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Cardman
3 Elmstone Close
Maidstone
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ME16 8DQ
United Kingdom


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30th November 2000

Today being the last day of November has shown that my early month prediction that this month would be all good news has been proven correct. As only the few days delay moving to a new supplier of PIC16F84 chips counted as bad news, but as this new supplier seems better then the last one then that I would count as good news as well.

For those waiting for photos of my new items then today you were lucky, as between the near constant rain over the last few days this morning had a suitable sunny spell to be able to take these photos.

As I am fast when I am not limited then by 11am they were being developed, and once I installed my scanner software on my new computer then I soon had them scanned and resized.

And as all items on this site now have a photo then they were soon linked and uploaded as well.

Another site change you will notice is the change in this very same news page. As news older than two months will from now on be moved to my new old news page, which you can always access by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Today I also worked hard to insure that all of November's orders were in the post before 15:30, which included all those orders received just this morning. The reason for this was my soon to appear December special offers, as November belongs to November and December to December, which means it is best to avoid orders overlapping between months.

And as those are going to be some great offers then hold on to your underwear. As if I said that November was good then December will be absolutely fabulous.

Full Details right here from tomorrow.

28th November 2000

I have just updated my currency rates yet again, and I have also cleared up a couple of pieces of site information.

Also today I received my latest batch of ELVIS programmers, which will tomorrow complete the few outstanding orders.

I am still hoping for a sunny day to get the photos of these new items done and then scanned, as I had to get some new camera batteries before I could even start. Today being cloudy only scored about level 6, which was much too low when I normally take photos on about level 250.

Also I have now completed my new ELVIS instructions which every ELVIS owner should be emailing me (Cardman) for, but which will now be included on every new ELVIS disk.

The manufacturer has not done any instructions yet, which will make my 13.7Kb help file very useful.

And how many other suppliers do you know who spend days writing detailed help files, which is just one more difference between a "commercial" (send it how it is) and a "non-commercial" business.

Even one of my suppliers once sent me a "used" SPS1 with a missing part, which I would never try to sell on.

25th November 2000

Good news, as my hunting down of another PIC16F84 chip supplier went as well yesterday as I could have possibly hoped. As I am pleased to say that I now have many PIC16F84 chips with me here right now.

In fact even with my plans for December and January these ones should last a long time.

Anyway give me a few hours with a soldering iron then later today my P8416 cards will be back in stock. And the few delayed orders should be dispatched by Monday at the latest.

Also after checking today's received orders then I see that I now have the second claim for one of my £15 credit vouchers, as if you see my Special Offers page then you will see that Israel has now been added.

And as December is but days away then when those few days are up then I will add my December offers to that page as well.

24th November 2000

My hunt for more PIC16F84 microcontrollers is going well enough, as since my last two suppliers are now sold out, then I now have to find yet more suppliers.

So far I have contacted companies in France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and the UK to see who has my required quantity in stock at prices no more than what I usually now pay.

Hopefully by the end of today I will have found one or more suppliers, but I will have to wait and see.

Anyway the search goes on and I will obtain these chips as fast as possible, which may even be tomorrow.

Also it is sure to be useful in the future to keep my list of most suppliers of these PIC16F84 microcontrollers within Europe, just in case my out of stock suppliers happens to next become three.

And later today I should have more good news when the first of my card types arrive, which of course will be mentioned here.

Continued...

Well as expected the first of my newly supported card types is here, which is also an old one when I am of course talking about my newly arrived Gold wafer cards.

Things have certainly changed in the Gold wafer card market when you cannot even obtain these at trade prices for less than double their former cost, but you can see my comments about that on my cards page.

Still back in April and May I used to sell Gold wafer cards fully programmed for just £8 each, which means that I am now selling them blank for more then what I used to sell them as programmed.

As mentioned that is now the nature of the market, when the previous mass production market is no more.

Well that mass market may revive one day, but I find it now pointless waiting month after month for my last of these former card orders placed back in the early days of April.

Anyway if you wish a very well made Gold wafer card then I am not called "Cardman" because I deal in Christmas cards. :-]

And sometime soon my other three new types should arrive, but I am in no rush for those.

