28 February 2019

Styled By Our Partners #Quizman

Lately, we have both been spending a lot of time planning out the blog, streaming and most nights (and let's be honest days as well) we are either chatting via text, collaborating on blog posts or online gaming. We have been kind of neglecting our wives a little and they don't deserve that so for this blog post we are officially putting the controllers down,

To be honest, Our wives don't mind all the blogging and gaming as they know its a hobby of ours and unfortunately, they had no choice but to accept the bromance that came along with it. This year we have been putting a lot more time into all of the above and there is a lot to come this year, hopefully making the blog a popular platform and give online streaming a really good go.

Valentine's day was fast arriving and the team over at Quiz Man got in touch with the perfect collaboration/challenge to get our wives involved on the blog! - My Partner Styled Me. What is the challenge I hear you ask? Basically, our wives hop over to the QUIZ MAN site, do a little bit of shopping and dress us - Yes that includes actually getting us into the clothes as well, it's not like we were at each others house to help each other get dressed!

Challenge Accepted!

We know that our wives know how to make good choices when it comes to clothing and they also know how we dress, so what could go wrong you ask? NOTHING! They know us far too well!

The other thing we were really impressed with is the quality of the garments themselves. We both asked our wives for something which wasn't too formal, even though Quiz clothing do offer some amazing formal wear including some quite fancy Mens Blazers.
  Nowadays, especially when you look at the high street retails brands you see a lot of fast fashion. You will find that a lot of the garments are extremely poor in quality, not colour fast and lose shape. This is not the case with the items we received from QUIZ Man, they are well made, have not lost shape or colour after wash and they are ridiculously comfortable. Something we could not say about some of the brands we have worked with previously.

The Chosen Ones

And now its time to show off the outfits and work it in front of the camera! All photography was done by TEAM ABEV (aka Carl & Dan)

Dan's Outfit

Whenever Lauren and myself go shopping she will always pick clothes out for me and for some reason I never listen. I think a lot of it is due to my confidence so when I am choosing clothes I always buy something I know I would feel comfortable in. This usually consists of oversized jersey tops and hoodies!

However, if there is one thing that I have learnt, it is to definitely start listening to her advice. I will eventually come around to the idea of what she picked out at the time and they really like it, then it's a - If only I had taken her advice at the time!


Lauren knows the style of clothing I go for, albeit sometimes a bit on the random side. So with the advice, she has given me in the past about what to wear along with her knowing me so well I knew she had this challenge in the bag!



I don't like to feel too dressed down so what she chose for me was spot on, to start with two a touch oversized chunky knit jumpers the one in the pictures is the lighter colourway but she also chose the darker grey and black one as well. Both of these are ridiculously comfortable and can be dressed up as well as down.


Lauren then chose me a new jacket, which was perfect timing as my go to has just had to be thrown out (Yes I wore it to death). She chose this short parker which has an amazing fit and the quality is great. I usually find that I overheat and don't need a jacket, however, this is just the right thickness to throw on, on the slightly cooler days. Again this comes in a few colours, however, I love the colour she chose for me.


Lauren has done an amazing job on this challenge, she has chosen what I would have eventually picked up. I felt comfortable and the quality is great. Extremely happy with her choices!!

Carl's Outfit

Simone never chooses my clothes, to be honest, she has bought me stuff in the past and they have been awful. I am quite a picky person when it comes to what I wear. However, she knew to choose something comfortable for me as I always choose comfort over look and price.

I suffer from quite bad claustrophobia so feeling restricted in my clothing brings out bad anxiety for me and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

Simone chose really well! The tracksuit she said would be really comfortable to game and lounge around the house in, as well as feeling comfortable outdoors its a very versatile outfit.



The winter jacket is something I have needed for years. I have complained for so many years that I am cold when watching my son Charlie play rugby - Especially in the winter when it is literally freezing. Charlie and his rugby mates said I look like a roadman in the jacket.. whatever that means.

Overall I am really happy with her choices.



