Anti-deathwatch: Salaries

August 26th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

wages 300x199 Anti deathwatch: SalariesSalaries are showing signs of increasing for the first time since the financial crisis, says obscure-ish jobs search engine Adzuna.

The average salary has had an 0.9% advance on the previous year while the number of vacancies were up by a quarter to 872,629, said the report, which comes based on online job vacancies from more than 300 sources.

They’ve even broken their findings down into areas of the UK, which showed that all parts of the country benefited from a salary rise, except London.

The biggest rise in salaries came in Wales with 19%, with south-west England 7% and 6% in north-east England. London actually recorded a 1% fall in salaries.

The coincidentally named Andrew Hunter of the job hunter website Adzuna said:

“The UK job creation boom has become a double-edged sword, creating record highs in employment rates at the expense of stagnating wages. For once we can see good levels in both job creation and wage increases. And as the UK motors on towards full employment, we may well see wages increase at a higher rate as employers begin a bidding war for skills.”

It’s all quite good news isn’t it? People no longer having to sign on and that.

Should Tesco break itself up?

August 26th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Should Tesco break itself up?The incoming chief exec at Tesco is being shouted at by a top industry analyst who reckons the supermarket needs to break itself into pieces so they can fend off the competition.

The marvellously named Bruno Monteyne, who is an analyst at Bernstein Research, says that Dave Lewis should split the supermarket into three separate categories: a high-end ‘Finest’ store (which will go toe-to-toe with M&S, Waitrose and the like), the regular, trad. arr. Tesco shops, and a discount chain to take on Aldi and Lidl.

Monteyne thinks that this is the only way Tesco can stay relevant in the current climate. Tesco need to do something, that’s for sure.

Monteyne is himself, a former Tesco executive, and he said: “Splitting themselves into different channels allows them to use different strategies with different customers.”

“Rip out 20 per cent of the range, have cheaper shelving and cheaper products in the more deprived areas and give customers a better deal. In London, where people want someone behind the counter who knows the difference between a parma ham and a serrano ham, that requires more investment.”

“By Tesco promising to have the same prices in the most affluent areas as the poorest areas, it’s basically tied its hands behind its back by committing to an uneconomical model. Tesco could probably be cheaper than Aldi in some areas, but national pricing would force them to do the same in Chelsea as well and Chelsea wouldn’t be successful.”

What do you make of that? Eccentric ramblings of a lunatic? Sensible thinking from leftfield? Sod Tesco, and here’s to them dying on their arse?

Happy birthday postcodes!

August 26th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Bitterwallet Best. Postcode. Ever. 300x164 Happy birthday postcodes!The most desirable postcode in Britain is in Wiltshire.

According to a study from the Royal Mail, to celebrate 40 years of the postcode, Tidworth, with its postcode of SP9 is literally the place to be.

That’s quite some going to beat the rest of the UK’s 1.8 million other postcodes.

Yateley village in Hampshire(GU46) came in at No.2 and Cumbria’s St Bees (CA27) was No.3.

The top postcode in Scotland was in Glasgow (G44) and the nice sounding Brynteg (LL78) topped Wales’ chart; but – hahaha – London didn’t get a look in on the Top 10 at all.

But then the data was brought together from – you guessed – the Office for National Statistics – based on things like crime, jobs and quality of healthcare, so understandably, the smaller and quainter you are, the better you fared.

Enough of all that though, Happy Birthday the Postcode! Sadly, Britain doesn’t seem to have any postcode as funny as the zip code pictured above.

Unless you can tell us different?

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will be timing you to try and stop clickbaitAre you annoyed with the amount of clickbait on your Facebook feed? Too much Buzzfeed and Upworthy, all clogging up your business when all you want to do is see what you’re sibling’s been up to this weekend?

Well, Facebook are annoyed with it too and they’re going to have a clampdown on these things that shout ‘AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!!!!1!’.

The social network is again tinkering with their news feed algorithm (they won’t stop messing with it) and in a blog, they said that they’re lowering the ranking of clickbait links. Facebook already prioritise what you see on your feed, which is weird seeing as users have the tools to see less or more of things.

What is basically going to happen, is that Facebook are going to start measuring how long people spend reading a story after clicking the link in addition to whether or not they post comments and share the links with pals. If you click something and come straight back to Facebook, it’ll tell them that you’re not into That Sort Of Thing.

You could, of course, click the ‘I Don’t Want To See This’ option or just unfollow Chloe and Steve from the office who do nothing but post complete swill all day.

Of course, this is going to be a completely futile endeavour as, with all problematic internet things, you squeeze one spot and another three come back in its place.

