Posts Tagged ‘News’

Should we have a lower drink-driving limit?

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car crash 239x300 Should we have a lower drink driving limit?No-one gets as agitated as a driver being told what to do, so with that, what about the idea of a lower drink-driving limit?

Well, according to a new survey, three quarters of those drivers who were asked (74% to be precise) were in favour of lowering the amount of booze you can have if you’re getting behind the wheel. Of course, this comes after Scotland announcing that they are lowering their limits.

31% reckon that the UK should follow Scotland’s (and a lot of the EU) lead by dropping the limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (50mg/100ml). 43% said the UK should go even further by introducing a limit of 20mg/100ml, which is in place in Sweden among other countries.

One 26% think that we’re fine with the current 80mg/100ml level.

 

The survey was pretty unanimous that, in the cases of repeat drink-drivers, the penalties for them must be considerably more stern. 95% think that repeat offenders such face higher penalties.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “The current drink drive limit in England and Wales sends a confusing message and asks drivers to do the impossible – guess when they are under the limit, and guess when they are safe to drive. Even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving, so the only safe choice is not to drink at all before driving. The law needs to make that crystal clear.”

Now, here’s the kicker.

The survey was carried out by road safety charity Brake in tandem with Direct Line. A road safety charity and an insurer will be more likely to yield results with a certain skew on it. You’d inevitably find very different results if you asked the readers of Top Gear magazine, the Daily Mail or whatever.

With that, we open it up to you lot – should we have a lower drink-drive limit? Should we hammer people who are repeat offenders? Should we be allowed to drink at all before driving?

£180m lost by Royal Mail sale

December 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Royal Mail £180m lost by Royal Mail saleThe sale of the Royal Mail is already a controversial topic. It won’t be letting up any time soon as reports show that UK taxpayers lost out £180m on the deal. A small mercy is that it was originally thought to be a much greater loss, somewhere in the region of £1bn.

However, £180m is no joking matter.

The inquiry headed by Lord Myners will conclude this week and will show that the Government could have received additional proceeds of somewhere between £120m and £180m if the sale of shares had been conducted properly.

The report will also underline the inadequacies in the way that the Shareholder Executive (who looks after state-owned assets) handled the privatisation. It adds that, based on initial interest from investors, the price range for the shares should have been higher.

Vince Cable, who commissioned Myners to complete the inquiry, asked him to examine whether the way future Government asset sales should be changed.

The inquiry are set to make a number of recommendations, including measures to overhaul conventional market practices, like the earlier publication of prospectuses which will facilitate better investor education and enabling a greater number of analysts to publish research on companies and the like.

There will also be calls for an examination of whether or not there should be standardised shareholding disclosure requirements for all institutions. This will mean a lot of changes in the market and a shake-up of the way things are done between regulators and institutional investors.

New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

BlackBerry have announced a new smartphone that harks back to yore.

The company’s new Classic smartphone has a qwerty keyboard, trackpad and the usual buttons along with a touch screen. Just look at it would you?

blackberry 500x371 New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

Chief Executive Officer John Chen said at an event in New York: “When I went to visit customers — and these are the CEOs of top banks in this town – a lot of them pulled out their BlackBerrys. Don’t mess around with this thing.”

This brings BlackBerry full circle, after the touch screen efforts that fell flat with regular BlackBerry fans, and people fled the company due to it.

And it all looks quite promising, as pre-orders for it have outstripped demand for any BlackBerry item of recent years. So it’s all looking hopeful for the beleagured firm.

BlackBerry is currently selling the Classic for $449 in the U.S. with a view to introducing it elsewhere in the new year.

What on earth have you been looking at online?

December 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers
a child on the internet 300x182 What on earth have you been looking at online?

A boy stood with the internet

Another year is nearly over and Google are looking back at what everyone’s been up to. Of course, in Spain, they won’t get one of these nostalgiafests next year, because Google has fallen out with an entire country.

