McDonald’s on the slide

December 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

mcdonalds logo McDonalds on the slidePeople are going off McDonald’s.

Global sales at the fast food empire dropped 2.2% for the six consecutive month. Sales in the US fell 4.6% in November, which is more than double than what was projected.

It’s been a bit touch-and-go for McDonald’s as like-for-like sales have not increased since October 2013.

It’s said that consumers are going for healthier lunch-based solutions, even if Big Macs are less fattening than your average pre-packed sandwiches [Or, they're going to places that are unashamedly unhealthy, which is why people eat burgers - Ed]

Elsewhere in McDonald’s world, sales in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa markets were down 4%, but this was partly due to a meat supplier scandal. It’s the same all over though – Russia dropped 2%, and both France and Germany have suffered low sales.

Don Thompson, McDonald’s chief executive, said: “Today’s consumers increasingly demand more choice, convenience and value in their dining-out experience.”

Last month, the fast food giant said it would move into its 120th global market by opening outlets in Kazakhstan next year, adding yet more to the 35,000 locations that serve about 70 million customers a day.

So what are you all eating instead? Are we going to find you all Up The Greggs?

ipod classic Sell your iPod Classic now as it is worth a small fortune!Since their final demise was confirmed in September, iPod Classics are – typically – now going for small fortunes.

Ruthless types who racked up a selection of devices merely because they had an Apple logo on them, are now selling iPod Classics on eBay, who reckon they’ve seen 3,000 sold on the online car boot sale since October.

Naturally, some buyers have complained that the condition of the resold ones aren’t quite what the seller was claiming, with something that looks like it’s been stuck up a dog’s arse arriving in a jiffy bag through their letter box.

Collectors editions of the iPods are going for even more. A set of boxed U2 iPods sold for £50,000 on eBay in October, and another rare edition sold for £7,995. An old prototype also sold for £641.33. Demented.

However the main basic non-fancy 80GB and 160GB ones are going for around £100-200.

The iPod Classic was quietly put out to pasture back in September due to Apple claiming they couldn’t get the parts. Which seeing as Apple invented it, surely the whole ‘parts’ issue shouldn’t have been a thing. Perhaps the ‘parts’ excuse was simply them saying “We haven’t given a shit about updates for these things since we went iPhone crazy”.

And it’s all about the cloud these days, as Apple have been shrinking their hard drives, expecting everyone to throw their content in the air like they just don’t care.

Anyway. Cheerio iPod Classic. If you’ve got a couple stuffed away in the back of a drawer, get it on eBay now!

People are hapless with their passwords

December 8th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

password 300x225 People are hapless with their passwordsOver 40% of the UK reckon their passwords will never be guessed by a hacker. According to a survey of 1,000 British people, 63% use the same password on a variety of accounts.

The nosin’ around was part of research done by Redcentric, who also declared that 21% of the 1,000 questioned would only change their password when they were prompted.

A third of the respondees admitted that their passwords contained their names or birth date. The clots. 17% of the 1,000 also said that they kept password details on their phone or computer.

A Redcentric spokesperson said: “Online security is paramount in this day and age, especially as people are able to carry out more day-to-day tasks online such as shopping, banking and running businesses.

“There are obvious concerns when people are using the same passwords over different accounts, especially if those accounts hold personal or financial information. We recommend that you change your password every month or so depending on the kind of account it is, rather than just doing it when prompted.”

You could update your password every month, but which conventional normal human actually does?

Bricking it this Christmas with Lego

December 8th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Over here at the Bitterwallet office/cesspit, we love a bit of Lego, and as a rather jolly coincidence, Lego loves us (and you) too, and is everywhere this Christmas.

Why, Auto Trader have teamed up with the brick brand, to render cars in bricks for a handful of lucky customers via various social media channels.

The #DrivenByMe hashtag – dude, it’s all about the hashtags now – sees people sending pictures to Auto Trader’s social presences, and one winner a day will have the Lego treatment. Auto Trader will film the building of the car and then it will be sent to the winner.

However Lego have not stressed whether it will be life-sized or not.

minifigs 300x151 Bricking it this Christmas with Lego

If cars aren’t your thing, but you fancy making a Christmas card using Lego’s vast array of minifigs, then stroll on over to here and make your loved ones into plastic.

It’s a lot easier, cheaper and simpler than sitting down and writing out a ton of cards. This way you be cheap and say “oh yeah I threw a tenner at a charity” and everyone will have you down as amazing (even if your soul will know and will eventually erode you away from the inside).

Lego. Always amazing.

