fiesta 300x225 Ford Fiesta is biggest selling UK car everThe Ford Fiesta has become the best-selling car of ALL TIME.

The cheery little runabout that has been knocking around for nearly 40 years, has sold 4.1 million, to become the best selling car in the UK.

It has overtaken (OVERTAKEN HAHAHA) the Ford Escort, the previous record holder, to become the most popular model among British drivers.

The Fiesta was a mere £1,865 when it came out in 1976, and soon become a hit with the young set and lead the small car end of the car market ever since.

Mark Ovenden, head of Ford Britain, said: ”The Ford Fiesta has gone from strength to strength and today’s car combines style, value, driving dynamics and remarkable technologies such as the multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.”

“It continues to outsell its nearest retail competitor by more than two to one – and that really tells the story of this extraordinary car.”

Also, the advancements in technology differ somewhat from the car’s launch. For example, it would now take more than 80 modern-day Fiestas to generate the same nitrous oxide emissions of a single 1976 Mk1 model.

This first-generation Fiesta, with the 46bhp four-cylinder 950cc petrol engine, weighed around 800kg and achieved 37.7mpg. Today a 1.0 litre Fiesta is more than a third heavier, but achieves nearly 66mpg.

Fiesta models are developed in Dunton, Essex, while engines are assembled in Dagenham, Essex, and Bridgend, south Wales. Cars destined for the UK market are built in Germany and Spain.

Well done Fiesta!

Europe’s banks been robbed

July 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Bank 300x193 Europes banks been robbedThe security of the European Central Bank has been compromised!

A security breach has lead to a host of email addresses and other contact info being stolen from a European Central Bank database.

The ECB have told everyone to calm it, as the information leaked is related to those who had registered to attend its events, such as conferences or visits, and was not encrypted.

Although, you know, you wouldn’t necessarily be on their database for the lols, but the ECB reaffirm their fans that no sensitive stuff was compromised.

The ECB said the matter first came to its attention after it received an anonymous email seeking money in return for the stolen data.

They also said it was in the process of contacting those who may have had their contact information stolen, while all passwords on its website have been changed as a precautionary measure.

Now, let’s try and do this whole anonymous threat thing again. Demanding money in exchange for a thing you’ve done, but failing to say who you are seems a bit daft.

Modern times, ladies and gentlemen.

Deathwatch: Crocs (Hurrah!)

July 23rd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

crocs 300x137 Deathwatch: Crocs (Hurrah!)Crocs, the ghastly footwear, are in crisis.

Once upon a time, back in the last decade, Crocs became a thing, as the comfy waterproof clog-styled footwear-eyesores were bloody everywhere.

Today, they are looking at laying off 180 staff and closing 100 stores worldwide.

And no wonder. Look at them. Completely vile.

The company’s profits slumped more than 40% last year, with outlets in America and Asia noticing a big slump, whereas over in Europe there’s been a mild growth.

The company plans to simplify its range to save $10 million, although one would motion that they could simplify it easily enough by destroying every trace of Crocs in the universe.

Six months ago, Blackstone, the private equity firm, invested £117m in a 13.5% stake in the company, which has about 600 stores around the world, including three in the UK. They won’t be happy.

Andrew Rees, the Croc president, said: ”We have a clear, well-defined strategy for addressing these issues and improving performance. Work is under way already to drive significant change throughout our company.”

Originally conceived as a sort-of boat shoe, Crocs came to attention when the likes of Jack Nicholson and George Bush started hoofing about in a pair.

By 2009, profits took a dive, as everyone saw sense and went “URGH GET THEM AWAY FROM ME”.

Stop being bad! says the internet

July 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

illegal downloading 269x300 Stop being bad! says the internetThem people who constantly download and share pirated content will start receiving warning letters from their internet service providers from next year.

Anyone whose connections are believed to have been used to hawk copyrighted material, could receive up to four letters a year, although there are no sanctions as yet for those who continue to ignore the warnings.

