Pop videos get classified

August 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bbfc 18 jan82009 cg main99999 Pop videos get classifiedMusic videos that are released on physical media are to have a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for certification.

From October 1, anything that might contain unsuitable content for the nippers, will be given a rating of 12, 15, 18 or R18.

This will cover stuff released on Blu-Ray, DVD and CD formats. So for example, if Rihanna finally sees sense and knocks out a Greatest Hits this Christmas, an accompanying video compilation would be rated maybe 15 due to her clothes constantly falling off in the promos of her less memorable numbers.

If it is judged that content in a video would typically attract an age rating of 12, 15, 18 or R18, the BBFC will issue a certification.

Companies producing any contentious physical content will have to submit it for classification, and thus add another week or so into production while they wait for it to be issued like a passport.

While this is all noble and stops us from throwing filth at the pop kids, it doesn’t apply to content bought digitally, and so what’s left of the physical market is sort-of shooting itself in the foot a bit by placing restrictions. Admittedly, gone are the days when there were HMVs and Virgins and vigilant staff. Nowadays, what avenues are left are grateful of any sale, and are not going to prevent a 12 year old buying something labelled an 18.

Plus all of it’s on YouTube, and unless your parents are complete squares, you can bore yourself silly watching this stuff millions of times.

fibres 300x225 The fastest broadband in the world   from Denmark The Danes invented Lurpak and The Killing, and now they’ve invented something that could be even better than slightly salted butter and lady detectives in jumpers.

Behold – superfast broadband which is so fast it’s practically instantaneous!

Yes, a team from The Technical University of Denmark have managed to transfer 43 terabits per second through a single optical fibre. That’s the fastest broadband speed in the world.

It’s so fast that it will download a movie in 0.2 milliseconds – before you can even get it together to BLINK. In fact, it can download a thousand movies in the blink of an eye.

Go on, blink and imagine it. That’s fast, innit?

Nobody quite knows how they managed it, but hopefully it means that soon we can kiss goodbye to buffering and loading and waiting and waiting.

And because they’ve used a single fibre to make their network, it’s commercially viable. Whoo-hoo!

Tak, Danmark!

Russia gets heavy with Apple

August 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

apple logo Russia gets heavy with AppleIn a bid not to sound paranoid or a bit weird or anything, oh no, the Russian government wants access to Apple’s source codes.

The government wants to make sure Apple’s products don’t contain tools to spy on state institutions.

The Russian proposal was made during a meeting between communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov and Apple’s general manager in Russia, Peter Engrob Nielsen.

Russia reckon it’s all perfectly cool and this move is to ensure the right of consumers and for state security interests.

Apple, unsurprisingly, aren’t too keen on the idea.

While it’s not unusual for non-profit and charitable organisations to offer up their source codes, as it lets other people in to help improve them. The majority tend to keep their codes confidential.

In a statement, Mr Nikiforov said Russian-ly: ”Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services’ public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware.”

“Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programmes are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products.”

That’s making Russia look all far out and liberal, eh readers? Especially with a “remains uncertain” when questioned about a company’s future if they failed to comply.

Mr Nikiforov has also asked for the source codes used by SAP, the world’s fourth-largest business software maker and Germany’s biggest tech company.

Oh, those Russians.

London’s broadband is useless

August 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

silicon roundabout 300x226 Londons broadband is uselessLondon technology start-ups reckon ‘Tech City”s broadband is a load of old shit.

Citizens of ‘Tech City’ (Old Street and its so-called ‘silicon roundabout’), are finding it a struggle to grow their businesses due to poor internet connection services according to that Guardian.

Installation delays and high fees are forcing what was once our future out of the area, and there’s also gripes about hold-ups when companies move offices.

It’s no wonder companies are fleeing the area in droves.

Labour MP for the area calls it “a national embarrassment” and demands immediate action and has called for a “comprehensive review of broadband, plans for infrastructure and roll out and a competitive framework for delivery”.

The government originally bugled the Old Street ‘silly c*** roundabout’ as quite the thing in 2010, and banged on about it being the centre of Europe’s technology scene. However, typically it’s a total nightmare getting basic broadband.

Businesses have also been quick to blame ISPs that have failed to communicate to customers the stress and palaver of installing broadband in a heavily built-up area.

The government does dole out broadband connection vouchers – a grant for up to £3,000, but it doesn’t really help with making the installation service any faster.

