24th of May 2001
Well today I bring proof that everyone's life in this Universe is fixed and unchangeable. And when the time comes round for you to stuffer then even impossible odds are simply brushed aside.
What I mean is on the morning of the 22nd the link to my cardman.co.uk site went down. Which appears to be the fault of Cable & Wireless's Internet section INS.
This means that while their router was not functional very few people if anyway could actually contact my site. And that just happened to include myself, when all HTTP, FTP, and e-mail contact failed.
And so my site along with many other sites hosted by GhoulNet was on the part of the Internet that no one could get to. Fortunately however their router was fixed just gone 2pm GMT, which restored my site as if it had never left.
Now these problems occur sometimes you would think, even if I would have thought that the so great Internet could have routed around the fault. However, if having one site go down would be called "rare", then what would it be called if I said that my second site also went down on that very same morning.
As impossible as it is, my second site was also not functional on that very same morning, which left me very puzzled at the time when HTTP and FTP links also did not work. In this case however a trace-route showed that my host server was being contacted.
Well while that problem was restored even later in the day, when apparently that fault was due to memory failure. Which as the server was still 'pinging' everything was then assumed to be fine.
Now if you ask me on that morning it was the day when it was my destiny to have all my sites go down. And I would bet even if I had 20 servers all using the most reliable hardware around, that each and every one would suddenly bust into flames for what locally would seems as one of those "rare" problems.
However some of us know differently, when for a long time I have said that my months run in good and bad cycles. And in these bad months I can often see the worst possible things happen, which as these reach near impossible odds then this makes me wonder if I am really cursed.
Kind of reminds me of the film "Final Destination", but fortunately my curse is found in non-fatal class. Anyway take from this what you want, but as both my sites did indeed go down on that morning then that at minimum is classed somewhere between highly unlikely and near impossible.
Well keeping within the bad news theme, then yesterday we had a postal strike. This meant that my mail was not collected yesterday, and I received no post today. And as the Royal Mail is extra busy catching up today, then I doubt that my mail will be collected today either.
Moving on to the good news then I got in my SERIAL cables earlier this week, and extra SMART2 programmers to greatly boost my stock.
However at this very moment I am out of P62865 cards, which is not a problem what these missing PICs would have been here by now, but instead the Royal Mail is delaying them for reasons mentioned earlier.
Now if anyone is in a major rush then just ask No2 and I will send you the P8416 card instead, but as my mail is currently going nowhere fast, then I doubt even this option to change cards will get your order going out any faster.
Anyway at least these are all short term problems and so nothing serious.
19th of May 2001
Yesterday I got in some new GOLD cards after I unexpectedly ran out for a few days. Well I guess a lot of GOLD cards were sold to personal callers when these orders are post-processed, which means that this then lowers my stock count.
My idea for getting some GOLD cards locally was that as my GOLD card production in Taiwan would deliver cards in about 4 weeks from now then keeping new customers waiting 4 weeks would not be acceptable.
And so after a look around for importers / wholesalers I found one with claims of both good quality cards and good prices.
Now while a good price is always welcome I have learned to put card quality down to what I personally find and not each suppliers claims that they have the one true GOLD card.
Well in this case as I rated this card at above this supplier's claims, then as this was also the best GOLD card that I had seen for a very long time (remember the Galaxy II card?), then bang goes my plan of getting more cards from Taiwan.
Not an easy thing to say when getting cards from Taiwan would cost me between 23p and 52p less each than what these new cards will cost me (hundreds of pounds by the thousands), but as I am never one to put price before quality then here now is the proof of that.
Anyway while you can see my Cards page for why this card is so special, it is nice to be able offer you a GOLD card of high quality for a change.
Well on to other news then my primary and secondary server host changes has still not yet linked www.cardman.com to my new host server. As this is starting to get annoying this Registrar not making this change after 7 attempts, then if this 8th attempt also fails then it would be time to move my domain control to a new Registrar.
That is not to mention that I will set my partner in this (Larry Williams) on to them, when his surname happens form part of the registrant company. As if their oddly not happy with my valid address, fax number, and email address, then that is the last option to try.
Still that registrant company also has to one day change when that name is now outdated (an old domain). Not to mention that they could not even spell Larry's surname correctly to begin with (notice that extra "i").
Anyway looking on the bright side then if I the valid owner cannot even change my own host server after all these attempts, then this is certainly top quality security so that no one else ever does. ;-]
Well anyway hopefully very soon after a three week delay www.cardman.com will appear as it should be. As if not then Larry and myself will go on a registrar verbal killing spree.
As mentioned on the 2nd I now have my cable modem to LAN connection, which is working fine except for a port forwarding problem.
That means these days I spend my free time (what little I have) trying to find services to fill my 512 kb(its)ps download limit. And while most single links usually go at around 128kbps if I chain together say several video feeds then I can certainly get my bandwidth's worth.
Also one weird affect from an always-on connection is to overcome the physiological affect of my dial-up history. As rushing around to get everything done as quickly as possible then does not seem correct when your Internet link won't be switching off any time soon.
