Volvo tinker with their logo

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Volvo have had a fiddle with their logo.

The new updated ‘ironmark’ logo, which has been in use since 1927, is based on the chemical symbol for iron, has been lightly updated by Stockholm Design Lab.

VolvoNew Volvo tinker with their logo

It handily coincides with the launch of its new XC90 vehicle.

Stockholm Design Lab said: “The symbol has been simplified in its purest form and conveys the vision to be the world’s most progressive and desirable premium car brand.”

Which, obviously, they would. They charged an amazing amount of money for the privilege too.

Whereas Volvo chip in with: “The new XC90 will be the first of our cars to carry the company’s new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille.”

“Together with the T-shaped ‘Thor’s Hammer’ DRL lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo’s forthcoming generation of cars.”

Still nothing you’d steal off the front though, eh elderly Beastie Boys fans?

Buy more stuff when you recycle

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Recycling Mixed Containers Buy more stuff when you recycleYou can receive shopping vouchers each time you recycle!

A new scheme, based on loyalty rewards and vouchers, is going to reward greener households. those who actually separate stuff and that.

A £5 million fund has been set up to reward the greenest, in a bid to increase recycling rates in England.

Councils that offer weekly bin emptying services, instead of fortnightly, can bid for a share of the cash to increase their recycling rates by providing the incentives to those who recycle.

The scheme was originally piloted back in 2010, and was found to be quite the success with recycling rates increasing by 35%.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, that one off the telly, said: “Rewards for recycling show how working with families can deliver environmental benefits without the draconian approach of punishing people and leaving out smelly rubbish.”

“Councils with fortnightly collections will not receive government funding and are short-changing their residents with an inferior service.”

The closing date for bids is November 7th, and those who’ve been the most successful will be unveiled in January.

Tesco: woes continue

September 1st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco: woes continueIt’s been a rum few days for Tesco.

One of their key shareholders, Harris Associates, has sold nearly two thirds of its stake in the beleagured supermarket.

The American investment fund Harris Associates, had been Tesco’s seventh largest shareholder.

Chief exec David Herro told the Sunday Telegraph “We have sold, in the last month, probably two thirds of our position

“With so many unknowns … those risk factors are just too high to justify a big position.”

This comes after Tesco issued its second profit warning in two months, and estimating that annual profits are more likely to be 25% lower than last year. Continuing a three year decline.

It’s probably not the ideal welcome for Dave Lewis, who takes over the top job today, a month ahead of what had been planned.

Tesco, who has lost the bulk of their business to up-and-coming budget retailers such as Aldi and Lidl, also slashed its dividend by 75% to give Lewis greater flexibility to revive the world’s No.3 retailer.

Can it catch up on lost ground? Who knows? Should they break themselves up in a bid to stay in the game?

Paddy Power profits palaver

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Paddy Power Paddy Power profits palaverBookie news, and Paddy Power are the latest bookmaker to post disappointing half year profits.

The Dublin-based firm said pre-tax profits fell to €61.8million (£49.2million) in the six months to June 30th, while revenues were down 7% to €396.5million (£315.7million) compared to a year ago.

The pesky horses and football wins haven’t helped either.

However the company were optimistic that they’d gained new customers in the last few months, and was also still planning on expanding.

Punter wins on favourite horses was at 37% against an average of 35% between 2010 and 2013, and Premier League favourites won 64% compared to 35% in the same period.

These odds combined to drag the group’s win percentage down to 9.1 per cent from its long-term average of 10 per cent.

They will also expand their 305 shops by another 40 in the next year, regardless of new Government fixed levy rules. So, profits are down, but they’re still wildly rich. Not surprising for a bookmaker, eh?

What this all means in actuality is that we’re going to see a whole load of irritating publicity stunts. That’s the one thing that’s certain in all of this.

Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

We haven’t polled everyone, but we reckon you’d be hard pressed to find someone on this planet who doesn’t like crisps. Only sickos don’t like crisps.

Anyway, it pleases us to announce that there’s a new crisp on the scene, which is not like the others, namely Mackie’s Whisky & Haggis crisps.

Gie it laldy.

whisky crisps 375x500 Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

And that’s not all, as it will soon be joined by Venison & Cranberry flavour too.

The Ridge Cut affairs are in Scottish Co-ops RIGHT NOW, and will appear in Tesco and Asda in October, so petition/ mildly riot accordingly.

It’s a limited edition at the moment, but if it kicks off, it may be added to the range full time.

George Taylor, managing director of Mackie’s at Taypack, said: “We have been delighted with the uptake of our Ridge Cut range thus far, with sales already in line with our core range.”

“We felt it was time to add a Scottish twist to the range as our Scottish flavours have always been very popular. We were particularly keen to try a whisky seasoning as Scotch is so renowned around the world. We tried various combinations and the whisky and haggis pairing came out on top. We are very excited to see the market’s reaction to the new flavour lines.”

The gauntlet has been thrown down, beat that England. Oh and if anyone could source us a box for “research”, we’ll be quite grateful.

