What the Autumn Statement means - bitterwallet/Statement
Funny Bic complaint letter - bitterwallet/Complaint
Sending letters first class is pointless - bitterwallet/Christmas Cards
Nintendo is irrelevant - bitterwallet/MariWHO?
Google goes Mary Whitehouse - bitterwallet/Banned
When Christmas goes phallic - bitterwallet/Xmas
The silent rise of WhatsApp - bitterwallet/WhatsApp
Best of the Rest
Couple served bag of money at McDonald’s - metro/McMoney
Sky Go Android news – tech.uk.msn/GoApp
Google builds robot army - wired/RobotArmy
PayPal trial of Anonymous activists - thedailybeast/InsideThePaypalTrial
Wait? Google+ is amazing? The Wired think so – wired/awesome
Dropping your phone, cracking the screen and generally buggering things up are a pain. However, thanks to a new smartphone airbag system from Honda, that could all change.
It is called the Smartphone Case N and envelopes your phone with six different airbags while it is falling.
Of course, if this went off in your pocket, it would look like you were wearing ‘Trust-Me Trousers’ from Chris Morris’ ‘Brass Eye’ special, which no-one wants.
Mercifully, this Smartphone Case N is an idea from Honda’s marketing team promoting cars, so you’re not likely to get the chance to buy this in person.
No matter what you do, you will never, ever put a USB plug in the right way. However, things are getting shaken up in the USB world as work has begun on the next generation which will eliminate all that!
This Type-C USB is an addition to the existing 3.1 spec and will be ready to use next year. It will be roughly the same size as a Micro USB plug and it’ll fit in the slot no matter how you approach it.
In a press release, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders says that Type-C will “meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability” and “will enable an entirely new super-thin class of devices from phones to tablets, to 2-in-1s, to laptops to desktops,” says Alex Peleg of Intel. “This new industry standards-based thin connector delivering data, power, and video is the only connector one will need across all devices.”
Techie stuff aside, the fact that putting in USB plugs upside-down will be forever consigned to history, that means all humankind will do much less swearing under their breath. It will truly be a modern wonder of the world.
At Bitterwallet, and across the HotUKDeals network, we know you like a bargain, and when savvy consumers are in the driving seat, price is often the most important factor when deciding on a purchase.
But price isn’t the only factor, and we’ve compiled a list of top ten reasons why you might consider paying a little bit more for a product, rather than always chasing the cheapest.
1. You want an easy life
Customers are a lazy lot, don’t try and deny it. Anything retailers can do to make the buying experience quicker and more streamlined might mean you are willing to pay (a bit) more to save yourself some hassle. Why else has Amazon tried (repeatedly) to trademark “1-click” in various jurisdictions around the world? And no-one likes entering all those car insurance details every single time…
2. The one-stop shop
In the same theme as #1, if you can get what you want while shopping somewhere else, you may as well, even if it costs a bit more. From buying slightly more expensive bananas while already in Tesco, to picking up toilet roll in M&S, we’ve all done it at least once, right?
3. Delivery costs
The advantage of the High Street is that you don’t have to pay delivery- although you often have to pay parking charges instead. This is where supermarkets and retail park outlets, with their massive free parking spaces, can start ahead of the game.
Online, often what seemed a good deal on the product page can end up far less appetising once delivery charges are added to the basket. As a rule, people prefer delivery costs to be free (unsurprisingly), and larger retailers can often afford to throw delivery in for free, although even Amazon had to cut back on this recently.
To be honest though, this one’s a bit of a cheat- no-one minds paying more for the product if the overall delivered price is cheaper. However, it might be that you are more inclined to shop online with a retailer who has clear postage costs stated upfront, rather than waiting for a bombshell to land in a shopping basket, even if the cost is a bit more.
4. The need for speed
Instant gratification. That’s what we like, and we want our stuff as quickly as possible. While many people might baulk at coughing up silly prices for premium express delivery charges, you might be willing to part with a few more pounds if you know you will get the product in two days rather than seven.
5. You know the name
The top complaint tossed at iProduct owners is how much extra Apple owners are paying for the badge. Of course, a quick look at the tablet market shows that there are a number of other branded tablets in a similar price range to the iPad, and a plethora of unbranded tablets at a far cheaper price. Of course, the branded tablets are bound to be far more technically brilliant, but it’s up to the customer to decide how much extra they will pay, and for what. Or if they’d rather try Aldi’s £9.99 champagne.
6. You’re not shopping at Primark*
When you’re buying a shirt, for example, you could buy one from Primark, or you could buy one from Marks and Spencer. One will be cheaper than the other, but one might very well disintegrate in the washing machine. Customers will pay more for perceived quality in a product.
