News round-up – the best of the week’s stories

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

best of bitterwallet 300x300 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesBest of Bitterwallet

We reveal what the best Christmas present to get a kid is! bw/xmas
Customers threatened after Amazon 1p balls-up. What do you think? bw/penny
Forget e-cigs – here’s the e-reefer bw/blunt
People bought literal poo on Black Friday bw/dung
Google reveal what everyone’s been looking at online in 2014 bw/pr0n
Britain’s first supermarket for those on the breadline bw/social
One-click shopping for Google, now they’ve seen it working for Amazon? bw/buybuybuy
Like the idea of double decker trains? bw/chooooo

Best of the Rest

Apple are now at war with the BBC telegraph/iHateyou
Treasury recoups £1.36bn from failed Icelandic bank moneymarketing/dough
There’s a shortage of PS4 consoles in the run-up to Xmas independent/gaming
Want some anti-pickpocket digital jeans? They’re a thing now itproportal/jeans
Look at the state of this jewel encrusted Apple watch t3/iCantbelieveit
Check this Samsung Galaxy S6 business out timesofindia/S6

Have a lovely weekend

B47bxO3CIAEHMOk 281x500 News round up – the best of the week’s stories

Hurray! A crackdown on card fraud!

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

creditcards Hurray! A crackdown on card fraud!Good news everyone – new rules have been revealed which aim to beat down on card payment fraud! Aren’t you thrilled about that?

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has shared their new, tougher guidelines, making payment service providers get serious about customer identification before payments are processed.

There’s good reason for this too – in the last four years, the yearly cost of card fraud in the UK has jumped up from £365 million to somewhere in advance of £450 million! Two thirds of that came from the dastardly practice of ‘skimming’, where small amounts of money are continually removed from an account in the hope that the victim won’t even notice.

Of course, there’s been an increase in digital snidery too, with ne’er-do-wells using malware and the like. There’s also the tried-and-tested tactic of just nicking your card too.

Anyway, all this means is that you’ll carry on as normal while fraudsters will have to learn a new set of tricks to try and get at all your precious money.

scissr 300x180 Its a new app for lesbians called Scissr, sisters!An app that claims it’s the lesbian version of Grindr is on its way.

Claiming it’s somewhat ‘classier’ than the gay man networking app, Scissr is created “by lesbians for lesbians”. Crikey. It’ll be full of sock-puppet accounts, set up by men, seeing if they can tediously ‘turn’ some women before being frightened off by everyone’s love of P!nk albums.

The free app, which will be available on iOS and Android, will fill a gap in the women-seeking-women app sector.

The inventor Allison Ullrich reckons it will offer a ‘mind blowing’ experience for the ladies: “I think what spawned the idea was life – reality – and conversations I’ve had with my friends regarding relationships and women.”

Well, duh.

Users must be over 18, and are allowed to upload three photographs and write a bio of 300 words. Christ, that’s a bit admin-y. You don’t get that sort of faff with Grindr.

The app will feature private messages, and the option to “crush” on a user or add them to a “wish list”.

Lesbian dating sites and apps are not new, but Ullrich reckons Scissr will offer more. “We want to connect and promote those in the LGBT community through our independent or shared cultural interests.”

This follows a report that lesbians in the UK earn 5% more than their heterosexual sisters, yet, gay men earn less than straights.

Job ad confirms Apple Pay is on its way

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

apple pay 300x169 Job ad confirms Apple Pay is on its wayApple have effectively let the cat out of the bag as regards Apple Pay coming to Europe.

An advert on the company’s website, which has now been taken down, said that the company was seeking a London-based intern to “drive out the roll-out” of Apple Pay across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.

It said: “Apple Pay is a new and exciting area in Apple that is set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.”

“Apple Pay will change the way consumers pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way.”

Apple Pay is two services that need close links between Apple and the banks.

The first is an in-app payment tool, which developers can implement to allow customers to make purchases without entering credit card details. In apps such as Uber, users will instead be able to pay by simply tapping the touch ID sensor of an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3.

The other allows users to buy items in stores using their NFC-enabled iPhone 6, or their Apple Watch – which is yet to go on sale.

Over in the states, Apple have been making sure that retailers have the sufficient hardware handy. Whereas in Europe, we’re a bit ahead technology wise, and it’s expected to less hassle to launch.

Oh, the future is more trouble than it’s worth.

Should we have a lower drink-driving limit?

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car crash 239x300 Should we have a lower drink driving limit?No-one gets as agitated as a driver being told what to do, so with that, what about the idea of a lower drink-driving limit?

Well, according to a new survey, three quarters of those drivers who were asked (74% to be precise) were in favour of lowering the amount of booze you can have if you’re getting behind the wheel. Of course, this comes after Scotland announcing that they are lowering their limits.

