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.

The Sun+ membership – still taking your money?

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

The sun logo 300x300 The Sun+ membership   still taking your money?Did you sign up to The Sun’s Dream Team last summer when the football season started? Well, while you were dreaming about topping your work’s fantasy league and gloating in the office, you may have missed something.

You may recall that, as part of the sign-up, you were obliged to take a trial for The Sun+ membership, which was free for two months.

Chances are, you forgot all about it, but The Sun didn’t. And now they want money.

According to one avid Bitterwallet reader: “I cancelled back in August and I’ve been charged today. Having looked over Twitter… there is plenty of people being charged after cancellation. So, if you cancelled your Sun+ membership either in the last few weeks or right back in August, check your bank statements either now or in the next few days.”

They also signed off with “Robbin’ b******s!”

And indeed, there’s a number of complaints on social media, with one Twitter user saying: “how do i cancel my sun Plus membership? I wasn’t even expecting the money to come out… Won’t be playing dreamteam again!!” and another adding “Thankyou to @TheSunNewspaper for luring me into a Sun Plus membership just for signing up for Dream team. No food for me next week. #sad”

If you signed-up to play Dream Team, you’d be advised to check your bank account, because there’s a good chance there’s going to be £7.99 missing from your account.

We’ll look into the best ways of cancelling your Sun+ account, but in the meantime, contact your bank and make sure the payments stop and, if you’re in the mood, call The Sun and give them what for at 020 7782 4000. Or, you can find their complaints page here to email them.

2485100596 5310e1de97 300x199 Aldi goes all Waitrose  get your organic veg and caviar on the cheapThe current supermarket price war is leaving consumers a little bemused. While the supermarkets scrap about it amongst themselves, customers slip quietly in behind their backs and buy our jammie dodgers and toilet duck for 4p less than we did last week. But now it seems the supermarkets are morphing into each other, with Aldi the latest, and perhaps most surprising supermarket to announce that it’s gone all Waitrose.

That’s right, to reflect their changing customer base, Aldi bosses have decided that Aldi is going to be the new go-to place for trendies and hipsters to get their organic food, with shoppers looking at a 25% saving on current supermarket organic prices.

The new vegetable range will include potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and onions and the supermarket will also introduce new fresh meat ranges, convenience foods and drinks, expanding their total product ranges by 11%.

Aldi Corporate Buying MD Tony Baines said “We know our shoppers want to buy more organic products, but price is often the reason why it’s not a regular purchase. This is why we’ve launched a 100% British organic range at an affordable everyday low price.”

And that’s not all. This year you can also get a totes posh Christmas at Aldi, with a range of ‘aspirational’ products going on sale, including lobster, goose and, at £9.99 for 20g, caviar. That’s proper snooty that.

So if Aldi is turning into Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s is turning into Asda (although why they would give the good news of lower prices before the bad news of decimating the Nectar card is anyone’s guess), have the German discounters completed a successful coup in the aisles? After all, if you’ve been lured in, why would you ever think to leave and shop somewhere else now…?

Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad people

October 22nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

dyson humidifier 114x300 Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad peopleDyson have unveiled a humidifier!

The until-now-quite-hoovery Dyson has launched the HumiMain (which doesn’t sound particularly catchy, but give it time) which uses its Air Multiplier fan technology and claims to tackle health issues around dry air and bacteria.

It’s not the first time the company have used this design, as they originally brought out the bladeless Air Multiplier fan in 2009. In 2011 it updated the fan as a heater and is now launching the technology as a humidifier.

And so they should, seeing as they’ve thrown £37.5 million at the project, and went through 643 protoypes.

Apparently the humidifier uses Ultraviolet cleansing technology to kill 99.9% of bacteria used in the product’s water. Do we really want that much bacteria killing? Either way, great news for nutters out there who feel like they’re being swamped by micro-bugs.

There’s a climate control system to measure the temperature and moisture in the air, while a fancy-sounding piezoelectric transducer in the base vibrates at up to 1.7 million times a second – breaking the water down into microscopic particles which are drawn up into the loop amplifier and projected.

According to Dyson, the machine can run for up to 18 hours on a single tank of water: “It projects clean, hydrated air around the room evenly and quietly. Helping you keep healthy in the winter, and doubling up as a fan to keep you cool in the summer.”

It’s being launched in Japan first, as they have a culture of humidifiers, and will be launched in the UK next March. Perfect for summer, if you’re a lunatic.

The bill? Oh, Jesus is paying for it

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

jesus christ 225x300 The bill? Oh, Jesus is paying for itYou may have heard the phrase “let Jesus take the wheel”, but letting Jesus Christ of Nazareth pick up the tab when you’ve had a gutful of food and horsed a load of booze into you? That’s a new one on us.

