Posts Tagged ‘News’

A matter of days after Samsung unleashed the Galaxy S5 on the world, some smart-arse has already hacked the fingerprint scanner on it.

In a video, below, the researchers showed how a wood glue spoof made from a mould is all that’s needed to get under the fingerprint security.

The narrator on the video says: “the spoof was made under lab conditions but is based on nothing more than a camera phone photo of an unprocessed latent print on a smartphone screen.” Well, obviously.

Of course, this isn’t the only fingerprint hack. Apple’s iPhone 5S was hacked by Chaos Computer Club a matter of hours after launch. The main difference between the two hacks is that, unlike the iPhone, the Samsung handset doesn’t require a password to authenticate after a certain number of incorrect attempts.

That means nasty people can try as many times as they like.

SRLabs accuse Samsung of failing to learn from the mistakes of other technology companies, and seeing as the method used in the S5 hack was basically the same as the iPhone hack, they may well have a point.

bbc iplayer ipad 300x242 BBC extend iPlayer downloads to Android phones and tabletsThe BBC have, in their own sweet time, extended their iPlayer download facility to pretty much every Android smartphone and tablet on the market.

Until recently, the download feature has been limited to a few Android devices, but now, it is on offer to anyone running Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0, or later. That’s around 96% of Android users now able to download episodes of Coast and Pointless for offline viewing.

So what happened to change their minds? The notion that their are more Android devices in use than iPhones?

Not quite. Basically, the BBC has got a bit carefree and decided to stop extensive tests for all the devices.

“We believe that the vast majority of devices will enjoy a great video downloading experience. However, with more than five thousand different phone, phablet and tablet models able to install the BBC iPlayer Android app, there are likely to be a number of devices that exhibit bugs concerning download behaviour,” said Auntie Beeb.

“We can’t promise that we will fix every issue that is brought to our attention (there may be device limitations that prevent us from doing so) but we will seek to address problems according to the complexity of the issue, as well as the UK popularity and the user numbers of the device itself,” they added.

festival woman 300x185 Glastonbury Festival to have own 4G to maximise annoyanceThe gits at Glastonbury will be getting their usual blanket coverage on the BBC this year, like an alternative Royal Wedding – of interest to only a few, but shoved down everyone’s craw like it’s a worthy event.

And now, to maximise the omnipresent nature of the event, Glastonbury’s organisers have announced that EE will provide a special 4G network on site at this year’s festival.

That means all the posh white kids in attendance will be able to tweet constantly through the weekend, appearing on everyone’s feeds, talking about having ‘experiences’ and gushing with praise about some dreadful group of herberts in waistcoats playing on a stage call Hector Wizard’s Banana Vibez Plantation or something.

This is under the assumption that the signal actually holds up with all those glamping weasels jamming up the network with Instagram pictures of themselves and pals posing in front of a Stonehenge made from old cars.

There’s no point hoping that their phones will run out of juice, because EE have that covered as well, saying that they’ve released an EE Festival Power Bar. Buy that before 9th June and you’ll have a portable charger to keep your phone topped up with power. When that dies, go to the on-site EE tent and swap it for a new one.

EE Brand Director Spencer McHugh said of all this: “Last year we saw a huge increase in photo and video uploads on our network at Glastonbury as people shared their magical festival moments from across the site. By providing superfast 4G at the festival alongside the launch of our new charging solution, the EE Festival Power Bar, we will make sure all those at the UK’s best-loved festival can stay connected and share content more easily and quicker than ever before”.

mobile phone 300x225 Huge shock as report finds that phone shops are selling stolen mobiles!You’ll never believe this. The BBC has done a report, where they’ve filmed a number of phone shops, and found that some of them are dealing with mobiles that are stolen!!!

This will be incredibly shocking for anyone who has been walking around the world with their eyes closed and their ears covered for the last decade.

The BBC ‘received information’ that eight stores in London were trading in the black market. Instead of getting the info and saying “well, obviously”, they went to the trouble of customising eight handsets so it looked like they’d be snatched by ne’er-do-wells.

Then, instead of someone saying “well, durrr”, the BBC sent a researcher posing as a thief to sell the phones, capturing the deed on camera. In what continued to be a total surprise for some blithering dunce from the BBC, they found that the vendor was willing to give tips on how to avoid the police finding out about it all, by throwing away the SIM card, turning off the phone, and all that.

The BBC have also been given a demonstration of how a phone’s unique IMEI number can be changed and the phone restored, so it can’t be found.