McVitie have launched their first Christmas advert in 30 years!

The biscuit people have released the fifth instalment in its ‘Sweeet’ campaign, wherein biscuits are actually puppies and kittens and people go all “Ooooh” at them.

This 60-second ad also features a duckling, husky pup, piglet, reindeer calf and narwhal, performing a version of Yazoo’s Only You – we’ve reached out to Alison Moyet for a comment on the matter, but have yet to get a response – in front of a family doing that biscuit assortment Russian Roulette where no one wants a coconut ring.

It also marks the first time that they’ve advertised their Victoria variety selection, which itself has had a bit of a makeover, with new foil trays and had the average pack increased to 700g.

Sarah Heynen, United Biscuits’ marketing director for sweet biscuits, said: “Bringing Victoria to TV screens this Christmas is the culmination of what has been an extremely successful year for McVitie’s, following the launch of our masterbrand strategy early in 2014,”

“The latest campaign aims to tap into consumers’ love for McVitie’s and the Victoria range, whilst supporting our continuing efforts to drive growth into the category.”

The move has paid off, with McVitie’s combined sales have risen 4.9% to £392.8m since the company have a reshuffle earlier this year, placing all the sweet biscuits under the McVities brand, and all the savoury items under the Jacobs banner.

We’re still creeped out by the notion of animals living inside biscuit packets. Ed. Mof saw it too literally and went dark on Photoshop

biscuits 500x349 Christmas AdWatch: McVities launch first Christmas ad in 30 years

Behold: the Christmas suit

December 5th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Bored of Christmas jumpers, but still want to look a bit of a tool this season? Then the Opposuits clothing company have just the thing for you awful, awful swine!

Yes, they’ve come up with a range of designs – if that’s the right word – for a series of Christmas themed suits.

There are three outfits to choose from – the Treemendous suit, the Rudolph, and the Christmaster – which can be yours for £64.95. Or, you could spend that money on buying a bag of lump hammers to hit yourself over the head with instead.

Look at the state of it.

If £64.95 sounds entirely reasonable to look like a div, then get yourself here right now. But be quick, they’re bafflingly selling out fast, but are offering delivery for next July when you most need it.

Coming to a Christmas party near you, soon.

Driverless cars to be tested on UK roads

December 4th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz12341 300x200 Driverless cars to be tested on UK roadsDriverless cars are here. Quite literally. Four locations in the UK have now been selected where driverless cars will be tested.

Greenwich, in south-east London, and Bristol will each host a project of their own, while Coventry and Milton Keynes will share a third. These places were chosen because the government doesn’t mind if the cars crash into buildings and people there.

This was unveiled by the UK quango crew, Innovate UK, after the Autumn Statement was revealed.

The chancellor announced an additional £9m in funding for the work, adding to the £10m that had been announced in July.

Bristol plans to investigate whether the cars are capable of reducing congestion, in conjunction with some insurance groups. Greenwich is set to run tests as part of the Gateway scheme. This will be led by the Transport Research Laboratory consultancy and also involves General Motors, and the AA and RAC motoring associations.

The TRL’s chief executive Rob Wallis said: “The combination of TRL’s independent expertise; robust, reliable testing protocols and driving simulation facilities alongside the diverse and high calibre qualities of our consortium means we can safely demonstrate automated vehicles to build acceptance and trust in this revolutionary technology,”

Milton Keynes and Coventry will host the UK Autodrive programme, which involves Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and the engineering consultancy Arup and will test both self-drive cars on the road as well as self-driving pods designed for pedestrianised areas.

It’s all jolly and futuristic and then someone will hack them and we’ll be sorry.

We Really Want… ABBA Monopoly

December 4th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Do you like ABBA? Do you like Monopoly? No? Well look away then haters, for the two have combined forces into a thing that is as brilliant as it is bizarre.

What’s the name of the game? ABBA Monopoly.

abba 2 500x348 We Really Want... ABBA Monopoly

Instead of buying and selling properties, you’re buying single records, and instead of real estate you’re buying recording studios, which has completely missed out on a Waterloo connection, but hey.

The players – such as the dog, boot, car etc –  have been replaced by a platform boot, Napoleon hat, a vinyl record, a money bag, a telephone, and Björn’s star-shaped guitar.

You also get to say you’ve landed on Agnetha or Benny, and rent them out or something.

abba 3 500x500 We Really Want... ABBA Monopoly

Yes, if you’re shouting gimme gimme gimme right now and have a dream to own such a thing, then from December 12th, a special edition will be hitting the shelves, and from their online presence.

