Well, why didn’t you say? You can get yourself an Amazon Fire Stick for £25, which is rather good. Get on that and you’ll never leave the sofa again and, quite frankly, who would want to?
Xbox Games with Gold for September
Up to 50% off Reebok clobber
BP cut fuel prices
Nexus 6 32GB for £277.11 delivered
Xbox Live – 12 months for £20.39 with code
Roth bookshelf speakers for £19.95
Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch for £124.95
Xbox One 500gb console for £216.75
LG G Flex for £244.99
After promising to pipe down and, basically, stop being a jarring weiner, Michael O’Leary is at it again with his publicity stunts. Of course, these things work because, look at us, writing about it. We can’t help it. It is an illness.
So what’s he playing at now? Well, he’s decided to dress up as Robin – Batman’s mate – in a bid to tell us all about some new venture he’s doing.
While in his outfit, O’Leary predicted a price war over Winter with Aer Lingus’s new owner IAG, as well as telling everyone about CarTrawler, which is a new online aggregator in the car rental sector. It will apparently allow Ryanair customers to book cars through the Ryanair website.
We might as well give you the details, even though we don’t want to, just in case this ends up being half-decent. Curse Michael O’Leary’s fancy dress.
This new service will have a connection to over 1,500 leading and independent car rental agents at 30,000 or more airport and city locations, in 174 different countries.
“Following an extensive tender process, Ryanair is pleased to partner with CarTrawler, who offer the best conversion rate in the business, as we launch Ryanair Car Hire, offering the widest range and best value car rental service to our 103 million customers,” O’Leary said.
Here’s another photo of a businessman in tights and underpants, sat on a car, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Labrokes and Coral decided to merge to make a giganto-bookies, but they’ve got competition as it looks like Paddy Power and Betfair are going to merge too.
This is only an agreement in principle, but if it pulls through, then it would create one of the largest betting companies in the world. Just imagine how annoying Paddy Power will be with their advertising then!
Together, the companies will pool somewhere in advance of £1.1bn of revenue. Paddy Power shareholders would get 52% of the merged company, with Betfair shareholders getting the other 48%. Of course, the Competition and Markets Authority will have to give this the once over first.
Betfair have been going great guns lately, with their share price rocketing by 142% in the last 12 months. Paddy Power has seen theirs rise too, over the same period, going up by 53%.
Ladbrokes, in that same time, have seen their share price drop by 24%, so this merger news will worry them, no doubt.
Paddy Power and Betfair said: “The combination has compelling strategic logic and represents an attractive opportunity for both companies to enhance their position in online betting and gaming and to deliver synergies, customer benefits and shareholder value.”
They’re going to try and take over the world, aren’t they? One trolling advertising campaign at a time…
According to the Financial Ombudsman, packaged bank accounts – those that offer additional things like cheaper overdrafts and insurance for a subscription or fee – are being complained about more and more, with official complaints shooting up lately.
Around 25,500 people complained about these in the first six months of the year, which is more than 2014 as a whole.
Many customers have complained that they were sold these accounts unwittingly, or that they didn’t need the insurance in the first place. Looks like we might have another PPI-esque scandal on our hands here.
These accounts are usually sold as ‘premium’ accounts or something to do with the word ‘gold’, with customers paying somewhere between £5 and £25 every month. Of course, these are nice little earners for banks, so they’ve been pushing them hard.
The complaints that the ombudsman has been receiving concern three categories – those who say they never wanted the accounts in the first place and were signed up to one without permission; those who asked their bank to cancel these accounts, but the banks didn’t; people who opened these accounts and found them to be absolutely useless and worthless.
The figures show that, regarding new cases received, NatWest, RBS, Santander, Lloyds, HSBC, Bank of Scotland, Barclays and MBNA are swimming in new complaints.
Seeing as people are paying, on average, £150 per year for these accounts, the compensation bill for banks could be massive. If you want to see all the data regarding these complaints, click here.
After the hack and leak of the affair-prompting dating site, there’s been another dump of information from The Impact Group. This time, internal emails were included, and it looks like Ashley Madison discussed hacking a competitor.
