These new smart glasses can teach people about the world thanks to generative AI

It was only a matter of time before someone added generative AI to an AR headset and taking the plunge is start-up company Brilliant Labs with their recently revealed Frame smart glasses.

Looking like a pair of Where’s Waldo glasses (or Where’s Wally to our UK readers), the Frame houses a multimodal digital assistant called Noa. It consists of multiple AI models from other brands working together in unison to help users learn about the world around them. These lessons can be done just by looking at something and then issuing a command. Let’s say you want to know more about the nutritional value of a raspberry. Thanks to OpenAI tech, you can command Noa to perform a “visual analysis” of the subject. The read-out appears on the outer AR lens. Additionally, it can offer real-time language translation via Whisper AI.

The Frame can also search the internet via its Perplexity AI model. Search results will even provide price tags for potential purchases. In a recent VentureBeat article, Brilliant Labs claims Noa can provide instantaneous price checks for clothes just by scanning the piece, or fish out home listings for new houses on the market. All you have to do is look at the house in question. It can even generate images on the fly through Stable Diffusion, according to ZDNET

Evolving assistant

Going back to VentureBeat, their report offers a deeper insight into how Noa works. 

The digital assistant is always on, constantly taking in information from its environment. And it’ll apparently “adopt a unique personality” over time. The publication explains that upon activating for the first time, Noa appears as an “egg” on the display. Owners will have to answer a series of questions, and upon finishing, the egg hatches into a character avatar whose personality reflects the user. As the Frame is used, Noa analyzes the interactions between it and the user, evolving to become better at tackling tasks.

Brilliant Labs Frame exploded view

(Image credit: Brilliant Labs)

An exploded view of the Frame can be found on Brilliant Labs’ official website providing interesting insight into how the tech works. On-screen content is projected by a micro-OLED onto a “geometric prism” in the lens. 9To5Google points out this is reminiscent of how Google Glass worked. On the nose bridge is the Frame’s camera sitting on a PCBA (printed circuit board assembly). 

At the end of the stems, you have the batteries inside two big hubs. Brilliant Labs states the frames can last a whole day, and to charge them, you’ll have to plug in the Mister Power dongle, inadvertently turning the glasses into a high-tech Groucho Marx impersonation.

Brilliant Labs Frame with Mister Power

(Image credit: Brilliant Labs)

Availability

Currently open for pre-order, the Frame will run you $ 350 a pair. It’ll be available in three colors: Smokey Black, Cool Gray, and the transparent H20. You can opt for prescription lenses. Doing so will bump the price tag to $ 448.There's a chance Brilliant Labs won’t have your exact prescription. They recommend to instead select the option that closely matches your actual prescription. Shipping is free and the first batch rolls out April 15.

It appears all of the AI features are subject to a daily usage cap. Brilliant Labs has plans to launch a subscription service lifting the limit. We reached out to the company for clarification and asked several other questions like exactly how does the Frame receive input? This story will be updated at a later time.

Until then, check out TechRadar's list of the best VR headsets for 2024.

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These new Intel drivers for Windows 11 fix a major Wi-Fi problem – so download them now

New drivers for Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices have just been released by Intel aimed at resolving several network issues, like the dreaded blue screen of death popping up under heavy workloads or the ‘No Wi-Fi networks found’ pop-up when connecting to Miracast devices. 

According to Neowin, the drivers will also address other bugs creeping up on some user's devices including a Windows System Event ID 5002 and 5010. 

The former code usually appears when the DFS Replication (a role in Windows Server that lets you replicate folders across folders and sites) is unable to establish communication with the desired partner. Windows System Event 5010 refers to an event that is caused when a process serving an application stops responding to a ping. 

Better safe than sorry

The above bugs seem to be triggered after users' PCs are resuming from standby or restart mode, which is… pretty often. You can download the Intel Wi-Fi driver 23.20.0 from the official site and bat the blue screen of death away. Not only are these kinds of bugs relatively annoying to have to deal with – especially if you’re constantly getting blue-screened for no real reason – but they also leave your devices vulnerable to viruses. 

