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.

New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

BlackBerry have announced a new smartphone that harks back to yore.

The company’s new Classic smartphone has a qwerty keyboard, trackpad and the usual buttons along with a touch screen. Just look at it would you?

blackberry 500x371 New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

Chief Executive Officer John Chen said at an event in New York: “When I went to visit customers — and these are the CEOs of top banks in this town – a lot of them pulled out their BlackBerrys. Don’t mess around with this thing.”

This brings BlackBerry full circle, after the touch screen efforts that fell flat with regular BlackBerry fans, and people fled the company due to it.

And it all looks quite promising, as pre-orders for it have outstripped demand for any BlackBerry item of recent years. So it’s all looking hopeful for the beleagured firm.

BlackBerry is currently selling the Classic for $449 in the U.S. with a view to introducing it elsewhere in the new year.

BT to buy EE?

December 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bt logo BT to buy EE?As we’ve previously touched on, BT have money burning a hole in their pocket and they want to buy something with it, fast. The telco have entered exclusive talks with the owners of EE for a potential £12.5 billion deal.

If it goes ahead, it will give BT the top slot in mobile as well as fixed line services.

BT had been chatting with Telefonica over purchasing O2, however it seems things have moved on and BT now expects further negotiations with EE’s owners to take several weeks to reach a definitive agreement.

If it does happen, BT will pay for EE using half cash and half shares to make the 12.5 billion price tag. Deutsche Telekom will get a 12% stake in BT and the right to appoint one board member while France’s Orange will get more cash and only a 4% stake in BT.

Recent valuations have had EE last month at nearer £11 billion pounds, and O2 at £9.4 billion. However, combining the whole thing could face higher regulatory hurdles than a deal for Telefonica’s O2.

According to Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive Tim Hoettges: “If no significant obstacles arise in the due diligence process, it will pass quickly”.

BT have chipped in by saying that buying the UK’s biggest mobile network would allow it to give their customers seamless access to the internet via wi-fi and fibre broadband.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

zzzw Ofcom survey suggests EE   good, and BT   badIn some peculiar news, EE have been said to do quite well customer satisfaction-wise, according to Ofcom.

While not top, EE still scooped 69% satisfaction rate with customers with their services, whereas BT at the other end of the spectrum BT has been declared the worst.

This rum state of affairs is seemingly at odds with all what we know.

Ofcom’s – them again – latest customer satisfaction levels study, assessed customer satisfaction across the board for Pay TV, landline, Mobile, and Broadband – both fixed and mobile.

O2 were the victors of the survey, with a 78% positive reaction.

Ofcom said: “Overall customer service satisfaction scores for 3/Three, EE, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone are all in line with the 2014 sector average and none of these providers’ overall scores significantly increased from 2013 (where comparable)”

Over on the landlines, Sky topped the survey with a 79% customer satisfaction rate, shading BT’s 40% complaint rate. Ofcom popped up at the fence again, shifted its bosoms and said: “BT’s overall satisfaction score (60%) was significantly lower than average. They also performed below average on specific customer service measures including speed and ease of getting through to the right person, time taken to handle issues and offering compensation or a goodwill payment”.

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

Vodafone ‘Black Friday’ LG mess

December 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

BLACK FRIDAY1 300x300 Vodafone Black Friday LG messBlack Friday hasn’t quite gone away, thanks to the administrative mess that has been left behind. Tesco have been having woe with their Click & Collect service and now, Vodafone have their knickers in a twist as well.

You may recall that you could get a LG G2 from Vodafone for £150, which people were very excited about. There were a load of orders and, it looks like Vodafone may have overreached and now there’s a number of complaints about it all.

There’s been delays on sending out the handsets and it appears, from the outside looking in, that Vodafone took orders far in excess of the stock they actually had. Customers have seen money taken from their accounts, but as yet, no mobile has been delivered.

Most customers have received numerous texts since the Black Friday sale, all saying “we’ll update you in 10 days time”, which isn’t exactly instilling confidence into those who have parted with their cash.

One said: “I wanted to give them the chance to deliver within the original 1-2 week time frame. I have severe doubts that this will happen now as they have extended the response window beyond that. If it turns out I don’t get the phone I won’t be that bothered about the phone, I can just buy another somewhere else. What I will be complaining about is the circus that everyone has been put through.”