According to the leak, emails show that in 2012, AM’s chief technology officer Raja Bhatia, emailed chief executive Noel Biderman after looking at the security of the new dating section magazine Nerve.com – a publication that looks at sex and relationships and all that. There, Bhatia found some security flaws.
“They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base,” said Bhatia. “Also, I can turn any non-paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.” Included was a link to a Github archive, with a sample of the database.
However, Ashley Madison say that these messages are being taken out of context. They say that this discovery was part of “due diligence” which was undertaken in the run-up to a proposed partnership between the two. Six months after this conversation, Bhatia emailed Biderman to see if he should “tell them of their security hole”, to which Biderman didn’t reply.
In a statement, AM’s parent company Avid Life Media said the emails were “taken out of context” and that the interpretation that Bhatia had hacked Nerve was “incorrect and unfortunate”. It continued: “Nerve was exploring strategic partnerships in May of 2012 and reached out to Noel to determine Avid Life Media’s interest in the property. At the time Noel did not act on that opportunity.”
“In September PTC Advisors, representing Nerve, contacted Noel and provided a more detailed brief on the opportunity. This communique was followed by a number of conversations. Subsequently Noel contacted Raja Bhatia and asked for his assistance in conducting technical due diligence on the opportunity. This activity, while clumsily conducted, uncovered certain technology shortcomings which Noel attempted to understand and confirm.”
“At no point was there an effort made to hack, steal or use Nerve.com’s proprietary data.”
While this is all well and good, Ashley Madison have been incredibly slow and unforthcoming about this whole affair (pardon the pun). It certainly seems that this mess isn’t going away any time soon.
The CMA said that everything seems above board, as the deal won’t make customers “worse off”. Although, if Poundland change 99p Stores prices, then everyone stands to be at least 1p worse off on things like plant pots, German biscuits and dry shampoo.
The initial investigation, which took place in April, said that a merger between the two companies would result in a lessening of competition in some areas, as well as the likelihood of a reduction in promotions, a loss in quality and the closure of some shops.
However, after surveying 5,000 customers and looking through company documents and commercial data, the CMA came to a different conclusion. They said: “Customers would not face a reduction in choice, value or lower-quality service as a result of the merger”. A blunt answer, but an answer all the same.
The idea now, is that the company merger would still face a lot of competition from places like B&M Bargains, Wilko, as well as retailers like Asda and Tesco.
Philip Marsden, Chair of the CMA’s inquiry group, said: “There has been a significant rise in prominence of value retailers for UK shoppers. Our evidence indicates that customers are primarily attracted to Poundland and 99p Stores because of their affordability and see them as good alternatives to each other.”
“Nevertheless some customers can and do switch to other types of discount retail chains. We have also seen in recent years the Big Four supermarkets engaging in intense price competition, some of which involving the promotion of £1 products.”
“On the basis of the evidence to date, we do not think customers will be worse off from the merger.”
You may recall that BT made a deal with the British government, in a bid to get broadband rolled out across the country. Well, it isn’t happening quickly enough, and millions still don’t have a proper internet connection.
In addition to that, Openreach has doled out slower speeds that originally advertised. It is all a bit rubbish, frankly.
The target that was set originally was to have 95% of the UK covered by 2015, however, that date is now being pushed back to 2017, and even with the revised date, BT reckon that it’ll be more like 2018 by the time they reach 95% coverage. And it’ll be longer still before they reach every citizen in Britain.
Another thing that might cause delays is an Ofcom investigation into a monopoly on government contracts. The government gave 44 out of 44 contracts to BT, even though there’s the option of TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and Sky. And now, David Cameron is showing signs of frustration, unhappy at the speed of the rollout.
BT have missed tagrets of speeds of at least 5 Mbps or 24 Mbps, and reports show that new Openreach customers are getting under 2 Mbps on a typical day. Given that countries like Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Lithuania, and Hungary have all been getting faster average speeds, with a lower cost of implementing the services, to say this whole thing is unsatisfactory is something of an understatement.
Given that the UK is the fifth largest economy, it really shouldn’t be this slow when it comes to rolling out such things. BT – pull your finger out.