Even if you haven’t noticed these bugs on your device just yet, we still recommend downloading the drivers anyway just to stay on the safe side. 

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These fake Blue Screen of Death mock-ups highlight a serious problem with Windows 11

Windows 11 getting a redesigned BSOD – the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that pops up when a PC crashes – might be a joke on X (formerly Twitter) right now, but it highlights a serious issue.

OK, 'joke' might be a strong word, but the BSOD mock-ups presented by Lucia Scarlet on X are certainly tongue-in-cheek, featuring colorful emojis which are rather cutesy – not what you really want to see when your PC has just crashed and burned.

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That said, the overall theme of the design, giving the BSOD a more modern look, isn’t unwelcome, even if the emojis aren’t appropriate in our book.

That said, there are comments in the threads of those tweets that highlight how some folks are disappointed that these aren’t real incoming redesigns for Windows 11. In some cases, there are people who appreciate a more friendly emoji appearing, as opposed to the frowny face (a text-based one, mind) which has been present on BSODs.

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Analysis: The blue screen blues

That disappointment is likely, at least in part, to be a more general indicator of the level of dissatisfaction with the BSOD – particularly in regards to the lack of information the screen provides, and shortfalls with the help that is supplied.

When a BSOD appears, it’s usually highly generic, and tells the Windows 11 (or Windows 10) user very little – you’ll read something like “a problem happened” with no elaboration on exactly what went wrong.

Meaningless error messages (known as stop codes that can pop up elsewhere in Windows 11, too) which are a jumble of hexadecimal letters and numbers might be cited, or a techie reference to a DLL perhaps, none of which are likely to be a jot of help in discerning what actually misfired in your system.

Never mind visual redesigns, Microsoft improving the info and help provided with BSODs would be the biggest step forward that could be taken with these screens. We've witnessed one innovation in the form of the QR codes provided – as seen in the mock-ups above – but these were introduced way back in 2016, and haven’t progressed much in the best part of a decade, often linking through to not fully relevant or up-to-date information.

We feel there’s definitely more Microsoft could do to improve BSODs, and in fairness, a more modern touch for the visuals wouldn’t hurt – though there’s another thought that occurs. Should we still be getting full system lock-ups at this point in the evolution of desktop operating systems?

Ideally not, of course, but to be fair to Microsoft, BSODs are definitely a whole lot less common these days than in the past. For those who do encounter them, though, we have a handy Blue Screen of Death survival guide.

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I’m finally going to use these Chrome extensions to save me money in 2024

Let’s face it, almost everyone could use a bit of help saving money these days, with the cost-of-living crisis and various inflationary pressures still kicking around globally, alongside other factors that can make finances a struggle.

I’ve certainly been counting the pennies here and there, but one area where I’ve slacked off is with web browsing. I have, of course, been aware that there are ways to save money using extensions for my chosen web browser – Chrome – but I just haven't got round to doing anything about it, or installing any of those helpful add-ons.

That’s all about to change. Read on to see the extensions that I’m going to enlist in an effort to save me a bit of cash over the course of 2024, in case you might want to follow in my footsteps.

Honey, I shrunk the price tag

Why haven’t I used Chrome extensions to help with online shopping before? It’s a good question, and one that I don’t have a good answer for. ‘Procrastination’ about sums it up, though.

Anyway, for money-saving, the recommendation from my fellow colleagues (TechRadarians, if you will) is that one of the most important extensions that I should make a beeline for is Honey (pun fully intended, in all its awfulness).

A laptop screen showing the Honey Chrome extension

(Image credit: Honey)

What’s Honey? It’s an extension from PayPal that’s essentially an online shopping assistant, so when buying a product in Chrome, Honey will also scour the web for coupons for the best discount. These can then be applied and one way or another, I’m hoping I’ll save a bit of cash. Plus it’s possible to get cashback reward points on top, as a bonus, for those who have a PayPal account in ‘good standing’ (but only with participating retailers).