So what has everyone been searching for through Google in 2014? You’d have to assume the word ‘nudes’ and ‘fappening’ have ranked highly, but then, you also have to assume that Google have only decided to show everyone the PG results of this year.

Concerning the latter, you’d be right. Instead of searches for leaked photos of the nice lady from The Hunger Games, Google say that the number one search of 2014 was Robin Williams, after his untimely death in August.

In second place, unsurprisingly, was the World Cup while in third place was the delight that is Ebola. They were followed by missing Malaysian plan Flight MH370 and then the ALS/Ice Bucket Challenge. Oddly, at number six in the chart, was the infuriating Flappy Bird.

Then, finishing off the top ten, we find Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, those folks who make up ISIS, the Frozen movie and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

When it comes to consumer electronics, the iPhone 6 topped the results, followed by Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 6, Moto G and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Seeing as we’re on the internet, you should stop reading all these words and have a nice time watching this thoroughly overblown video, made by Google themselves.

There’s things landing on comets, science and medicine breakthroughs and some political movements… but no nudes at all.

Supermarkets start to drop petrol prices

December 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

petrol guage 300x199 Supermarkets start to drop petrol pricesIn a handy move for Christmas, the supermarkets have started a round of price cuts on petrol and fuel.

Asda and Sainsbury’s are cutting their petrol by 2p a litre and diesel by 1p a litre, tomorrow. That’s nice isn’t it?

The RAC reckon that, thanks to world oil prices, petrol could be below £1 a litre in the new year, which would be the lowest pump prices since 2009.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “What’s currently happening at the pumps with falling fuel prices is something many motorists will not remember seeing before. Talk of prices going up like a rocket and falling like a feather could not be further from the truth as retailers have been quick to pass on savings at the forecourt since we forecast on December 6 that prices were due to come down by 7p a litre for petrol and 6p for diesel.”

Did it take you a couple of attempts to see what the crap he was talking about then? Anyway, it isn’t all happy-happy-joy-joy.

AA president Edmund King is being altogether more cautious: “With duty on each litre of fuel at 57.95p and VAT around 20p, plus the pound at its lowest level against the dollar for three months, it would take another almighty drop in crude prices to reach £1 a litre at the pumps.”

“Drivers would love to see £1 per litre but a white Christmas might be a better bet at the moment. However, for canny drivers there are still variations in pump prices of up to 5p litre in the same town. So shop around and make the most of the lower prices.”

Skype introduces Skype Translator

December 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

skype Skype introduces Skype TranslatorSkype have announced the launch of Skype Translator, which feels like something straight out of Star Trek.

Thanks to speech recognition software that can decode foreign tongues in real time, Skype Translator is now out there in the public. Roaming about.

There are up to 40 instant messaging languages to choose from, so you can get up to all manner of saucy talk from around the world now.

According to Skype’s corporate vice president, Gurdeep Pall: “Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets,” explained

“We are starting with English and Spanish and, as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve. Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each platform for our more than 300 million connected users,” added Pall.

Microsoft reckon it will open up all sorts of possibilities for the people of Earth, allowing them to connect without any fear of getting the wrong end of the stick in various languages.

Skype Translator is available RIGHT NOW. Do you want to see a video of it in action? What else have you got on?

amazoninstant Being chased for full payment after 1p Amazon cock up?You heard about the 1p cock-up at Amazon? Well, some people got themselves a bargain before Amazon corrected the glitch.

Well, turns out some companies aren’t happy about this and have sent messages to customers, saying they want the rest of the money.

One avid BW reader told us that they were sent an email by a company called PremiumBrands4Less. The order has been fulfilled by Amazon and dispatched.

The email reads: “Dear Customer, firstly, I’d like to apologise for the disruption this email may cause. We experienced a problem with Amazon UK yesterday at about 18:00GMT and worked to fix the original issue by 20:00GMT.”

