We’re about a month away from Microsoft doling out Windows 10, and for the most part, they’re giving it away for free, which seems awfully nice of them.
That said, there’s always a fair amount of trepidation when there’s a new Windows knocking about, because some releases have been so very, very abysmal. This new one is going to be used across all Microsoft devices, so they need to get it right. That includes the Xbox, and no-one wants to make gamers mad because some of them have a lot of time on their hands and a unique ability to take things personally.
The new OS will not be like previous releases, as this will be one that you get regular updates for, so you’ll always have the latest system, for no additional cost.
The Start Menu is back, and it’ll have something like the live tiles from Windows 8. There’ll also be a new browser called Microsoft Edge, which will be integrated with Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana (imagine if that old Windows animated paper clip if it could talk and flirt with Clean Bandit on the telly).
In an attempt to get this working well from the off, Microsoft developed this with the ’Insider’ programme, which basically gave Windows fanboys the chance to give the company feedback before it was unleashed on the general public.
The Windows Insider had a huge amount of numbers mucking around with Windows 10, to spot bugs and provide reports on which bits of the new operating system were frustrating or made no sense (something they’ve not done too well on in recent years). 4.4 million people signed-up to get the chance to play with Windows 10 over the last 9 months. Mercifully, it was a mixture of techie sorts as well as people ordinary folk who use computers in an every day way.
Those who helped the testing of Windows 10 used a feedback app to offer their thoughts, which Microsoft have decided to keep in the version that gets released next month, so you can tell them what does and doesn’t work.
If you want in, have a look on your toolbar and you’ll see a little Windows logo – hit that and you’ll be able to bagsy your place in the queue to get Windows 10 for free.
There’s so many apps out there, that you can mince your brain trying to find any useful ones. Well, Google is going to try and help, by pointing at their favourite free apps, so you can get all manner of things to clog up the memory on your Android phone.
Of course, there’s been a host of clunky, cumbersome free giveaways in the past, especially when the developer was offering a paid-app, for free, for a limited period.
Well, according to Android Police: “The offer isn’t immediately apparent when you first open the Play Store. A banner advertising “New Family Fun” appears at the bottom of the screen. Clicking that will take you over to the family section, where you should see another banner advertising a free app of the week from PBS Kids. The banner doesn’t tell you specifically which app is up for grabs, which is kind of awkward. When you click to get more information, the purchase prompt pops up instead.”
There, you’ll see that the pop-up will show you which app is being given away for. You might not want what is being offered, but it is worth checking, in case you do, as it won’t cost you anything.
So go to your Play Store page now, and have a look and obviously, keep checking back in.
So how does it work? Well, go to your pharmacy and ask for the minor ailments scheme form, and fill out your order, and you could get your meds through your NHS contributions.
This scheme is meant only for baby and children’s medication, and is there to alleviate the burden on the NHS. If you don’t need to go to your GP, you don’t have to.
If you want more information on this, the NHS have a page about it all, which is helpful.
There’s a search engine about the minor ailments scheme, which you can check out by clicking here. Not all pharmacies run a minor ailment service, sadly. If you have a Boots nearby, they’re on-board with the scheme. You can check out their information on it all, here.
Basically, if you just need some Calpol or nappy rash cream, you can avoid the wait at the GP’s and get it for free at participating pharmacies. This scheme has been around for a while, but it seems there’s a lot of people out there who still aren’t aware of it, so have a look into it and make the most of this very useful service for new parents which will save you time, as well as money.
If you’re an adult picking up a prescription, there’s also a thing where you can save money. In some cases, picking up a private prescription is significantly cheaper than doing it through the NHS. Have a look here for more details on that.
Would you believe it! Adobe’s Photoshop is now 25 years old! In all that time, it has changed the way we view things – some tasteful, some awful, some so funny you wish you could Photoshop the urine from your trousers from laughing at a model with three limbs.
Anyway, Photoshop isn’t cheap to those who want to play around with photo editing software now and again, rather than spend their time using it like a pro. Of course, there’s people who will swear by it, but if you’re looking for a free alternative, then there’s a number of programmes you can try.
Whether you’re looking de-wrinkling yourself or just cropping photos and making a collage of something, there’s a load of options you can get stuck into.
Naturally, if you know how to get cracked products from torrents, then this might not be the best list for you. Indeed, there are other round-ups of alternatives available online for paid-for products, but for the best free PS alternatives, these could be just the trick for you.
Seven Best Free Photoshop Alternatives
This open-source programme is a good all-rounder and available for OS X, Windows and Linux. It takes a little while to get your head around it, but once you do, you can manage all manner of things with it. Very good indeed and
A capable, solid image editor with resizing and touch-up tools for you to use. This one is liked because it is more straightforward than some others, so won’t batter your brains with impenetrable jargon.
