O2 to block adverts on their network?

November 26th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

o2logo mediacentre O2 to block adverts on their network?EE have already said that they’re looking at blocking adverts, and now, O2 are looking at joining in too. Bad news for people in marketing – great news for people who swear loudly at roll-over adverts and videos that autoplay.

O2 are apparently testing their technology which will block mobile ads on their network.

The company’s managing director of digital commerce, Robert Franks, said: “We are absolutely looking at [network-level ad blocking] technology… we are looking at these technologies to see if they can help our customers with some of the bad practices and disruptive experiences that are happening.”

“It is not in an advertisers’ interest to spam customers or do things to create a terrible experience. If the way to raise the bar is to look at these technologies, whether through a mobile network, or a combination of apps and browser extensions as Apple is doing to address some of the behaviours these intermediaries are executing, I think that’s fine. But I don’t see it as a polarized debate between ‘do you have advertising or don’t you have advertising’.”

O2 are going to work with advertisers in a bid to make them improve their wares, and no doubt, tell them that they can pay to circumnavigate any blocks put in place. Improvements are likely to include things that make ads take up less data, and faster. The message is that, if you want to advertised on O2′s mobile network, then don’t make using your phone a pain in the arse.

It looks like they’re all getting on this, apart from Vodafone who have said this week, that they have no plans to block adverts. They said: “Vodafone has made no decisions that ad blocking is a service our business wants to offer. However, we acknowledge downloads of iOS ad blocker apps do show there is some demand from customers to manage their browsing experience, privacy and data usage.”

EE plan to block annoying adverts

November 24th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw EE plan to block annoying advertsAd-blockers are becoming a big thing in the mobile world, and of course, a lot of publications that rely on those adverts are getting worried. Of course, people who have had to put up with them will be glad to see the back of them.

EE are looking at rolling out the blockers, so they don’t have to put up with auto-playing commercials and roll-over ads, according to EE boss Olaf Swantee.

You’ll know that Apple are blocking adverts on iOS 9, and there’s a host of ad-blocking ads on Android which have been around forever. This all follows a court, which gave the green light to ad-blocking software, which has seen a sudden spurt of interest in the area.

That said, Swantee doesn’t want to block all adverts, but rather, focus on the most annoying, intrusive ones.

Naturally, EE could make a pretty penny from this, as they could do deals with advertisers and let them through the ad-block software. As such, EE is looking at bringing in network-level blocking tools for its customers, which will be very pleasing to some. Even if they don’t, you can go on Google Play or the AppStore and fill your boots as it is.

oyster swipe MasterCard offering Apple Pay users free London public transportMasterCard has, today, launched a limited “Fare Free Mondays” promo, which is offering free public transport to Apple Pay users in London. This is going to be a thing on Mondays between November 23 and December 14, 2015.

MasterCard customers who are using Apple Pay to tap their way around the capital will have up to £27.90 in daily fares refunded by MasterCard, which is handy if you’re in London. It is utterly useless for the rest of the UK mind you, but there you go. You can use it on the Tube, buses, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services.

Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard UK&I said: “The move by TfL last year to accept contactless cards and devices on London Underground has been a phenomenal catalyst to the growth in contactless payments across the UK. Now that Apple Pay has arrived we want to encourage travellers on London’s transport network to try it out and give them another convenient option to pay for their travel.”

“What better way to do this, than to offer MasterCard customers using Apple Pay the chance to travel for free over the next four consecutive Mondays.”

So, if you don’t live in London and have an Android phone, feel free to swear under your breath about those gits who live in London getting all the good stuff.

YouTube launches kid friendly app

November 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

youtube 300x300 YouTube launches kid friendly appGoogle, or Alphabet or whatever they’re called now, have launched a kid-friendly version of YouTube in the UK and Ireland, to save little Terry or Gladys from looking at dodgy stuff like bums and street-fights.

YouTube Kids is designed with 3 to 8-year-olds in mind, and it’ll focus on children’s television shows, nursery rhymes and things that are educational. We’re still hoping illuminati crackpots will flood the comments with their theories.

Basically, this is an app that applies a filter on YouTube’s vast cache of videos. Things with swearing, violence or ‘suggestive’ content, will be wiped out in favour of cuddly animals and overly enthusiastic adults in dungarees.

