterday these CAMs would be here today, then so are these CAMs now on-line and available for you to buy.
I guess following CAMs then I will now have to look into supplying Official Subscription Cards, but if I will support any further CAM types any time soon remains to be seen.
27th of June 2002
Well I am not sure what is going on with my cardman.co.uk site, when this has been unavailable due to DNS look-up failure for the past couple of days. However I have now confirmed that this is the fault of my hosting provider.
The exact problem seems to be that the cardman.co.uk domain name currently points to no hosting server, where as my service provider (GhoulNet) is supposed to be looking after the domain name (one of my then bad ideas chosen in order to save the technical hassle), then clearly this is their fault that it does not currently point to my cardman.co.uk hosting.
Since this same site has been haunted with dozens of DNS look-up problems over the past few weeks, thereby putting this site out of action for hours at a time, then having my e-mail system rely on the correct operation of this site no longer seems like a good idea.
Therefore my cardman.com site is now fully independent of my cardman.co.uk site, with the one exception, which means that the E-Mail page on my cardman.com site now offers access to new e-mail addresses.
These e-mail addresses have technically always been there, where anyone incorrectly using this address, would find their e-mail forwarded to the correct cardman.co.uk address.
And so that e-mail forwarding has now been terminated, thereby allowing e-mail collection, but it is strange that the first direct attempt at e-mail collection from this site has produced over 2200 new e-mail. This unexpected high number, seeing this e-mail address should usually have no e-mail sent to it, I will have to look into. As either failure of the cardman.co.uk site has been producing extra e-mail, or someone has tried to attack this site.
Well as I have been on to my hosting provider recently, then so should this problem soon be corrected, where at least now they will be able to actually reply to me.
Unfortunately this lack of contact has been causing some over problems to become even larger problems in the process, where hopefully these can now be resolved with little extra fuss.
The separation of these two sites means that now my secondary NoChex account has been implemented. Again this firstname.lastname@example.org account has always been there, but only now due to rewiring my site has it been available for customers to use.
Now the only exception to this rule is with PayHound, then this service does not allow one person to have two accounts. Therefore until I figure out something, then this is the only aspect that does need to go through the cardman.co.uk site.
And naturally at this time that means that the PayHound payment option is the only aspect not currently working on my cardman.com site, but as people can still send in their payhound orders through the cardman.com site, and complete the manual payment to my email@example.com account, then the only aspect is that is not working is my payhound account currently cannot inform me when a payment has been received.
Since I can log-in manually in order to check for received payments anyway, then so can payhound payments through the cardman.com site work.
Well time to go sort out the aftermath of this site loss, then to use my new found contact power in order to sort out these growing problems.
Having spent a long time downloading these 2200+ e-mail from my main cardman.com e-mail account, then I now know what they are. And the answer to that is a crap load of SPAM, which was received in a period of just over 12 months.
How this came about is due to the previous owner of this site at the time of this change over wanted me to still forward his e-mail received under this domain to his new e-mail account.
Then about a year ago he wished for me to end this forwarding, when all he was receiving under his old addresses was spam. And so I did end this forwarding and extra e-mail accounts thinking that lack of these e-mail addresses would result in these unwanted e-mail bouncing back to their evil senders.
One other factor in this, that I now know, is that any e-mail sent to my cardman.com domain under an invalid account will be forwarded to the main cardman address.
Then the reason to explain this spam collection is that only e-mail sent directly to my main cardman address was being forwarded to my main cardman address on my cardman.co.uk site. Therefore all invalid e-mail was being stored in this account and not forwarded on.
Well it provides for some interesting statistics, when the average person who uses their e-mail address in a public place will end up being spammed by an average of 187 commercial spam e-mail a month.
For some reason I feel that I will now have to go and implement this sites spam block function, which will hopefully make these evil senders drown in their own filth.
I believe from this you can see why my business only ever makes use of provided customer contact information when sorting out order problems. As sure some customers could wish to be informed about my latest special offers, but as even one misplaced e-mail of this type is spam, then so that is something that I will never do.
Now I just wish other satellite equipment suppliers can learn from this, when I have noticed some of them engaging in unrequested e-mail adverts (ie spam).
