Posts Tagged ‘News’

Free Christmas shopping emulator for all!

December 5th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

christmas shopper emulator Free Christmas shopping emulator for all!If you’re doing all your shopping online this Christmas, and miss the mayhem of the high street, don’t worry your peculiar little head about it. That’s because GAME (stop shouting) have released a game you can play called ‘Christmas Shopper Simulator’.

So what exciting things can you do? Well, you can buy things and go up escalators and, most importantly for the Christmas shopper, you can walk into people and be a thunderous pain in the hole by stopping abruptly. Basically, GAME have made something a bit like Goat Simulator, taking something mundane and making it utterly preposterous.

And it is completely free.

GAME says: “Prepare to be mildly thrilled and as excited as is reasonable to expect… Introducing Christmas Shopper Simulator! Embark on an epic quest to do a bit of Christmas shopping, complete with all the disappointment, frustration and suspension of the laws of physics that you’d find in a real shopping centre!”

They add that you can: “Complete missions in order to give your day, and indeed your entire existence a whole new degree of meaning!” as well as; “wonder constantly whether there’s something more important you could be doing!”

Not a bad little PR stunt and you can watch the video below or, if you’re wanting to go straight to GAME to get it for nothing, click here.

Shock as rail fares increase

December 5th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

train Shock as rail fares increaseEveryone agrees that the British train services are extremely good value for money, punctual and incredibly modern with carriages that are spacious and don’t at all smell like armpits and wafting urine.

So obviously, no-one is going to mind that there’s going to be some increases in ticket prices, with some season tickets breaking the £5,000-a-year mark from January 2nd. We’ve all been robbing these train companies blind haven’t we? Of course we’d be happy to pay more.

You can imagine the only people who didn’t detect the sarcasm in those opening paragraphs are the kind of dung-minded bosses who run our dismal train companies.

So, the increase for regulated fares will be up to 2.5% which means, if you catch a train from Canterbury East to London, your £4,960 season ticket will now be in advance of FIVE GRAND. It’s enough to make you think ‘sod it’ and just buy a car instead so you can at least listen to music and fart as loudly as you please on your commute.

And of course, this is only the rise for regulated fares – unregulated fares like off-peak tickets can be inflated by as much as the companies please. Will we see this extra money going toward a sparkling, new and improved service? What do you think?

Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts said: “Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway. This benefits not just passengers and businesses but communities across the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy.”

“Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27million a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys. For every £1 spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe’s fastest growing railway.”

“The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers.”

Aye, right. Thing is, if you get an anytime ticket from Manchester to London – usually in advance of £300 – you could fly to another country for cheaper. The train companies are a cesspool of villainy.

Spectrum’s Clive Sinclair releases new console!

December 4th, 2014 6 Comments By Mof Gimmers

People of a certain age may be about to make a mess of themselves as Sir Clive Sinclair, the man behind the revolutionary ZX Specrum, is at it again, bring us the ZX Spectrum Vega.

So what does it do?

zx vega controller 660 Spectrums Clive Sinclair releases new console!

Well, this little device will enable you to play all 14,000+ games that were developed for the original ZX Spectrum, but thanks to modern circuitry and technology, the innards have been replaced, which means the Vega has shown “big cost savings” during manufacturing.

The console itself comes with roughly 1,000 games built-in and it plugs straight into your telly. How much? Well, it will, according to the makers, cost “well below £100″ and, better yet, 10% of the sales price will go straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. That’s nice isn’t it?

Sinclair says: “I have been thinking about this idea [to bring the Spectrum back] for 15 years or so, because so many people I met and articles I read were telling me that the Spectrum had made a big difference to their lives.”

“Also in Russia, until recent years at least, the Spectrum was the most plentiful computer in the country, which made me realise that even nowadays the Spectrum is a great-value product.”

“In the 1980s it was necessary for computer enthusiasts to spend quite a lot if they wanted to build up a good-sized library of games, but with the current technology we can provide the games free, already in the Vega’s memory, and we can give away more games later.”