I'm really happy with Simone's choices, and the items will definitely be getting worn a lot, I may even treat her to a nice takeaway and a movie night, we don't do nights out anymore due too childcare issues so I can get my lounging outfit on stuff my face and spend time quality time with her... and then probably turn the computer on for an hour or so ;)


I've not always been a massive fan of pinstripe but I think the combo of the hooded jumper and the and pants go well together when broken up with the black and yellow side striped zip top, they all are made from really light material and feel great on.



Like I said above I have never really owned a winter jacket so wearing this grey long lined quilted parker was something out of the norm for me, at first I was quite worried that I would feel restricted in it but I was pleasantly surprised how light it was.

When we took the photos it was baking hot and I didn't feel too bad at all and that was with three layers on.





This has been a really fun challenge for both couples, they could have dressed us in something ridiculous...... we will save that for another blog post!

The question is would you take the challenge and let your partner shop for you? or vice versa would they let you shop for them?

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18 February 2019

Living The Future: Immersive Gaming At Home


Image via Pexels

These days, we really are living in the future. Looking back fondly on to our gaming memories of a youth filled with Sega Mega Drives it's hard to believe what gaming is rapidly becoming - a truly immersive experience that our childhood selves could only have dreamed of. Virtual Reality technology has developed rapidly, to the point where players can really feel as if they've crossed the boundary into another world. Even in the comfort of our own homes, we can now become completely absorbed in the environment of our favourites, whether that's the intricate world-building of Overwatch or simply enjoying the best driving games with a few friends. But how are the latest developments in the world of VR shaping our gaming experiences? What can we expect in the near future? And how can you get the ultimate immersive gaming experience at home?

A Neural Connection

At the moment, we are at the stage of integrating headsets, bodysuits and other add-ons to create the experience. However, scientists are currently working on ways to forge a direct connection with our brains - a sort of enhanced consciousness the likes of which have long been foreshadowed in fiction and shows such as Black Mirror. A lot of VR technology is so lifelike it can already have a very real impact on the emotions. Could new gaming technology go one step further and tap directly into human consciousness to create a mind and body immersion into virtual worlds? It has already been suggested that frequent gaming has the potential to change the physical makeup of a players brain, and as we discover more about how the physical structures of the cortex and the gaming experience are linked, so these discoveries can enhance the experience even further so that games will be developed which are even more immersive.

A Deeper Range Of Motion

Although we have had VR headsets for a while, a frontier left to cross is the integration of full body motion into the game environment, but with the development of Virtuix Omni, this is also right around the corner. This will provide gamers with the ability to experience full locomotion as they play with walking or running, although admittedly the technology does need further development to provide capacity for kneeling and rolling motions without disrupting the in-game experience. The answer could lie with other technology currently not being used for gaming. Wearable tech like the Xenoma e-skin has full biofeedback ability, which could easily be adapted for the world of gaming. Full room VR systems are already in existence, but unlikely to become a home entertainment solution due to the restrictive setup and the sheer amount of dedicated space they require, and the restrictions of play only within those physical dimensions. However, the solution could lie with the COATS (Controller Assisted On The Spot) system of Freedom Locomotion. The degree of bounce with controllers and headset are used to accurately determine a range of movement to guarantee total immersion during play. Increasing your speed in the game depends on how fast you jog in the real world, while your hand access is not restricted. Meanwhile, researchers at Stony Brook University have partnered with Nvidia and Adobe to manipulate the natural movement of the eye with the end goal of making a gaming experience where participants can fully explore a digital environment without running into walls or other in-game objects. These factors ensure that players interact with their virtual worlds without any kind of limitation and provides a truly open and immersive gaming experience. It would do away with unrealistic devices such as avatar teleportation, and deliver a highly natural walking experience.

