Posts Tagged ‘News’
After the hack and leak of the affair-prompting dating site, there’s been another dump of information from The Impact Group. This time, internal emails were included, and it looks like Ashley Madison discussed hacking a competitor.
According to the leak, emails show that in 2012, AM’s chief technology officer Raja Bhatia, emailed chief executive Noel Biderman after looking at the security of the new dating section magazine Nerve.com – a publication that looks at sex and relationships and all that. There, Bhatia found some security flaws.
“They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base,” said Bhatia. “Also, I can turn any non-paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.” Included was a link to a Github archive, with a sample of the database.
However, Ashley Madison say that these messages are being taken out of context. They say that this discovery was part of “due diligence” which was undertaken in the run-up to a proposed partnership between the two. Six months after this conversation, Bhatia emailed Biderman to see if he should “tell them of their security hole”, to which Biderman didn’t reply.
In a statement, AM’s parent company Avid Life Media said the emails were “taken out of context” and that the interpretation that Bhatia had hacked Nerve was “incorrect and unfortunate”. It continued: “Nerve was exploring strategic partnerships in May of 2012 and reached out to Noel to determine Avid Life Media’s interest in the property. At the time Noel did not act on that opportunity.”
“In September PTC Advisors, representing Nerve, contacted Noel and provided a more detailed brief on the opportunity. This communique was followed by a number of conversations. Subsequently Noel contacted Raja Bhatia and asked for his assistance in conducting technical due diligence on the opportunity. This activity, while clumsily conducted, uncovered certain technology shortcomings which Noel attempted to understand and confirm.”
“At no point was there an effort made to hack, steal or use Nerve.com’s proprietary data.”
While this is all well and good, Ashley Madison have been incredibly slow and unforthcoming about this whole affair (pardon the pun). It certainly seems that this mess isn’t going away any time soon.
The CMA said that everything seems above board, as the deal won’t make customers “worse off”. Although, if Poundland change 99p Stores prices, then everyone stands to be at least 1p worse off on things like plant pots, German biscuits and dry shampoo.
The initial investigation, which took place in April, said that a merger between the two companies would result in a lessening of competition in some areas, as well as the likelihood of a reduction in promotions, a loss in quality and the closure of some shops.
However, after surveying 5,000 customers and looking through company documents and commercial data, the CMA came to a different conclusion. They said: “Customers would not face a reduction in choice, value or lower-quality service as a result of the merger”. A blunt answer, but an answer all the same.
The idea now, is that the company merger would still face a lot of competition from places like B&M Bargains, Wilko, as well as retailers like Asda and Tesco.
Philip Marsden, Chair of the CMA’s inquiry group, said: “There has been a significant rise in prominence of value retailers for UK shoppers. Our evidence indicates that customers are primarily attracted to Poundland and 99p Stores because of their affordability and see them as good alternatives to each other.”
“Nevertheless some customers can and do switch to other types of discount retail chains. We have also seen in recent years the Big Four supermarkets engaging in intense price competition, some of which involving the promotion of £1 products.”
“On the basis of the evidence to date, we do not think customers will be worse off from the merger.”
Well, good news – online wine vendor, Naked Wines, have launched a new service that will let you put a booze order in via text message. ‘ICYMI: I still want a load of wine lol’.
This “Text for Wine” service is being referred to, by Naked Wines owner Majestic Wine, as “the first of its kind”, and is available to you boozehounds for no additional charge, other than the usual standard network rates.
This could be rather handy if you have a lot of wine to get in for a party, and you really can’t be bothered to carry it all from the shops. And get this – you can be “as vague or specific as they want” with their textual order. You can ask for specific wines, or if you’re not sure/don’t care, you can tell them the kind of wine you’re looking for and how much you’d like to pay for it, and staff will sort it out.
You’ll have to be organised though - orders will be delivered within five working days. You can collect them from a Majestic Wines store if you like, but that feels borderline pointless.
This scheme is being piloted in the UK, and if it is a success, then America and Australia will see it rolled out there too. This follows a ‘no minimum purchase’ rule that has just come in at Majestic Wine.
