18th of September 2002
If you take a look at the menu on the left, then you just won't see that this menu is vastly different to what was there only a couple of days ago.
What has changed is not how it appears, but how the menu interacts with the rest of the site. When beforehand every page on this site had its own copy of the menu, with of course the selected button marked in red.
The problem with this old system is that when ever I added a new page and menu button, then I had to manually add this button to every other page on this site. Where as of today that number currently stands at 51 pages where this menu appears.
This means that when I add a new item page now, then I only have to make the one change to the include file to have it appear on every page with the menu.
In order to allow space to insert new menu buttons between existing ones, then each page is an index of 10. What I mean is that the Welcome page is number 10, this News page is number 20, the In The News page is number 30, and so on. This means that if I wished to now insert a new page between the Welcome and News pages, then I can simply do so by having this new button as page number 15 (along with the extra code in the include file).
The limitations to this new system is that I can only have one button marked in red at any one time (no problem), but I can still cause other buttons to appear when a certain button is selected. For example I could well later on divide my Cards page up into sections, such as with the PIC16F84 + 24x16 cards range, where clicking on the Cards page would then cause a whole new range of buttons to appear between the Cards page and the first Cables page.
The next thing I wish to do is to somehow stop my postal address being translated by these three translation services, which is easier said than do.
Now the most obvious way is to display my address as a image instead, when naturally it is impossible for these services to translate text on a picture. However, since doing this could well no longer match the ideal column width, then another way will have to be found.
I may still allow the "United Kingdom" line to be translated, when it is ideal to have them know my country name in their own language.
During all this I have been reading a few of my own web pages and fixing a few text flaws, such as with my Logger/Emulator page. And I will see what else I can do in the process.
I also have yet to dig out my couple of new web pages, which I created just before they were all seized back in November. Naturally the LNB's page I had to create a second time, which is something I will be billing FACT for, not to mention the lost sales of these very LNBs.
The largest change was to my Special Offers page, which FACT will be thankful that this seizure caused no losses here. And so as that page was divided into like four new pages, including my Global Domination Plan "Battle Maps", then I will have to see about merging them into this site.
Still I will have to see how long my site improvement phaze lasts, which may not be that long. After all I only changed the menu yesterday after I thought about this problem a lot and finally figured out how to do it, where now you can see (or not see) the result.
I have considered moving back to "frames" at one point, but as this menu change shows that large change is far from vital.
Well enjoy my new menu system, if such a thing is possible, where I will now go and see about more visible aspects.
Since I decided to take a look at my old (yet new) site pages created back last October to November just before my business was raided (by those idiots), then so have I now decided to put two of these new pages on-line.
Those two new pages you can access from my Special Offers page, where down the very bottom of this page are links to conquest page and the plans page.
On the Special Offers page you can see why last year I decided to do this change, when the old Special Offers page was getting very large and was needing to be broken up into several new pages.
First change was to improve the formatting, when unlike with other site pages this one was mostly all text. And so the standard blue bands were added to divide the page into sections, then the status of each special offer was added following the name, then of course the biggest change is that most of the text for the Global Domination Plan was moved on to the conquest page.
Naturally my old (yet new) and new (yet old) Special Offer pages had to be merged together to achieve this new (new) page. This merging just involved making sure that all claims since November were added to the new conquest page. Even if I know of one claim that I have yet to include.
The new conquest page was of course copied across from the obsolete version of my site, which meant linking in the very new menu functions and the much older language translation options. As you can see the flag for each country is next to the name for this country, which makes this large text section more graphical, where naturally I needed to add flags for the new claims since November.
However, it is the new plans page in this Global Domination Plan section that you won't have seen before, when I decided to add this page to show a much more visible account of my conquests and to link this more into the real world. Since that was a work in progress, then the European Union section shows how the end result should be, where say later on I will add things like the United Nations as well.
One section I decided not to include yet is the maps, when that was a section that I had just started on before this raid. And so there is still a lot of work to be done, before I am fully happy with the results. So this new plans page is certainly an interesting one (updated with my new site features), but there is still a lot of work to be done on it.