There will likely only be small savings here and there, but as they say, it all adds up, and over the course of next year I’m hoping to be a noticeably better off by the time the online shopping dust settles.

Camel companion

3 tips for saving money with your Windows PC

1. Power settings
Type ‘power’ in the search box on the taskbar and click on the option for ‘Power and sleep settings.’ In here, you can set your monitor and PC to go to sleep after a short while of not being used, making some power savings on your energy bill.
2. Power settings part deux
While in the ‘Power and sleep’ panel, check out the ‘Additional power settings’ link which allows you to specify more frugal power plans if you really want to cut the running cost of your PC (but remember, doing so will impact performance).
3. Tab taming
One of TechRadar’s best Chrome extensions, Tab Wrangler is great if you’re a tab addict like me. It automatically closes tabs that aren’t being used (but you can easily fire them up again), helping to save a tiny bit of power usage.

The Camelizer is another extension I intend to bag in the new year as a partner to Honey for saving money on my online shopping. It's widely used by the TechRadar team all year round, but particularly during shopping events like Prime Day and Black Friday.

The Chrome add-on is particularly handy for anyone like myself who’s a Prime member and orders regularly from Amazon – because it tracks historical Amazon pricing.

For most Amazon products, the extension serves up a graph of how its pricing has dropped, and risen, over time. That way, I can be sure of whether any item really is at a good price, or if it might be likely to drop a good chunk again (perhaps at the next big sale), so I can wait and save more if that’s a likely prospect. This extension also gives me the ability to have an alert piped through if a product drops to a certain price level – pretty nifty.

A laptop screen on a green background showing The Camelizer Chrome extension

(Image credit: Future)

If you're in the US, the aforementioned Honey does also have a price tracking feature for Amazon. I live in the UK, though, and Honey won’t track anything but Amazon.com (US) pricing – so myself, and everyone else across the globe, needs an alternative. 

The Camelizer extension (and another alternative, Keepa) are built especially for this purpose, and provide more detailed info on price history than Honey (including third-party marketplace listings, and second-hand prices for that matter).

Cashing in with cashback

Lastly, another recommendation given to me by TechRadar's online shopping whizzes has been TopCashback. The savings made with this service – in the form of cashback returns, as you might guess, on purchases – can really add up. I’ve seen the evidence of this, and don’t need any more convincing – moreover, the Chrome extension is a great way to access these benefits.

The idea is simple: a load of companies sign up with TopCashback and when anyone makes purchases from those retailers, TopCashback gives the buyer a certain percentage of cashback on the outlay.

With the normal service, the user needs to go to the TopCashback website and search for the retailer to see if they’ve signed up to the scheme, and what items might apply. It’s all a bit clunky, but the beauty of the Chrome extension is that it automatically checks any site visited and flags available cashback offers on products, which is much more convenient.

A laptop screen on a green background showing the TopCashback Chrome extensions

(Image credit: Future)

To get cashback, all you need to do is click the ‘activate’ prompt that pops up when buying something. This Chrome add-on also flags up some voucher codes as a bonus.

The slight catch with the extension is that not every retailer is supported. But most are, and the convenience aspect is what swings it for me. I don’t really fancy having to constantly navigate to the website to perform pre-purchase searches (and realistically, I’ll probably forget to do so half the time anyway).

I'm also going to risk the temptation of filling up my Chrome toolbar with more extensions than the three that I've mentioned (Honey, The Camelizer and TopCashback). While I'm aware that there are countless others (including Rakuten, Fakespot and more), I'll be starting the year with that golden trio – and if you fancy saving some money in 2024, you should too.

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Turn your iPhone into an iPod Classic with these brilliant lock screen wallpapers

Software designers Oliur and Shane Levine have released a series of wallpapers that convert the lock screen on your iPhone into an iPod Classic.

