Archive for March, 2010

resize 490 490 209x300 Cravendale and the revolution in sour milk detectionThere’s nothing worse than the taste of sour milk – in fact, some research we just did there a minute ago reveals that 87% of all long-term depression in the UK is triggered by the sufferer getting a gobful of sour milk. Scary, if not entirely accurate.

But now Cravendale (who we like because of their adverts) think they’ve come up with something that will rid us of the curse of curdling forever. It’s a milk jug that can detect whether or not your milk is still good for human consumption or whether it’s time to hurl it down the plughole.

Here’s the science bit – a sensor in the jug will read the PH acidity of the jug’s contents and alert you by displaying the words ‘fresh’ or ‘sour’ on its side. Truly amazing stuff  – an enormous boon, and we’re always on the lookout for enormous boons around here.

No, it isn’t April Fool’s Day yet and no, the jug hasn’t gone into production either – Cravendale are merely goading us with the fact that they could mass-produce this thing anytime they wanted to.

For now though, we’ll have to deal with our depression and try to detect sour milk by, you know, sniffing it.

Earlier this week, Ryanair declared its unrequited love for social media and announced plans to develop an online travel community so travellers could post and share reviews and recommend local attractions to one another. Of course, Ryanair doesn’t want to engage consumers anywhere where nasty things might be said about them, so they’ll be creating these new digital groups on their own website, where they can be moderated and controlled.

easyJet, meanwhile, are going the other way, and engaging consumers in their own communities. The airline will soon be the first to offer consumers the ability to buy a flight directly through its Facebook fan page. There’s already customer support available through Twitter, and a Facebook application that lets you plan holidays online with friends.

We can’t help but feel Facebook is old school, though – it’s been around years. If easyJet really wanted to be on the bleeding edge of social media, there’s only one place to be:

Picture 10 easyJet to sell flights on Facebook   the easy option...

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Wednesday 31st March

March 31st, 2010 No Comments By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 31st MarchWotcha! Wanna see some bargains? Great! We’ve got a huge telly, an excessive quantity of cheap paint and some lovely Indian grub for you today. Dip your toe and see what you think.

It’s all here courtesy of HotUKDeals and there’s plenty more where these came from…

646355 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 31st MarchCome hither if you’ve always fancied the idea of a great big Bush in the corner of your living room. No no no, we don’t mean a bush as in a hedge, or as in, well, you know – we’re talking about a 52” Bush telly. Silly!

This one, the Bush LCD52786F1080P, is a full HD digital LCD gogglebox and it’s half price at the moment – only £499.99 as opposed to, erm, whatever double of that number we just put there is.

20070331 kidsnpaint 300x224 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 31st MarchMoving on, we find ourselves suddenly engrossed in the world of matt emulsion paint, in particular a 2.5 litre bucket of the stuff. If someone had come up to us yesterday and told us that you could get one of these for just 80p, we’d have snapped and got them in a special Bitterwallet death grip.

Today, however, is different. We have seen with our own eyes that such a bargain really, truly exists and we can point you in its direction. Obviously, it’s not the best quality matt emulsion on the market but we fervently believe that it would suffice as an undercoat… and if you water it down you could probably pass it off as evaporated milk.

645655 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Wednesday 31st MarchFinally, we move on to the tried and trusted subject of stuffing our fat faces. More specifically, with a ‘banquet’ of Indian food. This ‘banquet’ includes one portion each of chicken tikka masala and chicken korma, two portions of pilau rice, two mini naan breads, six mini onion bhajis, four mini vegetable samosas, and four mini chicken satays.

Trust us – that’s not what we call a banquet. In our role as one of Britain’s top consumer website, we’ve been to shitloads of banquets and that isn’t one – for a start, there’s no cigars. Anyway, we’re prepared to turn a blind eye owing to the fact that you can get it all for the princely sum of just £5.00.

(deals found by HotUKDeals members daveshop, Handsome_Tom and lucerysmum)

whitby gazette 300x210 Local news paywall plan collapses in a heap of paybricksRupert Murdoch thinks he’s on the brink of hitting paydirt with his controversial new paywall plan for the online versions of The Times and Sunday Times, but if a recent trial is anything to go buy, he’s on to a surefire loser.

Regional publisher Johnston Press had a stab at the paywall game last November, charging readers of some of its local sites, including the Whitby Gazette in NORTH YORKSHIRE and Selkirk’s Southern Reporter, a fiver for access over a three-month period.