31% reckon that the UK should follow Scotland’s (and a lot of the EU) lead by dropping the limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (50mg/100ml). 43% said the UK should go even further by introducing a limit of 20mg/100ml, which is in place in Sweden among other countries.

One 26% think that we’re fine with the current 80mg/100ml level.

 

The survey was pretty unanimous that, in the cases of repeat drink-drivers, the penalties for them must be considerably more stern. 95% think that repeat offenders such face higher penalties.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “The current drink drive limit in England and Wales sends a confusing message and asks drivers to do the impossible – guess when they are under the limit, and guess when they are safe to drive. Even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving, so the only safe choice is not to drink at all before driving. The law needs to make that crystal clear.”

Now, here’s the kicker.

The survey was carried out by road safety charity Brake in tandem with Direct Line. A road safety charity and an insurer will be more likely to yield results with a certain skew on it. You’d inevitably find very different results if you asked the readers of Top Gear magazine, the Daily Mail or whatever.

With that, we open it up to you lot – should we have a lower drink-drive limit? Should we hammer people who are repeat offenders? Should we be allowed to drink at all before driving?

Top ten outlandish TV licence excuses

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Thewlis

At this time of year, saving a few pennies can be hard to do, so what some folks do is save themselves £145.50 a year by not paying for a TV licence.

Of course, there are legitimate ways to escape having to pay for a TV licence, like not watching live TV, but if you don’t pay and get caught, you could face a fine of up to £1000, which is far less pleasing on the pocket. So if you do get caught, delivering your very best line in excuses to the enforcement officer could be crucial.

Today, TV licensing has revealed the top ten excuses for not having a TV licence, which include dabbling with spirits on the other side, the tooth fairy, and actually being Jesus.

Pick your favourite from the list below:

tvlicence 450x500 Top ten outlandish TV licence excuses

Consultant Psychologist Kerry Daynes explains that people tell lies “usually to lubricate passage through our daily lives and often to make other people feel better.” She also muses that it is “interesting that the more outlandish excuses have been judged by the evader as more socially acceptable, and therefore less embarrassing than the truth,” conceding that some people may have come up with the most ridiculous thing they could think of to show contempt.

A BBC spokesman said “At just £2.80 a week per household the BBC provides excellent value for money. Low evasion rates are effectively saving each licence fee payer £15. It means that programmes like EastEnders, Strictly, Sherlock, Doctor Who and Match of the Day can be watched by everyone – not a select few. Public support for the licence fee has risen by 22% since 2004.”

Deals of the Day: Friday 19th December 2014

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

deals of the day 300x162 Deals of the Day: Friday 19th December 2014Have you woken up this morning thinking, ‘today’s the day I’d really like to own a Nexus 7! My life will not be complete unless I have one placed in my cold, dead hands!’? Well, good thing we found a deal for you.

You can get a Nexus 7 with Staples for a very reasonable £99. You’ll need a reward card, but you can sign up for that on the spot and then bin it as soon as you leave the shop if you like. Check the deal here.

EVEN MORE DEALS

Steam mega winter sale!
PS4 console with physical copies of GTA V and The Last of Us £319.99 with code
Blaupunkt 50″ full HD TV with 5-year-warranty for £279.99
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag on Xbox for just £8.99
Classic albums, available to download for £1.99. Includes Michael Jackson, The Stooges, Wu Tang, Aretha Franklin and loads more!
Wii U console with new Super Mario Brothers, just £159.99
Xbox Live Gold 12 months for £24.65
Samsung 40″ 3D LED smart TV 1080p HD for £314.95
Games bundle: Watch Dogs, Alien Isolation, The Last of Us, Driveclub and Wolfenstein on the PS4 for £90

CHRISTMAS BOOZE

20 bottles of Magners original for £20
Megathread of spirits!
Large bottles of Leffe and Hoegaarden (750ml) 3 for £6
Johnnie Walker black label 70cl with presentation box, was £28 now £18
Kracken rum, boxed, for £18
Tesco Finest salted caramel liqueur now £8
£10 off £50 spend with Tesco wine with possible £5 cashback

CHECK HUKD EVERY DAY FOR AMAZING OFFERS AND BARGAINS!

Bebo is back and bonkers

December 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

bebo Bebo is back and bonkersBebo is back!

Yes, the social network that was a social network before the others, has returned. However it’s now all hashtag and avatar messaging.

It first launched in 2005, but went on to spend a few years in the internet wilderness.

In 2013, the original founders Michael and Xochi Birch bought Bebo back from investors for $1 million and have now brought it back in a completely different format: a smartphone messaging app, which launched this week.

The Bebo app is a messaging service along the lines of WhatsApp and Snapchat, but with a load of unique features.