Well I decided to put that one on-line early to show you an example of what FACT denied you from seeing for 7 months (or 10 months when it would have been on-line in November had I the chance), which is one aspect that annoyed me for all of those 7 months.
Anyway, since last year I decided to do something about my oversized Special Offers page, then now at least you can see the results from this. And I for one believe that my Special Offers page now looks a lot better, where once my plans page is finished, then it should be totally excellent.
I am just about to go off and see what other changes I did last October to November that this raid stopped me from uploading, where I am sure that seeing how much my business has changed in the last year will also be very interesting. You on the other hand I recommend taking a look at the three Special Offers page now under this section, where I am sure that you will like them.
Well when my accounts are up-to-date, then I will be able to correctly see if I have missed out any country claims. That of course will be the point of when I take legal action against FACT to recover these damages that they caused, where that will certainly make them think twice about ever doing that again.
(Friday the) 13th of September 2002
No doubt quite a few people will have noticed that my www.cardman.com site went down on the 4th, where this only reappeared back on-line just this morning,
Fortunately my www.cardman.co.uk has been working perfectly during all this time, but I have been thinking that as hosting services are not as reliable as they should be, then maybe I should have a third domain name and site (somewhere in Asia no doubt).
Now since the story of this www.cardman.com site is a long and complex one, when I have swapped between hosting services between these two dates, then I may as well start from the beginning.
When I first saw that my site had gone down as saw that this was due to DNS look-up failure, then as this problem is not uncommon in the short term, then so was it only two days later that I decided that this unnatural event had to be dealt with. And so did I ask my hosting provider (CWI Hosting) what was going on, which was the point that I got a huge surprise.
As apparently on the 4th they had deleted my site and all my details as a customer, where the reason for this was due to non-payment of service.
After looking into this, then it seems that they were correct, when my previous 12-month subscription ended on the 4th of May. Now while it was certainly valid for them to terminate the service, when I had not paid for it, but what annoyed me most was that this is all news to me.
It is a fact that the only reason that I never paid for another 12-months of hosting, was that in the following four months they had never once mentioned that another payment was due let alone to bill me. Since they have lots of my contact details, then I was simply shocked that they never once mentioned that another payment was due.
And so in the end it is a fact that I woke up one morning to find out that they have deleted my site, with no previous warning of this event.
In all of this mess that fact is what I found unacceptable, when if at any time during the following 4 months they had once mentioned this next payment, then so would I have immediately paid up.
So my first reply to them was asking why they had never once informed me of this, where I also told them to send me a bill to pay. No bill came and they mentioned that I had to resubscribe, but before doing that I wished this matter sorted out.
It was here that they also said that my cardman.com site was suspended for the whole of August (5th of August to 4th of September), which is how they handle these cases according to their own policy, when the final suspension is to make the customer aware of this issue.
Now, my visitors to this site within the previous month will for themselves know that their claim that my site was suspended was false, where I pointed out that according to their own policy the site should be suspended before it is deleted.
Frequent readers of this news page will know that this site was suspended on the 5th of last month, where Jason Taylor who is their Chief Technologies Offer said as I quote "As you already know your website, www.cardman.com, was suspended this afternoon. It has been suspended for consistent heavy resource usage".
And as reported on this very news page the reason for this suspension turned out to be a "spike", which is why once I mentioned that I am not responsible for spikes, then so he switched my site back on just three days later on the 8th. So as my site visitors know and what I have proved to them, then counter to what they say my site was actually working fine between the 8th of August and the 4th of September.
Now at that time I thought that this "spike" was highly suspect, where I can also assure you that no account problem was mentioned at any time, where due to the date I think we can now see what this suspension was really about. Their CTO did not know what he was doing, or he was given the wrong information, where either way it was clear that they had broke their own policy in handling these issues.
So all it would have took for me to resubscribe to their service (and to pay for these four months) was for them to recognize that their service has been doing very badly and has made mistakes. As the last thing I would wish to see is a repeat of this next year, not to mention that if this can happen to me, then so can it happen to their other customers.