Naked Wines UK managing director Eamon FitzGerald said: “We’re extremely proud to launch our “Text for Wine” service, which gives our customers a new, fast and simple way of ordering their favourite wines.”
“Initial uptake has been very encouraging and it’s easy to see this service being particularly useful for busy customers who don’t have time or access to the website. Now these customers are only ever a text away from ordering a case of delicious wines.”
Npower have been so crap for so long, that recently, they were ordered to give power away for free by way of apology. That’s not say things have been fixed – they said themselves, that the omnishambles that they’re currently running will run into 2016.
So with that, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the boss – Paul Massara - of the lousy energy firm has left his position ‘by mutual consent’ after the energy company posted ‘unexpectedly negative’ half-year results. Unexpectedly negative! The delusion is palpable at Npower, clearly.
Massara’s oversaw company results earlier this month, which showed that Npower’s profits had dropped by two thirds. Of course, this might be something to do with customers leaving the company en masse, because they’ve been so thoroughly useless for such a long time. In the last year alone, Npower lost 300,000 customers.
The company are still being investigated by regulator Ofgem for their shambolic behaviour, and it is almost certain that there’s going to be some big fines waiting for them in the future.
Npower’s parent company, RWE, said that the exodus of customers, coupled with their own incompetence, has hit UK profits by 65%. Again. That’d be Npower who have just said that their negative results were ‘unexpected’.
RWE chief executive Peter Terium said: “At this time we need a CEO at RWE Npower who will focus on fixing the basic process improvements and has a track record of implementing operational process changes.”
Is the camera on your iPhone, to use the common vernacular, a load of shit? You may recall that, last year, the iPhone 6 Plus had Apple’s best ever smartphone camera, but for some, their pictures were coming out rubbish and blurry.
Well, Apple have decided to fix that. Over the weekend, Apple said that they’re doing a replacement programme for faulty iSight cameras on the iPhone 6 Plus.
It seems that some phones have a faulty component in it, and Apple have identified what and where the problem is, and it concerns phones sold between September 2014 and January 2015.
So what do you need to do? Well, you will have to check your phone’s serial number on Apple’s designated site about this issue. If you find your phone is on the list, you’re in business.
You’ll be able to get your faulty module sorted out at an Apple Store. Apple don’t seem to be doing a phone swap though, so if you’re smart, you’ll backup the contents of your phone before taking it in.
While you have a little time to get this sorted, what with Apple covering this issue for three years from the time you purchased your phone, it is worth remembering that Apple are on the brink of releasing a load of new bits, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, which means they’re going to be rammed and busy… so better to get this sorted out sooner, rather than later.
Hate people taking photos of their tea? Assume they’re either showing off how often they can afford to eat in restaurants or that they’re crowing about what amazing cooks they are? Well, you’re going to love this news from Google.
The tech behemoth has unveiled a new food photo tool, which they’ve built-in to the Google Maps app on Android. Basically, you can now attach images of your dinner to places within Maps. This is to improve people’s reviews or something.
So what do you do? Well, you take a photo of what you’re eating and then, Maps figures out where you are from your GPS, gives you a notification saying that they’ve detected a shot has been taken in the establishment where you’re sat and then, with a tap, you can post your visual review onto Maps.
It looks like the Tablescape app which Google were mucking around with, but shelved, has had its technology repositioned to this Maps add-on.
There you have it. Amateur foodies are given yet another outlet to blort on about things being under-seasoned, or saying the word soupçon about some crappy meal or whatever.
Just what we all needed.
The pub company plan to sell off its non-core pubs at a rate of about 200 a year, which is pretty dreadful as they’re likely to be less profitable, but vital small village pubs. New River Retail are a company that deal in bargain shops and food outlets, so this sale won’t see more pints pulled, sadly.
Punch boss Duncan Garrood said that this sale is going to allow the company to focus “on our higher quality core pub estate”.