It’s a real blast from the past. The collection is known as the iPod Wallpaper Pack, consisting of “12 high-definition wallpapers” sporting a multitude of colors. Just to name a few of the shades, you'll get the classic silver look, black, turquoise, hot pink, and lime green. But one of our favorite aspects of these covers is the attention to detail the designers gave each of them.  

Color iPods on iPhone display

(Image credit: Oliur)

One wallpaper is completely covered by heart and flower stickers, and it looks exactly like something your little sister would do to your iPod. Another has carefully placed stickers around the click wheel: AC/DC in one corner with Rockstar Games in the other. Plus, we like how a few of the selections have scratches and chipped-off paint because who among us did not drop their iPod multiple times? 

iPod on iPhone display with scratches and stickers

(Image credit: Oliur)

Availability

The date and time will hover around the same location – somewhere near the top of the screen with battery life over in the top right corner. There’s even a little bit of room for widgets in the iPod display.

Oliur’s iPod Wallpaper Pack is currently available for $ 14 on its official website. Upon purchase, the images will be placed into a 58 MB ZIP file that needs to be extracted to be used. According to tech news site T3, you can save the wallpapers by uploading them to your iCloud account if you’re buying them on your iPhone. 

If you’re curious about what happened to iPods, Apple officially retired the series back in May 2022 with the final model being the 7th generation iPod Touch. The company continued to sell the device for a little while on its online store, however, if you go on there today, it’s completely gone. It’s sold out. Nowadays if you want an iPod, you’ll have to try your luck on a third-party retailer like Amazon or Walmart.

Or better yet: get yourself something more modern. If you want recommendations, check out TechRadar’s roundup of the best MP3 player for 2023.  

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These are the 10 best Android apps of the year – according to Google

2024 is about a month away, and to celebrate the end of the year, Google has named the winners of the Google Play’s Best of 2023 Awards.

For the sake of brevity, we're going to primarily focus on the best Androids apps as the company introduced a new categories for this year, such as Best with AI and Best Multi-device App. This caused the list to grow by a significant amount so we couldn’t include the likes of the best Chromebook or best tablet apps (If you’re curious to know, the winner of the best Chromebook app is FlipaClip, software that can help people create 2D animation, and the winner for best tablet app is Concepts, a vector-based drawing tool).

Google states the list on its blog is centered around the American winners. Other countries are said to have different winners. However, when we looked at other region, the entries matched the US list except for a single outlier which we’ll shout out later on.

Android Apps of the Year

1. Imprint: Learn Visually

Imprint: Learn Visually

(Image credit: Future)

Google has given the Best App of 2023 award to Imprint: Learn Visually, an education software that strives to teach you new skills and the world around you in bite-sized lessons. It offers a personalized experience where you can learn about topics that interest you from human history to psychology. And Imprint does this via eye-catching visual storytelling. 

2. Spotify

Spotify

(Image credit: Future)

Spotify has earned the Best Multi-device App award for allowing music streaming across a variety of locations – be it in the kitchen, on the commute to hike, or out on the town. The company highlights the service’s ability to “remotely control playback on another device”. Plus, you can download your favorite songs for offline listening. What’s interesting, it's the only music streaming app on the whole list.

3. ChatGPT

ChatGPT

(Image credit: Future)

At the beginning of November, Google allowed people to come in to vote for what they believed was the best app of the year. Winning the Users’ Choice Award is ChatGPT, which isn’t surprising in our opinion. ChatGPT took the world by storm in 2023 as one of the premiere generative AI platforms and whose technology fuels Microsoft’s Bing Chat. On top of that, 2024 is shaping up to be a big year for it.

