Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category:

The End Of An Era, Say Goodbye To MSN Messenger

After 15 years of quality service and countless happy users Microsoft has finally decided to declare a surrender against the hordes of other chat applications that have driven its once famous MSN messenger into the ground.

Between Skype, Viber, Facebook Chat, WhatsApp and Snapchat its hard to see how Microsoft’s own instant messaging communication platform survived for so long. Until you remember what made it so great in the first place. No more signing off just to attract the attention of your current crush. No more loud and irritable pinging sounds. Still, MSN, you will be missed.

Introduced back in 1999 as a potential competitor for AOL’s AIM service by 2009, it had racked up an impressive 330 million active users. But reports suggested that the messengers US audience was falling rapidly. 8.3 million unique users were logged that year representing a huge 48% drop from the year before and a big reason to stop the service completely.

Users in China were the last to see it go with customers being seamlessly switched to Skype over the past week.


Messenger Reviver 2

Some fans and long time users are loyal to the very end having found ways to keep the messenger alive without resorting to the forced Skype download. Messenger Reviver 2 is a patch that allows you to keep using Windows Live Messenger. We tested it today, and we are pleased to say it works! Now all you have to do is find someone to chat on it with.

Messenger Reviver 2 automatically installs, repairs and/or modifies Windows Live Messenger 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008 as well as Windows Messenger to continue signing in despite being blocked by Microsoft.

Long live, Skype! But it’s only a matter of time before Viber takes over or Facebook gets one step closer to world domination.

MindQuest: Microsoft’s Obscene 2008 Recruitment Videos

It’s early 2008 and with the invention of the iPod Bill Gates has just realised that he may not have a complete monopoly on the electronics and computer markets after all. His plan? To realise a slew of strange adverts and an aggressive televised marketing campaign in the hopes of attracting a new generation of inventors and entrepreneurs into Microsoft’s already booming ranks.

The ads, most of which are set in the future year of 2035, depict a futuristic acid trip of a recruiter offering geniuses an opportunity to embark on a “Mind Quest”. In other words, a virtual tour of all the perks and benefits that working for a tech giant like Microsoft can get you. Similar to the famous ‘Wake up, Neo!‘ scene from The Matrix the adverts are clearly targeted at computer savvy silicon valley types.

Ben Abrahams, director of the project at Microsoft at the time gave the follow statement on the company’s motivations for the ads:

“We were asked to help recruit up-and-coming ace computer programmers before they get snatched up by Google and Facebook. We thought the only way for them to appear fresh would be to do something they never do, poke fun at themselves, specifically in the context of how they are viewed in the computing community. Somehow Microsoft let the concept through. This is the result.”

Adidas x Konbini: Customisable Shoes With The Mi ZX Flux App

Available from August 22nd of this year on all iOS and android smartphones comes adidas’ limited edition Mi ZX Flux application which customizes sneakers with almost any printed photographs of your choosing. It’s simple really, select a pic from your mobile and then scale, crop, place and rotate it on the shoe template. The app is even compatible with Instagram!


The shoes come in at roughly $105.00 per pair. It ain’t cheap but it is pretty damn awesome. Shipping is super quick too so in virtually no time at all you could be wearing your favourite Matisse painting, a picture of your dog or a selfie on your feet. With styling inspired by the iconic mid-’80s ZX runner, these men’s shoes combine a ZX 8000 outsole with a sleek woven upper, tonal laces and a moulded heel cage.


We swapped the classic three stripe design for our logo. And you can do it too. Go on. What are you waiting for? Design a pair here.

Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX – Blue, Red & Yellow


Screenshot: Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX


Screenshot: Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX


Screenshot: Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX


Screenshot: Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX


Screenshot: Konbini x Adidas #miZXFLUX

Are Video Games Inherently Sexist?

When it comes to women, video games get a bad rep. Despite the fact that more than 40% of gamers are women, video games are often viewed by the older generation as violent and pointless and by the younger generation as misogynistic toys, sole reserve of immature men or teenagers. Video games rarely feature strong independent female characters and when they do they usually have a silly objective like saving a man from captivity or simply getting married. But is this because boys buy and play more video games than girls? Or is it a result of an anti-female agenda in the gaming industry?

A few years ago, Ubisoft Games, creator and distributor of the Assassin’s Creed Franchise were forced to issue a statement when feminism activists called them out for creating a customisable character that could only be male. They responded in there next game by making the protagonist a half-French, half-African girl who fights against slavery.


Do Men Really Play More Video Games?

Of course, Assassin’s Creed is one of the only franchises to listen and react to the angry complaints made by its fans. Other games, like Grand Theft Auto and Duke Nukem actually rely on the macho cultures that perpetuate around their brand in order to sell their games. If women aren’t being treated as objects to be captured, rescued or possessed then they are being referred to in a derogatory way.

