london houses 35 and 40 year mortgages are the latest big idea for homebuyersEveryone knows that mortgages are a swizz, weighted heavily in the favour of the ones with all the money, i.e. the banks. If you take an assumed interest rate of 3.8% averaged over a 25 year term, the total repayable on a £200,000 mortgage will be over £310,000. That’s more than half the house again. However, despite the crippling effects of compound interest, more and more first time buyers are turning to 35 and 40-year mortgages in order to get on the ladder, despite then having to pay back more than double the value of their home.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that of the almost 80,000 first-time buyers in the second quarter of 2014, more than 22,000 took out mortgages with terms exceeding 30 years, an increase of nearly 10% per cent since 2010. And it’s not just those trying to get on the ladder who are falling into the longer term trap- the number of non-first-time buyers taking on the longer mortgages also rose from 5% to 12% since and 4,000 people remortgaged their property with a mortgage of more than 30 years, more than five times the number in 2010.

The attraction is that the monthly repayments will be lower than those with a shorter term, with the idea that the assumed young professionals taking out these mortgages will cut the terms, and thereby slash the total repayable, once they start raking in the cash, although debt charities are wary of people predicting their rosy future circumstances with such alacrity.

But let’s look at the actual numbers. A £200,000 mortgage spread over 35 years with an initial 4%  interest rate and £995 fee equates to repayments of £373,781 at £890 per month, which is around £150 a month cheaper than a 25 year mortgage. But if that same mortgage is spread over 40 years, the total cost is more than £403,000, and costs only £50 a month less than a 35 year term.

Besides, with the average age of housebuyers being around age 32 (which, contrary to media scare stories is roughly the same as what it was 20 years ago, according to Proper Research), a 40 year mortgage would take you well into your sixties. Even though we will all be forced into working to 75 by then, surely most people would like to have paid off their mortgage a little while before they conk out stop working. Besides, how will you be able to pay for your children’s deposit if you’re still forking out for your own mortgage…

Volvo tinker with their logo

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Volvo have had a fiddle with their logo.

The new updated ‘ironmark’ logo, which has been in use since 1927, is based on the chemical symbol for iron, has been lightly updated by Stockholm Design Lab.

VolvoNew Volvo tinker with their logo

It handily coincides with the launch of its new XC90 vehicle.

Stockholm Design Lab said: “The symbol has been simplified in its purest form and conveys the vision to be the world’s most progressive and desirable premium car brand.”

Which, obviously, they would. They charged an amazing amount of money for the privilege too.

Whereas Volvo chip in with: “The new XC90 will be the first of our cars to carry the company’s new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille.”

“Together with the T-shaped ‘Thor’s Hammer’ DRL lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo’s forthcoming generation of cars.”

Still nothing you’d steal off the front though, eh elderly Beastie Boys fans?

Sellafield: the last in affordable housing

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

radioactive Sellafield: the last in affordable housingIf you want to live in affordable housing, then the only place to be in the England is around Britain’s largest nuclear accident.

Copeland, up in Cumbria, a borough which is the home of Sellafield, is the only bit of England with “easily affordable” housing still available. The houses are cheap, but all the cows have webbed legs and everyone down the pub might look like a Toxic Crusader.

Copeland hosts 70% of Britain’s higher-activity radioactive waste.

A report from the TUC found that this area is the only local authority in England where the average house price is less than three times the average annual salary. Back in 1997, one in five areas had average prices that were affordable to the typical homebuyer.

Of course, it isn’t all grim in Copeland. The power plant actually provides the area with a lot of well paid jobs and, for your buck, you also get Scafell Pike, the Duddon estuary and an area that rivals the Lake District, but isn’t nearly as poncy. If you move to Copeland’s neighbour, South Lakeland, houses there are eight times the average local salary.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, says: ”London always comes out top when it comes to horror stories about ludicrously over-priced housing, but the toxic combination of rising property prices and falling real wages has meant that local housing affordability remains a huge problem for millions of people across the country.”

“Houses and flats in traditionally affordable areas of the country – from Kirklees to Great Yarmouth and Plymouth to Oldham – are now out of reach for many local people.”

“We need an ambitious programme of home-building to get house prices back under control,” O’Grady added. ”But housing affordability isn’t just about house prices, decent wages are just as important and there is a lot of ground to make up before we return to the kind of salaries that people were earning before the crash.”

Buy more stuff when you recycle

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Recycling Mixed Containers Buy more stuff when you recycleYou can receive shopping vouchers each time you recycle!