But now Hold The Front Page reports that the Gazette have dropped their paywall like a hot brick, with one insider describing the trial as a “disaster” and subscriber numbers said to have failed to even reach double figures.

Now we realise that there’s a big difference between a massive national newspaper like The Times and local papers with their dull stories like ‘Missing Sea Canoe Man Presumed Dead’ but all the evidence so far seems to suggest that newshunters will give paywall sites the body swerve, choosing instead to get their updates from places like Bitterwallet. Are we right?

(chokes on piece of self-aggrandisement sandwich)

ASDA be a set-up, but could YOU do better?

March 31st, 2010 8 Comments By Paul Smith

The sign has obviously been fiddled with, but it made avid Bitterwallet reader Harry and his missus giggle when they walked into ASDA in Bradford:

Ok so the sign’s obviously been fiddled with, but made me & the missus giggle when we walked in to ASDA in Bradford.

That’s what we said! It’s possible Harry did this purely to entertain you, the similarly avid Bitterwallet reader, but he claims it wasn’t him:

Picture 11 ASDA be a set up, but could YOU do better?
Got us thinking, mind – after a year of yellow label pricing errors and idiotic products, are any of our readers brave enough to create their own photo opportunity in their local store? We’re not talking about killing a man in our name to get Bitterwallet on the 6 o’clock news, but if you fancy popping in Tesco, ASDA, Currys, Boots – wherever – and indulging in a little playful activity with the signage or indeed, anything else, we’d love to see the results.

Can you get an episode of My Two Dads on every TV in Comet? Well can you?

Government amend Digital Economy Bill clause

March 31st, 2010 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

digital britain logo  300x162 Government amend Digital Economy Bill clause

The Digital Economy Bill has irritated as many people as it’s bored to the point of prescription pills.

For those who are irritated by it, there’s some news for you to be thrilled or suspicious about.

Basically, for those wondering what this is all about, the thing that’s been bugging people is Clause 18 – that’s the one where the people who own the copyright to something being given the power to force ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block websites that they think are guilty of widespread copyright infringement.

Basically, that would make our elected government the bitch of the recording industry and anyone putting tunes on a website (whether they’ve got permission or not) could face site closure or legal proceedings.

Now the government has published a replacement Clause 18 in an attempt to say “we’re listening, honest we are”, just before we all start voting in a general election.

In short, this new clause says that courts will now have to consider the effect on legitimate uses and users of sites before granting an injunction. This means that YouTube should be pretty much safe from harm.

Also, ISPs won’t have to cough up coins for court costs. This means that people like BT (or whoever) are more unlikely to agree on blocking websites until there’s a proper court hearing.

Have a look at this article, with attached PDFs written by Peter Mandelson explaining the new developments. Feel free to pick them to pieces and show your findings in the comments… if you can be arsed.

PS3 Sony to disable PlayStation 3 features thanks to hackersSony are going to take away a bunch of features from their PlayStation 3 consoles. Why? Because hackers have been twatting around with the insides and spoiling it for everyone.

Of course, shit scared of piracy and the like, Sony are pre-emptively striking against it to ensure they don’t start losing money on their product.

Sony have said that an update to be released on 1 April (no, it’s not an April Fool) that will prevent people using a function that allows them to install alternative operating systems.

This is clearly a move that has come about after a US hacker called Geohot released the first code that bypassed PS3 security. Basically, this Geohot (George Hotz to his mum) person hacked into the console and started running the Linux operating system on it. If you’re a luddite like me, this released code is no help whatsoever.

Because of this, people who use the machine without tinkering with the innards will now lose a feature that they’ve paid for. The irony of course, is that hackers with too much time on their hands will find a way around this new security update, thereby ensuring that the only people who really suffer are those that have done nothing wrong.

Geohot said of the move, that he’d work on a new hack to bypass the new update:

“This is about more than this feature right now. It’s about whether these companies have the right to take away advertised features from a product you purchased. Imagine if an exploit were found in Safari on the iPhone, but instead of fixing it, Apple decides to pull web browsing altogether.”

That said, Sony says that the update is optional… but at a cost. If you chose not to update your PS3 then you will no longer have access to features such as online gaming or the ability to play Blu-ray DVDs.

[BBC]

Commercial Break: Sud off your pervert bubbles!

March 31st, 2010 4 Comments By Andy Dawson

Today’s ad is for some American campaign for some kind of new law or something but more importantly, it serves as a warning about perverted bubbles that could be lurking in your bathroom.