“The most serious games enthusiasts might buy both a Vega and a modern-day console. For them the Vega would be an extra console on which they can replay some of the games from their youth. I also believe that the inclusion of around 1,000 games in the Vega makes it such good value that many people who do not want to spend the cost of a modern games console plus the cost of a range of games will buy the Vega instead.”

The project has already passed the £100,000 needed for production via Indiegogo. Have a look at it below.

Tesco in Click & Collect debacle

December 4th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

tesco 1 300x200 Tesco in Click & Collect debacleTesco, currently living in the ‘Can’t Do Anything Right’ file, have suffered another bout of palaver.

Their non-food website has buckled under the weight of Christmas orders, and have now had to put a hold on their ‘next day’ service.

Oh and they’ve also had to issue a warning to customers that it could be more like three days. Oh Christ.

According to a post on their website: “We are really sorry, but due to unprecedented demand we are currently unable to provide next day Click & Collect,”

“We are doing our very best to provide you with the best possible service, but Click & Collect orders will be delayed by two days. For example, if you order on Monday before 5pm, it will not be available for collection before 3pm on Thursday.”

This comes just days after the Tesco Direct site went down due to the chain’s Black Friday bargains. Tesco said the move would not impact on the deliveries of third party sellers advertised on its online marketplace.

Oh you just want to give them a bloody good slap now.

Ofgem hit British Gas with £11.1m penalty

December 4th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

british gas Ofgem hit British Gas with £11.1m penaltyAnd now, in ‘fines that will eventually be passed on to the customer through increases of their bills’ news, and Ofgem have hit British Gas with a penalty to the tune of £11.1m after they failed to meet energy efficiency targets.

The regulator said that British Gas had failed to meet mutually agreed deadlines to insulate homes under two energy efficiency schemes that took place until the close of 2012. While the company eventually reached the target, their messing about meant that thousands of homes missed out during the winter of 12/13.

You may recall that, only last week, the power generators Drax got slapped with a £28m fine for failing to meet similar targets under the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). Similarly, it looks like InterGen will have to cough-up £11m too.

Other energy companies you will have heard of are looking at fines too, including SSE, Scottish Power and GDF/Suez.

Sarah Harrison from Ofgem said: “British Gas’s failure to deliver two environmental obligations on time is unacceptable. Thousands of households had to wait for energy efficiency measures, like insulation, to be installed during the winter. The payment reflects British Gas’s failure to meet its obligations on time but also recognises its commitment to put things right.”

British Gas said that we shouldn’t hate them though, because they delivered more than they were asked to do, even if they were tardy. Claire Miles, managing director of British Gas New Energy, said: “We’re pleased that in the end we managed to help more vulnerable people under this scheme than was required.”

The £11.1m will be donated to charity to help vulnerable people with energy costs and the like.

Ring America for free ’til Christmas

December 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

america 300x168 Ring America for free til ChristmasTesco are hoping no-one remembers that Skype and the like exist, by offering free calls to America via the new Tesco International Calling App. You have until the end of the year to get the full value of their promotion, or obviously, you can ignore it and use one of the myriad of alternatives that already exist and are free all year ’round.

If you’re determined to ring an American landline for free, then you can download the Tesco International Calling App for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Thousands of people in the UK have family, friends or business contacts across the pond and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get in touch. So, this seems like the ideal time to run a promotion allowing Brits to call the States for free.”

When the promotion runs out, presuming Tesco put things back the way they were, it’ll cost you 2p a minute to call the USA with Tesco’s app, or 25p a minute via Tesco Mobile network.

If you don’t know anyone in America, you can ring other places for a reduced rate. So if you’re calling China or Australia, prices start at 1p per minute. Or, again… and we can’t labour this point enough… you can do it for free through a whole host of things that exist on the internet.

