loom bands Dad gets slapped with £1,792 phone bill over daughters loom band videosLoom-bands – elastic bands masquerading as craft – as really captured the imagination of the young people of the world.

One young lady called Trinity Groves was such a fan, that she watched tutorial videos so she could improve her looming. However, in the process, she ran up an enormous phone bill over a fortnight after her home’s WiFi stopped working.

Her dad, Philip, was blissfully unaware she’d been using Vodafone’s premium rates to get online, and after 28 hours of videos, dad got the unpleasant surprise of a £1,792 phone bill.

Philip is not happy at all. He said: “She was only learning how to make loom bands so she could trade them with her pals. We thought we were using the WiFi for a good fortnight and there was nothing to suggest it had disconnected.”

“We didn’t know we were using up all these charges for the internet at a premium rate. As far as I was aware, the WiFi was connected. I wasn’t informed otherwise. If a phone company sees a discrepancy in your bill or a huge surge in usage surely they have an obligation to let you know?”

“Suddenly I had this bill through from them on my doorstep, demanding all this money. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Now they are threatening to take me to court – it’s frightening that they can bully you this way. I might have to sell my van just to afford it, but I rely on that for my livelihood. I don’t know where to turn.”

After disputing the bill, Philip got another kick in the groin when Vodafone informed him that he was now blacklisted. They still want paying too.

Philip added: “They cut me off within five minutes. I told them I was going to go to an ombudsman but they have done nothing. They have just demanded I pay £1,410 by next week but I have been out of work recently because of an operation, I can’t afford it. How many of their clients pay this much for their internet? It’s disgusting. I have always had good a credit rating but since this, I have not been able to get a loan or anything.”

Trinity isn’t happy either, saying: “When I come home from school I usually get my phone and all my loom bands… I used to love watching the tutorial videos but now I know it cost my dad £1,792 I have had to stop watching them – it’s made me very sad.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “We can only confirm at this stage that we will launch a thorough investigation into the matter. We will then get back in touch with the customer once our inquires are concluded.”

Nokia now goes by the name of Lumia

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia lumia logo 300x168 Nokia now goes by the name of LumiaAfter reporting that the Microsoft looked like they were offing Nokia, it’s now official.

Microsoft could keep hold of the name for another ten years, but obviously thought “no, that’s it, you’re dead to us!” and will now be known as the not-at-all catchy ‘Microsoft Lumia’.

The Nokia brand had been visible on recent smartphone launches such as the Lumia 930 and Lumia 735, but Microsoft has not mentioned it in any press on marketing junk.

The Windows Phone apps have also been re-branded to Lumia, and the firm hasn’t even been referring to Windows Phone in advertising, instead using just Windows instead.

The rebranding will roll out across various countries in due course, however it is unclear what branding Microsoft will decide to use on future smartphones and tablets.

Existing devices carry the Nokia logo on the front and back so it will probably be a little while for new devices all branded and sexed up to arrive.

Still. No more Nokia! The name of a mobile giant is chucked in the bin just like that. We’ll be playing ‘Snake’ all night and crying while seeing if it is possible to actually break a Nokia 3310 without the use of nuclear weapons.

Sky to launch mobile service

October 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

sky Sky to launch mobile serviceSky have had a nice chat with a number of 3G and 4G operators as they weigh-up whether or not to launch their own mobile services in the United Kingdom.

Sky has been making eyes at Vodafone, EE and O2 about a potential deal, and presumably, will be going with the most lucrative offer, rather than the one that will serve their customers the best. Have you ever tried to watch satellite television when the weather is a bit lousy?

Instead of your TV disrupted by a threat of rain, it’ll you be you screaming down the phone: “HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLO? HEL- MUM? HELLO? CAN Y- OH FORGET IT.”

Anyway, with a number of Sky’s competitors offering mobile and broadband packages, it looks like they’ll be going ahead with it, offering mobile services under their own brand.

Sky’s Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch said the company always “remains open to opportunities”.

He said the mobile market is something that Sky “keeps a close eye on”, adding: ”If we thought there was strong customer demand, then we can be in a good place to respond. We’ve got a very significant customer base already that we know we can cross-sell into very successfully.”

Does anyone want to make a joke about Murdoch and phone-tapping so we don’t have to?

Microsoft to launch new smartwatch for Christmas

October 20th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

new microsoft logo 300x110 Microsoft to launch new smartwatch for ChristmasFirst Apple announce theirs and suddenly everyone’s launching a smartwatch. Microsoft are the latest to get in on the wrist-action and it is rumoured they’ll have a smartwatch due to launch within weeks.

