30th of November, 2006
Well today has been a busy one. Stock in, stock out, where another 17 orders were dispatched today. This means that 52% of all cards orders received since the 21st have now been completed, where the outstanding orders all involve FUN2 and FUN4 cards.
This is not to say that there are not progress with these orders, when as it happens more FUN2 and FUN4 cards orders were dispatched today. That would be due to the receipt of that overdue package from Belgium, which apparently spent 5 days in the French postal system, before being shipped to the UK and delivered via the Parcel Force 24 hour service.
No doubt that was due to the French strikes I have recently heard about. Those damned French are always blocking the ports and causing disruption. They should have sent in the Army to remove them. If not shooting a few in the process. They would not do it again then would they? If only the UK were next to China when at least then the locals would know that Government comes first. They want you to move in China and you will certainly move. In any case that is a reasonable explanation as to why this priority package from Belgium took so long to arrive.
Moving on from the French bashing then any case more orders from the 23rd have now been completed, but I am currently looking forwards to that even higher number of FUN4 cards from that pending Italian order before completing more orders. That order should have been dispatched on Monday at the latest, which by current postal standards should be here soon.
Also I am pleased to say that I got in my new CAMs today. Beyond more of my existing Viaccess and Matrix Reborn CAMs then I am now stocking Irdeto 1+2 CAMs, Nagravision CAMs, Ultimate Dual CA CAMs, Zeta Blue CAMs, and Dragon CAMs with their Firecrypt Access 9 (9 month pre-paid subscription to INXTC) cards. I also got in some Dragon Loader cards, which is the most popular method to update the firmware on these Dragon CAMs.
So this will eventually result in a large expansion of my CAMs page, but due to currently being busy with Funcard matters, then for now I will see about adding some quick details on my New Items page. In any case if anyone is already interested in these CAMs then you can always ask me directly.
Since I got a very nice price on these CAMs, then I will be able to provide a good price as well.
Also I have to mention that I made a mistake on a previous news section about those cards with the Microchip EEPROM, when they were not Galaxy cards after all. They instead are a type what I call "fake Open Platform cards" when it is clear from what I have now seen that some manufacturer decided to make some Funcards and printed the Open Platform design on them. Beyond the slight colour change then the obvious give-away is the "FBI" manufacturer's code in the lower left corner.
The reason why I had assumed that these were Galaxy cards is because this supplier has always provided me with Galaxy cards, where even the ATMEGA cards they supplied within this order were Galaxy cards. And since these cards were sealed in their box, and where I was soon to ship them back anyway, then only today did I brother to peak inside the box.
Well tomorrow I will seal them back up and ship them back this supplier, but in any case I would recommend all customers to watch out for fake Open Platform Funcards with the FBI code. As at this time it is highly likely that this is the type that other suppliers would be providing to their customers. And due to this Microchip EEPROM problem then they won't be working with the firmware that you want to use.
Buy them if you dare, but better Funcards will certainly be soon following. I am already on that case myself, where I am awaiting replies from some manufacturers and yet to contact more, where I am also quite sure that known wholesalers are now on the case as well and pointing out that the market does not want Funcards with Microchip EEPROMs.
I am not sure what the people behind the Open Platform cards would say about some manufacturer clearly copying their design, when they usually like to point out their Copyright on this card design. Well I am sure this is not the first Open Platform clone to hit the market, but from what I have seen they could have done a better job of it.
So in any case the real Galaxy and Open Platform cards are still good, when it is only the case of some other manufacturer wanting to get in on the action.
One other interesting thing today is that within this package from Belgium, which would have got here faster had I "walked" to collect it, are some of that mystery third Funcard design. I do not yet know who makes these cards, but I sure intend to find out. I also do not know the brand of this card when the only text on the whole card is "fun4". Nice design, nice card, but completely no identification markings on them.
The only other post I got in today was a refund cheque from the Royal Mail that does not quite cover the Matrix Reborn CAM order that got lost on the way to one customer in South Africa. The Royal Mail say that they passed it to the postal system in South Africa for delivery, but the postal service of South Africa say that they never received it.
I was quite surprised to receive this cheque today when I sent off the claim form about three months ago. And as I have not heard a thing from the Royal Mail until now, which is very unusual, then I had believed that they had lost the claim form as well. So this customer got his replacement CAM like two months ago, where now I have a £32 refund cheque. As I said not quite covering the real price of this CAM, and the lost postage fee, but that is all the Royal Mail can provide in compensation.
Tomorrow this FUN2 card containing box will be dispatched back to my supplier. This will be used as a part exchange on some ATMEGA cards, where since I intend to get even more ATMEGA cards, then this will be the first card type where my stock level will be high enough to last quite a while.
Well I am pleased to say that I still have FUN5, FUN6 and ATMEGA cards in stock, where every possible order for these cards have already been dispatched. I was thankful that this Belgium order helped to boost my FUN5 stock level today, when only yesterday that stock was getting very low. So with a little luck they may last into next week when I will get in many more.
Well in any case I am going to try extremely hard to get more than a few FUN2 cards here by next week, when what with my first German order being delayed, and my second local order being far from ideal, then these failed restocking attempts have now get me annoyed, where I intend to make it third time lucky.
I have recently been going through all the financial information to see how best to resolve this supply problem where my conclusion is that for the FUN2, FUN4 and ATMEGA cards it is best to buy directly from the manufacturer. This in one go would complete every outstanding order for these cards along with providing hundreds of cards to spare.
Buying cards direct from the manufacturer involves buying thousands of cards. Currently available funding, in my business bank account at least, is high enough to buy two types like the FUN2 and FUN4. That alone would complete every order when I still have some FUN5, FUN6 and ATMEGA cards in stock.
However, these ATMEGA cards are also in high demand, where it is ideal to get these direct as well. Since I currently have to frequently restock five different types of cards at this time, then the best idea seems to be to buy from the manufacturer one type at a time.
This would allow part of the remaining funding to support the other four types, when currently they are always going in and out. Then about once per week I can then get in another type from the manufacturer. The best order I believe are FUN2 cards, FUN4 cards, and then ATMEGA cards, which is mostly because manufacturers have FUN2 cards available now, while these FUN4 cards will be available from the middle of December.
So the big question at this time seems to be what manufacturer can sell me Funcards. And I am already starting to ask around, to see who has what (stock/price/quality/supply), where I should be able to find my ideal manufacturer by Monday. So when the manufacturers can actually produce some decent Funcards, then I can get them in stock not long following.