They’re part of the residue that is left behind by some bathroom cleaning products and as you can see from this, they get their jollies from watching you rubbing yourself clean in the mornings.

Filthy little cleaning bastards. Hats off to Natalie Imbruglia for getting her kit off for the ad though…

[Consumerist]

Another day, another company jumping on-board the iPad bandwagon. This time we travel to Deutschland to take a look at the WePad. According to the fact sheet, it’s a pretty impressive product, and certainly packs more in than Apple are willing to offer – two USB ports and a card reader, an 11.6 inch screen, a 1.66 GHz Atom processor, webcam, multitasking and support for Flash.

The only areas where it loses out are battery time – it’s nearly half that of the iPad (although whether Apple can deliver ten hours of battery use remains to be seen) – and memory; it’s 16GB as standard, although this is expandable. Presumably the WePad is touchscreen – there’s no mention of this; there’s also no mention of the operating system, although the fact sheet mentions that Android Market is supported by the device.

The iPad isn’t available on pre-order yet – you can register your contact details for further information. Before you herald it as an Apple killer, however, there are a couple of points of concern. The first is there’s no price set yet. In fact, the manufacturers are asking fans of their Facebook page what the price should be – perhaps it’s a hat-tip to social media to make prospective customers feel warm and fuzzy, but it’s hardly the professional way to go about your market research.

The second is that there are only two low-quality photos available of the actual device, both on their Facebook page - the rest of the images are all Photoshop-style designs. To our admittedly wonky eyes, the shape of the WePad in the photo doesn’t marry up with the shape in the designs. In fact, they’re nothing alike:

WePad 500x341 YouPad, iPad, we all scream for WePad   or do we?

So the WePad is promising plenty, but what will it actually deliver? Whatever that seriously good looking product on their website is, it’s doesn’t appear to be the thing photographed in the hands of users.

sky logo 300x182 Is Sky Sports about to get cheaper for BT and Virgin customers? Football invariably won’t be coming home during the World Cup this summer – you’ll have to settle for the Quarter Finals, or similar – but it is about to get cheaper if you watch it anywhere other than with a Sky subscription. Ofcom has today told Sky to reduce the amount it charges other broadcasters to offer Sky Sports – the likes of Virgin Media and BT – by nearly a quarter.

The Murdoch empire has been told to reduce the wholesale price at which it sells Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 from the current £13.88 to £10.63 per subscriber per month. Over a year, it would mean a saving for the customer on a bundled TV package of around £24. Of course Sky are appealing the decision, so it’s not a done deal just yet; even if the deal does go through, it wouldn’t stop Sky juggling its schedules and perhaps moving key sporting events to other premium channels or pay-per-view.

The regulators are also about to go after Sky concerning their restriction of premium movie rights, because it has a knock-on effect for the subscription video-on-demand market. Also bundled in with the decision, Ofcom gave Sky permission to resurrect Picnic, Sky’s Pay TV service for Freeview. That would mean the end of Sky’s free channels on Freeview, replaced with subscription channels. Bah. So Sky will appeal everything except the decisions in their interests, and nothing good comes of it for the consumer. Good work.

[Guardian]

BT unveil 300 new uber-internet locations

March 30th, 2010 47 Comments By Andy Dawson
internet 200x300 BT unveil 300 new uber internet locations

The internet, yesterday

Here’s a big list that might result in a pleasant surprise for you – it’s the next 300 locations that BT will be adding to its fibre network.

The blurb claims that the deployment will bring 40Mbits/sec fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections to approximately four millions homes across the country, with work starting in September and running into Summer 2011. In short, you’ll be able to download a picture of a giant before you’ve even thought about doing it. Or something.

BT have added that the super duper new network will be available on an “open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services,” which follows a bit of a spat recently where Ofcom ruled that BT should be doing just that. BT stuck out its mighty tongue and said that it had been doing it anyway and that Ofcom wasn’t the boss of it, even though it is a bit.

Anyway – as we said, the list is here – have a butchers and see if you’re on there…

More news from Down Under now; when they’re not trying to be just like China by restricting internet access to protect children and country, Australia is busy publishing ads like this on the internet to abuse teenagers. And it’s about a minute too long to be funny. Seriously, Australia, you’ve got some issues to working through:

Picture 25 A very smart phone   HTC Legend arrives next weekThe HTC juggernaut keeps on rolling; the HTC Legend is now on pre-order from Vodafone for delivery next Tuesday. That means the handset beats Google’s Nexus One to the UK market, though its launch may be consumed in the Apple hysteria due to descend this weekend.

