Threads is dead – can AI chatbots save Meta’s Twitter clone?

Meta is set to launch numerous artificial intelligence chatbots that will host different ‘personalities’ by September this year, in a bid to recoup faltering interest in the social media giant’s other products.

According to the Financial Times, these chatbots have been in the works for some time, with the aim of having more human conversations with users in an attempt to boost social media engagement.

The attempt to give various chatbots different temperaments and personalities seems like a similar attempt at a ‘social’ AI chatbot seen in Snapchat’s ‘My AI’ earlier this year, which created some mild buzz but quickly faded into irrelevance.

According to the report, Meta is even exploring a chatbot that speaks like Abraham Lincoln, as well as one that will dish out travel advice in the verbal style of a surfer. These new tools are poised to provide new search functions and offer recommendations, similar to the ways in which the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT is used.

It’s possible – likely, even – that this new string of AI chatbots is an attempt to remain relevant, as the company may be focused on maintaining attention since Threads lost more than half its user base only a couple of weeks after launching in early July. Meta’s long-running ‘metaverse’ project also appears to have failed to garner enough interest, with the company switching focus to AI as its primary area of investment back in March.

Regardless, we’ll soon be treated to even more AI-boosted chatbots. Oh, joy. 

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The Quest Pro series may be dead as Meta struggles to stay in the VR game

Meta has reportedly decided to cancel all future work on Quest Pro VR headsets including suspending all “development on the second-generation Quest Pro”. 

According to a recent report by The Information, sources close to the situation claim that Meta told its suppliers “earlier this year it won’t order any new components for” its high-end headset. GoerTek, the Chinese electronics company who manufactures the Quest Pro, will continue to do so “until the remaining inventory of [parts] runs out”. 

So once all the units have been made, that’s it. There may not longer be new Quest Pro units after this.

The Information points to several factors as to why the Quest Pro could be discontinued. For starters, it wasn’t all that well received. We liked the Quest Pro when it first came out, but apparently not enough people did as sales have been consistently weak. Even the $ 500 price cut wasn’t enough to save the headset so Meta may have decided to cut its losses. 

Development woes

The report goes on to say there have been lot of development problems, forcing the company to refocus their efforts.

The Information claims that Meta is working on a pair of AR glasses, code-named Orion. Originally, the glasses were supposed to use special microLED displays from British tech Plessey. However, the company had difficulties in reducing manufacturing defects as well as making those displays “bright enough for use”. Because of these issues, Meta is changing course by outfitting the Orion glasses with LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) screens  –  a piece of aging technology that, as TheVerge points out, was first seen in movie projectors during the 1990s.

Developmental woes don’t stop there as they affect Meta's other projects. Another pair of AR glasses in the work, code-named Artemis, was supposed to use silicon carbide in its construction to offer a wide 70 degree field of view. But complications arose forcing the company to use regular glass, shrinking its field of view down to 50 degrees. 

Quest Pro on table

(Image credit: Meta)

The report goes on to mention multiple failures, adding to skyrocketing costs. The pressure is mounting on the firm, and if that wasn’t enough, competition is getting fiercer as Apple revealed its Vision Pro VR headset during WWDC 2023, and it's shaping up to be an impressive piece of tech.

Some online publications speculate the Vision Pro is the sole reason why the Quest Pro is getting canceled. The prevailing theory is Meta worries it won’t be able to compete with Apple’s machine. While that may be one reason, the more likely culprit is the rising developmental issues exasperated by a middling response towards the Quest Pro.

Benefit of the doubt

We don't know for sure what Meta's plans are moving forward. The Information's report claims it's going to work on less expensive offerings like the Quest 2.

At the time of writing, Meta has yet to officially respond. We would like to give the company the benefit of the doubt, as it's also likely that the reports of the Quest Pro’s death have been greatly exaggerated. We reached out to Meta to see if it would like to make a statement about the report. This story will be updated at a later time.

If you’re interested in getting into VR, be sure to check out TechRadar’s on the best headsets for 2023. There are a lot of fairly inexpensive options out there.

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This Windows 10 version is officially dead – and Microsoft is now forcing upgrades

Windows 10 version 21H2 is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, so those still running that incarnation of the operating system need to act now.

As of yesterday, the last security update was released for Windows 10 21H2, namely the June cumulative update.

