Archive for January, 2012
Another day sees another development from Sky, who are getting the hang of this online lark and are keen to share their wares with more of us punters in different ways. Following the lead of LoveFilm and Netflix, the Murdoch-flavoured broadcaster is set to launch its own online pay-as-you-go service, with its movie and TV content being made available to non-subscribers of its satellite packages.
It’ll all kick off later in the year with Sky Movies available first, followed by sport and entertainment content following hot on its heels. Sky have said that various options will be available once the service kicks off, with the chance to rent single films being on the agenda. Additionally, Sky Go is set to finally arrive on Android-powered smartphones from next month.
Sky are also looking to beef up their broadband service, with a faster connection option and the inclusion of free access to 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots courtesy of The Cloud, which Sky snaffled up last year. They’ll also be offering fibre broadband to around 30% of the nation from April, with speeds of up to 40 meg for an extra £20 per month.
Are you a LoveFilm subscriber or Netflix early-adopter? How likely would you be to hop over to Sky’s service once it launches? Tell us you pig-dogs.
It’s Superbowl time again, and that means the Americans roll out the big guns and spend big money on big adverts. It might not get any bigger than this for 2012’s egg-chasing spectacle – a gloriously silly two-minute ad for some kind of car or other starring none other than Jerry Seinfeld.
Not only is Seinfeld there, you also get the infamous Soup Nazi, a munchkin, an alien and an old woman with some yams. We’ve watched it three times and we’ve still got no idea what kind of car they’re plugging though…
If you switch your broadband to O2 and sign up to a 12-month contract, as a bonus they’ll throw in a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold as well as 2100 points to redeem against something nice to be pumped into your Xbox. All for one single extra pound. Good eh? If you’ve already got a Live Gold subscription and are already an O2 customer, then, erm, nine litres of Vimto for £8.70?
WAIT! THERE’S MORE…!!!
* Mini inspection handheld camera with LCD monitor kit – £69.99 delivered.* Carbon monoxide detector – only £2.50.
* 45 rolls of Andrex toilet tissue for only £10.00.
* Wonders Of The Solar System 2-disc Blu-Ray – just £7.69.
* Drive on Blu-ray for only £9.99.
* 26-piece 1/4 inch square drive socket set – down from £74.18 to £24.99.
* 90% Off Karrimor Jackets (mens & ladies) – only £5.99 (today only).
* FIFA 12 on the PS2 (yes, the PS2) – only £3.99.
* 2nd-generation Intel Core i3 2120 – yours for £89.99
* Acer Revo RL70 Nettop PC – £178.83 delivered.
All that and more can be found over at HotUKDeals…
While the Government made a cull of extraneous quangos when it first took office, one group of acronyms we are all pleased to see hanging around are the regulatory bodies that make sure the once-public-owned utility services (for example) are giving us, the comsumer, a good deal for our money. In keeping with this remit, Ofwat, the water industry regulator, has today announced that charges will go up by an average of 5.7 per cent in England and Wales, yes, that’s even more than inflation, from April.
The actual increase varies from region to region, but country-wide bills for water and sewerage services are set to rise to £376 in the next financial year, an increase of about £20 per household. The increases take into account multi-billion upgrade programmes for pipes and treatment works.
We have handily reproduced Ofwat’s figures so you can see how much your bill is likely to increase by. Southern Water will offers the largest combined water and sewerage bill rise, at 8.2 per cent but Dŵr Cymru in Wales is putting up combined bills by the lowest amount, just 3.8 per cent, or £16.
For water only providers, topping the chart is Bristol where bills are set to rise 8.8 per cent or £15 to £181 and bottoming out is Veolia Southeast customers with a 3.3 per cent rise –up £6 to £188.
Ofwat mastered the art of the understatement by saying that the price hikes would be “unwelcome” in tough economic times but insisted customers would get “value for money”.
Regina Finn, chief executive of Ofwat, said: “We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.”
“We will make sure customers get value for money. Companies are investing £22 billion by 2015 – more than £935 for every property in England and Wales,” she finished.
However, Ofwat also produces an annual report in October every year, and for the past two years there have been six water companies who failed to meet their leakage targets. In 2011, just three months ago, these companies were Anglian, Dŵr Cymru, Northumbrian – North East operating area, Severn Trent, Southern and Yorkshire.