Tariffs for the Legend start from £25; if you order online, then £30 per month on a two year contract will get you a very reasonable 900 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data – it looks like data limits are going to become the norm in an attempt to manage demand.

It leaves Google fans scratching their heads a little longer – when will the Nexus One be announced? While the handset has been available in the US since January, UK fans have had to import it; it’s possible that Google are watching for the announcement of the iPad’s release in the UK before setting a date. While the two devices are chalk and cheese, the brands occupy similar space in the consumer mindset, and Google won’t win in a PR pissing fight with Apple.

Want a refund from your bank? Sue them.

March 30th, 2010 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Why are you even reading these words 184x300 Want a refund from your bank? Sue them.

A man, defending himself, tomorrow

Banks are bastards aren’t they? In almost every respect they are unrelenting shithouses gurgling out endless garbage which provides the very opposite service you signed up for initially. Instead of helping you to invest your money, they’d much rather take it from you… unless you’re a smart-arse who can translate Bankspeak.

One chap who is obviously good at that is an expert called Ross Anderson who is a professor in security engineering at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

Anderson has appeared as an expert witness for plaintiffs in “phantom withdrawal” cases, and now, has represented himself over a disputed £126.51 transaction last June.

In short, the story goes like this: In his joint account, he disputed a payment to “Ian Travel Services”. NatWest were less than helpful and asked Anderson to sign declarations and junk, stalling for a month until the ‘complaint was now out of time’, leaving our man to pursue the financial ombudsman and citizens’ advice. He didn’t have any confidence in either of these options so decided to commence proceedings against NatWest in the small claims court.

As soon as he did that, NatWest paid up without too much fuss.

“So now you know – suing the bank is the fastest, simplest and least-hassle way of getting your money back,” Anderson wrote on his blog. “If it can fob off most complainants with tiresome call-centre procedures, or tell them they’re out of time, or pass them off on Citizen’s Advice, then it will only have to refund the minority who ignore this flummery and go to court.”

Basically, if you want the bank to pay-up for something that you know isn’t your fault, then don’t tart around waiting for them to suddenly grow a heart or feelings – talk to them in the only language they understand. And what might that be? Being an unreasonable shit.

[The Register]

HotUKDeals Of The Day – Tuesday 30th March

March 30th, 2010 No Comments By Andy Dawson

hukd logob1 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 30th MarchHere’s today’s big bad bargains for you to marvel at. A film on a memory stick, a big toy and a load of cheap fruit and veg.

That’s the magic of HotUKDeals – you never know what’s coming next. Although it’s probably a film.

644965 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 30th MarchIf you’re a parent who is looking to spend the Easter holidays bonding with your kids while hariking back to your own childhood at the same time, you could do a lot worse than kill time together constructing a Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon.

You can get the plastic building brick version of Han Solo’s infamous mobile knocking shop for only £20.00 at the moment – it even has movie-authentic details such as a rotating radar dish and movable laser cannons above and below. Sadly, it doesn’t come with any figures so once you’ve built it you’ll have to pretend that it’s been stormed by Daleks and that everyone on board has been killed to death.

645119 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 30th MarchWe don’t know if you saw last night’s Ask The Chancellors show on Channel 4 where the three men who want to play with all our money blathered on about what they’ll do with it. Sadly, no one wrestled George Osborne to the floor before drowning him in a bucket. Ah well…

Anyway, none of them had any quick-fix plan to make us all rich again any time soon, so you might want to carry on thinking about being frugal, and investing in this six-pack of bargain fruit and veg. For just 49p each, you can get 1 kg of carrots, 450g of  large vine tomatoes, a 7-pack of funsize apples, 350g of mushrooms, 2.5kg of baking potatoes and a 6-pack of oranges.

645256 HotUKDeals Of The Day   Tuesday 30th MarchFinally for today, a smart-arse piece of tech that you can either use for its intended purpose or modify for your own ends  – it’s up to you and we won’t judge you either way.

It’s a 4GB memory stick that contains the recent Star Trek film and is only £7.99. And if you don’t want the movie, you’ve got a memory stick on the cheap. Although be warned – HotUKDeals member thedraper reckons that it feels as though the thing is made of lead and weighs a ton.

(deals found by HotUKDeals members andywedge, drbunsen and The New Boy)