At £34.99, it’s quite good value for the money money money and the ideal gift for anyone nuts for both cultural icons, and they’ll no doubt thank you for the music based game. But be quick as it’s a limited edition, so the winner takes (Okay now Ian, stop – Ed).

Happy New Year!

Make your own Christmas stocking at McDonalds

December 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

McDonalds have teamed up with some knitters for Christmas!

The fast food chain is offering its customers the opportunity to create their own 3D knitted stocking as part of McDonalds’ Knitmas Greetings campaign.

(Yeah. We know. It doesn’t make sense to us either).

knitmas1 500x262 Make your own Christmas stocking at McDonalds

Customers will be using an interface – handily showcasing their festive menu as a bonus – and can choose a greeting, colour of the wool and a selection of Christmas-based designs for their stocking.

Then they can gallivant them all around the social networks, saying “Look! I’ve designed a sock!”

And if that’s not enough, a handful of lucky customers will have their designs rendered into a real thing courtesy of knitwear faction Grannies Inc in time for the big day itself.

It really is, no pissing about now, the most wonderful time of the year.

Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habits

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

pavlok Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habitsHave you got a load of bad habits? Silly question. Bitterwallet readers are the most debauched ne’er-do-wells on the internet. Do you want to do anything about those habits? On the incredibly slim chance that you do, then you’re in for a shock.

You can get yourself a Pavlok wristband which will electrocute you in a bid to stop you eating too much or whacking one off in front of The One Show.

The electrifying bracelet has raised around £160,000 through crowdfunding thing, Indiegogo, which is well in advance of what they were asking for initially. You can pre-order one for $199.99 (which is around £130) and will be released in 2015.

The producers are calling it the “personal coach on your wrist” and it will give you an electric shock and, it goes without saying, certain Bitterwallet readers will be thinking of new, dirty bad habits they can do with a electrified strap.

You get an app with the wristband. One is an alarm clock that will jolt you out of bed in a morning. Another is called ‘Productive’, which keeps tabs on your internet habits and if you start dossing off work, you’ll get volts in your arm. The last is called ‘Fit’, which presumably will give you a shock when you stop running or something.

It’ll be open-source too, so you can integrate it with other apps and do what you like with it. You can also set it up so friends can send electricity through your limbs for whatever reason.

The Pavlok website refers to itself in grandiose terms that would make Kanye blush: “Pavlok doesn’t just track what you do – it transforms who you are. You’ll wish you had started today.”

The company say that you can also set it up so that the Pavlok will “shock you when you text your ex-lover” or “beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald’s”.

So there you have it. You can turn yourself into one of Pavlov’s dogs (hence the product name) by electro-shocking yourself to change your habits. Marvellous. Please don’t send us the videos you make where you’ve got 5 Pavloks crammed into your undercrackers.

car crash 239x300 Drunk drivers to be whisked through courts this ChristmasIt’s Christmas time. There’s no need to be afraid.

Unless you’re driving a car after sinking a skinful, that is. Drink driving is a level of uncool that we can all agree on, and as traditional as defrosting a mince pie and having to source a disgusting jumper for a work fun day, the police will be stepping up their drunk driving campaigns.

Along with several police services around the country announcing that they will ‘name and shame’ offenders on Twitter, comes the news that people who drink drive will be banned before Christmas.

Extra court time has been made available to ensure those who drink or drug drive in Advent will be off the roads before the holidays.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the courts will see extra time at magistrates’ courts to ensure offenders are dealt with fast. Meaning that anyone caught in the next few weeks will be banned before the 25th comes around. Those who offend later in the month can expect a ban early in the New Year.

Superintendent Jane Derrick, the head of roads policing, said: “I’m grateful for the courts and the CPS working with us to make these extra slots available so we can get drink and drug-drivers off the streets as quickly as possible.”

“There is often a delay of weeks between an individual being charged and them appearing in court but these slots mean those charged with offences early in December could be dealt with by magistrates and banned from the roads in time for Christmas. There is no excuse for driving while over the limit or after taking drugs but there remains a small minority who refuse to believe the law applies to them.”

“Don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or you are still under the influence of from the night before. The loss of your licence is the Christmas present no one wants.”

It’s common sense really. As anyone who has lost someone to an accident caused by a drunk behind the wheel will agree with. Patrols will look for offenders while teams will respond to public tip-offs and spot checks will be set up in places with a history of drink-driving.

Social media should be simpler

December 1st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Social media should be simplerSocial media companies should simplify their conditions as no-one can understand them. That’s according to the government, sitting on the parliamentary science and technology committee.