That’s the final bunch of fixes for vulnerabilities that’ll be provided to users still on 21H2, hence the need to upgrade in the next few weeks, before July’s round of patching happens (and you miss out if still on 21H2).

In a release health update, Microsoft informed us: “On June 13, 2023, Home, Pro, Pro Education and Pro for Workstations editions of Windows 10, version 21H2 will reach end of servicing. The upcoming June 2023 security update, to be released on June 13, 2023, will be the last update available for this version.”

At this point, PCs still running Windows 10 21H2 will have a forced update initiated before too long.

Microsoft explained: “Windows Update will automatically initiate a feature update for Windows 10 consumer devices and non-managed business devices that are at, or within several months of reaching end of servicing.”

Analysis: Enforced upgrades are a necessary evil

That forced update will push users to Windows 10 version 22H2, but of course, that has to happen. When the rug is pulled for support on an older version of Windows, and security updates are no longer provided, you shouldn’t keep the OS on your PC (unless you’re not going to connect to the internet at all).

Staying online with vulnerabilities present on your system (which is bound to happen in time, as new security flaws are discovered and not patched) is a foolish thing to do.

So, your choice is an upgrade to 22H2, or as Microsoft would prefer, you could make the leap to Windows 11. If, of course, your PC is capable of running Windows 11, which it may not be (if you have an older CPU, or your computer lacks TPM support – there may be ways around these problems, but such hardware upgrades can be fiddly, naturally).

As you may be aware, Windows 10 will not get any new features going forward – Microsoft is only supplying security updates now (and maybe the odd very minor feature tweak here and there, but nothing of any substance). All of this is part of Microsoft’s not-so-subtle pushing to get you to upgrade to Windows 11, an OS which has struggled with its pace of adoption compared to Windows 10.

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Zendesk’s plan to acquire SurveyMonkey is officially dead

Zendesk's billion-dollar plan to acquire Momentive, which runs the popular SurveyMonkey tool, has failed after its own shareholders rejected the proposal. 

The deal was worth around $ 4.1 billion, with the news coming just days after the CRM giant turned down a $ 16 billion offer to be acquired by a consortium of private equity firms. 

“While we were excited by the potential of this transaction to transform the customer experience and create stockholder value, we respect and appreciate the perspectives of our stockholders,” said Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svanek. 

Foiled bid

In a blog post, Svanek explained a little more about what made Momentive an attractive target and Zendesk's future plans. Zendesk's business is sound, he said, but could've been augmented by Momentive. 

“We planned to acquire Momentive as a way to accelerate our ability to deliver the future of customer intelligence,” he wrote. “While we will not be moving forward with that acquisition, we remain as committed as ever to helping our customers get more value out of their data.” 

Investor hostility 

The deal was sunk largely by activist shareholders who opposed it. The Wall Street Journal reported that Jana Partners, which owns 3%, and Janus Henderson, which owns 5%, both opposed the deal. Jana called it a “reactive and impulsive decision”. 

Faced with scepticism from its own shareholders, spending $ 4.1 billion is an impossible ask. Shareholders voted against the deal on February 25. 

For Momentive, the decision is not ideal. “While we are disappointed that Zendesk stockholders did not vote to approve the transaction, we are confident in our go-forward strategy,” said Monentive CEO Zander Laurie. 

It remains to be seen what direction the two companies take but with intense pressure in the CRM market, Zendesk needs to find a bold new plan. 

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Internet Explorer might not be entirely dead just yet

Internet Explorer may soon be set for a passage to the graveyard, but developers will be able to feel like they are still using the iconic software thanks to a new launch from its successor, Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft still offers an “Internet Explorer mode” in Chromium-based Edge, but has now released a new tool to allow developers to check whether their legacy websites will still work in the more recent browser.

Internet Explorer Driver allows those organizations or developers that still require the use of Internet Explorer 11 for backward compatibility of business-critical legacy websites or apps to make sure everything is still running smoothly, for now at least.

Internet Explorer Driver

Run alongside (and maintained by) browser automation experts at the Selenium Project, Internet Explorer Driver can be a great help to developers looking to keep legacy websites or apps running that little bit longer, Microsoft says.

“With just a few changes to an existing test that runs against Internet Explorer, you can get your tests running in Internet Explorer (IE) mode in Edge,” Zoher Ghadyali, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge, wrote in a blog post.