Unfortunately, as they simply refuse to see that mistakes by them have occurred, not to mention that my site was actually not suspended for this reason during August (as is their policy), then that is why yesterday I moved my cardman.com site to another hosting service.
Now after failing to get their service department to see these mistakes, not to mention to send me a bill to pay, then so was I put back in contact with their CTO, where I certainly hoped that this issue would be resolved.
He did confirm that the suspension on 5th to 8th was due to a "spike" (I think he was lying to cover a mistake), but he did oddly say that the system had suspended my service on the 11th of August, thereby making the site deletion valid.
Naturally we know differently, when this new suspension on the 11th simply did not exist (another lie no doubt), when my site was working fine up to the 4th of September, which was when they deleted it.
At this point as he was claiming one thing and myself another, then so did I prove to him that his suspension claim was false. And I did that with the following e-mail header, which was the very last e-mail downloaded from this site before it was gone.
From the mentioned date (4th of September), this proved the following points..
1. That my cardman.com site was collecting e-mail up to this point.
2. This site up to this time was allowing my local server to log-in to collect the e-mail.
3. The Spam Assassin software was active on this site at the time.
None of this is physically possible had my site been suspended during this time, which proved that my site went straight to active to deleted with no suspension in between.
Indeed the subject line of this final e-mail proved it all, when web site monitoring software saw them deleting my active site, where it managed to report this fact shortly before being deleted as well.
What was his final response to my proof that his company messed up you may ask, then let me show you..
As stated in my previous email, there is nothing which I or CWI can do. The bottom line is this, your account was two months past due and you were a liability. We took the necessary actions of suspending your account. When payment was still not received your account was removed from our servers and removed from our customer list. Basically you are no longer a CWI Hosting.com customer. Continuing to email me or any one at CWI will not accomplish anything as you are not a customer and your account is gone. This issue is considered closed, therefore I would suggest you simply accept this fact and find you another hosting provider.
From the above details we all know (including Jason "the lier" Taylor) that a lot of this information is invalid.
First of all they had actually provided 4 months of free hosting, which was May to June, June to July, July to August and then August to September. I have asked them more than once to bill me for this time, but as they have not done so, then I guess these were four months of free hosting.
Their CTO naturally refuses to acknowledge that four months were provided for free, where that would show how incompetent they are. However, as my previous 12-month payment only covered up to about the 4th of May (you can even see on my Older News pages when this cardman.com site opened), then you can calculate this yourself, when my site was deleted on the 4th of September.
Myself had I been in control, then I would have sent the bill out in April, suspended the site in May, then deleted it in June. That would have provided zero free hosting, but as they are so incompetent, then that is why they allowed four whole months of free hosting to occur.
Next we all know by now that they did not take the necessary action to suspend my account, when I had already proved (to him and now you) that my site was still working even on the day they deleted it on the 4th of September. Clear proof that he is a lier, when he well knows that my site was not suspended before deletion, but he still lies to try and cover his mistakes.
And so they broke their own policy in handling these matters, which they now refuse to admit and lie to cover it up. That in the end is the reason why I moved to another hosting provider, when they are a bunch of liers who will delete sites with no prior warning.
To remind you, then the issue here is not that they deleted my site, when I should really thank them for 4 months of free service, but the fact that at no point did they tell me that another 12-month payment was due and that my site was deleted with no prior warning. This shows that they did not follow their own set policy, which is why their customers can wake up one morning and be surprised by the deletion of their valuable site.
Anyway, now that I have finished with them, then so did I soon move to another hosting provider. This new hosting provider that I am using is escape.com, where I sure hope that they do a much better job with customer support. A search of dozens of hosting services showed that they were the technically best hosting service, where their technical features even exceed CWI Hosting, even if this does cost me $1 more a month.
I arranged this hosting late yesterday, where I updated the DNS settings for this domain name at the same time.
Very early this morning, since my new web space was now available, then so did I spend about an hour uploading the cardman.com site. It certainly took a long time, when I had to figure out what files to upload and what ones not to.
Since that task is now complete, then please let me know if you spot anything missing. The final two changes were that I forgot to upload the photo for the GMPC+ programmer, then I upload the cardman.co.uk header instead of the cardman.com one, which meant that I had to log in again to make this site show the correct name.