What a debacle.

sam laidlaw It doesnt look like British Gas are going to lower energy prices... There’s tough talk at British Gas after yesterday’s 26% profit slide.

CEO Sam Laidlaw has been laying into Ofgem, saying that their estimate for the amount of profit BG stand to make from the average household this coming year (£106) is wrong.

He said it’s actually closer to £40 – 20% down on last year – and got very shirty indeed. It also didn’t appear to be making any moves to cut energy tariffs. WHAT A SURPRISE.

Laidlaw stroked his Arctic fox trimmed lapels, turned over in his bath of Cristal and said:

The Ofgem analysis is a theoretical analysis. What we are actually publishing today is the actual facts. We have been in discussions with Ofgem for a number of years about this methodology, which has its deficiencies and they recognise that it needs to be changed.’

But quibbling over Ofgem’s calculations doesn’t alter the fact that the warm weather was to blame for their slide in profits, and that they still have a responsibility to lower their prices so that customers don’t end up overpaying and in penury as a result.

Ricardo Lloyd from Which! issued his usual robotic statement, but it doesn’t look like anyone at BG will be listening. He said:

‘British Gas profits are down because of a warm winter, not lower prices.Energy companies must do everything they can to pass on any savings to their customers including falling wholesale and network costs.’

Shadow energy minister Jonathan Reynolds said that the energy market wasn’t working and added:

‘Britain’s hard-pressed bill-payers have seen their energy bills rocket, despite falling wholesale costs, while David Cameron sits on his hands and repeatedly fails to stand up to the big energy companies.’

The results of this CMA profits investigation can’t come soon enough, eh?

broadband slow 319970 Cancel your lousy broadband contract at your peril Is your broadband slow? Have you tried to cancel it and switch to something better?

Well, many broadband customers are being hit with punishing and cruel fees of up to £625 for cancelling contracts – and it’s not clear what these fees are actually for.

Citizens Advice have said that customers have complained of being charged cancellation fees which average at around £190, and if they don’t pay up, they get debt collecting agencies on their tails.

Some people have complained of broadband so slow that they’ve had to use internet cafes instead, and some customers have connections that have stopped working completely.

Faulty wifi, bad customer service and glacially slow loading speeds are legitimate reasons to cancel, but try to get out early, and you get penalised. According to Citizen’s Advice, one woman was charged an unbelievable £625 when she tried to leave.

CA has called for Internet providers to stop putting people in broadband jail and let people escape a lousy service mid contract. CEO Gillian Guy said:

‘Internet service providers must not shackle customers seeking a better service with unreasonable fees that can turn into shock debt. All internet users need to be able to easily have a way out of inadequate contracts and broadband speeds that only give them daily frustration.’

Until, then, though – unless you’ve got a few hundred quid handy, it looks like you’re locked into your poor service until the end of your contract.

*Mournful sounds of a dial up modem*

First Great Western 300x225 Quiet carriages still a thing, says First Great WesternCome in off the ledge everyone, First Great Western are NOT removing their quiet carriages after all.

Phew.

The train company were keen to dismiss such balderdash after several reports had said they’d done away with them.

A name-free First Great Western spokesman said: “There will be a quiet carriage on all our high speed trains for the foreseeable future. Claims that there will be no solace for customers who want a quieter journey are simply unfounded.”

What is true, added the spokey, is that they’re removing the First Class quiet carriage in the next few months, as an overall overhaul of its First Class carriages.

“The company is converting some First Class carriages into Standard carriages on all its long distance trains, which will only leave one and a half First Class carriages.

“To make one of those carriages ‘quiet’ would be madness, but it is a practical decision based on the need to increase the number of standard seats on our services. The renewed First Class carriages will instead be fitted with specially designed headrests and partition screens to keep noise levels to a minimum.”

WELL THAT’S A RELIEF! (Shhh! – Ed.)

Paddy Power get cyber attacked

August 1st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bendtner paddy power 300x211 Paddy Power get cyber attackedPaddy Power got in touch with everyone to let them know that they’d been the victim of a cyber attack.

Presumably, some hackers were tired of their publicity stunts and thought they go after them. Maybe they went after them because they’re really rich? Either way, they contacted customers to say:

“We are contacting you to advise of the details of a cyber attack on our network in 2010. It did not involve any financial information or customer passwords, but some of your personal customer information was accessed by a third party. We take our responsibilities regarding customer data extremely seriously and we sincerely regret that this breach happened.”

