Posts Tagged ‘News’
Barbie is rubbish. Everyone knows that. While other toys enable children to make things fly and explode, or go on wild adventures in their minds, Barbie has a glamorous, yet somehow humdrum life. What does she do? She has a house. She has a horse. She drives around a bit.
No high-speed chases. No saving the world from baddies. She just exists and does menial tasks with expensive stuff.
So with that, it is little wonder that Barbie is on the ropes, with Mattel reporting big losses with its core brand. What isn’t helping is that Frozen is handing Barbie her arse. Children, it seems, are playing with Lego and video games, rather than something designed solely to occupy some pink stuff.
In the first quarter, to March 31st, the toy vendors said that Barbie sales dropped by 14%. Mattel’s loss before tax grewing to £49.1m.
The Frozen franchise saw a 22% jump in consumer product sales for Disney’s first quarter to $1.4bn and with a sequel on the horizon, the fanaticism isn’t going to go away any time soon.
Mattel’s shares have lost over a third of their value over the past 12 months. Maybe it is time for Barbie to retire and finally get some well earned rest in the Betty Ford Clinic.
They noted that, over the last few weeks, the price of oil has fallen by nearly 5% – but guess what? Surprise, surprise – petrol prices are up by 1.2%. The AA said that drivers are now paying an extra 1.73p a litre of petrol, and an extra 0.63p a litre of diesel.
The fuel industry said that wholesale costs, which is why prices have risen at the pumps. The fact that oil is priced in dollars and the pound has fallen against it, isn’t helping either.
Edmund King, the AA’s president, isn’t having any of it and said that motorists are losing out. ”Cars are like blank cheques for whoever feels the need to balance the books by plundering drivers’ pockets,” he said. ”Now the fuel retailers are taking £3 a tank extra on diesel to steady their finances.”
This comes on the back of the RAC saying that fuel prices were ‘highway robbery’, which again, saw the sellers saying that everyone should leave them alone and that no-one understands them.
There’s nothing worse than finding out your favourite chippie is closed. Usually, they’ve shut up shop ‘due to a family bereavement’ or because they’re ‘renovating’.
However, one chippie closed for something quite different. This fella was going on holiday and he left a note to customers, which will have left them chuckling.
As you can see, he wrote: “This year my wife has decided to take us all youth hosteling, I told her at her age she would be better off with Saga. We are taking two of our children. 1 Daughter in law, plus 1 grandson. No internet, mobile phones, playstations etc.”
“Personally I think we will all be bored to tears. She who must be obeyed says we will have a great time telling tales round the campfire etc.”
He’s back in the shop now, and hopefully, stocked up on beer and gadgets.
Now a new Star Wars trailer has landed online, everyone of a certain age has been reduced to a dribbling, nostalgic wreck. As Star Wars is such a huge deal, the hype surrounding it and marketing opportunities are not like any other franchise.
Not many films can get an airline so excited that they paint one of their planes like R2D2. That’s exactly the craic with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways who unveiled plans to dress their plane in a way that will see everyone making puns on ‘may the air force be with you’.
In a couple of months, there’s going to be a Boeing 787 flying around the sky looking like Artoo.
This design is part of the airline’s five-year “Star Wars Project”, which means more Star Wars themed aircraft. We’re hoping for a Jabba The Hut one, as that’d look disgusting.
And while we’re here, we might as well watch the second trailer of Star Wars Episode VII and dribble all over ourselves with excitement. Yes. We know it’s a children’s film.
A bloke called Paul spied the incident from a window on Caledonian Road, saying that the worker used bolt cutters to chop the lock before throwing the bike into the back of his van.
Paul told Metro.co.uk: “UK Power Networks have been working on the road for quite some time. I was on the phone leaning against the window and one of them wasn’t working and looking quite suspicious so my attention falls on him.”
“Then he goes over to the bike and cuts the lock. He waited for some time, then he walked back over and took the bike.”
At this point, our Paul went outside to have a word and of course, he filmed the whole thin. He asked the UK Power Networks employee why he had the bike in the van. He claims; ‘”because it was there dumped”. However, our gallant hero points out that this is a load of cobblers, leaving the worker to deny cutting the lock and repeatedly saying ‘sorry mate’.