It may be possible to later on get FUN5 and FUN6 cards from the manufacturers as well, but in that case I would have to wholesale cards to other suppliers to boost my own card requirements. As currently customers are only buying these two types because they cannot get their FUN4 cards.
So if things go as expected then I could soon be buying and selling thousands of Funcards. Maybe not the best idea if demand suddenly drops, but this route will certainly solve card supply delay problems once and for all.
In fact if demand does continue then this will remind me of my card supply days from back in 2001. As at this time I was buying and selling many thousands of Gold cards instead. You still encounter some supply problems though, even when dealing with vast volumes of cards, when they can never seem to build them fast enough. One problem or another cropping up.
The other good thing about these manufacturers is that their prices are in USD. The reason why this is good is because at 1.95 USD to every 1 GBP, then I can get extra good value due to this weak USD rate.
So while I will still boost card stocks with what I can get more locally, then I believe that next week is a good point to switch to dealing with high volumes of cards. I think from next week I will get FUN2 cards from the manufacturer and more than a few ATMEGA cards from a local source. I will also have to find out a good source for more FUN5 cards. I have already bought out two suppliers for these FUN5 cards, where more than a few places do not do these cards. So I will have to spend time finding a new supply for these FUN5 cards.
In any case, since current supply is not providing suitable FUN2 cards, then time to go do it myself. The point being that manufacturers have to build cards in the way that I want. They just quote you a price for doing so.
29th of November, 2006
Here is something new for you. The very definition of a nightmare for a smart card supplier.
I have here FUN2 cards that I would greatly desire to supply to my pending customers, but for what can only be moral reasons my customers won't be getting their FUN2 card orders tomorrow morning as only yesterday I had expected.
To explore this nightmare further I can say that these latest FUN2 cards are different from every other Funcard that I have supplied to my customers to date, when these FUN2 cards happen to contain Microchip EEPROMs. This to the average smart card newbie may not sound like much of a problem until I mention that the AT90S8515A usually comes with an Atmel EEPROM to ensure compatibility between these two Atmel built devices.
And when you start plugging Microchip EEPROMs into Atmel microcontrollers then you start to enter the world of smart card incompatibility. This is not to say that you cannot get away with it, where even firmware can be modified to compensate, but soon enough it will bite you in the butt. And sure enough customers of other suppliers, who have been the first to use these new cards, are reporting operational problems in public forums.
These problem cards happen to be the latest cards in the Galaxy brand of smartcards. Not the older versions I should mention, but only cards that have entered the market in the past week or two.
More concerning is that they are currently making all their Funcards types with Microchip EEPROMs. Although I have no idea how they plan to put a Microchip EEPROM in the FUN6, when the last time I checked Microchip did not do EEPROM sizes above the 24x512, when only Atmel had the 24x1024 size. That is something I will soon look into.
Yet even more concerning is the fact that these Galaxy funcards types are currently the most popular cards on the market when these are one of the two on-going productions I mentioned. I will have to check to see what the other manufacturer is producing.
Normally I always try to stick with the Open Platform brand of Funcards, when I have never had a problem with this good quality brand of Funcard, but in these days of high demand and short supply I have had to shop around. Many other suppliers will be affected by this problem and where I am sure that not all of them will be informing their customers.
All the Funcards I have dispatched recently are the Open Platform brand. So no problems there. The majority of my FUN6 card stock are the Galaxy brand, with a few of the Open Platform brand, but even in the unlikely possibility that Microchip now make a 24x1024 EEPROM, then these cards should be from an older production and so not a problem.
Currently I am giving serious thought to sending this box of FUN2 cards back to this supplier and to part exchange them for a box containing yet more ATMEGA cards instead. And I can confirm that all known ATMEGA cards on the market are currently working just fine... in case you were wondering.
I would advise all customers making use of other suppliers to now do what I will now have to do and to directly confirm with your supplier that your cards will come with Atmel EEPROMs and no other brand. Do not just rely on their on-site card photos, when they are likely to be out-dated anyway.
As trust me when I say that you do not want Funcards with Microchip EEPROMs. I am sure that even modern firmware will soon be modified to run on these cards, but there is sure a vast volume of other types of firmware out there. So these cards are only a last resort if you cannot get anything else.
Now I have no idea what crazy idea this manufacturer had to make use of Microchip EEPROMs, where maybe they wanted to lower costs, or to speed up cards entering the market, but in any case this is not something that any sane manufacturer should do. So bad manufacturer, naughty manufacturer.
This problem will obviously cause disruption in Funcard supply, when one of the two main brands is now on the dodgy side, and where they sure as hell will want to sell on their pre-built smart card dies. And I am sure that my own customers would not desire Funcards with Microchip EEPROMs any more than I do.
Lucky then I am soon to check my Asian sources. If my knowledge is correct then they make the Open Platform cards, but I have yet to see if they are currently building cards. In any case offers of high amounts of cash will soon change that, when they can build any smart card you want if you want to buy lots of them.
Now you can see why my company has never tied itself to one manufacturer. Shopping around not only provides good prices, but you can also buy good quality as well.
In any case I am upset. The latest design of these Galaxy funcards in fact looks very good, where this would have indeed been a good sources of cards to meet current demand. But as soon as this supplier mentioned Microchip EEPROMs then I suspected a pending problem, where soon enough he confirmed an operational problem.
Funcards come with Atmel EEPROMs. End of story. This is a tale of a manufacturer who thinks they know better. My supplier is even more upset than what I am.
28th of November, 2006
Well I am pleased to say that the first delayed FUN4 card orders have now been dispatched. Many of these hard to obtain cards came in where those same cards soon went out. So at this point all orders received on the 21st and 22nd have now been dispatched where I am now on the 23rd and onwards.
To my surprise those FUN4 card orders pending from Belgium and Italy have not arrived yet. Since I have confirmed dispatch information, including tracking numbers, then I can only imagine that the post in running slow at this time. In any case I am sure that they will soon turn up, where yet more FUN4 card orders will soon be dispatched.
More good news is that every FUN5 and ATMEGA order has now been dispatched, where I even have some spare cards in stock, but these days they won't last long. I also have a nice volume of FUN6 cards spare, which also works fine with your FUN4 card firmware.
And for those FUN2 card orders I am glad to say that more FUN2 cards will arrive tomorrow, along with more ATMEGA cards. Every single FUN2 order, except one, will be dispatched tomorrow. That final FUN2 order will be completed either when my German FUN2 order arrives, or early next week when I get more from a local supplier, where it is that overdue German FUN2 order that is leaving me a little short now, when that is the only order of mine that has yet to be dispatched.