This of course, is a reaction to how much parents are sitting their kids down with tablets and phones, rather than the TV. Very handy when you’re having a pub lunch and little Natasha is playing up while you’re trying to eat some oven chips from a bit of slate.

Now, YouTube Kids will still show adverts, but certain ones will be banned from the app, so you won’t have to worry about your child asking for a Bulmers or whatever. You don’t have to log-in to use the app either, so if you’re concerned about your offspring being targeted by ads, you can rest easy. Ish.

Parents can also set timers, which locks the app after a certain amount of time, if you’re worried about your children going square-eyed.

Mobile battery that charges in minutes!

November 17th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

iphone battery 300x208 Mobile battery that charges in minutes!Another story about a mobile battery that charges up really quickly, posing the question – is anyone going to actually release any of these batteries to the public, instead of just dangling them in front of everyone?

Anyway, this mobile phone battery can charge to 50% in a mere five minutes, and has been produced by Huawei. The lithium-ion cell is similar in size and capacity to the batteries normally fitted in smartphones. However, this one charges up ten times faster.

How does it do it? Well, Huawei say that atoms of graphite bonded to the battery’s anode allow it to charge more quickly, without affecting the amount of energy it can store. Marvellous. Release it already.

They showed it off at an event in Japan, and they say that they’ve got another battery that can charge up to 68% in two minutes.

A blog on a Huawei fan site (yes, that’s a thing) said: “Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee.”

You can see a demonstration of the battery here.

On a £5 Post Office mobile bundle? Read this

November 16th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

mobile apps On a £5 Post Office mobile bundle? Read thisAre you, or one of your children on the Post Office Mobile £5 bundle? Well, things are about to change so you’ll need to weigh up your options.

An avid BW reader alerted us, saying: “My daughter just got a text from Post Office Mobile saying they are changing their bundles.”

She has been on the £5pm bundle for a few months now as it was great for what you got, now though, its going to be a bit rubbish. They don’t do 500mb at all now, 1gb is the next option at £10pm. Dunno what to do now. We’ve got until March as she is an existing customer, gutted they’ve done this as it was such a good deal.”

Before, you got 250 mins, 3,000 texts, and 500mb of data for £5 per month. Now, it’ll be 250 mins, a measly 300 texts, and a paltry 250mb of data. All 30 day bundles will be changing today (16th November 2015) and the PO say: “If you’re an existing customer you’ll be able to keep your current bundles until March 2016 provided you have enough credit or don’t cancel your bundle”

They add: “To help the transition you’ll be able to keep your old bundle until March 2016 which means nothing will change for at least 4 months. After this date you must re-purchase a bundle from our current range.”

If you’re an existing customer, after March 2016, according to the company, “your auto-renewing will be stopped and you’ll receive a text message telling you your bundle has been cancelled. Once you have used up all your bundle allowance or the bundle has expired then you will revert to our standard rates. To carry on making calls, text or use data you can top up your phone as you normally do and pay our standard rates or purchase a new 30 day bundle from our current range by texting the word BUY followed by the appropriate bundle code to 1250.”

Of course, if you’re not happy with the changes, you can go elsewhere tell the Post Office to stick it. If you need more information, click here.

Snapchat – showing 6 billion videos per day

November 9th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

snapchat 300x300 Snapchat   showing 6 billion videos per dayNo-one saw Snapchat’s spectacular rise coming. All the kids are on it, and even the adults too, as the social network guns for Facebook and Twitter’s crown. While media companies look for an alternative to Facebook (who are throttling everyone’s ‘reach’ unless you pay for it) and people are tired of Twitter’s trolls, Snapchat is offering an outlet to both… and not everything you do is public.

The company has revealed that they’re now serving up (around) six billion video views a day, which is a huge increase. That’s three times the amount being shown in May. With Facebook showing eight billion a day, Snapchat is hot on its tail.

Keep in mind that Snapchat doesn’t even have a desktop version, that’s very impressive indeed. With more and more companies wanting to get into video advertising, Snapchat is in a unique position compared to their rivals.

With Snapchat being valued at £13 billion earlier in the year, it looks like like they were wise to turn down Facebook’s £2 billion bid a couple of years ago. The app now has 100 million active daily users, which is not to be sniffed at… unless you’re really old and don’t understand how these things work.