However, that’s exactly what one woman in Lawton, Oklahoma did after she had a lovely evening in a restaurant where she may or may not have broken the gluttony commandment.

Of course, trying to fob your bill off onto a deity isn’t the best idea because, as you know, Jesus doesn’t have a credit card (debt is a sin) and the holes in the palms of his hands means he can’t hold loose change. Kristi Rhines was arrested on the scene by baffled police members at Mexican restaurant El Chico.

It started off reasonably well when Kristi told staff members that she had no way of paying, because her husband would be along to settle the tab.

Sadly for staff, Rhines was convinced she was married to Jesus Christ. Funnily enough, she has no official wedding license. However, she was sure of the return of Christ and that he would “be able to walk in and produce U.S. currency to pay for her bill.”

Rhines with fraud and booked her into the Lawton City Jail.

Kristi could’ve avoided this whole nonsense simply by staying at home and making Jesus cook for her. She would’ve only had to buy one fish and a loaf.

The car seat that detects heart attacks

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

old driver car The car seat that detects heart attacksAll hail the car seat that detects heart attacks! The motor company Ford has unveiled a car seat that can detect when the driver is having a heart attack, therefore allowing the vehicle to come to a safe stop.

Heart attacks are clearly a thing in Fords, so this is an issue that obviously needs sorting.

Using ‘electrocardiograph’ (heart-monitoring) sensors in the seats to detect an irregular heartbeat, combined with an in-car camera that detects when the driver slumps in his seat, the car can activate automated steering and braking systems to bring the car to a stop safely when there’s a problem.

It can then ring the emergency services for you if you’re so inclined. Or not, if you’d prefer to simply perish in your automobile.

Ford’s Research Centre director, the splendidly named Pim van der Jagt, told the FT that the technology is developed for when “100-year olds driving cars will not be abnormal in the future. About 30% of people above 65 have some kind of heart irregularity. And with the number of older car buyers set to rise dramatically this is an area of concern.”

Ford is yet to reveal when exactly this technology can be made available, as there’s no actual date of release yet, but Mr van der Jagt believes it will be in all new models within the next few years.

Homebase: creeping toward demise

October 22nd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

HOMEBASE LOGO 300x300 Homebase: creeping toward demiseHomebase have been in grotty shape for a while now and the company that owns it - Home Retail Group – have decided to accelerate the number of stores being closed following a review.

By 2019, 323 outlets of Homebase will be shut down because they are “unprofitable or are in decline”.

The review of Homebase noted “inconsistent store operating standards” and level of sales across the chain that resulted in a “challenged financial model”.

In plain English, that means they’re rubbish and they’re going to get rid.

That’s not to say all the Homebase shops will be vanishing (although, this is edging toward a Deathwatch) as there are plans to reorganise the remaining stores with 26 Homebases getting a refit.

Tellingly, the Home Retail Group does not plan to refit all of its stores. Looks like the pressure is on for those getting a facelift because, if they don’t work, then Homebase may well get binned off forever.

In a bid to get people into Homebases, the company will put a load of Argos and Habitat concessions within them.

Deathwatch: Landlines

October 22nd, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Mobile phone holiday beach GUIDE 01 Deathwatch: LandlinesRemember in the olden days when, instead of ringing an actual person, you had to wait for them to be in a building and then ring that? What a ridiculous system that was.

Well, thanks to this, it looks like the home phone landline is dead. We all knew this, but now there’s a study to back us up. The study showed that a lot of people don’t even know their own landline number (and the Mirror put it to the test by offering £50 to those that could).

Broadband providers Relish conducted some research it they found that 38% of us have no idea what our home phone number is and that half of us only have one because our broadband providers make us have one.

Will Harnden, chief marketing officer at Relish, said: “It’s a sign of modern times that our landlines are increasingly going unused. Despite the fact that many people aren’t using their landline for its intended purpose, they are forced to pay monthly charges for line rental, on top of the cost of their broadband.”

“It seems like now is the time the capital can finally wave goodbye to the landline.”

Of course, we can’t wave goodbye to them completely – businesses aren’t going to start giving staff members mobiles instead of banks of telephones. At home, the landline is becoming increasingly pointless. 4 in 10 of us won’t even answer the landline phone if it rings. People who ring landlines are either after money or mithering you for hours on end.

Social networks, as well as Skype and good ol’ fashioned texting are the most common ways of communicating and 65% of adults already think of landlines as a thing of the past. Naturally, people still leave the house and talk at people’s earholes, but that’s the standard and never going to go away, despite what desperate old lunatics say.

What this all means is that broadband providers need to modernise the packages they sell to customers. Landlines are all but obsolete. We await the rebranding of ‘line rental’ to something more internet based for Ver Kidz.