In any case, one way or the other, FUN2 supply will be no problem from next week. The FUN5, FUN6 and ATMEGA cards are no problem now, but I have yet to increase my FUN5 and ATMEGA stock levels.
So the only real supply problem at this time is for FUN4 cards. As I mentioned before the whole market only contains X amount of FUN4 cards, where due to very high demand those cards are almost all gone now. Still, I am still tracking down whatever I can find, where following Europe, the Middle-East and Australia, I am now on to Asia and North America. Years ago I used to deal directly with manufacturers in places like Singapore and Taiwan, where of course there is no harm in finding out if they have any FUN4 cards going spare.
I should also mention that if any customer wants to know when they will get their Funcard order then to read this News page instead of asking me directly, when this will give you a fairly good idea.
The reason I say this is that customers at the moment are being quite impatient and wanting to know every day or two my latest estimate on when they will get their order. For example on Monday it was back to work time for most customers, where they suddenly wanted to know what the delay was. So I spent just about the whole day answering their messages, where new e-mail was coming in just as fast as I could answer it. And it was only when they fell asleep at the end of the day that I caught up and went to do some other things.
Maybe you can understand that in order for you to get your FUN4 cards then I actually have to find them. Like during the early days last week I went through what could well be hundreds of suppliers to find you the cards that I am now shipping out to my customers this week. So since I really, really and I mean REALLY want to find more FUN4 cards, where ever they may be hiding, then I really need to find the time to actually do this. That time being all used up Monday, along with these dispatches today, means that I have not had suitable time to yet find more FUN4 card sources. Asia awaits and I have to go find out my old manufacturer and wholesaler information.
So as you should now understand such questions about "When will I receive my order?" is actually counter-productive to you actually receiving your order in a reasonable amount of time, considering the fact that FUN4 cards can count as highly rare items these days.
What I have since managed to find out about FUN4 cards is that they a'int dead yet. In fact at least two manufacturers are busy at this time building more of them. That is certainly good news, but every one of my customers will now cringe when I mention that these new FUN4 cards will hit the market around the 15th of December.
And to be totally honest then my latest orders for FUN4 cards are likely to be completed around then. You may not like this two week delay, and I don't care for it either, but you can only flog a dead horse so far. I done quite well getting the cards that I have obtained already, where there could well be more out there, but to complete every FUN4 card order before that date I now suspect would require the touch of Jesus. Water into FUN4 cards and all that.
Following the 15th I could well be swimming in FUN4 cards, but at this time I am working out my battle plan so that every order is completed before Xmas, where I even have enough stock to last into the new year. Lucky for me I am good at mathematics, where my new functional accounts can soon provide a future sales estimate, where with this in hand I can work out how best to spend my magical beans to have all the required card volumes available.
After all between now and about the 9th of January, a good restocking point as any, is all of six weeks away. And I can say that just the sales from the past week was more productive than every entire month all the way back to April of 2003. Not bad going for one week, but image this one week multiplied by six? So you want cards and you want lots of cards, but to make this smooth sailing I have to carefully plan every expense. Last week you may have taken me by surprise, but as you can see I am now starting to get on top of things, but that Xmas break is a long one and every customer will be wanting their order dispatched ASAP.
I can now say that I am starting to move the funds from my PayPal account into my Bank Account. I decided that paying suppliers by PayPal could only go so far, where I am now starting to assemble some serious funding that will first increase FUN2, FUN5 and ATMEGA stock, before assembling every pound I can find to obtain as many of this first FUN4 production as possible. I am currently looking into if I should buy direct from the manufacturer, or to negotiate supply with a wholesaler, where each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
This is of course not to forget that any early FUN4 card supply will be obtained, where I will always be on the look-out for more of these cards, but it will only be that new production that will resolve all supply problems.
So please try to show some patience at this time and to let me do my job, where it is without question that every order will be dispatched as fast as is possible, if you are aware of it or not. Things may not go quite a plan, like this previously mentioned ex-wholesaler mentioned that I should get these cards on Monday, when they instead turned up today, but any serious issue will certainly be mentioned right here.
This is not to say I don't mind hearing from customers if they have any idea on how to speed up their order completion, where say FUN5 cards are currently a popular substitute for FUN4 cards, which explains why my ever decreasing stock now needs a boost. As it is just this impatience that keeps people asking that same question. As you can see many cards have already departed, where loads more FUN2 card orders (and a few ATMEGA) will depart tomorrow, where all this information combined means that your own order should be dispatched soon enough.
And then they come back to buy even more, which at the current time creates an endless supply cycle. Like several of those customers getting their FUN4 cards tomorrow morning already seek more, where they are sure to get them in the middle of December, when fresh new FUN cards become available.
As to something less demanding then on Thursday I will get my six new CAM types. I got a good price on these and so this was a worthwhile expense. No doubt I will be far too busy to put these new CAMs on-line until the Xmas holiday, but I may find time for some quick details in case anyone wants to buy one.
I did not get the Matrix Reloaded and Revolution CAMs in the end. I see these as a drain on resources, when even with good prices they are unlikely to sell that quickly. I may pick them up at a later date though.
Also I did not get those adult subscription cards either, but this time not due to lack of interest in them. As I simply asked them some questions to find out exactly what they offered, where after coming close to that answer they stopped answering my questions. So the only conclusion can be is that those cards were not quite what they should have been. Old service and old cards no doubt. Well I did mention that this was an ex-wholesaler, even if their fairly new Matrix Reborn CAM surprised me.
In any case I brought them out, not much left, and where they seem to have no further interest in Funcard supply either, which rules out that option.
Next up I have to mention that my Internet connection keeps going down for some unknown reason. For the first three days my cable modem has failed to get a receive signal for about two hours each day. That means that the problem is at their end, but on the fourth day it went down three times for about six hours in total. As you can imagine this is causing me some disruption, when already some things have been delayed. Like putting my new Funcard prices on-line got delayed two hours, which enabled three extra customers to qualify for that card discount.
In any case if there are no News page updates, and no reasonably fast e-mail replies, then that no doubt means that my ISP's router has just burst into flames. I can only hope they have already seen that it is pending complete failure and have now replaced it, when loss of my Net connection would not be helpful. I try to keep a dial-up account for back-up Net access, but whenever I really need it I find out they have suspended my account due to non-use. So no help there.
