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.

BT bring Sky Sports to YouView

December 17th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bt sky 300x150 BT bring Sky Sports to YouViewAre you a BT customer with a YouView set-top box? You are? Then behold, there’s some treats in store for you!

You’ll now be offered Sky Sports 1 and 2 on it, as some to-do that’s been wanging on for four years between rival pay-TV sorts, Ofcom and UK competition regulators has now been settled.

The two Sky sports channels will give BT’s YouView customers, who already have access to BT Sport, ESPN and the Eurosport channels, the option of adding an extended range of live Premier League football games.

Which is fantastic news if you like all of the sport, is it not?

BT reckon they’ll offer Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 for £22 a month or £16.50 a month for one or the other of the channels, allowing customers the flexibility to opt in and out of the Sky Sports channels with 30 days’ notice.

Delia Bushell, managing director of BT TV and BT Sport said:“The ability to bundle together great content on our most advanced set-top box will underpin our aim to sell BT TV to more of our broadband customers and to accelerate the number of our customers who take a triple-play bundle from us”.

Existing BT customers who already pay for Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 should be able to swap their Vision+ box for a YouView+ box for £35 at the end of their current contract, but only if they also take BT Infinity broadband.

According to the Sky website, existing Sky customers can currently add all seven Sky sports channels to their subscription for £24.50 per month. New Sky customers can opt for a bundle with sports for £35.25 per month for the first six months, rising to £46 each month after that.

Deathwatch: Orange Wednesdays

December 12th, 2014 5 Comments By Ian Wade

orange france smtp 300x300 Deathwatch: Orange WednesdaysOrange Wednesdays are on their way out. We predict mass rioting and people taking this very, very personally.

Yes, from February 2015, the popular cinema buy-one-get-one-free offer will cease to be after more than a decade.

EE announced the scrapping, but have said they’d replace it with another entertainment enticement, which they’ve yet to announce.

They’re also stopping their link-up with Pizza Express, the swines. It’s essentially the last hurrah for the Orange brand, now that they’ve been co-opted into EE.

An EE spokesperson said that Orange Wednesdays were no longer quite the thing: “Orange Wednesday launched over a decade ago and at its peak was a massive success. After 10 great years our brand has changed and our customers’ viewing habits have also evolved so it’s time to move on. The final credits will roll for Orange Wednesdays at the end of February 2015. We’re working on new customer entertainment rewards and we’ll provide more detail soon.”

There you go. Don’t cry. A solution will be with you shortly.

10540788 10153529670258018 6353096475413711141 n Deathwatch: Orange Wednesdays

Merlin footie stickers are back!

December 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

merlin football 300x300 Merlin footie stickers are back!Rejoice, football sticker fans, for the Merlin brand is back!

The Premier League sticker album had been Merlin-branded from 1994 until 2009 when Topps changed it to, um, Topps.

However ahead of this year’s 2015 album being released, the decision has been made to revert back to the Merlin brand. Got! Got! Need! Got! Need!

According to Topps marketing director Rod Pearson: “Over the last few seasons, we have had an increasing amount of feedback from older collectors reminiscing about the Merlin brand. Following further research with our collectors, we decided now was the time to reinstate the Merlin brand.”

“We are also aware that a lot of our early collectors through the mid to late ’90s are now parents themselves, and would enjoy the idea of collecting Merlin stickers with their children, as they enjoyed doing so 20 years ago.”

Brand awareness for football stickers! Whatever next.

Anyway, you can get your starter pack from December 18th, which includes the 88-page album and four packs of stickers will be available for £2, while packs of five stickers cost 50p. If the World Cup was anything to go by, it’ll mostly be adults collecting these stickers, rather than children, who in a reversal of roles, will probably be spending their pocket money on cigs and contraceptives.

Score!

Deathwatch: Televisions

December 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

tv 300x266 Deathwatch: TelevisionsWell, not quite a Deathwatch, but still a thing of worry – the amount of UK homes with a television has fallen for the first time ever.

Yes, despite Black Friday’s scenes of riots over such things, it transpires that the number of households with a TV is shrinking, and has gone down from 26.33 million from 2012 to 26.02 million at the end of 2013, according to new facts from Ofcom.

Ofcom said that people are preferring to watch TV via their phones and tablet thingys, as nearly one million homes have a broadband connection, but no TV, indicating that other internet-connected devices are being used.

The popularity of catch-up TV is growing, and seen more as an accompaniment to a journey than tweeting “I am on a train lol”.

