23rd of June, 2004
It seems that my cardman.co.uk domain has been partly down for a few hours today. This is due to my hosting provider (GNXOnline) doing a large update to this hosting server.
There has been a few site problems caused by this update, but I will explain the main three problems.
First of all I noticed that my cardman.co.uk site was missing, or more correctly the index.html file was not there. As the second problem was that I could no longer FTP connect to my site, to check on my site files. Then this made this a clear matter that my hosting provider had to sort out.
As it turns out their server update had indeed killed my FTP account. Then so did they have to manually establish me a new FTP account that I will soon have to sort out.
It then took me a little while to figure out what was going on with my site. And what happened was that during this server update all of my site files that matched index*.* had been deleted.
This was my main Welcome page. The three menu buttons for this Welcome page. And then the selection page that is the one that you see, when you click on the old news link below.
Having my hosting provider lose my site files is not a good thing. However, since I keep plenty of backup copies. Then once I understood the problem, then it was an easy matter to fix.
Ok, so my site was now working again. Or so I falsely believed...
As it was not long following that I came to realise that my Order Forms for this very site were not working either. And the reason for these broken Order Forms, was due to the fact that this hosting server was no longer pre-processing the PHP code.
That made me believe that they had not installed this PHP application correctly. That as it turns out is half true. However, I spent about an hour talking to their on-line customer support team to sort this out.
The main problem was that this server was not set to pre-process .php3 files. Instead I was recommended to rename these recently working files to .php files. That for this server would indeed work. However, the problem is that other web servers like .php3 files and not .php files.
And instead of myself renaming these files. Then I had them change their server configuration so that my .php3 files were indeed correctly processed by PHP.
So it is a case of fingers crossed that nothing else is missing from this cardman.co.uk web site. Just to be sure I am very soon going to check all these files to make sure of this fact.
The one good thing about my hosting provider (GNXOnline) is that they are only happy to admit their mistakes by making up for these problems. That I find is a rare feature of a hosting provider. When in past years I have actively moved my sites away from hosting providers who simply could not admit when they messed up.
That is why they have just given me 500 mb of web space, unlimited e-mail addresses and one month of extra free hosting.
Although I am doubting that the 500mb of space and unlimited e-mail addresses are new. Where I would have to check my old news to be sure. Still, the one month of extra free hosting is certainly helpful.
That as it turns out would be the fourth free month they have given me. The previous three months came from when they suspended my domain for a couple of weeks over Xmas and New Year. And of course what happened there was that it was suspended for spam reasons that after many days I managed to track down to be generated outside of my site.
As all my site was doing was using their supported and recommended function to bounce all e-mail that are being sent to invalid e-mail addresses. I would have seriously considered changing hosting provider for suspending my site over the busiest period of the year, but their admission of guilt in the end caused me to stick with them.
That also explains why not long ago I did my usual yearly renewal of this hosting service.
So like most hosting providers their service has the occasional glitch. But they are at least always willing to make up for their mistakes.
I have not been doing news updates for the past couple of weeks. However, you can rest assured that I have indeed been very busy with many aspects that improve this site.
One of those was to update all the on-line payment service information for my Order Forms. When both NoChex and FastPay have changed their charges to triple the costs to us suppliers. Both of these are however not as expensive for me as PayPal.
I could go on all day about these services. But then I have other things to do.
The currency rates have once again been updated this past week. And if I remember I will see how this EU expansion affects the other currencies handled by my currency converter.
One other thing is that I am soon to get my Terms and Conditions on-line. As this document has been hanging around for years. Where it has never been added to this site. When it has never been fully completed.
It is just that it is hard to define every aspect of this business. However, I am once again going through it. Where with a little luck I will finally get it almost perfect and on-line.
My adding of these new items to this site got delayed. When I have had babies. Or more correctly 67 White Mollie fry.
As I had to install my new larger aquarium that has been hanging around for a couple of months. And installing this aquarium has also involved rebuilding part of my kitchen. And processing all the gravel, sand, water and other equipment has also taken a long time.
This has yet to be fully completed. So those new items will still be added soon, but not at this second.
The final thing I will mention is that these new Titanium cards have been selling very well. No doubt due to my good price and the fact that these cards are a little hard to come by.
However, this rapid sale of my first batch means that current stock won't last beyond this week. I would expect all current Titanium card stock to be sold by about Friday. So kind of your last chance to get them before more arrive.
That restocking on these cards I would guess would be between one to two weeks from now. However, since the market for these cards is currently subject to supply not meeting demand. Then I cannot really promise anything.
So I will soon change that In Stock mention to some restocking comment. And anyone ordering these Titanium cards from then on will be awaiting the next batch to arrive
Anyway, time to go do something useful.
3rd of June, 2004
I am currently finishing off my Titanium card testing, where things have been going better than expected. What I mean is that public comments about Titanium card programming mention the requirement to use the latest ELVIS hardware version, but my testing highlights that does not seem to be the case.
That may apply when using TJ's MultiProg software. When something funny is clearly going on here, no matter the ELVIS hardware version. However, the most interesting aspect is that Titanium cards can be programmed using the 3.58 MHz Phoenix mode. Where of course both all the ELVIS models that I have ever supplied, and mostly every other useful programmer about, supports this emulation mode.
This explains why I had no problems with programming and erasing my Titanium test card using my old ELVIS model that I have been using for years. And of course even my SMART2 programmer can program these cards just fine, but due to the higher power requirement, then the external power option needs to be used.
So I think that you can say that suppliers saying that "our model is the best one for Titanium card programming" with hints that other programmers won't work is simply not true. As the real truth is that any programmer that supports the Phoenix 3.58 MHz mode will work just fine, providing that it can provide enough power to the card.
