Posts Tagged ‘News’

Save money by switching things off, dummy

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

plug socket Save money by switching things off, dummyIt seems that, even in 2014, there are people who are unaware of the fact that leaving appliances on standby costs you money.

Some of you may think this is blindingly obvious, but households are wasting around £80 per year because they don’t switch their televisions and consoles off at night. We are, to the hysterical, A Nation On Standby!

If everyone stopped leaving things on standby, then the country could make savings of £1.7 billion a year according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The survey, ahead of Big Energy Saving Week, found that three-quarters of people polled were worried about their energy bills, so one easy way to reduce them is to make sure that you’re actually turning off gadgets and such, when you’re not using them.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Whatever your age, gender or the size of your household: our research has found millions of us are unintentionally wasting electricity when we leave our gadgets on standby. It’s an easy mistake to make yet it costs us a fortune.”

“Televisions and games consoles are now among the primary sources of our everyday entertainment, yet when left on permanent standby they are costing £45-£80 a year.”

“I’m not suggesting we get rid. I’m urging people to take back control of their appliances next week and switch off when we aren’t using them.”

It isn’t just leaving stuff on all the time either. Older people are adding to their bills by having rubbish, old fridges. Decrepit appliances are more likely to have faults that make them inefficient. A faulty thermostat on a freezer could be adding £45 to your bills, annually. Getting rid of old-fashioned light bulbs and replacing them with energy efficient ones and halogen lights with LEDs could save you around £45 a year on bills.

 

And if that doesn’t work, then you should check your provider to make sure you’re getting the best deal from them.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Consumers can make a real difference to their electricity bills by improving energy efficiency at home and Citizens Advice and Energy Saving Trust are there to help. Shopping around for the best energy deal can also make a huge difference.”

“We’ve slashed the vast array of confusing tariffs, so it’s now easier to compare energy prices and switching times will be halved by the end of this year. Households could be saving a further £200 per year just by switching suppliers.”

So there you have it. Stop being daft and save yourself some money. It doesn’t matter if you care for the Earth or not – with the money you save, you could buy a substantial amount of booze, so you know it is worth doing.

Same-day delivery Amazon is now a thing

October 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Screen shot 2010 12 22 at 15.03.25 Same day delivery Amazon is now a thingAs of today, customers ordering stuff from Amazon will be able to get it the same day.

In its boldest impression of ‘a shop’ yet, you’ll be able to purchase online before 11.45am and then collect at one of the company’s 500 collection points.

Also, as part of its ‘Pick-up Location’ programme Amazon also said that users will be able to order by 7.45pm to pick up from 6.30am the following day. It will initially be free to members of Amazon’s £79 per year Prime premium service and £4.99 per delivery for non-members.

Amazon reckons that this drives people back to high streets where they spend more money in other shops. Usually a few bob in Poundland and some slap-up sausage rolls from Greggs.

Chris North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk said “We know that customers want a variety of different delivery options and many are choosing collection from pick-up locations as their preferred delivery method. You can certainly expect us to continue to add more and more pick up locations to the thousands already in existence.”

“We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best,” said Mr North. He claimed “This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”

Amazon reckon they now have over 6000+ pick-up points, which themselves have doubled in number in the last year.

Anyone for an Ebola toy?

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Want to get your loved one something special for Christmas this year? Maybe you want to get them a weekend break in Italy? Perhaps you want to buy them jewellery?

Or maybe you want to buy them some Ebola?

Well, if the latter is your thing, we’ve got just the thing as there’s an Ebola plush toy you can buy from a company called GIANTmicrobes®, who are dedicated to making toys “designed as a teaching tool to help small children learn about the importance of handwashing.”

ebola toy Anyone for an Ebola toy?

It’ll set you back $9.95 for one a million times the size of actual Ebola, or if you’d like a gigantic version, that’ll cost you $29.95, with an additional $14.95 for the accompanying petri dish.

You’d be advised from avoiding taking your Ebola onto a plane though, for fear of men in frightening suits coming to throw you off onto the airport tarmac.

Click here if you want to buy one.

EasyJet allow you to check-in with photo

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

easyjet 300x180 EasyJet allow you to check in with photoEasyJet are allowing passengers to check-in for their flights via the budget airline’s official app, by taking a photograph of their passport.

