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Delays, Confusion as Toshiba Reports $6 Billion Nuclear Hit and Slides To Loss

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 9:20am
Makiko Yamazaki, reporting for Reuters: After a day of delays and confusion, Japan's Toshiba said on Tuesday it expected to book a $6.3 billion hit to its U.S. nuclear unit, a writedown that wipes out its shareholder equity and will drag the group to a full-year loss. Hours earlier on Tuesday, the battered conglomerate rattled investors by failing to release its earnings on schedule, saying initially it was 'not ready' and then announcing later it needed more time to probe its Westinghouse nuclear business after internal reports uncovered potential problems. The figures eventually released were numbers that have yet to be approved by its auditor and Toshiba cautioned investors that a major revision was possible. Fully audited numbers are now not due till March 14 after the firm was granted a reprieve for its formal filing by Japanese regulators. "Finally now people are starting to recognize that internal control problems, the accounting issues and governance issues are very real and no longer abstract," said Zuhair Khan, an analyst at Jefferies in Tokyo. "They impact the viability of the company."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's 'Forza' Video Game Francise Tops $1 Billion in Sales

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 8:40am
Here's another area where Microsoft, whose cloud services are doing very well, continues to make a lot of money: video games. Microsoft has minted its fifth billion-dollar video-game franchise. The "Forza" racing series in December topped $1 billion in lifetime sales since the first game's release 12 years ago, Microsoft said. From company's blogpost: As of December, more than 14 million unique players were involved in the Forza community on Xbox One and Windows 10, the award-winning Forza Horizon 3 sold through 2.5 million units, and Forza continued its run as the best-selling racing franchise of this console generation. Additionally, our online racing community expanded significantly: over three million players joined us online each month and we launched the Forza Racing Championship, an eSports league for players of all skill levels to compete for glory and real-world prizes. "Since the beginning, Forza has combined stunning graphics, racing's leading simulation engine, and an emphasis on fun and accessibility," said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. "With the Forza series, Turn 10 Studios has built the world's largest racing community. We couldn't be more proud of their success." Other game franchises in Microsoft's billion-dollar club are "Halo," "Minecraft," "Gears of War", and "Age of Empires".

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Launches Outlook.com Premium Email Service, Costs $20 Per Year

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 8:00am
Outlook.com Premium email service, which Microsoft began testing in October, is now available to all. You get the following features with this paid service, via a report: Outlook.com Premium provides a number of useful features: (1) Custom domain support for five users. (2) Information sharing: Outlook Premium helps you easily share calendars, contacts, and documents (via OneDrive) between those five users. (3) Ad-free inbox: Like Ad-Free Outlook.com, Outlook Premium offers no "banner ads" for a "distraction-free view of your email, photos, and documents."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

“Team Thor: Part 2” Sneak Peek

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 7:43am

Marvel has premiered an excerpt from the “Team Thor: Part 2” special feature that’s set to be available in full on the Blu-ray for “Doctor Strange” in a few weeks. Additionally photos from another scene have gone up in which Thor loses at a game of ‘Connect Four’.

A follow-up to the comedic spin on Thor’s adventures living with a roommate in Australia that was a viral video smash last year, the new one sees the God of Thunder and Darryl get into a bit of a dispute. “Doctor Strange” arrives on Digital HD on February 14th and on disc on February 28th.

they were playing connect 4 and thor lost pic.twitter.com/g4tAlwoABt

— anna (@natasharomanoff) February 14, 2017

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“Thor: Ragnarok” & “Black Panther” Concept Art

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 7:30am

A bunch of new concept art from Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther” has gone online today, courtesy of a Phase 3 sneak peek featurette included on the Digital HD release of “Doctor Strange” today.

The new art showcases looks at a gladiator battle between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and Cate Blanchett as the villain Hela in ‘Thor’. The “Black Panther” shots meanwhile are more about some of the locations from Wakandan streets to ancient temples. “Thor: Ragnarok” opens this November, “Black Panther” hits early next year.

Source: CBM

The post “Thor: Ragnarok” & “Black Panther” Concept Art appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Ben Affleck Wants To Give Up Being Batman?

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 7:28am

One of the more interesting rumors to pop up this week happened late yesterday on the Collider Talk podcast (via The Playlist) where host John Campea claims that Ben Affleck wants out of the Batman role.