Allan Lockhart, property director at NewRiver Retail, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the pub portfolio from Punch Taverns, which represents a strategic progression for NewRiver, following our acquisition of a similar portfolio from Marston’s in late 2013, the successful result of which has led us to identify similar opportunities.”
Maybe it is time to set up that speakeasy in the basement, eh?
Microsoft are thinking of the future, and have patented technology that could see people being notified of messages and the like, through smartclothes that send shocks through your skin. You can expect it to be more of a tingle, rather than something akin to death row.
The patent notes that, in modern society, everyone hates people’s phones making noises, so with this, your body will vibrate to let you know that Domino’s are doing yet another bloody offer and they won’t ever leave you alone.
The patent’s abstract says: “Techniques are described herein that are capable of providing electrical stimuli to skin of a user to convey information to the user. For instance, the electrical stimuli may inform the user of an event, a condition, etc.”
Mircosoft are looking at a shoe and a t-shirt as examples of clothing that could stimulate you when you get a message. We suspect someone will fashion something for the gusset with this technology.
While our minds are in the gutter, Microsoft suggest that, not only will these clothes give you notifications for messages, but also, that the tech could be used to tell someone when their clothes are about to ‘wear out’ or that you could link it up with street navigation apps.
Microsoft wrote in the patent paperwork: “People are increasingly exposed to information these days. A snapshot of our modern society is likely to reveal many people using mobile devices while performing their daily routine tasks. For instance people often text, conduct telephone calls, check messages, search the internet, etc. Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.”
“In an effort to address such concerns, companies are developing devices that are capable of delivering content to users in an unobtrusive and/or hands-free manner.”
When Barclays hired the axeman who sends everyone scurrying to the job centre website, he wasted little time in banning jeans and flip-flops from the company. Now, John McFarlane is at it again, this time, axing Barclays’ fleet of black executive cars.
That’s not because he wants the top brass to catch the bus – he just doesn’t like black cars. He’s ordered a load of silver limousines in their place. Why? Because he’s bang into feng shui. He sounds a bit crackers, doesn’t he?
It would appear that McFarlane wants everyone’s chi to be in good order and that silver or grey vehicles are a sure fire way of bringing harmony to all.
Now, it would appear that Barclays renew the lease on its executive cars every few years, so this isn’t totally cuckoo, but the introduction of an entirely silver fleet of executive cars is something that the chairman wished for.
McFarlane has previous of course. A former, irritated executive at ANZ in Australia said: “He loved that sort of stuff. I guess I am a different person. It worked for him but it wasn’t for me,” said Steve Targett. ”I didn’t need to see the feng shui consultant come around and put little elephants in the corner of my office and tell me to give money to 10 beggars in 10 days and the like, otherwise I would have bad luck. I’m not that sort of person.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that people at the top of the finance world are so eccentric?
Similar to the Tesco recall of the ‘Free From’ Belgian Chocolate Wafers, which saw salmonella warnings, there’s a product recall on Sainsbury’s Kelkin Milk Chocolate Break Wafers “Free From” Gluten.
Food Standards Agency have said that Valeo Foods are recalling a product, with a spokesperson saying: “Valeo Foods has recalled the above product on a precautionary basis. The potentially-affected batch is only sold in Sainsbury’s stores in the UK.”
“Sainsbury’s has displayed point-of-sale recall notices in stores. These notices tell customers about the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have bought the product.”
“If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead phone the company’s Customer Careline on 0808 208 3258.”
The details of the product affected are: Kelkin Milk Chocolate Break Wafers ‘free from’ Gluten, best-before date: 1 February 2016. No other Kelkin products are known to be affected.
All date codes are being recalled on this one, and Bakers Delight is recalling the product after routine tests have shown the presence of salmonella in certain batches of a similar product.
Please do not consume this product, but return it to Waitrose for a full refund.
If you require any further details please call Bakers Delight Customer Services Department on: 01706 650356.
Basically, a lot of chocolate wafers are being recalled at the moment so it might be an idea to give them all a miss until this gets sorted out.