A spokesperson for UK Power Networks said: “We take any allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously and will follow all appropriate procedures to ensure a full investigation is carried out and relevant action is taken.”
“We are currently liaising with the person who recorded the film to ensure the matter is resolved.”
Have a look at this yourself and you can decide whether or not this bloke is a dirty tea-leaf.
Thanks to original series like Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, they’ve been winning over lovers of the idiot lantern and reached 62.3 million subscribers, which is up from last quarter’s 57.4 million.
Of those millions, around 4om are in America, which means Netflix wants to get serious with other territories. They want a much bigger presence in Europe to “take advantage of the substantial available growth opportunities”. They’re also making eyes at new markets in Australia and Japan.
Netflix also has a freemium ad-supported service in China, and they’re looking at pursuing the trad. subscription product over there. However, they need permission from the powers that be to operate in the most populated country in the world.
Netflix wants to operate in 200 countries by the end of 2016 – they currently serve 50.
Another thing they’ll be doing is encrypting their service, which they hope will please people who have concerns about their privacy and security. However, they could incur the wrath of users as they clamp down on proxy servers, which means people can’t get access to the American version of the service, which has a much larger library.
Morrisons are going to create 5,000 new jobs in stores in a bid to boost their customer service. If they get people on the tills and avoid trying to make everyone use self-service machines, they might be on to something.
Anyway, this is all part of new chief executive David Potts plans, after his predecessor Dalton Philips got the chop for having a name that sounds like an early ’80s TV show about a handsome antique dealer. Not to mention the fact he oversaw a hugely weak trade over Christmas.
Its statement said: “Morrisons is reshaping the way that its business is staffed, investing in new store jobs to deliver better customer service, while also proposing a reduction in head office jobs.”
Potts added: “We are focusing on the things that matter to our customers. That means having more of our staff in our stores, improving product availability and helping customers at our checkouts. We believe our customers and our staff will appreciate the improvements.”
So there you have it! More check-outs? Go on then! The next stop is to start filling their supermarkets with things we all actually want to buy. Then we’ll start talking.
A steward for Ryanair found a passenger’s camera on a flight. Now, you’d think they’d hand it in to lost property and that would be the end of it, right?
Well, this particular steward thought he’d have it for himself and flog it on eBay. Fernando Miguel Andrade Viseu didn’t realise these things can be tracked and on the auction, he found he’d got a message from the owner.
The camera owner, a teacher called Aaron Galloway, was going on a break when he forgot his camera on the seat of the plane. He told the crew about it and they said they saw no sign of the £499 Nikon camera.
Galloway got home, looked on eBay and BAM, there it was. And so, he sent the vendor a message.
Viseu replied, saying how dreadfully sorry he was and that the camera would be returned at the airport.
How did it end?
Well, Viseu was promptly arrested and ordered to pay compensation of £145 and carry out 100 hours of community service. Oh, and now he’s on the internet known as a snide.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We arrested a 34-year-old man from the Stansted area on Friday February 20 on suspicion of theft. He was taken to Stansted area police station where he was interviewed and subsequently charged with theft of a camera and a Kindle.”
What do Ryanair think of it all? They said: “While we don’t comment on legal matters, we can confirm that this individual no longer works for Ryanair.”
You see, the Apple Watch won’t be available to buy in-store from next Friday and throughout the whole of May. This is according to a memo to staff from Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts.
The memo says that customers will be prompted to order their watches online: “Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days – and there will be many more to come,” she added.
“It’s important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There’s never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect – and that we expect from ourselves – we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping.”
So, if you see one in a shop, it is only there for display and preview purposes. You’re going to have to wait until summer before you can get one in your hands in a store.
“The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives,” Ahrendts wrote. “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”
So there you have it. We hope some Apple fans queue-up outside a store, out of sheer habit.
Paracetamol is one of the most commonly taken drugs in the world, taken for everything from toothache to hangovers. If you want to thwart a bit of pain, then paracetamol is one of the first things many people go for.
However, some scientists believe that paracetamol also gets rid of your feelings, maaaaan.
According to the egg heads at Ohio State University, people who take the tablets don’t seem to be aware of their emotions being affected. Of course, this won’t affect 99% of Bitterwallet readers because they don’t have any feelings, other than a vague sense of bile.
Volunteers in the Ohio State study found that paracetamol munchers felt emotions that were less strong than usual, when they were shown a bunch of photographs of kittens and the like.
