Amazon and the Post Office: together at last

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazon and the Post Office: together at lastAmazon have just partnered up with the Post Office! No really. It’s happened. Bolt the doors.

Don’t panic, it’s not forever or a bid for the Christmas No.1 or anything, the online retail giant have teamed up with the posties, to allow buyers to have their parcels delivered to the branches directly.

That’s quite good news for anyone whose postman stashes their items with the neighbour but neglects to inform the actual recipient.

10,500 Post Offices are now added to Amazon’s Pickup Location Programme – which sounds slightly unsavoury. This however brings the total of Pick Up posts to 16,000 in the UK.

It’s an odd but good move for the online shop to team up with the very thing it was trying to destroy, which is quite a nice festive message for us all to take from it.

Oh but of course, there has to be something in it for Amazon too, so the service will be yet another incentive to sign up to its Prime subscription deal; free with Prime, Post Office deliveries will otherwise cost standard First Class post rates.

How To… deal with nuisance texts that cost you money

November 25th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

mobile apps How To... deal with nuisance texts that cost you moneyWe received a message from someone who had been receiving nuisance texts from a company called ‘Mobjizz’. Stop laughing at the back there. This company send you links to mucky things and charge you for the privilege.

The message reads: “I have been receiving dirty texts from this company mobjizz for the past 3 weeks and have checked my mobile phone bill and I have been charged £6.”

“I don’t go on these kind of sites and have never heard of this company before. The number I get these texts from are different every time, like ’69029′ or ‘Hardcore’. These messages contain links and have an option to replying back with STOP to stop these messages. I have never clicked on the links or replied STOP, I just delete the texts straight away.”

There’s a whole host of companies out there who do this sort of thing, so what can you do to ensure it stops happening to you?

Well, for starters, if you look in the settings on your phone, you should be able to block certain numbers. However, if the company has a variety of numbers from which they spam you, that’s no use. Worth doing all the same. Also, do NOT reply with ‘STOP’ in a bid to end these texts. That just lets the spammers know your number is active, meaning they can send you loads of rubbish.

As far as the law is concerned, just like unsolicited recorded message calls, the general rule is that organisations are prohibited from sending marketing texts to individuals without the prior consent of the recipient. However, according to Ofcom: “However, the law also provides that an organisation may send unsolicited texts in circumstances where:

- the organisation has obtained the recipient’s contact details in the course of a sale (or negotiations for the sale) of a product of service to that recipient;

- the text message relates to similar products or services offered by the sender; and

- the recipient has been given a simple means of opting-out of receiving such messages at the time they provided their contact details and at the time of each subsequent communication.”

If you’d like to stop receiving marketing texts, you can report the text to your network operator, who should be able to prevent further messages. To report a marketing text to Orange, O2, T-Mobile, or 3, simply forward the text to 7726. For Vodafone users, forward the text to 87726. You can remember this number easily because, on your phone, ’7726′ spells out the word ‘SPAM’. Operators have been known to refund money taken from such texts, so don’t be shy in asking them about it. The mobile operators can put a block on any company with a 5-digit code (which is usually used by companies like these).

In addition to this, you can get in touch with the ICO who can take action against companies and investigate spammers. You can call them at 0303 123 1113 or visit their website. You can also call Ofcom’s helpline at 0300 123 3333.

You can also get in touch with PhonePayPlus and make a complaint about one of these companies. They have a ready-made online claim form which you can use. Have a look at that here.

Google nix homophobic games and trolls

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asshunter 300x199 Google nix homophobic games and trollsGoogle have got rid of a game that required the gamer to kill gay people. Which is nice.

Ass Hunter had already been downloaded over 10,000 times and had 200 five star reviews, but was eventually pulled by Google after some people online went “Yeah, that’s a bit iffy”.

Basically you play a hunter with a shotgun – such a good look – and you must kill naked men before they approach you. Nice! If you fail to kill the naked men, they pounce upon the hunter and bum him. Enlightening.

In the description of the app, its uploaders AppDay – who sound like charmers – described Ass Hunter as a “Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can”.

When the game went up on November 5th, the description read “Popular game hunting on gays is now on Android! Play and do not be gay!” (Seriously. Someone has received money for coming up with that tagline). Making homophobia justifiable with such taglines as “Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want.” the game was also exempt from classification so anyone could download it.

Well done everyone. Genuinely, give yourselves a round of applause. Anyway, it’s gone now, but if you’re desperate there are versions of it lying around the internet.