I can also say that programming these cards through the Phoenix 3.58 MHz mode is also the best option, when TJ's Titanium Loader program does a great job in making this card programming both quick and easy.
I will have to complete my testing using other ELVIS hardware versions, but I certainly do not expect to find any problems. So I would happily say that anyone using one of my ELVIS programmers, no matter the age, will do just fine with Titanium programming.
Since I have loads of these cards in stock, then should you desire one, then there is no better time. My price is certainly not bad either, when other popular card suppliers are charging a whole lot more.
As you can see I managed to scan the LNB03C and put this photo on-line, where I hope to have the second item of the SEASON3 completed later today. And that soon after will be followed by the new CAS2 and USB2 items, which should be on-line soon.
One other important aspect is that I am soon to do a large change of my e-mail system. When unfortunately more than a few people have been ignoring the advice on my e-mail page to only send e-mail to my Technical Support e-mail address. And that is why I am very soon to close all the current e-mail addresses listed on my e-mail page and to open new e-mail addresses better suited for my current business structure at the same time.
That will have the added bonus of killing all the spam mail at the same time, but all my customers will have to soon visit my e-mail page in order to obtain these new address. So as you can see, after a couple of months of various problems, with other people not doing what they should be doing, then things around here are soon to improve.
One other thing I am soon to sort out is to upgrade the on-line services charges. When even the NoChex system is soon to change their fees.
The good news about the new NoChex system is that the 1% withdrawal fee will soon be gone, where also at long last they will soon be accepting Credit Card payments. Unfortunately, it is the case that the bad news about this pricing change on the 16th of this month comes in at a higher degree. What I mean is that NoChex will soon be charging a 2.6% plus 20p receive fee, which for me means that their charges are soon to tipple.
Also it seems the case that NoChex still won't be accepting international cards, where hopefully that will soon change.
Even following this change NoChex won't be quite as expensive as PayPal's 3.4% + 20p fee, but I am not too pleased about these on-line services now being nearly as expensive as a full payment gateway system without the added features.
Since FastPay has also changed their prices recently as well, then I will soon update all this pricing information, where the new NoChex one will be uploaded on the 16th.
Anyway, I had better go do some real work.
1st of June, 2004
I have now just completed a site update for yet another month, even though this took many hours. The longest delay was with getting my new Titanium cards on-line, when it took a long time to clean these images after the scan.
The problem here is that no matter how much I clean my scanner, then there is always some junk messing with what should be a perfect scan. So during changing the size of the image to get it the right size for this site, then so do I spend quite a time editing out all the dust and specks of only God knows what to make this image junk free.
That means that by clicking on the smaller Titanium card image, in order to bring up the large version, then you can see the results of this complete scanning, resizing and cleaning procedure. Too bad that the JPeg format blurs the lines a bit, but since GIF format did not help much and was twice the size, then JPeg format is better than using a much larger loss-less format.
As you can see from my Titanium card description, then I currently lack the complete technical build information. When alas how this card is put together is currently a mystery to me. Hopefully that will soon change, but this goes to highlight the point that no supplier beyond myself ever goes to the effort of finding out this information.
Former cards have been have difficult as well. Like for example I had no ATMega card wiring diagram for a long time until someone visiting my site offered me one. And that was despite asking everyone I know, including the large wholesalers who sell these things.
So what microcontroller and EEPROM is in a Titanium card I don't currently know. But I do at least have an idea of one person who may know this answer.
Then of course other suppliers would visit my site and borrow this technical information. This would allow everyone to then know exactly what these new cards are about. Most change this information about of course. But there are suppliers on both commercial web sites and even EBay who rip out my text directly.
These Titanium cards I have been meaning to put on-line over the past couple of weeks. However, since I always fully check out my new items before selling them, then I have had the one problem to deal with.
That problem has been identified as that one of my supplier's ELVIS USB test version does a great job in programming these cards, but it so far fails to erase them again. I will have to make sure with this manufacturer that the full version of this model does not do that, when I hope to stock this USB version some time soon.
However, after switching to the ELVIS version that I currently sell, then this erase procedure worked perfectly well. And to complete this testing I put ELVIS in the Phoenix 3.58 MHz mode and programmed this card once more using the other method.
Anyway, a new month means a new Special Offer and that I have updated all the currency rates once more.
And I see that this time the Euro is even stronger, while the US Dollar is still at a weak position. These means that it is a good time to pay me with your Euros, but paying in US Dollars would cost you more than in better times.
Apart from the new Titanium cards, then I have also added two other new items to my Order Forms.
The first of these is the CAS Interface 2. And this device I can say is very useful for changing your CAMs between one type and another. Not to forget fixing those bootloader accidents.
And the second of these two items is my new 2 meter long USB cables. These I am including for free with my CAS Interface 2 sales, but they are such a new cable that I am also selling these on their own.
However, before I put these new items on-line, then first I have to sort out two other items. As first of all the LNB03C model needs its scan done. This means a couple more hours in the paint package, but there is no avoiding that. And the second device I am about to sort out is my SEASON3 model. This has been here since January, where putting it on-line is kind of long overdue.
Another change that I have recently done to my Order Forms, and a couple of other pages, is to remove the PayHound payment option. As well PayHound sucks, where I have been meaning to do that for a while. PayHound sucks so much that I have been denied withdrawing my account balance for months, where recently I cannot even find my account any more.
So when I do find this lost account, then it will quickly be closed and my outstanding £69.10 account balance recovered some how.
At least all my other payment options work as they should, but I am going to keep an eye on EvoCash. That is just because their site has been up and down a lot.
Anyway, tomorrow I will see about getting these four items sorted out.