There’s also the problem of users Liking a page, but not necessarily seeing the posts from the company/club night/celebrity/whatever you’ve shown support to because Facebook will throttle the page’s reach in a bid to get companies to pay to advertise.

Seems like Facebook aren’t keen on letting everyone curate their own feeds, as usual.

BT to ruin your Christmas

August 26th, 2014 5 Comments By Ian Wade

bt logo BT to ruin your ChristmasBT are raising their prices in December. Merry Christmas!

That’s right. The telco have announced that they are to raise the prices of their phone and broadband by 6.5%

The price rise has been – surprise – defended by BT, claiming that most customers are on inclusive packages, and that bills have actually decreased by 14% in the last half decade.

It will increase the line rental for direct debit customers by 6.25% to £16.99, and the rate for calling UK landlines by 6.44%.

And also, set-up fees for landline calls, residential calls, to the speaking clock and call return charges will also increase for some or all customers.

BT’s option for low-incomes, BT Basic, will stay the same at £5.10 a month with a call allowance.

Of course, they’re not nearly as keen to have an option where you can get a fibre optic broadband connection without the need for a landline (as a lot of people just rely on their mobiles these days), but there you go.

Amazon goes shopping

August 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitch 300x300 Amazon goes shoppingAmazon.com have bought live-streaming gaming network Twitch and they’ve paid $970 million for it too.

In cash.

They’d been in a bidding war with Google for Twitch, which allows gamers to broadcast live streams from PCs, XBox and PS4 consoles of themselves playing video games.

Twitch, who we banged on about here, also run gaming events and redistributes content from Joystiq, Gamespot, and Destructoid, Manvsgame and more.

Twitch also has 55 million visitors, which might have something to do with the keen interest from both companies.

This is seen as another step in Amazon’s strategy to big up their entertainment services, and video games are a big old market where cash literally grows on trees (especially in the online game ‘Cash Trees’ where you play a tax-dodging entity having to hoover up as much cash off trees or something).

But what has Jeff Bezos to say, hmmm?

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

Tens of millions. Bet his pants tightened at that.

Do YOU know about the tax disc changes?

August 26th, 2014 8 Comments By Ian Wade

Windscreen decoration news now, and did YOU know that tax discs are set to be abolished on October 1? We spoke about it all the way back in 2012, but according to a survey on money.co.uk, only half of drivers questioned were aware of the changes.

You will still have to pay your vehicle tax, but now police cameras will be automatically check number plates and robots will establish if the tax has been paid.

The tax disc has spent 93 years on vehicle’s windscreens – well, in six or 12 months bursts anyway. Not the same one handed down.

Motorists will need to be aware of impending tax disc changes or face a £1,000 fine as well as potential penalty charges against a car they no longer own.

“Helpfully”, the DVLA has yet to start adding warnings to tax renewal reminders, but THEY’VE MADE A FILM!

Dear God.

The new rules will demand used car sellers to inform the DVLA of the change of ownership. HPI provider, hpicheck.com, has warned those caught unaware could face fines and charges.

Meanwhile for used car buyers, the vehicle tax will no longer be transferred while those selling can claw back unused tax.

So yes, get aware.

Bank Holiday rail nightmare with East Coast

August 26th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Just as train fares were announced that they were going up, a Bank Holiday travel tale of woe occurs to remind us how infuriating our train services can be.

Yesterday,  a train was delayed by a whopping 5 hours. That’s not ‘delayed while everyone was at the station so they could go and have a brew or whatever’, but rather, ‘passengers sat on the train for 10 hours with the driver buggering off somewhere, the passengers left with no water, a lack of air in the carriage and people fainting all over the place and left stranded with nowhere to go’.

Not good. Of course, customers tried to get things sorted on Twitter because East Coast weren’t feeling too responsive (initially).

2014 08 25 23.29.30 376x500 Bank Holiday rail nightmare with East Coast

East Coast, of course, seemingly did so little that, instead of identifying and correcting a problem, they just allowed more passengers to get on the Bank Holiday Doom Train.

2014 08 25 23.30.47 432x500 Bank Holiday rail nightmare with East Coast

After a while, someone jumped on East Coast’s Twitter account and started saying sorry to everyone, but of course, the passengers had all gone a bit mental by this point and had more pressing concerns – like what where they supposed to do if they’d missed their connecting trains and were stranded.

2014 08 25 23.31.41 367x500 Bank Holiday rail nightmare with East Coast

The only person to come out of the whole thing with any praise is Gary The Train Guard who got his own #garythetrainguard hashtag last night. A man who single-handedly tried to stop the passengers from going Lord of the Flies on each other.

