09/12/2017

Podcast ep11: Brexit Deals and Blue Planet

Podcast alert again!

The Friday night show on BBC Radio Kent that reviews the week's news is now a podcast too. Edited highlights are packaged up into pod-form for you listening pleasure and it's free.

In this week's episode, episode 11, we get the latest on the Brexit deal that will move us on to stage 2, we hear about how Blue Planet lies to us, and how trains will be more expensive but roads will be clear.

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03/12/2017

[Newspaper Column] London Underground WiFi

Each week the Romford Recorder and Ilford Recorder have the Steve N Allen column. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.



You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.


How often do you make use of our proximity to London? In no time you can be on the London Underground but you have to go without the internet between stations.

That few minutes without a connection to Kim Kardashian's Instagram and whatever else is online is a worry for some. Good news, the London Underground is getting 4G.

At the moment you can get WiFi in most stations but instead of letting you simply connect for free you have to go to a webpage on your browser. You get into the station, wait for your phone to find the WiFi, when it connects you open the browser and by the time you can click the button to get your WiFi the train has left the station. This repeats in every station till you arrive at your destination never having connected to the internet but having used 50% of your battery.

By 2019 you'll have 4G. By then 4G will probably be considered an old fashioned system, like when you're in a bad signal area and you notice that E on your phone which means you'll be there all day checking an email.

But do we need it? The Tube used to be the one place where you could get away from the constant connection. If someone tried to call and you missed it saying, “I was on the Tube,” was a good enough excuse. Now we'll be obliged to reply to work emails and if you read a WhatsApp message you'll leave the telltale two blue ticks that means you have to reply or lose that friendship forever.

Now if you want to go to a place where you don't have a signal connecting you to the Internet all the time you'll have to go to most places in the North or South West or East Anglia.

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02/12/2017

Phone Over-Use

New research says we check our mobile phones 28 times a day. That means we're doing it 10,000 a year. That seems like a lot of work, I didn't think I did anything that much.

4,000 of those 10,000 checks are done without thinking. We're so addicted to our phones that we check it without realising we're checking it. I might be checking mine right now, I simply don't know.

This new research has looked at the most commonly checked apps on your phone. For most of us it's Facebook.

For Donald Trump it's probably Twitter. “Let's see who is having a go at me now. Oh, a leader of a close ally country. Sad.”

Have you noticed with Facebook, if you have a conversation about, let's say gazebos, the next time you check your Facebook on your phone it will have adverts for gazebos.

It's because the app listens to what you say even when you're phone is off and spots words that you might be interested in.

You can switch that feature off but I have left mine on. It's rare that anyone is actually listening to what I want, so why ruin it.

But it does mean when my friends leave their phones near me and nip to the loo I lean into their phone and say things like, “Pile cream. Pile cream.” Just so they get a shock when they look at their Facebook.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in tech news there's now technology that shops will get where they will use cameras to look at the faces of the people shopping, then use facial recognition and find you on Facebook, meaning they'll know your name and anything else you post about you.

It's like Minority Report.

You could take pictures of your face off your Facebook, but it's called FACEbook. The only other option is to cover your face. So I go shopping with a pair of tights over my head.

I'm due in court next Thursday.

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01/12/2017

Podcast ep10: Brexit Impact and Royal Weddings

Podcast alert!

The Friday night show on BBC Radio Kent that reviews the week's news is now a podcast too. Edited highlights are packaged up into pod-form for you listening pleasure and it's free.

In this week's episode, episode 10, we hear that Theresa May may be banned from pubs, the Brexit impact statement doesn't have much impact and of course, some royal people are getting married so we talk about that a bit.

Subscribe to the podcast now to get it free every week.




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[Newspaper Column] Royal Wedding

Each week the Romford Recorder and Ilford Recorder have the Steve N Allen column. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.




You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.


Ever since the royal engagement was announced the news has been filled with it. It's a case of the royal family doing what they have always done, providing news for the rest of us.

Before the days of Heat magazine and Larry with his entertainment news people would enjoy the gossip about the royal family. Which prince is marrying which princess. Which royal has fathered which lovechild. In the olden days that was their version of watching a reality show.