“We continued to work over the following few hours in conjunction with Amazon to revert any incorrect prices to their original prices, caused via the Amazon system. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error, but have requested we contact buyers and ask them to create a return request to return the stock back to amazon.”

“We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again. We’ve been in business for over 4 years and we’ve always taken pride in the levels of service we provide, so everyone here is devastated and disappointed we experienced this problem. Unfortunately, our inventory lost over 10000 units within a space of 2 hours, which couldn’t be prevented. This will result in PremiumBrands4Less entering liquidation as a result of this pricing error by amazon.”

“We understand that you think you may have grabbed a great bargain, but we have instructed amazon to revert the prices to our usual prices and recharge your card with the correct amount owed. We would like to offer customers a grace period of 7 days to create a return request and return any stock incorrect priced and dispatched. If this action isn’t carried out, we will seek to recover sums owed”

“1. By recharging your credit/debit card
2. If funds are not available, passing to a debt collection agency
3. Informing experian and getting your address added to the mail order black list”

“We would like to urge customers to be honourable and honest during this Christmas period and not take advantage of a small business, who cannot afford to give away its £100,000 inventory for under £100. This will create a number of job losses in the run up to Christmas, due to the behaviour of a select number of customer.”

“I again reiterate, the products were not Amazon Inc, products, but were PremiumBrands4Less owned products dispatched on our behalf by Amazon Inc.

Yours sincerely

PremiumBrands4Less”

What do you make of that then? Would you laugh at them and think ‘hard cheese! I’ve done nothing wrong and you can whistle!’ or would you be guilt-tripped into helping out a small business?

**UPDATE** When queried, Amazon responded. Have a look in the comments.

poo crap 300x300 People literally bought a load of crap on Black FridayOn Black Friday, there was a lot of muttering about people buying crap they didn’t need. Well, it turns out that you didn’t know how literal you were being as, in America, 30,000 people bought actual faeces in a box.

They bought it from the people who brought the world the game, Cards Against Humanity, who said that for $6, you could have ‘actual bullshit’.

Now, online, lots of people assumed that this was all a big wheeze and that there might be a new game in the offing or maybe something collectible and fun. However, those that parted with their money soon found that they’d spent cash on a box with some poo in it.

Even though the game’s creator Max Temkin repeatedly tweeted that the thing being sent out was literally some dung in a box, people still weren’t convinced. And the boxes of poo sold out . 30,000 cardboard boxes with excrement in it. Bought with money.

And there’s a lovely video of someone doing a box opening, which shows a box with something akin to the poo emoji (as seen above) and a wrapped box that says ‘Bullshit’ on it. And inside, lo and behold, something that fell out of a bovine’s arse.

That’d be Cards Against Humanity earning $180,000 from selling actual bullshit. Where there’s muck, there’s brass.

the pirate bay logo 300x300 The Pirate Bay is back, not that it makes any differenceWith yawning inevitability, The Pirate Bay is back online, resurrected by another torrent site. Of course, the return of the site is only of note to show those trying to close torrents that they’re indulging in an utterly futile endeavour.

In the time TBP was shut down, internet piracy carried on as normal. Seems the authorities are so busy chasing a big name that they haven’t cottoned on to the fact that most people who use torrents have moved on or at least, have ten other options.

Of course, the takedown wasn’t without retaliation – a group related to Anonymous released a load of emails of government sorts, leaving officials flailing around, screaming ‘WON’T SOMEONE TELL US HOW THE INTERNET WORKS?!’

The Pirate Bay can now be found, fully functional, at oldpiratebay.org.

If anything, this resurrected version is a bit nicer than the old one, with all the dirty adverts that littered up TPB now missing. Isohunt, who have revived it, have said that, even though TPB is a competitor of theirs, they’re happy to bring it back because of its historic importance to the file sharing community.

“As you all probably know, the beloved Pirate bay website is gone for now,” a statement released with the new site said. “It will be always remembered as the pilgrim of Freedom and possibilities on the Web. It’s the symbol for a whole generation of the internet users. In it’s honor we are making oldpiratebay.org search.”