The other big change is that unlike a dial-up connection with an always-on cable link I am now very much part of the Internet. What I mean is that if I desired I could certainly establish an FTP or HTTP site (including domain name) on my very own LAN server, or even put new users through my cable connection.
Now while that is certainly physically possible my provider would then not like me any more, when those public aspects would be against their rules of use. And although I do not mind bending the rules slightly here and there, doing such a thing anyway is not helpful when I only have a 128kbps upload bandwidth limit and I prefer to use that myself.
Anyway at the cost to me of £33 a month then I would recommend cable modem to those that can afford it.
One important change recently is that I have now sold the very last SMART1 programmer, which as these was previously discontinued by my own supplier then I have now discontinued these myself
Moving on to orders then our good friend (and customer) in Serbia is back, which I guess means that he received his last order.
With this order he wished to make use of his £15 credit voucher. as well as an overpayment credit note. However it is the additional payment which is of most interest when he sent me four Bank of England £1 notes.
Now had I said The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 notes or even Bank of England £1 coins then things would have been understandable, when the Bank of England £1 notes were replaced in 1983 by £1 coins.
However unlike I first thought these were not the notes of 1982, when you have to go back to 1977 to the era when these old notes where last on the street.
Anyway what he sent was four old notes looking very much like this one...
Although I doubt that I will ever know the reason why he sent these old notes, no longer being legal tender; I can only guess that it was kind of like "these I got from your country when our countries were last good friends, and so here they are back again!".
Anyway, as I can always go to a bank and trade these in for new coins (remember the "I promise to pay the bearer on demand" bit), then these are not worthless to me. So as I like a challenge then it is worth seeing how much collectors would pay for them, when it would be a shame having the bank scrap them.
Or failing any reasonable offer I will just stick them on ebay.
And so if anyone is interested then let me know, when all these notes are still in good condition with no tears at all. And although the older they are the more usage marks they have the newest one looks totally perfect.
Anyway the four I have are...
1956, O'Brien, 87R. (the year the Queen first approved her picture to be put on notes)
1967, Fforde, R01M.
1970, Page, S76M.
1970, Page, W32B.
I guess this shows that valid money is but one possible payment method, when anything useful I would consider. However I would have to think twice over your first born, a handful of magic, or calls for "take my wife, please!".
Still the end thought is considering how much money I process per day, then my time would have been better spent just chucking these old notes in the bin. Very much true, but why waste.
Well the final news today is that oddly I have just ran out of SERIAL cables, which as these have been on order for a couple of weeks now then I will soon find out what the delay is. Still this is not a major problem when I can always get some cables from a second source if needed.
8th of May 2001
Well I guess that the good news is that ELVIS in now once again in stock in large volumes. And this means that I next have to restock on these in July.
These I assume should have been here on the 5th and the last day of my estimate, but then unknown to me the 5th was actually a Saturday. Now as these delivery companies do not handle Saturday delivery then the next working day, what with a bank holiday and all, was actually today.
And so had it not been for the odd globally supported definition of a week then my second estimate was perfect.. ;-]
On to the problems then my cardman.com domain has not yet updated to my new server. This is because unlike with other recent changes they are not accepting my very valid authorization information.
And so both strange and annoying when you provide all the requested authorization information only to have it come back saying that they cannot verify its authenticity. As it mentions in the reasons that you did not provide the information that you very much did provide.
Anyway after six failed attempts I used their fax method instead, which I am currently awaiting the outcome on. Still as all other recent changes went problem free then I cannot see why changing the primary and secondary host servers was not working.
Another recent problem was that while my business collection went fine on Thursday the same could not be said for Friday.
What I mean is that while my full time collection is in the process of being competed, on Thursday I arranged collection for that day. And this person knowing that my application would not be completed until this Thursday at this time mentioned that he would also book in collection for Friday as well.
A fine idea except that no one then came on Friday to pick them up. And what with them being closed until today (phoning to arrange collection on Saturday is of zero help), then my orders which should have been with my customers on Saturday will now arrive four days later.
Now that also means that earlier today I had to re-frank all these parcels a second time, which of course is because the date has to match the date of dispatch.
Anyway while I get these problems sorted out this shows you that a lot of my time is spent sorting out the problems caused when other people do not do what they are supposed to do.
So as ELVIS is now once again in stock then a lot of shortly delayed orders will be leaving today. That is if the Royal Mail desires to pick them up of course.
2nd of May 2001
I have now made an important change in my e-mail system, which means that anyone wishing to send us e-mail should certainly see the latest news and changes on my E-mail page.
When my new cardman.com domain has been linked to my new site then I will do a change to my new site in order to allow e-mail to be sent under the @cardman.com domain as well.
Actually it was a few of my customers sending e-mail to the totally wrong domain that caused the previous owner of cardman.com to contact me in the first place, which then led to his offer for sale of his domain name. And so while sending e-mail to the wrong domain was totally unhelpful in order to get a reply; it was however of benefit in this one case.