The aim of the letters is to boost consumer awareness of the wide array of legitimate online content services and help reduce online copyright infringement, or in other words, stop people nicking stuff.

The warning system, known as the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of negotiations between ISPs and industry bodies representing the UK’s creative industries, including the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry).

There had been the original enforcement regime, which was outlined in the Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament under the previous Labour government in 2010.

That Act called for an escalating series of sanctions on persistent file-sharers, starting with sending letters to illegal downloaders and culminating in slowing down the connection speed of offenders or temporarily suspending their connections.

Yet no one really gave much of monkeys, as it was heavily opposed by ISPs, who argued that the anti-piracy measures were inconsistent with European law and would breach the privacy of their customers, as well as driving up costs for providers and consumers.

The consortium of companies that make up Creative Content UK, said it will play an important role in educating consumers about the huge range of entertainment content that is available from legal and licensed sources.

It will also operate within the wider context of programmes aimed at combating copyright infringement, such as the blocking of illegal sites and working with advertisers and payment processors to cut off revenues to such sites.

Let’s tolerate some words from Business Secretary Vince Cable: “The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. Yet too often that content is open to abuse by some who don’t play by the rules.”

“That is why we are working with industry to ensure that intellectual property rights are understood and respected. Education is at the heart of this drive so people understand that piracy isn’t a victimless crime – but actually causes business to fail, harms the industry and costs jobs.”

Everyone involved seems quite into it, as Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI described it as “a real step forward for digital entertainment in the UK”, and Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk, said it would help consumers “make the right choices about how they access content”.

Figures published by communications watchdog Ofcom last year revealed that more than 1.5 billion files were downloaded illegally in the UK in 2012, accounting for almost a quarter (22 per cent) of all content consumed online.

Only a quarter of the people who consumed the most illegal content said they would stop if they thought they might be sued, according to Ofcom, and one in five said they would stop if they received a letter from their ISP telling them that their account had been used for copyright infringement.

Although one would imagine you’d have to shifting some serious amounts of unpaid-for and effectively stolen goods for the ISPs to take notice.

Four strikes and you’re… well… nothing will happen.

EE apologise for being annoying

July 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

zzzw EE apologise for being annoyingEE has apologised after it hassled customers with texts over the weekend.

How much hassle? One user complained of receiving more than 90 marketing messages from Orange, one of EE’s brands, in a four-day period.

Well EE have certainly done themselves no favours in the past, and this latest wheeze looks like seeing off what customers they had left.

These text messages were reminders that the customers were eligible to add to their plans numbers that they can call for free, and the usual old toss that corporate text messaging throws out.

Naturally, customers took to social media and had a good moan about it.

The messages read: “Hi from Orange. Congratulations: you can now add another Magic Number.” It included a link customers could follow to do so.

Trying gamely to underestimate the levity of this shitstorm, a member of EE’s community team named as Miles wrote on Sunday that the firm was “having an issue” with the text message service.

“This reminder should only be sent once, but some customers are getting multiple reminders. If you’ve received any of these duplicate messages, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. Remember: you’re not charged to receive magic number reminders.”

Is this the final straw for you, remaining EE customers? You better answer quickly or you’ll get asked the same question 90 times.

pensions 300x187 Osborne reveals new pension plans (not his, sadly)New rules for private pensions have been announced, allowing the retired greater freedom to fritter away their cash.

The rules were launched by Trouble-haired chancellor George Osborne, following his announcement earlier this year when he scrapped a rule forcing people to buy an annuity, and thus freaked out insurers the land over.

Osborne is keen to allow people to tap into the cash they set aside during their working life by reducing tax penalties imposed on those who withdraw their savings in a lump sum.

On Monday, the government confirmed its intention to go ahead with such plans, seen as the biggest reform of pensions in a generation, and added details to its proposals following a consultation with industry, employers and consumer groups.