At the end of all this I was surprised to see that entering the www.cardman.com name was now forwarded to this site, which showed that updating the DNS setting went much faster than the mentioned 72 hours. And so it is even possible that one or two of you could have seen me upload my new site, where I was thinking that the site would be uploaded before the DNS settings were officially changed over.
In general this month is one of those bad months, when simply nothing can go right. Now as today is Friday the 13th, then some of you must think that it would be today when disaster strikes, but as getting my cardman.com site back on-line shows that it has been a good day.
Friday the 13th has always been a good day for me, when the day I worry about is Saturday the 14th, where no doubt there won't be good news tomorrow.
Another good aspect of today is that blueyonder my cable modem provider have for the first time in the past three months billed me for the correct total, when in the past two previous months they have been trying to charge me £69.98 for an advertised £39.99 monthly service. And since I was in a good mood, then so was that valid bill paid on the same day that I received it.
Apart from the bad news example of my cardman.com site going up in flames, then the other bad news this month is as follows.
Just yesterday I received a package from one U.S based friend/supplier containing my long awaited EBay auction win. Unfortunately I was expecting to receive two Prop "Oil" Bottles as used in the TV series Charmed, but instead this supplier by mistake sent me Salt and Pepper Charmed Prop Bottles instead. Not too bad I guess, but as the oil bottles look a lot better, then the postal cost could get expense if the worst happens and they need to be swapped over.
The VAT people also have not done too well with their latest estimate, when they wanted me to pay the second highest total ever. And so on the day that was received I sent them a nice long letter explaining that estimating a super high value in the middle of a recession was silly, when my reverse calculation showed that I did now owe them a large amount of money, when in fact they owed me a quite a lot smaller amount.
Now not paying out VAT in a quarter is unusual, but what did this was my first purchase of these Magic Module CAMs, when I almost wiped out my bank accounts in this very large value purchase. This resulted in one large VAT amount to be reclaimed, when expenses did exceed sales in this quarter.
Apparently that letter was ignored, when not long after I received the pay up or else reminder. Naturally one reason to not pay up is if you believe the bill to be invalid, which I certainly could prove. And so I decided to send another copy off to the very person they now recommended to contact.
Another problem was that I had created this detailed letter on my Windows XP desktop, where I only did one print of it that I had already sent to a more local office. The problem here is that between that creation and now the C partition of my hard drive had become corrupt, where as this could not be saved, then so did I have to reformat this partition with a new install of Win XP.
And with no other copy anywhere, then so did I have to write another long letter. This second one went back over why their bill estimate was invalid, where if they wished the full details, then so would they have to find out the letter that I already sent to them.
Another problem is that another department of VAT people suddenly wished to do an accounts inspection, where naturally they need the accounts to be up-to-date. I am sure my previous mention of this legal issue that got my accounts screwed for seven months highlights how so not up-to-date my accounts are, which is why the other department of VAT people have been estimating my totals for the past three quarters.
Now she wished to phone back at the end of this month, which I agreed to just to get rid of her, but the truth is that if they wish to see my up-to-date accounts, then some time early next year is a much better time to arrange a VAT accounts inspection. Even if I got some one in specially to work on getting these accounts up-to-date, which I could well have to do, then so would that take at least two months of solid work.
I am not sure if they would be happy with that delay, but then this is all FACT's fault, where they seized and did not share my accounts. Still what did surprise me was how they could possibly think of a VAT inspection, when their other VAT department well knew how screwed my accounts were.
Concerning this latest invalid VAT estimate, then I did say that I was happy to still pay them something, even if in the end they will have to pay me a refund. However, asking me to pay the second highest total ever, in the middle of a recession, is just not right.
I have still to hear a reply to that one, but knowing this is a bad month, then I am not expecting good news.
One other thing I did today since I have to reestablish the blocking of spam e-mail to my cardman.com site, when I got about 10 spam e-mail in a couple of hours with it off, was to give my whole system an overhaul. I even deleted my account at bigfoot and set up a new one.