During an interview posted on Polygon creative director of Ubisoft Alex Amancio has recently stirred up the drama again by stating there will be no female playable character in their much anticipated Assassin’s Creed Unity game. When asked if it would be possible to play as a female assassin Amancio replied,

“To be very honest,we originally had planned to have female assassins in the game. And essentially we ran into the reality of production. It’s double the animations, double the voices, all that stuff, double the visual assets. It was a lot of extra production work, especially as the game has customisable avatars.”

Is this feminism gone too far? or are video game due for an more modern upgrade?

Women as Background Decoration

Read More >>> The New Legend Of Zelda Game Looks More Like GTA

Anytime Ale: Austin Beerworks Launch The Worlds First-Ever 99 Pack

A group of brewers from Austin, Texas, known collectively as Austin Beerworks, have partnered with Helms Workshop to pioneer the worlds first-ever 99 pack. One case, housing ninety-nine beers, will retail for the ludicrous price of $99.99 (approximately £60). Bargain!

Austin Beerworks Brewers

Austin Beerworks Brewers

On August 25, the American brewers partnered with creative agency Helms Workshop to christen their award-winning Peacemaker beer with a new name: landing on Anytime Ale. In addition to this celebratory event, the collaborators also launched their newly-titled products as the world’s first-ever 99 pack. Each monumental case (requiring probably three people to carry it) will comprise 99 cans of the Austin Beerworks Anytime Ale – retailing for $99.99.

“We wanted to launch the newly-named Peacemaker with our first official advertising campaign. While brainstorming with Helms Workshop – who do our stellar branding – we came up with the strategy that Anytime is a good time for a Peacemaker,” - says Michael Graham, cofounder of Austin Beerworks.

Watch their ridiculous launch video below, courtesy of Beef & Pie Productions and Source Pixel Foundry: featuring the mammoth case itself. The finished product landed on the front page of Reddit – even before the official launch.

Austin Beerworks – Peacemaker Anytime Ale from Beef and Pie Productions on Vimeo.

Obtaining one of these two-by-four-sized packs may require just a little more effort than visiting your nearest corner shop: you must follow Austin Beerworks on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and await further details on how to buy this excessive beer log. Details on purchasing will be confirmed later this week, with shipments starting Thursday (28/8).

Austin Beerworks Peacemaker Anytime Ale: The World’s First 99-Pack

Austin Beerworks Peacemaker Anytime Ale: The World’s First 99-Pack

Read More >>> Photographer Luke Stephenson Documents The Great British 99 Ice Cream

Burning Man Closes Its Gates As Thunderstorm Reigns Supreme

Police turned people away from Burning Man, a Nevada festival in Black Rock desert, after an influx of rainfall tarnished the desert basin un-drivable; barely walkable; and pretty much uninhabitable.

Promoters had previously warned that entrance to Gate Road could be closed until midday Tuesday, although updates indicate that roads reopened at 6am Tuesday morning (26/8).

Burning Man: Monday August 25 at 09:40

Burning Man: Monday August 25 at 09:40

Nearby gas-stations ran dry as thousands of cars begrudgingly made their way back to Reno whilst heavy downfall of rain from several hours of thunderstorms transformed Black Rock desert plains into un-bikable, un-drivable, and barely walkable sludge.

Hotels in Reno had reported a rise in numbers, although state that they won’t be capitalising on the tens of thousands entering their establishment – understanding and appreciating the upsurge of burners: in which attendees of the events are known as.

Attendee, Burning Man 2013. Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

Attendee, Burning Man 2013. Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

Attendees, Burning Man 2013. Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

Attendees, Burning Man 2013. Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

But what is Burning Man? Burning Man is a week-long annual event, which starts on the last Monday of August and ending the first Monday of September, in northern Nevada, United States. Taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy (which takes place on Saturday evening), the event is best-described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-express and radical self-reliance.

Organised by Black Rock City, LLC, Burning Man has been an integral part of the art community since 1986.

Burning Man '13 arts and music festival in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, August 30, 2013. Photo credit: Jim Bourg (Reuters)

Burning Man ’13 arts and music festival in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, August 30, 2013. Photo credit: Jim Bourg (Reuters)

Musician and photographer Roy Two Thousand filmed ‘Lake of Dreams’ at last years Burning Man festival. The video takes shape as an extensive time-lapse of 2013s festivities: using a variety of techniques including hyper-lapse and slow-motion photography to capture the true essence of the events. Watch the video below.

If can’t make the trip to Black Rock Desert, then you can watch the webcast of the event here, and keep up to date with Burning Man on Twitter for the latest updates regarding this year’s event.

Lake of Dreams from roy two thousand on Vimeo.

Promoters Launch Campaign To Convert Thames Fort Into A Nightclub

Minival, a team of Scottish promoters have launched a crowd-funding campaign to transform an abandoned nineteenth-century fort on the River Thames into a nightclub.