7. You know there’s no quibbles
Guarantees, inclusive service plans and no-hassle returns are another reason you might pay more. Admittedly in some cases you might be getting more for your extra money (or not, assuming nothing does go wrong), but knowing the customer service is sorted might add pounds to the acceptable price.
8. The onward running costs
This is perhaps something that has only more recently come to the front of consumers’ minds. Now, not only can we see how much a house will cost us in energy costs before we buy it, things like white goods can also come with a ‘lifetime’ cost as well as a retail price.
For some, overall cost will be key, while others would rather pay less out in a lump sum and suffer higher annual costs. Either way, this information is becoming more important in purchasing decisions.
9. The difference in price is meh
If your preferred retailer is selling a product for a very similar price, you might just buy it from there anyway. Not necessarily just down to being in a one-stop shop, you might really like the salesman, and that preferred status might mean that the retailer doesn’t have to compete exactly on price to get your business.
10. You don’t know any better
The final reason you might pay more is because you don’t know any better. If you don’t know that a retailer is knocking £20 off the price of a tablet, or another retailer is doing 3 for 2 on Lego, you will happily pay the best headline price, not realising you could have done better elsewhere.
Best way to avoid these traps is to shop around, and to keep an eye on deal hacker sites to make sure you are on the cutting edge of the top deals. And very definitely don’t shop around just to check you got the best price after you’ve bought it- unless you can change your mind!
So what do you think? Are these good reasons for paying more, or is cheap as chips your modus operandi. Let us know below…
*other cheaper retailers are available
A botnet has been discovered which targets shop tills, and it has stolen what’s been described as a ‘titanic volume’ of credit card details. 20,000 cards could have been affected since August.
It’s not the first time a botnet has infiltrated points of sale – last year the Subway virus, created by two Romanian hackers, managed to cream off 146,000 credit card numbers by hacking 200 shops. But it seems like the viruses are becoming more sophisticated than ever before, and there’s been dozens of them popping up all over the place in recent months. With this particular virus, hackers are able to access payment machines in real time and issue commands, leaving customers completely vulnerable.
So what can we, the average consumer, who doesn’t know a botnet from their bottom – do about it? Well, nothing really. It’s down to digital crime units, like the one run by Microsoft, who recently busted three botnets. The latest is a group of computers called ZeroAccess, which highjacked search results and led people to dodgy websites, where it would install malware and then steal your information.
So it’s a matter of taking care on the internet and hoping that the hidden army of Cyber Bergeracs out there can take down these botnets before they get your card. Reassuring, eh?
From now on, I’m paying in CASH.
The American Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,600,120 for “Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition,” which is all a bit sci-fi.
According to the document, face detection and recognition are two different things where detection involves locating faces within an image, while recognition goes further by pairing stored faces with a particular user.
Apple’s patent is made up of three separate systems: a face detection decision application; a face recognition application; and an input/output control application. All three work together so it can detect whether a user is authorised to operate the device in question.
Using your skin tone and features, it’ll also crate a vector of your face and use that for security purposes. So while one bit of the programme may detect a face through a sensor, it’ll then have to work out if it knows your face or not, which will then unlock the phone (or not). So, if someone steals your phone, it will ostensibly be useless as it won’t be able to recognise any stranger trying to use it.
The patent also says that this technology could recognise a user’s face over a period of time, ‘learning’ your face as it goes along. Of course, the new PS4 and Xbox One have similar things in place which use technology that is not unlike Apple’s patent and Apple themselves recently purchased PrimeSense, a motion-sensing hardware and software firm behind Microsoft’s first Kinect sensor.
Apple do make pretty robust programmes, so it’ll be very interesting to see what they do with this. Also, it gives them the chance to take loads of people to court all the time, so it’s win-win for them.
We need to have this in Britain, MAINTENANT. The Paris Metro has issued 12 commandments of good behaviour on public transport, based on suggestions from the beleaguered public.
Called the ‘Politeness manual for the modern traveller’, the mischievous online guide asks the public not to indulge in various anti-social activities on Le Metro, like playing music, gawping at attractive women, and peeing on the floor.
Of course they do it with typical Parisian flair, using amusing old-fashioned illustrations. And it’s as backhanded and sarcastic as it is charming. It asks passengers to help tourists ‘in Bermuda shirts with a Metro map in one hand and the other hand in their hair’. It also manages to have a dig at tourists trying to pronounce the names of the stations. AW HAW HAW HAW.
Still, it really sets the bar for other global cities to introduce a public transport etiquette guide. The London underground could really use one. Perhaps it could include: no groping, no human interaction, no elbowing, no playing the trombone, no eating tuna sandwiches, no wildly careless applications of bronzer, no farting, no phlegm and no selfies.