Citing three different sources within Warner Brothers, but adding that one should take this rumor with a grain of salt, Campea says: “Ben Affleck, make no mistake, he wants out. He doesn’t want to be Batman anymore” and goes on to say Affleck is in active discussions with Warner Bros. to remove himself from his DCEU deal.

This would include “The Batman” movie tentatively scheduled for 2019, which means either this year’s “Justice League” or “The Batman,” depending upon how talks go, could be the last time we’ll see him in the character after two appearances so far to date.

Affleck has already expressed weariness and frustration with the ever-present scrutiny he’s under due to the role and his commitment to directing the solo “Batman” film before he departed the other week. Matt Reeves is currently in talks to take over for him as helmer.

His departure would be a shame though – both he and Gal Gadot’s appearances in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” were amongst the few elements that critically were well received about the otherwise panned film. In many ways he’s the central cog in the entire DCEU initiative.

We’ll next see Affleck in the role in “Justice League” which opens in November.

The post Ben Affleck Wants To Give Up Being Batman? appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Jason Blum Talks Collapsing Movie Windows

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 7:21am

Veteran film producer Jason Blum says that film distribution is about to undergo a massive sea change, and now more than ever is the time to give up some romantic notions about big screen releases.

Speaking at the Recode Code Media conference this week in California (via Variety), Blum specified a surprisingly short under two years time frame for many films to make the jump to day-and-date theatrical & VOD releases. He also says filmmakers who are hung up on seeing their work on the big screen are missing the big picture:

“I think there are some movies that will stay in the traditional movies and most movies where the windowing will collapse… we are so beyond the time of telling kids where they need to see what. You are killing your own business.

We should have [theatrical] as an option for them but I would be just as happy if we had an option at home too. As long as the economics are the same and we can make different kind of things.”

Blum praises Netflix and Amazon for not only making distribution more efficient, but for opening up a fresh market for serious-minded adult fare. He suggests these kind of films would otherwise go ignored or even not get made these days if it weren’t for streaming giants with deep pockets and more lenient attitudes towards artists:

“Five years ago, if you tried to make ‘Manchester By the Sea’ it’s not getting made. The theatrical drama or the feature length drama was almost gone and now it’s just come back in force because there is a real market for adult dramas and the traditional movie distribution wasn’t reaching that.”

The comments come as it has been reported that early talks are underway for a service of some sort, one involving several studios and offering premium priced releases at home to stream within three weeks of a film’s theatrical release, will launch within the timeframe he suggests.

The post Jason Blum Talks Collapsing Movie Windows appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Iconic Feature Phone Nokia 3310 Coming Back this Month, VentureBeat Says

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 7:20am
The iconic Nokia 3310 feature phone is all set for a return, according to a report. VentureBeat adds: HMD Global Oy, the Finnish manufacturer with exclusive rights to market phones under the storied Nokia brand, is planning to announce four such handsets at Mobile World Congress later this month, according to a person briefed on the company's plans. Known primarily for its plentiful battery life and nearly indestructible build, the 3310 was released at the turn of the millennium as a replacement to the also-popular 3210.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mangold Premieres “Logan” IMAX Poster

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:57am

Director James Mangold has used his social media to share the stunning new IMAX poster for the final Wolverine spin-off film “Logan”.

Set in the near future, the film follows a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) as he cares for an ailing Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) in a hideout on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant (Dafne Keen) arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

Eriq La Salle, Stephen Merchant, Elise Neal and Elizabeth Rodriguez co-star in the film which opens March 3rd. The new film marks the ninth and final time Jackman has played the Marvel Comics character on the big screen.

Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day with the new exclusive @IMAX poster for LOGAN… pic.twitter.com/JaL2MeR7QO

— Mangold (@mang0ld) February 14, 2017

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“Dredd” Co-Owner Dismisses Sequel Talk

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:55am

In the years since 2012’s “Dredd” opened to an underwhelming box office haul but solid reviews and a growing cult audience on video, plenty of people have called for a follow-up – most notably the first film’s executive producer Adi Shankar.

Shankar and actor Karl Urban have both talked up the project at points. Just last week, Shankar did so once again and promised to personally make sure the film happened, even though no plans were currently in place.