Southern Water missed its target by the widest margin at 16%, followed by Yorkshire Water at 9%, Anglian Water at 8%, Northumbrian Water – North East and Dŵr Cymru both with 5% and Severn Trent at 3%. Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and Northumbrian Water – North East all missed their targets in 2009/10 as well.
So despite consistently performing badly, not meeting targets and wasting resources the companies are still permitted to put their prices up? Sounds more like a bank than a water company. Southern Water in particular, has been “on report” for two years and still comes in with the biggest combined rise? Royal Bank of Scotland anyone?
When announcing these latest huge price rises, Ofwat told the BBC that the differences in regional price hikes occurred because different companies had ongoing capital investments that needed different levels of funding, such as new large housing estates, or coastal protection, as in the case of Southern. We can only wonder whether the cost of fixing leakage, if the water companies even attempt it, will come out of the water companies’ profits, or whether the cost has been miraculously included in the new pricing structure. After all, we must protect the shareholders.
But of course this won’t be the case. I have every confidence that the delinquent water companies will spend millions fixing leaks and that their bottom line profit will show the huge hit. After all, the very same Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said in October: “Where we have concerns about companies’ performance, we have made sure there are action plans in place to put the problem right, at no extra cost to customers.”
Good job she isn’t a lying politician then.
If you were Apple, almost certainly the most successful gadget-seller on the planet, and you were looking for someone to head up your WORLDWIDE retail operations, you’d go straight for the bloke from Dixons wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you?
Well, believe it or not, that’s what’s happened. Dixons Retail chief executive John Browett has ended four years with the company after being headhunted by the Cupertino weirdo squad. New Apple boss Tim Cook says: “Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met. We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.” Ooooohkaaayyyy…
To be fair, Browett has tried to reinvent Dixons, Currys and PC World as being more customer service orientated over the past few years, and while they haven’t made any great strides profit-wise, at least they haven’t gone the same way as Comet and Best Buy UK.
Browett, who also has a Tesco.com chief executive badge tucked away in his ‘things what I have done’ drawer, will be replaced by Dixons’ current group operations director Sebastian James, who has worked for Mothercare and was behind short-lived, ill-fated DVD chain Silverscreen a few years ago. He also appears in that infamous Bullingdon Club picture with David Cameron and Boris Johnson, sitting just in front of Cameron’s right foot.
Get yourself a sturdy sack and get it ready for filling. That’s because we’ve got another bumper crop of goodies here, courtesy of HotUKDeals, that will cost you absolutely nothing. Sadly, there’s no free tea. We hope normal service will be resumed soon.
FREE TV & MOVIES: On your phone, via Crackle, an app that is supposedly linked to Sony Entertainment. See if YOU can find something there that you like.
FREE VIRGIN CHARITY CARD: Charity, yeah? That’s a good thing, yeah? Yeah!
FREE DATA STORAGE: 10GB of it, on a server somehere, with no ads and lots of features. Sounds too good to be true.
FREE PHOTOSHOP EBOOK: From the Kindle Store, normally £12.77, a book all about how to do good stuff on Photoshop.
FREE RING SIZER: Settle those ‘What ring size am I?’ arguments once and for all!
FREE GAME: It’s Babylonian Twins HD Premium and it’s for the iPad. And it’s free. Otherwise it wouldn’t be here.
FREE ANOTHER GAME: The classic footy management classic Championship Manager 01/02. Some say this version of the game will never be bettered. Get it for your PC and find out.
(freebies found by timtom786, Wilson, winni77, antdav, SUPERMACK and Siekiera)
Apple seem to be doing alright for themselves at the moment – they raked in $46.33 BILLION in the past quarter (that’s 13 weeks, maths fans). Yeah, not bad.
So what could they buy with all that dough? Here’s a short video that lets us know…
We’ve never seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so none of this advert makes any sense to us whatsoever, but it seems that the movie’s star, Matthew Broderick, has reprised the role that we know absolutely nothing about for a Honda advert.
The ad will be shown in the United States of during the forthcoming Superbowl. We’ve never watched a Superbowl either, and to be honest, we’re feeling pretty smug about all of the revelations we’ve brought you over the past couple of paragraphs.
