28th of November 2002
Well it now seems highly likely that I will have more Magic CAMs in stock in about 7 days from now (with a day or two error margin) on about the 5th of December, where this makes the first time in well over a month that I am confident of receiving them.
The reason for this confidence is that, as these are version 1.03 of the Magic Module CAM, which is not made by Dream Multimedia, then so is the cause of my long supply problem (Dream Multimedia) now no more. I cannot yet say what Dream Multimedia is up to, but keeping suppliers waiting for so long is just not on, which I guess puts Dream Multimedia out of the "game" for the current time.
Still I would make sure as hell that my own supplier actually had their CAMs in stock before I ever putting my trust in Dream Multimedia again.
And so apart from an "act of God", then actually having these CAMs here on (or around) the 5th of December, now seems highly likely.
That I guess gives me some time to browse around and see what my new price will be, when prices have gone up and so will my price have to. My new price will of course be the lowest price in the UK, but the exact value I will only know myself next week.
This new stock should only last a week or two before I will be needing more, which means that it is not a good idea hanging around when this stock arrives if you want one, when it won't be long before I will be needing further stock. That is something that I will sort out within the first week of having these CAMs, which should hopefully result in the following batch arriving before this batch runs out, but I can already foresee a few days delay.
Well I already know that demand for these CAMs in January will get very extreme, which means that it is a good idea to start planning some large scale Magic CAM investment now. As long as this CAM supply in January won't get as bad as what ELVIS supply in January 2001 was like, then I should do well enough, when in January 2001 I had to restock on my large batch of ELVIS programmers every week.
Then of course one of my fridge/freezer sized ELVIS batches got lost (thanks to Parcel Force) near the end of January, which caused one large headache and about a two and a half week supply delay. I never did find out where that one ended up, but the insurance company sure had one large claim to deal with from my Swedish supplier.
So demand for the Magic CAM in January is going to peak, where large CAM investment is needed over the next few weeks in order to meet this demand. Well January should be a fun time, but any more CAM supply problems will not be welcome.
Anyway, I am sure today's news will go to please my long suffering customers, when many of them could have their delayed orders with them by next weekend.
Maybe I am entering one of my "good phases" or something, but it all seems good news at the moment. What I mean is that my application to NoChex caused my cardman.co.uk account with them to be upgraded to "seller" status as well, which has the result of removing this £90 account limit.
Unfortunately, PayHound has imposed this £90 limit on all their accounts, trader or not, which certainly means that any payments into my PayHound account that causes my balance to exceed £90 will be denied. Not at all helpful to customers who wish to use this method to pay me, which is why I now have to check my account at least twice a day in order to transfer any account balance to my bank account.
Since PayHound delay such transactions before they can manually process them, then that is why I have six pending transactions already. And I can certainly foresee this number exceeding two dozen very soon, when I am sure that this increased number will slow down their whole system.
Well since these queued debits do not form part of my balance, then this does not really bother me, when new payments can still arrive. The big problem is of course this £90 account limit, when that is a blockage in this whole payment system.
Anyway, I am going to keep on at them, when if NoChex can offer special "seller" accounts, when I do not see why PayHound cannot do so as well. However, at the current time they only sent me their standard "£90 limit" reply, which did not address any of my points from my first e-mail.
Also today I am sending off the first of my four delayed VAT returns, which should result in HM C&E refunding me exactly £2014.55 in VAT overpayment. Since No3 is nearly up to processing orders to the end of March, even if April dispatches need to be processed in order to find all of March's orders, then so I now know that most of this previous quarter's refund will need to be paid back to them in the following quarter, when their January to March estimate was on the low side.
I should be able to send that return in either next week or the week after that, but of course I will await their October to December refund before writing out the cheque to them to pay most of that back. Now the third one for April to June should be most interesting, when my crude estimate indicates that they should be paying me a refund to begin with, but I am sure that I will be paying a lot of tax in the final July to September quarter.
The next quarter after that will be the current October to December one again, which should be first on-time tax payment for a long time in January. And after that I should even get this year's Income Tax return in on-time, even if they could be receiving the very late previous years one at the same time.
Then of course in January my accounts will be complete once again, which will be the first time since the 5th of November 2001 that I will have all the information available to see how my business is doing. So all current signs point to the fact that next year will be a whole lot better than this year was, where with all this hard work out the way, then I should even get the time to promote my business again.
Well I have more to say, but maybe I will do that at a later time, when I have more important things to now go and do.
24th of November 2002
It seems that these on-line NoChex and PayHound payment systems are being quite a problem, when unknown to me the PayHound system has recently imposed this £90 account limit as well. This certainly came as a surprise, when previously I had assumed that this new change was NoChex limited.
