26 March 2014

Student Homes Infested & Damp, New iPhone, Student Loans Cost Taxpayer…

25% of student homes infested with rats & 66% damp

Rats and DampA new survey into student living standards by the NUS has revealed that 1 in 4 student homes have an issue with vermin. The research also found that 2 in every 3 students are being forced to live in homes that are either damp or mouldy.

Other shocking statistics include 40% of students preferring to spend longer in warm campus buildings than at home in the cold, and two-thirds would rather wear an extra layer of clothing to bed than put the heating on to avoid large electricity bills.

Our take: There’s a sad common acceptance that student houses are damp, cold and infested with vermin… and that’s just how it is. This couldn’t be further from the truth, no matter how much you’re paying, you should be kicking up a fuss if things aren’t up to scratch! And always check houses thoroughly when viewing with the help of our viewing checklist.

Student loans cost taxpayer £6.6bn as grads poorly paid

Student loans cost tax payerStudent loans and tuition fees made several headlines (again) this week. Labour re-raised concerns about the tuition fee black hole, wherein for every £1 invested in Higher Education an extra £7.50 is being spent cancelling student debts in the UK.

Equally worrying figures estimate that 45% of graduates will not earn enough to ever pay off their full university debt, up from 40% in past six months.

Our take: We’ve been banging on about this from the beginning but the government are never too keen on feedback. On top of all of this, Nick Clegg has done some more pre-election preening, claiming that tuition fees do not need to be increased. Which was clear to just about everybody before the last price hike, but that happened anyway…

Energy companies ‘charge loyal customers £90 more than new ones’

Loyal Electricity CustomersNew research has found that energy companies are charging their loyal customers up to £90 more than new customers who have switched to them.

The added amount comes from a monopoly tariff that charges customers who haven’t changed energy supplier since the market was opened up for greater competition in 1990.

Our take: “Company X does exploitative thing” is a story that we really should start keeping on file here. For all their friendly PR and advertising, at their very core these industries which we depend on are just greedy. Luckily there’s no better time than now switch providers, so if you think you’re being overcharged (probably) make sure you shop around to see if you can get a better deal.

Apple release cheapest(ish) iPhone yet

iPhone 5cApple have announced the release of their lowest cost iPhone to date. The new iPhone 5C will be £40 cheaper than the previous edition at £429 off the shelf.

As part of the cost cutting, the storage on the phone is being halved to just 8gb with 2gb of that being taken up by the operating system and the mandatory pre-installed apps.

Our take: £429 might be a budget phone for some, but it’s still looking quite expensive to us! 8gb isn’t a huge amount of storage for a modern smartphone, only room for two HD films, a dozen or so TV shows or 120 music albums. But if it’s a cheap iPhone you’re after and the brand is all that matters look no further!

Maths class disciplined with Game of Thrones spoilers

GOT DisciplineA maths teacher in Belgium has introduced a revolutionary new form of discipline for his students, writing spoilers for popular TV series Game of Thrones on the white board.

The teacher told a local news organisation that if a class was being too noisy or disruptive he’d simply start writing the names of characters who’d die in the next season.

Our take: Sometimes teachers and lecturers are just too cool for school, and this witty teacher sure knows how to push the buttons of Generation Y. We’ve certainly come along way from the days of the cane…

State of the Machin: On ‘safely monetising teens’ at GDC

GDC 2014‘How to safely monetise teens’ was a seminar that took place at the Game Developers Conference (GDC, from here on in) at the weekend.

Prior to the conference the seminar  had attracted a large amount of criticism for it’s questionable subject matter. However, the poorly attended talk turned out to be more focused on the legal aspects of taking teenager’s money, not how to best exploit them.

There were several other presentations along the same lines that took place at the conference, which was started in 1988 as a gathering of outsider developers, but has since grown into a homogenised corporate love-in like every other event (also serving nicely as a metaphor for the games industry as a whole).

The prominence of monetised free-to-play gaming and the exploitative psychological warfare this sort of game pushes on the user is certainly worrying. I thought the whole point of video games were for the end user to have a fun, and if you made a fun game you’d make lots of money from people buying that game.

The industry is increasingly turning in the wrong direction, following formulas, copying the market leader and not making fun, exciting or original products. And it just makes me really sad.

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