There’s a lot of money changing hands too, with Snapchat offering ‘sponsored lenses,’ which means marketing companies can offer special stickers and selfie-frames to promote a number of products. And people are using them, especially the The Peanuts Movie one, where people could add animated Snoopy icons to their pictures.

There’s some in-app purchases too, and special lenses and trophies, which has made Snapchat go from a reasonably one-dimensional app, to something that should be worrying Twitter and others.

2015 – it has been Snapchat’s year.


Fancy a fight? Rumblr is the app for you

November 9th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Fancy yourself as a hard man do you? Wish there was a way of organising fights without having to spend all that money down the pub? Well, you might be in luck.

Someone has come up with an app called Rumblr, which you use like Tinder, however you swipe for scraps and a bit of pagga.

rumblr 500x291 Fancy a fight? Rumblr is the app for you

If you’ve had a hard week at work, and have a load of pent-up frustration you want to get out of your system, you could get the app, and be getting the living crap knocked out of you behind a car park. You could be happily getting kicked in the throat by a complete stranger, smiling to yourself knowing that this fight you’re in, is consensual.

Naturally, there’s a lot of people who are very unhappy about this, because they think fighting it idiotic and are now wondering ‘what has the world come to eh?’

On the app, you and other people who desperately want to touch each other will be able to check out each other’s stats like weight, stature and whether or not you’ve got any combat experience. Or, if you’re into that sort of thing, you can use the app to watch other people go at it, and not join in with the fights.

You can get Rumblr here, from today

samsung logo How To... fix your Samsung Galaxy S6 if it wont chargeIf you’ve been using your Samsung Galaxy S6, but found that you’re having trouble charging it, or turning it on, don’t worry! We’ve got a fix for you.

Check Your Charger & Socket

This is an obvious one, but make sure your charger is working. If you haven’t got a spare charger from an old Android phone, then someone else will have one. They’re universal, so anyone with an Android phone can let you use theirs to check.

Make sure you use an official one if you’re buying a new one. There’s a load of dodgy cheap ones on the market which can wreck your phone, or just not work so you’re wasting your money.

Also, try different sockets in your house. If you always leave your charger plugged into the same socket next to your bed or whatever, try it somewhere else to see if the socket is the problem. Also, take the USB lead from the charger and try charging your phone through a computer or whatever.

Check The Charging Port

Have you got a bit of biscuit stuck in the slot on your phone, so your charger isn’t connecting properly? Has some lint from your pocket or bag got in there? Have a look and try and get it out with some tweezers or a pin. Be gentle though. Or, you can buy compressed air in cans, and blow all the nonsense out of there.

Fix The Port Yourself

Just through use, sometimes the port can need a little repair as the metallic surfaces inside the USB port and the microUSB charger aren’t contacting properly. You can have a go at fixing that pretty easily.

First, turn your phone off and remove the battery. Then, get something small and sturdy (a toothpick should do it) and get a little leverage on the little tab inside the USB port. Be very careful and gentle, and then pop your battery back in, and see if it starts charging when you plug it in. Most of the time, this should solve the problem.

Software Problems

Sometimes, a software update can be the cause of the bother. If that’s the case, you can restore your phone to a previous version of Android when everything worked. This isn’t an ideal fix, as manufacturers are keen for you to have the latest versions, as they’re more secure. That said, the difference is usually negligible.

If you want to do this, have a read of Android Central’s how to guide.

Contact Your Provider

Here’s the most obvious one – get in touch with the people you got your phone from and tell them it doesn’t work properly. They should be able to provide you with a solution. If you’re not confident tinkering around with your phone, then this is your best bet. Again, it isn’t exactly ideal, but this is the safest option.

Vodafone – the latest to be hacked

November 2nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

vodafone logo 300x300 Vodafone   the latest to be hackedVodafone are the latest to fall victim to a hack, with nearly internet scallies getting access to around 2,000 customers’ details. We hope that the hackers aren’t doing this for attention, because we’re kinda bored by all these hacks now – they’ve lost their edge somewhat.

Anyway, Vodafone said that 1,827 accounts have been accessed, and they fear that criminals have customers’ names, mobile numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits of their bank accounts, which is no good.

A Vodafone spokesman said: “This incident was driven by criminals using email addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source external to Vodafone. Vodafone’s systems were not compromised or breached in any way.”