Sky have announced some additions to their video-on-demand service, Sky Anytime+, which will be rolled out to subscribers over the next few months. The broadcasting monster has agreed deals with the BBC and ITV and will carry content from them as part of its Anytime+ line up. Some ITV shows should be available from tomorrow with more to follow later in the year, while the BBC content will appear in a few months time.
As well as that, Anytime+ is going to become available to all Sky+HD homes that have an internet connection, as opposed to just those with Sky Broadband. An important Sky person released a statement with words in it – words such as ‘control’, ‘strong’ and ‘demand’ so that we can be sure of how impressive this all is. Thanks Sky!
The latest trend among mobile phone networks is to move away from their restrictive ‘fair use’ data policies and open up their pipes for unlimited mobile-flavoured goodness. At a price, obviously. OBVIOUSLY.
Three did it a while and now T-Mobile are jumping on the premium bandwagon with their new Full Monty tariff, which launches on 1st February. Starting at £36 a month, users will get unlimited data alongside unlimited cross network calls and text messages. Hold on – what’s this? The calls are limited to an amount of 2,000 a month? Only 2,000? For truly unlimited calling, you’ll need to fork out £41 a month. Mind you, if you’re making more than 2,000 calls in a month, you’re not long for this world anyway.
Take note that the Full Monty ‘starts’ at £36 a month – if you’ve got an iPhone 4S, you’re looking at forking out £61 a month for the tariff. So then – lots of money for ‘unlimited’ data, kind of like the unlimited data that lots of us were paying much less for a couple of years ago. Great stuff.
Remember when you were a kid? Shut up – yes you do. If you were anything like us, you’ll have been an avid word-freak, with your head permanently buried in a Ladybird book. Now you can relive those times – digital style!
For only £1.99, you can get the Ladybird Classic Me Books app for the iPhone and iPad, which reproduces such classics as The Billy Goats Gruff, Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen, Dinosaurs and The Farm in a modern, interactive manner. Previously, the books would cost 69p apiece but right now they’re all free once you’ve purchased and installed the app. We’re just off to the lavatory with Tootles The Taxi. Back in half an hour….
WAIT! THERE’S MORE….!!!
* Battlefield 3 for the Xbox 360, PS3 or PC – only £17.99.
* Driver: San Francisco (PS3) – only £9.99.
* Wonderfull roasted and salted pistachios – 150g bag for only £1.00.
* Get £2 extra credit on every HMV transaction via the Replay app.
* Crucial M4 SSD memory – 128gb for £127.76.
* Slim water butt – down from £19.93 to just £9.93.
* Sherlock – Season 2 on Blu-ray – just £12.99.
* Morrisons’ console promotion – PS3 slim 160GB for £150, Xbox 360 250GB for £150, Wii Mario Kart bundle for £85 plus more…
* Samsung LE40D503 40” Full HD TV – only £299.
* No Fear Thriller jacket for only £5.99.
* Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition on Xbox 360 and PS3 – only £12.95
* Sony BDPS185B.CEK SMART internet-enabled Blu-ray Player with a 3-month Lovefilm subscription thrown in – only £68.81.
* Xbox 360 250GB, with Forza Motorsport 4, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary and a second wireless controller – only £199.99.
All those and more can be found over at HotUKDeals…
Good day to all our readers who also happen to be underage heroin addicts. Our consumer tip for you today is to avoid Sainsbury’s in West Green, Crawley if you’re on the look out for some new tea spoons to use when you’re ‘cooking up’ your ‘fix’.
According to the Daily Mail, 25-year-old Elinor Zuke, a reporter with The Grocer magazine, was asked to prove that she was over 18 when she recently tried to buy a £1.19 pack of Basics tea spoons in the store when some beeping occurred at the self-service checkout. The store worker told Elinor it was because they could be used to take drugs.
Obviously, Sainsbury’s don’t have a problem with customers injecting themselves with heroin, as long as they’re over 18. A spokeswoman for the company said: “The self-scan system recognised the spoon’s SKU as one for a knife. This had now been rectified. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused. Our Think 25 policy is designed to ensure age-related products are sold safely.”
The Daily Mail have noted that this is not the first case of spoon-related supermarket misery. They say that in October 2009, 21-year-old Emma Sheppard was forced to leave a Tesco store empty-handed when she couldn’t prove her age while trying to buy some 57p spoons.
Spoons. The enemy within.