4. Bumble For Friends: Meet IRL

Bumble For Friends

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking to make new friends or have recently moved to a different city, the company recommends installing Bumble For Friends (BFF for short) on your smartphone. It differs from the regular Bumble app as it doesn't focus on helping you find dates. Instead, BFF is all about helping you make genuine friendships, as the name suggests, with others in your local area

5. Voidpet Garden: Mental Health

Voidpet Garden

(Image credit: Future)

Voidpet Garden: Mental Health won the Best for Personal Growth award and it’s pretty unique. Its goal is to help you practice mindfulness and self care as a way to improve your mental health. It does this in a Pokemon-esque manner by having you collect Void Pets which are said to be creatures born from negative emotion. You raise these creatures by completing tasks in order to turn them into celestial-looking dragons with each representing a positive attribute about the user.

6. Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity

Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity

(Image credit: Future)

Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity is similar to Imprint: Learn Visually in that it’s an app that can teach users about the world, but it does so in a different way. The service functions like X’s (formerly known as Twitter) Explore page by offering a curated stream of news articles from across the internet. It covers a variety of topics like the tech industry, politics, and gaming. Users even have the option to mark certain stories as clickbait for better curation.

In the UK, the award went to ReciMe, a social platform where home cooks share their family recipes.

7. Aware: Mindfulness & Wellbeing

Aware: Mindful & Wellbeing

(Image credit: Future)

Aware is another mental health app like Voidpet Garden although it takes a more grounded approach towards mindfulness. It’s a type of journaling software housing “science-based exercises [alongside] live guided sessions”. You don’t have to create an account, plus it’s totally free. No subscription necessary.

It’s worth mentioning this has the least amount of downloads out of everything on this roundup although we do expect it to grow exponentially since it won the Best Hidden Gem award.

8. Character AI: AI-Powered Chat

Character AI

(Image credit: Future)

Despite winning the Users’ Choice award, ChatGPT was effectively snubbed by Google as it didn’t get the crown for Best AI. That honor went to Character AI, an app filled with personality-driven chat bots that you can talk to. For example, you can talk to Amelia Earhart, Julius Caesar, or Poseidon, God of the Ocean. People can even talk to Whiskers the Cat. 

As you can probably guess, it’s not meant to be taken seriously. It aims to be a fun interactive experience – almost like a video game.

9. PAW Patrol Academy

For families, Google has given the nod to PAW Patrol Academy, an app where young kids ages two to five can learn problem-solving skills, gain confidence, and get in touch with their creative side. It features characters from the popular animated series in a variety of interactive adventures as well as clips from certain episodes. What’s more is it doesn’t need to connect to Wi-Fi so kids can enjoy it on the go.

PAW Patrol Academy

(Image credit: Future)

10. AWorld in support of ActNow

AWorld in support of ActNow

(Image credit: Future)

Rounding out the list of Google’s best Android apps for 2023 is AWorld in support of ActNow. Its purpose is to teach people how to counteract climate change by calculating their carbon footprint and learn how they can change their lifestyle to reduce the impact they may have on the environment. The software will recommend basic activities like planting trees to lessen carbon emissions or use natural products among other things. AWorld will also encourage you to join group challenges by completing a set number of environmentally-friendly actions.

And that’s Google’s list of recommendations.If you want to know what’s at the top on iOS, check out TechRadar’s roundup of the 14 best iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch of the year – according to Apple.  

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Windows Photos could finally catch up to Apple Photos with these new features

Windows Photos is getting a significant update that will introduce a selection of new features designed to improve user experience. 

According to Microsoft’s official blog post about the Photos improvements, users can expect features like in-depth search, background blur, location search, and ‘Motion Photos’ – think live photos on iPhones – which will bring a little life to the currently rather drab photo software. 

Background blur will surely be welcomed by Photos users who want to remove backgrounds from their photos, highlight certain subjects, or modify the area being blurred. To be honest, it may be cruel to say it, but like the majority of these updates, it’s about time. Many of the new features have already existed for a while on other platforms, most notably within Apple’s software ecosystem.