Immersive Gaming At Home

With a system like Hologate, you can bring the next level of gaming to your home. It offers an advanced graphic technology paired with a small footprint that will realistically fit into most homes, and offers a multiplayer VR platform in less than 300 square feet. With award-winning graphics on a 90fps headset, there's no tell-tale buffering or lagging and no motion sickness effect. In the midst of all this technology though, there is a school of thought that true immersion is actually to be found in simplicity. Some critics argue that a well-made game with simple commands makes for an overall more immersive experience than even the cutting edge of the current cumbersome headset set up allows for. They argue that game design is the most important factor in achieving that desired ‘flow state’ where the mechanics melt away and the experience becomes paramount, and as anyone who has experienced this psychological effect when absorbed in an offline hobby like painting or woodworking will attest. However, hardcore gamers will no doubt continue to have a keen interest in those developments which will really enhance their at home play.

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12 February 2019

The Death of the Optical Drive and Why You Still Might Want One

Remember the days of floppy discs in your big ol’ desktop computer? Children these days will never know the joy of putting one into the little slot and waiting for it to load, hoping that you haven't switched it across to write-protected. When floppy discs disappeared from our lives, they were replaced by CDs and DVDs. We would spend hours downloading tunes (sometimes illegally!) off the internet while hoping your parents didn’t use the phone line because that would cut off the often temperamental dial-up connection. We would then ‘burn’ them onto CD’s, with titles such as ‘Carl’s Tunez 2002’. If you weren't into the downloading music thing, you might have spent hours loading your holiday photos on a DVD for a slideshow for your grandparents.


Well, sadly, youngsters these days are going to be missing out on that joy. Who even uses discs for anything anymore? With Netflix and Amazon Prime giving us all the movies we could want, we barely buy DVD’s anymore, and most music is bought and listened to digitally, through apps such as iTunes or Spotify. Ask around - does anyone ever stick a CD on anymore?

The death of the disc has also brought about the death of something else - the optical drive on your standard laptop. These, if you didn’t know, are the little drawers that pop out of the side (well, used to pop out of the side!) of your computer ready to hold a DVD or CD. However, in recent years, the majority of computer manufacturers have stopped putting them on. There just isn't the demand for them anymore and they add extra, and in some people’s eyes, unwanted bulk to the machine.

This does lead to a few problems though. What do we do if we want to access older material saved to these types of discs, or if we receive a CD as a gift and want to convert it to MP3?  There is still software floating around that requires them for an emergency reboot. There is definitely still a market out there for optical drives in computers.
Thankfully, pc-tablet.com has compiled a list of laptop computers that still have a CD or DVD drive.

If you already have purchased your laptop and it isn’t one of the ones on the list, fear not as there are still ways to access the media. You can buy external optical drives for a relatively low price. Okay, so they aren’t as convenient as having them built into your laptop and might be unwieldy to transport, but at least you can still get at the material, hey?

One other thing to consider if you purchase one of the many laptops without an optical drive is that, unless you use an external hard drive or store stuff on a cloud system such as Dropbox, you are forcing all of your data to be stored on your hard drive. This takes up a lot of memory and can affect the speed of your computer.

We would love to know your thoughts on this? Would you prefer to have an optical drive included in your build or do you prefer to keep it simple?

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3 February 2019

Our First Gaming Memories




We both grew up around gaming and it has always been something we have been interested in throughout our lives. So we thought why not share out first gaming memories with our readers!

Dan

I remember my uncles always having a games machine/console when I visited them. One side of the family always had the likes of C64 and ZX Spectrums, whilst the other side albeit a bit later down the line had Sega Master Systems. You would have thought I would have followed in one of these footsteps with my first console. However, my first console was an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

I can't remember the year I got it I just remember being ridiculously excited about it! The version I had was the NES Action Set, it came with the multi-game cart Mario Bros./Duck hunt, 2 controllers and the NES Zapper. I only had a few games to start out with but in those days it was more than enough. I remember my parents getting quite a few games, not just for me but for the family to use. They bought The Legend of Zelda, Rad Gravity, TMNT and Super Off Road. Looking back I am glad I never clocked up the number of houses I spent on these games!

I was quite lucky because around the same time my uncle bought an NES for my cousin, they only bought games that we didn't have and vice versa. Every time we visited each others house we would come away with a different game that we would borrow for a few weeks. This meant I had access to quite a few games.