“This information relates to data that was provided when you opened an account with us and contained your name, username, address, email address, phone contact number, date of birth and prompted question and answer. The full extent of the 2010 data breach only became known to us in recent months when Paddy Power took legal action to retrieve the compromised dataset.”

Well then. They continued.

“We want to reassure you that we have no evidence this data has been used in any malicious way and that it is not possible to access your Paddy Power account with this information alone. We recommend that you review other websites where you use the same prompted question and answer as a security measure and update where appropriate.”

“Nothing is more important to us than the security and trust of our customers and please be assured that we have taken all the appropriate measures to resolve this incident. We are confident that we presently have the best in class software security to protect our customers’ information. We have also liaised with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to this incident.”

It’d be a good idea to update your account details, if you’re a Paddy Power customer. Click here and hop to it.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz12341 300x200 Driverless cars coming to UK in six months!Vince Cable reckons that the driverless car is going to be a thing, and to prove it, they are going to be trialled in three cities next year!

The business secretary is looking into the laws that ban them from the roads, and going to see if he can overturn it.

He also added that the government would make a £10million fund for developing the technology in the UK. Because it’s quite a priority for the cash-strapped Briton – rent, food, driverless car etc.

Speaking with his mouth, he said: “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

It is currently illegal for driverless cars to mooch around UK roads. There are those semi-autonomous affairs like the Volvo XC90, but they still require a human with a license, as opposed to say, a labrador.

The Department for Transport  are also looking into updating the rules on road use, but aren’t offering an ETA of when they’ll get that finished. Hark at them.

The UK already has a few groups working on driverless car technology, with boffins at Oxford and engineering firm Mira.

Coo. Imagine being able to hail a driverless cab and programming it ahead to play Heart’s ‘Alone’ and Atlantic Starr’s ‘Always’ on it’s in-car stereo for major late night vibes.

So yeah. The future.

luggage Staff shortages at Gatwick may affect your luggage Going on holiday and flying from Gatwick this weekend? Well, you’ll be able to go, but you might not be able to take your luggage with you.

That’s because of ground staff shortages on the biggest holiday weekend of the year. Swissport, who operate baggage services for some airlines at Gatwick, simply don’t have enough staff to put your suitcases on the plane.

Why? Because they use staff on zero hours contracts, and nobody wants to work at the weekend. (Ha ha – up yours Swissport!)

Still, it’s not very good news for travellers flying with the following airlines and travel companies: BA, Virgin, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

Some passengers who flew last weekend are still waiting for their luggage, and one Commonwealth Games paraylmpian was left stranded at baggage claim for four hours, waiting for his wheelchair.

Monarch have already sacked Swissport, but there has to be a notice period of 120 days before they can employ another baggage handling firm.

So what can passengers at Gatwick expect this weekend?

‘Gatwick is working closely with its airlines to improve the performance of Swissport in line with the airport’s own high standards of passenger service.’ said a Gatwick spokesrobot.

OH WELL, THAT’S REASSURING.

home for sale  300x261 Mobile more important than murder rate when buying a homeHome buyers – yes some still exist – have different priorities these days when selecting a new home.

Where once it was all about good schools, transport links and a low murdering rate, these days a good mobile signal is now the key requirement.

The survey involved more than 2,000 UK residents and was commissioned by London-based mobile analytics firm RootMetrics.

According to a demented survey that suggests the coincidence of the iPhone turning up just as the property slump kicked in 2008, has made buyers more about technological advances than the safety of their children or whether it’s built upon a Hellmouth.

The runners up in this poll were council tax band, and hospitals. Schools were ranked the lowest.

45% of the 18-35s say a good signal at home is more important. But then they would, as barely anyone in the age range can get onto the property ladder, so sitting in their parent’s house playing tapes in their bedrooms is as good as it’s gonna get.

40% also said they’d change mobile suppliers if their current one wasn’t serving them well enough, which I guess if your child is being murdered in a bad school, then the hospital and a good signal ARE the main things you need.

British Gas profits down by over a quarter

July 31st, 2014 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

british gas British Gas profits down by over a quarter Oh dear – seems there’s trouble at t’energy mill – namely at British Gas, who announced a profit slide of 26% in the first half of this year.