Oh, and none of THIS, s’il vous plait.
Christmas, as we know, is a time for indulgence and flatulence. There’s also people to see and, if you have mates scattered all over the place and can’t be bothered sleeping on their awkwardly small sofas in their grimly drafty houses, then why don’t you book a room where a businessman may have once had sex with a lady of the night?
You can do just that, and for really cheap too! Tomorrow sees the start of the Premier Inn Christmas sale where they’re doling out rooms for a mere £25! Ridiculously kind to the pocket, but they’ll vanish quickly, no question. Rooms available, here.
MORE DEALS OF THE DAY!
iPad Mini 16GB £229 with code
Kindle Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink display now £49.99
Raspberry Pi Model B 512mb £26 with free next day delivery
PS3 500gb with Gran Turismo 6 and The Last of Us. A steal at £199.99
Samsung Tab 3 7″ 8GB Wifi £99 with code
Xbox Live, even cheaper 12 Months £24.69 with code
Cancel O2 contract early and get 20% off the total
SanDisk Micro SDHC SanDisk 32GB Mobile Ultra Micro SD (SDHC) Card – Class 10 UHS-1 + SD Adapter £14.22 with code
Gran Turismo 6 (Includes Precision & Torque DLC Packs and GT6 Keyring) for PS3. Now £32.85
Flow PS4 Game Now Available on PSN for £3.99
Call Of Duty: Ghosts £19.99 PC (steam key)
All these bargains and more over at HotUKDeals…
With Aldi getting on the budget-friendly tablet wagon, the UK’s appetite for cheap Android devices gets stronger. With that, Tesco’s rousing success with Hudl is about to get an upgrade.
The £119 Hudl has flown off the shelves, selling around 300,000 thus far and Tesco have revealed that they’re working on a second generation Hudl which will be launched next year.
The current Hudl has a decent spec, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB of storage and a resolution of 1,440 x 900 px. The new version, possibly called Hudl2, will no doubt have a quicker processor, better resolution and they’ll invariably be looking at full HD resolution. You can assume it will run on Kit Kat and have more storage too. Looks like Tesco are fully intending to become a big player in the technology world.
Chief executive Phillip Clarke has been surprised with the success of the Hudl, recently telling the Guardian that sales have been more than what they “had originally planned in total in the run-up to Christmas”. The Hudl has run out of stock twice already.
Naturally, Tesco will have to work on the image of the tablet as it is seen as something akin to Skoda (nice cars, once desperately uncool) to the Bentley of the iPad. However, money talks and Tesco could well forge a strong position in the market if they get the next Hudl right.
Aldi are going to launch their own tablet for under £80 as it climbs on the bandwagon of Tesco and Argos who launched their own budget devices.
The 7-inch Medion Lifetab E7316 will be available in stores from Sunday for £79.99, but stocks are limited. It’ll have 8GB of storage and a screen resolution of 1024×600 with a four hour battery life. Not great, but this is clearly aimed at the starter market.
Aldi’s Lifetab weighs 301g and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean processor on a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU. It has front and rear facing cameras with 0.3MP and 2MP resolutions respectively. You can up the memory with a card if it doesn’t have enough space for you.
The main thing here is that this tablet undercuts MyTablet and the Hudl device by £20. Tempted?
It’s time for phase two of EE’s 4G rollout, and this time the big switch (sadly not turned on by Bob Carolgees and Peter Andre in a dismal shopping centre) has lit up 10 new UK towns with super fast internet.
They are…*drumroll* Bath, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Darlington, Newcastle-under Lyme, Northampton, Poole, Portsmouth and…..REDCAR ba-dum-tish! They plan to increase the 4G service to a total of 160 towns before Christmas, so that everyone can enjoy a faster download speed for all their festive porn.
So the next rollout will take place in the next couple of weeks, and include such sexy hotspots as Grimsby, Ipswich and Swindon. EE CEO Olaf Swantee (too many eees, man) said: ‘That’s the fastest rollout of 4G in Europe, and with well over one million people already using the service, one of the most successful too.’
OK, Olaf, calm down.
But perhaps EE are entitled to show off a little bit. After all, some mobile providers, like the useless phone donkeys Three, are only just launching the service. Others have only managed coverage in big cities. And nobody is matching EE’s new trial of the speedier LTE advanced network, with download speeds of 300Mbps.
EEEEEE! Scream if you wanna go faster…
Remember the days when we used to just have one Budget a year? Of course, the Autumn Statement under the coalition is very definitely not a mini-budget (according to them)- although a number of tax and benefit measures were announced. So what are the main ones, and how do they affect you?