Speaking to the BBC, Grant Roughley of Essential Forensics said: “A phone stolen this morning could be back on the streets by this afternoon, packaged up as a second hand legitimate phone.”

Next week: BBC uncover shocking truth about some convenience shops selling singular cigarettes to underage teens before they go to school.

PS: Thanks for pointing out our error, readers.

Amazon 3D smartphone, due to drop in September

April 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Amazon Smartphone 300x180 Amazon 3D smartphone, due to drop in SeptemberAmazon are going to show off their smartphone in June, rumour has it, hitting the shelves sometime in September.

Some secretive source told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is gearing up to launch a smartphone in Autumn. Makes sense, given that they’ve already got the set-top Fire TV and a variety of Kindles on the go. Amazon, it seems, have worked out that there’s money to be had in flogging hardware.

According to the sources, the retailer have shown off a number of prototypes to developers, hoping to have a decision in time for the summer reveal. Apparently, the Amazon phone will have a display that renders 3D images without the need for 3D glasses, which is a fun gimmick.

It has also been suggested that the phone will have retina-tracking technology, which will help the four cameras the phone will host. Sounds like a huge battery drain from here.

Worth noting though, is that this new handset is likely to have Amazon’s Android spinoff operating system. While that is fine, if the newest Kindles are anything to go by, you could be irritated by the lack of Google Play store and, sadly for Amazon, their appstore isn’t nearly as comprehensive as the competition. Developers, it seems, aren’t too fussed about making apps for Amazon devices just yet.

However, with the TV box and more hardware on the go, Amazon might pull their finger out so users can have access to all the apps you’d find on an Android device.

In other hardware news, seems like the phone will have a 4.7-inch screen, a 13MP camera on the back, a 12MP camera on the front, and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. An Amazon phone has been rumoured for a long time, so don’t hold your breath if you’re holding out for one.

Bitterwallet Twitters @earlybird 550 million Twitter accounts have never even tweetedRoughly speaking, there’s 974 million Twitter users. That’s impressive isn’t it? However, according to the latest statistics from Twopcharts, there’s a lot of people not using it once they’ve signed-up.

Around 550 million people haven’t sent a single tweet, which is approximately 44% of Twitter accounts. It doesn’t end there – there’s millions and millions more who haven’t used the social network for over a year. 126 million have sent a tweet at any point over the last 30 days.

In the past, Twitter have said that the service has around 241 million average monthly users who are active, which Twopcharts disagree with.

The discrepancy seems to lie in the fact that Twopcharts are looking at accounts that send tweets, while Twitter might have access to information on people who might not tweet, but are reading other tweets and logging in.

In addition to all this, Twopcharts’ data reckons there are around 391 million Twitter accounts with 0 followers and over 232 million accounts who haven’t followed a single user.

You could argue ‘what’s the point in setting up an account then?’, but if you’d read some of stuff some people come up with, you could argue that no tweets are better than a hundred tedious tweets.

Bitterwallet appeal parking tickets1 Councils dole out a parking ticket every 4 secondsAccording to reports, local councils issued in advance of eight million parking tickets last year. Or, if you prefer, that’s one every 4 seconds. This has seen motorists paying out more than £255 million in fines.

What’s worse is that these are only from the figures available under freedom of information laws. Seeing as less than half of the local authorities in Britain replied to the survey, the figures are going to be much higher.

The folks at Churchill Car Insurance carried out the research and said that Westminster City Council issued the highest number of parking notices, giving out 455,390 fines worth £24 million or more.

The top 13 locations for parking fines were all in London. Away from the capital, Cardiff council issued the most with North Somerset generated the most revenue.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said: “The law is clear. Councils should not use parking as a tax or cash cow, and we are currently looking into the potentially illegal use of councils’ parking contracts. Councils should open their books so that any interested members of the public can scrutinise local parking practice and expose any dodgy deals.”

“This Government is reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unfair parking practices in England, with the levels of parking penalty charges being kept under review. We have scrapped Whitehall planning policy that encouraged councils to hike parking charges and removed restrictions around the provision of off-street parking spaces.”

“We also recently announced further reforms including stopping CCTV being used for on-street parking enforcement and reviewing unnecessary yellow lines.”

What do you make of that then? Not really surprising news, but is anyone going to do anything about it, or is it just a load of hot air?

facebook mobile 300x200 Facebook to decide what you see and money serviceFacebook changed their algorithms so that your feed was filled with stuff that was, in effect, cherry-picked by the company. Small businesses soon started to complain that their posts weren’t being seen, while Buzzfeed and Upworthy links because pretty much swamped everyone’s timelines.