In addition to that, Google have gone after trolls. Not particularly willingly, mind you. The internet giant lost a legal battle with a man who took them to court for extreme trolling.

Daniel Hegglin, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had took action in an attempt to block links to the “vile and abusive” posts about him from appearing in its search results. He’d been accused of being a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser by one particular troll who we could surmise ‘had some form of grudge’, with posts saying as such on over 3,600 websites. That’s literally ‘a bit too many’.

Hegglin settled the case with Google yesterday, despite Google’s lawyers suggesting that the case could have enormous implications., with the search engine basically being held up as the internet police.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for Mr Hegglin, told the court that Google had taken steps to remove the material: ”Whilst I am not in a position to disclose the details, I am pleased to report that the parties have now settled the matter,” he said. “The settlement includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material from Google hosted websites and from its search results.”

Now Hegglin plans to bring the troll to justice, however he doesn’t know who they are. Oooh – this is slightly worrying now: ”Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws.”

A Google spokesperson said the company had “reached a mutually acceptable agreement”. Now: why can’t everyone just play nicely?

Black Friday tips for bargain newbies!

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

BLACK FRIDAY1 300x300 Black Friday tips for bargain newbies!In our quest to point you in the direction of some decent bargains, we’ve put together a little ready-reckoner for Black Friday noobz.

Of course, most Bitterwallet readers are seasoned bargain snufflers who need no help (if we ignore the appalling personal hygiene and social skills issues), but for those new to Black Friday, we’ve got some top tips!

EARLY BIRDS!
If you’re determined to grab a bargain, you’re going to have to get up early. If you’re mad/brave enough to get down the shops to wrestle someone for a new telly, then you’ll have to start queuing up the night before. If you’re sticking to online sales, then you need to be up bright and early before the shops run out of stock.

KNOW WHAT YOU NEED!
Research what you’re after now. If you start panic buying gadgets because they’re cheap, rather than good, then you’ve only yourself to blame. There’s a difference between stuff that is genuinely marked down and stuff the shops couldn’t get rid of last week, but are now throwing in your face because you’re determined to spend some money. Stores also do peculiar things with strategic product placement in their shops on Black Friday, so don’t be wooed by them throwing lousy products at you.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
Remember: keep your receipts. The madness of Black Friday might see you lumbered with something rubbish and you can still return things to the shops. You are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, so don’t fret.

GO WITH WHO YOU TRUST!
There’ll be a lot of fraudsters online this week, so keep an eye out for them. If you’re unsure about the validity of somewhere or a bargain seems too good to be true, then walk away. Stick to the names you know and trust.

DON’T FORGET CYBER MONDAY!
There’s going to be a lot of bargains knocking about on Cyber Monday and a good number of people think it’ll offer even more good deals than Black Friday. If you miss out, then you’ve got another day of sales.

PRICE DIFFERENCES!
Don’t assume that the prices online are the same as the prices in-store on Black Friday. If you’re serious about Black Friday, get down the shops first while checking out the deals online.

THE 40% RULE!
If you’re buying clothes, shoes or accessories, Black Friday might not actually be the best time of the year to pick up a bargain (January is usually better). With that, it is worth applying the rule of ignoring anything that offers less than 40% off the full retail price.

Deals of the Day: Tuesday 25th November 2014

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

deals of the day 300x162 Deals of the Day: Tuesday 25th November 2014If you want to be a gamer hipster and have a console that’s different from everyone else’s, you can either knit a handlebar moustache and pop that on the front, or get under the hood and start soldering things and set your motherboard on fire.

Or, if you’re less daft, you can get a limited edition version of the PlayStation 4. That’s right – you can get your paws on a PS4, in ‘glacier white’ for £299.99! Great price for a next-gen console. Have a look at the deal here.

MORE BARGAINS!

Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz & The World’s End) £10.10 on Blu-Ray
Sandisk 16GB Cruzer Edge USB Memory Stick now £4.99
Zoostorm Desktop PC (Celeron Dual Core 1037U with Windows 8.1) for £159.99
HP 255 G3 Quad Core Laptop £199 delivered
Dell Venue 8 Pro (White 32GB, Exclusive to Amazon) for £131.36
The War Of The Worlds Album for 99p
OnePlus One 5.5″ FHD Screen 4G LTE Android Smartphone Quad Core 3GB RAM NFC (16GB) for £258.75
Zoostorm Desktop PC (Intel Pentium Dual Core G3240 Haswell, Windows 8.1) delivered for £189.99 (£129.99 with trade in)
iPhone 5 White 16GB for £192
Honor 6 4G UK Smartphone for £249.99

FOR MORE WONDERFUL OFFERS AND DEALS, VISIT HUKD!