Pensions and benefits
Leaked before the actual statement, the Chancellor announced that the State Pension age will be increasing sooner than previously advised, with a minimum age of 68 by the mid 2030s and 69 by the late 2040s. If you have children now, they won’t be able to retire until they are 101.
This means that anyone younger than mid-forties is looking at an increase in retirement age, to keep pensions in line with the latest life expectancy projections, apparently. George did not, however, address the issue of the wildly different life expectancies (figures from the ONS) depending on where in the country you live…
State pension and jobseekers benefits will also be excluded from the welfare spending cap- where the Government is going to tighten the welfare purse strings and allow the lower classes to fight it out amongst themselves for a share of the pot. And heaven help you if you become incapacitated at the end of the financial year, when it’s all been spent.
Cars and fuel
Another pre-announcement was the scrapping of tax discs for cars. Unfortunately this does not mean the Road Fund Licence is being scrapped, merely the perforated circle of paper attached to your windscreen. From 2015 the system will be completely online (most evaders are currently caught through number plate recognition rather than inspection of said perforated circle) and drivers will be able to pay for the disc monthly through direct debit, rather than 6 or 12 monthly as at present. The current rates for 6 month licences are around 10% higher than the annual disc- both this and the direct debit option should come in cheaper from 2015 with a 5% premium instead.
The next fuel duty rise has also been scrapped. After all the Government cares deeply about “hard-working families”.
On top of the personal allowance rising to £10,000 from April, the one policy the Lib Dems have actually managed to get through, the Autumn Statement confirmed some family-friendly measures that have already been wafted about.
The transferable married couple (or civilly partnered couple) allowance will become a reality, but only for those households where one member does not work, or works very little, earning £9,000 or less a year. Up to £1,000 of personal allowance can be transferred to a spouse, saving 20% in tax (£200 a year).
For those with small children, after reading a report by two posh foodies, the Government has also decided to introduce free school meals for every infant school age child (4-7) in years Reception to year 2 starting from next September. Junior children can fend for themselves.
At an average cost of around £2 per day, that equates to a fairly impressive £390 a year saving for parents. Of course, parents will be free to choose whether their child takes free dinners or whether they would rather send sandwiches, at least for now- the report the Government are acting on actually advised that sandwiches were so evil, they should be banned from schools altogether. Presumably along with all children with food allergies and other dietary requirements that would mean they can’t eat State-approved food…
The High Street
Even the Government has noticed that the High Street is suffering somewhat, and has announced a raft of business rates measures aimed at rejuvenating the shops near you. Discounts, £1,000 reduction in bills and reoccupation relief might mean that you see some new shops offering keen prices to compete with the not-cold-and-windy option of shopping online.
But watch out, you might be more likely to be served by a spotty teenager. A new concession for workers under 21 will save employers national insurance for these workers- up to £1,000 per worker earning £16,000- making them much cheaper to employ than those ancient 21 year olds.
There were lots of other figures in the Autumn Statement- some changes to capital gains tax rules on residential properties, and lots and lots of new figures showing how the last figures were all wrong. The new figures clearly show what A Grand Job George has been doing. We’ll all just have to wait until the next Statement to hear how wrong these figures were and how much even better George is doing just before the 2015 election…
Three are rolling out 4G in London, Birmingham and Manchester, which is fine but pretty boring news. However, more interesting for the pocket is that they’re going to be giving everyone free roaming in The States and parts of Europe.
In short, that means no extra charges for making calls, sending texts or data unless they are calling non-UK numbers. Three’s deal also includes Macau, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Dave Dyson, Chief Executive of Three said: “We want customers to get the most out of their devices at home or abroad. High roaming charges stop people enjoying their phones while they’re away and Feel At Home is the antidote to that.”
“Adding the USA to the mix is great news for our customers and shows our commitment to giving them the best experience in what is a popular destination. We plan to add more countries to the mix soon.”
This ‘Feel at Home’ offer is available in 11 countries including Ireland, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, Austria, Sweden and Denmark and as a result, Three have added 300,000 new customers between July and September 2013, which is most likely a result of deals like this one. Their 321 PAYG deal has also won a lot of new fans.
Dave Dyson, said: “We are building a brand and network that encourages and enables customers to enjoy the mobile internet. Customers are using more data than ever on Three, far more than on any other network. As we add 4G capacity to the network, this experience will only get better.”
Tempted to change?
According to a GOV.UK poll, the USA receives 5.5 million British visitors a year. In Europe, Italy gets around 2.5 million and Austria 730,000. All three regions are now covered by Three’s “Feel at Home” service. Happy travelling!