The last thing I have to mention is that I officially hate the Royal Mail's new postal price system of dividing mail into three different bands. Like for example my No1 worker has yet to grasp that the thickness of a package is now the most important dimension, which explains why she bound 50 FUN4 cards into one neat pile. Since that would have pushed the postal price into the highest band then I had to reopen this package to flatten the cards into three shorter piles, which allowed it to fit into the middle postal band.
Due to issues like this then dispatching mail now takes a lot longer than what it used to do in the attempt to avoid wasting postage. Also I am sure these days that dispatching an oddly shaped light weight package now costs more to send it down the road than it does to send it to Australia!
And my biggest gripe of all is that my once accurate postage calculation done of my order forms is now broken when my order forms lack the human level artificial intelligence required to figure out what dimensions are obtained when all these items are wedged together in a mailing bag.
I could just make use of the highest band and overcharge my customers to be sure that I received enough postage to cover the dispatch, but that is hardly accurate. The middle band is also not suitable for all dispatches, where in the end I set 500g as the point where the middle band switches to the high band. Heavy equals bulky and all that.
Unfortunately some of my items can be on the light weight and bulky side, where an LNB is a prime example, which means that middle rate can be paid where higher rate is required. The price difference between these two bands can soon add up.
I am seriously considering changing the switching point to 250g in the near future, but in the longer term I have a strong felling that I will have to create an entire list of items who by default do not like being flat. So as you can see trying to maintain some kind of accuracy is currently not possible.
Well in any case the main news of the day is that the entire market will be out of FUN4 cards, except for rare and extra expensive supply, for just over the next two weeks. These factories are already busy building more FUN4 cards, but this on-going event will still take time to complete. If you really want FUN4 cards then I would still say to order now, when it you leave it until the 15th then my smaller obtained volume would sell out very quickly. And if you are unable to wait two weeks then FUN2, FUN5, FUN6, FUN7 and ATMEGA are mostly now problem free. One week they will be fully problem free, but in two weeks you will have your FUN4 cards anyway. So order if you want, take a break (and do your Xmas shopping), and then be happy that everyone involved will work as hard as physically possible to ensure that you have your FUN4 cards long before Xmas.
In any case once those FUN2 and extra ATMEGA card orders get dispatched tomorrow then I very much would like time to contact my Asian sources. You never know when I may get lucky, but I still have those two FUN4 card orders due to arrive any time now. So more FUN4 orders soon to be dispatched, where day 7 has now ended.
25th of November, 2006
As you can see from my Card's page I have now put my new Funcard prices on-line. This will help to slow down sales when now my prices reflect the lower average market prices. In other words people now have some flexibility in shopping around, when there are similar prices out there. And in case you have not read all the previous news then price increases were required when it is currently not possible for me to buy low cost Funcards any more, when the whole of Europe no longer has pricing based on the former low cost Funcards. So as my own purchase costs have increased then this is a cost that I now have to pass on, when selling popular cards at a financial loss cannot be clever.
As I said before it is a better idea to stock higher priced Funcard than to wait endlessly for cheap priced Funcards that no longer exist. And as no mass market Funcard production has happened in two years then the whole of Europe only contains X amount of Funcards. Should a new production not be established in the near term, or the demand for these cards not cease, then it is quite possible that the whole market could run out of Funcards.
To more reflect on what happened to the UK Funcard market on the 21st and 22nd, when the UK got wiped out, then one fellow supplier told me yesterday how he recently had 700 Funcards in stock. And over the past couple of years they have done little more than to gather dust. Then all of a sudden people began to phone him up with an urgent need for Funcards. He in the end sold the whole 700 cards to one person and gave them a good price as well, where he obviously now understands how popular his current sales would be and that the market sale price is now a lot higher.
As to my current expected stock then the first of these packages did not arrive here today as hoped. No doubt these first cards will be here Monday instead, when inter-EC delivery can take 2 or 3 days. As this supplier confirmed posting these on Thursday, then that third day would be Monday. And as I have that large UPS delivery due Monday as well, then it is quite possible that all these pending cards will start to turn up at the same time.
Worst case situation should be arrival on Tuesday when the Royal Mail can be a bit slow meeting the weekend demand.
Once these cards arrive then I will have to see how many of my customers want them, by either paying the additional required sum, lowering their quantity to avoid paying more, or to receive a refund. Obviously those penultimate two options would help to lower the extreme demand for these cards, where due to pending stock not coming far off in completing current orders anyway, then it could be quite possible that all outstanding orders will soon be completed with cards to spare.
I will soon see about that one, but what I have seen so far then only one customer wanted to cancel. Even then he did not really want the cards and decided to "donate" them to other customers who did.
Currently I am obtaining a second source for FUN2 cards. My German supplier has been the only one to not yet confirm stock availability. So I am now negotiating supply with a local trader, where any time now he should be confirming a sale, where these cards should be here Tuesday. So whatever way FUN2 card supply is officially now not a problem.
This also reminds me that contained in this UPS package from this ex-wholesaler will be some ATMega cards. And at the same time that I uploaded my new Funcard prices I added these back on-line. To my surprise during just the time I left to have my evening meal and to come back I had already sold my first order for these cards. I am sure to soon sell even more, but if demand is as high as the Funcards I will soon have to look into obtaining even more cards.
The other interesting thing about this first ATMega card order is that this customer is my second recent customer to pay by an eCheque through PayPal. I do not even know what this payment method is beyond that this payment when first added to my account is marked as "uncleared". As it is "uncleared" my PayPal account has not yet been credited with this funding, where it will take about another 11 days before this payment reads "cleared" instead.
The obvious problem in quickly dispatching this order is that I cannot dispatch this order until funds have cleared, just in case they do not clear. After all I do not yet have the payment for these cards. Even PayPal points out to not dispatch goods until funding has cleared, but that is still about 10 or 11 days away.
So that first ATMega card orders now has to be placed to one side until funding has cleared. This makes me wonder why customers desire to use this strange payment option. PayPal is more well known to accept debit/credit card payments, where that is at least immediately credited to my account. Not overlooking that PayPal is a bitch if said funding involves chargebacks or fraudulent payments, when they will rip that funding right back out of your account, long after this customer has received the goods.
Well since I have well been through how much PayPal sucks in past years then I will skip that now. PayPal is a good service for buyers when they punish suppliers for all customer faults.
