child saving money 300x204 Solve the pocket money problem and stalk your children. Win/win.For those lucky enough to have children, the issue of pocket money rears its ugly head sooner than you might think, although it could be said that you are never too young to learn about how to make the most of a small amount of money.

However, with a myriad different ways to pay for stuff these days, none of which involving actual cash, the practicality of paying out pocket money can become a problem. Who has that many pound coins. So modern technology comes to the rescue again with some apps that take the hassle out of paying pocket money AND give you an innocent way to stalk your child.

There are two main apps, GoHenry and Osper. Both work on the basis of parents funding a bank account for the child, and the child has a debit card (partnered with either Visa or Mastercard respectively) that allows them to spend their money wherever a debit card is accepted, or to withdraw cash from a cash machine. They cannot spend what isn’t there, so there’s no risk of them getting into debt, but it does allow them to practice saving and spending before they are let loose on the world of credit cards at 18.

As an added bonus, the apps, through which you manage actually paying your children their weekly/monthly income, provide you with an instant notification of spending on the child’s card. This means that you can check-up on your little darling to make sure they are where they say they are, provided they are spending money doing it, of course.

But while this is less likely to be an issue for the eight year olds (the youngest age you can get one of these cards), they can run right up to age 18, although whether the pocket money will still be flowing at that point is perhaps another question. You will need access to at least one device (smart phone or tablet) so that the parent can manage the funding, and the child can check their balance and purchase history. Cards can be blocked immediately should the card get lost (likely) or stolen.

Of course, these people are not providing this service out of the goodness of their own hearts and there is a charge. GoHenry currently gives you three months free, and then charges £1.97 per child per month. Osper is free for a year, and then costs £10 per card per year.

So if you don’t want to pay out anything extra in pocket money, or you just don’t like the idea of an eight year old with plastic, you could try Roosterbank which is an app that does it all virtually- basically keeping a record of how much you owe your child in actual money. The child can save their pocket money for something (and earn ‘interest’) and you can deduct ‘money’ from their account when you buy them something. Basic membership is free, but has limits on the number of transactions. The app also includes games (with premium features) and a shop selling actual toys etc, although they can’t physically pay for things themselves as there’s no real money in their account. Again there is an iPhone app, but there is also a desktop version. Roosterbank also allows you to pay children extra for doing extra chores. Bit like bob-a-job. But a bit more expensive.

Beats on all iPhones by March

November 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

beatsbydrdrelogo Beats on all iPhones by MarchApple are planning on forcing more stuff onto your iPhone. A new iOS update in March will automatically install the Beats Music app to all iPhones.

Apple bought Beats back in May for $3 billion, and it looked like they’d lost interest in it when little was mentioned of it back when they launched the iPhone 6.

This follows Apple’s foisting of U2′s latest album into everyone’s iTunes and shoving iBooks in with the iOS 8 update.

The Beats streaming service will have two different subscription plans $9.99 (£6) per month or $99.99 (£67) per year.

This will no doubt ruffle feathers going up against Spotify, who do a monthly subscription, but not an annual one as yet.

Apparently Beats Music currently has around 110,000 subscribers, which looks set to sky-rocket should Apple’s evil plan work. Can we just ban all bloatware now?

Aldi to launch pop-up restaurants

November 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi to launch pop up restaurantsAldi are entering the restaurant business… sort of. The discount supermarket have announced that they’re opening a few pop-up restaurants around the country ahead of Christmas.

The restaurants will be serving up a meal planned by chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

The events will happen in selected hotels such as Blythswood Square Hotel and Home House between November 21st and December 10th.

You can try your luck to win a reservation by tweeting @AldiUK using #AldiFestiveFeast as your hastag.

Naturally all the food served will be sourced from Aldi’s Specially Selected range, including such fare as caviar, crab, turkey wellingtons and Christmas pudding.

(Actually their Christmas pudding is well nice).