Well, as PayHound never sent me any details concerning a change, then what do you expect.
From first looks PayHound is even worse than NoChex, which is certainly saying something. What I mean is that a transfer into your NoChex account causing the balance to exceed £90 will cause the balance to be auto-purged to your debit card, but in the case of PayHound the initial overloading transfer is being denied to begin with. The problem here is that having customer's payments denied is even worse than high transfer charges, which I must say is leaving me worried.
NoChex on the other hand is back in my good books, where the checking of my NoChex account for my cardman.com site highlighted that it was a "seller" account. What this means is that unlike the standard accounts, then this account has no balance limit (just transfer ones).
That is certainly good news, when I prefer to debit my balance to my bank account of choosing whenever I please. Still I did work out before that a 99p charge on an average £100 debit still equalled the same 1% that I was paying before.
However, when I checked the account for the cardman.co.uk site, then I saw that this one was still a "standard" account. And that means that if you transfer more than £90 to this account, then so will it be auto-purged to my private bank account (not the ideal place).
This I found most strange, where before I allowed direct transfers into my cardman.com account, then for very many months this account was receiving all the payments. And as at one time that was like £2500 a week, then this is certainly no "standard" account. Thinking about it for a short time made me realise why they made the cardman.com a seller account and not this one. The answer to that is related to the fact that after receiving payments into my cardman.co.uk account, then I move these to my cardman.com account in order to be shipped out to my business bank account.
And so NoChex would certainly know this account was a seller account, when I have been bitchin' at them every time they came up with some new rule causing problems with my £2500 a week transfers. So they would remember that the cardman.com account was a seller one, when we have been giving each other headaches over it. So in the case of the cardman.co.uk account, then they simply overlooked that this is the other half of my money moving system. And that is why I have just sent them a message pointing out that my cardman.co.uk account needs to be a seller account as well.
Actually there is also a third account in all this, where apart from my output to my private and business accounts, then my third account goes to my storage bank account at Citibank. Ideally this should be made a seller account as well, when I sometimes get the mood to move some of this money in the other direction, which has the result of like a £1000 giving shifted to this account. Thinking about it, then maybe that can still work with a standard account, but then again it could also explode in flames.
I guess the important part in all this is how all these changes will affects you and the normal process of sending me payment for your orders. And thankfully this is not quite the problem that I first expected.
After having just gave my own on-line payment system a test drive, then I have spotted a welcome change to NoChex's payment gateway. This was done due to the fact that sending a payment of more than £90 would be quite common, which is where the £90 account limit is unhelpful.
If you wish to send more than £90 in payment, then so do they now allow for you to take payment from your card directly. Doing this avoids a transfer into your own NoChex account, where I believe that they allow you to transfer up to £300 a time this way. Even if the NoChex service is getting worse all the time, then at least it is still possible to send me your higher value payments all in one go.
NoChex's system is therefore still workable, where I guess that I will have to live for a while more with their 1% withdrawal charge.
So at the moment it is PayHound who are the problem, which is kind of a shame when they have no charges. Still maybe like NoChex they will soon sort themselves out, but of course them having a payment gateway (like with NoChex) is what I consider their most lacking feature.
Since I did purge a sizable balance from my PayHound account yesterday, then I am already aware of three customers wishing to send me payment. And it seems that I will have check my account several times a day in order to keep the account empty for new payments. For example early this morning one customer sent me a £84.60 payment, which I expect jammed up my PayHound account again, where at shortly after 17:00 today (when a third customer reminded me) I credited to my Delta card thereby freeing my account again.
Squeezing in all these payments is going to pose a problem in the short term, when with no auto-purge this will create problems if I forget to check frequently for payments. Still, maybe I could create a program to automate this task, but that is no easy job and it could be faster to moan at PayHound to do something about it.
Well as that debit makes my fourth in two days, then that is a new record, even if I have a feeling that I will soon break that newly set record again soon enough.
Moving on, then No3 (Mary) is now up to late February in processing all my delayed order forms, which makes about one and a third month's worth per week. Since she is still making some careless mistakes, then so will I have to check her data input for a while more yet.
Since the October to December range is now complete enough (there was some January and even February stragglers), then that means that in the next day or two I will be sending HM C&E the first of my four delayed VAT returns. Before I can do that though I have to track down a total of 8 missing orders from the October month, where these were entered as received, but the order forms cannot be found to show if they were dispatched or not.
It seems hard to believe that any of these orders were not completed, which is why I suspect mistakes in having these forms marked off. In fact I have a good idea what happened, when the person who worked for me for just one day made a lot of errors. And that I why I have already reduced this problem number from 26 down to the current total of 8, which was done by finding these incorrectly marked of order forms already stored in box files.