“We, the Isohunt.to team, copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users. Nothing will be forgotten.”

Your water bill is all set to fall

December 12th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tapwater Your water bill is all set to fallGood news for those who enjoy water-based activities in the home, like drinking tea, having a bath and having a sly look at the poo they’ve just done before flushing – household water bills in England and Wales are going to fall by an average of 5% by 2020, according to Ofwat!

This is not including inflation, obviously.

It is thought that the average bill be about £20 cheaper. In 2020, that’ll probably buy you 10 cigarettes, in plain packaging.

Either way, this news is better than a kick up the hole.

What is genuinely good news is that the regulator has said that the water companies are going to invest more than £44bn in the next five years to improve services: ”With bills held down by 5% and service driven up over the next five years, customers will get more and pay less,” said Cathryn Ross, Ofwat chief exec.

The water companies have two months to accept this decision and if they don’t like it, they have to go and cry to the Competition and Markets Authority. You get the impression that a good number of them will because, if history has taught us anything, those that control our water don’t like doing anything until something is broken.

So there you have it. Even if we don’t notice the savings, it’ll be nice if Ofwat manage to bully the water companies into giving everyone a better service.

£6,300 refund from Northern Rock anyone?

December 10th, 2014 40 Comments By Mof Gimmers

money graphics 2007 883810a 300x300 £6,300 refund from Northern Rock anyone?Roll up, roll up as thousands of borrowers are all set to get a very nice bonus from Northern Rock after the High Court in London ruled against them.

Over 40,000 loan applicants are looking refunds after a legal test case questioned the wording in past loan documents, which means that there’s going be be a payout in excess of £258m.

In English, 41,000 customers are going to get £6,300 each and, better yet, the court ruling is going to be applied to the wording and documents of other loans, so this might not be over for a while yet for the lenders.

At the moment, if you think you’re entitled to a refund, you don’t need to act. There’s further legal action to be taken which is going to hold things up, but those that will be getting money will be contacted by letter, with advice of what happens next.

The loans in question related to “Together” mortgages, which were offered by Northern Rock and permitted unsecured loans of up to £30,000 alongside your mortgage, repayable at the same rate.

Many took up the offer and took out unsecured loans of between £25,000 and £30,000 between 1999 and 2008, and it is those customers that will be paid back interest and fees.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this one, and seeing which other companies come a cropper of the new ruling.

porn What does McDonalds and a Scottish theatre have in common? Porn.There’s a lot of accidental porn knocking about this week.

First, we get some special sauce and someone splaying their quarter pounder as customers at a McDonald’s in Switzerland were, ahem, lovin’ it when they were chowing down while TVs showed some hardcore pornography.

Steffen Reiniger was in Maccies in Zuchwil (translation: suck willy) with his pals when they got a side of jizz thanks to the Sexy Sports Clips show which was being aired by a German sports channel.

“We were only a group of men so it didn’t bother us, although what would have happened if there was a family in the restaurant at that time I don’t know,” Reininger said.

The employee who put the particular station on didn’t know that the channel, Sport 1, also shows bongo films. A spokesperson said: “If our employees didn’t immediately realise what was going on it’s because they were concentrating on our customers and their work.”

extra sauce at mcdonalds with side order of porn 500x333 What does McDonalds and a Scottish theatre have in common? Porn.

Over in Edinburgh, a theatre made a similarly smutty mistake as they accidentally sent out a load of porn films to children and their parents. They were meant to be DVDs of school performances.

However, the acting was wooden for a very different reason.

The Edinburgh Playhouse said “highly inappropriate” sexual content appeared on some of the DVDs after a third-party cocked-up the duplication of the recordings.

A spokesman said: “The Edinburgh Playhouse apologises unequivocally for any distress caused to the families affected by this totally unacceptable and unseemly mistake.”

