Posts Tagged ‘News’

Facebook to add view counts

September 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

facebook 300x300 Facebook to add view countsFacebook have just updated its video features!

The new look video will now add a new view counter so that the narcissists can find out their “digital reach” or some such bollocks.

The company claims that the soon-to-be-rolled-out feature will allow both those who have posted the video as well as those who are viewing it to see how many people have viewed a particular clip. The view counts will be displayed next to the ‘like’ and ‘comment’ area.

This is similar to the view counter on Vine, where people find out quite quickly how unpopular they are and just how few people are looking at their videos, for maximum despondency.

Facebook is also reportedly testing another feature on mobile that will suggest related videos after users finish watching a clip.

They’ve not said anything about fixing the autoplay videos, which is running up needless bills and gobbling data where you’re away from a WiFi connection, but there you go.

The Big Six to return £153m to overpaying customers

September 10th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

energy The Big Six to return £153m to overpaying customersThe Big Six energy companies have launched an initiative which aims to give former customers £153m back that’s been sitting in their coffers as unclaimed credit from closed accounts.

The scheme is called MyEnergyCredit and has been launched by Energy UK and comes about thanks to a demand from Ofgem back in February.

Energy UK said that they want customers who have switched suppliers or moved home without leaving a forwarding address to get in touch with their old company if they suspect that they left money in an old account.

So basically, the initiative is: We’ve been sitting on your money for no reason so would you come and get it because we couldn’t be arsed giving it you back at the time.

That said, Energy UK announced changes to try and stop this from happening in the future, but as of now, there’s going to be a two-year deadline for collection of credit. If you don’t claim it, they’ll keep it. The Big Six say they’ll give the money to vulnerable customers, but don’t hold your breath.

Energy UK’s chief executive Angela Knight said: “We are urging former customers to come forward and make a claim. Customers who think they haven’t left a forwarding address or a final meter reading when they moved or switched should contact their old supplier.”

“The web site myenergycredit.com will help you do this. Inevitably, there will be some former customers who will not be found and so the major suppliers are announcing what will happen to credit balances from now on.”

“In future, after two years, the credit balance will be used to help vulnerable customers – and suppliers will make it very clear what is happening.

“By 2018, these new arrangements are expected to add up to around £65m of help to those in difficulties. The suppliers will kick start this process now by donating £38m for the first two years combined.”

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “Today’s industry announcement is an encouraging first step by the six largest energy companies to address Ofgem’s call to reunite customers with their cash. It is good news for consumers and if you think you could be owed money we recommend that you contact your previous supplier.”

“This issue is part of a wider challenge of delivering good customer service that the industry must crack if they are to rebuild customer trust and confidence. Failure to deliver on the initiatives announced today could trigger further action by Ofgem, including enforcement.”

BrightHouse to be investigated

September 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

brighthouse BrightHouse to be investigated BrightHouse – the company that allow you to ‘rent to own’ tellies, furniture and other stuff – have been flogging their wares to low income households for a while now. However, all is not rosy and they’re about to be investigated by an all-party parliamentary group.

The investigation is badly timed for the company as they only just appointed some advisers to prepare for a stock market float.

So what’s the problem? Well, the inquiry will look at the huge costs for people on low incomes who use the business to get sofas and other electrical goods. The feeling is that there could be better protection for consumers.

BrightHouse have been making a pretty penny too, with underlying profits of £52m on turnover of £333m in 2013.

The all-party parliamentary group on debt and personal finance is chaired by Labour MP, Yvonne Fovargue who said: “Rent to own outlets have become an increasingly common sight on our high streets in recent years. But despite this, there is little general understanding of how they operate and how they differ from conventional shops. Our inquiry will look in detail at the products and services they offer and will ask whether customers are getting a good deal.”

It isn’t just BrightHouse – companies like PerfectHome and Buy As You View will also be looked at.

The parliamentary group said: “Consumer groups have pointed out that the overall costs for the customer are very high. This is partly because the price of the products themselves can be high, but also because customers can be obliged to take on a ‘bundle’ of services at the time of the initial credit agreement, including delivery and insurance cover.”