It all looks like a bit of shambles.

Vodafone have also been telling puzzled customers by saying that they’ve been waiting for the manufacturers to hurry up and that “service request closed”, which, from what we can glean, can ostensibly be ignored by anyone who has already ordered the LG G2. This message, sent out in a scattergun fashion, seems to be aimed at those who are trying to order the device from this point onward.

The worry there is that Vodafone have run out of these phones, which means further waiting for customers. We spoke to Vodafone, and their representative said that the company have “received the stock of new orders lately”, which suggests strongly that they didn’t have the stock for the amount of orders they took. Customers who have received confusing texts from Vodafone, and who don’t mind waiting for their order, can basically ignore correspondence.

However, if you’re in a rush because you bought this phone to use now, or as a Christmas present for someone, then things are trickier. The way to get this sorted is to speak to the online orders team, but we found that, when we rang, we were passed around from the online orders team, to the refund team, back to online orders, then back to the refund lot, then back to the online crew again. With a phone not delivered for 12 days, with little explanation, the whole thing is immensely frustrating.

Some have noted phonecalls that have lasted for 2 hours, so there’s no quick fix to be found… yet.

We’ll continue looking into this, and of course, if any of the readers stumble across a way around this, leave a comment or contact us on one of the social media channels and we’ll share your wisdom.

It’s not like Vodafone to get on everyone’s nerves is it?

apple logo Theres a new iPhone afoot   lets make stuff up about it!If you stand on any given spot on Earth on any given day, of any year, pick your nose and flick the bogey and you will almost certainly land on a rumour about a new Apple product.

It is our job to report on all these rumours, on the vague chance of grabbing some of that lovely internet traffic.

So what’s happening now? Well of course, no-one really knows, but it won’t stop anyone writing about it. The most common muttering concerns the iPhone 7 (or maybe it’ll be the iPhone 6S?) which is going to happen next year. Definitely. Probably.

There’s even rumours about the spec of the damn thing which may or may not exist because Apple and Tim Cook haven’t actually said anything about it.

It is thought that the new phone will drop in September or October 2015, which would make sense if Apple are going for the Christmas shopping market, but of course, with no-one actually saying anything about a phone, we could say just about any quarter of the year and try and justify it. What will the phone be like? Well, we can assume that the next iPhone will be thinner and lighter, have a better screen resolution and some improvements to well-loved apps. You can say that about most new mobiles though.

But we like to jump on the anticipation early, so we can say “told you so” when something more concrete emerges.

There’s further rumours (we haven’t checked, but it is likely someone has said it) that they’ll be aiming at two markets again, with a cheaper handset and the usual premium brand one. So basically, that covers both angles and we can now assume there’s going to be a more affordable iPhone 6S and a pricier iPhone 7.

So there you have it. An article about an iPhone or two that may or may not exist, but probably will because we all know how mobile phone flogging works now. And to be on the safe side, we’ll mention ‘Apple Fanboyz’ and some glib remark about ‘Android’ either against or in favour of it.

Expect to see this article, in it’s essence, on various website around the internet until late next year, possibly with some patent diagrams attached to it.

Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habits

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

pavlok Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habitsHave you got a load of bad habits? Silly question. Bitterwallet readers are the most debauched ne’er-do-wells on the internet. Do you want to do anything about those habits? On the incredibly slim chance that you do, then you’re in for a shock.

You can get yourself a Pavlok wristband which will electrocute you in a bid to stop you eating too much or whacking one off in front of The One Show.

The electrifying bracelet has raised around £160,000 through crowdfunding thing, Indiegogo, which is well in advance of what they were asking for initially. You can pre-order one for $199.99 (which is around £130) and will be released in 2015.

The producers are calling it the “personal coach on your wrist” and it will give you an electric shock and, it goes without saying, certain Bitterwallet readers will be thinking of new, dirty bad habits they can do with a electrified strap.

You get an app with the wristband. One is an alarm clock that will jolt you out of bed in a morning. Another is called ‘Productive’, which keeps tabs on your internet habits and if you start dossing off work, you’ll get volts in your arm. The last is called ‘Fit’, which presumably will give you a shock when you stop running or something.