That all suggests Shankar remains involved in the official process of getting the “Dredd” sequel made. However, co-owner of the Judge Dredd character and fellow first film executive producer Jason Kingsley tells Screen Geek that Shankar isn’t involved with the franchise going forward:

“While we truly do appreciate Adi’s enthusiasm for Judge Dredd, he has no involvement with the franchise and any future cinematic or small screen outings. Claims of him pushing forward a sequel to DREDD are not true and we don’t want fans to get excited only to have their hopes dashed. 2000 AD and Rebellion continue to work hard to bring the future’s greatest lawman back to screens.”

Sadly it looks like the first film is all we’ll get from the “Judge Dredd” universe for at least the time being.

The post “Dredd” Co-Owner Dismisses Sequel Talk appeared first on Dark Horizons.

“Stranger Things” Targets 4-5 Season Run

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:53am

Netflix has started early with promotion for the second season of “Stranger Things” with both the Superbowl commercial and a recent batch of first photos in the past week and a half. Considering there’s a full eight months to go before the new episodes are out, things are likely to quieten down for a while.

Before they do though, executive producer Shawn Levy spoke with EW about the security on the new season’s set and how they’re trying to keep things under wraps:

“We literally consulted with the producers on ‘Game of Thrones’ to learn security protocols. We had no security protocols last season and we have extensive security protocols this season. I can’t speak about what they are because then people could crack them. We protect every story point, every page of every script.”

At the same time, creators Matt and Ross Duffer tell the mag that the show has a definitive end in sight. Matt says:

“I want it to have a really finite ending. I don’t want it to be one of those shows that runs out of gas and they lose it because they’re losing interest. You wanna end when you’re on top.”

Ross adds: “Everything changes as we move forward so we’ll see.” The Duffers do promise a contained story for the second season, but there’ll be enough elements to map out some future seasons.

The post “Stranger Things” Targets 4-5 Season Run appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Other Villains That Were Almost In “LEGO Batman”

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:51am

Opening to a solid $55 million domestic and a notably better opening overseas than the first LEGO movie, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has scored raves from fans and very good notices from critics.

We will see Will Arnett’s Batman return in “The LEGO Movie 2” in 2019, but the current film has yet to announce plans for a direct sequel. Director Chris McKay tells EW that the arc established in this film will go on to impact “The LEGO Movie 2” and potentially beyond:

“There’s definitely a part for Batman in LEGO 2. Everyone loves Will Arnett and the Batman character. There are going to be the repercussions of what’s happened in [LEGO Batman]. If you agree that he went through some change, there’s more stuff in store for Batman in LEGO 2.

LAST ACT MINOR SPOILER AHEAD

The third act of the film also involves not just many of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery of villains, but a whole bunch of bad guys from the Warners catalogue who are pulled from the Phantom Zone to terrorise Gotham City. Talking about the idea, McKay explained the intention and the handful of villains they wanted to get but couldn’t:

“The Joker needed to up his game and prove himself, and we talked about this being the Joker’s big romantic grand gesture. So in order to do that… I loved the [1978 Richard Donner-directed] Superman and the idea that the Phantom Zone, in our world, could possibly house all of the villains from other LEGO universes.

It’s almost like Cabin in the Woods. Or, in Last Action Hero, when Charles Dance says, I can go into all these movies and I can bring out Jack the Ripper or King Kong. When I was younger, watching that movie, I was somehow expecting a scene between King Kong and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I was always bummed it didn’t go there. [Laughs.] But in our world, we can do something like that and unleash all these characters into Batman’s world.

I would have had Kathy Bates from Misery, and [Sherlock Holmes nemesis] Moriarty, and at one point I pitched Daniel Day-Lewis’s character from Gangs of New York and David Carradine from Kill Bill.

At a certain point, though, you have to weigh what characters the kids going to get. In LEGO, it’s sometimes hard to get a really quick interpretation of something. I was already worried that we weren’t doing enough with some characters.

Also, at one point, we did put HAL from [2001: A Space Odyssey] into the movie, but it was a tough read. Maybe in future movies, we’ll try to bring more characters in.”