23rd November 2000

Today I have to report good news, more good news, yet more good news, and then the bad news.

First good news is that the BABY programmer is now back in stock, which means that all delayed orders for this item will be dispatched today. Also this item is once again available for sale, and I will be sure to stock lots of this model to avoid this happening again.

The other good news is that the problem getting my supplier to make more of my PICPROG has now been sorted out. As although there were no claimants for my £50 offer, it was found that these programmers can also be used for Atmel based smartcards.

And as that fact alone speaks volumes to my supplier then he is now all ready to produce more of these.

Actually as he is planning to redesign this model to improve the shape and functionality then I may not be lucky to see more before Christmas, unless he wishes on use up some spare current PCBs.

We will have to wait and see for that one, but at least no PICPROGs are outstanding.

The third good news must be all the items soon to arrive. And first must be 4 new card types, with one to arrive very soon, and the other three only when specially produced.

In within the next few days is the next batch of my ELVIS programmer, and could even arrive before my current batch expires. And as these should last well into January then more good news.

Also soon I could well support yet another new programmer type, but you will have to wait and see.

Now I guess I have to report the bad news, as once again PIC16F84 chips are proving very hard to obtain. This of course means that my P8416 cards are out of stock for at least a few days more.

I asked my usual supplier about these on Friday to which they said "We are getting some in on Monday, and so contact us again on Tuesday".

On Tuesday morning I phoned them once again, and this time they said "Not in stock yet, but these should be here later today or tomorrow".

At Wednesday lunchtime I phoned them for a third time and after checking around this time they said "New stock is now not expected until January".

Now as January is at minimum 38 days too far away then I am now having to find another supplier without having to pay yet more. As last time the cost of each PIC16F84 increased by £0.80, which lead to me having to increase my own prices to cover this.

So I am hoping to avoid yet more price increases, which is why I am hoping that my current lead on a supplier in France works out.

That won't be my only possible supplier however, as until I have more PIC16F84s in stock then I will be spending every waking moment trying as hard as possible to source these.

And if I cannot obtain these at a good price within the next few days, then I will have to then seek these at higher prices.

As I think all this almost global supply problem is all Microchip's fault then had I not been such a nice supplier then their Christmas card this year would have a upwards pointing finger and two works beginning F and Y.

Well I honestly won't do that, but even that would not reflect my annoyance at such supply problems.

And any customer happy with my service could if they wish send me (Cardman) or any of my employees (No1 and No2) a Christmas Card this year. As they would will be certain to receive one in return, as it is always nice to know how many friends you have.

However please don't put orders on Christmas Cards, as then I would not see it when it would go through order processing.

As to Christmas then I will be here all the time, but I should take a few days off work between the 24th of December and then back on the 2nd of January. This is less than with other years, as I will be taking my yearly break at a different time early next year.

And I should not have to remind you that this is the seasonal time of a slow postal system, which means you should check your local postal dates to make sure that your order can be here and back before the Christmas break.

Anyway, time to see who I have to kill to get some more of those damned PIC16F84 microcontrollers.

16th November 2000

Looking through my site today will show you some changes. The most important of which must be my addition of 5 new items, one new page, and some price adjustments.

Unfortunately my supplier did not have the other two items that I wished to stock, which is why it is now 5 and not the mentioned 7.

And before I get lots of email then I will add the new photos of these items as fast as I possibly can do so. As that depends on when I next get a sunny day and several other factors. Not many sunny days in November, and due to all the major floods we have had in the UK then a sunny day is sure to be a rare sight.

Anyway I would like to point out what good value these new items are, but I am sure most would be clear enough just by looking.

For example one of my new items is the MS250 satellite meter, which I managed to obtain at a good price, and which of course I pass on to my customers.

Now £59 (+ VAT) may sound like a lot, but this meter usually costs a lot more. As for example Techtronics who are known to usually provide good prices currently sell this same model for £71.42 + VAT.

This means that a UK customer buying this model from me would at the end of the day save themselves £11.07 from buying this exact same model at Techtronics. And a customer within the EU would normally save themselves all of £16.94.