Some other good news is that I am soon to get in a lot more CAMs. This same ex-wholesaler of these Funcards seems to be intent on selling up, where they have offered me a very nice price on their remaining stock. So it now seems highly likely that beyond getting in more Viaccess and Matrix Reborn CAMs, then I will soon stock 5 or 6 new CAM types. That is sure to take up a lot of time to put them all on-line, what with my high level of information, but just by offering a fair price for them I can make quite a nice profit.
They also have the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions CAMs available. I am undecided if I should obtain these, when older models do not seem to sell that well. However, if I provided market beating prices, then it is quite possible to sell off these CAMs, when they at least work well with what they do. The other problem is that they have lots of these two types available, which in the short term would increase my expense, when I obviously also desire to keep funding available for buying up all fair priced Funcard stock.
This is not a question of lack of funding but one of having funding in the right place to quickly spend it, when other suppliers usually only provide one of two payment options.
I will have to do some number crunching, but I suspect that I will soon buy them out. Their offered prices are much lower than what my CAM wholesaler provides, no doubt even lower than the manufacturer prices, where worst case situation is that I can just flog them any unpopular type on FleaBay.
Looks like I am also soon to get in some adult subscription cards as well, when they also have an unbeatable price on those, but that does mean the first step up into subscription cards for my company. Also my No2 worker does not like the idea of me stocking adult subscription cards when I have mentioned the idea before. Dealing with pornography, and those dirty men/women dropping around my place asking all about what is available.
The other problem with these adult cards is that I am a supplier who likes to mention all you would need to know about a product, where if I am fully open about what you would see, then I have just wrote what some people would term "filth". As I can already see that I would be unhappy offering goods without mentioning what you really want to know, then my likely choice would be to provide a warning and a more discrete description.
No doubt I would also have to put this page in a password protected area on my site so that this page cannot be accessed directly from a search engine and without seeing the prior "adults only" warning. In any case I will soon sort something out and try to maintain a balance in keeping people happy.
I will also soon have to do that big change and to update my Card's page to the new CSS stylesheet format. I have left this page to be one of the last to be converted, when it does mean breaking down this large page into a series of smaller pages. Not to forget a large change in the data format. Some sections would also require a rewrite.
The new format would work to show you further options to select the card type you want to see, which saves scrolling through my current large listing. I will remove the PCB cards when they are no longer popular enough to support, where I will no doubt sell off the bits at stock disposal prices. The wafer cards I can divide into first, second and third generation sections, with maybe a further page split into the different types. I will also eventually add two new sections to cover subscription cards and adult subscription cards, when my company support for such cards can be seen to be long overdue.
Once the Card's page has been done then that only leaves the Cables and Programmers pages. It is interesting to note that page updates to this CSS stylesheet also involves stock updates. So once I get around to the Programmers page then I will start to stock many new types.
This is mostly a process in restructuring my business and expending into new popular areas, which could not be well done in past couple of years due to the decline involved when the Inland Revenue sucked out my money and refused to give it back. Even though they now have about £4500 on my account, as the second half of this tax refund, which I will only reclaim when I feel that the time is right. After all receiving too much money back in one go would only make me pay out further tax on it, where they have already refunded me a previous sum of £4381.79 this year.
No doubt this funding will be useful when I soon begin to sue you know who. As that is very close to happening then I won't say more at this time.
Also I think that very soon I will put up my site's Christmas decorations. I have not done that in past years due to simply not being in the mood. However, since I doubt that this year can have gone better, and has already seen substantial regrowth, then I cannot be any happier.
As to the immediate future, then once my stock changes are nearing completion, then I will see about resuming my company's commercial advertising. That should increase sales between two to five times, where at least this time around having my accounts in working order will allow me to monitor advertising expense and return.
Moving on into recent past events then as you may have seen I now stock 0.2dB LNBs. A popular model as well at this time. This came about when I sold all my 0.6dB Quadra model and decided to get in the best modern version. That I soon did, but since I soon realised the popularity of these low cost 0.2dB LNBs, then so did I soon stock the Single, Twin and Quad models as well.
People using LNBs with higher noise figures should consider upgrading. Not only will your reception improve, but it is always recommended that you replace your LNB every two years away. The reason for that is because the performance of an LNB naturally declines over time, where I am sure that you don't want your 0.3dB LNB working like a 0.7dB LNB.
The other thing I am doing at this time is that I am in the process of doing a major upgrade to my own satellite reception system. The core of this upgrade will be the addition of a 17/8 Multiswitch. The 17 number means 17 coaxial inputs, which in this case means the 16 inputs from 4 Quadra LNBs, and then the final 17th input from a terrestrial aerial.
As to the 8 number then that means 8 outputs, which means a socket in most rooms. Three will be to the living room where my three receivers and big TV are located. Two will be in my bedroom/work area, one in each of the other two bedrooms, then one cable down the back wall to feed the kitchen.
How this system works is that the multiswitch will receive all four possible frequency ranges from four satellite locations at once. In this case Astra 28.2e, Astra 19.2e, Hot Bird 13e, and one other. Each of the eight outputs can request the right satellite by using standard DiSEqC LNB switching commands. In other words all eight outputs will be able to receive thousands of stations fully independent from the other outputs.
What is more is that later in this upgrade I will have installed a new TV aerial for Digital Terrestrial reception. At my location in Maidstone reception is very weak. I am in hole on their reception map. However, there is a spot on the back wall where weak reception can be clearly obtained. The only problem is that no receiver can use it when the signal is below the usable threshold, which means boosting it first using a masthead amplifier.
This method does not come recommended for Digital Terrestrial. However, without amplification I have no signal even at the best reception spot on my house. The received signal while too weak is still clean though, which is why once the signal level is boosted a fairly nice reception can be had.
In the best of times this is too much trouble to even consider. And since my own Digital Terrestrial receiver is located on the front of the house, then this explains why my old OnDigital prepaid card I kept unused, when reception was just too bad to consider watchable.
However, if I get in an installer who knows what he is doing, when Terrestrial is a bit outside my area, then having a new main aerial and masthead amplifier installed somewhere around the back, should then give me at minimum 4 multiplexes. If this installer can do a good job though, where I will certainly pay him extra to do a good job, then I may be able to squeeze 6 or more multiplexes out of it.
The reason why getting Digital Terrestrial sorted out now is useful, when after my past testing and upgrades I simply gave up on it, is that getting some usable reception wired into this multiswitch would allow for FreeView reception on all 8 outputs. Now while I have seen that Digital Terrestrial is unappealing next to Digital Satellite, but if I can get good Terrestrial reception in every room in my house, then it seems worthwhile doing so.