Now that should not happen, when all she had to do was to locate the order in question on my spreadsheet and simply enter the dispatch date. That also remind me, when I will have to find out two other order forms, where she put the dispatch date as a date days before the receiving date, which of course is a technical impossibility.
Once my new No3 has completed the February to November period, then so will I have to make her have a very close look at the whole group of October 2001 dispatches, when the entered data already seems very suspect. Still, at the end of the day all those orders should have been and gone over a year ago, which is why I am sure that this is little more than data errors.
And I guess that it is thankful that she only did work for me for one day, when the work she would have to do after that would be vastly more complex. That I guess is why my new No3 worker has still been doing very well, even with many (often small) mistakes, where it is hard work remembering all that is needed.
Now I am sure that the tax people will be looking forwards to the first of these four tax returns, when I have been paying their estimates so far. That is even if it appears that they will be owing me a £2015.14 tax refund, when in that first estimate they did not account for the fact that I had to spend a record amount replacing all the items that were seized in last November's raid.
Speaking of this raid and FACT's legal action against myself (that collapsed in May), then once all these orders are processed, then I am going to spend like six months finding and listing every possible way in what my business was financially damaged by this raid, where I will then instruct my solicitor to take them to court if need be to recover these damages.
Well I am going to make this damages bill highly accurate and therefore unquestionable, which will hopefully lead to a quick resolution. Still I am fully prepared to spend the £20k to £45k if need be in order to claim damages in court, when after all it is clear that this raid on my business was aimed at causing damaged and not justice.
Since I have the first few months worth of data now at hand, then the most shocking thing about this was that I had more sales in October (the month before the raid) than what I did in November, December and January. What is shocking about this fact is that January has always been my most busy month of the year in every year except this past one, which is simply due to this raid and the decline in received orders in November and December.
That was due to my customers being concerned about this legal action against me, where even though history has shown how false this raid was (as I clearly stated at the time), then their concern was understandable. Sure just about every blank card supplier about will be raided at some point (and most have been I know), where this just happened to be my turn, where thankfully that aspect is now over.
Anyway, to give you an idea what FACT did to my business about a year ago, then I will show you some of the accurate data.
In this quick table the percentage values show the change, either positive (growth) or negative (decline), when compared with the previous month. Except for the Running Growth column that is, which shows changes in gross income (used to calculate profit) compared to the fixed point of May 2001
From this quick table you can see that this raid was very harmful to my business, where even the expected surge in January was much shortened by this overhanging legal action. When by comparison the previous year (2000) had the Sales Income increase in November by 66%, December by 122% and January by 230%, where since this exact same plan was being used in 2001 as well, then the end Running Growth for January had not this raid occurred should have read somewhere around 3249%.
Still to make this estimate of what should have happened even more accurate, then so will eventually all other November to January grown patterns will be compiled in. This would then show a more correct damage estimate, which I can assure FACT now that this will be no small figure.
Then lets not forget that their own legal action against me only ended at the end of May this year, where that is many more months where damage was being done to my business.
Well anyway there is like eight more months to go before my counter legal action begins, where I can assure you now that like with my previous claim that FACT's case against me would fail, then so will one day they have to pay me a very large damages bill. The point of all this is the simple idea that if they go about raiding suppliers, then so will they have to answer for their actions.
After all their claim of "ITV Digital Fraud" could not have been more wrong, when that claim when applied to myself is like accusing one President Bush of being Osama Bin Laden in disguise! When after all my views on this and like subjects have been public for years before this raid, when as I have pointed out before when ITV Digital keys first began to appear, then it was myself that tried to stop this.
My moral lecture did not help any, but it is one more example that the whole idea of a raid on my business for this very reason was nothing but a bad idea. After all they have been through my former computer systems from one side to the other, where their evidence of this ITV Digital Fraud claim caused them to drop their legal action against me and to sneak back my seized items without telling anyone.
Well I have won victory in every stage of this legal event so far, which began with my arse-whipping of them during this voluntary police interview (like I don't know the laws on this subject) and will end later next year, when they will finally pay me a vast sum of money in compensation.
Naturally these days, since I have discovered the difference between those seeking justice and looking to harm you, then so is totally anything of interest on my computer systems now hard encrypted under a military class encryption system. What that means that any equally dumb raid on my business (not that I expect any!) will this time return zero information and I really mean zero.
And neither would I in any future event help them in any way, when the enemy is now known. Help them and show how false this claim was did I think first time, but now it would be the less they have to look at, then the earlier I would get back my stuff. Also I have been catching up on the laws concerning such raids, where next time I would be sure to give them a headache to begin with.