Of course, last week, we saw just how little MPs understand social media as it is, leaving one Tory red-faced as everyone saw how much he liked dirty photos.

Anyway, the complicated terms and conditions that allow firms like Facebook access to a wealth of personal information and even control a user’s phone are drafted for use in American court rooms, according to the committee.

The committee would like a new set of guidelines that make sure websites explain themselves a bit clearer, and that laws should be in place should they not comply.

The committee has pointed to terms for Facebook Messenger’s mobile app, which is used by more than 200,000 million people a month.

Basically, Facebook can gain direct access to a user’s mobile or tablet, including to take pictures or make videos, at any time without explicit confirmation from the owner.

Committee chair Andrew Miller said: “Let’s face it, most people click yes to terms and conditions contracts without reading them, because they are often laughably long and written in the kind of legalese you need a law degree from the USA to understand,”

Miller went on to say that he’s sure most social media developers will be happy to sign up to new guidelines on “clear communication and informed consent” that the committee is asking the British government to draw up.

Syrian Electronic Army attack OK magazine

November 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

hackers Syrian Electronic Army attack OK magazineA number of websites have fallen prone to being attacked by the SEA.

The Syrian Electronic Army (who sound like more like an underground rave set-up than terrorists) claimed to have hacked a number of websites.

The SEA exploited a fault with a content delivery network and soon visitors to the Independent, OK magazine and the Evening Standard websites were given a blank screen and a javascript popup telling them they had been hacked.

The Syrian Electronic Army are a pro-Assad Syrian hacker group. Of course they’d head straight for OK magazine.

The ad network were first in line for blame, due to the sporadic nature of the outages, which are difficult to replicate and spread over a number of sites.

The Independent reckon the hack came via the Gigya CDN, but stress no information on users was compromised.

Ernest Hilbert, a security consultant at Kroll Cyber, agreed that “it was Gigya. It is a DNS takeover, and this is what the Syrian Electronic Army does. Normally, you type in a URL, it goes to a domain name server, and it says ‘those words equal this website’.

“But not every user can get in through one connection, particularly at bigger sites. A CDN means that, because you can’t all fit in through the same door, it sends you to another one, another version of the content. And one of those versions, which hosts copies of all these affected sites, appears to have been compromised by the Syrian electronic army.”

This isn’t the first time the SEA have done this. They have form going back to 2011. They did The Sun and the Sunday Times in June, and The Guardian in 2013, when it sent spoof emails to staff encouraging them to reset passwords through a malicious link. Fancy that!

All hail! The external hashtag for Macs!

November 27th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

As most people know, in the last few years, the hashtag has become a hugely popular symbol, thanks to Twitter. However, Mac keyboards don’t have one.

So someone called Ben Gomori has decided to come up with one and is raising funds on Kickstarter to create the HashKey, a dedicated one-key external keyboard that only has a hashtag button on it.

3c0f326df04ed9e02d04678daf133187 large 500x281 All hail! The external hashtag for Macs!

Naturally, there’ll be dweebs out there spitting tea from their nostrils and yelling “URGH! THERE IS A SHORTCUT Y’KNOW? JUST PRESS ALT + 3!” but that’s no fun.

Gomori said that he was tired of people asking him where the hashtag key was on a Mac, and instead of linking someone to LetMeGoogleThatForYou, he thought he’d try and make some dollar out of it. So basically, through your USB port, you pop in the external hashtag key and hey presto!

While this may be useless to people who know how to work out a tiny problem like this, it’d make for a good present for those who are persistent in not learning how to do things.

Tesco sizzle your teeth with biscuit spreads

November 27th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Over at Tesco, they’ve got a wilful disregard for the state of your teeth with some potentially orgasmic spreads that are made from biscuits.

We told you about the mighty Biscoff, which is basically crack in a jar that will give you diabetes just by looking at it, and now Tesco are getting in on the action too.

However, this time, there’s a vote going on.

biscuit spreads 500x305 Tesco sizzle your teeth with biscuit spreads

Tesco say: “We asked The Orchard at Tesco members to submit their suggestions for a new biscuit inspired spread. After much umming and ahhing, we’ve shortlisted four tasty spreads: Jaffa Orange, Millionaire Shortbread, Jammy Ring Swirl and Chocolate Digestive.”

“It’s now up to you to pick the winner. Which spread do you think takes the biscuit?”

You can vote over at their Facebook page. We’re just disappointed that no-one suggested a Tunnock’s Tea Cake spread. We’ll just have to go back to squashing 6 of them onto our toast with a spoon while we cry at Judge Judy repeats.