Sony pull masturbation advert

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Sony posted an advert on their YouTube channel last week, but thanks to a load of criticism, they’ve decided to pull it. The commercial, which uses a console for a masturbation euphemism was yanked offline after people were displeased at the depiction of a ‘sexy’ doctor going on like she’s talking about pud pulling.

The clip talks about being able to play your PS4 games on your Vita. It seems, the more you play with it, the harder it gets.

There’s criticism that adverts for games in 2014 shouldn’t be just aimed at randy teenage boys anymore, but the real criticism should be that the advert is thoroughly rubbish.

Sony haven’t said why it took the ad down, but you can assume it was the knee-jerk ranting about sexism and the like. That said, the gaming industry is very, very jumpy at the minute, what with all that very unpleasant #gamergate business still doing the rounds.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a console-vendor has used a bit of nudge-nudge-wink-wink to flog some games. Microsoft did pretty much the same skit in 2010.

Give us a shout when everyone’s stopped being so offended.

Google make Christmas shopping easier

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.

The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.

Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.

Google Mobile 151x300 Google make Christmas shopping easier

Oooh.

Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?

car in flood Admiral insurance could charge you £145 more just for paying monthlyCar insurance is compulsory, so once a year you have to find the spare cash to insure your car for another year (making sure you shop around at that time to find the best deal). In recent times, of course, it has been possible to pay for your insurance monthly, convenient for people paid monthly, but it seems that some insurers are trying to cream extra profits out of poor instalments payers- by charging extra on top of additional interest charges.

In an ideal world, insurance companies would allow you to spread the cost of your annual insurance over the months you use it free of charge. Unfortunately these are insurance companies we are talking about, so there is generally an interest charge for spreading the payments- although it’s always worth checking what this is, as the rates can vary wildly between providers. However, a new Which!!! investigation has discovered that, in addition to interest charges, some insurers are charging monthly customers more just because they can.

The offending insurers are the Admiral group of companies, which includes the Elephant and Diamond brands, who are using this double-dip approach to effectively charge monthly customers twice for paying monthly. By comparing the annualised monthly and the one-off annual insurance cost on a number of vehicles, Which!!! found that the difference could be as much as £145.

The examples found by Which!!! include a quote with Elephant.co.uk for a 25-year-old Toyota driver, where the annual premium was £594.66. Without including a charge for interest, however, when selecting a pay monthly premium, the cost rose to £642.36. Interest was then added on top of the inflated premium, bringing the full cost over a year to £702.35. That’s £108 more for paying monthly.

Of course, the insurer would never admit to charging people more for anything. Instead what they are actually doing is offering single-payment customers a ‘discount’ from the standard price. Of course they are. Which!!! found that these ‘discounts’ varied considerably depending on the scenario and insurer. For the Toyota driver above they ranged from £44.52 to £47.70, while for a 30-year-old Audi owner they were as little as £2.12 with Diamond and Elephant, and £8.48 with Admiral. In the worst case, Which!!! found a difference between one-off and monthly premiums of £145.22 on a quote for a Ford Focus Zetec, insured with Admiral.

Which!!! say they “don’t think [insurers] should be attempting to make a second profit on customers” who don’t have the funds, or who simply choose to pay their premiums monthly. We agree, although capitalist society can’t blame the insurance companies for trying. What’s clear is that if you do check quotes at renewal, you are likely to find a cheaper monthly premium by selecting an insurer who doesn’t bump up the prices.

Admiral declined to comment owing to “commercial sensitivity.”

Vapes: the latest thing to be malwared!

November 24th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

e cigarette Vapes: the latest thing to be malwared!Electronic cigarettes have now become targets for malware transmission.

Yes, despite being a healthier alternative to the actual fags themselves, e-cigarettes that are charged over night – or plugged directly into a USB port – can be moody affairs that could gain access to your computer’s innards.

According to a report on Reddit, it suggests that at least one “vaper” had been done over by their electronic cigarette.

“One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.”

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

It’s not completely mad. Things have been used as trojan horses to bung some infection into computers since time began, but in this case it’s the possibility of BadUSB, which can reprogram USB devices at the hardware level.