Well, good news – online wine vendor, Naked Wines, have launched a new service that will let you put a booze order in via text message. ‘ICYMI: I still want a load of wine lol’.
This “Text for Wine” service is being referred to, by Naked Wines owner Majestic Wine, as “the first of its kind”, and is available to you boozehounds for no additional charge, other than the usual standard network rates.
This could be rather handy if you have a lot of wine to get in for a party, and you really can’t be bothered to carry it all from the shops. And get this – you can be “as vague or specific as they want” with their textual order. You can ask for specific wines, or if you’re not sure/don’t care, you can tell them the kind of wine you’re looking for and how much you’d like to pay for it, and staff will sort it out.
You’ll have to be organised though - orders will be delivered within five working days. You can collect them from a Majestic Wines store if you like, but that feels borderline pointless.
This scheme is being piloted in the UK, and if it is a success, then America and Australia will see it rolled out there too. This follows a ‘no minimum purchase’ rule that has just come in at Majestic Wine.
Naked Wines UK managing director Eamon FitzGerald said: “We’re extremely proud to launch our “Text for Wine” service, which gives our customers a new, fast and simple way of ordering their favourite wines.”
“Initial uptake has been very encouraging and it’s easy to see this service being particularly useful for busy customers who don’t have time or access to the website. Now these customers are only ever a text away from ordering a case of delicious wines.”
Got a hankering for a small treat, but don’t want to spend too much money? Need to take nana somewhere and she’s tired of watching you get trolleyed down the pub while you ignore her in favour of mucking about on the gamblers? How about afternoon tea?
Well, you can get afternoon tea, including a sandwich, a pot of of tea and a choice of a scone, an eclair or an egg custard… for the frankly insulting price of £1.24. If this sounds like your thing, click here and find out more.
Samsung M3 1tb USB 3.0 slimline portable hard-drive for £37.99
PS4 plus 3 free games for £289
Direct flights to New York for LHR, 7 nights hotel, from £576pp
Kingston 64gb USB 3.1 £12.99, or 2 for £25
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Npower have been so crap for so long, that recently, they were ordered to give power away for free by way of apology. That’s not say things have been fixed – they said themselves, that the omnishambles that they’re currently running will run into 2016.
So with that, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the boss – Paul Massara - of the lousy energy firm has left his position ‘by mutual consent’ after the energy company posted ‘unexpectedly negative’ half-year results. Unexpectedly negative! The delusion is palpable at Npower, clearly.
Massara’s oversaw company results earlier this month, which showed that Npower’s profits had dropped by two thirds. Of course, this might be something to do with customers leaving the company en masse, because they’ve been so thoroughly useless for such a long time. In the last year alone, Npower lost 300,000 customers.
The company are still being investigated by regulator Ofgem for their shambolic behaviour, and it is almost certain that there’s going to be some big fines waiting for them in the future.
Npower’s parent company, RWE, said that the exodus of customers, coupled with their own incompetence, has hit UK profits by 65%. Again. That’d be Npower who have just said that their negative results were ‘unexpected’.
RWE chief executive Peter Terium said: “At this time we need a CEO at RWE Npower who will focus on fixing the basic process improvements and has a track record of implementing operational process changes.”
The two 24-hour Tube strikes that were planned for this week have been called off. Unions and London Underground managers have been in talks over the dispute regarding the Night Tube, and the Unite union said that action has been postponed as a “gesture of goodwill”.
There’ll be further talks. And potentially, there’ll be further strikes too. If talks break down again, then the Tube strike will take place on 8th and 10th September.
A Unite officer, Hugh Roberts, said that there were some “remaining sticking points”, but for now, enough progress has been made in talks, so that industrial action can be suspended. He added that he now hopes that Underground management would “seize this opportunity to reach a deal that fully addresses our members’ concerns”.
The new strike dates are interesting though, as they’re just two days before the Night Tube is supposed to kick off. It is fair to assume that the Night Tube won’t be happening on those dates.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “I would urge the unions to continue with positive discussions that will help to deliver a night Tube service that will bring huge benefits to our city.”