In its Infrastructure 2014 report, Ofcom references BBC figures, which showed that in July 47% of requests for BBC iPlayer content came from tablets or mobiles, up from just 25% in October 2012. Ed Richards, the chief executive of Ofcom, emphasised the obvious and said: “The way consumers interact with their TV, phone and broadband is changing as fast as technology is evolving.”

The regulator said the government and telecommunications industry are also looking at options to get superfast broadband into rural areas to cover the “final 5%” of UK households, but reckon that most households in general would need a 100Mps to cope with the needs of a family.

“Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future,” said Richards.

“As a country we are continuing to make real progress, particularly in the roll out and take-up of superfast broadband and 4G mobile services. But there is more to be done. We need to continue asking whether collectively we are doing enough to build the infrastructure of the future, and to maintain the competition that benefits consumers and businesses.”

We were probably a sentence away from words like ‘engage’ and ‘solutions’ there.

Sony hack reveals celebrity pseudonyms

December 9th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

playstation network 300x216 Sony hack reveals celebrity pseudonymsSony’s PlayStation online store was hacked on Monday, and the company are still investigating the cause of the attack, after it knocked out the store for two hours. Handy, as they’re currently in the middle of a huge 20th anniversary sale.

Some visitors to the online store were greeted with the message: “Page not found. It’s not you. It’s the internet’s fault.”

Some tweet from a user calling themselves @LizurdPatrol tweeted “50 RTs and we will hit off PSN. 50 FAVs and we will hit off XBOX LIVE.” Whatever gets you hard, dear.

This follows Sony Pictures Entertainment, who were winded by a large attack knocking the studio’s network out for a week, and the added bonus of hackers leaking all manner of embarrassing details about Sony staff. The staff also got emails that they and their families were in danger.

Some sources reckon it has something to do with North Korea being a bit upset about a forthcoming film called The Interview, which stars Seth Rogen and multi-purpose irritant James Franco… but then that itself could be a load of cobblers and part of some plan to flog what sounds like quite a terrible film.

North Korea has denied responsibility for the cyber attack, but called the hack a “righteous deed”, state media reported. Because when you have something like state media, you have the optimum creepy factor.

And in addition to all that, the group has released the pseudonyms used by a host of celebrities. So, if you want to add some famous people and see if you can whoop them at FIFA, here are some names (which they’ll no doubt be changing today):

Tom Hanks goes by “Harry Lauder” and “Johnny Madrid”
Sarah Michelle Gellar goes by “Neely O’Hara”
Tobey Maguire goes by “Neil Deep”
Natalie Portman goes by “Lauren Brown”
Clive Owen goes by “Robert Fenton”
Rob Schneider goes by “Nazzo Good”
Jude Law goes by “Mr. Perry”
Daniel Craig goes by “Olwen Williams”
Jessica Alba goes by “Cash Money
Ice Cube goes by “Darius Stone” and “O’Shea Jackson”
Debra Messing goes by “Ava Harding”

Looks like some celebrities are going to need new fake-names for booking into hotels with.

Bricking it this Christmas with Lego

December 8th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Over here at the Bitterwallet office/cesspit, we love a bit of Lego, and as a rather jolly coincidence, Lego loves us (and you) too, and is everywhere this Christmas.

Why, Auto Trader have teamed up with the brick brand, to render cars in bricks for a handful of lucky customers via various social media channels.

The #DrivenByMe hashtag – dude, it’s all about the hashtags now – sees people sending pictures to Auto Trader’s social presences, and one winner a day will have the Lego treatment. Auto Trader will film the building of the car and then it will be sent to the winner.

However Lego have not stressed whether it will be life-sized or not.

minifigs 300x151 Bricking it this Christmas with Lego

If cars aren’t your thing, but you fancy making a Christmas card using Lego’s vast array of minifigs, then stroll on over to here and make your loved ones into plastic.

It’s a lot easier, cheaper and simpler than sitting down and writing out a ton of cards. This way you be cheap and say “oh yeah I threw a tenner at a charity” and everyone will have you down as amazing (even if your soul will know and will eventually erode you away from the inside).

Lego. Always amazing.

We Really Want… ABBA Monopoly

December 4th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Do you like ABBA? Do you like Monopoly? No? Well look away then haters, for the two have combined forces into a thing that is as brilliant as it is bizarre.

What’s the name of the game? ABBA Monopoly.

abba 2 500x348 We Really Want... ABBA Monopoly

Instead of buying and selling properties, you’re buying single records, and instead of real estate you’re buying recording studios, which has completely missed out on a Waterloo connection, but hey.

The players – such as the dog, boot, car etc –  have been replaced by a platform boot, Napoleon hat, a vinyl record, a money bag, a telephone, and Björn’s star-shaped guitar.