Users now create their own avatar, which you can accessorise with various new hair and skintones, and it’s now all over the site like a rash. Bebo users can chat with connections riddled with hashtags, which then act as links firing off in all manner of games and tools.

The new Bebo is now available to download for free from all regular app vendors.

You can make your little avatar fart and do erotic dances as well as play a Flappy Bird clone, all through the use of hashtags. It looks absolutely mental.

We should’ve known it’d be a daft affair though – when Bebo announced it was relaunching, Michael Birch made a video with the usual tech-promo aspirational music, however, his had a load of drawings of penises in it.

ebay Middle aged men quite selfish on eBay after ChristmasMiddle-aged men don’t give a shit about anyone. That’s essentially the dimensions of a report released by eBay.

In January 2013, men between the ages of 45-54 Last January were behind 3.8 million searches for luxury items, the highest volume of consumer inquiries across the gender and age ranges.

Possibly rewarding themselves for managing to survive Christmas.

It also found that January and March both registered highs of self-gifting. Which is, frankly, a phrase that can be shot into space.

Phuong Nguyen, director of eBay Advertising UK, said: “Our latest Indulgence Barometer shows that high-end purchases aren’t restricted to Christmas; there are year-round opportunities for luxury brands to engage, and January presents a huge opportunity to grow share of wallet as shoppers stop buying for other people, and get ready to treat themselves.”

“Marketers need to make sure that they don’t blow the budget in December; ring-fencing spend for January, and adapting campaign messages to reflect the shift in shopper mind-set is key to cashing in on the January opportunity.”

An Indulgence Barometer! Have you heard such twaddle?!

electricity meter 300x187 When that great deal on electricals is more like a dodgy dealIt’s almost Christmas. That means it’s almost time for the post-Christmas sales, where many people try and get that electrical bargain they’ve been mulling over. However, a new investigation by our chums at Which!!! reveals that, as a massive surprise to no-one, some of these ‘offers’ aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and in some cases aren’t even offers.

Which!!! tracked the prices of electrical goods over the course of six months at Amazon, Argos, Currys and John Lewis. They found a number of ‘deals’ where the savings either didn’t exist or were much lower than claimed.

Some examples of non-deals include:

Argos maintained that the Nikon D3300 was on offer at a £200 saving even when it was only £10 cheaper than the previous month.  There was also a note saying it had previously been sold for a cheaper price.

Amazon’s ‘discounted’ price for a Philips iron was actually higher than the Philips RRP of £65. Which!!! couldn’t find any other retailer selling it for more than £65 either.

The Canon EOS 70D  has an RRP of £1239.99 according to Amazon, making their offer prices of £959.99 and £967.99 look pretty impressive. However, Canon’s own typical selling price of £959 means you would probably have ended up paying £8.99 more.

Which!!! asked the retailers for their comments. Amazon said: ‘We work with product manufacturers to provide our customers with a wide range of information about any given product, including RRPs. We aim to provide the very latest information.’

Currys said: ‘We are proudly transparent on our prices, which are 5-10% cheaper than most of our multi-channel competitors. We are the only retailer to always show customers when and for how long our ‘was’ prices applied, both online and in- store. We strictly observe government guidelines on pricing by giving customers clear information.’

John Lewis said: ‘It is never our intention to mislead our customers. We have very robust checking procedures in place for our offers. However, our processes do rely on manual input and it appears there was a human error. We have reviewed our processes and when we display information about the dates a product is at the higher price it will be in a more prominent position.’

Argos said: ‘We work hard to ensure that all of our offers are fully compliant with all regulations and guidance. For full transparency, we use explanatory text and reference intervening prices. We cannot comment on retail prices that the manufacturers have quoted due to competition law.’

So what can you do? Well caveat emptor rules, and make sure you do your research when contemplating one of these purchases, rather than taking the word of a business that has a vested interest in relieving you of your money. For Amazon products, you can always use a price tracking system like camelcamelcamel to see whether you are getting a genuinely good price, or set up a price alert to buy when the price falls.

£180m lost by Royal Mail sale

December 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Royal Mail £180m lost by Royal Mail saleThe sale of the Royal Mail is already a controversial topic. It won’t be letting up any time soon as reports show that UK taxpayers lost out £180m on the deal. A small mercy is that it was originally thought to be a much greater loss, somewhere in the region of £1bn.

However, £180m is no joking matter.

The inquiry headed by Lord Myners will conclude this week and will show that the Government could have received additional proceeds of somewhere between £120m and £180m if the sale of shares had been conducted properly.

The report will also underline the inadequacies in the way that the Shareholder Executive (who looks after state-owned assets) handled the privatisation. It adds that, based on initial interest from investors, the price range for the shares should have been higher.