Grain Batter Tower

The 150-year-old sea defence, known as the Grain Tower Battery. Photo credit: SWNS News

This bomb-proof fort, know as Grain Tower Battery situates itself 1km off the Isle of Grain: sitting at the mouth of Thames Estuary. It was built in 1855 as part of battalion of coastal defences, protecting the Chatham and Sheerness dockyards: later going on to serve purpose in World War II.

During the 20th century, the building would gain an extension to comprise a series of red brick barracks and a concrete gun tower. If you ever wondered where the river from Eastenders starts, its here: Number 1, The Thames.

At high tide, the base of this structure becomes completely submerged under water, making accessibility only achieved by a half-mile walk at low tide – unless you have a boat or a helicopter. The property gained a great deal of attention after featuring on various agencies online.

It’s believed that Scott Rosario initially expressed interest in the property, setting up a campaign one day prior to a corresponding venture which gained extensive press coverage. Up until yesterday this project had £85, but now it appears they have more, after an offline donation of £150,000. Coming from ‘Ben Dover’ it’s believed to be a hoax.

The group who gained mass media attention however, where Aberdeen-based promoters Minival. Falling for the buildings charismatic, brutalist charm, they state plans to convert it into ‘Berghain in the middle of the sea’ – a place where the party never stops.

“Imagine a place you could go to, to get away from it all. With the worlds best DJ’s and music running continuously. A place where you are allowed the true freedom to express yourself among friends. Lets do this” – stated on their campaign page.

Grain Tower Battery. Photo credit: SWNS News

The fort is currently listed for sale at £500,000 and the group have ambitions to raise £750,000: for purchasing and renovations to get the building up to certain living standards. They state on their campaign page that this will be an ‘all-or-nothing’ deal, so donations will be refunded if they don’t reach their goal. If they do reach their goal and you pledge £5 or more, you will be entitled to become a ‘Fort member for life’.

Watch the video below for images taken from a drone camera: taken one year ago via Youtube.

From Stigma To Style: Female Tattoo Culture In Modern History

Ultimate expression of individualism and creativity? Or a relatively cheap way to piss off your dad? Pure artistic statement? Or a symbol of feminine empowerment?

No matter where you stand on the issue of female tattoo culture, the fact remains that tattoos are more popular amongst women now than they have ever been. Whilst tattoos on girls is by no means a new phenomena,  it is more prevalent today and far more widely accepted by society at large.


Maud Wagnar – 1901

Historically in Western society, tattoos signified cultural deviance or rebellious behavior and those who were tattooed were often stigmatized or marginalized as a result. Nowadays tattooing tends to focus just as much on the motivations behind the practice; on notions of decoration, protection, ritual and identification as it does on “body art”.

But whilst tattoos used to stereotypically make men sexier, too many tattoos could make a women seem intimidating. You only have to visit to see that this is no longer the case today. Tattoos on girls are more “in” than they have ever been and alternative female beauty is being celebrated in the mainstream unlike ever before.

Bodies of Subversion, a book by Margot Mifflin, was the first photographic history of women’s tattoo art when it was first released in 1997. Sixteen years later and the book is still performing in print selling more copies than ever before.

In the book it is suggested the Queen Victoria may have had a tattoo on her vagina and that Winston Churchill’s mother was alleged to have been tattooed. In fact, famous tattooed figures are perhaps the best way to examine how the culture has changed over the eras…


Gus Wagnar, Maud’s Husband, & Client 1910

The Wild West – Olive Oatman

If the ancient Greeks were the first people to denounce the tattoo as “uncivilised” when they met their neighbours the ancient Thracians, then it wasn’t until some 2000 years later, with the story of Olive Oatman, that the idea of the tattoo as savage became engrained in our collective imagination.

Olive was raised the daughter of a Mormon family in the American west sometime around 1850. Her family were killed when she was only fourteen and she was sold into the slavery of the Mojave people – a Native American tribe. The tale of Oatman came to be retold in her “memoirs” and speeches as well as in novels, in plays and in popular later movies. The story resonated greatly with the American media, partly owing to the “prominent blue tattooing of Oatman’s face”. Years later the story continues to be circulated with particular emphasis on the monstrosity of her tattoos and perceived barbarism of her tattooers.

Olive Oatman

Olive Oatman 1895

Victorian America – Maud Wagner

Maud Wagner was a contortionist, working a traveling circus when she met Gus Wagner—a tattoo artist who described himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America“. The two were destined to fall in love and to travel the nation together pioneering what would later become American tattoo culture.