Osborne said: ”It’s right to support hard working people that have taken the long-term decision to save for their future and I’m pleased that the responses we had to our proposals on making pensions more flexible have been overwhelmingly positive,”

“The government believes that the overall impact … is likely to be limited,” it said. “It is expected that there will still be a strong continuing demand for high-quality fixed-income assets, including government and corporate bonds.”

It all sounds quite good, but there are worries that the changes will allow pensioners to piss away all their savings while giddy in the first flush of freedom. Osborne, with his legendary charm, has rejected this idea.

It was all panic when Osborne first announced the shake-up earlier this year, it hit the share value of firms like Legal and General, Aviva and Standard Life who run annuities businesses. The shares have since recovered slightly, but remain below their pre-announcement levels.

The finance ministry said that after consultation, the industry estimated that only 10-20 percent of people in defined-benefit pension schemes would transfer out of them. Some pension schemes might need to hold more liquid assets as a result, however.

A summary of the consultation said the financial guidance provided to retirees would be provided independently and funded by a levy on regulated financial services firms.

All good news for anyone with a pension then. Oh.

Amazon to offer unlimited books

July 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

kindle 300x289 Amazon to offer unlimited booksAmazon have pulled the covers of their next wheeze, a Netflix-style subscription.

The plan is to allow unlimited access for e-books, which is going to put the cat among the book pigeons for sure.

The $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited offers access to 600,000 titles in the Kindle format.

Subscribers will be able to access the books on Amazon’s Kindle tablets, as well as other devices with a Kindle app, including iPads and iPhones, Windows devices and Android-powered mobile gadgets.

Amazon is using a model made popular by Netflix for films and television programs, but also by services such as Spotify for music.

This all sounds a bit like rum news ahead for the world of publishing, but Colin Gillis at BGC Partners reckons the move to subscriptions is part of a trend toward ”a ‘rent, not own’ society. We see it with music, with movies. It makes sense that they would do that with books.”

Understandably not everything will be available immediately on the service, but future releases could come as part of a deal to lure people into the service.

Publishers meanwhile are resisting the subscription model because it effectively cuts the price of books and royalties paid.

Despite this, Amazon knows that some of its readers will be up for it, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research: ”Amazon knows its customers,” the analyst said. “They know if you read a mystery every week, they know whether they are in a position to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

“If you’re a one book a month reader and a best seller person, this isn’t going to work for you,” McQuivey said.

The Kindle Unlimited service will also include audio books available through the Audible service. The service is initially being launched for US customers, with other countries likely to follow.

BT can put all your phones in one phone

July 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

bt one phone BT can put all your phones in one phoneBT has launched BT One Phone for the business people

The service will allow business people to receive office and mobile calls to a single device and reduce the risk of them missing important calls. Great for people having affairs with their underlings as well.

The BT One Phone helps streamline calls to any device all into one place. A bit like an email server which aggregates all your accounts. But on a phone.

All phone numbers for the individual are linked to one mobile device, meaning they can manage their calls from anywhere.

Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Business, said:

“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are. Missed calls mean missed business. Today’s announcement, combined with the upcoming launch of our 4G services, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the increasingly mobile UK workforce.”

Users would need a BT One Phone SIM to gain access to the cloud-based call management service, with which they can receive calls from all of their various phone lines. This gives professionals more control, increasing productivity even when away from the office.

Or to translate that for you – YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO ESCAPE.

Snoopsome administrators will also be able to manage employee access by activating or deactivating employee SIM cards, managing call groups etc. Probably at will, when the fancy takes them and you’ll get all paranoid and neck a box of painkillers.

The future, ladies and gentlemen.

payfriendz 300x300 Payfriendz allows you to, yes! Rob your enemies!Payfriendz allows you to do just that – pay your friends.

The new app allows you to transfer money via instant messaging, and goes beyond the current methods of other payment apps (Paym, PayPal, Barclays Pingit, etc) that don’t go beyond offering transactions.

It’s all very genius-sounding, and you wonder why it hasn’t been thought of before.