Lead author Geoffrey Durso said: “Most people probably aren’t aware of how their emotions may be impacted when they take paracetamol. Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever.”
So if you want to look tough in front of someone while watching a weepy film, might be worth having a couple of paracetamol crushed up in your nachos.
Well, What Car? have teamed-up with Warranty Direct to find out which cars are the least reliable. They’ve also tried to find out which cars you can count on, generally speaking, too.
Of their 38-strong league table of cars, surprisingly, the super expensive luxury cars from Bentley and Porsche came bottom of the pile. If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a car, you’d hope it was flawless wouldn’t you? Then again, if you can afford these vehicles, then you can afford to keep getting it serviced, no doubt.
At the top of the chart came Honda and Suzuki.
The faults that were most common across the board, were electric faults, as well as problems with axles and suspension faults. Between then, around a quarter of all visits to the garage were for these.
Apparently, air conditioning is the least concern to drivers, with just 3% reporting faults in them. Maybe they get loads of problems with them, but just don’t report them because they can just open a window?
What Car? editor Jim Holder said: “Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates… but, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.”
“Reliability is always one of the key attributes buyers look for when considering a used car purchase, so manufacturers that consistently demonstrate durability will always do well with the consumer.”
Most reliable cars!
Sky have gone and expanded their Buy & Keep service, offering it the download/delivery service to non-Sky subscribers. Last year, Sky’s TV subscribers got the service which lets you download a digital copy of a film while you wait for the physical DVD to be delivered, but now, anyone can do it.
If you think this sounds better than just downloading stuff or going down the shops, then from today, you can go to the Sky Store website and sort yourself out.
Seeing as they’re opening it up to everyone, the service is going to be available on a load of different mobile platforms and internet-connected set-top boxes. If this sort of thing fills you with dread, do remember, you can just watch Freeview and tut about stuff.
Nicola Bamford, Director of the Sky Store says: “People want the simplest and most convenient way to buy and watch the movies they love, which is why it’s great news that from today Buy & Keep will be available to everyone and across multiple devices.”
Some bigger, newer films will cost you £13.99, while older flicks are going for £7.99 each. If you use torrents, try and keep your laughing down because you’re upsetting the consumers.
You’ll also be able to use the Follow Me function, which lets you pause a movie and resuming watching it on a different one.
The preposterously wealthy Nat Rothschild has unleashed a new app for London that allows you to book individual seats in shared black cab journeys. Sounds like a taxi service, but in fact, we’re assured that it is a ‘door-to-door public transport network’.
It is called Maaxi and wants to make riding in black cabs cheaper. Or, if you prefer, maximising your money in a taxi, hence the name. Of course, there’s going to be a few safety concerns for those who don’t like the idea of sharing a cab with some strangers.
That said, Maaxi does require all users to sign-up with a UK address, which is their way of trying to make the thing safer. This is a kick in the pants if you’re a visitor from overseas. Customers can order female-only (or male-only) fares if they prefer.
Once you’ve signed-up, via the app, you are matched through a departures board screen which will show you the details of both the taxi availability and where the taxi wants to go, and price and all that. Other people can jump-in your cab en route.
Or, you could just stand on the street and wave your arm about and ignore all this nonsense. It is available to download now, if you like making taxi rides slightly complicated.
In a statement, regulators said they’d reached the preliminary decision that that search behemoth “systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits.” According to those throwing accusations around, this conduct has been going on since 2008.
The statement reads: “The commission is concerned that users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to queries – to the detriment of consumers and rival comparison shopping services, as well as stifling innovation.”
Regulators also opened a separate formal investigation into Google’s Android practices, which could see an end to bloatware for users.
A final ruling from the EU could come at the end of the year, as Google have to make their case first. Worryingly for Google, this could see other territories making similar judgements against them.
Amit Singhal, vice president of Google Search, said the company strongly disagrees “with the need to issue a statement of objections and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead.”
“Dominance as such is not a problem,” said EU antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager; “However, dominant companies have a responsibility not to abuse their market position either in the market where they are dominant or in neighbouring markets – this is about consumers getting the best possible results of their query.”
“This is nothing to with a company being American, Japanese or whatever,” she added; “If you want to compete in the European market you have to abide by EU rules.”