The film’s producer Dan Lin has also spoken a bit to Cinema Blend about the main series’ sequel, discussing how they’ll continue to expand upon the first film’s narrative:

“We don’t make these movies just to make them. With the LEGO Movie Sequel we’re going to explore themes we haven’t yet explored in the first movie. You can see where we ended the first movie, with Duplo, and Finn being encouraged by his dad to play with his little sister. So you can see it’s ripe for storytelling in the sequel, and certainly for themes we didn’t explore in the first movie as far as older sibling/younger sibling, how do boys play/how do girls play. So it’s really ripe for exploration.”

He also explained why leading characters from the first film, like Emmet and Wyldstyle, didn’t show up in “The LEGO Batman Movie”:

“We talked about it a lot. You can imagine the natural inclination is to include Wyldstyle and Emmet, they were so popular from the first movie, as well as other characters. We said, ‘You know what? Batman should have his own movie.’ He’ll meet up with Emmet and Wyldstyle in due time, so fans will see that pairing again, but we want to build to that.

This time, tell Batman’s own story, a story we haven’t seen before in the movies about what Batman really struggles with when he has everything in the world. He’s got money, he’s got adoring fans, he’s got great vehicles, great gadgets, but when he goes home he really has nothing.”

Warners has released a clip from “The LEGO Batman Movie” online, one which includes a Batman song ahead of the ‘I Like To Fight Around’ scene.

The post Other Villains That Were Almost In “LEGO Batman” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

Apple Unveils Its First Two Original TV Series

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:48am

During this week’s Recode Code Media conference in California, Apple has offered the first glimpse of the first two original TV series it plans to launch on its Apple Music service.

Sadly, there’s not a scripted prestige drama, comedy or genre series in sight. Instead, the company is going with two unscripted shows – “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke: The Series”.

Apple content czar Eddy Cue and TV producers Ben Silverman and Ben Winston were on hand to unveil the trailers for both shows and to talk about them ahead of the April launch of ‘Karaoke’ and late Spring launch for ‘Planet’.

However, it was the company’s plans beyond these shows and over the next few years that everyone wants to know about. Cue was non-commital: “Four years from now, I don’t know where we’re going to be in relation to this. We’re trying different things. How fast it grows or where it goes remains to be seen.”

Apple’s first scripted series, the Dr. Dre-produced “Vital Signs,” was not mentioned during the panel. Apple Music has attracted over 20 million subscribers in 15 months of operation to date.

Source: Variety

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“Bioshock” & GTA Creators Plan Several Films

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:45am

Take-Two Interactive Software CEO Strauss Zelnick has revealed that the multinational video game publisher isn’t planning to get deeply involved in making films, but they are currently considering licensing several of their titles for potential film adaptations – so long as they have some creative control.

Take-Two is the owner of such prestigious game publishers as Rockstar Games and 2K Games and are behind iconic franchises like “Grand Theft Auto,” “Bioshock,” “Borderlands” and “Red Dead Redemption” along with various 2K Sports titles. Speaking with MCV this week, Zelnick says:

“We have licensed a couple of titles for motion picture production and we don’t have much more to say about that yet. We are open-minded. We are certainly not going to use our own balance sheet to invest in motion pictures and TV. If other people want to license them and we can retain creative control, we are open-minded. The track record of the conversion of video game IP to motion pictures is spotty at best.”

Gore Verbinski previously tried to develop a “Bioshock” film without much success, while talk of a potential “Borderlands” film has come up in recent years. The company also has one of 2017’s biggest game titles on the way later this year – “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

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Skype Gets A New Competitor: Amazon Announces Chime

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:40am
Amazon has released new service to make voice and video calls and share screen. Called Chime, the service is aimed at business users. It directly competes with well-known players such as Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Cisco's WebEx, among others. From a report: Amazon Web Services today unveiled Chime, a new service that it says takes the "frustration out of meetings" by delivering video, voice, chat, and screen sharing. Instead of forcing participants to call one another on a dedicated line, Amazon Chime automatically calls all participants at the start of a meeting, so "joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, no PIN required," the company said in a press release. Chime also shows a visual roster of participants, and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Story Of a Country Which Has Built a Centralized Biometrics Database Of 1.1B People But Appears To Be Mishandling It Now