BG are blaming the mild weather for the slump. CEO Sam Laidlaw put down his chalice of claret and medium rare Wagyu steak and said:

‘With challenging trading conditions on both sides of the Atlantic in the first half, earnings will be lower in 2014 than in 2013. However, the group is well positioned to return to growth in 2015.’

However, operating profits dropping by a quarter is quite a big deal, isn’t it? And this is despite Ofgem arguing that energy suppliers are making more profit than ever off the average home – it goes up to £106 per household this year.

As the Big Six are coming under increasing pressure over household bills, not to mention the massive investigation into profits by the CMA, things must be getting a bit heated at BG.

Do we feel sorry for them that their profits are down?

Sorry, we can’t hear you for the cheering…

pants Desirable items: The Half Cover Underwear Boxer Brief PantsUnderwear news now, and the seemingly ongoing quest to make men’s pants look deeply insane continues.

After we ran a story about the sickening half-thong (basically those cock thongs that rather demand you shave around that region, or else they’ll look REALLY ridiculous) emerged, new fresh Hell has come to greet us.

These – so you can update your End Times Playsheet – are called ‘Half Cover Underwear Boxer Briefs Pants’ (I’m assuming ‘Freakini’ or ‘WTFundercrackers’ have been taken) and they are actually a thing that is available on eBay right now, after an underwear designer invented them during the throes of a mental breakdown.

There’s not much more detail other than they’re ‘Comfy. Stylish. HOT’ and that ‘the colour may not be quite as advertised’, which is quite helpful should anyone be demented enough to buy them.

If you know of someone who has partaken of these pants, and has since not looked back and thrown all their old pants away, please write in and tell us.

New hayfever gadget warns of pollen hotspots

July 31st, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

sneeze New hayfever gadget warns of pollen hotspots If hayfever has you streaming, sneezing and dribbling your way through the summer months, then worry no more.

Nosee is a prototype sensor that is always on the look out for high pollen counts, wherever you happen to be.

It sends information about air quality and sneeze risk to an app, and if you can see it for all that mucus, you’ll know whether to stay indoors with a wet towel over your head.

Nosee is being developed by a digital design company in Birmingham called 383, and it uses a simple traffic light style system to warn you of an attack of the face squits.

It also asks you to tell it how you’re feeling: Sneezy, Itchy, Scratchy, Runny…(and all those others who failed the audition for the Seven Dwarves).

You can put Nosee outside, and it combines local air quality readings with pollen count data and weather forecasts from the Met Office, giving you more tailored and specific information about your personal pollen hell.

‘The daily pollen forecasts issued by the Met Office paint the country with broad strokes either of high, medium or low scores, but it’s often specific locations or pollen types that cause the most irritating effects,’ says a spokesman for 383.

But what actually is Nosee? Is it an app? Is it a hand-held pollen thermostat? Well, as it’s a prototype, at the moment it could be anything. They think a Snotwatch would be nice, but maybe it would be more useful to embed the sensor into a hanky?

Sainsbury’s redesign lorries for cyclists

July 31st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bike cycling Sainsburys redesign lorries for cyclistsSainsbury’s have redesigned their lorries so that they are now safer for cyclists. Of course, it is obligatory that the mere mention of cyclists should provoke people into shouting incorrectly about road tax and start crying about some of them running red lights.

Anyway, back to the Sainsbury’s trucks – the redesigned vehicle will have 360 degree monitors, extra side lighting for road users at night and low side guards.

This all coincides with Boris Johnson’s Safer Lorries Scheme, which will see lorries without side guards and safety mirrors banned from the streets of London next year.

Sainsbury’s retail & operations director Roger Burnley said: ‘This is an important step in our work to make London’s roads safer. We’ve put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road – for all road users.”

The new lorry will have enough technology and safety features that it’ll make drivers aware of pretty much everything around it, cyclists, pedestrians and other motor vehicles. The side guard extensions and reflective infills will stop cyclists from falling under the wheels and there’ll be more indicators along the sides to alert everyone that the truck is turning with increased visibility.

There’s also going to be a warning sticker to alert everyone else that they’re in the driver’s blind spot.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Boris said: “I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment. My Safer Lorries Scheme would see those lorries effectively banned from our streets and the lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians would be much safer as a result.”

“Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives. Companies such as Sainsbury’s and O’Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit.”