Getting to know you: Ultra Hal, Zabaware's chatbot

Not even chatbots want to talk about the weather

Rhodri Marsden tried to make casual chat with a bot known as Ultra Hal

E3: as Microsoft and Sony announce new levels of customisation for Xbox One and PS4, consoles are learning from PCs

Long both the drawback and selling point of games consoles, customisation means that the Xbox and PS4 are taking on PCs on their own territory

'Amazon, in case you hadn’t noticed, is about selling stuff'

Let's not get too excited about those five-star Amazon reviews

On the internet, debates about everything are dominated by extreme voices

All by myself: for lonely newcomers, a computer can be a portal to friends, family and a more familiar world

Homesickness in the modern age: Does technology make you feel better or worse?

It's hard, feeling homesick, but it can also be enriching. Revisiting the scene of his worst-ever episode of the condition, John Osborne looks back at his younger self, and wonders if recent digital developments can help today's sufferers
Thinking inside the box: people try out Oculus Rift headsets

What's it like to play a game on the Oculus Rift headset? Seven minutes in 'The Edge of Nowhere'

After months of anticipation and development, Oculus Rift has finally unveiled its virtual reality headset. Tim Walker dons a goggle box to find out if seeing really is believing

Designer Tom Ford

Tom Ford designs an Apple Pocket Watch to adapt it to traditional tailored looks

You can now channel your inner Mad Men's Don Draper with this ultimate digital watch

Wrist pump: Fitbit CEO James Park shows off one of his devices

How accurate are fitness trackers? 10,000 steps is not a magic threshold

The fitness tracker market is booming and one size doesn't necessarily fit all

E3 2015: is there anything new at a convention dominated by sequels?

It's now surprising when games don't come with a number at the end — so where should gamers go to find anything novel?

Had a dull day? Facebook wants to hear about it

Earlier this week, screen shots leaked of a new Facebook strategy that it appears to be trialling: recommended topics

Over the next 12 months OS is to replace all 607 of its current paper map titles with a new design and an additional mobile download

Ordnance Survey joins the digital age with an app to take walkers from A-Z

Ordnance Survey is belatedly embracing the digital age with an app to accompany its paper products. But in this age of satnavs and Google Maps, is it joining the party too late? Simon Usborne charts its progress

E3 2015: Shenmue finally gets its sequel – what other games are in need of a follow-up?

The gaming industry has got a reputation for endless sequels — but there are long-neglected games highly-deserving of a follow-up

E3 2015: 10 best games to look out for at gaming's biggest convention

It's the time of year that the gaming industry shows off its biggest and best games – here's our pic of the most important ones to keep an eye on

The Samsung Galaxy S6 offers wireless charging - but should we be impressed?

Truly wireless charging? The future's not quite here yet thanks to a battle between Qi and PMA

Wireless charging has been bobbling around for years but our journey to a promised utopia has been slowed down

Processor power: the grid is currently being used to speed up research into various cancers and the Ebola virus

In 10 years, 'crowdsourced computing' has changed the world; now it's tackling Ebola

Using IBM's 'virtual supercomputer', the world's dormant home PCs have been 'borrowed' for life-saving research. Genevieve Roberts reports on a 10-year success story

Apple Music service stands out amid launch of Mac OS, iOS and watchOS updates

Jimmy Iovine stole the stage from Tim Cook as he launched Apple's first foray into proper streaming music

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A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future