So what do you do? Or what do you need to do if it is a member of your family or a friend who wants in on this service?
What To Do
First, dial 195 and ask for the registration department. If you prefer, you can just dial 0800 587 0195. Then, a form will be sent out to you, to fill in.
This is likely to need confirmation from your doctor, nurse or consultant, just so you can confirm that you have problems accessing information through the usual channels.
Once everything has been okayed, you’ll be issued with a PIN card and once you have that, you can use it within a couple of days of it being issued.
Then, to actually use the service, dial 195, where you’ll be asked for your PIN and your name. Once that is confirmed, you can use directory enquiries for free.
The millions of people who have a Tesco credit cards have some bad news this morning – Tesco have halved the value of the ClubCard points they get. This is thanks to new laws that have forced a number of high street lenders to pull back on their cashback offers.
Regarding Tesco, around 2.8m make savings with Clubcard points if they use their Tesco credit card, which can be redeemed at a host of places and businesses.
However, as of November, Tesco Bank will halve the earnings that customers make on shopping they’ve bought outside of Tesco. The company said that this new ruling was “disappointing” but they had to do it thanks to an EU cap on the amount card providers earn from shops.
With Tesco being a big player, it is obvious that if they reduce their deals, other businesses will follow.
A number of banks have dropped their incentives too, such as RBS and NatWest, with the closure of the ‘YourPoints’ scheme that paid 1p per £2 on purchases. They’ll also be getting rid of the Cashback Plus credit card bonuses at the end of the month.
This could well mean that Sainsbury’s Nectar points will be affected, as well as the cashback paid on Santander’s 123 Credit Card.
Credit card issuers earn money from each customer thanks to these incentives. A Tesco spokesperson said: ”We use that income to fund the Clubcard benefits we give back to our customers. As a result, we’ve had to make some changes to the amount of points our customers earn.”
“We are disappointed that the industry changes have resulted in the need to reduce the Clubcard earn rate on our cards when they are used outside of Tesco.”
Well, Sony have unveiled a new service called Vote to Play, where you can vote for the games you’d like to be able to get for free. The game with the most votes will be free on PlayStation Plus, and two other games will be discounted in the process.
If you are thinking that you don’t want to read this any more and get straight at Vote To Play, and get a good look at it, switch your console on and have a look at the ‘What’s New’ section, okay?
John Koller VP of Platforms Marketing at SCEA, said: “I’m thrilled to announce a new PlayStation Plus promotion that literally puts the choice in your hands – Vote to Play.”
Granted, that isn’t a fascinating insight from Koller, but it is proof that it is happening and that we’re not making things up. Whether or not the games will be any good, is another matter entirely.
This feature will be available to both PS4 and PS3 owners, and according to Sony, it will “take place at regular intervals throughout the year.” So it isn’t likely to be a monthly occurrence.
Nothing has been said about when the first votes will take place, and if you’re thinking that this is just the thing to entice you into buying a PS+ account, remember this – you stop getting access to the games if you stop paying for PlayStation Plus, so often, it is worth looking to buy the game on the cheap elsewhere.
To celebrate the second birthday of Chromecast, there’s free rental on a bunch of films, so how do you get at them? Well, open up Chrome on your desktop and through the Chromecast extension (install it if you haven’t), visit this website and ‘redeem all offers’.
You’ll then need to click the Google Play offer in the top corner of the page, and boom! You’ll have a rental voucher for free. It can be applied when you checkout any film on the Play Store.
Now, it doesn’t work in all countries, but seeing as it is such a simple process, you may as well see if it works for you. It might tell you that you’ve “redeemed the maximum number of free rentals”, so it seems there’s a limit on the offer too. It has worked for some UK-dwellers.
HD movies are available too, so knock yourself out with some free films.
Sky are offering Sky Fibre broadband, which would cost you £10 a month usually, free for 12 months. Is there a catch? Course there is. However, if you were thinking about switching to Sky, then this is worth a gander.
This offer is extended to anyone who is switching to Sky Fibre when they take Sky line rental. Sky say that there is no obligation beyond the one-year contract. The line rental is £16.40 per month.
Of course, with this deal, there’s a 25GB download limit to contend with too. That means you can stream around 4 or 5 films in HD and that’s your lot. It might not be enough if you’ve got a family who are all using the internet all the time.
However, if you have basic needs for your internet usage, then this isn’t a bad introductory deal and worth having a look at if you want to save a tenner a month.
That said, it is worth shopping around because, for just shy of £20 per month, there might be a host of other, more preferable contracts that will tickle your pickle.
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.