It’ll be open-source too, so you can integrate it with other apps and do what you like with it. You can also set it up so friends can send electricity through your limbs for whatever reason.

The Pavlok website refers to itself in grandiose terms that would make Kanye blush: “Pavlok doesn’t just track what you do – it transforms who you are. You’ll wish you had started today.”

The company say that you can also set it up so that the Pavlok will “shock you when you text your ex-lover” or “beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald’s”.

So there you have it. You can turn yourself into one of Pavlov’s dogs (hence the product name) by electro-shocking yourself to change your habits. Marvellous. Please don’t send us the videos you make where you’ve got 5 Pavloks crammed into your undercrackers.

Three to fight BT for mobiles

November 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

three1 300x292 Three to fight BT for mobilesWith BT looking at getting back in the mobile market, by gobbling up EE or O2, it seems their momentum may be scuppered by Hutchison Whampoa, who just so happen to own mobile operator Three.

Turns out that they want to make a bid on the two providers that BT are sniffing around.

Of course, neither of these potential takeovers have been approved by the UK and European regulators, so we could end up with both parties walking away without a scalp.

Of the two though, the least complicated deal would concern O2. EE, meanwhile, are the biggest carrier in Britain, which means they can haggle on price and call the shots more than their rival.

The size of EE is a problem too, as it is almost certain that watchdogs would have to get involved to make sure there wasn’t a monopoly starting and that the acquisition wasn’t anti-competitive. Naturally, O2 doesn’t share that problem, which means it would be a much simpler transaction.

Looks like BT want to throw some money around before Christmas is done though, so watch this space.

iPhone users most prone to accidents

November 28th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

apple logo on broken screen computer wallpaper 1920x1200 3209 300x187 iPhone users most prone to accidentsiPhone users are bloody clumsy, according to a new report.

Almost half of all users of the iPhone admitted to accidents such as sitting on it, dropping it in the loo or knocking booze over it.

The report from Lightspeed/ GMI also revealed that one fifth of the Britons had damaged their phone to the extent it needed replacing.

27% had sat on the thing, another eight had stood on it and, well, 1% admitted to microwaving it. The clots.

Android users are nearly as clown-handed with their handsets, with 41% claiming a mishap, Windows phone users followed with 38%.

The only thing on phones that people said they would pay to get fixed was the call function. As in, the actual point of the handset. Which is some good news. 63% would live happily with a cracked screen and 45% aren’t that arsed about software updates either.

The brilliantly named Ralph Risk, marketing director Europe at Lightspeed GMI, said: “Manufacturers might want to think about ways to make phones more appealing – particularly as the market is at saturation point” (water resistance, smash proof and drop proof features were all found to be appealing to users).”

“Technical gizmos are all well and good, but there’s a real opportunity to make them people-proof too… throw in a no-quibble replacement insurance policy for the chewed, cooked, squashed, soaked or dropped phone, and there may be a new revenue stream for manufacturers,” he said.

GMI’s online panel had previously done a survey in October 2014 with 1,000 respondents who all owned smartphones. 54.5% were Android users, 29% had an iPhone, Windows phone users accounted for 9.5% and the likes of Blackberrys counted for 7%.

Twitter introduces Offers

November 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitter offers 300x277 Twitter introduces OffersTwitter have just introduced a new thing called Offers to US users.

Twitter will work with a variety of brands to offer up deals on various things, and they’ll be able to redeem discounts from the social network.

Once an offer gets linked to your card, you can then use it to buy where the discount will be activated. Also, Twitter will also be able to focus deals to particular users based on their Twitter habits and which brands they engage the most with.

According to a Twitter blog post: “Starting today (in the US only), we’re beginning to test a new way for advertisers to connect with consumers on Twitter and convert them to loyal customers in their stores, on their websites and in their apps.”

“This feature, Twitter Offers, enables advertisers to create card-linked promotions and share them directly with Twitter users. As we continue to learn and improve based on the experience of our advertisers and users, we’ll make this feature available for more advertisers.”