The other interesting thing about this multiswitch is that it contains a Diplexer function. And if you read my Diplexers page then you can see how both terrestrial and satellite signals can be combined and sent down the one coaxial cable. And on several of these outputs I will use a wall socket that contains a diplexer. So the one cable goes in and you have three connections to cover Satellite, Terrestrial TV, and then Terrestrial radio, should you also desire receive radio through this aerial.
So in all this system will be awesome for both business and private use. Every room in my house will be able to receive many thousands of stations in one long list. Sure makes testing items and investigating problems a whole lot easier.
The price of this system is not too bad either. When I looked into these multiswitches in past years they were new and carried a high price. These days through my Chess 17/8 Multiswitch cost about £115, which sure a'int bad for what it offers.
I will make use of my own 0.2dB Quadra LNBs for this job. One of the more expensive parts through is buying all the coaxial cable, when due to a nearby mobile phone mast I need to use the FT125 cable type. And since I will certainly need more than 100 meters for these 25 cable runs, then two 100 meter reels of FT125 is going to be rather costly. It would have been nice to use the much cheaper CT100 compatible cable, but that does mean no reception on the one frequency band. More correctly that one downlink frequency band multipled on all 16 LNB outputs. And if I am going to wire up my house then obviously it is worthwhile getting in the right cable to do a good job of it.
Any spare cable I can use for high quality fly-leads. I may even sell some, but these are no doubt too much work to wire up for such a lower sale price.
Currently my system is at the first stage of this upgrade. I swapped the single LNB on my Mini-Dish for the correct Quad output model. My reception improved which was nice. Anyway, at the current time I have run a temporary cable from a second output on this LNB into my bedroom/work area. And what this cable now connects to is my Satellite TV PCI card in this very computer, which means Astra 28.2e FTA reception is now go. Most interesting is that I can now watch BBC HD. This is the BBC's FTA HDTV station that is broadcasting in 1080i mode. Lucky for me that I can push my graphics card and monitor up into 1920 x 1440 mode, where the maximum of 64Hz is not too bad. This 1080i mode is correctly a widescreen format of 1920 x 1080, but since my monitor is a 4:3 model then I have to go even higher into 1920 x 1440 mode to display this station with the correct aspect ratio and no quality loss.
The so-called HDTV TVs pale by comparison. They are lucky even if they can reach the 720p mode, when the cheaper models even fail to do that. I have yet to even see a single HDTV TV that can display 1920 x 1080 at its intended format without lowering the video format with obvious quality loss.
So my humble PC kicks butt when it comes to HDTV. My only current problem is that the European HDTV format makes use of MPeg4, which is very CPU demanding. So even my current P4 at 3 Ghz can only knock out about 19 fps, resulting in video and audio problems, where only a better CPU or codec will sort this problem out. In the end I decided to upgrade my graphics card to Leadtek WinFast A7600 GT TDH model, when this graphics card comes with a 1080i rated decoder. Nice, but currently useless, when no codec yet exists to make use of the HDTV h.264 hardware acceleration of this graphics card or any other. There has been good ground made in improving software decoding, with the likes of CoreAVC, but since this HDTV h.264 specification is very new to Europe, when the likes of HD DVD and BluRay are not here yet, then it is simply a question of waiting for someone to write a decent codec. As requiring a P4 CPU of 3.2Ghz and beyond is only a pile of badly written codecs in the first place.
Since HDTV is still very new then this explains why I decided to get a Twinhan Sat-CI 1034 model. The obvious problem here, that any HDTV fan would know, is that this is a DVB-S card, while h.264 is a specification that belongs in DVB-S2. That means a DVB-S2 card is ideal for future HDTV reception, but I decided to wait one year before going the DVB-S2 route, when once again early hardware is not ideal. So this one year is HDTV maturity time, where of course this card is still very useful for the hundreds and thousands of normal satellite stations.
In case you are wondering then BBC HD are currently doing h.264 in DVB-S when making use of DVB-S2 would require them paying for a whole new transponder. Thanks to Sky's dodgy hardware then DVB-S and DVB-S2 cannot share the same transponder, which is possible in the specification.
Anyway, next up on this upgrade path is to have an electrical socket installed in my loft, when this is required to power this multiswitch. That can tap into the lighting circuit, but once again requires an installer who better knows what he is doing. Not to mention that such a home modification could well be illegal, where due to the dangers involved the law wants a qualified electrician to do it.
Once I install the multiswitch I can then lay all the internal cables and sockets. Then following that it is time for the big dish upgrade, when four Quada LNBs and 16 cables are installed at once. One thing interesting here is that I am going to put one of these Quadra LNBs on my Mini-Dish in order to be able to move my big dish more Westwards.
The problem here is that no one has ever made a Quadra LNB for the Mini-Dish. The Mini-Dish due to its unusual shape requires a special feedhorn that only come on official Sky made LNBs. No Quadra LNB when no one has ever been insane enough to do what I am about to do. While it is true to say that with my new 40mm adapter I could stick a normal LNB on it, but even going from 0.6dB down to 0.2dB I would be lucky to get an equal of better signal.
The ideal solution is a Quada LNB with an elliptical feedhorn. They do not exist so there is no better time then to make my own. And so since the Sky Quad LNB comes with both a 40mm collar and the right feedhorn, then I will soon very carefully cut off both feedhorns and then somehow tape the elliptical feedhorn on to the Quadra LNB. A black feedhorn on a white LNB may look a bit strange, but the point is of course to use a Quadra LNB and to get great reception. I will just have to be careful to get perfect straight cuts and then I will have to figure out the best item to join them back together. The obvious problem is that this join cannot be too wide when this feedhorn needs to fit in the LNB connector on the dish. I suspect that PCV tape may do. Not exactly weather-proof, but then the LNB bracket will also protect the joint.
Well as I have already written an entire book today then I may as well go do something more useful.
24th of November, 2006
The current Funcard market is proving rather interesting. The situation before this latest high demand was that due to simple lack of demand no new mass-market Funcard production has happened in about two years. And due to this lack of demand many suppliers and wholesalers packed up and moved on to other things.
So when this sudden demand surge happened what few (thousand) Funcards that remained in the UK completely sold out in a matter of hours. Further more following UK demand, I can now confirm, has purchased up every worthwhile Funcard price in Europe as well. Like I already have cards due from Italy, Belgium and Germany.
And so at first sight things do not look good, when what cards do exist are mostly now all gone. And due to the old demand exceeding supply concept then card prices have increased by a sizable amount.