This means, thanks to an update to the Android and iOS apps, you now don’t need to manually tap-in all your details when registering for a trip.

The idea is that, this new feature makes the check-in process a whole lot quicker, by allowing everyone to sign in with their smartphone up to two hours before their flight at the 110 EasyJet airports.

“Our new mobile passport scanning function will save time for the millions of customers who use the app to input their travel documentation details,” said EasyJet head of digital James Millett. ”It’s another example of innovating to make travel as easy as it is affordable with EasyJet.”

The app is free on the App Store and Google Play.

Sainsbury’s are changing Nectar points

October 14th, 2014 8 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Nectar 300x163 Sainsburys are changing Nectar pointsSainsbury’s are shaking things up with the way they dole out rewards for Nectar points… and you might not necessarily like it.

They say: “From 11 April 2015, Sainsbury’s are changing the way you earn Nectar points, so you’ll earn 1 point for every £1* you spend in store and online at Sainsbury’s. You’ll also no longer receive 1 Nectar point for every bag you reuse in store.”

That little asterisk is their own addition, which means you can’t earn on fags and booze or ‘infant formula’.

So that means you’re going to earn less points when you shop with them.

They continue: “While this means you’ll earn fewer points on your shopping, you’ll still earn 1 point per litre of fuel as before. Plus, Sainsbury’s will be bringing you lots of new opportunities to boost your balance faster and more value when you spend your points. Look out for the Nectar ‘Thanks a million’ event in store from 17-19 October for starters.”

Sainsbury’s promise ‘Double Up’ promotions around Christmas, as well as promising vouchers which will be worth more than a quid per point, providing you want to go to the cinema or eat at a Pizza Express.

For the full run down of what this means for you and your Nectar card, click here.

Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weather

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

shoppers Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weatherReports are saying that we’re currently looking at the weakest performing high street since the worst bits of the 2008-09 recession.

An unusually warm September was blamed on all this, even though they would’ve blamed it on wet weather if that was around. Basically, people don’t know why we’re not shopping as much as we used to. Maybe its because we’re skint?

The British Retail Consortium said that the year-on-year drop in consumer spending was the most pronounced since December 2008, but said that there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture continued to be strong.

Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “In September, we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales.”

“Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong, with furniture outperforming all other categories.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turn around retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn-winter ranges.”

“The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focused on their customers.”

A box of Thorntons Contin 002 300x180 Deathwatch: Thorntons still melting away from the high streetChocolate vendor, Thorntons, have appeared in our Deathwatch a number of times and things still seem pretty grim at the company.

Seems people really don’t want to buy boxes of chocolate and great slabs of fudge from them. Especially when you can get a load of chocolate boxes from the supermarkets and the like?

Besides, kids probably don’t want chocolates any more – they’re all too healthy and would rather you buy them a blender to make kale drinks and a Nike+ band so they can dribble on about their running habits online.

Anyway, Thorntons sales are down by nearly 12% in the first quarter of trading, and their shares are dropping too, as popular as Those Turkish Delight Ones You Get In Assortment Boxes.

However, the company is still confident as they continue to remodel the way they do things, as they look to become a wholesaler, rather than a high street retailer. Thorntons will still be in business, but it looks like they won’t be doing much business through their own shops.

Where will nana buy her peanut brittle from now?

 

Argos is offering free tablets and broadband as part of a pledge to provide practical skills and access to technology to 9.5 million Brits who aren’t online in a partnership with digital skills charity Go ON UK.

Trained staff members will help people learn the basics of how to use a tablet and how to connect to the internet with workshops that will run from 25th October through to mid-January.

Bz0c FTIEAACTtY 500x250 Argos offers 10,000 free tablets and broadband through workshop

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said: “The digital revolution continues apace, however, millions remain on the side-lines. Argos Internet Workshops have been developed to help people overcome the barriers of access and affordability and improve their knowledge, understanding and confidence in digital technology.”

“The internet is becoming increasingly essential in day-to-day life, and offers a world of new possibilities that we believe everyone should be able to access.”

And, they just all happen to be potential Argos customers as well.

Either way, if you can’t be arsed showing your granddad or mum how to use a tablet and get online, Argos will do it for you. They’ll be calling you every 3 minutes on Skype in no time at all.