Joint managing director of corporate buying, Tony Baines said: “Jean-Christophe Novelli has put together a luxury menu that shows off our festive range to the full and offers better value than other supermarkets. We hope that our consumers will enjoy it.”

Tesco launch Secret Scan-ta app

November 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Tesco Clubcard are hoping to help you find the perfect gift via Twitter! They’ve teamed up with We Are Social to create a campaign that endeavours the find the ideal gift for people via Twitter.

The Secret Scan-ta (OH GOD YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE) app will focus on the cheaper end of goods they offer, rather than stuff like tellies and fridges.

secret scanta 500x363 Tesco launch Secret Scan ta app

Both Clubcard customers and non-customers can input the Twitter handle of a person they are buying the gift for, and then Secret Scan-ta will sift through that particular Twitter account sourcing info on what sort of people and organisation the user follows.

Then using this data – which they’ll probably store away and cite you as a stalker or something in the future – the Scan-ta will offer up gift solutions which they have in stock.

Clubcard members who input their Clubcard vouchers at the start of the search will find their voucher value doubled and deducted from the gift’s price if they go ahead with the purchase.

And that’s not all, each week five winners will be selected at random from those who have used the app to receive 5,000 Clubcard points, and one ultimate winner will be in with a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S5.

Katie Aust digital marketing manager from Tesco Clubcard, said: “Christmas, although a happy season, can often bring with it panic and stress of buying gifts. This campaign gives the buyer get a bit of genuine insight into what the recipient is really interested in, resulting in a personal, and thoughtful gift. It also promotes the huge offerings of the Tesco gifting range and the benefits of joining Clubcard and boosting vouchers.”

So, ‘gifting’ – we’re saying that now, are we?

fat and happy Has the recession made you a sad, scruffy fatso?*People are always interested in how consumer behaviour changes, particularly after big events like a recession. New research from Kantar Media now show that, compared with five years ago, consumers these days are miserable, minging slobs, or “unhappier, unhealthier and less concerned by their appearance”  as they put it.

Since 2008’s downturn, consumers’ health, appearance and happiness have all taken a “significant knock” according to Kantar, leading to “profound behavioural changes” in the relationship between consumers and food.

Kantar claims that the dark days of the recession led consumers into finding comfort and reward in more indulgent and less healthy foods, with the proportion of adults who said their diet was very healthy falling from 41% in 2009 to 36% today. Today’s consumers are also  ”less fussy” about their appearance, with only 54% claiming to look after the way they look, down from 62% in 2009. In some areas, we reckon the percentage is even less…

But even if you are still clinging on to your health and your looks, chances are you aren’t happy. Today, only 49% of adults are “happy with their standard of living” down from 58% in 2009. Similarly, the proportion of adults who say they are happy with their life as it is has fallen from 63% in 2009 to 57% today.

The problem, according to Kantar, is that we are now associating junkier food and takeaways with happiness- after all, the recession meant that going out for a meal was often replaced by a cheeky takeaway. Little pleasures. But this isn’t just bad news for our waistlines and looks, producers of healthier and organic foods are also down in the dumps.

“The consequence of this declining happiness amongst British consumers and its link to healthy eating is that interest in the likes of organic and fair trade food will be unlikely to pick up again until the economic recovery not only improves consumers’ quality of life, but also ultimately delivers higher levels of happiness,” said Anne Benoist, director, Kantar Media TGI.

“The fast food industry has, to a certain extent, repositioned itself during the downturn so that it is no longer so synonymous with junk food…This has helped consumers feel less guilty about what they eat. The healthy food industry needs to undertake a similar re-positioning so that eating healthily is no longer equated with unhappiness in consumers’ minds.”

So we may now be glum, gelatinous and grotty as consumers, but it could be worse. We could be eating healthy food and be even more miserable…

*assuming you weren’t one already.

Cars getting too big for car parks

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

car parking 225x300 Cars getting too big for car parksCars are getting bigger and car parking spaces are getting smaller, according to a new report.

