Archive for November, 2009
Nobody likes to wait for anything these days, but while Bitterwallet reader Gunn assures us he is the patient sort, he’s not entirely satisfied with TheHut.com’s release schedule:
I think pre-order is a good idea – sometimes you get a good discount if you order early enough. Thing is, this one has a few problems:
- Will I be at the same address in 11 years time?
- The credit card/debit card I use to pre-order will have definitely expired by that time
- What state will the economy be in? Will Blu rays be selling for £1000 – if so, could this be a bargain!?
- Worst case scenario, I’m not alive to take the delivery
- Worst still, 2012 passes and the earth explodes
With Christmas coming, you’ve probably felt the stress of thinking up unique gifts for loved ones. You don’t want to get them something shitty… you want something unique… something that tells them that they are special.
We’re no different at Bitterwallet and we’ve narrowly avoided buying each other something utterly useless, like a DVD boxset or a card with a tenner in it because we’ve found the ultimate in gifts.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you The Celestial Soul Portraits, by Erial Ali.
What you do is, send a photograph of yourself to Erial. He’ll then get in touch with you on the phone for a consultation and then he’ll meditate for a while to “tune into you” and “get your unique Essence”. Then, he’ll magically transform your essence into a Celestial Soul Portrait of you! ‘Magically’, in this case, meaning ‘MS Paint’ and ‘Photoshop Hatchet Job’.
He’ll even print it out for you so you can hang it on the wall above your bed so it can stare at you like some meth-fuelled Glasto-casualty murderer.
Erial reckons: “My mission as an Artist and Storyteller is to help the emerging Planetary Civilization live in the light of Eternity...” for $150-a-pop mind you. This ‘gift’ don’t come for fee, son. Anyway, it sounds like I’m being cynical and, well, I am. If you’d like to see how warped and vomit-inducing your soul looks like, click the link below. Be sure to enjoy the portrait of a man pissing about with a violin.
[Spotted by Robyn]
Oh, and there’s some bargains too, courtesy of HotUKDeals…
TRUE OR FALSE? In the original pilot episode of Gavin And Stacey, lead actors James Corden and Matthew Horne’s characters wore giant wolf heads as they were both supposedly criminally shy.
THE DEAL: Massive reductions on a range of apps at the iTunes store as part of the Thanksgiving celebrations. Yes, even here in the UK where we quite rightly don’t give a shit about Thanksgiving. Cheers America.
TRUE OR FALSE? ‘App’ stands for ‘Abominable Plaything for Pricks’
THE DEAL: Boxes of various lagers and ciders for just £7 each. None of that ‘2 for £16’ or ‘3 for £30’ counting-on-your-fingers bollocks involved here.
TRUE OR FALSE? Mixing lager and cider to make snakebite only works in the northern hemisphere. Try it below the equator and you’ll create a black, viscous and tasteless drink that is commonly known as ‘DTG-7824-X’.
(deals found by HUKD members janz70, amibees, z and Oscar1)
TRUE OR FALSE? All statements are FALSE.
As of now, Mininova is limiting its activities to a ‘Content Distribution Service’ rather than a seething hub of pirated material. The site’s owners have said that they’re complying with a ruling delivered by the Court Of Utrecht last August.
In an attempt to jazz up their new direction, Mininova have said that their Content Distribution Service has been a huge hit since its launch in 2007. They cite the massive success of the Dutch band Silence is Sexy (pictured right), “who released their complete album on Mininova and received the Interactive Award 2009 for doing so. The Dutch television broadcaster VPRO decided to start using Content Distribution in 2009 in order to distribute documentaries.”
Wow – we’re sure that justifies keeping the tagline “Mininova – The Ultimate Bit Torrent Source” at the top of your browser while you visit the site, which now resembles a ghost town following the end of some kind of digital gold rush.
Will it mean the end of piracy? Definitely not. Will other sites spring up and thrive in Mininova’s place? Almost certainly. Will Mininova wither and die or make it on the straight and narrow path like Napster before it? Time will tell. Are we off to download the newest episode of 30 Rock from a non-Mininova source. No, because doing that would be WRONG.
[Thanks to HUKD member BladeY]
Our quest continues to whittle away at some of Britain’s shabbiest companies before holding one aloft like a wet turd and roaring: “There. There it is. There is the Worst Company In Britain 2009.” But we need your help, or to be more precise, votes.