Vodafone started an investigation over the weekend, and have informed the National Crime Agency, Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office. They’re not mucking about, like TalkTalk have been (and if you’re unimpressed with TalkTalk and want to leave them, check out our letter template so you can get out of your contract).

“Whilst our security protocols were fundamentally effective, we know that 1,827 customers have had their accounts accessed, potentially giving the criminals involved the customer’s name, their mobile telephone number, their bank sort code, the last four digits of their bank account,” continued Voda.

“Our investigation and mitigating actions have meant that only a handful of customers have been subject to any attempts to use this data for fraudulent activity on their Vodafone accounts. However, this information does leave these 1,827 customers open to fraud and might also leave them open to phishing attempts. These customers’ accounts have been blocked and affected customers are being contacted directly to assist them with changing their account details.”

As well as telling all the relevant authorities, Vodafone have also contacted all the banks of affected customers. Even if you think Vodafone are run by a bunch of gits, this is a fine way to deal with a crisis compared to some of their peers.

Visa, Sky TV, Amazon and Ticketmaster, are also being targeted – busy time for the hackers, eh?

Letter template to cancel TalkTalk account

October 30th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

TalkTalk 300x225 Letter template to cancel TalkTalk accountIf you want to leave TalkTalk after their data breach, without penalty, then we’ve knocked up a letter you can use to try and make this happen.

Crib notes from it, or cut-and-paste the whole thing. Of course, they might try it on and aim to fine you for leaving your account early, but if you’re willing to stick at it, they should let you go.

Send your letter to: Customer Relations Department, TalkTalk Group, PO Box 346, Southampton, SO30 2PW
Email: cyberattack@talktalkplc.com

You’ll be giving them 14 days to reply and sort this out, which is the law. If they don’t, you can cancel your direct debit with them as they’re in breach of contract and indicate that they’re acceptance of your terms within the letter.

Give ‘em hell!

Letter Template To Cancel TalkTalk Account After Data Breach

Dear Sir or Madam,

Account number: [account number here]

This letter is my formal notice to tell you that I am closing my account following the cyber attack on your systems on October 21st. In your terms and conditions, section 18, it states that: “We’re committed to protecting and preserving any information you give to us.” You have failed to do this. Furthermore, your Privacy Policy clearly states that you will only share my private information with organisations outside of TalkTalk with my consent.

It is clear that you, TalkTalk, are in material breach of these clauses and, with the hack in October 2015 being the third on TalkTalk’s systems within a year, this represents a clear failure to secure my details. You have failed to take the agreed safeguards and have failed to secure my, the customer, personal details, which has resulted in my personal information being exposed to third parties who do not have consent from myself.

As a result, I want you to terminate my contract without any penalty. I will insist that you send written confirmation to me that will allow me to move to a new provider, without cost, within 14 days of receiving this letter.

After the 14 day period, you will receive no more payments from me, and should you proceed to harm my credit over non-payments, I will be forced to take further legal action over any costs accrued.

[print name here]
[write account number again]
[address here]

Are loose coppers becoming a thing of the past?

October 29th, 2015 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

child money 300x224 Are loose coppers becoming a thing of the past?Loose copper change is a bit of pain mostly, thrown in large bottles and tins all over the house, and painstakingly counted out at counters and the like.

Well, it looks like there’s moves to get rid of the smaller coins, kicking off in Ireland with a new scheme. If it is successful, it could be rolled out in Britain too.

So what’s going on? Well, the new rule see you having your change rounded up, or down, to the nearest 5 cent. There’s a trial going on in Wexford, which follows similar schemes in Holland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Hungary.

Dr Ronnie O’Toole, an economist at Ireland’s Central Bank, said: “Consumers may be surprised at first but, judging from the experience in Wexford, they will embrace rounding very quickly.”

Thing is, it costs mints a lot of money to issue the smallest coin denominations, and with the euro, Ireland has spent 37million euro (around £27million) issuing one and two cent coins, since it was introduced. That’s three times the rate as the rest of Europe. It is hoped that this new rule will reduce the need to make more, as there’s enough in circulation.

Obviously, the coins will still be legal tender, and the changes will only apply to cash transactions. If you’re paying for something on a card, or another form of electronic payment, you’ll just pay the normal total. It would also only be used on the final cash total of a bill, rather than individual items.