A rise in minor accidents and the like is costing UK drivers around £750 million a year in repairs and, apparently there’s more than 500,000 collisions per year – working out at approximately 1,373 per day.

The Accident Exchange report revealed that car park incidents are second to rear-end shunts as the most common car mishap, costing motorists an average of £1,428 each time to repair.

The report says there were an estimated 2.2million accidents on UK roads in 2011 of which ‘general car park incidents’ represented nearly a quarter (22.78%) of the total.

A spokey for Accident Exchange said: “Most parking incidents take place at slow speeds but that does not stop motorists damaging doors, wheels, bumpers and other parts of the bodywork.”

“A possible contributing factor is that today’s larger vehicles are now squeezing into smaller parking spaces.”

The findings that emerged from their survey of car parks was very illuminating, discovering that the average car park space is an eye-opening  7ft 9.5 inches (237.5cm.) However, the average car has grown in size over the years, and even the smallest models of yore have at least another foot added to their size.

Yet due to the pesky Transport Department, parking space sizes have remained the same since 1994

It’s no joy for the drivers either, they’re getting taller and fatter and are causing themselves pain trying to get out of tight spaces. Well, it needn’t be painful if you know how to work it.

Liz Fisher of Accident Exchange said: “Looking at the statistics, you’d think there is chaos in car parks up and down the country and that drivers are literally battling for spaces to park. But the fact is that drivers are having to squeeze their larger cars into smaller spaces and there are many more car journeys made than just a decade ago.”

Car parks being a load of rubbish – who would’ve ever thunk it?

Swipe your Co-op card to win things

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

The Co-op have unveiled a new promotion!

Entitled Swipe and Win, any Co-op member can swipe their card in a food store, and then get entered into a daily draw thing where there’s a prize budget of £1.3m, with booty such as vouchers, tellies and fridge freezers.

swipe and win offer banner live 500x212 Swipe your Co op card to win things

There’ll also be instant prizes such as a £20 voucher or just some freebies. The promotion runs until December 9th, so you’ve got a good couple of weeks or so to try your luck.

Steve Murrells, CEO retail at The Co-op Group said  “We hope our members will enjoy taking part in Swipe and Win,”

“Of course, there are many other facets to membership of The Co-operative which enables people to have a say in the running of the business, join campaigns and to take part in organised events with other members.”

Hark at him with his ‘facets’.

4G data bills will be cheaper eventually

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Ofcom logo w500 300x220 4G data bills will be cheaper eventually4G data bills should be lower, claims Ofcom.

Mobile user bills should be cheaper, now that the telecoms regulator has ruled that frequencies currently reserved for digital TV transmissions and wireless microphones should switch over to mobile broadband.

This freeing up of the spectrum should kick in around – oh – between 2020 and 2022. Ofcom reckon that network providers will be cutting their bills as a result of this increase in capacity.

A spokesperson parpled: “Millions of consumers could benefit from lower mobile tariffs than would otherwise be offered, because we expect a significant proportion of the network cost savings to be passed through to them,”

“Specifically, these include network cost savings from deploying fewer base stations and improvements in mobile performance in hard-to-serve locations.”

Ofcom also went on to say that TV viewers wouldn’t have another one of those nightmares of switchover, that happened when analogue signals were decommissioned.

It will, however,  be a problem for some of the communications equipment used by theatres, sports venues and music event organisers, who will now have to update their systems.

Twitter: now more searchable

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter: now more searchable Twitter have been changing a few bits and bobs around the site and now, the microblogging site announced that users can send URLs in Direct Messages once again, after having tinkered about with some maintenance work.

All weblinks sent via private message will automatically be shortened, and the option to share a public tweet via Direct Message is expected to be added in a subsequent update this week.

Twitter are also expected to roll out a new feature which will allow users to search through their tweet history rather than having to do so via third party sites and histories.