While there’s no word on an exact date as yet, reports suggest that Microsoft would like it out before Christmas. And, ideally, before Apple.

There’s also rumours that the device will offer a two-day battery life, which shades the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear 2′s everyday charging needs.

The Microsoft smartwatch will also have compatibility for multiple operating systems, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone, and Forbes claims it will also be the first wearable to feature an always-on heart rate sensor, making use of Microsoft’s Kinect technology.

According to a report: “When it comes to battery life, Microsoft may benefit from its historic expertise in software, allowing it to create sensor integrations that boost the device’s power train efficiency.”

Microsoft has yet to comment on the speculation. They’re just offering us “GO AWAY” at the moment.

Facebook to save your life

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook to save your lifeFacebook are bringing out a new feature that will tell people that you’re okay during a disaster.

While nobody likes to think about such things, increasingly, social media is keyed into every element of modern life, so a move like this is fairly inevitable.

Plus, like, the world is in a bit of pickle innit?

Called Safety Check, the service lets you input whether you are safe or not in the affected area. That, of course, is down to things like your situation not being one where there’s a bomb that wipes out communication or something like that.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced ‘Safety Check’ while in Japan, where they’ve had their unfair share of natural disasters.

If Facebook notices that you are using a device in an affected area during a natural disaster like an earthquake, it will ask: ‘Are you safe?’ Presuming you’re emotionally stable enough to be checking your phone and not crying at the sky, you can confirm or deny.

Location is determined by the city listed in your profile, and your last location if you use the ‘Nearby Friends’ thing or the city where you are using the internet. It can be used around the world on Android, iOS and on computers.

The company says that this development came about from the Disaster Message Board that was created by Facebook after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Naomi Gleit, vice president of product management at Facebook, said:  “Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organisations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.”

“If you’re ever in a situation that would require you to use Safety Check, we hope it’s a tool that helps you stay connected to those you care about, and gives you the comfort of knowing your loved ones are safe.”

Careless: Whisper

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

whisper Careless: Whisper Whisper is the app that reckons you can share secrets with, without it being retraced back to you… except it’s not particularly good at it.

According to a Guardian report, the service is tracking people who don’t want to be tracked, and there are some issues around privacy which are a little alarming.

It transpires that Whisper are apparently sharing information with the US Department of Defense and is retaining user’s posts in a searchable database.

The Guardian claims that four days after learning about the report, Whisper changed its terms of service, allowing the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the app’s location feature.

According to Whisper: “Even for users who opt into geolocation services, the location information that we do store is obscured to within 500 meters of their smartphone device’s actual location.”

This is at odds with the temporary, anonymous selling point of the app, where users might have thought that anything they post would soon disappear into the ether

The Guardian report suggests “data, which stretches back to the app’s launch in 2012, is being stored indefinitely.”

Whisper’s response: “Whisper may retain posted content for a brief period of time as stated in our terms of service, however, the internal database contains no personally identifiable information and is secure/access-audited, and not publicly accessible”

Hmmm. So what you thought was secret isn’t. Who knew!

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile connectivity aint all that on London trainsMobile connectivity is a right state on London’s commuter routes.

That’s according to the findings of a study by Global Wireless Solutions, who tested the ten most popular commuter routes to discover that that one in three mobile internet tasks and one in seven voice calls on commuter trains fails.

The networks EE, O2 and Vodafone all rely heavily on their older 2G networks and ‘half-rate codecs’ for the commuters, but this means that call quality can be poor and many data packets are dropped.

The study found that 23% of 3G data packets and 37% of 4G data packets travelling across the networks of the four major UK operators do not make it to their intended destinations.

Basically, the best network on which to chat on is 3, while Vodafone’s subscribers get best 3G data service and EE subscribers get the best 4G data service.

In a statement that suggests he needed it written for him, Paul Carter, chief executive of GWS said: “Leaves on the track, the wrong kind of snow, having to stand up all the way to work and back – commuters have enough to contend with without the kind of mobile connectivity problems we’re revealing today,”

“It’d be great to see networks, rail operators and station-masters taking the lead on improving connectivity for commuters – rather than having to be dragged into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.”

Bless him. Shall we look at the Top Ten worst stations then?

Station / Average number of voice and data failures

1. St Pancras (99)
2. Radlett (53)
3. Kentish Town (43)
4. Upminster (42)
5. Elstree & Borehamwood (36)
6. Hendon (33.5)
7. St Alban’s City (33)
8. Cricklewood (27.5)
9. Kidbrooke (27)
10. Ockenden (26)

will.i.am to launch smartwatch this week

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

william 261x300 will.i.am to launch smartwatch this weekPopular music irritant will.i.am is to launch his new smartwatch affair on Thursday, barging right into competition with the Apple Watch.