At least receiving all this spam in one go was not too disruptive, when I just selected from where they began to where they ended and deleted the lot. Or more correctly put in my bin, information later extracted to put in my spam block, and then completely deleted. However as one of my other address is being spammed as well, then I have to soon add a second spam filter.
Well as from this you can see that spam is a serious problem, then hopefully it will soon be made illegal.
Since getting half my e-mail system working again, then so have I been working out these other problems. And the first one fixed means that my new Magic Module CAMs will be here tomorrow, where I hope to have these on-line by the afternoon.
Also as mentioned above I have been dealing with spam, where having now blocked e-mail to these problem discontinued addresses means that a lot of this spam has now been stopped.
However I also implemented the SpamAssian site function, which is basically a program that checks all received e-mail for spam signs. How it does this is to check each e-mail for spam attributes, where for each one it finds it awards points.
And so any e-mail that achieves a score of 5 points or more will be sent on marked clearly as spam. Since I have already received two further spam e-mails, then so do it see that it is working fine when these spam e-mail achieved scores of 10.5 and 24.7 on the spam scale.
This spam marking will be useful, when I can just set up an auto-filter on my e-mail client, which will produce the result of forwarding all spam e-mails straight to the bin.
However since I would not want to do this for badly designed valid e-mail, then so will I watch them for a while before setting up the auto-filter. This time will also allow me to see if there is any further addresses to directly block, which will save having to receive them in the first place.
One other thing that has been annoying me recently seems to be due to the company who handles 60% of all European Internet traffic going bust, where I and no doubt many other people now seem to be having some annoying connection problems. For me some sites are simply not available due to "destination address unreachable", but the more common problem are site pages being unavailable, but if you press the reset button enough times then there it is.
Along with slow connections, then this indicates a network that is overloaded and dropping connections.
Normally the UK provides direct access to the US, but recently I have noticed US connections going through Hamburg in Germany.
Fortunately access to my own cardman.com site in Texas in the US has been problem free. And a traceroute shows that it goes from my local Telewest cable on to the Gigabit Ethernet, then it takes a trip across the Level3 London to New York network, down a few Qwest links, and then to the RackSpace network to where my cardman.com site is stored.
Now due to these European problems, then even when my cardman.co.uk comes back, then I would recommend using my cardman.com site. When after all US connections are the important ones for European countries, where unlike connection to some other US sites, then having my cardman.com site linked to two major US network backbones seems to keep access working fine.
I am thinking that I should really do something to improve my cardman.co.uk hosting, but since the site was working fine when it came time to renew my hosting, then instead of the long search for really reliable hosting I decided to upgrade to one of their business services.
Now I think that having my cardman.co.uk site down for a couple of days shows how good this hosting it. And if anyone wants some of the best US hosting around, then my long research at the time and continue access to my cardman.com site since, means that I highly recommend CWI Hosting.
And if you ever feel in need of some quality and reliable hosting in the future, then I would recommend bookmarking that site. Also like these two anti-spam functions, then this site really does have all the extra functions that any site owner could desire.
Now if only I could find an equally good hosting service in the UK.
23rd of June 2002
As expected I have been busy updating my accounts with seven months worth of new data, which no doubt will take many more weeks before this massive task is complete. And I am left wondering if I should take on someone else to do this for me, when naturally I have loads of other work already to do, where still having to do this other work slows down completion of this task.
That could be best, when I can then bill FACT for this large cost in restoring my accounts.
Since I have now entered all the new invoices, then I now know that due to this false raid in November the expenditure to replace seized items achieved a new record high in December. Well as the December expenditure was about four times a normal month, then this poses an interesting situation for my VAT payment.
What I mean is that for the last couple of VAT payments C&E had to estimate this total, when naturally I did not have my accounts in order to provide this correct total. And their estimate would have been fine except for the fact that it did not cover my extra expenses due to this raid.
Currently having calculated October and November in this true total means that before December is added, then C&E would be owing me a refund for the total of this quarterly payment plus extra payment, when VAT expenditure exceeded VAT income.
Since December has yet to be added, then my current estimate means that when that first problem quarter is correctly calculated, then half of this payment would need to be refunded, when their estimate was around double the correct figure.
No doubt some of my VAT payment for the January to March quarter would need to be refunded as well. However, since this latest April to June quarter would need to be estimated as well (due to my returned accounts not being up-to-date just yet), then I feel another overpayment coming on.