The proper brands that users should stick to are the likes of Aspire, KangerTech and Innokin, and by checking for scratch checkers on the box, which mark out authentic goods from counterfeits.

According to figures from the Press Association, e-cigarettes and related equipment, have been involved in more than 100 fires in less than two years.

The fags eh?

Supermarket price wars killing off food producers?

November 24th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

morrisons 300x300 Supermarket price wars killing off food producers?While Lidl and Aldi hack away at the Big 4 supermarkets’ profits, a price war has kicked off. While that means bargains for all, it isn’t all happiness and light.

This cost-cutting from the supermarkets of the UK has seen a sharp increase in insolvency among food producers, with the number of companies in the food production sector entering insolvency rising by 28% in the 12 months.

Duncan Swift, a partner at Moore Stephens, says: “Supermarkets are trying to compete on price with Aldi and Lidl, but with profit margins that are far higher than these discount chains.”

So, in the case of farmers and the like, who often operate as sole traders and therefore aren’t registered at Companies House, this means that if they’re suffering, Moore Stephens’ figures are likely to not tell the whole picture of how hard it is for food producers.

Those in the food-making industry are waiting longer to get paid from supermarkets too. Jeff Longhurst, chief executive of the ABFA, said: “Many in the food and drink sector believe the problems with payment terms have now become endemic.”

Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket by market share – revealed a £263m shortfall in profits in October, as a result of problems with the timing of payments received from its own suppliers.

“Supplier contributions cause major cash-flow problems for food producers and can tip them into insolvency,” added Swift. “It’s a raw deal for the food producers who need the supermarkets to reach the public, but who can’t afford the terms of business that the supermarkets foist on them.”

Bleak.

the sun newspaper 300x168 Supermarkets bend to demand to cover up newspapersSlightly over the top parents are celebrating today after two supermarkets announced that they will cover up front pages of newspapers on their displays.

Yes, because it is quite a big thing. No end of impressionable children are lead into darkness by seeing a display of newspapers.

Waitrose and Tesco have agreed to work on new display methods as so not to upset the precious ones.

This move comes following months of pressure from campaign groups No More Page 3 and Child Eyes, who have heralded the decision a victory.

Newspaper front pages can sometimes be unsavoury, yes, but you get the impression that much of the way modern life has been lived, is going to upset somebody. Both parties had expressed concern at sexualised images of women being one of the key things that they didn’t like seeing. Exactly how ‘in your face’ and massive are these newspaper stands anyway?

A spokesman for Tesco, said they’d had made the decision after consulting with customers and campaigners, and so now that the papers will be displayed with just mastheads showing.

He confirmed that all large outlets, known as Extra and Superstore shops, will receive the new display units by the end of November 2014.

Tesco’s Customer Experience & Insight Director, Tracey Clements, said: “We are first and foremost a family retailer and it’s important we do everything we can to promote the right environment in store.”

“We’ve asked our customers what they think about the issue and we have spoken to campaigners. The change we’re making will strike the right balance for everyone.”

The Child Eyes campaign was formed after a rash of little darlings were seen to go on a sex and drug fuelled rampage after seeing a cover of the Daily Mirror.

Founded in 2012, it campaigns to stop sexualised, sexist and damaging images being displayed at child height in shops and public spaces. Child Eyes claims that newspapers are frequently displayed at children’s eye level, often right next to the comics that children are drawn to, and use easy-to-read words which catch their attention.

“This is a real victory for all the supporters of the Child Eyes Campaign, who have been trying to make their voices heard on this issue for so long. We’re feeling really positive and excited that the other supermarkets, and then also smaller shops will follow on to make the UK more family friendly.”

‘Make the UK more family friendly’. Jeez.

A spokesman for the kids said “yeah, whevs” before bypassing their parental controls on the computer and surfing for porn. They’ll be asking people to no longer stick baby’s heads on spikes next. This country.

Cab app price war equals cheapness

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

taxi 300x200 Cab app price war equals cheapnessTaxi apps. They’re at WAR.

The price war between the apps has heated up as the festive season encroaches, and London-based app Get Taxi has just gone hardcore on their competitor’s arses with bargain pricing.

The company will charge just a fiver to travel up to six miles in London, and the app will make up the rest of the fare.

This follows Uber’s fares being reduced by almost half.