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 6:00am
In a bid to get more Indians to have a birth certificate or any sort of ID card, India announced Aadhaar project in 2009. At the time, there were more Indians without these ID cards than those with. As a result of this, much of the government funding for the citizens were disappearing before they could see them. But according to several security experts, lawyers, politicians and journalists, the government is using poor security practices, and this is exposing the biometrics data -- photo, name, address, fingerprint, iris info -- of people at risk. More than 1.1 billion people -- and 99 percent of all adults -- in India have enrolled themselves to the system. From a report: "There are two fundamental flaws in Aadhaar: it is poorly designed, and it is being poorly verified," Member of Parliament and privacy advocate, Rajeev Chandrasekhar told Mashable India. Another issue with Aadhaar is, Chandrasekhar explains, there is no firm legislation to safeguard the privacy and rights of the billion people who have enrolled into the system. There's little a person whose Aadhaar data has been compromised could do. [...] "Aadhaar is remote, covert, and non-consensual," he told Mashable India, adding the existence of a central database of any kind, but especially in the context of the Aadhaar, and at the scale it is working is appalling. Abraham said fingerprint and iris data of a person can be stolen with little effort -- a "gummy bear" which sells for a few cents, can store one's fingerprint, while a high-resolution camera can capture one's iris data. The report goes on to say that the Indian government is also not telling how the data is being shared with private companies. Experts cited in the story have expressed concerns that those companies (some of which are run by people who were previously members of the team which designed the framework of Aadhaar) can store and create a parallel database of their own. On top of that, the government is making Aadhaar mandatory for availing several things including registration for nation-wide examinations, but in the beginning it promised Aadhaar will be used only to help poor get grocery at subsidized prices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Father of Driver In Violent Tesla Crash Blames Sedan's 'Rocket-Ship' Acceleration

/. - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 5:00am
"A Tesla crash that resulted in the deaths of the driver and a passenger in Indianapolis last November is drawing new controversy after the father of one of the victims made comments regarding the role of the Model S in the incident," Autoweek reports. "The crash occurred in downtown Indianapolis on Nov. 3, 2016, with the Model S driven by 27-year-old Casey Speckman striking a tree and catching fire. Speckman was pronounced dead at the scene while her passenger, 44-year-old Kevin McCarthy, succumbed to his injuries after being taken to the hospital." From the report: A report released last week by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department disclosed that Speckman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, almost three times the legal limit in the state of Indiana, The Indianapolis Star reports. Another new detail has emerged since the violent crash was first reported: The Tesla could have been been trying to maneuver around a vehicle traveling on the wrong side of the street, suggested by closed-circuit footage obtained by the attorney of the driver's father, Jon Speckman. The coroner's report cited blunt-force injuries caused by the crash as the causes of death for both victims, noting the vehicle's fire as a contributing factor, according to The Indianapolis Star. Jon Speckman recently made comments to the newspaper blaming the acceleration of the Tesla Model S. "Had she been in another vehicle, she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking," Speckman told The Indianapolis Star in an interview at his attorney's office. "This is a vehicle that travels from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds," Speckman also said during the interview. "She's clearly having to swerve to miss a vehicle going the wrong way on a one-way street. If her foot should happen to hit the accelerator, it's like a rocket ship. I don't know why they have to make a car that does that."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Stop Resisting and Start Submitting, Part 2

Webster defines the term “submit” in this way: “To surrender or yield to the will or authority of another . . . give in. To allow oneself to be subjected: acquiesce.” Those words seem strange in today’s rebellious world where resistance to authority is not only tolerated and expected, it’s admired and defended! Children, once taught to be submissive to their parents, now resist their authority with hardly a second thought. In some cases, they take them to court! Those who lead companies, corporations, and even ministries must now be ultra-sensitive toward their employees, using great diplomacy when exercising their role of authority. For professions such as teachers and police officers, the former days of demanding absolute submission to their authority are over. Admittedly, there are times when resistance is appropriate. We would not remain a free nation if we submitted to the tyranny of those who would take our liberty from us. There are times when defending one’s rights is essential; to do less would result in chaos. However, we are not addressing those issues in this message, but rather the sin of standing in stubborn defiance against and questioning any and all authority that has the right to confront, correct, or instruct us. Such resistance greatly displeases the Lord our God.

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