“It has been questioned whether this amounts to good value for money for the customer, with some consumer groups arguing that the consumer should be protected from such contracts. The inquiry will look at a number of issues around how the market is working … and will ask whether more needs to be done, from a regulatory point of view, to ensure that customers get a good deal.”

iPhone 6: Everything you need to know

September 8th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

iphone 6 iPhone 6: Everything you need to knowTomorrow is the big day when Apple unveil the new iPhone 6! One of the things we’ll learn is that it might not be called the iPhone 6. We just don’t know!

Everything is speculation and guesswork! Hurray!

Of course, there’s a lot of videos and images of the phone being leaked all over the internet, and we’ve been running speculative articles too, because we don’t want to be left behind on all that lovely internet traffic.

So with that, here’s everything you need to know about the new iPhone.

Design

One thing is for sure – the new iPhone will look exactly like you expect an Apple product to look like. It’ll have rounded corners and a colour scheme that apes ’70s science fiction films. As it is new, it’ll probably be slimmer and lighter too, because that’s what everyone does.

Size

The new iPhone will probably be taller. Or wider. Or both. Phones are getting bigger again because consumers like pressing the touchscreen a lot. Apple would be mental to make a smaller phone, despite what people want.

Haptic Technology

The new iPhone may well have haptic technology. Haptic-ness has been a feature on phones for ages, so that’s not at all interesting.

Sapphire Crystal Display

Apple are going for a sapphire crystal display, which means it’ll be robust and hard to scratch. You’ll still break your phone when you’ve had too much to drink mind. It isn’t invincible. The new iPhone will, unquestionably, have a display. It might be curved, even though no-one is really hankering after a curved screen. Samsung’s curved screen effort didn’t set the world on fire did it? The new phone will have a better resolution too, because there’s no point releasing a new phone without being able to jizz on about the improved resolution.

iOS 8

 

Apple might give you a new operating system. They might not. Thing is, either way it doesn’t matter because if you buy a new iPhone, it’ll have it on whether you like it or not. Like everything else at the minute, it’ll probably focus on health apps. Basically, your new phone will tell you how dreadfully unfit you are.

Camera

All new phones brag about how ace the new camera is, so you can expect the new iPhone to be the same. We hear that it’ll have an 8MP camera with improved OIS. Your naked selfies are going to be warts and all from now on. Just don’t upload them to Apple’s iCloud, eh? Oh, and OIS means optical image stabilisation. It might have an interchangeable camera lens too as Apple got a patent for that.

iPen stylus

Apple have a bunch of patents for a stylus. They might have an iPen with this new device. They probably won’t because a stylus on your phone makes you look more old-fashioned than a car-dealer wearing his Bluetooth earpiece in bed.

Pricing

It’ll be expensive.

Overall

We’ve no idea. No-one outside of Apple does.

News round-up – the best of the week’s stories

September 5th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

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

The insane secret behind Boots’ ‘Hot Weather Refreshing Spray’ bw/saywhat?
Diesel drivers to get a grand to scrap their motors? bw/diesel
Ipswich: Where having a pig in the living room helps you sell your house bw/oink
Apple say it isn’t their fault you’ve been jacking off to celebs bw/fappening
EE’s £1 per week PAYG thing bw/quid
Which job title will see you getting rinsed on insurance? bw/insure
Over half of you haven’t ever switched anything, ever bw/switcheroo
Powercuts for Christmas! bw/power
Anti-rape nail varnish bw/fingers

Best of the Rest

Lego beats Barbie into submission irishexaminer/lego
Technics is back! expertreviews/technics
TwitPic bullied out of the game by Twitter ndtv/shutting_down
The weed business is still wacky economictimes/pot
Laura Ashley doing surprisingly well telegraph/musk
7ft-wide house goes for HOW MUCH? in London guardian/capital
Lufthansa strike to cause bother bbc/plane
Hackers get all up in Obamacare and… do nowt inquirer/hack

TfL pay tribute to Joan Rivers

September 5th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Transport for London allows their workers to write quirky things on white boards, which sometimes ends in irritating, mealy mouthed nonsense. However, sometimes someone gets it bob-on.