A new scheme, based on loyalty rewards and vouchers, is going to reward greener households. those who actually separate stuff and that.

A £5 million fund has been set up to reward the greenest, in a bid to increase recycling rates in England.

Councils that offer weekly bin emptying services, instead of fortnightly, can bid for a share of the cash to increase their recycling rates by providing the incentives to those who recycle.

The scheme was originally piloted back in 2010, and was found to be quite the success with recycling rates increasing by 35%.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, that one off the telly, said: “Rewards for recycling show how working with families can deliver environmental benefits without the draconian approach of punishing people and leaving out smelly rubbish.”

“Councils with fortnightly collections will not receive government funding and are short-changing their residents with an inferior service.”

The closing date for bids is November 7th, and those who’ve been the most successful will be unveiled in January.

VidZone comes to Samsung

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

vidzone 300x150 VidZone comes to SamsungVidZone has launched on Samsung mobiles, tablets and Smart TVs.

The music video service is now across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Currently available via the Samsung Apps and Google Play Store, the ad-funded service is free to Samsung users, with no in-app purchases.

Users with a 2014 Samsung Smart TV can wirelessly transfer content from the VidZone mobile or tablet app onto the big screen, streaming it in order of the play queue they have set up.

VidZone had only been on PlayStation until now, with more than 11 million people downloading it since 2009.

There’s over 65,000 music videos from across the board of labels, as well as HD versions from the flashier stars with things like budgets, such as novelty dipshit, Pitbull.

There’s also exclusive content such as video premieres, live and backstage nonsense.

Lee Epting, vice president of Samsung Electronics Media Solution Centre Europe, reckons: “The use of online video music streaming services is booming. VidZone is leading the charge with a service that delivers one of the richest and most extensive music video catalogues – available instantly at the touch of a button. We are delighted that the service has been designed and optimised specifically for Samsung devices, marking the first time that VidZone’s service will be available on smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs.”

Adrian Workman, CEO of VidZone kept it briefer when he added: “We’re delighted to be launching VidZone via the connected Samsung platform and excited that new VidZone, users can now enjoy our music video application via market leading Samsung mobiles, tablets and smart TVs.”

So there you go. A service that you can probably have for free, across all platforms, elsewhere.

swatch Swatch to release smartwatch as well as team up with tech companiesPeople of a certain age will remember Swatch as the company who adorned the wrists of posh teenagers who wore NafNaf jackets and had enough mousse in their hair to turn their semi-perms into rock-solid lethal weapons.

Well, you may or may not know that Swatch are still knocking about and they’re planning on making a smartwatch.

On top of that, they’re also going to be working with a number of tech companies, possibly with Apple.

Swatch CEO  Nick Hayek- who calls Starburst ‘Opal Fruits’ and watches The Mary Whitehouse Experience on repeat in his office – said: “All the big technology firms want to work with us and I don’t rule out that we are or could be collaborating in some areas.”

“[Technology companies] that want to strike partnerships with us also want access to brands. They want [their products] to be more than a commodity. Our first message for customers is the watch. If they like it, they might also be interested in the extra functions,” Hayek added. “It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology. Technology alone doesn’t sell, not in watches.”

Swatch is prepping to launch its own smartwatch, called the Swatch Touch, next year and it apparently has some new smart features enabled in it, all enabled through Bluetooth.

Worth getting in on the smartwatch action too. If the analysts are right, the market is worth $93million. Seeing as Swatch have lost 15% of their value over the last year, they’re going to have to do something – and what better than to jump on a fad that, by and large, the public seems to be completely ambivalent about?

How to keep your nudes safe from being hacked

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

naked selfie How to keep your nudes safe from being hackedAs you’re no doubt aware, Jennifer Lawrence has had some naked selfies stolen from her, and according to the very reputable 4chan, they were swiped by someone hacking her iCloud account. If you haven’t seen the photos, then chances are we’ve lost you and you’re burrowing into a search engine now, looking for boobs.

How can you keep your cloud accounts safe? If you have an account with iCloud, Dropbox or Google+, you might find that they automatically upload and save your images.

First thing to do is to make sure your password doesn’t get stolen or is difficult to guess. That’s blindingly obvious, but worth mentioning. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they’re not words, but rather, a collection of letters, numbers and symbols.

It doesn’t matter how safe cloud accounts are made if your password is 123456 or ‘password’.

Another thing you can do is make sure that you switch off the automatic backup services. In all Apple devices, you can disable Photostream. If you turn it off, it’ll delete any automatically stored images from iCloud. You’ll have to delete any manually shared Photostreams yourself.