Get with the times, man

You’ll also be able to search for specific photos by the type of content within the photo. This means you can now type in things like ‘cat, car, beach, holiday’ and more, with the app attempting to identify and collate relevant images. You’ll have to log into your Microsoft account to be able to use the feature, and the blog post does warn that the enhanced search bar may not work right away. 

Other features to expect include live photos and location searches, which will help you find the right picture when you’re ready to reminisce (or plan your next vacation Instagram post). If you went to the beach, you can type in either ‘beach’ or the name of the specific beach, the city you visited, or just home and school. 

Microsoft seems to be on a roll recently, dishing out updates and new features across its product range, and it’s really good to see. With updates to Microsoft Edge, the continuing popularity of Bing AI, and now a Windows Photo refresh, we’re really eager to see what the company has to offer in the near future. 

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Microsoft pulls the plug on WordPad – these are the alternative text editors we recommend

Nearly thirty years ago, Microsoft unveiled WordPad, a basic text editing software that later often came pre-installed on Windows machines, but now it’s going the way of Windows Movie Maker and Internet Explorer, and getting discontinued. 

WordPad was packaged as a part of Windows 95, which was Microsoft’s flagship operating system back in the day, and has been included in each release of Windows since then. It allowed a user to perform basic text edits without any additional software, with capabilities like being able to include images and links to other files, and supported multiple popular text formats. 

Now, Microsoft has decided to retire WordPad, as detailed in an updated version of the latest Windows software documentation. It explains that as part of planned development lifecycles, some features get introduced and some get removed to improve user experience. To this end, WordPad will not see any new developments or updates, and it will be removed from Windows 11 in a future software update.

Windows 95

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A potential security risk

There is also speculation by Bleeping Computer that WordPad posed a security risk. Earlier in the year, some computers running Windows were infected with Qbot malware, which dodged detection by exploiting a hijacking flaw in the WordPad app for Windows 10.

So, despite our nostalgia for the software, it’s perhaps best if Microsoft does indeed drop it.

If you are an avid WordPad user, or just looking for some good free text editors, don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here are some alternative program recommendations you can get for free both from Microsoft and from third-party developers. 

Microsoft’s own recommendations 

Microsoft’s first recommendation is one you are probably already familiar with: Microsoft Word.

You can use Microsoft Word online for free with an Outlook account. You can then sign into Microsoft 365 online, accessing Microsoft’s cloud-based suite of Office apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also download Word as a standalone app with a Microsoft 365 subscription, but this is not free.

A screenshot of Microsoft 365 and all of the apps it offers.

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft Word continues to be a favorite choice for many users, offering a wealth of features for writing, editing and formatting text, as well as document sharing, and uses rich text file types, most notably .docx, a proprietary file type that not every text editor can open or edit. You can access Word online free here. 

Its second recommendation is another staple text editor that’s been featured in Windows for years: Notepad. It’s primarily intended for plain text documents such as .txt files. While WordPad is being dropped, Notepad continues to see updates to its functionality. 

You can now open multiple files at the same time with its new tabbed interface, have sessions be autosaved, and carry on working on a file in a different program like Word. 

Updated Notepad in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Notepad is a favorite tool among programmers, especially for developing Windows programs and applications. One big feature it doesn’t have besides the rich text format features is spell check, so it’s worth checking your text by copy and pasting it elsewhere.

If your device came with Windows installed on it, you should already have Notepad installed. You can search for it in the search box in your taskbar.

Free third-party substitutes for WordPad 

The first substitute I would recommend is a favorite among modern professionals and students: Google Docs. All you need is a Google account, which you can sign up for using any valid email address for free.

Microsoft Word does offer more layout and formatting options, but Google Docs is optimized for collaboration between users and changes are constantly saved in real time. If you’re already familiar with text editors, it’s pretty easy to pick up. It’s part of the Google Suite of apps that you can use in conjunction with Google Docs, such as Slide, Google’s presentation software.