With the death of Joan Rivers, people don’t know whether to grieve, shrug or continually point out the horrible things she’s said about… well… just about every corner of humankind.

Then, someone did this which we suspect would’ve given Rivers a laugh.

BwwIw9FIMAAXuSg 500x375 TfL pay tribute to Joan Rivers

 

Hats off. That’s not bad at all.

M&S introduce frozen food to posh people

September 4th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

marks and spencer M&S introduce frozen food to posh peopleMarks & Spencer are launching their first ever range of frozen ready meals. That’ll upset some of the foodies who shop there and haven’t noticed that they’ve had ready-meals for a while as it is.

The range consists of 30 dishes, for either 2-4 people, and should be in selected stores from the end of September.

As with any ready meal, all the meals can be cooked from frozen and features ingredients that cope the best with the frozen wastes.

“We’re well known for our ready meals, and we felt that we could do our frozen prepared foods justice in terms of quality” said someone from M&S.

“This move was part of the expansion of our food ranges and has nothing to do with other retailers, especially not Iceland,” the spokesman added cattily, honest.

Still, no-one’s buying non-food items from M&S, so they might want to have a look at those arms of the business before trying to fix things with frozen pies.

No more loyalty points with Amazon credit card

September 4th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

amazoninstant No more loyalty points with Amazon credit cardHave you got an Amazon credit card? Well, you might want to switch to another reward card because, as of this month, you won’t be able to reap loyalty points to spend with them.

Why? Well, MBNA – who issue the Amazon.co.uk MasterCard – said that their relationship with the internet behemoth is “coming to an end” from 30th September. Customers have been written to, but if you missed, or indeed, where eyeing one up, you might want to consider your options.

An MBNA spokesperson says: “The partnership between MBNA and Amazon will come to an end on 30 September. We have had a very successful relationship with Amazon.co.uk since 2009 and have been issuing Amazon.co.uk credit cards to customers in the UK for almost five years.”

After this month, you’ll be switched to MBNA’s Standard or Reward credit card.

Mercifully, if you’re switched over, the current interest rate you pay, promotional rates, credit limits, PIN number and any fees will stay exactly the same and you’ll get a new card in the post by the 31st October.

Sadly, you’re not going to be able to choose which card you receive and, in some cases, customers won’t be offered one at all. MBNA have been reviewing customers, so if you’ve been having any bother with payments or whatever, you might not be eligible for a new account.

MBNA’s Standard card is basically the same as your Amazon card, however, it won’t give you loyalty points when you spend. The Reward card gives you two points for every £1 spent on it during the first three months and one point per £1 after, which can be spent on the High Street, but not with Amazon.

If you have points, spend them now. If you don’t, then they’ll be converted into a gift certificate and emailed to you.

Of course, there’s a load of reward cards on the market where you can get supermarket points and airmiles and all that, so if you want treats for spending, then shop around and have a look at, for example, Santander’s 123 Cashback card or the American Express Platinum Everyday card.

O2 to stock new Sony Wearables and the rest

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Sony have announced that they’re going to gracing the world with new things, such as their first Android Wear Smartwatch and new phones and tablets. And you’re going to be able to buy them from O2.

From October, you’ll be able to weigh-up whether or not you can be arsed buying a SmartBand Talk and Sony SmartWatch 3, as well as the new Xperia range.

sony smartwatch 3 500x500 O2 to stock new Sony Wearables and the rest

As a follow-up to the Smartband, the Smartband Talk is a watch that will log everything you do, regarding health, sleep and your whereabouts (because tech companies love knowing where you are at all times). It’ll have a curved e-ink display and will be fully waterproof, which basically means you can go swimming in it and, should you drown in the sea, the coastguard should be able to use the GPS to find your water-bloated body.

It’ll have sound recording technology and the usual weather apps and all that, which you’ll be able to link with your phone.

The Sony Xperia E3, Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact are also going to be doing the rounds, with the E3 a basic affair, while the Xperia Z3 will have a 20 mega pixel camera with 25mm wide angle lens with improved sensor for better low light pictures. The Xperia Z3 Compact camera junk, but with added background defocus capabilities and 50mb of storage.

There’ll also be the Sony Xperia Z3 compact tablet which Sony think is the “most powerful and lightest tablet ever offered by Sony”.

