Opera bakes a VPN into iOS app, Stormtroopers are a hit on the dance floor

According to an article on PC Magazine, the makers of Opera, the No. 6 browser in terms of usage, have seen fit to put a free virtual private network (VPN) in their iOS app. And it does quite a bit: Opera says the app blocks ads in Safari and Chrome, prevents trackers from following your travels around the Web, and lets you access websites that are blocked from wherever you might be in reality.

Change your virtual location by choosing one of five regions by borrowing an IP address from spots in the US, Canada, Germany, Singapore, or The Netherlands with more locations coming soon according to PC Magazine. Just a few weeks ago, Opera added an unlimited and free VPN to its regular browser.

The browser and app were built by SurfEasy, the VPN company Opera snapped up last year. So how will they make any money? Opera says, yes, there will eventually be ads on the app. And don’t fret Android users, there’s a version for you on the way soon.

Download Opera for iOS

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Apps are so last year. The new hotness? Bots. As in, chatty robots. And not the clanky metal terminator kind either. More like the friendly Scarlett Johansen A.I. kind from the movie Her. Facebook is leading the charge with their Messenger bot, according to Forbes, which works like this: if you want to talk to Facebook about a minor business dealing, you can get the conversation started through the Messenger app, by talking to a bot.

Which, of course, raises the inevitable question: will these talky chatbots take the place of jobs currently occupied by actual humans? After all, a chat bot that helps you set up ads on Facebook, if it works as desired, is a whole lot cheaper than a spendy human that needs vacations, a 401(K) and gall bladder surgery.

The trend is gaining steam: Forbes has a bot on the Telegram app, there are news curating bots, and now there’s an agency in Switzerland that will make you a chat bot. Even McDonalds is experimenting with bot-based kiosks to order up your Big Mac and fries. And what’s powering all these bots: new and stronger A.I. systems. This is about to get really interesting.

_________

Brighten up your day with this troupe of dancing Stormtroopers who got the crowd cheering at a recent airing of Britain’s Got Talent. Two stormtroopers came out and said nothing in the way of introductions – as it should be – and then the Imperial armed forces troopers got their Gangam Style on for All the single ladies.

They even got serious Simon to crack a smile and hit that big golden buzzer thing to move on to the next round. Way to go, troopers, Broadway awaits.

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