Tuesday, 6 January 2015

07:45 – Kit sales are starting slowly this year. We’ve sold only half a dozen so far, which is actually fortunate. Our current inventory on the CK01A chemistry kits is down to -1 and we have only half a dozen of the BK01 biology kits in stock. So I’m building another batch of the chemistry kits today and will then get started on another batch of biology kits.

Our component inventory system failed again yesterday, but this time in a good way. Many of our kits include wide-range pH test paper. We used to include a vial in the kits, but last year the price more than doubled. So I decided to start packaging the stuff ourselves, ordering the paper in sheets with separate color key cards, and making it up in coin envelopes. That was actually cheaper for us, even counting labor to make them up, and it provides more than three times as much test paper per kit. A win-win.

We make up 400 sets at a time. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that we were getting low. It didn’t seem that we should have gone through 400 sets that quickly, but I went ahead and re-ordered enough of the test paper sheets and color key cards for another 400 sets. That order arrived yesterday, just as I found 200 sets already made up that I’d misplaced. Oh, well. We’ll use 600 sets up quickly enough.

12:44 – I see that DISH is now offering live TV streaming, including ESPN and ESPN2. The price is a rip-off, $20/month/user for channels that are ad-supported. A tenth that price would still have been too much, but I suspect a lot of sports fans will now be dropping their cable TV service in favor of 100% streaming, perhaps supplemented with an antenna for local broadcasts. For $5/month additional, DISH will offer an add-on group of sports channels, which should be more than enough for anyone.

A lot of people subscribe to cable TV service only because that’s been the only way they could get live sports. Crappy though the deal is, this should result in a lot of them bagging cable TV completely. This is the first crack in the dike, and I expect we’ll see it widening over the next year or so. Just as there’s no longer any need for local broadcast TV channels, there’s no longer any need for cable TV service. Broadband Internet does it all, as it should.