So, although I am still sorting out some improvements to my anti-raid protection system, then I am already sure that all their desired information would be unavailable, where only a court order would cause me to reveal it.
Well it is good to see that my accounts are starting to live again, when lack of this required information for so long has been a total nightmare. After all these problems caused by this raid has not even all be fixed yet, when it was on November the 5th, 2001 that I printed my last address label. That of course is one aspect that requires my accounts to be up to date, where that factor won't be available for about another month yet.
The other aspect concerning these VAT estimates is the problem that all these different departments in HM C&E are not talking to each other. When I only found out what this VAT accounts inspection was really about (to check on my accounts problem) when the VAT inspector turned up, where I had not long before tried to delay them to January if they wished to see my complete and updated accounts.
Anyway, the exact problem here is concerning their last two VAT due estimates, where you may recall my problem with the first of these two estimates, when they estimated the second highest figure ever and in the middle of a recession none the less. And so in that case I reverse calculated my VAT due (by the amount of money paid into my accounts), where as expected this crude figure clearly showed how wrong their estimate was.
And so I sent them the details (twice), along with an offer to pay a figure a lot closer to the true amount, where I then waited for their answer of what to do about it. That answer never came in the many weeks following except for this accounts inspection.
However, since the accounts inspection is over and done with, then so have these different departments been making different choices of what to do about it.
The first thing I noticed was that my latest VAT estimate had what was without doubt the highest VAT figure ever, which showed that their estimates were still not based on any form of reality. However, it was very interesting to note that payment of this super high figure was suspended until September 2003, which was a much better idea even if I still believe that the best idea would be if I did my own crude estimates.
And so some good news, when they saw that I was busy sorting out my accounts problem, where their fantasy estimates were really unhelpful.
However, the following day I got a surprise from another one of their departments (the debt one), where they had a great desire for me to pay both of these highly questionable estimates immediately. My first thought of that of course was "I don't think so", where I have forgot about that matter so much that I will have to relocate that letter.
This letter naturally had a"if you believe these estimates are incorrect..." section on it, where you are supposed to point out to them why this figure is incorrect. Well even my VAT inspector knows that these estimates are vastly invalid, where I have already pointed this fact out to them.
So I will soon have to send them another letter mostly on the subject of "don't be a bunch of plonkers", where I have already highlighted the first of these estimates is vastly false and the second one is only payable in September 2003. And so they are dreaming if they believe that I have any notion of paying a grand figure that is about £10,000 inaccurate.
And so the current plan is to get them to see that all these problems will be resolved by January at the latest, where they just have to wait for about one and a half months, when all four of these accurate returns will be with them by then. After that I just have to sort out my Income Tax, when that section of my accounts was also made unavailable at the required time almost a year ago. Since after pointing out this problem (one needs ones accounts in order to pay ones taxes) to the Inland Revenue for the second time, then they were nice enough to send me an estimate.
That is one estimate that I am happy to soon pay, which is another letter that I need to relocate.
Well, as previously mentioned within the next couple of days HM C&E will be receiving the first of these four outstanding returns, where apart from the £2015 boost to my bank account, then it is also pleasing that this factual data will go to show that my estimates are a lot better than their ones. After all I did say a couple of months ago that they would be paying me about a £2000 refund, where this figure just £15 out is even closer than I expected.
And so if the debt department wants to give me further hassle, then this can be used as proof that my estimates are vastly better than their ones.
My estimates for the following returns is that their second estimate was very close, where I currently expect to pay them a small top-up fee. For the third (unpaid) estimate as previously mentioned they should be paying me a refund (buying my Magic CAMs did that) on that one to begin with, but it is possible within this error margin that I may have to pay them a small fee.
Now the final estimate I have not tried to figure out yet, but I expect that I would have to pay them a sizable amount. No where near their record high estimate, but a fair figure none the less.
Since I have another return due at the end of January, then by all current signs I should make that my first on-time return since before this raid. So I am sure looking forwards to January (even if it is my dreaded tax month), when that is the month when my business will finally return to full functional capacity. Already I am starting to use my accounts to show this raid damage in lots of nice charts and graphs, but each new month is new data and when I finally reach the current day, then so can I run my future forecasting system once again.
Having back stock control will also be a bonus, even if I have yet to input any new stock since November 2001 into it. No need after all when only every item of stock purchased and sold for all these months would equal current stock level. When my system used to highlight when stock was running low, where at the current time the more popular items they can run out earlier than I would expect.
Actually, I am thinking about giving that whole section a large overhaul, when the current format cannot really easily handle the fact that I now sell over one hundred items. So before I add lots of new data and switch back on the stock estimates, then I could make that section vastly larger and different.