As of next Wednesday when I get my always-on cable modem installed then I will look into having e-mail from both domains forwarded to my local LAN server. Since that should be possible then having e-mail stored locally can then provide extra advantages, not to mention the bonus of a constant Net connection.
Anyway this first important change will now mean that technical support questions will also now be answered within 24 hours by No2.
That means that I now have my own stored e-mail from this address to answer, but first will come sorting out the overdue test / replacement orders. Where fortunately I held back the last of the ELVIS programmers in order to replace these returns as required.
I still have loads of other work to do, such as finishing the e-mail configuration on my new site, which is why I wished to offload these e-mail in the first place.
1st of May 2001
Well after all bad news last week things are starting to look better mostly due to my own hard work.
The most important addition is that I now own the domain of www.cardman.com, which over the last month I have successfully purchased from the previous owner. Although the previous owner used this domain for email only some people may have noticed a religious site on this domain a few month ago, but that was only due to a configuration error by the domain registrar.
Anyway as I now own this site then doing an whois on cardman.com will now return my information. And to prove that I am very much the owner of this domain name then you can try that here just by entering cardman.com in the box.
Unfortunately at this very moment I am awaiting the Network to update to my new host server before this web site appears at www.cardman.com, which should be complete in about 3 days time. This of course means that if you go to www.cardman.com now you won't see much, which is why it will only appear on about the 4th.
I will of course let you know when that occurs, but until then you can still visit my new site's host server directly. And that as I know well is located right here.
So in about 3 days time www.cardman.com will be linked directly to that server, which will then provide me with both cardman.co.uk and cardman.com.
You can see new details on my Welcome page to explain the differences between these servers, but the biggest difference is that my new host is a lot more powerful and expensive then my older host.
For example I can do just about anything that I could desire with my new site including SQL databases and RealVideo streaming, but the biggest features is my new 200 Mb of web space and a large 10 Gb monthly bandwidth limit. That means go and do as much browsing of my new site that you wish, when you just won't break this high bandwidth.
To actually make use of this large bandwidth then I could well establish an FTP area on my new site, which would be useful to provide the latest software and instructions for use with my items.
I could of course now do a lot more, but that is for the future. However the down-side of this is that my new site hosting also costs a lot more, but well you get what you pay for.
I will also reconsider adding a forum or a chat room now that I have the bandwidth, but as people would discuss subjects that I could not legally support then I still cannot see that as feasible.
Anyway the greatest advantage of my new site is that if my old one goes down due to some failure, then there is now a backup site. However, as my cardman.co.uk has been working very well except that time when my email system broke, then it is unlikely that this would ever be needed.
Still that is a vital attribute should a serious breakage ever occur, when it would be a total nightmare if cardman.co.uk was unavailable for days.
Anyway if anyone has any ideas of what I could do with my "do just about anything that I could desire site" then let me know, when I would even consider payment for these with business ideas.
Well as mentioned on the 25th I have now paid my large VAT payment for this quarter, which along with one large ELVIS payment will very soon leave my bank account a whole lot smaller.
Unfortunately my new ELVIS batch did not arrive on the 28th or 30th as I had hoped, but as that is not uncommon with suppliers, then while I have yet to recheck with my supplier for the new ETA, which should still be very soon. However from current signs then the 3rd or 4th seems highly likely.
What is more worrying is getting more GOLD cards in, because after these two large payments recently it will take some stretching to find another large payment for a double sized GOLD card batch. Now while I still have hundreds of GOLD cards in stock the long wait to get them from Taiwan could put them out of stock for a couple of weeks.
Anyway I will purchase these within days, my stock should last about two weeks, and more GOLD cards will turn up in about 4 weeks.
My first business collection of my post occurred yesterday, but it will be a couple of days more before this is established full time. And as yesterday's collection was at 5pm then more orders can now go out each days, which for yesterday included these non-ELVIS orders from yesterday.
As it is my brother's birthday today then most work has had to stop today in order to clean up the mess for a family birthday party, which is a shame when I have some overdue testing and replacement orders to sort out.
Also good news is that next Wednesday I will be having a high speed 512kb Cable Modem installed, which will connect to the server on my LAN system. This will be greatly welcome in order to increase my download time by up to 11.5 times my current v90 level.
For a long time I had awaited ADSL, but as this is still not available in my area then at least I now have something what is. And for me this is much better than ADSL, when had you wanted to connect up two or more computers on ADSL then your monthly payment would increase to £100 per month.
This will cost me £33 each month, which is good value for what is provided. And I can mostly reclaim that anyway by cancelling two of my current three ISP subscriptions.
Still that sure as hell beats just two years ago when BT was charging me over £500 each quarter for my minor Internet access, which greatly dropped when free 0800 access first came about.
As today also happens to be the first of the month then already my latest Special Offer can be found on the page with that name. This will be one more step to making this card what it will soon be.
Anyway as I have lots of work to do sorting out my new site then I had best get to it.