On-line payments for small organisations
Setting up on-line payment systems for small organisations has always been tricky. Merchant accounts to accept credit cards were expensive and complex to set up and on-line programming with shopping basket systems a major headache.
I have being doing some work, initially with the International Hoya group, on a PayPal based system which is extremely easy and economical to set up. It is not necessary for subscribers or people wanting to buy items to have a Paypal account as they can pay with a wide variety of credit cards.
The organisation has to have a business PayPal account set up which is then linked to their Bank account. This is free and can be set up in few minutes by visiting www.paypal.com (or your local countries equivalent). The bank account linking is done by PayPal depositing a couple of small deposits (less than a pound) in your bank account which have to fed back to PayPal to verify your ownership of the account.
PayPal provide free shopping basket software which automatically provides code to link into subscriptions, donations or sales items. All the back end processing is done by PayPal and the funds end up in the organisations PayPal account and can be transferred to the Bank Account when required. The only cost is the usual PayPal percentage which is comparable to the usual credit card processing fees.
I am setting up such a system for the Mesemb Study Group to replace their reliance on our (MACE) Business terminal. The other thing I like about this is that it saves us time entering transactions on the terminal which can be quite slow at times and we don't have the problems which occur with incorrectly supplied credit card data.
I am already talking to a number of other clubs and Societies about setting this up for them. Please let me know if you want to explore this further.
For organisations wanting to take this a step further PayPal provide a 'virtual terminal'. This is in effect a credit card machine on your PC into which you can enter credit card transactions received by fax, phone or snail mail.
New Pest Control Option
The Brighton Branch had a very interesting meeting last Thursday, unfortunately with a rather small attendance, possibly becuase of bad weather and clashing football matches. The speaker was Neil Helyer from Fargro an entymologist and pest advisor for the horticultural and agricultural trade. We had a talk from him a few years ago and he also gave the Hampshire Memorial lecture to the BCSS AGM (about 3 years ago?). There have been a number of exiting developments since then and one in particular has great relevance to growers of cacti and succulents.
It has always been known that detergents (and even before that soft soap) had an insecticidal activity due their effect on the surface coating on such things as mealy bugs and also a suffocating effect due to blicking their breathing pores. A class of very long chain sulphonates has apparently even more pronounced effect and a product (SB Plant Invigorator
)is now available containing them. This is apparently effective against mealy bug and red spider as well as other sucking pests of the aphid type. There are several extremely good features to the use of this product, in that it is very safa and not prone to the pests developing resistance. The other factor not brought out on the manufacturers website is that predatory insects such as lacewings, ladybirds etc are not affected as they are more active and larger and can escape the suffocating effects of the spray.
We have samples to try out and will probably have some for sale at the AGM
Mesemb Study Group Bulletin
We were hoping to collate and bind the January 2007 Mesemb Study Group Bulletin today but unfortunately the printer of the colour plates has let us down and they will not be availbale until tomorrow. It will now be later in the week before we can finish the production and get them to the mail.
The contents is as follows:
Lithops and a Londoner by Keith Green
Lithoparian Recollections - Part 6 by Des & Naureen Cole
MSG Plant Exchange Scheme by Mark Border
An Amateur's Column by Didge Rowe
Didge Rowe Comments
Climbing the Brandberg the Easy Way by Naureen A Cole
Seed Distribution 2007 - by Terry Smale
Many are Cold, but Few are Frozen by Steve Hammer
When Not to Water by Steve Hammer
Daniel Saved from the Lions’ Den –
the Curious Case of Conophytum danielii and jarmilae by Terry Smale
The Japanese Conophytum Society by Yumiko Nishikawa and Terry Smale
Calendar of Mesemb Talks & Events 2006/2007