The watch will have Bluetooth capability for wire-free internet connection, and doesn’t need to be linked to a mobile phone like Apple’s.

It is capable of making and receiving calls without a supplementary phone.

However what is of interest among all this folly, is that will.i.am has used UK firm 7digital to deliver the music aspect of the gadget.

The company’s shares went up by 44% as a result of being associated with the Black Eyed Pea.

The device stores music, which can be updated via its internet connection, and there are rumours that using will.i.am’s clout, 7digital have made deals with a variety of labels and hope that each artist is treated equally.

Which will make a change for an online music service.

Nexus 6 expected by end of the month

October 13th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nexus 300x182 Nexus 6 expected by end of the monthGoogle’s Nexus Android smartphone is expected by the end of October and it’ll be a phablet affair with a 5.9 inch screen made by Motorola.

It will be sold direct through the Google Play site as well as conventional phone retailers.

Dubbed ‘Nexus 6′, it follows the previous year’s Nexus 5 and hopes to push Google into the rising phablet trend with smartphones that are a cross between a phone and a tablet with screens bigger than 5.5in.

The new Nexus will be the first made by Motorola, which Google is selling to China’s Lenovo. Previous Nexus devices, which also include tablets, have been made by HTC, Asus and Samsung, as well as LG, which made the previous two generations of Google’s popular smartphone, the Nexus 4 and 5.

Phablets are becoming quite the thing of late, with a keen fanbase in Asia as well as Europe and the US. Google have nicknamed the Nexus 6 Shamu, after a killer whale from SeaWorld.

Something to remember for future pub quizzes.

Hiya mate, could you tweet us a tenner?

October 13th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Twitter Logo1 Hiya mate, could you tweet us a tenner?A French bank have said that they’re about to launch a service which allows people to transfer money to each other by Twitter.

Great. Now people will not only spam you with photos of their lunch, but they might expect you to chip in for the bill now.

Group BPCE will operate the cash transfers through the S-money subsidiary. Olivier Gonzelez of Twitter said: “We warmly welcome this innovation developed by Groupe BPCE and the service it provides to Twitter users in France by integrating its S-Money service into a live, public, conversational dimension characteristic of Twitter.”

Jean-Yves Forel, the banks CEO, said they would become the bank to offer a service like this, “where they can transfer money with a simple Tweet” which “opens up a whole new range of payment possibilities on the social networks.”

Of course, with loads of problems with virtual currencies, and hackers having the time of it causing social networks and the like endless problems at the moment, there’s a lot of security concerns around transferring money on Twitter.

Either way, looks like Twitter are very keen on getting money changing hands through their system, as they’ve been experimenting the ability to buy things through them with ‘Twitter Buy’ and, if this payment service works in France, they’ll be rolling it out worldwide. As we all know, there’s good money in being a middle man in the world of finance.

Three: Fined for being terrible

October 9th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

three logo new 370x229 300x185 Three: Fined for being terrible3 have been bad and slapped with a £250,000 fine. The mobile operator have been punished by Ofcom with a £250,000 fine due to their incompetence handling customer complaints.

According to Ofcom, the network “did not handle some complaints in a fair and timely manner,” and closed some complaints without establishing that they were fully resolved.

That sounds like the actions of SCOUNDRELS.

Ofcom have also shaded Three for not logging calls as complaints when it was supposed to, therefore there weren’t treated sufficiently seriously enough, and just dumped into a corner while people pulled faces at them.

Three also failed to inform customers, either on the phone or in writing, of their right to escalate complaints to the independent alternative dispute resolution services, according to Ofcom.

Man, they sound a right hopeless affair.

Fortunately Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer and content group director, said: “When things go wrong, customers are not only entitled to complain to their provider, but must have confidence that their complaint will be dealt with fairly. That’s why we impose strict rules on providers on how they must handle complaints.”

“We treat any failure to follow these rules very seriously. The fine imposed on Three takes account of the shortcomings in its complaints handling, but reflects that the harm to consumers in this case was limited. The company fully co-operated with our investigation and has now taken steps to ensure it’s compliant with the rules on complaints handling.”

Three have 30 days to settle the fine and swear they’ll never do it again, despite trotting out some nonsense to the contrary.