Pixlr has a decent tool for everything you’re likely to want to do to an image unless you’re a graphic designer. However, some of Pixlr’s advanced apps ask you for an annual subscription.
PicMonkey is free, browser-based image editor with a solid feature set for simple photo touchups, adding text to images and adding frames. Images can be taken from a computer or various cloud services, including Dropbox and Flickr. A paid-for upgrade removes the ads and gives access to more fonts and effects.
tor is a free image editor that’s available on just about any platform either in app or web app from. It has a good selection of tools, each with an easy-to-use sliding scale of effect. Batch editing is a bonus, as are the filter tools.
Easy to use and great for simple cropping and photo manipulation. You can’t do gigantic amounts with it, but if you want something simple to sort out some pictures, this freebie is the job for you.
A browser equivalent of Photoshop is a decent photo editor. Again, some of the more advanced features will cost you, but if you want to resize something, crop it or another basic edit, then this is worth checking out.
It is the year 2015, and Premier Inn have finally realised that they can give their WiFi out to everyone for free! While it stands to reason that they should’ve been doing this ages ago, this is good news because it might well put pressure on other hotel chains to do the same.
So what do Premier Inn have to say?
“You’ve told us you love having WiFi when you stay but that you don’t like paying. Well, we’ve listened to you and now you can check your emails, search the web and update your Facebook status without paying a penny. WiFi is now totally free throughout your stay.”
Basically, when you get to your room, you look for ‘Premier Inn Free Wi-Fi’ in the list of available networks, and you’re away.
That’s a basic connection though. If you want to stream films or download large files, then you’ll have to upgrade to ‘Ultimate Wi-Fi’, which is 8 times faster than the freebie, and will cost you £5 for 24 hours. That’ll be found under ‘Premier Inn Ultimate Wi-Fi’.
There we have it – if you’re wanting to muck around on Twitter while sat in your hotel, knock yourself out. If you want to download dirty videos, it’ll cost you.
If, for some reason, this article didn’t provide enough information for you, then click here to see Premier Inn blathering on.
Amazon customers will be able to partake in a huge app giveaway, with a bundle worth $220 (£140) from the Amazon appstore.
The promotion will start tomorrow (December 24th) and will run until Boxing Day (December 26th) and will be doling out a number of apps for free, that usually cost you money. Amazon have done things like this before and they’ve given away some really cool apps.
This bundle includes apps and games from Sega, Rovio and Halfbrick Studios, so there’ll be some goodies to download. One of the apps being given away normally costs $64.99, which is pretty exciting.
Next August, it will return for a 7th time, which means that there’s probably people who won’t go because they liked it before everyone knew about it. You’ve met the sorts. The kind of people who like to keep everything to themselves so they can say they’re bored when anyone brings anything up.
Anyway, if you have some hipsters in the family and want to get them a nice present or, indeed, you’re a bunch of people considering going to Soundwave, you need to know about this deal.
On the bill are Alice Russell, Fatima, LTJ Bukem, Deep Medi gaffer, Mala. More acts will be announced at it’ll have the usual film screenings, food and occasional nudity and people puking up yellow foam from taking too many pills and the like, just like a proper festival.
The error, which occured between 7pm and 8pm on Friday, could cost retailers – who use the tool RepricerExpress – thousands of pounds.
So what happened? Well, this software balls-up has seen hundreds of items sold for just 1p. The tool, which promises to “auto-optimise” prices on behalf of retailers, allowing them to “sell more and keep listings competitive 24/7 without constant attention”.
While those who spotted the glitch, ramraided the site for tat they didn’t necessarily need and wanged on about it on Twitter, the retailers being hit are mainly small companies, and family-run set-ups.
Well what did Brendan Doherty, the RepricerExpress CEO, have to say about the matter?: “I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error. We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Amazon said the majority of orders were cancelled immediately and confirmed it would be working with sellers who had seen orders processed.
A spokesman for Amazon said: “We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk.”
“We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.”
After a little digging, we found that M&S have broken the law because they didn’t write to customers to inform them that they could pay their balance off early if they wanted to and that customers were also permitted to pay off any amount they wanted, at any time.
Legally, they are required to do that, so those who haven’t received such correspondence have been finding seemingly random amounts of money coming to them, which is a nice early Christmas present, you have to say.
There have been some letters of apology sent out, but not to all customers, and some have received hundreds of pounds. In one instance, a customer was given £600, which is not to be sniffed at. Another customer received a BACS transfer for £1,467, which is thought to be the interest paid on the loan from when the loan was first taken out to the present day.