It sounds a bit Groupony to be honest, but no doubt we’ll embrace it when it arrives over here at some point in the New Year.

How To… deal with nuisance texts that cost you money

November 25th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

mobile apps How To... deal with nuisance texts that cost you moneyWe received a message from someone who had been receiving nuisance texts from a company called ‘Mobjizz’. Stop laughing at the back there. This company send you links to mucky things and charge you for the privilege.

The message reads: “I have been receiving dirty texts from this company mobjizz for the past 3 weeks and have checked my mobile phone bill and I have been charged £6.”

“I don’t go on these kind of sites and have never heard of this company before. The number I get these texts from are different every time, like ’69029′ or ‘Hardcore’. These messages contain links and have an option to replying back with STOP to stop these messages. I have never clicked on the links or replied STOP, I just delete the texts straight away.”

There’s a whole host of companies out there who do this sort of thing, so what can you do to ensure it stops happening to you?

Well, for starters, if you look in the settings on your phone, you should be able to block certain numbers. However, if the company has a variety of numbers from which they spam you, that’s no use. Worth doing all the same. Also, do NOT reply with ‘STOP’ in a bid to end these texts. That just lets the spammers know your number is active, meaning they can send you loads of rubbish.

As far as the law is concerned, just like unsolicited recorded message calls, the general rule is that organisations are prohibited from sending marketing texts to individuals without the prior consent of the recipient. However, according to Ofcom: “However, the law also provides that an organisation may send unsolicited texts in circumstances where:

- the organisation has obtained the recipient’s contact details in the course of a sale (or negotiations for the sale) of a product of service to that recipient;

- the text message relates to similar products or services offered by the sender; and

- the recipient has been given a simple means of opting-out of receiving such messages at the time they provided their contact details and at the time of each subsequent communication.”

If you’d like to stop receiving marketing texts, you can report the text to your network operator, who should be able to prevent further messages. To report a marketing text to Orange, O2, T-Mobile, or 3, simply forward the text to 7726. For Vodafone users, forward the text to 87726. You can remember this number easily because, on your phone, ’7726′ spells out the word ‘SPAM’. Operators have been known to refund money taken from such texts, so don’t be shy in asking them about it. The mobile operators can put a block on any company with a 5-digit code (which is usually used by companies like these).

In addition to this, you can get in touch with the ICO who can take action against companies and investigate spammers. You can call them at 0303 123 1113 or visit their website. You can also call Ofcom’s helpline at 0300 123 3333.

You can also get in touch with PhonePayPlus and make a complaint about one of these companies. They have a ready-made online claim form which you can use. Have a look at that here.

Google make Christmas shopping easier

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.

The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.

Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.

Google Mobile 151x300 Google make Christmas shopping easier

Oooh.

Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?

Cab app price war equals cheapness

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

taxi 300x200 Cab app price war equals cheapnessTaxi apps. They’re at WAR.

The price war between the apps has heated up as the festive season encroaches, and London-based app Get Taxi has just gone hardcore on their competitor’s arses with bargain pricing.

The company will charge just a fiver to travel up to six miles in London, and the app will make up the rest of the fare.

This follows Uber’s fares being reduced by almost half.

Just as an example of the dimensions of this deal, a usual fare from Get Taxi around London is £30.

UK chief executive, Remo Gerber reckons: “There’s a lot of competition over the app makers and to a certain degree you need to think of things that you can do to stand out from the crowd.”

Hailo, Kabbee, Taxibeat and Maaxi are also attempting to gain market share in the UK, which has forced some minicab firms to lower their prices to compete.

There’s an increasing amount of competition from dozens of apps, and so it’s genuinely quite cheap to cab it up in the big cities at the moment. So take advantage and get ready for a LOT of Magic FM.

BT to buy back O2?

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Picture 22 BT to buy back O2?Remember when BT used to own O2? Well, they’re in ”highly preliminary” talks about buying it back. In a statement, they also said that they were in talks with another mobile network too, but they were keeping quiet on that.

We think that it is EE, for the record.

BT said: “BT Group notes the recent press speculation relating to a potential transaction involving Telefónica UK (O2) in the UK. We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements.”

“We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK.”

“We have received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business. All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur.”

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”