And now the royal family meets entertainment news with a celeb in her own right, Meghan Markle. This is the perfect storm of news to keep up distracted from the real issue here. We are not getting a bank holiday.

They made their announcement, he was wearing a blue suit, she was wear a white coat, which has now sold out by the way. I'm never sure why that happens. Do people think it's the coat that landed her a prince?

They spoke of their love, we saw the ring, all of the usual stuff but no mention of a day off for us. I thought that was the deal. We spend a lot of money on these royal events and the kick back is that we get a day of sitting at home moaning that there's nothing on TV other than the royal event coverage.

We have one of the fewest bank holidays of any European country but if you have a royal family who are good at jubilees and weddings it ups the average. They have broken that agreement.

We got one for Kate and Wills back in 2011, which means I was due to buy some new tea towels soon, but if we're not getting that bank holiday I'm not interested.

Hurry up Prince George. Marry young. I have some DIY that needs doing.

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29/11/2017

Podcast ep9: Footloose and Budget

Podcast alert!

The Friday night show on BBC Radio Kent that reviews the week's news is now a podcast too. Edited highlights are packaged up into pod-form for you listening pleasure and it's free.

In this week's episode, episode 9, S01E09 as they'll call it on the bit torrents, we hear my new plans for a film about North Korean, we find what what the budget means for us and Asda get tight on pie abuse.

Subscribe to the podcast now to get it free every week.




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There's A New Big Mac

I don't want to worry anyone but... we're all going to die!

OK, maybe I did want to worry you. But I am shocked by the latest news.

McDonald's is making a change to their Big Mac.

First Brexit and now this! I don't know how to keep up.

Thankfully I only really eat a Big Mac when drunk so I might not be able to notice the finer details.

It will still have the two things of beef with the “special sauce” - which is a phrase that always makes one worry. But we'll be able to get it with bacon and tomato on it.

First reaction: Wow. I didn't know it didn't have tomato on it already.

Second delayed reaction: What's it called?

I ask because it's got bacon and tomato, so it's in the BLT area. Would it be a BBT (bacon, burger, tomato) or a BBMT (bacon, Big Mac, tomato), all of which sound like only codes young people use to stop their parents finding out what rude pictures they've been sending.

Apparently they have gone with the name The Big Mac BLT.

BMBLT?

That's more like a specialist dating website.

Whether it's selfies, dating or food I don't do it unless I'm drunk, so it's all pretty much the same to me.

Panic over.

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23/11/2017

Podcast ep8: I'm A Celeb & Brexit

New podcast alert!

The Friday night show on BBC Radio Kent that reviews the week's news is now a podcast too. Edited highlights are packaged up into pod-form for you listening pleasure and it's free.

In this week's episode, episode 8, we get to meet the contestants in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, we talk about Brexit and we find out that robots are about to take over the world... again.

Subscribe to the podcast now to get it free every week.




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17/11/2017

Older Workers Need Jobs Too

Nearly 4 in 10 unemployed older workers have not had a job for more than a year. It looks like evidence to suggest older workers find it hard to get a job once they are out of work.

That would be OK if it wasn't for the fact that on any other day the news will say we're heading towards a pension crisis and no one will ever get to retire. Prince Philip didn't get to retire till he was 96 and his missus is minted.

If our economy is only going to work if people keep working into their old age we need an economy where people who are in their old age can get a job.

The Centre for Ageing Better (sounds like a job title in W1A, I admit) say that 3.3 million older workers are not in work for one reason or another.

That's such a waste of capacity. OK, some jobs will be age dependent. If you're trapped in your house, call the emergency services and you see a mobility scooter turn up you might be miffed but there's a lot of skills going untapped.

And with some people saying Brexit means some low skilled jobs are struggling to attract applicants from the EU, and the fact there was a statistical link between age and the odds you'd vote for Brexit, put your money where your mouth is and pick some fruit next year.

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16/11/2017

Diners Get Discount For Not Using Their Phone

There is a chain of restaurants that are running a promotion where you get money off your meal if you lock up your mobile phone and don't use it all evening.