O2 will have exclusive models and colours and all that and, if you want, you can recycle your old handset with them in return for a cash payment when you upgrade. If you’re waiting for the iPhone, why did you waste your time reading this far?

Fappening: Apple say ‘not our fault!’

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

fap 300x217 Fappening: Apple say not our fault!The recent ‘fappening’ – or if you prefer, all those nudey photos of celebrities that suddenly appeared online this week – will have either seen you explode with fury, ejaculate or boredom.

What of the security of our cloud accounts? And don’t worry, Daily Mail readers, we’re not talking about an actual cloud in the sky.

Well, Apple have peered out of the mess and conjecture and said that, while the celebrities’ iCloud accounts were “compromised”, there’s nothing wrong with the system as a whole.

In a statement released yesterday, they said that hackers stole private photographs from accounts using “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions”.

“None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.”

So, in short, Apple are saying that, unless you’re an attractive famous person, you shouldn’t worry that anyone will come after you for your personal photos.

The FBI have said that they’re looking for the original hacker. If they find them, everyone knows that it won’t stop people trying to get all up in the business of famous people.

And furthermore, even if hackers or whatever don’t go after people’s things, no-one should worry about personal privacy because we collectively don’t have any to begin with, if we’re online.

EE launches a £1-a-week 4G pay as you go

September 3rd, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw EE launches a £1 a week 4G pay as you goEE have launched a 4G pay as you go option which will cost you £1.

The telco reckon that their quid-a-week 4G PAYG deal will give users 10 minutes, 10 texts and 100MB data for seven days. They confidently assume that this will “transform the pay as you go market”.

In truth, you’ll be able to listen to a handful of songs on Spotify and that’s it.

That said, if you only use your phone when connected to WiFi, then you can’t knock how little you’ll be paying.

EE have also rejigged their other 4G pay as you go tariffs too. For a tenner a month, you can get 250 minutes and unlimited texts, or 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. If you pay £15, you’ll get 750 minutes and unlimited texts or 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. Up top, those paying £25 get 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data each month.

And if you top-up for three consecutive months, they’ve promised some freebies to be doled out. So, if you’re paying a quid a month, you’ll get things like an additional 25MB data, 10 minutes and 25 texts.

These new deals are available now, so if they tickle your pickle, you should go and check them out.

Like the sound of a car that brakes automatically?

September 3rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

CarCrash 300x168 Like the sound of a car that brakes automatically?A lot of people in the automotive industry are getting very excited about automated brakes in cars at the minute, saying that they’re the biggest development in car safety since the seatbelt.

Seems no-one gives a monkeys about airbags and crumple zones.

Of course, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) has been knocking about for a few years now, but there’s talk of making them compulsory, which will no doubt infuriate drivers.

This tech can slow or stop a vehicle before a crash occurs at speeds of (up to) 50mph. Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham, the motor insurers’ research centre, told What Car!!! magazine that this auto-braking could reduce the number of accidents significantly. They’ve been doing some maths, too.

Thatcham reckon that fitting all cars with AEB from 2015 could result in 17,000 fewer deaths and serious injuries from car accidents by 2025, and on top of that, it would reduce insurance premiums by 10%. Of course, there’s nothing on Earth that can reduce insurance premiums – they’ll find another thing to charge you for.

Shaw said AEB, which utilises radar and lasers to detect obstacles and hits the brakes for you if you can’t be bothered, “has the potential to be as important a breakthrough as the seat belt in terms of vehicle safety” and added that the Treasury really should be offering £500 subsidies for cars fitted with the technology.

Edmund King, president of the AA, threw his views around wildly: “It is incredibly impressive technology. If you look at things in the past from the seat belt to airbags to anti-lock braking systems, every so often a technology comes along that breaks the mould and is a great advancement in road safety and we certainly believe this is one of the future technologies that will make a great difference.”

When driverless cars come in to play, there’ll be no need for you at all. You’ll be sat at home watching Top Gear while your cars goes off to a supermarket’s car park doing doughnuts with it’s robot car friends.