Lady protects house from the future

October 22nd, 2014 7 Comments By Ian Wade

a child on the internet 300x182 Lady protects house from the futureA pensioner from West Sussex has spent a small fortune renovating her house against WiFi.

Stefanie Russell has spent £4,000 covering her house in four thick coats of ray-repelling paint and has banned mobile phones and computers from her home, as she believes they threaten her health. Stefanie from Steyning, West Sussex, also uses a special device to detect unwanted signals in her house.

She claims that her sensitivity to the rays are responsible for frequent headaches and bouts of nausea.

She also believes that the severity of her condition means that she cannot travel on public transport due to the number of portable devices being used. Adjusting her tin foil hat, Ms Russell said: “I’ve not been diagnosed by a doctor but my GP surgery is aware of my condition.”

“Every time I am near WiFi or mobile phone signals I feel ill. It makes it difficult for me to get around and see people. I don’t touch the internet or email – it’s not safe”.

She’s been assured that she will not have unwanted WiFi guests coming into her home. Stefanie also fears for the children, for the children are the future.

“Schools could use broadband instead of WiFi, protecting them from early exposure to radiation. This is important – exposing them at an early age is essentially cooking our children.”

And there, at ‘cooking our children’, we must leave Stefanie. Bless.

online shopping Shops still play part in online shopping solutionsShoppers still prefer to have a gander at goods in real shops before purchasing them online, a new survey has said.

According to findings, 65% of shoppers prefer to check out a thing in a shop before pressing ‘buy’ online.

The report by Geometry Global, called The Connected Shopper study, interviewed 9,486 people across 12 countries, and found there is a continued reliance on physical stores with 88% of shoppers who visit a physical store first citing seeing the product in real life as the primary reason for visiting.

Of the 12 countries studied, China topped the list in number of online purchases (5.88) with European countries trailing significantly; the countries making the least purchases online were France (2.40) and Spain (2.17).

Checking prices (65%) is the second reason why shoppers visit physical stores.

Actual online shopping only grew by 5% in 2011 to 7% in 2014. Which isn’t all that really.

The elegantly named Cesar Montes, EMEA CSO of Geometry Global, said: “Our findings confirm that we haven’t yet witnessed the complete online shopping revolution some had predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the high street still occupies a central and vital function in the consumer’s journey to purchase.

“In addition, there remain a number of obstacles to consumers fully accepting online shopping, such as security concerns, payment methods and unwillingness to engage with brands via social media.”

The study also noticed that 63% of users really are not going to ‘friend’ brands online. So stop trying to engage, you big bad corporates. However 70% liked ads tailored to them. Little wonder when some companies deliveries are so poor.

Frozen food is uncool say the young

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Frosty Freezer 300x225 Frozen food is uncool say the youngYoung people don’t dig frozen food.

Or so that’s what a new survey claims, as it discovered that 18-34 year olds were twice as likely to dislike food stored in the freezer than those codgers over 35.

These fascinating findings come from IGD ShoperVista, who surveyed over 4,000 UK adults about their food storage solutions.

It transpires that many of the younger age group only used the freezer to store meat with a close use-by date and “unwanted food gifts”. Many considered food in their freezer an “insurance policy” for when no better options are available, and keep fun stuff like poppers and six-box of Magnums in their freezer instead.

Despite not being fans of frozen food, a quarter of 18-34-year-olds feel they have insufficient room in the freezer. Only 14% of over-35s also felt this to be an issue. Over half of those questioned in both age groups, said that they used their freezer for frozen food rather than freezing home cooked leftovers.

Yet it seems for the younger group, which represented only those who live away from home and do not have children, whatever is in their freezer is gash. Also: defrosting is a bit of a drag.

It all may sound a bit bleedin’ pointless, but this information comes as part of the IGD’s ‘Working On Waste’ campaign, which is trying to tackle these issues and change modern attitudes to leftovers and leaving something in the freezer for the best part of five years.

IGD chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch says: “In its first year, Working on Waste will reach around 650,000 employees in one month through meal planning advice, top tips, what to do with leftovers and much more,”

“As an industry, we employ 3.6 million people and it is these employees that will form the bedrock of our campaign, taking learnings from their company into their households. A lot of progress has been made already by companies across the industry to help consumers reduce household food waste. However, seven million tonnes of food and drink is still being thrown away by UK homes every year.”

KimJongIlTeapot 225x300 Sometimes cheapest is best. Top teas tested by Which!!!Most people don’t get paid to have afternoon tea, but for four lucky Which!!! experts, that’s exactly what happened*. Which!!!’s latest service to the UK consumer population is a test on the best teabags- with price not necessarily equalling quality in the tea stakes, as some of the cheapest teas proved most popular with the panel.