Well I think that I will have to figure out a formula in order to bill FACT on loss of profit on this over payment, when after all they are ultimately responsible for it occurring in the first place. And that will teach them for telling lies back in January saying that my accounts would be returned, when had they not lied and done so, then I would have been able to pay the correct total on my taxes.
Now that I have my accounts back, then within the week I will have fully completed my new system that will put anything interesting on my computer systems out of the reach of any future raid. When after all I now know that this raid was about damaging my business and not about justice, which means that in the future they will not have my help or any seized computer information.
What this last stage is about, seeing that my latest accounts (and all other items of interest) are already secure under a military class encryption system, is to remove and secure all information stored on my returned hardware. Also now that I have something worth protecting again, then this last stage will mean that never again will they remove all copies of my accounts, when in this raid in November they took my Master, Back-up and Secondary Back-up copies, thereby leaving me worth none.
Well as when I sue the pants off FACT for this false raid, then I doubt anyone could be that dumb in order to try it again, but since FACT has already proved that there are really people that dumb out there, then within the week my anti-raid protection system will be complete.
Then a few months later FACT will get a nasty surprise in the post, where it will say pay this very large and very accurate damages total, or I will take you to court and the judge will force you to pay it. Plus legal expenses.
Since they have searched my computer systems for seven whole months, and then decided not to proceed with legal action against me, then now it is my turn to start annoying them.
One other important news item is that later this week I will be stocking CAMs for the first time, or more accurately I will be stocking the new Magic CAM. As since this new CAM will be the only CAM that you will ever need, then I could not resist paying my supplier a small fortune in order to provide you with the best CAM around at what I can promise will be the best price.
I did want to supply Subscription Cards before I supplied CAMs (in order to give people the right idea), but as suppliers have yet to offer me trade prices on subscription cards, then that is why CAMs will come first.
There is not much else to add, or at least not anything important (for example adding another 4 years on to my www.cardman.com domain name ownership and adding the latest EUR and USD currency rates), which is why I will now go start on my new CAMs page.
6th of June 2002
Well it is kind of a sad day for my business, when I have just have to turn over two outstanding debts to a debt collection agency.
And as this debt collection agency is not at all the friendly type concerning debtors, when they can track these bad customers down (and take legal action) anywhere in the World if need be. Still lets not forget that they can also send the "boys" around to personally find out why debts have not been paid, where I am sure they would go to the extreme within the law to recover debt.
In other words certainly not the type of people that I would normally let touch my customers, but well as I have given these two customers plenty of chances to pay these debts over many months, then so have I already warned them what is now to follow.
Debt recovery is not an easiest subject, but as I have proof beyond any doubt of an outstanding debt, then now I can only see it as a question of how far this now has to go on before they pay up.
The first debt occurred back on the 26th of October 2001, when this order for an ELVIS programmer was received. When on the 14th of November 2001 the Cheque payment for this quickly dispatched order was returned by the bank unpaid.
I have tried contacting this first customer (who due to my business policy I still will not name) by their stated contact method (e-mail), by Invoicing them, and by obtaining their phone number and calling them.
And it was that last method that produced promises of payment to be sent, where that promised payment of course never arrived.
So all of seven months later with no payment in sight has that one been passed to this debt collection agency.
Now the second customer is a whole lot more interesting, when back in early December 2001 they ran up all of four hundred and sixteen pounds worth of debt in all of 8 days. As this customer desired and got, over 4 separate orders, all of 60 GOLD cards and an ELVIS programmer. And you could say that I was a touch annoyed when all four cheques came back not long after marked "Payment Stopped - Theft Reported".
For a supplier it is always a good idea to give the customer the benefit of the doubt, where so did I begin to contact this customer thinking that there must have been some kind of mix up. However as this customer despite months of trying has failed to respond to my phone contact and Invoice, then so it does not take long to realise that what must have happened here is very much illegal.
As either way if the customer wrongly reported the cheques stolen then that is dishonesty and fraud, where if the cheques were stolen then that is of course theft and fraud.
In the end then only dishonest people do not pay valid Invoices, but that second one could well count as a criminal Police matter. Well as I am only interested in debt recovery, then I will have to see what comes up along that route in achieving this aim.