Today’s clash of the bastards has a mobile phone flavour to it. Locking horns in the ball pool of shite customer service are Carphone Warehouse and T-Mobile. After being pelted by your barrage of hate-votes, one will emerge unscathed and slightly embarrassed, while the other will be sent scuttling into round two, where it will face further abuse for its disgusting crimes.
You can find out who won yesterday’s skirmish between Virgin Money and Barclays here and catch up on all the results so far here. You can see a picture of a large stuffed giraffe outside a Travelodge here.
Administrators MCR said all 45 Borders stores would remain open while it sought a buyer for all or some of the outlets.
Buy-out talks with WH Smith collapsed at the end of last week while Waterstones owner HMV are believed to be interested in some of the Borders shops. HMV have refused to comment.
Borders stopped taking customers’ book orders earlier in the week as the situation became critical and a number of publishers stopped supplying the company with stock.
Here’s an enormous boon for fat, lazy bastards who can’t be bothered to put on and take off their shoes like normal people… the Shoedini. And one thing’s for sure… we’re always on the lookout for enormous boons.
Worthy of almost getting on to an episode of Dragon’s Den, it’s a telescopic arm with a shoe horn fixed on to it. And that’s it. Imagine the looks you’ll get next time you visit your private members club of choice and facilitate the removal of your footwear with one of these babies!
Alternatively, they’d be ideal if you’re having a contest to see how far you can throw a dead field mouse (warning: Shoedini does not come with dead field mouse.)
Readers with the ability to recall stories from two days ago will remember that I hadn’t been entirely thrilled to book a three star hotel room through LateRooms.com, only to discover I was stopping in somebody’s kitchen:
In fact the Ascot Hyde Park Hotel had created an annex out of old apartments by pushing a bed into each room and not removing the fixtures and fitting from the previous tenancy. Add to that a string of safety issues and complaints (no fire doors, an electric heater wedged between the kitchen units and the bed, broken blinds and furniture, no lock on the building’s front door) and you had all the makings of a new classification system for hotel rooms.
The issue is that LateRooms generates plenty of business by promoting hotels that are “self-classified” – the hotels themselves are free to fabricate a rating based on their own opinions, rather than have professional bodies independently assess their facilities – and LateRooms.com offers these hotels to guests without knowing what the guest might be paying for. There’s a caveat attached on every hotel’s brochure page to indicate whether its rating is self-classified. That said, you still wouldn’t expect to book a kitchen for the night.
Despite emailing LateRooms with my complaint and requesting a quote for the previous post, they still haven’t replied, but today their automated system emailed a link for me to review the hotel. When I clicked through, it turned out LateRooms had been paying attention after all:
While it’s clearly a shame that LateRooms’ expansion into domestically themed room bookings has come to an abrupt end, at least they’ve taken action and struck the hotel from their books. That said, I can’t help but feel that perhaps it was all a misunderstanding – after all, just look at what the rest of the rooms look like:
But we can show how to get all that stuff yourself, with the help of HotUKDeals. So stop bloody crying.
If you’re on the lookout for lunch (and who among us can honestly say that they aren’t?), what can you reasonably expect to get for 99p out there in The Real World? A Mars bar and a brisk kick in the fanny, that’s what.
No longer. We’ve tracked down a sandwich/water/crisps three-way that will earn you a single penny in cashback for your meagre outlay of one shiny poundular coin. Informed comments over at HUKD include: “the water is horrible.” Where do we queue?
Just what has modern life really given us, eh? Seasonal Affective Disorder, Twitter and too many remote controls in our living rooms. And that’s pretty much it. Not what we hoped would happen is it? At least we can rectify one of those problems for you here and now.
What would you say to a Logitech Harmony 515 universal remote control that will take on the roles of five other remote controls, and has garnered generally positive reviews from everyone who has used it – and all for £27.99? You’d say ‘Hello remote control!’ Where do we queue?
Finally today, a booze offer. Because as we never tire of reminding you, it’s almost Christmas and you need to stock up on your festive booze stash. Plus, because it’s so cheap, you don’t feel guilty about drinking it all early, because you know we’ll throw another deal at you a few days later. Glug!
Today’s offer is a delightful little cardboard box filled with 18 bottles, each one containing exactly 275ml of Carlsberg Export. It was £14.98 but right now it’s only £6.99. Put it somewhere safe for Christmas – wouldn’t want you drinking it all bef… oh, you’ve gone.
(deals found by HUKD members Dom10, MWD and samsun)
Britons. It’s time to stop dreaming of that speedboat you always wanted. It’s time to start planning that holiday to Argentina. Why? Because you’re about to be hit with untold riches.