Someone give Gary a raise!

gary the train guard Bank Holiday rail nightmare with East Coast

And the problem that held up these passengers is still here this morning. If you’re travelling into London’s King Cross through Peterborough and Stevenage, be warned that there’s an extensive disruption to services on the East Coast main line.

Today, there’ll be severe delays and cancellations .

An East Coast spokesman said: “Network Rail engineers have been working through the night to restore the overhead power lines… as a consequence, East Coast trains are expected to be severely restricted, and cancellations are likely throughout the day.”

“Customers are advised to defer travel until later in the day, or alternatively, to travel tomorrow if possible. Tickets dated for travel on Monday or Tuesday will be valid for travel on Wednesday and customers are advised to try to travel as close as possible to their original booked time.”

“East Coast is very sorry for the inevitable disruption this will cause to your travel plans, and is working hard with its infrastructure provider Network Rail to resume a good service.”

Customers delayed by more than 30 minutes are eligible for compensation under East Coast’s delay repay scheme. Click here and get your money back.

Loom Bands: are they toxic?

August 24th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

loom bands Loom Bands: are they toxic?Those Loom bands are nice aren’t they? Getting kids into crafts rather than them sitting around eating bogeys and playing beat ‘em ups on their consoles.

Well, they might not be good. In fact, they might be rather bad as swathes of the brightly coloured elastic bands are being tested because they might be full of harmful levels of toxic chemicals.

Official sorts fear that loom bands imported from ‘the Far East’ might not comply with toy safety regulations that we have in the UK and trading standards officers reckon there’s a chance that these loom bands… or should we say DOOM BANDS… could contain 500 times the legal limits of phthalates.

That can harm your health. Why, you may as well give little Maisy 20 Benson & Hedges, you monsters.

Phthalate, basically, is something that can be transferred from plastic into the body through saliva or sweat and the legal limit in toys shouldn’t exceed 0.1 per cent. However, some loom bands contained around 50 per cent.

The British Assay Office found loom band related products had 500 times the legal level of toxins.

Anyway, enough of this clickbait nonsense. Go ahead and eat a handful of poisonous loom bands and see if you die. We’re not the boss of you.

bwbest 300x255 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesBest of Bitterwallet

Want to see where Google have tracked you, on one handy map? bw/spying
All hail the offensive Greggs logo! bw/scum
Facebook point out which posts are jokes, like spoilsports bw/satire
Robot lorries to prowl the motorways? bw/truckin’
A lot of dirty jokes in an article about a sat nav bw/backpassage
EU to ban all the good vacuum cleaners for some stupid reason bw/thissucks
Rioting and looting predicted as Nutella shortages abound bw/nuts
Snapchat to put adverts on your nude selfies bw/botham
Lidl to start selling fashion bw/lidlblackdress
PayPal and Ryanair team-up to make a beast with two backs bw/urgh

Best of the Rest

Would you pay to remove ads from the internet? mediapost/avoid
The largest bank settlements in history telegraph/dolladollabillyall
Smaller airports are cool bbc/airports
PayPal spinoff? sfgate/PayPal
Why do thieves like to steal Honda Accords so much? washingtonpost/accord
What to expect from Windows 9 tech.firstpost/windows-9
Posh people are buying loads of Agas telepgraph/cookers
Blackpool’s chip and pin donkeys bbc/burro

tv 300x266 BBC Licence Fee to be extended to catch up services?While most of us still quite like the BBC, the days when the Beeb was the most dominant broadcaster in the country are now gone- even despite the might of BskyB, we are more likely to be a nation of Daves these days. Nevertheless, we are all required by law to cough up £145.50 a year for the privilege of having the BBC, even if we don’t watch it.

Savvy viewers among us know that under the current TV licensing rules, last updated in 2004, provided you never watch live TV, you don’t need a licence. Note that this applies to watching any live TV, not just BBC content. Also, TV that is recorded and watched later (eg Sky+ or TiVo) counts as live, even if you don’t watch it for two months. Therefore you only escape the licence fee if you exclusively watch iPlayer/4OD type content.

However, this may be about to change. Despite previously insisting they were completely not bovvered by the catch up watchers as most viewers still watch live TV and therefore cough up the £145.50, the BBC’s director general has now commented that it is “worth considering” revised licencing rulesto close the ‘loophole’.

The BBC has previously said it had no plans to alter the licence fee arrangement. But in an interview with the Daily Mirror, DG Tony Hall said: “I think the Licence Fee has plenty of life left. But it has always moved with the times, whether it be scrapping the old radio licence or introducing a new colour licence. It could be modernised again – so it applies to watching BBC programmes both live and on iPlayer. This is for the Government to decide, but worth considering.”