Somewhat surprisingly, inviting a tattoo artist to entertain you in your drawing room was a serious past time for many of the women from rich families. Maud Wagner is just one dramatic example of how prevalent inked skin was at the time amongst upper class women. At first only an apprentice of her husband Maud later graduated to the status of ‘artist’ herself. Together the two are widely credited with bringing tattoo artistry inland, away from the American coastal cities and towns where the practice had started and where, without the Wagners, it may well have died.


1950′s London – Jessie Knight

The Kat Von D of her day, Jessie Knight was Britain’s first professional female tattoo artist. She won the Champion Tattoo Artist of All England in 1955, way before it was commonplace for women to take up tattooing as a full time profession. She clearly laid some serious foundations for the future wave of female tattoo artists working today. Jessie and her work define the 50′s pin up style of the time precisely.



Julia Gnuse, The World’s Most Tattooed Woman

In Burma’s hilly Chin province, women have sported full-facial and body tattoos for generations, an ancient cultural tradition and rite of passage for many – it can also be seen as a sign of beauty, strength and pride. Julia Gnuse is an interesting example of how this practice has morphed, coming full circle today by being incorporated, if only by a few people, into Western tattoo culture. Cartoon art depicting the faces of pop culture characters like Snoopy and Charlie Brown have been worked into Julia’s skin in a similar tribal style to the Chilean full body covering.

This officially makes Julia the most tattooed woman alive and probably the most tattooed woman ever to have lived.


From Female To Male: Wynne Neilly’s Photographic Gender Transformation

With his photographic series From Female To Male, a young transgender artist Wynne Neilly takes us to the heart of his physical transformation.

On August 16th, it will be a complete year since Reilly injected his first dose of hormones, a ritual that he repeats each week. “The changes appear just like a teenager in puberty: it’s as if I was growing by the second” he enthuses.


In recent years, this Canadian artist, 23, has been made a graduate of Visual Arts at Ryerson University and has also photographed the gay community in Toronto. He wants to “satisfy his frustration” and “immortalize intimately his body” as part of the complete transgender change.

“I never managed to get close to someone who made ​​a physical transformation they were able to fully document.

Upon entering this milestone in his life, his “second puberty,” he felt the he need carry on through his art of choice – photography. The problem was that Wynne had to separate from his digital camera in order to be able to afford the expensive breast surgery.

So, equipped with cheap Polaroids obtained from his friends and roommates he took a picture every Friday, the day he injected his hormones. During the early shots, he perhaps didn’t realise the impact that his photos would have later on: for him, they served the sole purpose of a personal journal. Since then, the project has been made public.

On July 23 in an exhibition was held at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, the university where he studied. The city has since hosted the summer 2014 World Gay Pride. An event that takes place every five years in a different city worldwide to raise support for LGBT people around the world.


“There is a part of me that still nervous at the moment to show my work and one that is even more nervous when I answer interviews and articles that are written on my work. When it happens, I try to think about my initial goal: to document the experiences and the bodies of trans.

Wynne-24th-shot-810x635“My goal? That people are more informed.”

Although anxious, Wynne is very interested in feedback from people who have seen the show, especially since they are usually very positive.

“Many people have told me that they had a profound reaction on seeing the photos on display. It’s really amazing to feel that this project, in which I gave a part of myself, can move people.” 6081bfdb6439aad0a8a5da43fc46fcd1-810x640Wynne-52ndshot-810x654The young man recognizes that living in Canada and being trans is easier than in other parts of the world. Although all is not entirely rosy. For despite widespread tolerance throughout the country, “sex reassignment surgery and hormones are not recognized by the government as a medical need and are often not covered by health care systems.” This is compounded by discrimination in employment or in life everyday for some trans.

Therefore, he hopes that his series “Female to male” will allow people to better understand and appreciate their everyday life and the spectrum in their wider community.

“I think art can help create a common base and an accessible platform that can allow society at large to better understand the queer and trans identities. My goal is that people are more informed about trans people after seeing my work.”


TATE Britain Will Let You Explore Their Gallery At Night With A Robot!

Starting tonight, a one-of-a-king fusion of art, history and technology will unfold and will continue across the next few nights in London, England. After partnering with RAL, a space engineering company, The Tate Britain will play host to four roving exploration robots which you will be able to control online allowing anyone to explore the gallery late at night.

After Dark, as the project has been named, was created by design studio The Workers. It is the winning project of the IK Prize 2014, which is an annual prize presented by Tate in order to celebrate digital creativity and widen access to art.

The project is designed to recreate the experience of exploring “where you’re not supposed to” should shed some new light on the litany of famous artwork on display.

On Wednesday 13, Thursday 14 and Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 between 22.00 BST and 03.00 BST, you can log in to view the robots on their journey through the artworks and even remotely control their movements. If your kids (or you) can’t stay up that late, Friday 15 is the night for you, when the robots will be taking a turn about the galleries between 19.30 BST and 00.30 BST.



A Robot’s Eye View


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