Monday, 21 June 2010

Newsfalsh!

Welcome once again to Newsfalsh!, a closer look at some of the stuff you might have missed in the news over the last couple of months.

Woman changes name over Thomas Cook dispute

I hate people sometimes. Articles like this just justify my ire. The story goes that a woman had booked up a honeymoon for her and her future husband, but had booked it under her married name, Mrs Leeks, in anticipation of the blessed event. Unfortunately, legally the name on your passport must match the name on the booking, and she had not been able to change her name to match her married name of course. However, it sort of goes without saying that she over-reacted a touch. Just a touch.

Well, maybe more than just a touch. After being told by Thomas Cook that it would require payment of a fee in order to amend the booking so that the name on the passport matched the name on the booking, she flipped out like a motherfucker and decided that the better course of action was to change her name by deed poll. What did she change it to, you ask? Mrs Leeks, her married name, in anticipation of the big event?

Nope, she went for the slightly more verbose "Mrs Lorraine Darla I Hate Thomas Cook And Its Associates Big Shot Company Treading On The Little Guy Leeks."

Never mind, first of all, that this is not a case of a big corporation 'treading on the little guy'. This is a case of someone not reading the terms and conditions, or even exercising a little common sense when making a travel reservation. The company treading on someone would be enforcing a luggage limit incorrectly and making someone pay incorrectly despite the fact that the customer had insisted that the company were in the wrong.

It's distinctions like this that irk me, especially given that I've spent a few years of my life in retail and have heard most of the common misconceptions in their thousands, especially "Oh, well this one is priced ten pounds cheaper than the others, so you're legally obliged to do it for that price". If you believe that misconception, I hate to tell you this, but it's wrong. Something shops do to get money through their tills, yes; legally binding, no.

Anyway, I'm struggling to work out how this affects anyone in a negative way except for her. Firstly, at her wedding, she has to listen to the vicar and her husband repeat her new ridiculous name, but she apparently finds that funny so heaven help the poor gimp. Secondly, it's important to remember that she had to pay £14.99 for the name change by deed poll, and that she would have had to go out of her way in order to get the name changed in the first place. Also, I've done some research (which incidentally she could have saved herself money by doing in the first instance) and it would have only cost £20 to change the name on the booking as long as she did it in enough time.

Thirdly, and most importantly, she changed her name by deed poll, but it still doesn't match her name on her passport, so she still can't take the honeymoon.

Moron.

Psychic joins search for missing cat in Lincolnshire

Wait, I stand corrected. It's articles like this that do it. So the story in this case goes that a four-year-old tabby cat went missing in Hertfordshire in October of last year, and that the search has become so desperate that they have enlisted the help of a psychic in order to find the cat.

First things first, I find it annoying that the owner had £1,000 to piss away on the search for a cat. I realise that some people get attached to their pets, but let's be fair: if you care that much about the animal you go out when you can and look for it yourself. Having £1,000 to spend on a search is strange, but I find it stranger still that there is a company called Animal Search UK and that they make a business out of finding lost cats and presumably dogs.

So they bring in a psychic to find this cat, as according to the owner money is no object when it comes to searching for the animal. Apparently the search has gained some publicity (yeah, no shit) and they are building up a good picture of where the cat might be. According to the psychic, the cat has been adopted by a new family who aren't aware that it has an owner. That's one possibility, although it's more correct to state that the cat is simply being fed more by someone else. The other possibility is that its back legs are poking out from underneath a Fiat Uno.

The most terrifying thing about this news story is that there is such a thing as the Merseyside Skeptic's Society. Surely the concept of this isn't really logical, in the same way that an Antisocial Society makes no sense. What's the selection criteria for the Skeptic's Society, anyway?

"Want to join?"
"What's the point?"
"Now you're getting it."

Not very E14 of me, I realise, but....awwwwww. Kitty!

Priest develops Mass app for iPad

God, there's not an article this week that doesn't make me angry in some small way. It's not to do with my feelings on iPads - we all know my feelings on those, or at least you can do by going here. It's more to do with how much people have come to rely on these novelty items in order to get through their daily lives.

Other iPad applications that make you wonder 'what the fucking fuck?' include an app that allows you to frost and bake your own virtual cookies. I'm not quite sure why this app serves a purpose. Recipe stuff I can understand, although I think the days of recipe books shouldn't be dead and gone so soon as they undoubtedly will be, mostly because then how will I get my Nigella fix in Waterstone's?

Back to the app we're talking about here, it'll be available in five languages come July, and will be a free application. I would sincerely hope that the application would be a free download, as I can't see how the church could justify it otherwise. Interestingly enough, this priest is not making his first foray into software development, as two years previously he developed an app that allowed priests to bring the book of daily prayers onto their iPhones. Of course, the importance then becomes not accidentally loading up the fart noise suite that's also available for the Apple products. Apparently these iPads are revolutionary and magical devices. I guess that must be true of anything you can program a fart noise for.




Freaks have overrun the streets of Pacific City; panic and disorder reign supreme, danger lurks on every corner. The time has come for action. Using the age of method of "picking on the weakest member" Blake Harmer was chosen to join an elite crack team of recruits hand-picked to jump into the fray ahead of the masses, and take a look at the Crackdown 2 demo out now on Xbox Live.
Crackdown 2 is shaping up to be massive fun. You have a large game world to play in, superhuman strength and agility, and a whole army of criminals and mutants to destroy! What more could you want? The game is currently looking to be a worthy successor to the original, and with the inclusion of online co-op (currently untested at time of writing) is looking likely to be barrels of fun as you and your friends work together to tear up the city in the name of justice.

The only gripes at the moment lie in the game’s lock on feature, which seems to like selecting targets directly in front of you (even if it’s a mere speck in the distance), rather than your nearest threat. The current demo also has you "powered down" so the full potential of the super powers has yet to be seen - but as you only have to level up a bit before you can start hurling bus shelters at bad guys, the sequel is looking like it will have lots of potential. Sure it’s not the prettiest looking open world game, nor does it look like it’ll have an award winning storyline; but seeing as the emphasis is on causing as much chaos as possible with superhuman powers, this is shaping up to be one of the funnest games this year.
The official demo of Crackdown 2 is out now on Xbox Live.

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