A screenshot of the Google Docs starting screen.

(Image credit: Future)

Next up, I’d recommend LibreOffice Writer. LibreOffice is a suite of free open-source software that’s an alternative to Microsoft Office, and Writer is the suite’s word processing software that has a ton of text formatting and layout features, as well as compatibility with Microsoft Word document formats, including the newer .docx format.

LibreOffice also sees active development, and frequently receives updates and new features. LibreOffice has a polished interface that is very user-friendly, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

My final recommendation is WPS Office Writer. In order to get this, you’ll have to download WPS Office.

Once installed, you’ll either have to create or sign in with a WPS account, or alternatively you can sign in with Google, email, or Facebook.

WPS Office Writer has an interface that’ll be familiar to Microsoft Word users and it even has a built-in WPS AI assistant to improve your writing and help generate ideas (you can also download the WPS AI assistant separately).

You can then integrate WPS Office with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

Screenshot of WPS Office Writer software.

(Image credit: Future)

Other features that are being disabled 

There are other features that will also be discontinued in a future Windows update. Cortana, its voice assistant challenger to the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant, will be turned off

Microsoft is also ending support and functionality of the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) and it will be turning off the old Transport Layer Security to improve Windows 11’s security. Cortana’s been replaced by Microsoft Copilot, which debuted at this year’s Microsoft Build conference, and aims to bring artificial intelligence features to Windows 11 in the future.

A Microsoft Copilot page on a blue background

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The full details and explanation of changes, including the discontinuation of features, can be found in the full updated software documentation for Windows. As far as we know, Wordpad will remain functional and accessible until the Windows update is actually installed. Microsoft hasn’t yet specified a date for when this will be, however.

If you really miss WordPad, and are reluctant to use one of the programs I’ve listed above, Neowin speculates that Windows enthusiasts will likely do their best to preserve the program. Microsoft Paint was also headed for a similar fate, but after an outcry from users described by Bleeping Computer, it wasn’t killed off entirely, and made available for download in the Microsoft Store. If there’s enough demand, Microsoft may consider doing something similar to WordPad.

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Stopped using ChatGPT? These six handy new features might tempt you back

ChatGPT's AI smarts might be improving rapidly, but the chatbot's basic user interface can still baffle beginners. Well, that's about to improve with six ChatGPT tweaks that should give its usability a welcome boost.

OpenAI says the tweaks to ChatGPT's user experience will be rolling out “over the next week”, with four of the improvements available to all users and two of them targeted at ChatGPT Plus subscribers (which costs $ 20 / £16 / AU$ 28 per month).

Starting with those improvements for all users, OpenAI says you'll now get “prompt examples” at the beginning of a new chat because a “blank page can be intimidating”. ChatGPT already shows a few example prompts on its homepage (below), but we should soon see these appear in new chats, too.

Secondly, ChatGPT will also give you “suggested replies”. Currently, when the chatbot has answered your question, you're simply left with the 'Send a message' box. If you're a seasoned ChatGPT user, you'll have gradually learned how to improve your ChatGPT prompts and responses, but this should speed up the process for beginners.  

A third small improvement you'll see soon is that you'll stay logged into ChatGPT for much longer. OpenAI says “you'll no longer be logged out every two weeks”, and when you do log in you'll be “greeted with a much more welcoming page”. It isn't clear how long log-ins will now last, but we're interested to see how big an improvement that landing page is.

A bigger fourth change, though, is the introduction of keyboard shortcuts (below). While there are only six of these (see below), some of them could certainly be handy timesavers – for example, there are shortcuts to 'copy last response' (⌘/Ctrl + Shift + C) and 'toggle sidebar' (⌘/Ctrl + Shift + C). There's also an extra one to bring up the full list (⌘/Ctrl + /).