I have a feeling that I am going to do that quite soon, when ever since I got back my accounts I have been keeping up with the total number of items sold each month. And just yesterday I updated and improved the second on item sales averages, where that section in the data is used later on to estimate when my stock of each item will run out.
That whole section in all needs quite a lot of work and different data in order to get it to do the required job, but since that is a very useful job, then that is why I always normally keep it up-to-date and often seek to improve it.
One problem that has cropped up recently is due to my LAN upgrade, when up to now No3 has been making use of my 2.6Ghz laptop computer. And since I now have her recently purchased laptop right here and ready to be used, then so have I had to upgrade the network to fit in this new computer.
The exact problem was that with only one former laptop computer here, then I had just been running an ad-hoc wireless link between my laptop and the server. And the problem is that with two NICs, then there was no space to insert a third wireless connection.
And so between Thursday and Friday I have been changing the NIC on the server to a wireless access point instead, which is where my new high speed LAN switch is also proving useful. The problem though is that it was a bit tricky to get this new wireless access point working, where DCHP had to be enabled on the server in order to get it to work in the first place.
So at this point the person who controls the network (I handle the file system, shares and some technical matters) has to idea to switch all six other computers on the network to using DCHP, where they now get their correct network addresses automatically instead of manually. Only problem here is that the new addresses resulted in an unexpected problem, when connections to my e-mail gathering program on the server was now being denied.
Since No3 also had another problem stopping her answering e-mail on Thursday, where the e-mail client had to be reinstalled in order to fix it, then so was she stopped from answering e-mail due to these technical problems on both Thursday and Friday. This means that on Monday she will have some catching up on the e-mail to do, but this should not pose any real problem.
Hopefully on Monday her 700 Mhz laptop will be fully functional and ready for use, where I will just have to install a couple of applications first. Since this would allow the use of both laptops at the same time, then so can I better keep an eye on her instead of having to sneak off to used my workstation computer (that I am using now).
Her laptop I did not need as powerful and fast as mine, where the big 15.7" display and sharp resolution was an important factor in order to see more of my spreadsheet at any one time, which made me decide to get a cheaper second hand (in near perfect condition) from one seller on EBay. The only problem is that the supplied battery is useless (as stated when sold), which means that in order to avoid total power loss in case of a mains power problem, then I will be needing to buy one or two new batteries.
Apart from the larger size display, then I wanted this laptop to do the things that my other laptop cannot do. This is including a serial port (my other laptop has to use one of my USB adapters), where the most interesting aspect is its video features. As apart from composite video output (my own laptop has the better S-Video option), then this one also supports video capture with it's composite video input.
That could prove very useful if I desire to add a few short video clips to this site or to even make my instructions visible, but my first testing highlighted a problem that has yet to be solved. As although the capture quality in nice, this is currently suffering video corruption with purple lines down the right hand side. Seems to be a most strange effect, where moving the mouse about and clicking on the desktop can produce more of less of these lines.
Well it is not a problem with my video camera or cable, when this lines problem still happens with no video input attached. I also considered a sound corruption possibility, but even removing all the sound drivers did not help. And so my best estimate is that it is a video driver problem, where these drivers available for XP are quite limited.
Anyway, should you be interested, then the exact model of this laptop is a Gateway 9300, which just happened to cost me £560 and another £20 for postage.
I have just updated my two many currency rates again, where the Euro and US Dollar are once again near the exact same value. Also at the same time I did a more important change to these two Order Forms, which will hopefully solve one problem.
That problem is due to the fact that the last two Euro currency payment orders had cheques made payable to "Cardman", where since my Euro currency account is in the name of Mr S. Fakley, then clearly I cannot cash these payments. And so for this latest order I will soon have to tell this customer that his order is rejected, when he sent a Euro cheque with the wrong name on it.
The earlier order is a lot more of a problem, when this order was dispatched before I noticed this payment fault. And so I will soon have to contact this customer pointing out the requirement to have cheques in the correct name. When of course the only bank in the UK that provides a cost free Euro currency account (and US Dollar account) will only do so in personal names and not business names.
It seems that my clearly pointing out this fact on the Euro Cheques section on my Ordering Details page is going unnoticed, when there has been several previous examples that I could mention. And that is why these two Order Forms now have an additional line clearly pointing out how these cheques need to be address, which should hopefully solve this problem, unless they make their own order form of course.
I have also to chase up one other Euro Cheque payment order, which just happened to be received on the 9th of February. As earlier this year two of these dispatches to my bank to be cashed never arrived, where this first one resulted in the loss of lots of Euro cash (no less than 336 Euros) and this one Euro cheque.
Since this cheque is only authorization to collect payment, when this customer still has the cash, then so unlike all the cash payment orders this one is recoverable.