Edithouse, who produced the DVDs, said it took “full responsibility” for mistakes which led to “highly inappropriate and inaccurate material being sent out”, adding: ”We would like to apologise sincerely to the Edinburgh Playhouse for the inconvenience and most importantly to the children and parents affected by this terrible error.”

Hahahaha!

Uber banned in Spain – UK next?

December 9th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

uber 300x200 Uber banned in Spain   UK next?A lot of people really, really hate Uber. In Britain, the people who loathe them the most are other taxi drivers. They can let out a small cheer or “about bloody time” as a judge in Spain has said that Uber need to stop trading immediately, ruling that Uber’s drivers don’t have authorisation to operate in the country and that their service is “unfair competition”.

Of course, if one country can find a way to put a halt on the business, then so can others, which will give hope to the disgruntled drivers of the UK.

The Spanish court said that drivers “lack the administrative authorisation to carry out the job, and the activity they carry out constitutes unfair competition.”

This ban comes a day after the company was stopped from trading in Delhi, so it looks like everyone’s after them. Also, in The Netherlands, another court banned the UberPop journey-sharing service, with The Trade and Industry Tribunal saying that: ”Drivers who transport people for payment without a licence are breaking the law.

That’s not stopping Uber though, who have said they’re going to carry on despite the likelihood of a load of fines. In the case of UberPop, each driver could be hit with a €40,000 penalty.

tesco Tesco cut profit forecast as Click & Collect problems pile up and shares diveTesco, who are officially known as ‘the beleaguered supermarket giant’ these days, have been having all manner of Click & Collect problems after Black Friday and in the build-up to Christmas and, to make matters worse, they’ve just announced that they’re drastically cutting their profits forecast, because everything has been going wrong for them since their accounting cock-up.

Tesco said that they want to win everyone back by hiring 6,000 new memebers of staff (presumably, they won’t be manning the tills as traditional checkouts seem to be vanishing) and offer more price-cuts for customers. This is all because new chief executive Dave Lewis has to do something to overhaul the ailing giant and patch up that horrible £263m black hole in the company accounts.

“Our new approach will underpin stronger long-term relationships with our suppliers, benefiting customers, whilst at the same time ensuring that revenue recognition is transparent and appropriate. We have retrained our entire team and begun the cascade with our suppliers,” the company said in a statement.

However, that didn’t stop the company’s shares from sinking like a rubber brick in the deep-end: another large profit warning saw shares tumbling by more than 10%, with around £1.6 billion slashed from the value.

That’s the third profit warning in recent month.

After their rampant growth and ruthless expansion, who would’ve ever seen all this liquid dung hitting the fan? Absolute madness. Here’s hoping for some bargains at Tesco’s expense.

Ofcom not impressed with Britain’s broadband

December 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers
Bitterwallet the internet 205x300 Ofcom not impressed with Britains broadband

The Internet, yesterday

Ofcom aren’t too impressed with the UK’s fixed broadband connections. Even though they’re pleased that they are now ”almost universally available” throughout Britain, it is the download speeds that they’re not best pleased with.

The say that average download speeds are 23 Mbps in their (obviously fascinating) report on the UK’s telecoms infrastructure, but they weren’t happy that 3% of premises don’t even have basic broadband (which is around 2Mbps) and 15% can’t receive 10Mbps, which is the typical requirement for a normal household in 2014.

It’s all very patchy and there’s a big gap between the maximum and minimum download speeds with some places receiving a piddling 0.1Mbps while others get 350Mbps. Basically, there’s around four million households that still don’t have access to superfast broadband.

You can add the ‘FirstWorldProblems’ hashtag in that last sentence if you like.

This is something the government need to take heed of because they’re aiming to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of UK premises by 2017, so they should get a wriggle on.

Ofcom have decided to make an interactive map so you can see what your access to broadband is like, as well as TV and mobile services.

Have a look here.