However, you have to keep in mind that the market was simply not prepared for this demand, when given time it is highly likely that the rusty cogs of Funcard production will start up and meet this new market demand.
During the past day I have been chasing down my trade contacts, which now seems to be paying off. The most interesting of these is that during the better days of Funcard supply and demand I used to use a different wholesaler. And sure enough many thousands of Funcards I purchased and sold from this wholesaler, when I only switched to my newer wholesaler when demand began to decline and prices fell.
Now as this wholesaler has not advertised to me in simply ages, then at first sight it looks very much like they have moved on to better things as well. However, after questioning them about Funcard supply, then sure enough they have enough Funcards in stock that would allow me to complete orders up to about yesterday lunchtime.
So obtaining their immediate stock is now a priority, where around now their entire Funcard stock will be on their way to me using UPS, which should be here Monday. This old wholesaler could well be a good point to obtain further Funcards, when they deal with large volumes from the manufactuer, and then break these down into quantities required by each supplier. And so once I have all their Funcards here then I will enquire about otaining more. And getting a few of us suppliers together to hassle them for new cards is one way how brand new Funcard production can hit the market.
My other main lead is that during my search around for cards I spotted two uncommon designs, where at least one of these two is certainly a new production. So if I hassle a supplier who has a lot of these cards available, then I may be able to negotiate a good price. Even both these sources together won't quite keep up with current demand in the near term, but in this case "widening" a recent production can prove a faster method of getting cards than having to start up a brand new production.
So even though available sources tend to quickly dry up, under this continous high demand, but there are currently good signs that the market will soon start to adjust to meet the demand. After all there is profit to be found here.
I am however sorry to say that in the near term both trade and retail prices are on the way up. In a market where demand exceeds supply that is simply unavoidable, where any of my own price increases will have to be passed on to my customers. My old Funcards prices are simply that when they were prices set by a wholesaler who wanted to dispose of stock. Those cards are gone and so are those prices. I am currently looking at price increases of about 25%, but of course this will vary depending on what price I buy these cards for.
Sure you can complain that you won't get those old prices, but one thing that is true to say is that my prices will always be some of the market best. Well that market price has gone up, which you can see by looking around. And since I am not in the business of selling cards for less than what I purchased them for, then so will my new prices, once officially set, match the best of the new pricing market.
If you don't like that then you are certainly welcome to a refund. I would prefer that option myself when then I can start my Xmas shopping, which has been delayed due to my hard work in buying up all Funcard stock from any and all suppliers that offer a reasonable price.
In any case the first of the European imported card should be here tomorrow, where this will allow me to begin to complete the remaining orders from the 21st. Two other orders should soon follow, which will complete orders into the 22nd. My further work at this time should improve supply into the 23rd, where further work should keep me up with newer orders.
So as long as I keep locating new card sources then there is no real problem with keeping up with market demand, but of course this is a careful balancing act when other suppliers also want these now rare cards.
Some other good news is that if my current FUN2 purchase plans work out then the current demand on this card type will soon be met with cards to spare. My new price is now just about known where single FUN2 prices will be £4.25, where the more important 10+ price should be £3.40. It is of course unhelpful to provide higher quantity discounts at this time, when I currently have no problems selling my entire stock multiple times over if desired. And that is even before your more average customers have started to buy cards for use with this new firmware. I will however provide my existing customers with a 20p discount on these mentioned prices, to make up for the fact that they cannot quite get the cards/prices they wanted, but new orders will soon be paying the new price.
And those prices are of course just about the best market prices at this time and reflective of the fact that my own purchase price increased by the same sum.
Well in any case it is good that I am very soon to start to get in Funcard stock that will allow me to keep up with this current high demand. The wholesaler selling 4500 cards in mere hours and Europe being bought out days later should highlight that a lot of people currently want Funcards. And from some of my customer response they seem quite impatient as well, which is why the early completion higher price option is the best choice.
In any case life goes on. As I said before things are not quite as bad as some suppliers have feared, what with all reasonable priced UK suppliers and the wholesaler being obliterated in hours following this firmware release. The wholesaler not wanting to get in more cards did upset a lot of suppliers, and sent them into doom and gloom mode, but as I mentioned early on Europe still had cards at reasonable prices, or more correctly did. There are still cards out there and more can be made should the demand continue to be able to sell them in the short term.
I have certainly sold many thousands of Funcards in past years. You want the cards and I am only happy to do that again. Prices may be higher at this time, but once new cards reach the market then things should soon improve. And in all I am most pleased today that very many FUN4 cards will be here Monday.
23rd of November, 2006
Since yesterday evening I also obtained a second source for these Funcards in Belgium then I was hoping to say today that I had enough Funcards to complete orders up to yesterday lunchtime. However, this morning I was contacted by my other Italian supplier who mentioned that he could only supply slightly less than 50% of the quantity that his web site indicated that he had. So that instead puts pending order completion back to yesterday morning.
To begin with then this is what this ex-Funcard UK wholesaler is putting out...
The problem is that I have to buy from Asia and they would have to make Funcards - which means
1) I have to buy a worthwhile quantity
2) I won't receive them for weeks
3) I don't know if this code that is currently making the cards popular will be killed off before the next 10 Minutes has passed - so I've decided to quit whilst I'm ahead on Funcards
So as you can see the one wholesaler who has been supplying the UK for the past few years, including much of Europe as well, has now called it a day on Funcard supply. No more cards pending from that source.
After looking around then things are not too bad. Europe also has Funcards, but the quantity that can be obtained depends on how much you are willing to pay. Currently I am sticking to suppliers who can offer efficent prices, but if a good source cannot be obtained soon, then moving up a level in card prices is the next best option.
At this exact time I am obtaining the aid of my European rivals in obtaining a good supply for these Funcards. As they are of course willing to help in order to take their own small trade volume percentage cut. So they can look around their respective countries and see who has these cards.
I am also going to pull out my old manufacturer list. Currently there are three types of Funcards on the market, where I am aware of two of those three manufacturers. As the current demand for these cards would make it worthwhile in going direct, and getting good prices in the process, but as this wholesaler points out above it is not yet worthwhile to pay for 5000 cards to be made from new.
After all if this one application loses popularity soon, as is more than likely, then it is no good selling 1000 cards in the near term with 4000 remaining in stock for the next few years. I learned that lesson the hard way with my Silver cards.
In all the market was not prepared for this sudden demand surge. Funcards have been on the way out for the past couple of years, where half of all suppliers have given up on them and moved on to other things. Those that remained kept only low stock levels to meet the equally low demand. They were quickly wiped out by obvious panic buying.