If you have a WiFi connection, use Skype, Google Voice, Viber or whatever and save yourself the bother of all this nonsense.

 

New Twitter tools to report abuse

December 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 New Twitter tools to report abuseTwitter are bringing out a new set of tools to crack down on abuse. They mostly consist of hammers.

Actually they don’t, but they have launched a new way of reporting problem tweets and internal ways to deal with them more quickly.

The new widgets will allow Twitter’s users to flag up anything they thing is a bit awry or unpleasant. It will also allow anyone witnessing abuse going on to another user to report it as well.

The company also reckons it has upgraded various facets of its internal processes to speed up the suitable course of action required.

They also claim that it won’t alter the rules around harassment and abuse, but will make problem tweets easier for users and the company to respond to.

The changes also give users the option to see all blocked accounts, as well as stopping users from viewing profiles of those that have blocked them and these changes will be happening over the next few weeks.

Said Twitter in a blog post: “We are nowhere near being done making changes in this area. In the coming months, you can expect to see additional user controls, further improvements to reporting and new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts.”

“We’ll continue to work hard on these changes in order to improve the experience of people who encounter abuse on Twitter.”

About time. We’ve had it up to here with death threats round these parts.

amazoninstant Student gets one over on Amazon to the tune of £3,600!Amazon are fantastically successful and are a bit ‘creative’ when it comes to tax (okay lawyers?) so it is nice when someone gets one over on them.

And so, to a student who has been told he can keep a £3,600 Amazon haul he landed thanks to a balls-up in their computer systems.

Robert Quinn, 22, started getting parcels which appeared to be returns destined for the internet giant, but instead of going to Amazon HQ, they went to his house in Bromley. He got 51 packages including a £889 55″ 3D TV, a Galaxy Pro, a £165 computer processor, a pram worth £150 and a portable heater, among other things.

He said: “At first I phoned up Amazon and they said that people must be “gifting” them to me, but there’s no way that’s happening because I don’t know any of these people. I was worried that people were losing out on their stuff so I phone Amazon again and said I’m happy to accept these gifts if they are footing the cost, but I’m not happy if these people are going to lose out. But Amazon said “it’s on us”.

“I don’t think they’ve rectified the problem because I’m still getting more stuff.”

“My brother wants the Dolce and Gabbana aftershave and my dad wants the Galaxy tablet,” he added. “My brother can get the aftershave but I’m not sure my dad can have that tablet for free. My mum wants the leaf blower, she can have that. The rest I might sell back on Amazon.”

His dad should kick him up the arse.

Funnily enough, Amazon appear to be funding the student’s drug project. See, Quinn is designing a weed grinder: “I should have about £1,600 to play with this summer and I might take my girlfriend to Bruges, and at the moment, I’m working on an electrical cannabis grinder. I’m thinking about getting a patent on it.”

So there you go. Loads of things for people to get irritated by there – jammy student lands a treasure trove, but won’t sort his dad out, but will spend the money on an electronic skunk grinder, which already exists.

Make your own Christmas stocking at McDonalds

December 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

McDonalds have teamed up with some knitters for Christmas!

The fast food chain is offering its customers the opportunity to create their own 3D knitted stocking as part of McDonalds’ Knitmas Greetings campaign.

(Yeah. We know. It doesn’t make sense to us either).

knitmas1 500x262 Make your own Christmas stocking at McDonalds

Customers will be using an interface – handily showcasing their festive menu as a bonus – and can choose a greeting, colour of the wool and a selection of Christmas-based designs for their stocking.

Then they can gallivant them all around the social networks, saying “Look! I’ve designed a sock!”

And if that’s not enough, a handful of lucky customers will have their designs rendered into a real thing courtesy of knitwear faction Grannies Inc in time for the big day itself.

It really is, no pissing about now, the most wonderful time of the year.

Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habits

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

pavlok Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habitsHave you got a load of bad habits? Silly question. Bitterwallet readers are the most debauched ne’er-do-wells on the internet. Do you want to do anything about those habits? On the incredibly slim chance that you do, then you’re in for a shock.

You can get yourself a Pavlok wristband which will electrocute you in a bid to stop you eating too much or whacking one off in front of The One Show.

The electrifying bracelet has raised around £160,000 through crowdfunding thing, Indiegogo, which is well in advance of what they were asking for initially. You can pre-order one for $199.99 (which is around £130) and will be released in 2015.

The producers are calling it the “personal coach on your wrist” and it will give you an electric shock and, it goes without saying, certain Bitterwallet readers will be thinking of new, dirty bad habits they can do with a electrified strap.

You get an app with the wristband. One is an alarm clock that will jolt you out of bed in a morning. Another is called ‘Productive’, which keeps tabs on your internet habits and if you start dossing off work, you’ll get volts in your arm. The last is called ‘Fit’, which presumably will give you a shock when you stop running or something.

It’ll be open-source too, so you can integrate it with other apps and do what you like with it. You can also set it up so friends can send electricity through your limbs for whatever reason.

The Pavlok website refers to itself in grandiose terms that would make Kanye blush: “Pavlok doesn’t just track what you do – it transforms who you are. You’ll wish you had started today.”

The company say that you can also set it up so that the Pavlok will “shock you when you text your ex-lover” or “beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald’s”.

So there you have it. You can turn yourself into one of Pavlov’s dogs (hence the product name) by electro-shocking yourself to change your habits. Marvellous. Please don’t send us the videos you make where you’ve got 5 Pavloks crammed into your undercrackers.

Royal Mail Royal Mail worried about the competition? Tough say OfcomThe Royal Mail have been saying that they don’t think they can fulfil universal delivery, thanks in part, to the competition undercutting them.

They’re so worried that they have been complaining to Ofcom (who regulate the postal services of Britain), saying that companies like Whistl (who are TNT under a new name) have muscled in on big cities, losing them money.

It seems Ofcom isn’t at all bothered and said ‘hard cheese’ while saying that they’re not going to bother reviewing the rules for end-to-end delivery competition in Britain.

This is a big blow to Royal Mail, but quite funny to those who snaffled the shares up on the cheap when it got privatised by the Government who had undervalued it, so their mates could buy it up.

Ofcom said that they believe in the Royal Mail’s ability to meet its universal service obligation (USO) and that it shouldn’t be impeded by competition.

However, the regulator will be looking at a broader review of the postal services and will be looking at the company’s ability to deliver the USO, and the efficiency and their parcel delivery performance. For now, the Royal Mail is just going to have to suck it up.

selfie Half the public worried about putting pics onlineMore than half of the public still use email to share photos as they’re concerned about online safety, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 British adults, conducted by Berland for private photo and video sharing platform KatchUp reckons 59% the 2000 British adults polled still claim to use email rather than share on social networks, when sharing personal photos.

82% said that keeping in touch with family was the most important thing to them, and almost two thirds (62%) won’t share any photos in any online capacity due to privacy worries.

Reasons such as the time it takes to filter the pics (49%), a fear of data being collected on social media (33%) and a dislike of adverts (17%).

KatchUp founder Katie Hobbs reckons she came up with the idea after a family dinner, saying: “I can’t believe that in the 40 years since it was invented, families still haven’t found a way of sharing that matches the safety and peace of mind that email gives us.”

“We’re hoping that KatchUp can give families the platform for sharing online that these special relationships deserve.”

Admittedly, email may have been invented in 1974 or something, but nobody did anything remotely useful on a computer, or even really knew what email was until around 1997.

KatchUp – two words in one with caps, very ’00s – allows users to create their own personal timeline of images, which they can then invite family and friends to view. We eagerly await the ‘KatchUp Photos Leaked By Hackers’ stories that’ll hit the press within 12 months.