What I do with these bigfoot accounts and their mail forwarding service is to supply this address anywhere that I believe that I could be spammed. Over time when this uncontrollable spam gets too much, then I simply delete the bigfoot account (thereby blocking all spam mail reception) and set up a new one to start again.
The biggest spam reason that made me delete my old bigfoot account, was when I obtained an Age Verification Password, which is naturally used to keep minors out of adult only sites. As this was a possible spam provider, then so did I supply my e-mail address at bigfoot, where sure enough they began to spam me. And not just minor spam either, when they alone was sending about 5 spam e-mail a day.
Now the other largest cause is due to the previous owner of my cardman.com domain name, where his unique e-mail accounts were receiving like 20 spam e-mail a day.
I have set up e-mail blocking once again on those, where any e-mail sent to those addresses are simply deleted. Since I am not fully happy with that, then maybe I should set up an auto responder, where anyone sending e-mail to these address (it is all spam) will be sent a "Go Away and Die" message with a free and very large file attachment.
Maybe then they will get the message, when very few spam have an opt out option. And why should I even bother with those that do, when if they send me unwanted e-mail, then I will only be happy enough to send them some back.
My cardman.com site apart from blocking and auto responding also supports the Spam Assassin program, which does a very good job at identifying and marking spam e-mail. Where if I have wanted, then I could auto forward them straight to the trash can, but for now they go in my spam trap where I can sort them and see how best to block them totally.
I do get the occasional spam on my other address, but this is nearly nowhere as bad. Such as I have even got rare spam on my nochex address, where is normally only computer processed mail. So I am not sure why anyone would wish to spam a computer, where I very rarely look to see what else is there.
Ones like this I can usually unsubscribe to, which keeps the numbers down. And so in total that is my system to deal with spam, where the vast majority of these spam e-mail are blocked, where those that are not are automatically filtered out from my much more important mail.
I have yet to make sure that all the e-mail addresses on the cardman.com site are working, but as I am sure that all the required accounts are created, then I have only to make sure that my local server can log in and retrieve the new e-mail.
Well I guess that will do for all the news today, but as this is one of those bad months, then I am sure that more bad news is soon to follow.
One final thing before I end though, when sorting through my old news pages I found this old and interesting quote that I did on the 14th of November 2001...
"the future of the terrestrial service in my view looks a bit doubtful".
Now, as ITV Digital went into administration (and then receivership) at the end of the following March, then I saw that one coming over four months before. Well I am often good at these things, where it was just a matter of knowing the market. Still it is an interesting piece of history, which is why you can always click on the old news link below to benefit from my previous wisdom and insight.
2nd of September 2002
Before I begin today, then I have to ask two customers to contact me, where both these problem orders were received on Saturday.
The first customer sent me an order form with NO NAME, NO ADDRESS and NO CONTACT INFORMATION on it. That is one sure way to have your order go nowhere fast, when I do not know for sure who this customer is or even where they live.
Still unlike with the only previous example of this fatal customer mistake, then this one at least included a cheque. And so I at least know that the payment was supposed to have come from the account of one Mr Paul H Ashton.
Oddly enough the cheque value did not match the order value either, which leaves me wondering what is going on. And so in the end this is one major mess up, when even if I had known who owned this order, then I could not dispatch it anyway, due to not knowing if the order form is valid.
Well if the owner of this order in question wishes to contact me (strongly recommended!), then they will need to prove that they do own this order by mentioning certain total values and just what was ordered.
Now the second order in question highlights other common mistakes, where for a start due to poor calculations this order is short by £1.18. However, the real problem comes up due to their need to receive this order by the 1st of this month (yesterday), when someone is coming to this country to pick it up on that day.
Only problem was that they dispatched this order to me on the 29th, where it left in the 6pm post. And since they did not use the Special Delivery option, then I guess that they overlooked that with standard first class post the Royal Mail only delivers next day in 80% of cases.
This other 20% usually falls under late in the day dispatch, which is why this 29th dispatch only arrived with me on the 31st.
Now the problem is that as the 31st is a Saturday (not normally a dispatch day) and the 1st is a Sunday, then for no fault of my own it was automatically impossible to complete this request.