The panel of four experts blind tasted the teas in different orders, with and without milk. Each tea was scored on appearance, aroma, taste, body/strength and aftertaste. Standard bags were brewed for three minutes and all teas had exactly the same amount of milk and water added. They tested 19 English breakfast and 17 Earl Grey teas, so if you don’t drink either of those teas you are stuffed. Nevertheless Which!!! found that:

Top of the teas in the English Breakfast league were two supermarket own-brand ranges, with Morrisons M English Breakfast and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference English Breakfast (Fairtrade) being awarded the joint highest score of 80%. Both teas were praised by the tea experts for their classic full-bodied flavour even despite their bottom-dollar cost of 2p and 3p a bag respectively. The cheapest teas all came in at around 2p per bag, but Morrisons was the runaway leader at this price point.

Posh cuppa Whittard English Breakfast Tag & Envelope came bottom of the English Breakfast standard tea bags, with a measly score of 50%, despite being joint most expensive  English breakfast tea (with Fortnum and Mason) at 15p per bag . One expert described the tea as tasting “like old cabbage”. Well we all could have done that.

ebtea 500x287 Sometimes cheapest is best. Top teas tested by Which!!!

For the snooty Earl Grey tea drinkers, they might be surprised to learn that Aldi Diplomat topped the taste test for Earl Grey standard tea bags with a score of 78%, for its well-balanced, warm, citrus flavour, another bargain at only 2p per bag. Duchy Originals from Waitrose had the lowest score of 38%, and costs 8p per bag. Aldi bags were the cheapest and Whittard and Fortnum and Mason were again the most expensive, scoring 63% and 58% respectively.egtea 500x298 Sometimes cheapest is best. Top teas tested by Which!!!

Separately, Which!!! also tested premium mesh pyramid tea bags for both English breakfast and Earl Grey. However, these bags are considerably more expensive at around 30p per bag and the best performing ones did only slightly better than the other teas we tested. So we haven’t bothered with those results.

Which!!! newcomer, the inscrutable Richard Headland, said: “Our taste test revealed a big difference in the quality of English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas.  With some of the best teas costing just a few pence per bag, and supermarket own-brands beating luxury brands, it shows you don’t need to spend a lot to get a great cup of tea.” Unless you are buying it from an over-priced coffee house, one assumes…

*we don’t actually know that they got paid. But we bet they did. How do you become a tea expert in a land of dedicated tea-drinkers anyway?

Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceries

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco 300x210 Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceriesThe trouble at Tesco simply won’t go away, with reports that the retailers sales are falling at the quickest rate in the grocery industry. As we all know, Aldi and Lidl’s successes are taking a huge toll on the supermarket.

Tesco sales fell by 3.6% in the 12 weeks to October 12th, reducing their market share from 30.1% a year ago to 28.8%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but in the industry, this is bleak news. Or great news if you’re a rival.

 

In simple terms, to turn this around, analysts at HSBC reckon that it will cost Tesco £3bn to get things sorted in the UK. The good news for customers is that this should mean a drop in prices on goods by 5 or 6%. It would also mean 20% more staff and an improvement in the quality of their food.

Sainsbury’s are struggling too, with their sales down by 3.1% in 12 weeks, with Morrisons’ sales down by 1.8%. Asda, who have been quietly getting on with business as usual of late, have seen their sales increase by 1%. These figures are all knocked into a cocked-hat though, as Aldi’s sales have shot up by 27.3% and Lidl’s by 18.1%.

According to a detailed new survey of shoppers, Tesco’s brand in the UK is “severely compromised” thanks to a general and widespread disillusionment from customers with Tesco’s service. Research from the firm Lazarus shows that Tesco currently have the lowest overall customer satisfaction metrics in the grocery industry. As a brand, it has been labelled as “tarnished”.

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?

Amazon and Royal Mail in job bonanza

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Royal Mail Amazon and Royal Mail in job bonanzaJobs ahoy, as Amazon and Royal Mail have announced they’re creating 32,000 of them for the festive season.

Amazon plan to get in an extra 13,000 people to help at their eight distribution centres, as well as looking to employ another 1,000 permanent staff.

The Royal Mail is scoping for 19,000 Christmas workers to help with the additional onslaught that this time of year brings, with contracts from November to January.

Amazon reckon that on their busiest day last Christmas, they had orders for over 4.1 million items – working out at roughly 47 things per second. So yes. Some extra staff might be quite helpful there.

John Tagawa, director of UK operations at the Amazon, said: “The thousands of seasonal associates who join us at this time of year play an integral role in helping us deliver an exceptional experience for our customers during this incredibly busy time.”

“We’re excited to be creating 13,000 seasonal jobs, hundreds of which will lead to permanent, full-time positions.”

“We have created more than 2,000 new permanent roles at our fulfilment centres in the last two years, taking our total permanent fulfilment and customer service centre workforce to over 6,000 employees.”

‘Seasonal associates’. Honestly.