The water watchdog Ofwat (I know, I keep adding a ‘T’ as well) revealed today that over the next five years, our water rates will be reduced by £3.
Initially, it was proposed that our rates would fall by £14, but that’s just ludicrous isn’t it? I mean, you could buy a Premiership full-back for that kind of money!
Of course, whether bills rise or fall will depend on how much water you piss away, or indeed, dependent on where you live. The Guardian reports that customers of Essex and Southern Water will face a jump of 13% in price. Thames Water will be allowed to raise prices by 3%.
Hang on. That’s not a price-cut at all is it?
Despite the fact that one-in-five customers think they’re being short-changed, Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said: “Customers have told us that they want us to keep water and sewage charges flat while maintaining a safe, reliable supply of water. That’s what we’ve delivered.
“There’s more to this than just low bills, it’s about what customers get for their money. We’ve scrutinised every pound in the companies’ plans to make sure they deliver what customers want.”
The Institution of Civil Engineers added: “Water companies will need to invest heavily in maintaining, upgrading and building new infrastructure in coming years if we are to meet growing demand, while always ensuring best value for the consumer.
“We have seen what happens when key infrastructure fails over the last few days, with hundreds of people without water or power in Cumbria.”
This will no doubt irritate the people of Northern Ireland to the point where their teeth become dust as they don’t pay water rates at all… yet. In the meantime, we can all dream about what we’ll spend our annual savings on (dependent on where we actually live of course). See you at the Ferrari showrooms.
It’s been a whole day since we talked about the iPhone, so here we are to avert those increasingly worrying palpitations we know you’ve been suffering. Since the new iPod Nano launched it’s had some revolutionary kit inside it called a FM radio. Not only that, Apple included the firmware to allow song tagging, but so far radio groups in Europe have ignored the functionality.
Absolute Radio are the first to step forward and give it whirl. It’s essentially Shazam for radio – if you hear a song you like, you can tag it within the Nano to find out what you’re listening to, and purchase it later on iTunes:
There’s no web browser in the Nano – you’re unable to flick through tracks in the iTunes store, so purchasing songs by tagging them isn’t as smooth a process as it is on the iPhone. Still, tagging of live radio pretty cool, although Absolute is the only station in Europe to be supporting this functionality so far. The revenue stream it creates may only be worth pennies initially, but at a time when commercial radio revenues are taking a sound beating (and plenty of radio groups still haven’t cracked multi-platform listening), development like this is important in fortifying a brand’s relationship with the listener.
It’s all going horribly wrong for National Express – only a few days ago, they finally relinquished their grip on the East Coast rail franchise to the power-hungry train fanatics better known as the governing council of UK PLC.
Now it’s got worse and they have also been stripped of their East Anglia rail franchise. National Express will have the giant train set snatched away from them in 2011, three years earlier than they had hoped.
A bidding timetable has also been drawn up for the c2c franchise that is up for renewal and is currently held by National Express and it would be a foolish man who would bet his house on them hanging on to that from 2011 onwards.
We took the data from National Express’ recent activities and entered it into a machine called The Numberiser that was built by a recent Bitterwallet work experience kid who called himself Maths Mike.
After punching in the year 2020, it told us that by then, if circumstances continue as they have done in recent months, National Express will consist of a single wheelbarrow, operated by a octogenarian mute called Reckless Old Sam.
Watch this space…
As if their recent marketing campaigns didn’t give you enough reason to hate Microsoft, here’s another – the launch of Windows 7 is been credited with helping to reverse the fortunes of DSGi. When we say “reverse”, we mean that the owner of Currys and and PC World lost less money than they expected to – they still aren’t making any.
The retailer had predicted to lose between £23 million and £35 million in the six months to mid-October, which in itself is the sort of catastrophically inaccurate prediction that is easily capable of sinking companies without trace – only a £12 million margin of error, you say? Anyway, DSGi made pre-tax loss of £17.6 million, which is good news if you squint and forget the meaning of the word million.
The group is putting the success down to new megastores in the likes of Norway and Sweden, and tinkering with the formats of its UK stores, such as the new combined two-in-one PC World and Currys galactostores. No mention of the money saved by hacking the guts of technical support for customers, strangely – they must have forgotten to put that bit in. There was also a lift in sales in the last eight weeks of the period, which the company believes was due to sales of Windows 7.
Don’t break out the caramel bites from Sainsbury’s just yet, though – the outlook for 2010 “remains uncertain”. Now there’s one prediction we can all agree on, since Best Buy are about to launch and try sticking a pitchfork through DSGi’s face.