So, if you get a bill for something, and the amount ends in one and two cents or six and seven cents, it’d be rounded down to the nearest five. Those ending in three and four cents or eight and nine cents, would end up being rounded up. Sounds like a good idea, in principal, but the cynic in us makes us think that some businesses might use this as a scam to rinse more money out of customers.

Either way, would you like to see something like this over here?

iPhone updates disabling your alarms

October 29th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

iphone7 300x168 iPhone updates disabling your alarmsApple have been all manner of problems lately, making a real pig’s ear of the whole ‘just works’ mandate that is often trundled out by fanboyz. And there’s another one too, as iPhone updates are disabling people’s alarms, meaning they’re sleeping in.

On the new versions of iOS 9, you can install updates overnight, so you can kip through it instead of impatiently gawping at your handset. However, this service seems to switch your alarms off, which means you might end up being late for work and looking like a massive liar to your boss.

Obviously, if you fancy a lie-in this week, this would be a good ruse to use, and link them to this article. Bosses are too self important and won’t read this far into the piece anyway.

If you want to avoid this, here’s what you do: when your iPhone or iPad downloads a software update, you get the option to install it there and then, or wait ’til later. The latter option is the one that is causing the bother, so make sure you have a back-up alarm or install it immediately.

Apple are always releasing minor updates for iOS, so this will probably get ironed out at some point, so don’t worry yourself unduly, okay? Good.

BT clear to take over EE

October 28th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw BT clear to take over EEBT have been given the green light to take over Britain’s biggest mobile operator, EE, for £12.5bn. Regulators have said that this merger will not cause significant damage to competition in the markets they looked at.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal looked good in all areas, and is absolutely going to annoy the hell out of BT’s rivals, as BT now have a lot of sway as the main provider of connections for mobile masts.

John Wooton, chair of the CMA inquiry, said: “We provisionally think that the retail mobile market in the UK, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators, is competitive.”

“The group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers.”

It is thought that the CMA came to this decision because BT is only a very small player in the mobile world, currently. So, by buying EE, it won’t exactly hinder consumers’ choices. Seeing as EE are small-fry in the fixed-line broadband market, there’s going to be little hindrance there as well.

However, there are some reservations – Wooton said that, in the wholesale market, the BT/EE tagteam “might try to disadvantage competitors” who buy fibre-optic connections for mobile masts, or wholesale mobile capacity for ‘virtual networks’. However, despite this: ”We have provisionally found that in some areas it is unlikely that they would have both the ability and incentive to do so [disadvantage competitors] – and in others that the effects of their attempting to do so would be limited.”

“Having considered all the evidence, the group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers.”


Mobile roaming charges to be scrapped

October 28th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

roam 294x300 Mobile roaming charges to be scrappedMobile phone roaming charges in the EU are going to be scrapped by the middle of 2017, after European MPs formally approved the ruling.

The first thing we’ll notice is a significant cut in the charges from some point in April 2016. Then, there’ll be the full changes in June 2017. That means, if you’re in the EU, it should cost you the same to call and text people, as it does in your home country.

About time too.

This is great news if you’re on holiday and want to mess about on your phone, watching YouTube videos while sat on the beach or whatever. It means that consumers won’t have huge shocks when they get their phone bills if they’ve been away.

From next April, roaming fees – charged in addition to domestic prices – will be capped at 0.05 euros (3p) per minute, and texts will be capped at 0.02 euros (1p) and for data at 0.05 euros (3p) per MB of data, excluding VAT. When mid-2017 rolls around, the charges will be scrapped completely.

There’s also some new EU rules on net neutrality too, which will see people able to look at whatever they like on the internet, without being blocked or having their connection throttled.

European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip said: “The voice of Europeans has been heard. Today’s vote is the final result of intense efforts to put an end to roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.”

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford added: “Ending mobile roaming fees from 2017 will be welcomed by millions of people, as they will be able to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home. We have also ensured important safeguards to prevent excessive usage, and to make sure that phone operators are not forced to offer roaming services at a loss, meaning that domestic customers do not end up subsidising those customers who travel.”

“We have achieved a sensible timescale that gives mobile operators the time to sort out the marketplace in preparation for the abolition of roaming fees.”