The other new items are my MPACK2 and MPACK3, which must be roughly half the price you would buy these for on the high street.

As the MPACK3 is a fairly heavy one then for some customers it could cost you more to have it shipped to you then the price of this item. Still for UK customers then having that one shipped to you along with some other items would make little difference. And that one must be the best value one that I currently sell, when my usual purchase price from my supplier is in fact more then what I am currently selling this one to you for.

However it is the MPACK2 which I predict to sell well, which you could see by looking at the features. In fact I sold the first one of those today before I hardly had time to get them out the box.

The last new items are my two splitters which again I managed to obtain at a very good price. And to allow customers to understand how these devices work I wrote a large section on my Smart Switch page to explain these devices.

It could be that some of these new items may have to go up in price the next time I restock, which means to avoid having to pay more then buying sooner rather than later would be a good idea.

Anyway from my customers public views I already know how good value you think my prices are. However you can rest assured that I am always looking for only the best quality good value items around.

And what with my good news that everything which is not marked "Out of Stock" is in stock, then it is good to see that every order is now going in and out very fast.

Soon I will be getting some new card types, which could include one so special that I won't dare even mention it before it is in stock.

So anyway take a look around my improved site while I go build some more P8416 cards and answer yet more email.

15th November 2000

Here is something different.

As the manufacturer of my PICPROG said that he would produce more if I showed to him a valid commercial use for PIC16F84 mounted smartcards, like my White and Gold wafer cards.

Any valid commercial use would do, but being shown on-line with available software would be extra helpful.

Now as my area is satellite related then I have little idea for all the aspects that my customers use these for, which is why I now have to ask them. As hopefully someone must know such a valid commercial use, as before I have never found the need to ask.

Possible examples would be...

A picture of a person stored in the EEPROM, which can be read along with a security ID.

Or how about using one to open an electronic lock.

Both valid commercial uses for security applications for these cards in theory, but to convince my manufacturer I need to show him such a system in use.

Therefore please email me at my cardman address if you know of such a use. And as I am extremely serious about getting more PICPROGs made then in time I would go as far of having such a use made myself, should the unlikely happen and none of my visitors know of such a use.

To assist in this then I will insure that the first reply I get which clearly shows such a use will be rewarded to the sum of £50, which they could have in cash or goods. And so some hard thinking and looking around could have you rewarded.

And over all I am sure many suppliers would like to get that one nailed down for good. Also I will add this to my Special Offers page should later news move it down.

12th November 2000

All of two days ago I received the first new country order from Finland, which took advantage of my first £15 credit voucher. And if you wish you can now view my updated Special Offers page.

As I am sure that other orders are soon to also take advantage of this 9 day old offer, then those customers who qualify should not delay in claiming their £15 credit voucher before someone else does.

For those people who actually read my welcome page, and hopefully understood it, then you should know that all profit made by my business is reinvested in my business to support new items. And what that means is that within days one of those growth events is due to occur.

A total of 7 new satellite items will be supported, to mostly expand on the items that I support now. And soon after that I will also add another 2 or 3 new card types.

This will of course be all good quality items at just about the lowest prices around, which I am sure will prove popular if those people who need them drop by this site.

Once I have got all those new items sorted out (including the photos) then nothing will be more important (beyond order dispatches that is) then adding e-commerce and debit and credit card support to this site.

That implementation is taking longer than planned, mostly due my computer problem, where all the details for this is currently stuck on my old broken computer and will prove quite hard to obtain.

Anyway I certainly hope that you will appreciate that addition. As adding such a commercial feature to this site will prove quite costly and will need yet more business restructuring, but even though I believe that those who wanted it should pay for it, I know that overall it is best to pay the many levels of charges myself.

Hopefully that would not take too long to implement, which I guess depends on if the used software supports all the features that I require. And I am not yet sure how badly that addition would break my current multiple browser support.

The only other news I have to report is that stocks of my MODIFIED logger/emulator is starting to run low, which at my current estimate should last another month at most. Following the final sale of that item would make another item to be discontinued, which following later on would include the SEASON as well.