With the second loss relating to orders from May, then there is one Euro cheque and one US Dollar check to be recovered here. Unfortunately, yet more Euro cash was lost in the case, which again is unrecoverable. And so a lot of orders need to be sorted out, where some of these payments need to be marked as "lost" at the fault of the postal system, where three payments are needing to be recovered.
To remind you of the problem here, which is thankfully now fixed, then the Royal Mail was losing these recorded dispatches due to the fact that the pre-paid envelopes supplied by Citibank contained a later confirmed invalid postal code. And since the Royal Mail (including Parcel Force) is extremely good at losing dispatches when the postal code is invalid, then so is the postal code supplied by Citibank responsible for the loss of these two dispatches to them.
So when I am bothered to finish calculating the February batch, then so I will know how much this loss cost me. Then when the May orders have all been entered, then so will I have a grand total of how much this invalid postal code cost me. Since Citibank chose not to respond to my message pointing out the fact that their supplied postal code was invalid, then so will I then push to matter a lot harder.
Maybe having a good moan at them will produce some result, even if that is just a "sorry". Still it makes me wonder if there is any case for negligence, when a major bank not knowing their own postal code is beyond belief. That maybe was why they chose not to respond to my first message, but they certainly will do soon enough.
Well since this section took a long time to write and got delayed as a result, then I best end it now and sort out this Magic CAM supply.
18th of November 2002
Well it seems that Mary (No3) won't be answering e-mail until tomorrow now, when she phoned before 09:00 today in order to say that her car had got a flat tire, which was only noticed after driving on it for four miles. Also I have just heard within the last few minutes (now equals 12:10) that the repair person had just arrived, where she now feels that it is just not worth coming in today.
Now, am I not a nice person to say "fair enough", instead of come in a slave for the required seven hours of daily work. Still I can understand being stuck in the middle of nowhere, where with half the day gone, then I would feel the same way.
Also she did only work half the day on Friday due to reported mid-day illness, where these two events together is starting to worry me that this could all be a cover for something else, but then again I also well know that when bad luck strikes that this bad luck can often come in groups.
So I will have a quick chat with her in order to find out what is at hand, where I can only hope that this is nothing beyond bad luck. No doubt I am just being paranoid, but it is best to make sure that there are no further events like these two in the short term.
Well we do need to work on the reliable aspect here, where one and a half days off in just over a week is just not good. Still I did say that the working time can be flexible, but one has to keep some order on one's life. That is an aspect that will need to be dealt with, when after all my customers are not getting their e-mail replies today, which beyond the short term is clearly unacceptable.
So it seems that we are going to have to see what tomorrow holds now, which makes it a good time to switch my 2.6 Ghz laptop computer back to my use. Well her laptop that I recently purchased will be here tomorrow, which creates the wonderful task of sorting out the O/S, network connection and her working desktop, which I predict will take a day or two.
Also, since I have been previously scanning her e-mail waiting for her to arrive, then I have noticed the first two e-mail from customers welcoming her to her new job. Sorry, but she is going to be here tomorrow now (major issue if not!), where you should have your replies then.
Anyway, as mentioned below, then keep those e-mail coming, where I wish her to know on her first day of answering e-mail how friendly and fun my customers can be. And so if you have not done so yet, then your help in putting a smile on Mary's face would be much appreciated.
Well I guess the good news from this (nothing is all bad news) is that I will have more time chasing up this alternate supply of the Magic CAM. Anyway, concerning that supply problem, then I will let you know when something develops.
In case you have not read it yet, then the early morning news now follows...
As mentioned in my last news section my full e-mail system is now on-line, where No3 (Mary) will now be handling the bulk of the e-mail.
Since today is her first day for answering e-mail (if all goes well), then I would appreciate it if my site visitors for the next few days could send her an e-mail (on the questions address) just to say "Hi" and to welcome her to her new job. This is due to the fact that as I like to treat customers like friends (as many of you are), then so will this friendly start put her on the right track to provide friendly e-mail replies.
Please also be gentle with her to begin with, when after all she currently knows next to nothing about the vast area of satellite reception. That is why I will have to spend the next few days monitoring every e-mail that she writes, where her satellite knowledge is soon to quickly grow.
Now, due to the interesting nature of european satellite reception, then I guess that we will have to deal with those tricky subjects (like the porn stations) as we come to them. This I do not foresee as a problem, where I expect that she will soon see that it is natural for my customers to be interested in porn reception (and other <p-word> matters), where I am even sure that for some people it is the core reason of why they spent lots of money obtaining reception of European services.
Well I believe that the next few days should be very interesting, when within a short space of time she will see what European satellite reception has to offer.