Currently fewer than 2% of households only watch on-demand telly, around half a million viewers, and the BBC admit “this is growing only slowly”. Nevertheless, it’s been over ten years since the rules were last updated, and with technology moving apace, with most TVs now capable of streaming iPlayer style content, the BBC are probably already counting the extra cash. Half a million more licence fees would be a nice little earner.

Government now poking nose into barbecues

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bbq 300x168 Government now poking nose into barbecuesPlanning a last barbecue of the Summer this weekend?

Well, you’ve probably been doing it all wrong according to a slightly belated new thing by the government.

The Food Standards Agency have produced a few videos and handy hints on how to keep yourself away from any food-based illnesses and mishaps.

On the FSA website, there’s some reasonably obvious advice, as it bugles:

“If you’re aiming to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, we’ve served up some advice to help make it a sizzling and safe success. It’s the little things that you do that will help keep your loved ones and friends safe”.

LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT A FILM.

Some of it’s a bit sucking eggs, and we can’t help but think that now the nights are drawing in a bit, and it’s all gone a bit ‘keep a jumper handy’ weather-wise, that this is a little bit, well, late?

Well done everyone. Or more medium rare.

People of Bedford really generous

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

 People of Bedford really generousBedford – it’s alright really, according to new findings from JustGiving.

According to figures from the UK’s biggest fundraising website, Bedford is the most generous town in the UK.

The good people of Bedford, in Bedfordshire, gave £1,145,967 in the year to May 2014, with 41,631 people digging deep into their pockets.

Cambridge came in second place, with £1,440, while Reading was third with £1,711,566.

By calculating the figures of funds donated, in proportion to the giving residents of the town in relation to the town’s overall population.

Those Top 10 Towns:

1. Bedford – £1,145,967 given by 41,631; population 79,150
2. Cambridge – £1,440,634 given by 48,295; population 126,480
3. Reading – £1,711,566 given by 58,235; population 159,247
4. Brentwood – £750,509 given by 21,672; population 74,460
5. Woking – £921,165 given by 27,646; population 99,567
6. Aberdeen – £1,872,610 given by 58,307; population 220,420
7. Cheltenham – £976,995 given by 33,381; population 115,900
8. High Wycombe – £1,004,113 given by 31,658; population 93,736
9. Watford – £737,375 given by 22,643; population 93,736
 10. Bristol – £848,674 given by 28,553; population 121,723

Well done Bedford!

You’ve got something going for you, at least!

Help save Earth from cybercrime!

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

GCHQ Help save Earth from cybercrime!Fancy yourself as some kind of cyber-crim thwarter? Well, you’re in luck.

The British intelligence agency GCHQ, have launched an online game to test whether you’d be any good at stopping a fictional attack.

GCHQ are hoping to find some masterminds among the gameplayers, and then use them, USE THEM FOR THEIR MINDS.

And it’s not a piece of puff, winners of previous missions have gone on to work at the agency.

In the game, called ‘Assignment: Astute Explorer’, users must protect a fictitious aerospace technology company threatened by imminent attack from imaginary cyber terrorists called The Flag Day Associates. There’s even YouTube threats and all sorts. Fancy that!

The story goes that fictitious company Ebell are concerned about the threat of an imminent attack and have asked GCHQ operatives (the public playing the game) to assess the scale of the threat. Sounds like fun.

If you fancy your chances at, you know, one day possibly saving the world, head here.

Panic on the streets of Derby

August 22nd, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Jet2.com logo 300x110 Panic on the streets of DerbyMass fighting scenes in Derby, as a promotional stunt by an airline went horribly wrong.

A load of young women (why they had to women, but hey – patriachy) ran down the street dressed in red morph suits, brandishing Jet2 tickets.

The stunt was to celebrate five years of flying from East Midlands Airport.

Whereas the same stunt had gone relatively smoothly in Nottingham and Leicester, Derby saw reports of people tackling some of the promotional morphs to the ground, and general mayhem.

Comments on the Jet2.com Facebook page suggested the event turned a bit mob-like.

Jet2 said in a statement: ”We had three events across the East Midlands yesterday and while Leicester and Nottingham went smoothly, the giveaway in Derby generated a little more excitement than anticipated.”

“Whilst one or two of our team were a bit shaken, we took care to make sure everyone was OK.”

‘A little more excitement’ indeed.

Here’s some people on Facebook talking about what happened, with one person saying that the whole thing turned into a bit of a “Fight Club”. Helps pass the time doesn’t it?

77072666 tpjet2 Panic on the streets of Derby