With Dropbox, your Android device can be set-up to upload every photo and video you take into the cloud. If that’s not your thing, go to ‘settings’ and turn the option off. You’ll also need to delete them from Dropbox manually.

On Android, G+ and Picasa, you can disable automatic photo backup in the Photos app on your device. You’ll need to go to ‘settings’ then Auto-Backup and then untick ‘Back up local folders’.

Of course, you’re not a celebrity so the chances of someone wanting to hack your account and share your photos are slim. However, if you’re feeling jumpy or just want to disable these functions, now you know how.

You’re still not reading this are you. You’re still looking at boobs.

Vodafone 4G comes to PAYG

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

vodafone 300x216 Vodafone 4G comes to PAYGVodafone have extended their 4G network to Pay As You Go patrons!

This comes 12 months after Vodafone first offered the service.

They have been satisfied enough by the uptake in 4G, as it showed that the pay monthly customers were using three times more data than the past-it 3G customers.

The company have also had a shift around of its PAYG tariffs, bundling them with Sky Sports Mobile TV and Spotify, although Netflix is still only for the pay-monthly set.

It’s also raised data allowances across its Freedom Freebees, with the cheapest now at £20 and including 2GB of data, 500 UK minutes and unlimited UK texts, which must be used within 30 days of purchase.

And the first time a customer buys a 4G Freedom Freebee, they’ll get unlimited data for the first 30 days.

Fancy that!

Deals of the Day: Monday 1st September 2014

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

JohnMartyn 300x187 Deals of the Day: Monday 1st September 2014Music fans – we’ve stumbled across one of the bargains of the year. If you’re into John Martyn, you need to get on this. You can get a download of a 17 album box set, which is around 300 John Martyn songs from his Island years (’67 – ’87) for a frankly ludicrously low price.

Retailing at £153.02 on Amazon or £200 on eBay, you can get all that amazing music for £1.29! It includes ‘Solid Air’ and the excellent ‘Stormbringer’, as well as a whole load of other stuff. Get the deal here before someone realises they’ve made a huge admin mistake.

MORE DEALS!

45% off cinema tickets @ Cineworld with O2 Priority Moments
Galaxy Tab S 10.5″ WiFi £319.20 with code
Motorola Moto G Pay As You Go Handset on Vodafone for £90
Dell Inspiron 5748 17.3″ Laptop 4GB RAM, 500GB HD, Windows 8.1 £314.10 using code
Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare for £12
2 x 1.8M HDMI v1.4 gold video cable lead for £1.49
Metro: Last Light (PS3/X360) £7 delivered
Asus BC-12D2HT Blu-ray Combo Drive £43.46 delivered
Netgear GS308-100UKS 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps Switch, £14.49 Delivered
Finlux 50″ full HD smart Freeview HDTV for £349.99
Transcend 32GB Premium Micro SDHC with Adapter Class 10 / UHS-1 45 MB/s for £9.98

FOR MORE AMAZING BARGAINS, VISIT HOTUKDEALS!

Tesco: woes continue

September 1st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco: woes continueIt’s been a rum few days for Tesco.

One of their key shareholders, Harris Associates, has sold nearly two thirds of its stake in the beleagured supermarket.

The American investment fund Harris Associates, had been Tesco’s seventh largest shareholder.

Chief exec David Herro told the Sunday Telegraph “We have sold, in the last month, probably two thirds of our position

“With so many unknowns … those risk factors are just too high to justify a big position.”

This comes after Tesco issued its second profit warning in two months, and estimating that annual profits are more likely to be 25% lower than last year. Continuing a three year decline.

It’s probably not the ideal welcome for Dave Lewis, who takes over the top job today, a month ahead of what had been planned.

Tesco, who has lost the bulk of their business to up-and-coming budget retailers such as Aldi and Lidl, also slashed its dividend by 75% to give Lewis greater flexibility to revive the world’s No.3 retailer.

Can it catch up on lost ground? Who knows? Should they break themselves up in a bid to stay in the game?

bwbest 300x255 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesBest of Bitterwallet

Tell us how much you hate buses bw/roundandround
Is your bank ace or crap? Find out now! bw/bankers
Uber. They’re going after your food bw/foober
Should Tesco be broken up? bw/breakout
BT are all set to ruin Christmas bw/rises
Seriously. Sort your tax disc out. bw/paperless
Are loom bands poisonous? bw/loomingdread
See life through your dog’s eye bw/pooch

Best of the Rest

Hello Kitty is not a cat. entertainmentwise/whatisitthen?
Net Neutrality versus Free Speech WallStreetJournal/chat
Malaysia Airlines cull staff sky/airlines
Motorcyclist banned after dodgy video mail/motorcyclin’
EE switch on 4G in 13 more towns itproportal/4g-lte
What is the greatest car of all time? mirror/vroom
Google deletes authorship in search results upstart/write
Young people hate Abercrombie & Fitch theweek/a&f

Save money by buying a new car?

