Tech News

Facebook Brings Bots to Messenger, HTC Launches the HTC 10… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 13-04-2016

Facebook wants you to message bots, an introduction to the HTC 10, Microsoft makes the Blue Screen of Death useful, Periscope lets you doodle on your live streams, and the Flyboard Air flies through the air.


Facebook Is All About the Bots

Facebook wants to populate Messenger with bots, and it wants you to spend your time talking to these bots. To that end, Facebook has launched a bot platform developers can use to create and employ bots within Messenger. This effort, called Bots for Messenger, follows hot on the heels of Microsoft announcing a similar move at Build 2016 Highlights From Microsoft Build 2016, Your USB Cable Could Be Dodgy... [Tech News Digest] A guide to the latest Microsoft happenings, Amazon is cracking down on USB-C cables, the FBI's iPhone crackers, Google Photos lets you edit photos, and the scariest AI short you'll ever see. Read More .

Bots for Messenger has already produced its first bots, which anyone using the latest version of Messenger can now try for themselves. These include Poncho the weather bot, a 1-800-Flowers bot, CNN and WSJ news bots, and an HP bot designed to help users accomplish tasks. Other companies, including Bank of America, eBay, Burger King, and Staples are also actively working on bots.

The problem, as discovered by anyone actually using these bots, is they’re not very good at what they do. Poncho the weather bot will tell you the weather “within an hour,” and others take several minutes to respond to requests. By which time you will have opened your Web browser and Googled whatever it is you’re looking for. And a lot more besides.

Still, Facebook Messenger’s bots are only 24 hours old, and like any newborn, they’re bound to be useless until they’re educated in the ways of the world. The only question that remains then is, “Does anyone actually want to spend their days talking to bots?” Facebook and Microsoft clearly both think so, but I remain about as skeptical of bots as I am of virtual reality HTC Vive Review: Virtual Reality is Finally a Thing The HTC Vive for Steam VR redefines gaming, and more besides. It's the closest thing to a Holodeck I've ever seen. And it's absolutely incredible. Read More .

A First Look at the HTC 10

HTC has launched its new flagship smartphone for 2016, simply called the HTC 10. While a new handset from HTC doesn’t get the same level of press attention as a new handset from Apple or Samsung, the HTC 10 is worth a serious look from anyone in the market for a new Android phone.


The HTC 10 sports a 5.2-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, and 4 GB of RAM. It also features an all-metal body, a 12 MP rear camera, a fingerprint scanner, and 24-bit audio, and ships with Android Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android Marshmallow is here -- but why should you care? Read More .

All of this goodness doesn’t come cheap, and the HTC 10 is priced from $699.99. Still, if it ticks all of your various boxes when it comes to smartphones, it’s available to pre-order now, with shipping set to begin in May. By which time we may have reviewed it as we did with the HTC One M9 HTC One M9 Review and Giveaway Metal design? Check. Expandable storage? Check. All the most powerful internals? Check. On paper, the HTC One M9 is one beast of a phone. Read More last year.

Microsoft Adds QR Codes to BSOD

Microsoft is experimenting with changes to the Blue Screen of Death 11 Tips to Help You Fix the Windows 10 Blue Screen Error What is a blue screen in Windows? How do you fix blue screen errors? Here are several fixes for this common Windows problem. Read More (BSOD), the dreaded sign that all is not as it should with your Windows PC. The BSOD appears when Windows encounters a serious error, and your PC restarts to try and fix the issue. Users are also given an error code and told to search for more information.

However, according to this Reddit thread, the latest build of Windows 10 adds a link to, and a QR code which directs users to the same page. However, it’s safe to assume, as Neowin has, that, once this goes live for everyone, different QR codes will be used for different errors, aiding people in their search for more information.


Periscope Lets You Doodle on Live Video

Periscope will soon let you draw all over your live feeds. The feature has already made it into the beta version of Twitter’s video streaming app, and is expected to be made available to all Periscope users 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Periscope Now With so many different social networks, it's difficult to know where to put your energy. But there are plenty of great reasons why you should give Periscope a go. Here are a few. Read More over the next few weeks.

You can use one of three preset colors, or use a dropper to choose one from your video. You can then draw objects, write words, or underline important elements while streaming live via your smartphone. The doodles only last a few seconds, but it’s possible more options in that regard will be added in time.

Periscope told TechRadar:

“We’re testing Sketching with a small group of people. This feature makes it fun and easy for broadcasters to draw on the screen while broadcasting. Coming in a few weeks for everyone!”

Is the Flyboard Air a True Hoverboard

And finally, the world is still waiting for the invention of a real-life hoverboard that works like the one Marty rides in Back to the Future II. Instead, we have had to put up with two-wheeled contraptions likely to explode at any moment, half-assed efforts designed to promote brands Lexus Made a Real Hoverboard - But It's Not What You Think Following a month of speculation, Lexus has unveiled a fascinating project to the world: a working hoverboard. It's definitely awesome - but are they being totally honest about it? (No. No they are not.) Read More , and out-and-out fakes. Which is a source of continual disappointment.


Is the Flyboard Air featured in this video any different? Is that guy actually flying it? We remain skeptical, but this thing certainly looks the part. It’s not a McFly-style hoverboard, because it flies much higher into the sky thanks to a jet turbine engine. Unfortunately, this makes it a lot more dangerous to ride, so we’ll leave it to the professionals. Whether they’re faking it or not.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

What do you think of Facebook adding bots to Messenger? Will you be buying the HTC 10? When was the last time you saw a Blue Screen of Death in Windows? Will you be doodling on your Periscope videos? Do you believe the Flyboard Air is real? And therefore amazing?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.


Image Credit: Alessio Jacona via Flickr

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  1. Anonymous
    April 22, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Are you going to do a review on the HTC 10? I've had my Galaxy S4 for about 3 years now and may look at upgrading if the tech has improved enough

  2. Anonymous
    April 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Microsoft's addition of QR's is fabulous. Nothing worse than BSOD, and that boat anchor on your desk can't be used to research the issue. By scanning w/mobile, it (theoretically) will take you quickly to the "fix". Hope this actually works they way I envision…..time will tell.