A laptop screen on a blue background showing the ChatGPT keyboard shortcuts

(Image credit: Future)

What about those two improvements for ChatGPT Plus subscribers? The biggest one is the ability to upload multiple files for ChatGPT to analyze. You'll soon be able to ask the chatbot to analyze data and serve up insights across multiple files. This will be available in the Code Interpreter Beta, a new tool that lets you convert files, make charts, perform data analysis, trim videos and more.

Lastly, ChatGPT Plus subscribers will finally find that the chatbot reverts to its GPT-4 model by default. Currently, there's a toggle at the top of the ChatGPT screen that lets you switch from the older GPT-3.5 model to GPT-4 (which is only available to Plus subscribers), but this will now remain switched to the latter if you're subscriber. 

Collectively, these six changes certainly aren't as dramatic as the move to GPT-4 in March, which delivered a massive upgrade – for example, OpenAI stated that GPT-4 is “40% more likely to provide factual content” than GPT-3.5. But they should make it more approachable for beginners, who. may have left the chatbot behind after the initial hype.


Analysis: ChatGPT hits an inevitable plateau

A laptop screen on a blue background showing the ChatGPT homepage

The move to GPT-4 (above), which is only available to Plus subscribers, was the last major change to ChatGPT. (Image credit: Future)

ChatGPT's explosive early hype saw it become the fastest-growing consumer app of all time – according to a UBS study, it hit 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after it launched. 

But that hype is now on the wane, with Similarweb reporting that ChatGPT traffic was down 10% in June – so it needs some new tools and features to keep people returning.

These six improvements won't see the chatbot hit the headlines again, but they will bring much-needed improvements to ChatGPT's usability and accessibility. Other recent boosts like the arrival of ChatGPT on Android will also help get casual users tinkering again, as ChatGPT alternatives like Google Bard continue to improve.

While the early AI chatbot hype has certainly fizzled out, thanks to reports that the ChatGPT will always be prone to making stuff up and some frustrations that it's increasingly producing 'dumber' answers, these AI helpers can certainly still be useful tools when used in the right way.

If you're looking for some inspiration to get you re-engaged, check out our guides to some great real-world ChatGPT examples, some extra suggestions of what ChatGPT can do, and our pick of the best ChatGPT extensions for Chrome.

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Microsoft Launcher’s latest update is causing issues, especially for these users

Microsoft Launcher’s latest June update has been giving users plenty of trouble, especially if they happen to be using a Surface Duo.

The update, released on June 27, 2023, has already amassed plenty of posts from Reddit and Twitter users about their devices not working properly with Microsoft Launcher. Though it’s a wide range of devices having issues, the Surface Duo seems to be the most common which, according to Windows Central, seems to be tied to a recent system update.

screenshot of microsoft launcher error

(Image credit: Reddit user /yugabe)

Right now, the only real solution has been to reset the launcher when prompted by the error message, though some users are apparently reporting that doesn’t work either. This could especially be a problem for Surface Duo as it’s that device’s only launcher, because if resetting doesn’t work then you might have to resort to customizing settings again. Other phone users can simply switch launchers when the error pops up, however, saving a bit of a headache.

TechRadar has reached out to Microsoft concerning this issue, and will update this story if and when we hear back from the company.

Surface Duo users getting the short stick

Microsoft Launcher was first released in 2015 as a beta under the name Arrow Launcher, and officially released in 2017 for both iOS and Android. It was an initiative made to make its devices as accessible as possible across platforms.

It’s generally a solid feature that allows users the option to integrate between Windows PCs and smartphones, especially for larger devices like the Surface Duo with more screen real estate that can better take advantage of the feature. 

However, for the Duo, this recent error proves that it should be able to switch launchers like other phones can, as Duo users who are experiencing this problem are stuck troubleshooting until Microsoft pushes out a fix. And it certainly can’t be fun having an otherwise functional device that you’re forced to constantly either reset or customize options on repeatedly. 

Hopefully, the tech giant will have answers for this soon, and even better, will ensure that Duo users will have other options going forward.

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