Tipping in restaurants is a hot topic at the minute, with a number of companies getting hauled over the coals about their policies. At Côte, there’s been consternation, while Pizza Express have come under notable fire too.
The latest reports say that some restaurants are making staff ‘pay to work’, thanks to their tipping policy where they have to give bosses cash at the end of the night.
Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay, two popular food chains, have a system that requires staff to pay back to their employer 3% of the table sales generated on each shift. So, the money taken isn’t relating to the tips taken waiting on staff, and can erase all the gratuity they’ve taken.
“This policy is far worse than that of Pizza Express,” said Perry Phillips, of the GMB union. “The fact that these restaurants are taking money off the waiting staff regardless of the tips they earn is unjust, unfair and downright disgraceful.”
The Observer found that, in one week this year Las Iguanas raked in £34,000 from its own staff. Nice little earner for a business, if reprehensible. So how do they justify this? The businesses say that this allows them to share tips with non-waiting staff.
If you work for Turtle Bay, the employment contracts say that, where tips don’t manage to cover the 3% payment, staff are “required to make up the benefit of any shortfall in the next or subsequent shift, or in the event of leaving the company by a deduction from wages due, such that the deduction does not reduce your effective rate of pay below the minimum wage”.
According to the report, one Turtle Bay waiter had to pay £20 to their manager at the end of the night, while one waiter from Las Iguanas said that they pay back £25 to £30 per shift, on average, thanks to the 3% policy.
A general manager at one of Las Iguanas’s branches spoke to the Observer, saying that they have the job of totting up the amount that is owed to the company from staff at the end of the night: “I am lucky as the company pay the general managers well, but morally I find it totally wrong to take money off the waiting staff. One night recently I felt terrible because a staff member had made £125 in tips and I had to ask her for £65 back.”
“Most of these waiters are just kids. The way the policy is sold to them is that the money is for recognition and development, but that is no way to take care of your staff.”
Getting on the pop tonight? It is Friday after all. This isn’t particularly good news for anyone who is trying to lose a bit of weight, because as everyone knows, booze puts pounds on you. Now, you could forget about all that nonsense of being thin or whatever, and just have an uproariously good time and pat your soft middle like it is a trophy of the fun you’ve had… or, there is another option.
Some bright sparks have come up with wine that doesn’t have as many calories in it as normal wine. Now, we all know that nothing good comes out of diet booze, but if you’re interested, there’s entire bottles you can sup that have less calories than a normal glass.
And seeing as the average glass of wine has as many calories as a slice of cake, this is good news for all you vain people who are borderline winos.
Get this – you can buy Skinny Rosé, which is made by champagne producer G. Tribaut, and has 275 calories in a whole bottle. Now, the average bottle of wine has upward of 500, so that’s alright isn’t it? Unless this encourages you to drink twice as much as normal. So how do they do it? Well, it adds no further sugar to the fermenting process. That’s less sugar to turn into alcohol, but them’s the breaks.
The bad news is that G. Tribaut’s Skinny Rosé Premier Cru NV will cost you £38. If you drink enough of it, you won’t have any money left for food, which is one way of losing weight.
You can also get stuck into The Doctor’s Sauvignon Blanc 2014 for £8.99, or if you’re on a budget, the £5 Winemaker’s Selection Vinho Verde 2014 from Sainsbury’s should do it. Basically, go for wine that is less than 12% alcohol content on the bottle, and you should be grand. Just don’t throw it down your neck with eight bags of crisps and then start ordering kebabs at 2am.
Sadly, we can’t help you with your hangovers.
Are you a gin drinker? Do you like mentioning it every 3 minutes on Twitter and saying “Ho! Ho! It is gin o’clock methinks!” Firstly, you should be swiftly kicked up the arse for being annoying, but secondly, here’s some interesting gin news.
A bunch of own-brand supermarket gins have beaten some of the big brands in a blind taste test, which means those ponces who turn their noses up at cheap booze can go whistle.
The tests were carried out by Which!!!, who clearly wanted an excuse to get hammered at work, but the results make for interesting reading.