I sometimes wish I was a bit older so I could have experienced the gaming machines that shaped the gaming world, however, I am proud that my first console was the iconic NES. The memories I have playing this growing up are epic!



Carl


My first memories of gaming were a little bit before Dan, well that's only because I'm a little older than him. Like he mentioned above his uncle had a C64 and A Spectrum ZX, well I had them and I thought I was the king of my street, I was the only one who had a computer and I also had a chipped Cable box, so you can imagine how popular my household was. 

After the C64 I upgraded to an Amiga and also the Sega Master System. On the Amiga, I used to love games like Lemmings, Bubble Bobble but my favourite game had to be SWOS... I once scored a header from the halfway line with Ryan Giggs. and on the Master System, the list of games is endless, I played all of the Alex the Kid series and loved all of them, games like Streets Of Rage, Golden Dragon, like I say the list is far too long for me to write about but one of my best memories is one day messing around pressing the buttons on the control pad playing Mortal Combat and suddenly enabling blood mode... it to the game to another level when FINISH HIM! sounded and you pulled the finishing move out of the bag and the screen became covered in blood!

Then I moved on to the Mega Drive and Entered the world of Sonic, Wonder Boy and all of the other popular games. Then when I started work, when I was around 16 I bought my very first PC from Tiny Computers and started playing games like Settlers, and Civ and of course this is when I started playing Champ Manager and that was my life ruined for the next few years. 

Then my gaming life stopped for a good few years because I found beer and nightclubs. the next gaming system I got was the Xbox 360 and then the Xbox One and the only games I ever played were Fifa And COD... until we had our second child and I decided I needed a hobby... Which brings me to know... and about £2.500 later with a beast gaming PC playing PUBG!


What was your first gaming memory/console? Comment below to let us know!


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1 February 2019

Battle Of The Giants

If there’s one thing we love it’s a new game but spoilt for choice as we are, where we play and what we play on is fast becoming the question of tech lovers everywhere. If you play on your PC, you might have been savvy enough to get your geforce rtx 2070, if not you need to know the answer to the age-old debate: who will win the fight between the versatile Xbox One and the mighty PlayStation 4 (PS4).
We could, of course, say that it all boils down to personal preference but that’s a bit of a cop out, so instead let’s take a look at the cold, hard facts.
Image courtesy of Pexels

In the red corner…the PS4
For a start, it just looks superb. It’s sleek and stylish and has that design that marks it out as a Sony product from the off. But we all know looks aren’t everything right, so what else can this gaming giant offer?
The main draw of the PS4 is that it was simply made to showcase games in the best possible way. Its speed and capabilities are breathtaking. The controller alone offers the player instant and responsive play, coupled with the capability to plug in a headset into the controller itself for online interaction. It’s simply a smart option.
When it comes to the actual games, the PS4 has nailed the range of exclusive titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War.
If there are any downsides to the PS4 it’s that it doesn’t have the ability to play games from the PS3 or older versions, which is seriously annoying if you’ve built up quite a collection.
And in the blue corner…the Xbox One
This powerful gaming console knows from the off that it can’t match the PS4 for exclusivity when it comes to games, so instead it relies on the old favourites such as Halo, to keep its fan base loyal.
It also has the advantage of allowing its collection of games to be back compatible so, unlike the PS4, you’ll be able to play older games on newer models.
One big draw is the number of Apps you can download to make your Xbox One so much more than just a game console. You can stream music and video through Netflix and Spotify and have access to news and entertainment as well. As a versatile piece of technology and not just a console, it certainly has the edge.
So, who wins? In terms of sheer gameplay, it has to be the PS4 but for a family console that comes with so much more, the Xbox One comes a very close second.
But watch this space because as early as next year, we’re likely to see the new and improved PS5 battling it out with the newest Xbox, codenamed Scarlett and who knows what new improvements these two giants will bring in to pit against each other. It’s an exciting time to be a gamer, that’s for sure.


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