August 29th, 2014 6 Comments By Thewlis

Obviously it costs more to buy a new car than an old one of the same variety. However, if you are thinking of upgrading to a newer model, it could pay to go for the latest model, with new research suggesting that a new car saves 25% on running costs in the first year when compared with the same model five years older.

Moneysupermarket.com looked at five popular vehicles, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Astra, and compared total running costs- petrol cost, road tax cost, car insurance cost, MOT, servicing and breakdown cover of a brand new model with the costs for a five year old model.

The biggest saving of the five cars was the Volkswagen Golf, where a new car saved £422 on running costs, a 25% saving on the £1689 cost for a five year model. A brand new Ford Fiesta had annual running costs calculated at £1,237 per year, £351 cheaper than a five year old version. Similarly, a five year old Nissan Qashqai costs £1,804 to run per year, £243 more than the new car. In all five cases the cost of insuring the newer car was lower than the older equivalent models.

tablecar 1 Save money by buying a new car?

tablecar 2 Save money by buying a new car?

Dan Plant, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “For some, buying a brand new car might seem prohibitively costly. However, with the drive from manufacturers to create more fuel efficient and safer models, as well as some ‘free road tax for the first year’ schemes, the cost of running and insuring a new car is often far cheaper than older versions of the same vehicle.”

Russian bank actively encouraging pussy riot

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

cat chart 300x200 Russian bank actively encouraging pussy riotForget toy meerkats and some ephemera, as a Russian bank has upped the ‘free gift’ stakes, by handing out cats.

Actual cats!

Yes, anyone who takes out a mortgage with Sberbank (which if you say in a certain way, sounds a bit like ‘spermbank’, arf!) gets the choice of ten pussies.

The bank showcases the felines on the website, and once selected, they’re delivered to the home.

Unfortunately, the cats must be returned to Sberbank after a few hours once they’ve mooched around the new property and no doubt took a leak on the sofa and dragged half a raven into the kitchen ‘as a gift’.

A popular Russian superstition maintains that it is good luck if cats are first to enter a new home.

Wonders never cease.

The robots are coming! To clean!

August 29th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Robot Uprising update: It looks like Dyson are about to launch a robot hoover.

According to a new YouTube teaser, various Dyson types – or at least actors doing a splendid job – are seen looking at a mysterious unseen thing, which moves about a bit occasionally, but remains in the shadows.

Also, said thing appears to have Dyson’s location-analysis technology.

If you factor in Dyson’s investment in a new robotics vision lab at Imperial College in the London, it’s feasible that they collective mindset have come up with a dream clean machine.

They’ve teased the date September 4th as the big reveal, so that’s only a week’s worth of sleepless nights. Or it could be an elaborate trailer for the next Aphex Twin album.

You can never tell these days.

Ofwat plug water bills

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

mbn shark wideweb  470x3210 300x204 Ofwat plug water billsHousehold water bills in England and Wales will rise by less than the cost of living in the next five years, thanks to regulator Ofwat. As for the rest of Britain, we’ve no idea. Probably because water rates are a very sore topic in Northern Ireland and Scotland is probably buggering off to go solo.

The regulator says that bills will be an average of 5% lower, before inflation is applied, by 2019-20.

Thames Water, Bristol Water and United Utilities had already been told that they needed to sort themselves out and start rethinking the way they did things, as their assessments were wildly different to Ofwat’s estimates.

All the water and sewage companies can respond to the Ofwat proposals by 3rd October, with the regulator making the final decision by mid December. Changes will come into play from 1st April 2015.

That’s all good isn’t it? Nope.

Fact is, water companies can still raise their prices in line with inflation, so we’ll most likely to see our bills rising, which is not at all surprising.

Sonia Brown, chief regulation officer at Ofwat, said: “Some companies provided excellent, customer-focused plans. Others did not include sufficient evidence to justify their plans, and so we stepped in to make sure customers get a fair deal.”

“These are draft decisions and things could still change. Companies will be looking hard at where they need to submit new evidence and we will also continue to challenge hard to make sure that our final decisions result in the best possible deal for customers.”