The company have been indexing and cataloguing all of your tweets, and should you wish to search for something you said in September 2011 that was really lol, then you don’t have to manually flick through 30,000+ tweets to find it.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also introducing an ‘instant timeline’ feature, which will show content from accounts that the user doesn’t follow. Which seems a little counter-productive, otherwise you’d follow those accounts already, no?

These and many other new features have been part of the company’s upgrades, since their last update in September which was designed to help newbies get started on the site, after they incorrectly assumed that Twitter is ‘just people talking about what they had for their lunch’. That joke’s been done. Get a new one.

UK grocery sales down for first time in 20 years

November 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

trolley UK grocery sales down for first time in 20 yearsUK grocery sales have fallen for the first time in 20 years.

In what can only be described as quite good news for the consumer, the average price of a basket of things such as bread, milk and veg now costs 0.4% less than a year ago, as the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show.

However the price wars have had a knock-on effect on the fortunes of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, with the overall market contracting by 0.2% in the 12 weeks to November 9.

Kantar also claim that it is the first time they’ve recorded a decline since it started in 1994.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel said: “The major supermarkets have all had a difficult period, hit by both the flow of shoppers toward the discounters and reduced revenues as they competitively cut prices.”

Tesco did the worst with their sales sliding by 3.7%, yet Morrisons’ slumped faster down from 1.3% to 3.3% a month ago.

The only growers and showers included Waitrose who increased to 5.6%. Aldi slowed down a fraction from 29.1% to 25.5% and Lidl went down from 17.7% to 16.8%.

Market share in the 12 weeks to 9 November:

• Tesco: 28.7%
• Asda: 17.2%
• Sainsbury’s: 16.4%
• Morrisons: 11.1%
• The Co-operative: 6.2%
• Waitrose: 5.1%
• Aldi: 4.9%
• Lidl: 3.5%

Nokia release surprise tablet

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia n1 300x199 Nokia release surprise tabletNokia have sprung a new Android-powered tablet onto the market.

This out-of-the-blue announcement now pits Nokia against Microsoft, who completed its takeover of Nokia’s mobiles ends in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China at the start of 2015, and then presumably everywhere else.

However Nokia are not making the thing themselves, but instead have licensed the brand, design and software to a third party, the infamous Foxconn. If you’re buying one, make sure it hasn’t been water-damaged by worker’s tears.

Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said: “This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” when he announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name, but reckoned it would still use the brand on less powerful feature phones, and apparently can do so for another ten years due to the terms of the takeover.

The N1 is a 7.9in (20.1cm) aluminium-framed tablet, and is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system. It features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249 (£159).

But does it have Snake on it?

Workers want holidays not pay rises

November 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

beach 300x187 Workers want holidays not pay risesOne in three of workers would rather have more holiday than a pay rise, according to a new report.

61% of them also believe, that if a company were to promise them more time off, they’d consider switching to them.

The survey by Expedia of nearly 8,000 people across 24 countries, also saw that Europeans enjoyed more holiday time than those in the Asia Pacific region and North America.

At present, the highest number of days offered to staff is 30 in Denmark, France, Germany and Spain, 28 in Italy, and 26 in Britain.

Down the other end of the scale, holiday allowance totalled 15 days in the US and Mexico, and just 11 in Thailand.

Also, Britain makes sure it takes as much of its holiday as it can, with the average Briton using 25 of their 26 days allocation, compared to Italians who only use up 21 days of their 28, and South Korea took only seven of 15 available days in the past year.

Expedia’s Andy Washington said: “While habits differ, the emotional impact of holiday does not.”

“Somewhere between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of people worldwide say that holidays make them feel happier, better rested, closer to their family, less stressed and more relaxed.”

So would you rather have more time off, rather than more money?

Asda and Tesco must make their bananas fair

November 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

tesco unveils its banana 001 300x180 Asda and Tesco must make their bananas fairAsda and Tesco must sell more Fairly traded bananas.