“Customer service and complaint resolution is really important to us. Ofcom’s own figures, collected over the past three years, reflect a huge shift: we have become the least complained about mobile operator in the UK in 2014.”

“Ofcom identified issues with our complaints handling process back in spring 2013. Since then we have worked closely and openly with Ofcom to address these as part of the broader effort to improve complaint resolution, contacting all the customers that might have been impacted. Delivering a great customer experience remains an absolute focus across the business.”

Yes of course. You’re so great that you’re having to shell out for being so.

Zapp app 275x300 Asda, Sainsburys and others to accept mobile payments in 2015A host of shops are going to accept mobile payments from next year… even though they’ve already been doing it for a while with a whole host of apps.

Nevertheless, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Spar, Shop Direct and House of Fraser  have all teamed up with Zapp, whose app will allow users to pay for goods and services using just their smartphone and a mobile banking app.

You’ll be able to pick up your shopping as usual, but at the till, you’ll press a button that will indicate they are paying by Zapp.

Once they’ve logged into their banking app, and selected the desired account they want to pay for it with, a six-digit code will appear on the phone.

Payment for a low-value amount of shopping can be made simply by waving the phone all airy fairy over a reader without authentication being needed.

A chief executive of Zapp, named Peter Keenan reckons these partnerships “means millions of consumers will be able to shop at tens of thousands of merchants up and down the UK at launch”.

Anglian Water, Bristol and Wessex Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water have also signed up for the scheme, meaning some people could be able to pay bills via their mobile.

Water bills! Paid for by phone! This is bucket list stuff.

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook working on an anonymous messaging affairFacebook are at it again, this time, making a new app where you can talk to people whilst being absolutely anonymous!

That’ll go well.

The social media behemoth has been knocking about an app that will allow communication with other users, and they may never know who you are!

They initiated to work on such app after the criticism they faced for compelling their users to use their real names on their profiles as many users had privacy concerns.

There’s no name for it as yet, or even a release date but after splashing out $22 billion on WhatsApp earlier this week, it’s possible that it may be along those lines; or they’ve noticed other anon apps like Secret and Whisper and don’t want to miss out on any potential money that could be made from such things. Not that anyone really uses those.

Whatever transpires, you can rely on some trolls or genuinely stupid people using it to throw death threats or be a git to someone. OR you could flirt with your beau secretly, pretending to be the stud.

Either way, looks like Facebook are tired of having one port of call that they own and are slowly buying out all the competition!

fat blogger 294x300 Charging your phone in a bedroom makes you fatHere’s a thing you probably didn’t know – charging your phone in your bedroom while you sleep is making you fat.

That’s the slightly barmy findings from a study by the University of Granada.

They reckon that artificial light from phone screens, street lights, laptops or television stops the body generating a hormone that combats obesity.

So that’s why you’re lardy, obviously. Not those 8 packets of shortbread fingers and a share bag of Doritos you had after your tea, all by yourself. It’s your phone’s screen.

You need Melatonin to regulate sleep patterns and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory that boosts the metabolism.

The scientists resorted to trying it out on rats, and saw that increased consumption of the hormone made them lose weight and also fought type two diabetes. Naturally they believe it can have the same effect on humans. Countries around the world are starting to strain at the edges due to an increase in obesity rates and diabetes.

Professor Agil, who lead the study, said: “Currently this process is frequently interrupted, as a result of excessive exposure to artificial lightning during the night, which reduces the levels of endogenous melatonin. For instance, many people are in the habit of sleeping with their lamps, televisions or their computers switched on, or with the blinds drawn up.”

“For all these reasons, it is important to try to sleep in absolute darkness, to avoid interference in the generation of melatonin.”

So there you have it.

EE to launch TV service

October 8th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tv 300x266 EE to launch TV serviceEE have launched EE TV, their own television service, which they reckon will be available on all your devices and Freeview and the like.

Handily, you can view difference programmes on different devices at the same time and the service comes free for those with an EE broadband and landline package. If you’re thinking of moving to EE just for their telly service, then prices start at £9.95 a month.

Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO, reckons EE TV is ‘the most advanced TV service’ we’ve ever had in dear old Blighty.

“As the UK’s biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people’s changing viewing habits,” explains Swantee. ”It’s helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before.”

Basically, you get a smart box that offers multiscreen, multirecord and a dedicated app for you devices which doubles up as a remote control. It’ll have 70 Freeview channels that come with it and a load of other videos and on-demand stuff bolted on.

EE say that this smart box is worth £300, but it is yours for free if you sign up to an EE package. If you want to know more, then watch this advert below.

Sadly, Kevin Bacon is involved.