Next week, will we see a new Apple TV?

October 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Apple have issued an invitation for an event that will take place on October 16th. Now, seeing as they’ve just updated the iPhone and brought out the Apple Watch, what on earth are they going on about?

Whatever it is, it comes with the strapline of: “It’s been way too long.”

 

apple invite 500x269 Next week, will we see a new Apple TV?

So, what have Apple been ignoring and left to gather dust on the shelf?

The company updated the iPad just last year and the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro both got a revamp recently, so it can’t be them. The iMac got tinkered with in 2013, so you can’t imagine they’re making an announcement about that.

Weighing up what’s likely, that means Apple are up to something with either Apple TV or the MacBook Air. You have to assume, what with everyone jumping on TV services at the minute, that Apple are going to give theirs a shot in the arm. They released Apple TV in 2010 and have only indulged in minor tweaks here and there, never giving it a big rehash.

Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook while talking about TV, said: “TV is one of those things that is stuck back in the ’70s. Think about all the things that have changed… and TV almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, and the interface is terrible. It’s awful.”

What with Cook getting randomly jumpy about TV, it looks like the newest Apple product could well be a new and improved Apple TV. Of course, there’s a good chance Apple will cock it up, like they have with everything at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see.

NFL in the UK: Banning your bags

October 10th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Large stadium events are always a bit of a faff, be it the limited amount of beer thanks to some watery lager sponsor, or be it it something to do with only being able to pay for things on certain credit cards.

Everyone knows the drill by now.

However, with the NFL coming to the UK, they’ve pulled a fast one that is almost impressive in its pointlessness. Basically, you can’t take any bag at all into Wembley stadium. Look at this exhaustive list of prohibited bags, which of course, are banned ‘for your safety’, even if you’ve been to big stadium shindigs before and managed to avoid a backpack maiming.

20141010 083454 e1412929164544 281x500 NFL in the UK: Banning your bags

 

If you have a bag for your medicine and whatever, that’s fine, but as the warning leaflet says: “entry will be permitted, however you may experience a delay in entering the stadium.”

So what is fine then? What is permitted? Why, NFL approved bags you can buy outside the ground, which of course, are considerably safer than your average bag.

20141010 083515 e1412929499224 281x500 NFL in the UK: Banning your bags

Of course, a huge sporting franchise taking the Michael at a enormodome is along the lines of “is the Pope Catholic?”, but this is next level ridiculousness.

If you want to watch an informative video and, if you’re going to any of the games and want to know the exact dimensions of purses that women are allowed to take, click here for the NFL’s official take on the whole thing.

Exodus: movement of shop people

October 9th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

British high street 300x180 Exodus: movement of shop peopleShops are fleeing the high street at twice the rate of last year. On average, the first six months saw 16 shops per day closing on the high street, which isn’t good news.

While slightly down on the 18 per day of 2013, the rate of store openings actually plunged by 15%. So essentially, more and more shops are being left empty.

The new data is part of an analysis of the UK’s top 500 towns by the research firm Local Data Company (LDC) and accountants PwC.

Just over 400 shops were left empty over the period , which is more than in the whole of last year.

London and the East of England saw the number of empty shops actually fall, whereas the North West and West Midlands suffered.

Oddly enough, it is pawnbrokers that are now suffering, when in recent years they’ve been almost an essential. The shape of the high street is not what it was, with tattooists being a surprising growth area.

Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC, said: “This data shows that we are now really starting to see the full effects of the digital revolution and consequent change in customer behaviour play out on the high street.”

Matthew Hopkinson, director of LDC, said that many big retailers were reducing their overall number : “They now want small stores as a local touchpoint or large stores where they can create an experiential environment and really engage with customers. Where once they would have had three stores including one on the high street now they just want one.”

Can we have some nice parks in place of all these boarded up shops then?

HMRC: Still hopeless

October 9th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

TAX MONKEYS HMRC: Still hopelessThe folks at HM Revenue and Customs are doing a wonderful job aren’t they, trying to work out which is their arse and which is their elbow.

They have privately admitted that, even after sending out millions of notices for overpaid and underpaid income tax last year, the whole thing still doesn’t add up, so they’re doing what they do best and sending out a load of letters again.