You put it in a sealed envelope and if you can resist it for the whole meal you get 10% off.

At first I thought, “How bad is this restaurant that they need to keep you away from TripAdvisor that much?”

And then I thought, “Good, it's nice that people engage with each other.” A manager said, “In today's society everyone is constantly on their phone so we want to get people talking again.”

Do you realise what you've done? You're forcing couples who have been together for years to have to talk. Are you sponsored by a divorce lawyer? People will work out that they have nothing to say.

It's a common theme these days they people say we spend too much time on our phones, and maybe some people do, but there's nothing wrong with checking Twitter while you're other half nips to the loo or posting a pic of the meal you're about to have.

And without a phone and conversation that includes, “What was the name of that actor from that film with the aliens?” can lead to a full-blown row that a simple Googling would have solved.

I think the “phones bad”, “nature good” trope is too simplistic. They won't be happy will we're all sat in a field doing nothing and not noticing that the GDP is crashing because we can't get news alerts.

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15/11/2017

Black Friday Starts Early

Some shops began their Black Friday sales already. It's something we imported from America, the idea of Black Friday sales. We had Black Wednesday in the UK before but that was only in 1992 when we crashed out of the ERM, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism – like a mini-Brexit if you will.

This year it's on November the 24th but already shops are starting the Black Friday sales. How can anything with word Friday in it be longer than a day. Is this a Robinson Crusoe thing?

While there's something about elongating the sales that bothers me, over the last few years there has been an interesting effect. Two years ago the sales were mainly on the day and people were arrested, people got punched in the queues, people waited up all night, all to get 50-quid off a telly. If you said me to me, “I want you to get no sleep and slap that granny, and I'll pay you £50 to do it.”

I'd say, “No way. I charge more than that.”

Last year the sales were spread out and there weren't as many people queuing, fighting and slapping OAPs.

The end game for this is an all year sale, when basically no one gets hurts and the price is just lowered and stays there. Nah, it'll never happen.

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[Newspaper Column] Humans V Dogs

Each week the Romford Recorder and Ilford Recorder have the Steve N Allen column. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.



You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.


I like to keep my eye across scientific breakthrough because I am sure it makes me fun to be near during dinner parties, even though the invites seem to have dried up.

The trouble is science often comes out with headlines that are totally obvious. The latest research I think we could have guessed showed that people have more sympathy to dogs than humans.

In the experiment the researchers made an advert saying, "Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?"

You see that ad and say, "I don't think the last Star Wars film was that bad."

But look a little closer and in some ads Harrison was a human child and in others he was a puppy. We humans have gave more for the dog than the homo sapiens.

Surely no one is surprised by that. If there's a dog on a train everyone stops what they're doing to look and enjoy it trying to not fall over. If there's a child on public transport in go the earphones to block the annoying cries.

People go online to look at pictures of dogs. Meanwhile people change their Facebook settings to hide that they're online so they don't have to look at their friends photos of their newborns.

I've met dogs and I have met humans and more humans have been a disappointment.

OK, sometimes if feels like a dog is only with you for the free meals but I've had relationships like that too. At least the canine doesn't argue, and if it does it doesn't make everything about it.

But most of all, we trust dogs more because dogs would never make up an appeal about some fictional character called Harrison just so it could see how we react.

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Friday Night Promo

The SomeNews project has been running since 2011. Since then it's been a website to cover the news, an app, then came audio clips as part of the coverage.

A podcast was the next step, in its original form it ran for around three years. While that was happening the SomeNews live show was put on at a selection of comedy festivals across the UK and then it became a regular comedy night in London.

SomeNews then became a live radio show on FUBAR radio where each week we'd chat through the news stories with guest comedians.

The audio clips and podcast format was than used on BBC radio as sketches covering the days news. And the latest evolution of that has been the Friday night show where the week's news is wrapped up as we say goodbye to the week.

That show has now become a BBC podcast that you can get for free. Here's the promo that goes out on air...



Subscribe to the Steve N Allen podcast here and get the latest topical review of the news to listen to every week.

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