Topping the table was Morrisons’ £10.49 London Dry Gin, which got a score of 80%, well ahead of the market leading Gordon’s gin. In second place, Lidl’s Castelgy London Dry Gin, and that’ll cost you a paltry £9.99.
“Once again, our taste tests have shown that supermarket own labels are giving the big brands a real run for their money,” says Which!!! editor Richard Headland. “Some inexpensive bottles received a much higher score from our experts, proving you don’t always need to splash out.”
Seeing as we’re looking at summer drinks, it was a similar story with white wines, with Asda’s Extra Special Leyda Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc coming out on top.
Of course, gin-enthusiasts will notice the absence of some of the more popular, branded gins. There’s no Gin Mare, Hendrick’s, Tanqueray, Monkey 47 or Williams Chase – we don’t know if Which!!! tried them or not, but still, if you want some decent, cheap booze, then this list is not to be ignored.
And so, to the tables, so you can see how various wines and gin fare against each other. Feel free to make your way through the lists to conduct your own ‘experiment’, but don’t blame us if you find yourself crying at the bottom of a stairwell.
Best Gin Results
1. Morrisons London Dry Gin 80% £10.49
2. Lidl Castelgy London Dry Gin 78% £9.99
3. Waitrose London Dry Gin 78% £12
4. Greenalls London Dry Gin 77% £15
5. Beefeater Dry Gin 76% £16
6. Asda London Dry Gin 75% £11
7. Sainsbury’s London Dry Gin 74% £11.50
8. Aldi Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin 74% £9.99
9. Gordon’s Special Dry London Gin 74% £16
10. The Cooperative London Dry Gin 73% £11.99
Best Crisp Dry White Wine
1. Asda Extra Special Leyda Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 79% £5.75
2. Lidl Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 78% £5.89
3. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Albarino 2013 74% £8.00
4. Waitrose Grüner Veltliner Niederösterreich 2014 73% £7.99
5. The Co-operative TrulyIrresistible Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 71% £6.99
6. M&S Picpoul de Pinet 2014 69% £8.50
7. Aldi The Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2014 67% £6.99
8. Morrisons M Signature Vermentino di Sardegna 2014 67% £5.99
9. Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc 2014 66% £6.99
10. Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2014 62% £7.99
Like having a bit of a fumble with your grumble? Tired of doing all the work manually? Well, good news onanists! A company has come up with a sex toy that you can rig up to your Apple Watch, making having a ‘lie down’ marginally easier.
A company called Lovense have brought out the ‘Blush’ and, with the smartwatch app, you can control your vibrator and have a thoroughly splendid time. You can even match it up to the speed of the music you’re listening to. We suggest a nice, steady pace like some Chic songs that are 120bpm.
Or, for the adventurous, you can stick some Squarepusher or death metal and obliterate your innards. Whatever tickles your pickle.
The toy can be controlled through the Apple Watch or through an app on your phone if you prefer.
One thing that could be fun, is that you can allow someone else to take control of the device or, indeed, let someone ‘sort you out’ from afar if you’re mucking around on Skype or whatever. It could be very good for long distance relationships, is what we’re saying.
Or, y’know, you can frig with a bit of marrow or whatever it is you like doing. We’re not the boss of you.
A lot of Android phones are clogged up with loads of apps they don’t use and don’t want. Samsung users have reams of pointless Samsung apps and, of course, a load of mandatory Google apps too. It is very annoying.
Well, Google have decided to do something about that and have cut down on the number of apps they make you have on the Android operating system. You’ll be able to delete stuff! Forever! Without your phone mithering you to update them!
So which ones are applicable here? You’ll be able to get rid of Google Play Games, Google+, Google Play Books and Google Newsstand, which is great.
Of course, if you want these apps, you’ll still be able to get them through the Google Play store if you want.
This is a good move (about time) from Google and that means people with lower-priced handsets will be able to free up more space for music, movies, hi-res dirty pictures, or whatever it is you’d prefer to have on your phone. If all the other bloatware makers could follow suit, that’d be great.
And of course, Google have just announced Android Marshmallow too, the latest version of its OS.