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Communications

Facebook Messenger Now Has 11,000 Bots (theverge.com) 43

An anonymous reader writes: Three months after Facebook announced a platform for building bots that operate inside its Messenger app, Messenger chief David Marcus said in a blog post that more than 11,000 bots have been created. He also said 23,000 more developers have signed up to use tools provided by Wit.ai, a Facebook acquisition that automates conversational interactions between users and businesses. Facebook has yet to announce any numbers regarding how many users actually use the bots, but developers appear to be actively engaged. Facebook has said that bots will rapidly improve as more developers create them. Marcus did announce several new features for the platform. Bots can now respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files "to help a brand's personality come across," Marcus said. They can now link Messenger profiles to customer accounts, such as a bank or online merchant. They're also getting some new UI elements: "quick replies" that suggest interactions for the user to help them set their expectations, and a "persistent menu" option for bots that displays available commands at all times so users don't have to remember them. A star system is now in place for users to rate bots and provide feedback directly to developers.
Slashdot also has a Facebook Messenger bot. You can chat with it by messaging the Slashdot Facebook page.

Comment Re:pdf.js (Score 3, Informative) 132

No...it does not simulate clicking. It uses the underlying COM representation to perform its functions. That said, it does not work well in a multi-threaded environment, nor where you can't setup user (e.g. restricted web server credentials). So you either have to impersonate or use COM+ configuration to run the office tool under a different user name. So if you're just starting out...do not use Office automation in a server environment unless you're willing to deal with these issues. Try Aspose as suggested instead.
Image

Google Street View Shoots the Same Woman 43 Times 106

Geoffrey.landis writes "Terry Southgate discovered that his wife Wendy appears on the Google Street View of his neighborhood not once or twice but a whopping 43 times. From the article: 'It seems as if the Street View car simply followed the same route as Wendy and Trixie. However, Wendy was a little suspicious that the car was doing something on the "tricksie" side. Several of the Street View shots show Wendy looking with some concern towards the car that was, well, to put it politely, crawling along the curb. "I didn't know what it was doing. It was just driving round very, very slowly," Wendy told the Sun.' The next best thing to being a movie star — a Street View star!"
Crime

Killer Convicted, Using Dog DNA Database 97

lee1 writes "It turns out that the UK has a DNA database — for dogs. And this database was recently used to apprehend a South London gang member who used his dog to catch a 16-year-old rival and hold him while he stabbed him to death. The dog was also accidentally stabbed, and left blood at the scene. The creation of human DNA databases has led to widespread debates on privacy; but what about the collation of DNA from dogs or other animals?"
Image

How the Internet Didn't Fail As Predicted 259

Lord Byron Eee PC writes "Newsweek is carrying a navel-gazing piece on how wrong they were when in 1995 they published a story about how the Internet would fail. The original article states, 'Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.' The article continues to say that online shopping will never happen, that airline tickets won't be purchased over the web, and that newspapers have nothing to fear. It's an interesting look back at a time when the Internet was still a novelty and not yet a necessity."
Portables

iPad Will Beat Netbooks With "Magic" 1010

entirely_fluffy writes "In a talk intended to woo investors, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said the iPad will win over potential netbook buyers, but not because of specs or features. No, Cook said, the iPad's magical properties will seal the deal. 'The netbook is not an experience people are going to continue wanting to have,' Cook said, according to Macworld. 'When they play with the iPad and experience the magic of using it ... I have a hard time believing they're going to go for a netbook.'" Another thing that would help would be a camera and a $100 discount, but hey Magic is cool too, provided they have enough mana.
PlayStation (Games)

Improving the PlayStation Store 107

This opinion piece takes stock of Sony's PlayStation Store, examining its flaws and the areas Sony needs to improve as their gaming systems come to rely upon it more and more. The problems and suggested solutions involve everything from UI elements to demo availability to pricing inconsistencies. "Some people may say that the Microsoft Points scheme is a little confusing, but it is consistent. If a game is 800MSP in the US, it's 800MSP everywhere else. What a MSP is worth is up to the store, but for the most part they're close. The PlayStation Store on the other hand can be all over the place. While most games in North America keep to the same price point — such as $9.99 or $14.99, converting that over to Europe is another thing entirely. For example, Flower came out earlier this year for $9.99USD. In Australia a $10USD game gets converted to $12.95AUD. Or does it? Bomberman Ultra just came out, and it's $15.95AUD. Heavy Weapon gets released for $12.95AUD, while Capcom’s previous efforts, like Commando 3, convert to $15.95. The same thing also happens for more expensive titles. Both Battlefield 1943 and Fat Princess were released for $14.99 in the US, but in Australia they're priced at $19.95AUD and $23.95 respectively."

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