This e-mail work is now the second aspect of her job, where the first aspect was my accounts.
What this first section has been about so far is to enter all these delayed order forms, where currently she is up to mid-January. That is one and a half months worth of order forms done in her first week, where of course it is now mid-November.
She has been making lots of data errors entering all these order forms, but she has been getting better and better as each day goes by. We well have to see if she regrets working for a perfectionist (such as myself), where I have had to spend 3 to 4 hours each day checking all her data input for errors (and pointing these out to her).
Well this is my accounts after all, where things have to be kept like 99.9% accurate. After all an incorrect entry of an order total (she has entered sub-total or VAT total by mistake) would mess up my VAT payment, where an error marking off the goods supplied does not help my stock control. So each day she makes less mistakes, where since she is now down to rare mistakes, then soon she will have to go on her own.
That would be a moment that I am not looking forwards to, where being a perfectionist means that I often prefer to do things myself, where naturally I can usually do a better job of it. A feature that does not help with the delegation of work, but I now have no real choice in the matter.
So since she is close to getting the accounts work error free (down to 8 errors per day at my last count), then so is it a good time to move her on to the next (e-mail) stage.
Within this same theme, then since I had to do a large update of my E-Mail page anyway, then so did I go and improve the whole page. Well I did mention that I am a perfectionist, where since writing these pages, then I only have to go and improve them and to debug my former English language.
Since I have not gave that E-Mail page a spring clean for well over a year, then so did I find my former work lacking. Also apart from adding No3's section, then so did I add a whole new "E-Mail Rules" section. Well I did add a brief section before, but since I am now a lot more aware of all the E-Mail problems, then so did I add this new section in order to clarify things and to avoid future E-Mail problems.
One thing I forgot to mention last time is the arrival of my latest two items, where those just happen to be the PAP3 and PAP5. These are of course 3 and 5 meter long version of my initial 1.5 meter long PAP cable.
You can see these new cables on my Cables (Audio/Video) page, but as you will notice there is not currently any photos of them. The reason for this is that my Black Widow scanner is currently faulty, where for some reason it goes through a most unhelpful on / off cycle. Since I have tried this scanner on three different computers, then it is certainly the scanner that is at fault.
I am going to have to have a much closer look at this scanner, where either the USB cable has been damaged, or maybe my cleaning of the inside glass (it was very dirty) has done something like trap the buttons.
Well hopefully I can fix this problem and get these items scanned, when there could be a bigger problem if not. What this bigger problem is about is that the company who made this Black Widow scanner seems to have gone bust (according to one guy on the Usenet and their missing web site), where I have no idea if my local computer supplier would honour the 12-month warranty.
That appears to be a great shame, when this Black Widow scanner is an excellent one. And so if I have to buy a new one, then I currently have no idea what scanner to get, where my last best choice of "Black Widow" is no longer an option.
Sorting out this problem gets put on my less important things to do list, when of course I have more important matters to deal with, where also these PAP3 and PAP5 cables look almost exactly like the PAP photo. Still, when I stock some new item that I do not currently have a photo for, then so will this scanner problem be a lot more urgent.
Well as I mentioned last time I have asked my supplier where these MAGIC CAMs and MMPI interfaces have got to, where my order now exceeds two months in age. And since my e-mail to him on the 15th, then I am still awaiting a reply all of five days later. Anyway, as I highly doubt that this long overdue order is to arrive within the next few days, then so it is time to find another supplier.
This v1.03 CAM is less desirable to the claimed new v2.0 CAM, but of course you have to take what is available. And since my current supplier is not helping matters any, then so the v1.03 CAM from an alternate supplier seems to be it.
That of course is my top priority next to watching No3, where so far things have not been going as hoped. Only minor problems though, where I will now have to push them in order to get suitable answers concerning Magic CAM supply. And so if things go well, then I should have these long delayed orders dispatched before the end of this week.
I am in the mood that someone needs to be publicly flogged for keeping myself and my customers waiting for over two months. After all what kind of problem needs two whole months to sort out? Where my own (commercial) supplier has yet to answer that question on the second attempt, which is not exactly helpful.
Well I am certain that I will soon get this problem solved, where my back-up plan should getting this v1.03 CAM pose a problem is to stock another v1.02 clone (as the v1.03 CAM is), where it would look different on the outside, but still be the same on the inside.
So at the moment life is all full of problems, which can often be quite a struggle to solve.
Anyway, hang on for a few more days, where I will soon have these CAMs, even if I have to pay more than my sale price to get them.
12th of November 2002
Well my new worker started work yesterday, where my e-mail system should be fully working again from Monday. As the days this week need to be used to train them in different aspects of my business starting with the accounts, which I am sure the C&E VAT people will appreciate.