You also get to say you’ve landed on Agnetha or Benny, and rent them out or something.

abba 3 500x500 We Really Want... ABBA Monopoly

Yes, if you’re shouting gimme gimme gimme right now and have a dream to own such a thing, then from December 12th, a special edition will be hitting the shelves, and from their online presence.

At £34.99, it’s quite good value for the money money money and the ideal gift for anyone nuts for both cultural icons, and they’ll no doubt thank you for the music based game. But be quick as it’s a limited edition, so the winner takes (Okay now Ian, stop – Ed).

Happy New Year!

We’re not daft. We know that some people don’t understand video games and indeed, can’t grasp the notion of limited edition stuff that is marked up and ultimately pointless. To those that are down for both of those things, get ready to jizz wildly.

Sony is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first PlayStation console with a special PS4 model THAT LOOKS LIKE THE OLD ONE OH GOD OH GOD.

It is hard to believe that the PS1 is 20 years old, but there you go. It was released in Japan on December 3rd, 1994. So with that, Sony have produced a limited-edition PlayStation 4 in original grey and with the old logo on it.

ps4 20th 500x294 Nerdgasm: Sony release retro PS4 for 20th anniversary of PS1

There’s only going to be 12,300 of them for sale, which means they’ll be on eBay for massively hiked-up prices this week.

In a blog, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, wrote: ”The mid-90s were an exciting time for game developers, driven by the explosion of powerful but affordable 3D graphics rendering hardware and the birth of many young and adventurous development studios.”

“The original PlayStation was meant to embody that sense of adventure and discovery, that sense that anything was possible.”

What we think he means is: ‘The first Silent Hill game was great and made everyone poo in their pants and the FIFA games got really, really good too.’

If you want to see it and look at all the detailing and that, watch an unboxing of the 20th Anniversary Edition console video below.

Vodafone fancy blinkbox?

December 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

blinkbox 300x174 Vodafone fancy blinkbox?Vodafone are wandering around blinkbox, kicking it tyres and generally eyeing it up for purchase.

The phone comms giant is imagining that the purchase would give them access to content as it gears itself up to be a quad-play operator.

Troubled Tesco were looking to sell off blinkbox as part of their current ‘everything is going to shit’ period.

The supermarket acquired an 80% stake in blinkbox in April 2011, with the idea of using it to bolster sales of its digital entertainment offering.

Of course Tesco is currently under investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority following the retailer’s overstatement by £250,000,000 of expected profit for the half year, so one can imagine getting blinkbox out of the portfolio may be wise.

However, with some new and improved things added to it, the TV service might not be quite as dead as first thought, so Voadfone might be able to get a good price on it without it being a damp squib.

Blinkbox not quite dead after all

November 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

blinkbox 300x174 Blinkbox not quite dead after allBlinkbox is still a thing. Honest.

After it looked like they were dead in the water, the UK online video service has just signed a new content deal with a US film studio and added offline viewing for tablet-havers.

Blinkbox have announced a deal with Entertainment Film Distributors, who have been behind the likes of American Hustle, The Butler, Transcendence, I, Frankenstein, The Giver, Her and August: Osage County.

Speaking about the new deal, Blinkbox’s director, content acquisition and sales, said: “The new deal with EFD means we have 100% coverage of major new release movies released in the UK, strengthening our position as the UK’s go to service for those wanting to rent, buy and enjoy the latest movies and TV on multiple devices, without being tied into a subscription or one specific brand of device.”

Also in quite good developments, those who want to rent, buy and enjoy can now download films and TV to iPads and Android tablets to watch the online video service without an Internet connection, with the Watch Offline option.

Co-founder and CEO Adrian Letts added: “The ability to watch offline on tablets is one of the most frequently requested features and will transform the way many customers use blinkbox – whether that’s by allowing more freedom to watch what they want in the home – or taking their entertainment on the move.”

Google nix homophobic games and trolls

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asshunter 300x199 Google nix homophobic games and trollsGoogle have got rid of a game that required the gamer to kill gay people. Which is nice.

Ass Hunter had already been downloaded over 10,000 times and had 200 five star reviews, but was eventually pulled by Google after some people online went “Yeah, that’s a bit iffy”.

Basically you play a hunter with a shotgun – such a good look – and you must kill naked men before they approach you. Nice! If you fail to kill the naked men, they pounce upon the hunter and bum him. Enlightening.

In the description of the app, its uploaders AppDay – who sound like charmers – described Ass Hunter as a “Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can”.

When the game went up on November 5th, the description read “Popular game hunting on gays is now on Android! Play and do not be gay!” (Seriously. Someone has received money for coming up with that tagline). Making homophobia justifiable with such taglines as “Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want.” the game was also exempt from classification so anyone could download it.

