'Tron 3' killed off by Disney

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | May 30, 2015 6:53 PM CDT

In a huge surprise considering that the wheels had recently begun turning on a sequel to 2010's 'Tron Legacy', Disney has apparently decided to shelve production of a third 'Tron' film in part due to the disappointingly soft premiere of this summer's 'Tomorrowland'.

Whilst the studio has yet to make an official announcement, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has decided to shelve the plans for the film which would have begun filming in a few month's time.

This is a decidedly disappointing outcome for a series with a dedicated and growing band of followers since the release of the original 'Tron' in 1982. Now, I guess Disney can give their full attention to crap like another dozen 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films, a sequel to the poor Tim Burton 'Alice in Wonderland' and other remakes no one asked for, such as 'The Jungle Book', 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Dumbo'. Sigh.

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Microsoft Xbox boss confirms company isn't purchasing Silent Hill

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | May 30, 2015 5:30 PM CDT

Sorry gaming fans, Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer says the company isn't trying to purchase the Silent Hill game franchise from Konami.

Konami is focused on making changes internally, and will make mobile game development a priority moving forward - but that doesn't mean Microsoft can purchase Silent Hills.

"Konami will continue to embrace the challenge of creating entertainment content via different platforms," said Hideki Hayakawa, president of Konami, in a statement published by GameSpot. " Not only mobile platforms, but for home consoles, arcade units, and cards, to meet the changing needs of the times."

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IRS still using Windows XP, and has more than 300 cybersecurity staff

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | May 30, 2015 3:40 PM CDT

The IRS recently suffered a data breach that left thousands of Americans at risk, and more attention is now focused on government mismanaged. Utilizing a $10.9 billion budget, either the agency is greatly mismanaged and/or the IRS just isn't ready to try to protect taxpayer information.

There seems to be a lot of problems with the IRS, and that has certainly trickled down to its cybersecurity protocols. The agency still uses Microsoft Windows XP - and while the IRS originally paid Microsoft for support - that support has ended. To make matters worse, some fraud identification software is almost 20 years old.

The IRS previously had 410 cybersecurity team personnel, but that has been slashed down to 363 workers. The idea that IRS personnel are unable to keep up with identity theft is a huge problem, especially as cybercriminals get cleverer.

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Carbine Studios switches things up, makes Wildstar MMO free-to-play

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | May 30, 2015 6:20 AM CDT

Carbine Studios has confirmed it will make its WildStar massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) a free-to-play game title.

When the game launched last June, it required a monthly subscription - Carbine Studios originally facing criticism to charge players - and it looks like things will change this fall. Developers watched how other similar games tried to make a transition from subscription to free-to-play and believe they will have time to work with players during the transition.

"WildStar is now a much better game than it was when it launched nearly a year ago," said Mike Donatelli, product director at Carbine Studios, in a statement to GameSpot. "We're at the point where it's time to really focus on growing the game, and we as a team feel that the best way to do that is to make it so that everyone who wants to play can do so with as few hurdles as possible. This means removing the two biggest barriers of entry to the game - the cost of the box and the required subscription."

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Apple scrambles to release fix for widespread iMessage glitch

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | May 30, 2015 4:20 AM CDT

It didn't take long for Apple to provide a temporary fix for a bug that allows users to crash an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch via text message. The company was reportedly working on a fix anyway, but had to speed things up when users started sharing details about the problem on YouTube and social media outlets.

The problem stemmed from the way Arabic text is rendered by an iOS device, and the device's RAM ends up full, forcing a restart.

iOS users can have Siri read unread messages, and have Siri respond to the malicious message. Once that is done, users can open Messages again. Once in messages, users must swipe left to delete the entire conversation thread - or tap, hold, and delete the malicious message.

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Migration from PCs towards wearables and IoT expected at Computex 2015

Michael Hatamoto | Wearable Computing & Fashion | May 30, 2015 3:40 AM CDT

Computex 2015: We're just a few days away from Computex 2015, and the tech world will turn its focus towards Taipei. Traditionally used to show off PCs, mobile devices, and other consumer-centric devices, there could be a new focus at this year's show: wearables and products that connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).

As consumers become more comfortable with wearables, Computex could be a major launching pad for announcements - with Acer, ASUS, and other major Asian companies expected to announce new consumer wearable products. In addition, smaller companies could use the major tech trade show to announce and launch devices, especially if they can connect to smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile, IoT should have a major presence at the show, and with more business partnerships being forged, consumers are looking ahead to the future. An estimated 30 billion to 50 billion Things will likely be on the market by 2020, and the emerging market will only accelerate higher.

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QNAP releases a NAS with more computing power than my desktop

Chris Smith | Storage | May 30, 2015 2:12 AM CDT

Don't you just love spare or backup computers? It's sad but true that I'm currently rocking an AMD quad-core and 4GB of DDR2 RAM thanks to my main desktop motherboard recently dieing after 4 years of long hard service.

In comes QNAP to make me feel really inadequate with its new AMD-powered TS-563 NAS. Sporting an "AMD Embedded G-Series quad-core 2.0GHz SoC processor and up to 16GB RAM," this 5-bay NAS was announced in a recently issued press release.

QNAP's senior director of marketing Dilip Ramachandran says that the AMD G-Series SOC has been chosen because it "offers a low power solution delivering high performance at attractive cost levels," with the release further explaining that this 64-bit AMD Embedded chip is coupled with SATA 6Gb/s support, 2x 1GbE LAN ports and more.

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Using virtual reality to help medical patients walk again

The use of virtual reality can help medical patients suffering from strokes and other major brain conditions regain control over themselves, researchers believe.

The Virtual Reality Medical Center is using VR to help medical patients re-learn motor functions, such as walking, sitting, or holding an item. Letting patients work in a virtual environment is a great first step, helping ease embarrassment or discomfort before they physically try to move again.

"What we do first is teach a person how to control their body and thought process," said Brenda Wiederhold, EVP of the Virtual Reality Medical Center, in a statement to CNBC. "Then we put them in VR and have them practice those skills in the virtual world so they feel confident they can use them in the real-world."

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Survey: Apple Watch is clearly a want, and not necessarily a need

Michael Hatamoto | Wearable Computing & Fashion | May 30, 2015 12:30 AM CDT

The Apple Watch is expected to help propel smartwatches and the wearables to the next level, but it still seems to be nothing more than a want over an actual need, according to a recent survey.

Although 39 percent of Apple Watch owners report being "very satisfied," 36 percent are neutral on the device, and 25 percent of users reported being disappointed. However, the Wristly survey only asked 59 Apple Watch owners, so future studies will likely use significantly larger sample sizes.

One owner's comment stood out: "I think the watch is good, but I feel that it is not a technological need but a technological want. I feel like your life will be fine either way. It's fun to have, it's a conversation starter, it does make a few things a little bit easier, but it's not a necessary thing to own."

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Report: Half of jobs at risk from ongoing robotics revolution

It's possible 47 percent of jobs in the United States could be at risk because of robotics taking over, according to a report from Citigroup and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. Trying to find solutions to better train and educate employees will be required, and humans in the workforce must be willing to expand their skills.

The education system's poor preparation of workers transitioning from high school or university in the workforce has to be changed. Automation is expected to displace even more workers in the future, according to Joe Seydl, senior associate of the Citi Global Economics Team.

"This time, bigger portions of our economy are being disrupted by new technology," Seydl said in a statement to the Christian Science Monitor. "I think it's going to come down to policy: supply-side and demand-side policies. Supply-side means making sure workers have the skills to compete for jobs in the 21st century. This is going to come down to education and whether we can upgrade workers' skills fast enough."

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