Anyway that will be news for next month, and time now to sort out the e-mail.

9th November 2000

Well I have more good news today, as my latest batch of ELVIS programmers arrived yesterday.

This was later then I expected, as my account was debited last Thursday, but this order was only dispatched to me all of 5 days later. Now while such a thing would be against UK trading laws I have no idea about outside the UK, and as I now have my latest order then I see no reason to mention it again.

Anyway as when possible I move faster than light speed, then before the day is over *every* outstanding order for an ELVIS programmer will have been dispatched.

As this new ELVIS batch was 2.5 times the size of the last one then I have enough available for the immediate dispatch for any new orders, but as this new programmer is proving highly popular at an ever increasing rate then already I am starting to make plans for my next even larger order.

I am also pleased to say that as my most popular item (the P8416) is no longer causing delay problems, then most orders arriving in the morning are being dispatched before lunch.

This I am sure will highly please my customers when the only delay is how fast the postal system can deliver it.

I have been thinking recently about adding a quotes page, as I often find it a shame that my customers comments that they put on their orders are not seen beyond myself (Cardman), No1 (who packs up your orders), and No2 (who handles most of the email).

So far I am against this idea, as I do not really believe in such "commercial" biased self-promotion, but it is possible that I may figure out a more fair system.

Anyway to celebrate the restocking of ELVIS I will now make one exception from an order received today...

"A short while ago i bought from you an 'elvis' type programmer and i have to say it is the best unit i have ever had, it even programs the new playstation 2 modchips!! - and your service and quick turnaround are the best i have received for a long, long time- keep it up!"

As I never mention customer details, unless they publicly do so first, then that real quote came from nameless in Hatfield in the UK.

It is just a shame that these quotes received each couple of days will only end up in my now large completed order form storage, but at least these are nice to receive and helps to sample how well I am doing.

However as my business only grows by my customers telling their friends these things, then I hope these people have enough immense joy in them to last until they see someone in need of a supplier recommendation.

Anyway it was good to know about the Playstation 2 mod-chips, as it seems that the Net moves as fast as ever to bring out a new modification for a new product.

So to finish up then I guess that the Playstation 2 mod-chip programmers are now back in stock, which of course is just one of many possibilities for how people really use them.

And you may have noticed that the new page button now has the correct font size.

3rd November 2000

Sometimes I come to believe that some months are destined to be good while others are destined to be bad. And the mother of all bad months must have been May this year, which ended in the closing of my business for a three month restructuring.

Now the last two months as they come were not very good months in terms of supply, as there were supply problems with several items. However this month by the looks of the first couple of days appears to be a much better month, which I certainly hope will continue into December and January.

What I mean by this is that the supplier of my BABY programmers now has a PCB manufacturer sorted out, which if all goes to plan will mean that my "babies" will be dispatched to me on the 20th of this month.

It would not be unusual if that date slipped a little, and there is also a slim chance that they could arrive even sooner. Anyway I predict that the outstanding BABY orders will be completed before this new month ends.

Also according to my new supply policy it will be totally impossible to buy any of this expected batch from me before they arrive, which would make asking quite pointless.

I also have good new about my restocking on ELVIS, as my account has now been debited. This should mean that these programmers have now been dispatched to me.

As I am busy writing this then it is possible that they may have already arrived, but even if not then they should be here within hours.

I guess that all I have to sort out now is a replacement to the PICPROG, as having more or these produced does not look hopeful. And if anyone has any supply ideas then I am all ears.

Now as I predicted all delayed P8416 orders were dispatched on Tuesday, with the last handful being dispatched on Wednesday. This means that once the BABY and ELVIS orders have been sorted out then it is clear sailing until the next time one of my suppliers announces a problem.

Also if you have not noticed my new "special offers" page yet then it is worth a look, as you could well save yourself £15 with the first of my good/insane idea.

And if you had looked really closely then you would have noticed that the font size for that new button appears a little larger than usual. I will soon have that fixed once I have figured out the correct size, as maybe a 26 size will do it.

Anyway as times are looking up then there is no better time to spread the good news and some hard cash as well.