If you have a loan with M&S and think you might be in with a shout of a loan, then you can either trust them to sort it out for you (good luck with that) or, you can give them a ring to see what the score is.
Call the M&S Personal Loan number, which is 0800 363 400 and hopefully, you’ll be having a festive period that is much more suave than you anticipated. Let us know how you get on.
If you’re doing all your shopping online this Christmas, and miss the mayhem of the high street, don’t worry your peculiar little head about it. That’s because GAME (stop shouting) have released a game you can play called ‘Christmas Shopper Simulator’.
So what exciting things can you do? Well, you can buy things and go up escalators and, most importantly for the Christmas shopper, you can walk into people and be a thunderous pain in the hole by stopping abruptly. Basically, GAME have made something a bit like Goat Simulator, taking something mundane and making it utterly preposterous.
And it is completely free.
GAME says: “Prepare to be mildly thrilled and as excited as is reasonable to expect… Introducing Christmas Shopper Simulator! Embark on an epic quest to do a bit of Christmas shopping, complete with all the disappointment, frustration and suspension of the laws of physics that you’d find in a real shopping centre!”
They add that you can: “Complete missions in order to give your day, and indeed your entire existence a whole new degree of meaning!” as well as; “wonder constantly whether there’s something more important you could be doing!”
Not a bad little PR stunt and you can watch the video below or, if you’re wanting to go straight to GAME to get it for nothing, click here.
The Co-op have unveiled a new promotion!
Entitled Swipe and Win, any Co-op member can swipe their card in a food store, and then get entered into a daily draw thing where there’s a prize budget of £1.3m, with booty such as vouchers, tellies and fridge freezers.
There’ll also be instant prizes such as a £20 voucher or just some freebies. The promotion runs until December 9th, so you’ve got a good couple of weeks or so to try your luck.
Steve Murrells, CEO retail at The Co-op Group said “We hope our members will enjoy taking part in Swipe and Win,”
“Of course, there are many other facets to membership of The Co-operative which enables people to have a say in the running of the business, join campaigns and to take part in organised events with other members.”
Hark at him with his ‘facets’.
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.
They say: “We’re so confident in our broadband that we’re offering existing Sky TV customers the ability to switch to Sky Broadband Unlimited on a 3 month free trial. If you’re not happy within 3 months you can leave without paying a thing.”
If you’re not a Sky TV customer, you can go whistle.
This ‘no commitment’, ‘no set-up cost’ and ‘no line rental cost’ is helped by the fact that, if you already have Sky TV, half the hard work is already done and they don’t have to send a man ’round your house to fix it up for you.
After the trial, if you like Sky’s service, it’ll cost you £7.50 per month and a Sky line rental will cost you £16.40 per month. There’s cheaper deals out there, that’s for sure.
If that sounds like your thing, visit Sky’s offer page.
Basically, London Transport are doing a couple of free days – Friday 14 & 28 November – which is on offer to those who pay with contactless or MasterCard.
You’ll need to register first, obviously. That’s what sensible people do.
The ins and outs are:
- Your card will be charged and then refunded within 28 days
- There’s a maximum refund of £21.80 a day, which is the price of daily peak cap zones 1-9 plus Watford Junction
- It’ll work on the tube, buses, DLR, Overground, tram and most national rail services (normal contactless coverage)
So again, you will need to register your card before midnight on the 14th and 28th November or it will mean nothing and you’ll be that complete mug paying for travel while everyone else lords it up for free.
Except it’s actually food that’s been chucked out by supermarkets and restaurants, ethically sourced from skips and the like.
Skipchen [urgh - Ed.] is being run as a not-for-profit cafe in Stokes Croft by campaigners highlighting the amount of edible food that is thrown away.
Naturally the venue varies from day to day, but there’s been such delights as lobster, gorgonzola omelettes and seafood platters.
Skipchen cafe manager Sam Joseph said: “We see them do it and get the food out and into a refrigerator straight away. We have a real mix of people coming to the cafe and they sit on two long tables, so you could have a businessman sitting next to someone who is homeless one lunchtime,” said Mr Joseph, before bursting into a rendition of Another Day in Paradise.
“People sometimes think they will be taking food from the needy when they come to us but the truth is there is so much to go round.”
It’s not all just ropey off-cuts, as they’ve also made a deal with Nando’s to take spare chickens from their bins. Sounds delightful doesn’t it? Bin chicken! Mmmmmmmm!
The cafe is the second of its type opened by The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP). The first opened in Leeds nine months ago.