Just as an example of the dimensions of this deal, a usual fare from Get Taxi around London is £30.

UK chief executive, Remo Gerber reckons: “There’s a lot of competition over the app makers and to a certain degree you need to think of things that you can do to stand out from the crowd.”

Hailo, Kabbee, Taxibeat and Maaxi are also attempting to gain market share in the UK, which has forced some minicab firms to lower their prices to compete.

There’s an increasing amount of competition from dozens of apps, and so it’s genuinely quite cheap to cab it up in the big cities at the moment. So take advantage and get ready for a LOT of Magic FM.

Deals of the Day: Monday 24th November 2014

November 24th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

deals of the day 300x162 Deals of the Day: Monday 24th November 2014You don’t have to wait for Black Friday to grab yourself a great deal! Here at Bitterwallet, we do it every single day! No need to get trampled by a hoard of parents trying to grab everything in sight to appease their awful, needy children!

So what have we got today? Well, if you’ve been after a Kindle Fire HD (7″, 8GB, WiFi), you can pick one up for a very reasonable £64! Click here to find out where and how to pick up this bargain!

MORE DEALS!

Samsung series 4 40″ HD LED TV with Freeview for £219.98
Tesco hudl2 tablet for £114 with code
Wii U premium pack with Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros, Mario Amiibo, pro-controller and backpack for £299.99
Neil Young: official release series, four classic albums on CD for £5.99
Advanced Warfare Xbox 360 for £29
Metro redux PS4/Xbox One for £19.98
2m switched 8-way extension lead with surge protection for £7.50
GTA V on PS4/Xbox One for £34.95
Anker classic portable wireless bluetooth speaker for £23.99

FOR MORE BRILLIANT BARGAINS, VISIT HUKD!

BT to buy back O2?

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Picture 22 BT to buy back O2?Remember when BT used to own O2? Well, they’re in ”highly preliminary” talks about buying it back. In a statement, they also said that they were in talks with another mobile network too, but they were keeping quiet on that.

We think that it is EE, for the record.

BT said: “BT Group notes the recent press speculation relating to a potential transaction involving Telefónica UK (O2) in the UK. We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements.”

“We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK.”

“We have received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business. All discussions are at a highly preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur.”

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

android lollipop 300x300 What can Androids Lollipop do, that KitKat couldnt?Android 5.0, or Lollipop, is set to be flung out to compatible devices and there’s going to be some changes. Some changes will be irritating for everyone no doubt, but there’s others that are pretty great.

With the latter, here’s some of the cool stuff you can look out for.

Battery and Charging

Instead of charging your battery and staring at it, willing it to juice-up more quickly, Android Lollipop’s new OS will show you how long it would take to charge your phone and will also have a little graph showing off how much time is left before the battery does. The home screen will no show you the time until full charge, which is handy.

Guests

You know how, on your computer, you can set up guest accounts so other people don’t get to nosey around in your business? Well, Lollipop is offering the same thing, so you can add guest users or create a profile for other people. By going to Settings/Users/Add Guest, you’ll be able to tailor what they  can do on your phone.

Torch

Most phones have some sort of torch on them, but now, Android 5.0 has the flashlight pinned in the notifications panel. Pull down the notification thingy and there it is! Hardly earth-shattering, but it not bad at all for those looking for some nice practical improvements.

Notification panel

Speaking of the notification panel, the new one has been made much easier to use. Unlike KitKat, the most useful feature you’ll notice is that you can have the ability to view your notifications on your lock screen. If you’re worried about leaving your phone unattended, then you can disable the function in Settings.

Flappy Bird

The new Android 5.0 has an ‘easter egg’ build-in where you can get a modified version of Flappy Bird. If you want to check it out, go to Settings/About Phone and click it a few times and you’ll get the android robot in place of the bird. The game will still irritate you though.

Chromecast

If you’ve got Chromecast, you’ll now be able to access it much easier. Now, you can simply go to the notification panel and tap ‘Cast Screen’. No more waiting for the ‘Cast This?’ pop-up.

Redesigned Soft Keys

Soft key buttons have been updated and the icons are a bit tidier, a little smaller and rather nicely compact.

Prioritise apps

Your phone can get a bit clogged-up when you’ve been using loads of apps through the day. Lollipop now gives you the opportunity to prioritise which apps you receive notifications from. So, if you’re going to bed, you can switch most of them off so you’re not flooded with pointless notifications first thing in the morning, or whatever.