Also last Monday I had a VAT inspection, where I did tell them beforehand that my accounts were screwed (thanks to FACT) and to come back in January. However, since they were insistent that January was too long, then so on Monday did I had someone look over my screwed accounts.
Now, as that was my first VAT inspection, then there was a few errors resulting from my lack of understanding of their requirements, but in all there were no real serious problems to be found. In fact they were more interested in my screwed accounts and expressing a desire for me to make them "unscrewed".
That of course is the top priority of my new worker, where to full understand my complex accounts will take a few more days yet. As to this worker, then she is female, has the first name of Mary, where I have a feeling that she will be known as No3.
A whole load of work is needing to be done before she can work unsupported, which naturally greatly slows down all that I have to do. Still that is one aspect that cannot be avoided, which is why it is no use moaning about it.
Moving on to this MAGIC CAM supply problem, then surprise, surprise the latest estimate turned out not to be true. As those stated two weeks came and went with no sign of these CAMs in sight.
My own supplier seems to be waiting for the new v2 model of these CAMs, which comes from the official manufacturer (Dream Multimedia). As it seems that the v1.03 model of this CAM is kind of an unauthorised reproduction and made somewhere in Asia.
It seems that most suppliers about are now stocking the unauthorised v1.03 model, where if it works as it should, then I could well have to do the same. After all if the official manufacturer has been keeping me waiting for very nearly two whole months now, then maybe it is time to change manufacturer.
Not desirable, sure, but after all I have customers waiting. And these delays "outside my control" create ugly marks in my accounts, where for example up to December 2001 it is the case that three quarters of all orders left on the day of receipt.
I am sure that this value will increase to an even highly level once my accounts are up-to-date, which is why these long delays are not helping matters.
Anyway, since I have already found one alternate source for these v1.03 CAMs, then if I don't get my two month old order very soon, then I will very soon have to obtain stock from another source.
I will have one last moan at my own supplier first, but since he first told me that I would have my CAM order like two months ago and every couple of weeks following, then I have little faith in any new estimate.
So this CAM supply problem will soon be solved one way or the other, where what method all depends on Dream Multimedia. Well since I am currently looking about for other trade sources for this v1.03 CAM, then if you know of any, then please let me know.
Well my next news report should be on Monday, where my e-mail system should be fully working once again.
1st of November 2002
Since it is now a new month, then after all this time you should know what that means. This of course is that a new month equals a new Special Offer, which is why you can read all about that on my Special Offers page.
The start of a new month is also a good time to update all the currency rates, which is why I have now done so.
As I have now spent the last week and a half interviewing people for this job I am offering, then now is the time for me to decide who to employ. And that is no easy choice I can say, when there is no clear winner. Still I have now narrowed down the choice to just three people, where I believe that I know what one of the three this will be.
Well as I have delayed making this final choice for as long as is possible, then I believe that now is the time to choose and live with the results. And so that will soon mean that this chosen person will soon be working for me as quickly as is then possible.
Good news that will be, when then my business will then be back to full functionality. Naturally, there is no problems with dispatching orders, beyond the Magic CAM and Interface that is, when just about every order leaves on the day it is received.
That actually reminds me, when the Royal Mail delivered yesterday's post extremely late, when it is not much good having your mail delivery shortly before the Royal Mail is due to come and pick up your outgoing mail. So, due to poor service by the Royal Mail, then yesterday's orders received through the post will be leaving today.
Recently the Royal Mail have been worrying me with issues like this, but at least after months of problems they have now got my business mail collection sorted out. When beforehand I would have to phone them up at like 19:00 and remind them about my mail collection normally at 17:30.
These days they are now almost always within their 10 minute window either side of 17:30, except the one time when they turned up at slightly before 17:00. Never a good idea to do that, when mail is ready at the due time and not before, which is why he went away and came back late at 19:00.
Moving on to this ever annoying Magic CAM supply problem, then as this week is now over, then if this latest estimate turns out to be true, then delivery will have to be within the next week. I personally believe that the whole situation sucks, which is why I will be spending a lot of my spare time trying to sort it out.
My own supplier is not being cooperative with explanations behind this very long 7 week delay, where sure I know the original problem, but further developments beyond this initial problem are still unknown. And so that is something else I will be looking into beyond an alternate supplier for a smaller amount of CAMs, which will cover the orders that I currently have outstanding.
Well life is full of other people creating problems, where at least most of my problems will now be solved. However, I will have to see if the Royal Mail postal delivery keeps to the generally good idea of mail delivery in the morning, and if this CAM supply problem can be solved through my own hard work.
I believe that now is a turning point, when good times are ahead, but I will have to wait and see if this turns out to be true.