BMW to launch car version of Boris Bikes

December 1st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

bmw logo BMW to launch car version of Boris BikesBMW are launching a Pay As You Go scheme in London called DriveNow. The car-manufacturer has already launched the service in Berlin, Vienna and San Francisco, and now it is Blighty’s turn.

So what the crap is it? Well, kicked off in 2011, DriveNow is a joint venture with car rental company Sixt. The idea is that it is a ‘car sharing’ service, rather than the usual car rental business. Looks like BMW have seen the relative success of Zipcar, and wanted in.

Instead of dropping your car off at a depot, DriveNow allows you to leave you car parked in any public space in the local area, so it is a bit like London’s Boris Bikes.

Whether Londoners will take to the idea is another matter. Daimler tried the car2go scheme in 2012, but no-one really took to the idea and Daimler found that they failed to find a solution to the “unique challenges” of co-ordinating a fluid network of vehicles and parking spaces. While Boris Bikes are evenly distributed across the city by being picked up and moved by lorries, the shifting of cars is a bit more taxing.

So how do you get on board with this? Well, it is reported that DriveNow customers will have to pay a registration fee, and then, you can drive a Mini around, or the electric i3 car on a pay-per-minute basis. You’ll get access to the cars via an app or bank card and your tax, insurance and parking tickets are all included.

Can you see it taking off? It’s a growth area in the States and Europe, where households have noted that cars are expensive and that you don’t use them as much as you’d like, so maybe Brits will find that this is a perfect solution for the few times they need a car?

53 websites added to piracy blacklist

December 1st, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

music piracy 53 websites added to piracy blacklistThe UK High Court has added another 53 file-sharing sites to a list of those which are to be blocked by Internet Service Providers because they infringe copyright.

So what is under the kosh now?

Sites include BitSoup, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Tor Movies, Warez BB and Rapid Moviez. There’s now 93 sites blocked in the UK since the powers that be started locking things down in 2012.

Those already blocked include The Pirate Bay, First Row Sports, TorrentFreak, MegaShare, Watch Free Movies, bittorrent and Stream TV. Basically, within this article, you’ve got a who’s who of everything you could ever want if you like streaming live sports and getting free music, films and TV shows from the States.

Of course, canny readers will know how to circumnavigate these blocks and the less knowledgeable probably didn’t use them in the first place, so it isn’t clear what this achieves, other than keeping some movie studios and record companies happy.

BT, Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, EE and O2 will inevitably all go along with this ruling.

Chris Marcich of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) filed the initial complaint and said: “Securing court orders requiring ISPs to block access to illegal websites is an accepted and legitimate measure to tackle online copyright infringement.”

“It carefully targets sites whose sole purpose is to make money off the back of other people’s content while paying nothing back into the legitimate economy.”

Drones to deliver your shopping?

November 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

online shopping  Drones to deliver your shopping?There’s been a bit of chatter about Amazon employing a fleet of drones to make deliveries, which is all a bit futuristic.

Now, Boris Johnson with his disaster of a haircut, is saying he wants a personal drone to deliver his internet shopping from the sky at the thwack of a button. He’s noticed that more people buy things online than they used to and this has seen an increase in vans on the road.

Speaking at a trade visit to Singapore, Johnson said he wanted to be able to use an app to guide flying robots anywhere in London.

Boris thinks it’ll alleviate the craziness on the roads of Britain, and he’s urging London’s financial technology sector (FinTech) to provide a solution for that.

He said: “We have a problem, folks – all this internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off – 45% it’s going to go up on London in the next seven years. That’s going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore as well.”

“I look out at this brilliant audience here today, bulging with ideas, and I ask you possibly to solve it. We need a solution… Is it, as I hope, going to be drones? I want to be controlling an app that enables my shopping not only to be click and collect… I want my own personal drone to come and drop it wherever I choose.”

What could go wrong? A load of people navigating their own drones over a busy city? You can almost see a drone loaded up with bags of shopping dropping out of the sky into traffic, already.