And panic buying it sure is. Most normal people buy 1 or 2 cards and stretch to 10 cards on rare occasions, where only traders buy in larger volumes. Those larger volumes are usually on the smaller side these days. Sure I have sold many thousands of Funcards in past years, but the market decline has been universal. And after a quick check then demand for these Funcards over just the past few days exceeds my normal sales for the entire previous year. People now buy 10 cards minimum, 20 cards are common, but supply desperation requires orders of 50, 100, 150 cards and beyond.
Now it is not to say that given time all these orders cannot be completed, when after all there is still a lot of Funcards on the market when you consider looking beyond the UK. Also at least one of the known manufacturers is already in the process of having new Funcards made. I will be sure to keep funding available for that supply.
So following the loss of the main UK wholesaler then the market is starting to adjust to this new demand. And so completing my customer's orders is simply a question of time and cost. Suppliers will naturally remain cautious about stocking too many cards that may not sell in the longer term, but equally they know the smell of profit.
The other factor that people will have to accept is that Funcard prices will now increase. This may or may not be due to supplier desire for profit, but both buy and sell prices will be going up. Low demand and over supply have forced down prices over the past few years, where high demand and low supply will now do the reverse. The price has been too low for the past year or so, where it should now recover to an acceptable level.
My current Funcard prices should be considered invalid. Those prices were based on supply from my usually wholesaler who has now sold out and with zero thoughts concerning restocking.
So I have now switched to European supply, which obviously brings a higher cost simply due to the international postage. My purchase price has also increased, which is an expense that has to be passed on. Due to my check of hundreds of suppliers the current price increase is not too bad, but my price for future purchases remains to be seen.
Cards are better than no cards, even if they cost more. I have no concerns when my customers will pay the reasonable difference when they cannot buy cheaper. The current situation can only lead to a higher price, where my acceptance of this fact explains why I should have new cards in stock by this weekend.
All pre-sold of course, but I am already looking into further supply. Suppliers in Germany and the UAE are my next possible points of supply, but I am keeping open all options. Trade prices, further supply from these new suppliers, and in a minute I will contact the manufacturers.
Well so far I have secured enough cards to complete orders received up to yesterday morning. That is one day better than most suppliers, but if my further work proves fruitful then the remainder of yesterdays and today's orders won't be far behind.
My best advice at this time would be not to order and wait until the market has sorted itself out. Still, since that point may be weeks away, then those wanting cards have to join a queue. My current prices, although invalid, will do until I can quote you a valid price. I obviously cannot quote a new public price at this time when that price changes on a per sources bases, where it can only be fixed once I can buy these cards in large volumes with stock to spare.
I have been wondering this morning what to do about my Funcard prices. I did first consider if I should cease sales, but under my company policy that only happens if supply is expected to exceed two weeks. As I fully expect to complete this week's orders during next week, then that point has not yet been reached.
I have also wondered if I should limit sales to 5 or 10 cards per customer, when this panic buying only helps to turn a bad situation into an even worse one. However, I do not see that there is yet problem in completing higher quantity orders, where higher quantity opens up new options concerning supply and efficient prices.
So my end conclusion is to just add a note concerning the current supply problem and that the displayed prices are liable to change. People with outstanding orders can then either pay the extra small sum, reduce the quantity, or to obtain a refund where another customer will then get their cards.
The current situation may be a little concerning, but unlike some suppliers assume it is not yet the end of the Funcard world.
22nd of November, 2006
To start this latest news section then I have to be honest and say that I have been wondering how long I could go for without finding some vital need to update this news page. The currency rates of course still get updated and like the Glowsticks that I added to the Other Items page only a couple of days ago then business life goes on.
However, over the past couple of days something has happened that at best I would term "unfortunate". And to be totally honest then it reminds me more of flying manure encountering rapidly rotating blades.
To begin this explanation then I did warn you several months ago that the Funcards were on the way out after my usual wholesaler discontinued his support for first the FUN7 cards followed by the FUN2 cards. The reason for this is simply "lack of demand" when all the new applications have appeared for the third generation cards with their built-in RSA support. So such lack of demand with any wholesaler soon means that the available stock once all sold is simply not renewed.
The current situation is that a new application has just been released for the FUN4 card. This I can say is proving rather popular, but your average supplier is simply not up to the demand. Funcards have only been selling slowly for the past couple of years and so what stock most suppliers keep is minor.
More interestingly is that one major wholesaler for these Funcards in the UK has just ceased his supply. He sold all the FUN4 cards yesterday and all the FUN5 and FUN6 cards today. And in his own words these are now the last of these cards, when due to weak demand over the past year or so then he won't be restocking.
So as you can now begin to understand high demand has just run head on into low supply. Most UK suppliers were quickly wiped out and wholesalers decided to use this opportunity to dispose of the Funcards for good.
During the past couple of days I have sold more Funcards than what I would normally sell over a couple of months. That would be due to other suppliers running out, causing limited supply, where I also ran out of FUN4 cards yesterday. As you may suspect restocking is also a bit of a problem at this time.
Currently in stock I have a few FUN2 and FUN6 cards left. I have one single FUN5 card. I also have loads of FUN7 cards in stock, which can run FUN4 card applications fine, but of course everyone currently wants FUN4 cards.
Time for Plan B. As if you cannot buy FUN4 cards within the UK these days, then to resolve this problem requires buying FUN4 cards from outside the UK. This explains why I have just purchased my first batch of FUN4 cards from a source in Italy, where I obtained their entire stock. These I hope will be with me by this weekend, but early next week is also possible.
As that is only one days worth of cards, based on my latest sales, then I am already looking into other sources. There will have to be a small price increase to cover my higher purchase price and international shipping, but I will contact my customers about this when I have exact figures available. Better a higher price than no cards in my view, but this is of course a take it or leave it situation, where another customer would if you don't.
So as you can see I am already well on the case in resolving this supply problem. It may take a bit longer and cost a bit more than expected, but FUN4 cards are not dead yet. In weeks or months that may change, but I at least will still stock Funcards for as long as they exist. Some advanced warning as to sudden surges in sales would be nice, not to forget not having my usual wholsaler discontinue these damned cards at this same point, but then if I had wanted an easy life then I would not have become a satellite reception equipment supplier.
Anyway, I had better continue my work of buying up Europe before other UK suppliers catch on to this possibility as well. I will add more news concerning this matter when available.