Costa joins recyclable cup scheme

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

coffee addict  300x272 Costa joins recyclable cup schemeCosta have signed up to the new Simply Cups cup recovery and recycling membership scheme.

Simply Cups, the only UK service specialising in recycling disposable beverage cups, is a partnership between Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and Simply Waste Solutions.

Originally, paper cups were a bugger to recycle due to the polyethylene in their design.

However Simply Cups have come up with a new system, which pulps the cups and separates the plastic and paper, which lets them be recycled individually.

Simply Cups only started up in August, and works in the London and Thames Valley areas, but with initiatives like these, are set to grow country-wide, and will try and put a dent into the figure of 2.5 million cups that end up in landfill each year instead.

The long-windedly titled Energy and Environment Manager at Whitbread, parent company of Costa, Ollie Rosevear, said:

“Costa is always looking for new innovations, partnerships and collaborative efforts to lead the way in developing sustainable solutions to reduce the impact of our cups on the environment. Our membership is a great example of this ongoing work.”

Hurrah for proper recycleable cups!

Twitter Logo1 Become more insufferable with Twitter AnalyticsNow you can peek at who is looking at your tweets!

Yes indeed, pump up your ego and assess your online presence, as you can now log in to Twitter Analytics!

You can see how far your “reach” is, work out the ideal audience for your Bake Off-related tweets, and know when not to slip an off-colour joke in.

You can also download the data to browse through offline too. IMAGINE THE FUN YOU’LL HAVE DOING THAT?

Until now, only the celebrities had this option, but now, everyone can do it, which means we’re all just like the famous people, apart from being considerably poorer.

So as long as you’ve had an account for more than a fortnight, you can now see what’s going on. Boost your impact! Find out your bullshit footprint!

Find out who loves you and then perhaps touch yourself, you dirty Herbert.

All hail the Dogcam

August 28th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

gopro fecth perros 300x159 All hail the DogcamHere at Bitterwallet, we know what you’re thinking: It’s 2014. Where are our dog cams?

Well, fortunately we can happily soothe you with the news that THEY ARE HERE.

GoPro, who usually see their action cameras for skydivers and stunt-type dude filming, have now launched a harness that allows viewers to capture the world from your dog’s point of view.

They’re fairly robust affairs, being waterproof and the like, so perfect to capture your dog – ideally having jolly adventures, but in reality you’ll get quite a lot of footage of other dog’s arses, various piles of faeces being rolled in and perspectives of a bored animal wishing it was dead while lying on the sofa.

For £59.99, you can do this and more. It can be mounted on either the back or the stomach too [So you can get an extra pervy look at your hound mating? Ed.].

It’s padded, as so the dog doesn’t find it uncomfortable, as obviously they’re used to having devices strapped onto them.

Paul Osborne, GoPro’s senior director of product management, bigs it up: “The adaptability and versatility of GoPro cameras make them the perfect device to document life from a dog’s point of view.”

“We designed Fetch to meet the unique needs and usage for pets and can’t wait to see the images and videos that owners will capture and share now that they have a mount specifically for their dog.”

We can safely adjust the doomsday clock now. HUMANITY HAS STEPPED IN AGAIN.

Kobo make waterproof e-reader

August 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bath Kobo make waterproof e readerAre you clumsy but like reading in the bath? Do you have rivers of moisture leaking from your face, ruining everything you ever hold in your equally sodden palms?

Well, Kobo are here to help with their e-book device called the Aura H2O, which is waterproof and launching in the UK.

The e-reader is so waterproof that it can be submerged for 29 minutes and it’ll be fine. This means you can read The Little Mermaid while thrashing around under the surface of the water for a bit, while dressed up as Ariel.

Or, you could read some depressing poetry while you drown yourself. It is entirely up to you, really. Kobo’s device is apparently dust-proof too, which is handy for the beach or if you are a cowboy who works on a ranch.

Michael Tamblyn, president of Kobo, said: “When we asked our customers what held them back from reading more ebooks, many told us they love to read in the bath, by the pool, or on the beach, but believed that devices and water didn’t mix.”

“We designed the Kobo Aura H2O, our latest premium eReader, so that ebooks could be just as common at the beach or in the bath as they are on the bus or in bed,” he added.

It has a 6.8in screen, 4GB of memory (which you can expand with a microSD card), two months of battery life and will be on sale from 1st October costing £139.99.

Or you could just carry on buying paper books if you think e-readers are a massive crock. No-one’s forcing you to do anything.

Supermarket sales at 10 year low

August 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

basket 300x300 Supermarket sales at 10 year lowSupermarkets are still having a topsy turvy time of it, as sales have been hitting a 10-year low.

According to some research by the Kantar Worldpanel (sounds like a support act for Kraftwerk or Can), low inflation in the price of groceries, has seen sales grow by only 0.8% in the last 12 weeks, against figures from a year earlier.

The ongoing price wars and what have you, has driven inflation down to a record low of 0.2%. And guess what?