“By running your tests in IE mode, you will be able to verify that any legacy web content that runs in Internet Explorer will work as expected in IE mode in Microsoft Edge.”

Internet Explorer Driver supports C#, Python, Java, and JavaScript, and Microsoft says it will be supported until 2029, giving developers more than enough time to ensure their work is stable.

Microsoft does note that support for Internet Explorer 11 is still set to begin expiring from June 15 2022, and developers and organizations that still depend on the browser should start to transition to Microsoft Edge as soon as possible.

The company has already withdrawn Internet Explorer support for all Microsoft 365 apps, although some may still function via the browser, albeit with users seeing a severely diminished experience.

Even Google Search pulled support for Internet Explorer in October 2021, leaving the browser reliant on its own in-house Bing search, with support for Docs, Sheets, Slides and other Google Workspace apps removed in March 2021.

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How to watch The Walking Dead online: live stream season 10 anywhere

With Dante's identity being revealed, and the war between The Survivors and The Whisperers in full swing, it's safe to say that the first part of season 10 left us with an immense cliff-hanger. 

And now it's time for the much await second part – so keep reading as we tell you how to watch The Walking Dead online – no matter where on Earth you are.

So far the first part of the apocalypse has brought fresh new battles and challenges for the remainder of humanity. Whilst the mid-finale brought plenty of suspense and in true Walking Dead fashion, a very intense cliff-hanger, thanks to Alpha's mind games with the Survivors.

We've got too many questions that need answering, so if you're ready for the next part of the massacre keep reading as we tell you how to watch The Walking Dead online and on TV. And if you can't get access to the show on a TV in your country, then your best bet could be online using a VPN. Find out more below.

Watch The Walking Dead online from anywhere in the world:

If you're away from home, out of the country, you can still get your undead fix. This is possible using a VPN to get around the usual geo restrictions – so you can live stream The Walking Dead at the exact same time that it broadcasts in the US.

Which VPN is best for you? Our fave is ExpressVPN. And how do you use that to watch The Walking Dead online? Read on to find out all you need to know.

How to watch the The Walking Dead in the US:

To watch The Walking Dead season 10 in the US you can do it most easily with access to AMC itself which will air the show at 9/8c each week on Sunday night. 

However if you don't have cable, you can access AMC shows with an internet connection and a paid for service like DirectTV Now, Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. You can also watch all The Walking Dead Season 10 on Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, FandangoNOW and VUDU. Which means you can watch it on your laptop, smartphone, smartTV or tablet. 

The great news is that you can get free trials with some of these servers so if you want to try before you buy, that's an option too.

Not in the US this Sunday? Then don't feel like you need to miss out. Head back up to our instructions for how to watch via a VPN above, and then you can watch through your preferred online method above.

How to watch The Walking Dead in the UK:

You can watch The Walking Dead season 10 on Fox TV every Monday at 9pm BST. Fox TV is a paid for channel that is included on some Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk packages.

Beyond that you can also access the channel using a less commitment based service like Now TV. This lets you pay for a bundle for a period of time so you don't need to commit. For this you can opt for the Entertainment bundle for £8.99 per month which can be cancelled month to month and includes a one week FREE trial.

Not in the UK to watch? It's OK, you don't have to set it to record or rely on catching up – get your zombie fix by downloading a VPN and watching from wherever you are as described above.

Where can I watch old episodes of The Walking Dead?

It's never too late to start watching The Walking Dead with its nine seasons already completed and crammed full of excitement that never gets old. There are lots of ways to catch up:

US: You've got plenty of option so take you're pick! Here's a handy list of some of the most popular ones we've found: Google Play, iTunes, Fandago Now, Microsoft Xbox and Windows, Netflix, PlayStation Entertainment Network, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, Vudu and Amazon Video.

UK: NOW TV has every single Walking Dead episode ever made on its service, although you'd have to do A LOT of binge watching if you want to fit them all in to a single month's Entertainment Pass. However if you're an  Amazon Prime customer you can just go there to catch up on the first 9 seasons.

Everywhere else: If you've hunted high and low and still can't find anywhere showing the old 132 episodes(!) of The Walking Dead, then it might be worth giving a VPN a try to get access. Then you can potentially grab hold of them from a US or UK source.

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