With an instant messaging network users can chat with their friends and talk about money matters without awkwardness or having to resort to threats.

Users can send and request money as quick as a chat message.

Money can also be spent comfortably via an integrated virtual MasterCard on online stores such as Amazon .

And as it works like a digital wallet Payfriendz makes it easy to split restaurant bills, collect money for a gift or share flat share expenses. Jolly!

That is if you actually have money to transfer, it doesn’t yet offer any tips on how to respond to “Pay your rent or all your shit is going into the skip out front sunshine”.

Let’s enjoy one of their promotional ads with the extremely irritating ‘Kimmy’!

“Ice cream” indeed. She’s clearly off to her dealer.

Facebook: Now a shop

July 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

facebook buy 300x300 Facebook: Now a shopFacebook are adding a “buy” button to their site.

END OF DAYS!

The feature will allow users of the Facebook to buy things directly from the site and shoppers can push the button to purchase items in adverts or other posts without leaving the social network.

An omnipotent force known simply as Facebook said this will “help businesses drive sales”.

Facebook are being all very reassuring by saying this new feature will be safe and secure, especially after the concerns raised by the recent hack of eBay, which exposed the data of 145 million or so customers.

Oh here’s Facebook piping up again: ”We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure,”

“None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.”

So yes, you can feel safe and delete your details immediately after each transaction, but that information is still likely to be quietly stored somewhere, and the next time Facebook is down for an agonising 20 minutes or so, you’ll be panicking.

Aldi is Top of the Pop(ular buzz brand)s

July 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi is Top of the Pop(ular buzz brand)sAldi is the nation’s No.1!

No, really. In a YouGov BrandIndex thing about brands that create the most positive social media buzz, Aldi has abseiled in from nowhere and knocked the BBC off the top spot, and Lidl is into the Top 5 at No.4.

Also, some website called MoneySavingExpert.com arrives in at No.8, indicating that shopping habits have indeed changed a fair bit in recent years. Although Dyson is holding strong, and they’re hardly cheap.

It’s grim news for Samsung (falling from 2 to 9) and Waitrose (5 to 9), however the BBC still have a good showing with both the corporation itself and its iPlayer at 7 and 3 respectively. Of the big four supermarkets, Sainsbury’s cling on at No.10.

A lady named Sarah Murphy, BrandIndex director at YouGov, said:

“The budget grocery stores are making deep inroads into the supermarket sector and are also shaking up the retail landscape too, with Aldi coming in ahead of established brands such as John Lewis.”

“Consumers want to do their weekly shops affordably while losing nothing in terms of quality and they believe these German brands do this.”

All the wow and flutter of British and American brands counts for nothing – what do British people want? A bargain.

Average household bills 300x196 Newsflash: UK households concerned about moneyUK households have signalled the weakest confidence about their finances in six months.

This piece of ‘No shit, Sherlock’ news comes from economic research group Markit, who claim that the monthly Household Finance Index dropped to 42.1 in July from 42.6 in June as households voiced concerns about savings, debt levels and credit availability.

Those in the lowest income bracket (earning less than £15,000 a year) were the most downbeat about their financial situation, whereas – and this may come as something of a shock – those earning over £57,750 are quite upbeat.

The seasonally adjusted index measuring the outlook for financial well-being in the next 12 months was 47.7, down slightly from 47.8 in June.

Senior Economist Jack Kennedy said: ”The survey’s main barometer slipped to a six-month low, while the future expectations index also fell, perhaps reflecting caution regarding the possibility of an interest rate rise before the year’s end.”

“However, the survey continued to signal less severe financial pressures than at any time in the five years leading up to 2014. Moreover, easing inflation perceptions and strongly rising levels of workplace activity suggest certain pressures on households may be abating, which could help offset the impact of higher mortgage costs following any action by the Bank of England to hike rates.”

So to rub people’s noses in it – poor people aren’t happy.

More blindingly obvious news as and when the next pointless survey arrives.