In essence, Facebook was deciding what users saw and it got annoying very, very quickly. And now, the social media company have announced that they’re going to be tinkering with the system again, this time, trying to remove spam stories and articles that are clickbaiting to get more likes.

Any users tying to bait people into likes, comments or shares will barred from using the site. Overly shared stories will dealt with by Facebook’s ”de-emphasizing” these pages on feeds. Pages that trick users into visiting an advertisement website will also be under scrutiny.

According to the company, they think that this will enhance a users’ experience as well as help to promote a more open Internet. A more open internet, in Facebook’s eyes, is deciding what users can and can’t see.

It seems the only way to circumnavigate these publishing problems is to buy a load of advertising with Facebook… and even then, there’s the small matter of accusations of Facebook’s dodgy use of clickfarms, which are nigh-on useless to those paying for increased exposure. If you’re not a business on FB, and just a regular Joe who wants to look at pictures of attractive people from your year at school, you can whistle.

On top of all that, and some privacy tweaks, Facebook are preparing a money transfer system, aiming to compete with Paypal. It has been reported that discussions have been held with money transfer providers, TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo. They’re looking at the developing world, where some people don’t have bank accounts, and sensing a goldrush.

Would you trust Facebook with your money?

A teenage girl thought it would be really funny to tweet a terror hoax to an airline.

She said: ”@AmericanAir hello my name’s Ibrahim I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big, bye”.

American Airlines responded to her tweet saying: “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”

Choas ensued. Have a look.

1404sarah8 325x500 Teen makes terrorism joke   American Airlines dont laugh

That was a bit stupid wasn’t it?

Of course, it soon went viral, being retweeted more than 10,000 times. Then, she started cracking more jokes, at one point, saying: ”I always wanted to be famous, but I meant like Demi Lovato famous, not Osama bin laden famous.”

Her account is now suspended.

bwbest 300x255 News round up – the best of the week’s storiesBest of Bitterwallet

Shop at Aldi instead of Sainsburys? bitterwallet/sainsburys
Do we need to axe BOGOF deals? bitterwallet/bogof
Anger over Women Who Eat On Tubes bitterwallet/WWEOT
Facebook working on secretive anonymity app? bitterwallet/anon
FCA say financial advisors are ripping us off bitterwallet/£££
Galaxy S5 gets run over by a truck bitterwallet/samsung
Shopping in charity shops in DANGEROUS bitterwallet/charity

Best of the Rest

Dig starts for WORST VIDEO GAME EVER huffingtonpost/et
Uh oh. Change your passwords. time/heartbleed
A postcode postcode lottery? dailyrecord/postal
Tesco to do food differently lse/Tesco
Google Glass. In the shops for 24 hours theinquirer/24 hours
Behold! The atomic wristwatch! skynews/atomic-wristwatch

In order to afford your first mortgage these days, you have to be earning a pretty healthy wage. Gone are the days when you could be a sniveling bong-headed student and just ask your Mum to be guarantor on an interest only mortgage. home sweet f ing home If you want to buy a house, you need to earn £40,000 a year

Now, to be a first time buyer you have to be raking in £40 grand per year to comfortably afford the average loan of £119,000 – meaning that a new home is just a pipe dream for those earning the average wage of £26,500.

Even so, the Council of Mortgage Lenders says that young people are clamoring to borrow via the Help to Buy scheme, or taking out mortgages that are 3.4 times bigger than their gross salaries. All anyone wants is a place to call their own, with no black mould or landlords who collect the rent while holding a machete.

In February, around 22,000 mortgage loans were agreed by people who were around the age of 30, up by 41% on last year.

But if interest rates rise, the dreams of idealistic young home owners could turn to dust as they struggle to afford even the most average mortgage.

Time to get a better paying job? Oh, sorry, there aren’t any.

15 million Britons on the breadline

April 11th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

You know how those cackling gannets in the House of Commons keep telling us the economy is improving? Well, instead, let’s hear from the 15 million households in the UK who are ‘living on the edge.’
Steptoe 2 15 million Britons on the breadline

That’s not living on the edge in an exciting rock and roll kind of way, like say, Jon Bon Jovi or Axel Rose. Instead, we’re barely making ends meet, and according to debt charity StepChange, it’s not just a problem for the scrounging, big screen telly-watching, Bingo playing underclass – millions of ‘hardworking families’ are falling behind on bills, relying on credit and suffering anxiety about job security.