They probably say: ‘Can you work this out for us? We’re at a loss here.’

Fact is, the tax office is now having to recalculate everything all over again and has stopped any further repayments until they sort this mess out. Assuming of course, that they manage to get to the bottom of their ineptitude.

You may recall that, last summer, they confessed that they had collected the wrong amount of tax from 5.5 million people, even though they introduced a “real time information” programme which is supposed to get rid of errors. Those affected by the cock-up were sent letters and, on average, issued a £300 refund.

Sadly for the HMRC, a leaked email showed that they’re still messing everything up with staff advised to tell those querying their tax bills “not to repay any underpayment”. Those who have already got a cheque have been told not to cash them. Obviously, if you have one, you should absolutely try and cash it. This isn’t your error.

The email said: “We are urgently investigating these cases and will look to resolve the matter in the next six to eight weeks. We currently do not know the scale of the issue but some large employers are involved, so several thousand of employees may be affected.”

The thing is, this error could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and one mole in the ministry said: “HMRC refuses to admit the system doesn’t work, and it’s scandalous that there is no politician holding them to account as the whole programme of welfare reform could be put at risk because of this.”

Slow hand clap for all concerned.

EE to launch TV service

October 8th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tv 300x266 EE to launch TV serviceEE have launched EE TV, their own television service, which they reckon will be available on all your devices and Freeview and the like.

Handily, you can view difference programmes on different devices at the same time and the service comes free for those with an EE broadband and landline package. If you’re thinking of moving to EE just for their telly service, then prices start at £9.95 a month.

Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO, reckons EE TV is ‘the most advanced TV service’ we’ve ever had in dear old Blighty.

“As the UK’s biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people’s changing viewing habits,” explains Swantee. ”It’s helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before.”

Basically, you get a smart box that offers multiscreen, multirecord and a dedicated app for you devices which doubles up as a remote control. It’ll have 70 Freeview channels that come with it and a load of other videos and on-demand stuff bolted on.

EE say that this smart box is worth £300, but it is yours for free if you sign up to an EE package. If you want to know more, then watch this advert below.

Sadly, Kevin Bacon is involved.

London Underground Strike Action – October 2014

October 7th, 2014 2 Comments By Bitterwallet News

london tube strike 300x207 London Underground Strike Action   October 2014 If you’re travelling into or around the capital next week, prepare for a rough commute – London Underground workers are set to strike again next week as part of the long running dispute over ticket office closures.

Strike action starts at 9pm on Tuesday 14th October and runs for 48hrs, enough time to really piss off workers and those reliant on The Tube right before the weekend.

Octobers planned strikes are the latest walkout in RMT’s “Every Job Matters” campaign. Recent talks between the union and London Underground have fallen flat and whilst the union said small amounts of progress had been made, it clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy RMT’s executives after months and months of negotiations and meeting room fun.

Aside from the loss of all ticket offices and over 750 jobs by 2015, RMT’s Mick Cash said that the closures and staff loss would “render the tube a no-go zone for many people with disabilities and for women travelling alone”.

Not patronising at all.

Samsung: Is the Galaxy love affair over?

October 7th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

samsung logo Samsung: Is the Galaxy love affair over?Samsung have forcasted a 60% fall in quarterly operating profits due to Galaxy smartphone sales slowing down.

The company reckons it should make 4.1tn ($3.8bn / £2.5bn) for the three months to September, which is considerably below the expectation of 5.2tn. Get your tiny violins out now.

The company will publish full financial doings later this month, and so that Apple can gawp at them and hopefully, everyone will start trolling each other, just like Lidl are doing at the moment.

The company’s mobile division has been the one area where things have been really tough, up against the likes of Apple and Chinese smartphone-makers Xiaomi and Lenovo.

The Galaxy has been losing out to younger sexier cheaper models (as is always the way).

“Smartphone shipments increased marginally amid intense competition,” Samsung said in a statement. ”However, the operating margin declined due to increased marketing expenditure and lowered average selling price.”

The company  claim they’re in the middle of preparing a new array of smartphones, so if they get them right, they’ll be back on track. If not, they might ‘do a BlackBerry’. We’ll keep an eye on them.