Beats By Dre Beats headphones are too bass heavy claim madpeopleBeats by Dre, or rather its president, has defended the sound quality of the company’s headphones.

In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, Luke Wood pooh-poohed the idea that the headphones were too bass heavy.

“I’ve certainly heard that as an opinion on the headphone, I disagree. We didn’t go to build a reference headphone, something you build in the studio that is really a technical tool to hear when you are recording.”

Adding: “If you look at Dre’s pedigree, Jimmy’s (Iovine) pedigree, even my pedigree, we are all recording engineers. What we did is build a headphone for playback. What does it sound like right when it is finished? And that is what we’ve accomplished.”

Exactly, surely the idea of buying some headphones invented by people who enjoy a bit of bass, saying that they’re a bit bass heavy defeats the point somewhat.

Wood also refused to discuss pesky rumours about sockets on Apple products being changed to accept only Beats headphones following Apple buying Beats earlier this year.

“I’m not here to talk about Apple with you today,” he said. “The truth is that the deal has not closed with Apple, which it will shortly, once it goes through regulatory approval. And at that point we’ll actually sit down with Apple and figure it out. But right now, the truth is there’s absolutely no plans made.”

As you may recall, Apple is set to buy Dr Dre’s Beats Music streaming affair and headphone company for $3 billion, which is nice seeing as Dre can’t be arsed to make music anymore.

“Bass heavy”. Honestly. You Herberts want the moon on a stick.

Not quite over for Clover

July 16th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

 Not quite over for CloverFake butter news now, and Dairy Crest have revealed that sales of its Clover brand fell in the first three months of its financial year.

This grim news comes at a time where the firm continues to face a difficult spreads market.

While sales of Cathedral City (cheeses), Country Life (butter) and Frijj (purports to be a milkshake) have grown by 5%, Clover has gone almost into decline.

The myriad of reasons as to why this could be happening lay at the door of the humble wrap and other bread solutions non-reliant on a spread, and also because of higher milk prices.

The company said in May it would cut the price it paid farmers for milk on standard contracts by 1.25p a litre to 31.2p a litre at the start of this month.

Naturally some new TV advertising campaign will be unveiled soon, and people will hopefully come running back in the arms of Clover.

Overall though, the group said sales grew 4% across all four key brands and it’s on target to cut group costs this year by £20 million, with distribution costs and its dairies the focus of this.

Carrier bags: more popular than ever

July 16th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

tesco bag 300x187 Carrier bags: more popular than everCarrier bags, or at least ‘single-use’ (ie: plastic) are back on the rise.

The number of bags handed out by UK retailers rose for the fourth year in a row in 2013 to more than 8.3 billion.

In England alone, the number of single-use bags rose 5% from just over seven billion in 2012 to 7.4 billion in 2013.

The Government are all up for the 5p levy that will be introduced in October 2015, but what about the bags NOW man? They’re there. Accumulating up like a mountain of manky plastic. Suffocating us all slowly.

The Government was forced to admit plans to also exempt biodegradable bags will not come in when the levy is introduced, because no such bag currently exists.

Northern Ireland saw their bag numbers plummet by 71% as a charge was introduced in April 2013, whereas Wales saw an 18% increase last year, but its use of carrier bags is a fraction of other parts of the UK following the introduction of a 5p charge in the country. The number of bags handed out in Wales has fallen by 79% since 2010. In Scotland, which is bringing in a levy this year, there was a 6% increase in the number of plastic bags handed out by retailers.

It’s good news for the more robust “bags for life” as they’ve almost doubled since 2006, up from 245 million that year to 424 million in 2013.

A unnamed spokeswoman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: “Countries with the 5p charge have seen a dramatic fall in the number of plastic bags taken from supermarkets – that is why we are introducing a charge in England from October 2015.”

“Our approach will help us reduce plastic bag usage and the litter they cause, while also protecting small and medium-sized businesses from any regulatory burdens at a time when the Government is supporting new growth in our economy.”

Bags.