The Fairtrade Foundation has been geeing up consumers to harass the two supermarkets this month, which is when buyers negotiate supplier contracts for the next 12 months.

The UK public spends over £700m eating 5 billion of them a year – yet instead of making a decent living, many banana farmers that supply the UK are struggling to get by.

Fairtrade Foundation claims that Tesco and Asda are the two largest UK sellers of the yellow-skinned treat, yet still stocked ranges of non-Fairtrade bananas.

According to a poll of 2,000 banana lovers, more than eight in 10 customers – which itself included 85% of Asda shoppers and 84% of Tesco types – would happily coin up a bit extra if they knew that the banana grower was getting their slice.

“UK consumers care about the conditions faced by the people who grow our food,” said the Foundation.

Globally, Fairtrade works with close to 25,000 banana plantation workers and small farmers across Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, the Windward Islands, Panama, Costa Rica, Ghana and Cameroon.

If you want to join the chanting, head here and enter details to email Asda and Tesco directly.

sex with glass Google Glass app lets you see how awful you look during sexAre you the kind of person who prefers to look at your own arse in the mirror while you’re having sex? Well, LIVE IN THE NOW as someone has come up with an app for Google Glass so you can check yourself out while on the job.

The app is called Glance which captures the viewpoint of your partner, you fantastically vain swine. Of course, this isn’t all about you. If you and your partner like filming yourself whilst knocking your uglies together, then you can both do a movie and play them back side-by-side.

Basically, you can now truly see what your partner has to put up with during your grunting sweatfests.

What happens is that you pop on your Google Glass(es) and say ominously: “Okay glass, it’s time.” The app will then stream the footage. For the full experience, you’ll need a pair of Google specs each. Amusingly, to stop the footage, you need to say “Okay glass, pull out.”

The creators said: “Glance let’s you see two different perspectives, seamlessly. It changes the way you experience something personal. Like sex. Having sex with Glance brings a completely new perspective.”

The inventors also said that they’re very concerned about you and your partner’s privacy and that they won’t host the videos anywhere and that you’ll be the only people to own a copy. Of course, if you store it on a cloud service, that could all go out the window. Either way, the app database won’t store anything and the footage will be on your phone only.

The next ‘Fappening’ is going to be interesting isn’t it?

BBC licence fee RIP?

November 17th, 2014 15 Comments By Ian Wade

BBC iPlayer Radio logo BBC licence fee RIP?The Conservative MPs are supporting an appeal to get rid of the BBC TV Licence. No surprise there as this is the latest in a long history of the Tories versus the BBC, wherein the political party finds it slightly unfair that they’re unable to sell it off and make money out of it.

The appeal, which has been led by – always the way – backbencher Andrew Bridgen, urges Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to spearhead a government review of BBC funding.

According to a letter that Mr Bridgen has sent to Mr Javid, he accuses the current funding of the BBC as “becoming unsustainable and out of keeping with the modern media environment”.

“The corporation should be planning for a future without the licence fee and investigating subscription-based payment options, as well as the wealth of further opportunities that exist for its worldwide operation”.

Seemingly unaware that for £145 a year you get a total bargain and somewhere relatively free of Simon Cowell, advertising and Keith Lemon, the licence fee is what separates one from the animals.

But Mr Bridgen is a backbencher Tory and so claims that the fee is “the most regressive taxes in the UK today”.

Bridgen has been previously involved with the Government to review whether non-payment of the licence fee should be classed as a civil offence, after people had been given jail terms.

Bridgen reckons:  “The BBC should move to a subscription model as soon as it is practicable. The sheer pace of technological change will render the licence fee redundant. It is a matter of when the fee goes, not if.”

So. Turning the BBC into Netflix essentially. A BBC spokesman said that the subscription, which costs £2.80 a week, had risen in support by 22% since 2004, and said that “It’s vital that programmes like EastEnders, Strictly, Sherlock, Doctor Who and Match Of The Day can been watched by everyone, not a select few.”

BBC haters – you know where the comments are.