Well done everyone. Genuinely, give yourselves a round of applause. Anyway, it’s gone now, but if you’re desperate there are versions of it lying around the internet.

In addition to that, Google have gone after trolls. Not particularly willingly, mind you. The internet giant lost a legal battle with a man who took them to court for extreme trolling.

Daniel Hegglin, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had took action in an attempt to block links to the “vile and abusive” posts about him from appearing in its search results. He’d been accused of being a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser by one particular troll who we could surmise ‘had some form of grudge’, with posts saying as such on over 3,600 websites. That’s literally ‘a bit too many’.

Hegglin settled the case with Google yesterday, despite Google’s lawyers suggesting that the case could have enormous implications., with the search engine basically being held up as the internet police.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for Mr Hegglin, told the court that Google had taken steps to remove the material: ”Whilst I am not in a position to disclose the details, I am pleased to report that the parties have now settled the matter,” he said. “The settlement includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material from Google hosted websites and from its search results.”

Now Hegglin plans to bring the troll to justice, however he doesn’t know who they are. Oooh – this is slightly worrying now: ”Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws.”

A Google spokesperson said the company had “reached a mutually acceptable agreement”. Now: why can’t everyone just play nicely?

Beats on all iPhones by March

November 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

beatsbydrdrelogo Beats on all iPhones by MarchApple are planning on forcing more stuff onto your iPhone. A new iOS update in March will automatically install the Beats Music app to all iPhones.

Apple bought Beats back in May for $3 billion, and it looked like they’d lost interest in it when little was mentioned of it back when they launched the iPhone 6.

This follows Apple’s foisting of U2′s latest album into everyone’s iTunes and shoving iBooks in with the iOS 8 update.

The Beats streaming service will have two different subscription plans $9.99 (£6) per month or $99.99 (£67) per year.

This will no doubt ruffle feathers going up against Spotify, who do a monthly subscription, but not an annual one as yet.

Apparently Beats Music currently has around 110,000 subscribers, which looks set to sky-rocket should Apple’s evil plan work. Can we just ban all bloatware now?

Uber cabs get Spotified up

November 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo Uber cabs get Spotified upUber have been a pain in a load of taxi driver’s necks, but the taxi firm don’t look like they’re going anywhere so everyone is just going to have to get used to it.

As well as letting you book and pay for a cab all through a mobile app, it looks like you’ll be able to act as in-car DJ as, according to a new report, the Uber app will soon let you play Spotify tunes through one of their car’s speakers.

That means you can put on your playlist that features both Barry Manilow and Ty Dolla Sign while someone drives you to the pub.

You’ll have to wait for Uber to update the Android and iOS apps to let you be the tune selecta in your cab, but it will be happening and TechCrunch have some screenshots of the new service. Drivers will need the relevant tech to make this work, so if you jump in an Uber cab and the driver is listening to 20 Greatest Roy Orbison Hits on an 8-track, you’ll have to plug your headphones in your phone if you want your own tunes.

That means drivers will have to update their Uber information to let customers know whether they’ve got an AUX input, just in case you’re the kind of person who demands control of the stereo and can’t be doing with Magic FM being played at full tilt.

Now, the screenshots shown don’t say which music company is behind the Uber music crossover, but all fingers are pointing and voices are muttering in the direction of Spotify. There’ll be a press conference later, which will confirm that it is Spotify.

Anyway, tops off. Taxi rides are about to go H.A.M.

Free stuff with the Morrisons PudPod!

November 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

pudpod hero 258x300 Free stuff with the Morrisons PudPod!There’s nothing jollier than a van done up as a massive Christmas pudding handing out treats is there? Well, there’s about 5,000,000 things more jolly.

Either way, Morrisons are sending a massive pudding on the road!

The supermarket is taking the Pud Pod – or, inevitably #pudpod – on to the road to call at 32 locations around the UK ahead of Christmas. ['The Pudmobile' would've been better - Ed.]

The mobile pudding will also be handing out vouchers and free food as part of its ‘Make Christmas Special’ campaign this season.

Shoppers that visit the #pudpod will get £5 off a Christmas shop at Morrisons and will also get free samples from the Christmas range, including mince pies, panettone, roast turkey and pigs in blankets (bacon wrapped sausages, not actual porcines in a picnic rug).

If you want to follow the #pudpod, and if you have a largish Morrisons in your manor, then it’s likely you get a visit. Gander over here for further details.

We hope that we see it hijacked and entering into a high speed chase a la OJ Simpson, for a truly wonderful festive shoot-out that sees Morrisons being the unwitting star of 24 rolling death news.