In all my own legal problems that began last November seem to help spark a lot more payment problems than usual, but it is also true to say that most non-payments are usually simple matters, where the customer quickly makes a correction.
Currently I have other outstanding debts that I will have to look into, where naturally if they follow these two into the hands of the not at all nice people, then that will only be due to the lack of cooperation by these customers.
Also since I have now have my accounts back, then so can I finally trace the owners of a few other unpaid cheques. When the information I had left did not allow me to know who the owner of those cheques were. And so that is something high on my list over the next few days, when these few customers will soon be reminded that they owe me payment for the goods they ordered and received many months ago.
Well the other 99.999999% of my customers have nothing fear from this, when they naturally have the good idea that goods that are ordered and supplied need to be paid for.
Currently in my accounts update I have completed all the November dispatches and copied across financial information, but the most interesting thing is that I have been adding some new information functions.
Since one of those just happens to be to say the number of working days (excludes weekend and all non-dispatch holidays) that it took to dispatch orders, then so when I have completed my orders input, then so could I reveal this information.
Naturally it would not point out how much of these delays is due to the customer (order / payment problems or ordering items marked Out of Stock), but it will certainly show that despite all these problems the majority of orders are dispatched within my normal dispatch time of 48 hours.
Well as I have to sort out all my computer systems very soon, then so have I got bucket loads of work now needing to be done.
1st of June 2002
I have now updated this site with my new lower ELVIS price of just £45, which now matches that price displayed in the June issue of the What Satellite magazine.
However it will have to be tomorrow before I will add my June Special Offer to this site, when I have just had too much to sort out and think about after the unexpected delivery yesterday. Sure I did think of a June Special Offer previously, but as I wanted to do something extra special and not use that just "really good offer", then so does that take a lot of thinking about.
So tomorrow the June Special Offer will be here and not before, but of course my Special Offers start when the month does, which means that some orders could well qualify, even if I do not know what it will exactly be yet.
Since after 206 days of not having them I got my accounts back, then so have I been playing with them. And my account do not seem too happy about it either at the moment, when they expect it to still be 2001 and the date actually being 2002 is confusing for them.
That problem will only be solved once all of 7 months worth of data is pass through them, when the more that is entered the nearer the correct date it will get. And when that task is complete, then so will everything I could possibly want to know about my business be at hand again, including future forecasting.
Well as achieving that aim is currently a month or two away (or possibly longer), then so have I recently been adjusting them for bulk data entry.
The reason for that is due to this very long delay, when I had to start to create these entire accounts again. And so I have had to adjust these main account so that they are compatible with the new (and improved) data format of my new and by far incomplete accounts.
Since that has now been done, then so I have I already copied over a lot of the details for November. And so despite lack of Invoices for November my account currently think it is the end of November, but as they can also read the system date and time, then so do my accounts freak out (due to expecting to find a date in November) when trying to forecast the very end of November using the current date.
Well once I complete all the orders for November, then I think that I will process every invoice that I have outstanding, when that after all will put stock in the system and will allow me to see how much I have been spending.
Following this I have all the October dispatched orders to see to. This dispatched order pile was put to one side after the raid, when now they can be marked as dispatched on this database, just as I intended to do back in early November.
Once that is done, then it is all forwards by entering order details for December, January (my accounts will appreciate it when it is 2002), February, March, April, May and now June.
And when my accounts reach the current date, then so should these accounts offer a good reflection of my business. However I am sure that there will be numerous data problems to go through before even getting close.
Well anyway that final aim, currently very many weeks away, is a day that I will look forwards to, when for a long time now it has been hard to know how exactly how my business has been doing.
All I can really say at the moment is that this raid caused about a 55% order drop in November compared to October, but it will not be too long now before I have an exact figure in pounds and pence. That is not to forget that November was supposed to have been an even better month than October, when back in about August I planned the time over Christmas to be very high demand.
Unfortunately this raid screwed all that up, but I am sure that my accounts can forecast what it would have been like had this raid not occurred.
Well I have crap loads of paper work to now process, but naturally somewhere during this the Inland Revenue will want my overdue Tax Return Form and Customs & Excise will sure be interested to see how close their estimates came to the real values. I think that in the end they will owe me a refund, when I do not believe they allocated for what a Police raid does to a business.
And of course I will now think about what really great Special Offer I can afford for this month.