Stepchange say that three million people are in ‘a spiral of debt’, borrowing to keep up their credit repayments. And a separate survey, by mortgage insurer Genworth, said that there are twice as many financially vulnerable households in the UK than solvent ones. Also, 41% of those surveyed said they were stressed about money.

And, Stepchange has also discovered that 13 million people would not have enough savings to last for a month, even if their income dropped by just a quarter.

*expires face down in a bowl of gruel*

600,000 switch banks – but is it enough?

April 11th, 2014 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Since the switching guarantee scheme came in, over half a million people have decided to move their accounts, rather than slavishly sticking with the same crap bank for life. That’s according to the Payments Council, who counted 609,300 switches in the six months to the end of March – up 14% from a year ago.

current account switch guarantee scheme 300x225 600,000 switch banks   but is it enough?

Before the Switching Guarantee, customers were basically held to ransom by their banks. It took 30 days to switch, they would bombard you with tearful ‘please come back’ calls, and it was easier to stick with the same old, same old than venture forth and move your money.

But is it enough to open up the banking industry?

Even so, the Payments Council was delighted with the news. Gary Hocking, its managing director said:

‘By making the Current Account Switch Service quick, hassle-free and removing the fear factor, we’ve taken away the barriers customers told us they had when it came to switching. There’s also been a noticeable surge of advertising activity from current account providers, big and small, suggesting that the new service is helping foster competition and choice for customers.’

But critics say that 14% doesn’t exactly herald a competitive banking market. Consumer Batman Ricardo Lloyd of Which!, is taking a very dim view.

‘Despite an increase in public awareness and confidence, switching levels are still low, suggesting that the new seven-day service is not the game-changer that can significantly increase competition in banking.’

I know what’ll stimulate competition. Barclays’ new and outrageously steep overdraft charges, due to be introduced in June, will have customers flocking to switch to ANYWHERE ELSE.

M&S insists that clothing sales are up

April 10th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

M&S have been in the wars of late, reporting wishy washy figures and falling sales over 11 consecutive quarters. Are other stores just doing it all better – or cheaper?

MS campaign 300x300 M&S insists that clothing sales are up

Whatever is wrong, they’ve reported that like for like sales fell by 0.6% in general merchandise over the last quarter, blaming heavy discounting over the last six months.

BUT, they’re also keen to point out that there’s a silver lining. Despite nobody knowing who those people are on the adverts, apart from that woman who may or may not be Annie Lennox, and a heavily airbrushed Emma Thompson who looks a bit like a bloke, M&S clothing sales are up by 0.6%.

M&S don’t normally separate their clothing figures from their general merchandise, so you could deduce that they’re desperately clutching at straws.

Still, they have to find a way to justify their million pound ad campaign and design overhaul somehow.

But there are other positives, too. Even though the British public seems to have gone cold on Marks and Spencer, internationally their rep is glowing, with overseas sales up 4.7%. And online sales aren’t too shoddy either – rising by a very healthy and un-Twiggy like 12%.

CEO Marc Bolland, waving his hands about and yelling ‘look over here!’ said that womenswear was showing ‘clear signs of improvement.’

Still, whatever you do, don’t mention the word ‘Next.’

It’s Meaningless Mortgage Stuff Day!

April 10th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Notice anything different about today? Just an average Thursday, isn’t it? It’s not Black Friday, or Terrific Tuesday or Super Saver Saturday. Just an ordinary day.

mortgage paid 242x300 It’s Meaningless Mortgage Stuff Day!

Ha Ha – fooled you! Yes, the relentless trying-to-make-days-happen machine has been cranked up again, and today is MORTGAGE FREEDOM DAY!

Does that mean we don’t have to pay our mortgage and we can just sit in the park taking the air and kicking pigeons? Well, no. This particular day – made up by the Halifax – represents the day of the year when the average new borrower has earned enough to pay off the annual cost of their home loan. This is based on the average annual mortgage repayment cost of £6954, and the average earnings of £25603.

However if you live in London, you won’t get a mortgage freedom day until May 20 – or the end of time – depending on where you live.

Craig McKinlay, mortgage director at the Halifax says:
‘Our research shows that today, if people had put everything they’d earned since the start of the year towards their mortgage, the average homeowner would be mortgage-free for the remainder of the year, which is a reassuring thought.’

But nobody would be able to put everything they earn towards their mortgage anyway, because there are massive amounts of bills to pay. And is this really ‘a reassuring thought’? Or is it just a random and entirely hypothetical load of billy bollocks to try and allay our fears about the housing bubble?

There’s not even a cake or balloons. GO AWAY MORTGAGE FREEDOM DAY. YOU SUCK.