The main winners in market share again were Aldi and Lidl.

Aldi’s market share rose to 4.8% from 3.7% a year earlier, while Lidl’s share climbed to 3.6% from 3.1%. And it’s not all budget end, as sales at Waitrose were up 3.6% from a year earlier, and its market share edged up to 4.9% from 4.8%.

But it’s grim news for Tesco, as its sales were down 4% from last year’s period, and the market share dropping from 30.2% to 28.8%

According to Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner: “Competitive pricing among the big grocers and deflation in the price of staple items such as vegetables, milk and bread has driven inflation down yet again,”

“This naturally impacts on the overall growth of the grocery market, which has fallen to a 10 year record-low of 0.8%,” he added.

School premiums driving up house prices

August 27th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

beacky high 300x200 School premiums driving up house pricesHouse price news now, and if parents want their nippers to go to the best state schools in England, they’re looking down the barrel of half a million to buy a home in the right area.

According to a report from Lloyds, it reckons the average premium to live nearby to a top school is £21,000

The most extreme example was Beaconsfield High School in Buckinghamshire (pictured) where the average house price is £797,000, compared to an average price of £314,000 in the rest of the county, giving it a ‘school premium’ of £483,031, the largest one in England.

Researchers looked at the top 30 secondary state schools in England as well as the top ten performing secondary state schools in each region, based on last year’s [2013] GCSE data.

But it’s not all demented premium news, as Heckmondwike grammar, in West Yorkshire, has results that place it among the top 30 state schools in the country, but house prices nearby average just £99,000.

For that lot in London, Barnet also stands out as an area with some of the best state schools. But house prices are lower in the area than the average for the capital.

A mortgages director at Lloyds, who we’ll call for this purpose Marc Page, said: “Although property values can be significantly lower in neighbouring areas, many parents don’t appear to be put off from paying a premium to ensure their child has the best possible chance to attend their chosen school.”

Shall we look at the Top Ten of where the biggest house price ‘school premiums’ are?:

1. Beaconsfield High School, Buckinghamshire, £483,031, 154%
2. Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, West Midlands, £131,656, 79%
3. Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Lancashire, £86,857, 62%
4. St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School, Kent, £152,680, 59%
4. Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Buckinghamshire, £184,058, 59%
6. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Cheshire, £117,439, 56%
7. Colyton Grammar School, Devon, £53,309, 24%
8. Newport Girls’ High School, Shropshire, £23,432, 12%
8. Wolverhampton Girls’ High School, West Midlands, £20,195, 12%
10. Nonsuch High School for Girls, Sutton, £23,380, 8%

Mostly Girls Schools too, the pervs.

Kitemarks for money apps

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bsi.png Kitemarks for money appsA new kitemark has been launched to help people trust certain apps with their personal data.

The new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark has been applied to Barclay’s new Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking, after they were independently assessed.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms – for example within the entertainment industry.

Anyone wanting to get a kitemark for their product will have to go through hardcore testing so that their security meets the required standards for dealing with confidential data.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.

This is quite the thing as three quarters of Brits now use the internet for shopping and just over half now bank online.

Maureen Sumner Smith who is the UK managing director at BSI, used her mouth and said: “More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government. These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.”

“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”

Buses: they’ve let us all down

August 27th, 2014 7 Comments By Ian Wade

47861821 nbfl no 08 broadgate 140510 300x167 Buses: theyve let us all downAccording to a think tank, it isn’t a great life on the buses as passengers have been continually let down by a lack of competition and a failure of deregulation.

Despite being privatised back in 1986, buses outside of London were deregulated, but those inside of the London remained subject to regulation. According to the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) report, it claimed that Transport for London’s regulation had been a success, elsewhere the whole thing had been a bit of a failure.

One in eight of working Brits relied on getting the bus into work, and also that people made three times the trips on the bus than the train, which worked out over five billion a year.

It also pointed out that the poorest used the bus more, but that fares outside of London had risen by more than 35% above inflation between 1995 and 2013.

The report also recommended the creation of local transport bodies modelled on TfL .

IPPR associate director Will Straw said: “London has the best buses in Britain and that’s no accident. TfL has been a great success while the deregulation of buses outside London has largely failed.”

“Outside London, bus passenger journeys are down and fares are rising higher than inflation. Examples of successful bus markets outside London are all too rare so local transport bodies should be given greater powers to hold uncompetitive providers to account.”

“As well as regulating bus services, routes and fares, these new bodies should have a wider role of encouraging better integration between buses and other modes of transport including rail.”

“This will help increase the number of passengers using public transport. Responsibility for transport related to schools and hospitals should be devolved to these regional transport bodies with any savings made from achieving efficiencies retained and reinvested in other local sustainable transport projects.”

He goes on a bit, but you get the gist.

We all know catching the bus is a nightmare (as night follows day), but what can be done to fix the situation? And no, dear readers, killing annoying or smelly people isn’t a viable solution.

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?

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.