General secretary of the RMT union, Mick Cash, said: “We have still not reached a final agreement and as a result we are putting on additional strike action next month.”
Is the camera on your iPhone, to use the common vernacular, a load of shit? You may recall that, last year, the iPhone 6 Plus had Apple’s best ever smartphone camera, but for some, their pictures were coming out rubbish and blurry.
Well, Apple have decided to fix that. Over the weekend, Apple said that they’re doing a replacement programme for faulty iSight cameras on the iPhone 6 Plus.
It seems that some phones have a faulty component in it, and Apple have identified what and where the problem is, and it concerns phones sold between September 2014 and January 2015.
So what do you need to do? Well, you will have to check your phone’s serial number on Apple’s designated site about this issue. If you find your phone is on the list, you’re in business.
You’ll be able to get your faulty module sorted out at an Apple Store. Apple don’t seem to be doing a phone swap though, so if you’re smart, you’ll backup the contents of your phone before taking it in.
While you have a little time to get this sorted, what with Apple covering this issue for three years from the time you purchased your phone, it is worth remembering that Apple are on the brink of releasing a load of new bits, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, which means they’re going to be rammed and busy… so better to get this sorted out sooner, rather than later.
Hate people taking photos of their tea? Assume they’re either showing off how often they can afford to eat in restaurants or that they’re crowing about what amazing cooks they are? Well, you’re going to love this news from Google.
The tech behemoth has unveiled a new food photo tool, which they’ve built-in to the Google Maps app on Android. Basically, you can now attach images of your dinner to places within Maps. This is to improve people’s reviews or something.
So what do you do? Well, you take a photo of what you’re eating and then, Maps figures out where you are from your GPS, gives you a notification saying that they’ve detected a shot has been taken in the establishment where you’re sat and then, with a tap, you can post your visual review onto Maps.
It looks like the Tablescape app which Google were mucking around with, but shelved, has had its technology repositioned to this Maps add-on.
There you have it. Amateur foodies are given yet another outlet to blort on about things being under-seasoned, or saying the word soupçon about some crappy meal or whatever.
Just what we all needed.
The pub company plan to sell off its non-core pubs at a rate of about 200 a year, which is pretty dreadful as they’re likely to be less profitable, but vital small village pubs. New River Retail are a company that deal in bargain shops and food outlets, so this sale won’t see more pints pulled, sadly.
Punch boss Duncan Garrood said that this sale is going to allow the company to focus “on our higher quality core pub estate”.
Allan Lockhart, property director at NewRiver Retail, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the pub portfolio from Punch Taverns, which represents a strategic progression for NewRiver, following our acquisition of a similar portfolio from Marston’s in late 2013, the successful result of which has led us to identify similar opportunities.”
Maybe it is time to set up that speakeasy in the basement, eh?
Microsoft are thinking of the future, and have patented technology that could see people being notified of messages and the like, through smartclothes that send shocks through your skin. You can expect it to be more of a tingle, rather than something akin to death row.
The patent notes that, in modern society, everyone hates people’s phones making noises, so with this, your body will vibrate to let you know that Domino’s are doing yet another bloody offer and they won’t ever leave you alone.
The patent’s abstract says: “Techniques are described herein that are capable of providing electrical stimuli to skin of a user to convey information to the user. For instance, the electrical stimuli may inform the user of an event, a condition, etc.”
Mircosoft are looking at a shoe and a t-shirt as examples of clothing that could stimulate you when you get a message. We suspect someone will fashion something for the gusset with this technology.
While our minds are in the gutter, Microsoft suggest that, not only will these clothes give you notifications for messages, but also, that the tech could be used to tell someone when their clothes are about to ‘wear out’ or that you could link it up with street navigation apps.
Microsoft wrote in the patent paperwork: “People are increasingly exposed to information these days. A snapshot of our modern society is likely to reveal many people using mobile devices while performing their daily routine tasks. For instance people often text, conduct telephone calls, check messages, search the internet, etc. Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.”
“In an effort to address such concerns, companies are developing devices that are capable of delivering content to users in an unobtrusive and/or hands-free manner.”