Vince Cable, who commissioned Myners to complete the inquiry, asked him to examine whether the way future Government asset sales should be changed.

The inquiry are set to make a number of recommendations, including measures to overhaul conventional market practices, like the earlier publication of prospectuses which will facilitate better investor education and enabling a greater number of analysts to publish research on companies and the like.

There will also be calls for an examination of whether or not there should be standardised shareholding disclosure requirements for all institutions. This will mean a lot of changes in the market and a shake-up of the way things are done between regulators and institutional investors.

Facebook add auto photo-enhancement to iPhones

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Facebook have brought out an automatic photo-enhancement thing for the iPhone. Now, if you upload a photo onto the social network through iOS, it will be automatically optimised for online viewing.

Facebook have offered such options, but now they will be applied whether you want it or not.

facebook photo 500x500 Facebook add auto photo enhancement to iPhones

Users can still apply their own tweaking and have the option to revert to the original image, which is a nice touch. Facebook haven’t announced it for the desktop, but Android users will be getting it soon

The changes come after Facebook-owned Instagram launched five new filters for its own app yesterday – the first time it’s updated the range since December 2012.

The new filters are called Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua and Aden, and take the total number of options up to 25. They all sound like the names of posh people’s children.

Google to introduce one-click shopping?

December 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google Google to introduce one click shopping?You’ve inevitably seen Amazon’s one-click ordering button, and it looks like Google want in on the action too.

A report reckons that Google’s ‘Shopping’ tab will soon allow you to buy stuff without going through menus and the like.

So does that mean Google are getting into the idea of e-commerce? Not quite - Google won’t be selling the products directly, which means that the internet behemoth is likely to team up with business partnerships with other retailers.

Sounds like it is going to be slightly more faffy than Amazon’s offerings.

Talks with retailers are said to be in preliminary stages, and, if rumours are to be believed, Google like the idea of to-day shipping, again, very similar to Amazon who have Amazon Prime.

As these talks are in the very early stages of development, it could mean that Google ditch the idea after weighing up all the pros and cons. However, Google want more of your data and online behaviour patterns, so this is an attractive prospect that they’re obviously going to take seriously.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Shoppers happy to buy wonky looking fruit

December 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

funny shaped vegetables Shoppers happy to buy wonky looking fruitWhat do you think of wonky fruit? No need to tell us because we’ve got some figures to share!

Mintel’s Fruit and Vegetables UK 2014 report (very exciting) found 48% of shoppers who bought fruit and veg, would be totally into buying disfigured root vegetables that resemble genitalia and moody looking fruit, if they looked edible enough.

56% of the researched believe that retailers should do a bit more to reduce the amount of food they waste, with 28% voicing concerns about the amount of fruit and veg that ends up scrapped.

Kiti Soininen, head of UK food, drink & foodservice Research at Mintel, said: “It is clear that consumers are open to ‘ugly’ produce, but where oddly shaped fruit and veg sits with mainstream offerings, it is at risk of going unchosen, even if subconsciously.”

“The fact half of consumers would buy good quality oddly shaped fruit and veg, and the recent focus on food waste and the grocers’ role in curbing it showed there was scope to actively use the non-standard quality of produce as a selling point”

“Prices come across as a real consideration for many and by positioning ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables as a tasty, low-cost option should help the grocers to reach this group.”

So, don’t turn that carrot away because it doesn’t conform to conditioned pre-conceptions of what beauty is, right? Yeah.

Deals of the Day: Thursday 18th December 2014

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

deals of the day 300x162 Deals of the Day: Thursday 18th December 2014Just thrown your mobile under a bus after reading a particularly irritating tweet about someone’s kale smoothie? Kicked your phone into the sea because you’re tired of spam texts about imaginary PPI claims? You’ll need a new handset.

Mercifully, we’ve spotted a good deal on a cracking little phone. You can get your hands on a Moto G for £129.95, which ain’t bad at all. If you buy one, try not to take your rage out on it though. Click here to see the deal.

EVEN MORE DEALS!

Kindle F HDX 16gb for £99
Anker portable bluetooth speaker with supersized 4w driver for £19.99
Xbox One console with Forza 5, Minecraft, Destiny two controllers and £20 in vouchers for £349.99
PS4 with 4 games 500gb for £329.99
NowTV box with 3 months passes for £12.49
Stocking fillers: Xbox 360 and PS3 games from £1.49

CHRISTMAS BOOZE!

Magners original cider – 6 bottles for £3.99
Merlyn Welsh cream liqueur 70cl for £10
20 cans of Carling for £10 with free Sky Sports week pass
All the best champagne deals, from £10 up
Strathisla 12-year-old malt whisky for £25

FOR MORE BRILLIANT BARGAINS, VISIT HUKD!