Since I only have an address and no other contact information (a bad idea), then I have to ask this customer to contact me to arrange a new delivery date if not a whole new location.
These two people should ideally contact me directly (Cardman), when No2 is not dealing with these ones. Well although Saturday was not a good day, this will go to highlight the many problems that I often have to deal with.
Moving on to more regular issues. Then since it is now the start of a new month (I hate it when the 1st falls on a Sunday), then so is my new Special Offer on-line on my Special Offers page. And since you can read all about it there, then so do I not see the need to repeat that information.
If you have read my previous news item, then you will know about my new No3 worker.
Unfortunately this has not been working out, when No3 worked for me just one day and then gave up. And I just cannot see it as helpful to request full time work and then when offered it to then quit. Since this is a most interesting tale, then I will go into it further.
Now as already explained No3 is my female cousin, who until recently has been working way up north in Manchester.
Since she wishes to now work closer to home, then so has she been seeking work a lot more locally. And since like most young people she has some large debts (£6000), then so is work all the more urgent.
Her first day of Friday seems to work out well enough, when to my surprise she worked nine and a half hours that day, which thankfully cleared another month's worth of orders. Although these were the easier ones to do, when they just had to be marked as dispatched on the customer database.
Now since she already had pre-agreed work to do between Saturday and Monday, then since I am a really nice boss, then so did we agree that she could next work for me on the following Tuesday.
It was only later on that I found out that she gave up that temporary job on the very first day, where although cleaning floors and toilets may not be the best job in the world, then I believe that she still has a few things to learn about life.
I was a bit surprised that she still wanted to do this temporary work in the first place, when after all I had already agreed to pay her more money than any other employer had done in her entire life. And so she was being paid less for worse work, where had she worked for me over these three days (certainly possible on request, when I have a large backlog), then she would have earned a lot more.
Still as I encourage my workers to work at their own pace and therefore to use their own initiative, where for example No2 took over item testing with no request from me, then I am perfectly happy to have my workers take days off as they please.
Well when it came around to Tuesday, then I get a phone call saying that she did not want to do it any more. As apparently having to drive over 200 miles a week in these daily round trips was not in her interests, which again goes to highlight a reality of life problem.
After all I remember in my first job I was only paid £1.75 an hour, where I have worked for some real bad bosses since. It was all work after all, where I am sure that I myself am now one of the best bosses around. Also the amount I offered to pay her was both shocking to her and my aunt, where they even believed it to be too high.
Today I even heard from my aunt that this cousin in question is most unhappy due to lack or work, but what can you say when she quit two jobs in like two days. Even my cheque to pay her for this single day of work had to be altered to be made payable to my aunt instead, when she of course is in debt with the bank.
My current problem with workers is lack of loyality. As paying them more than any other employer would I believe is nice, but also to allow them to (within limits) work as they please shows my own loyality to them. And I can almost guarantee work for life, when I have certainly never yet fired anyone.
And so the big question in my business life is just where do you find a loyal worker?
As it seems that since No3a does not wish to work for me, then so will I now have to find a No3b.
However, I have been thinking about offering a job aimed at finding that loyality, where apart from the very nice pay this would also involve "world travel". When my suppliers are always asking me to visit, not to mention a likely U.S interest soon, then I believe it a good idea to take a loyal worker along.
Considering the above I am sure that many people would be interested in such a job, but in order to find the worker loyality I seek, then I would have to place some more unusual requirement on such work.
Well at the end of the day such a job would demand looking after my interests, doing what I like, doing what I say, then finally to be on the outlook for doing things that would make my life easier. A job that will certainly have great rewards, but as I said it is aimed to finding a worker who can provide some true loyality to their new boss.
I would call that job being my personal assistant, where basically that is what it is.
First of all I will soon have to find someone to replace short lived No3, where this job only requires a small amount of loyality. Still as I already desire a worker who can be extremely loyal, then any interested female should contact me, but as no doubt I would have to find some one local, then it could be quite a while before I manage to locate such a worker.
Apart from my worker woes, then since it is a new month, then so all the order forms and currency rates have now been updated.