YouTube: More than a billion viewers a month

September 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

youtube 300x300 YouTube: More than a billion viewers a monthYouTube is now attracting more than 1 BILLION viewers a month.

This billion-odd are watch 6 billion hours of video, and 40% of them are watching it on mobile devices [as an aside, anyone who makes their videos unavailable on mobile devices should be beaten with a rubber hose and left unconscious in the street as an example to anyone else thinking of doing it - Ed].

YouTube channels have grown by 80.5% in the last year, according to new data published by online video industry site Tubefilter and analytics firm OpenSlate.

Tubefilter’s Top 100 rundown of the most viewed channels saw that they collectively raked up 9.46 billion views in July 2014, up from 5.24 billion the year before.

No.1 is some herbert named PewDiePie, whose monthly views have gone from 221.6 million to 438.9 million.

Let’s see what all the fuss is about, eh?

DisneyCollector, are at No.2, racking up 268 million views in the month, edging it past Shakira’s frankly pathetic 226.6 million views. Seems some people think her hips do lie.

In fourth place there’s gaming effort Stampy (199.6m views) and The Diamond Minecart (186.1m views) gets fifth. Gaming is still quite the thing though, with content generating 4.34 billion viewings in July.

car scrap Should diesel drivers by paid £1,000 to scrap their cars?Do you own a diesel car? Well, you could be paid a grand to scrap it if Boris Johnson gets his way.

He’s trying to tackle air pollution [insert satirical joke about his needless emissions and hot air here] and wrote about this £1,000 scrap scheme to the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, who are looking into the air quality of the capital.

This proposal builds on the national scrappage scheme which was introduced in 2009 which offered drivers of vehicles over 10 years old £1,000 toward a new car. This initiative ended in 2010, but Johnson wants it back.

“A national scrappage scheme for diesel and other polluting vehicles is now needed as a priority in order to compensate people who have bought polluting diesel vehicles in good faith, as well as to drive forward air quality improvements,” the submission reads.

 

As you know, there’s already a load of guff about doling out on-the-spot pollution fines to those who keep their motors running while stationary (of course, those giving the fines out will have their engines running while stationary, just for peak farce) and there’s suggestions that diesel drivers will have to pay an extra £10 per day on top of London’s congestion charge.

That said, diesel cars do pump out more soot and nitrogen dioxide, so it isn’t surprising that it is being looked into.

It is little wonder that London isn’t expected to comply with EU legal air pollution limits until after 2030 – at least 20 years after the original 2010 deadline set by the European Commission.

So, fancy scrapping your diesel car and getting £1,000 in return, so you can buy an old petrol banger which is probably just as bad for the environment?

Sellafield: the last in affordable housing

September 1st, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

radioactive Sellafield: the last in affordable housingIf you want to live in affordable housing, then the only place to be in the England is around Britain’s largest nuclear accident.

Copeland, up in Cumbria, a borough which is the home of Sellafield, is the only bit of England with “easily affordable” housing still available. The houses are cheap, but all the cows have webbed legs and everyone down the pub might look like a Toxic Crusader.

Copeland hosts 70% of Britain’s higher-activity radioactive waste.

A report from the TUC found that this area is the only local authority in England where the average house price is less than three times the average annual salary. Back in 1997, one in five areas had average prices that were affordable to the typical homebuyer.

Of course, it isn’t all grim in Copeland. The power plant actually provides the area with a lot of well paid jobs and, for your buck, you also get Scafell Pike, the Duddon estuary and an area that rivals the Lake District, but isn’t nearly as poncy. If you move to Copeland’s neighbour, South Lakeland, houses there are eight times the average local salary.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, says: ”London always comes out top when it comes to horror stories about ludicrously over-priced housing, but the toxic combination of rising property prices and falling real wages has meant that local housing affordability remains a huge problem for millions of people across the country.”

“Houses and flats in traditionally affordable areas of the country – from Kirklees to Great Yarmouth and Plymouth to Oldham – are now out of reach for many local people.”

“We need an ambitious programme of home-building to get house prices back under control,” O’Grady added. ”But housing affordability isn’t just about house prices, decent wages are just as important and there is a lot of ground to make up before we return to the kind of salaries that people were earning before the crash.”