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Profiles in Tech: Kevin Flynn.

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Welcome to the second installment of Profiles in Tech!  This is where we meet a character in the Disney universe that is "techy" by nature.  With all of the hype surrounding this particular movie lately, I figured it’s a great time to talk about hacker extraordinaire and video game designer Kevin Flynn.

Kevin Flynn is a leading character in Disney’s TRON, their 1983 sci-fi film that takes you inside the programming side of a computer.  Flynn was played by Jeff Bridges, who will reprise his role in this December’s TRON: Legacy (more on that later).

Flynn was a programmer for a company called ENCOM.  While working there, he created video games that would eventually become best-sellers.  Some of those games, like Lightcycles, make an appearance in the film.  The problem is that Flynn never got credit for his work because another programmer, Ed Dillinger, stole his code and claimed it as his own – a move that rocketed Dillinger to the top of ENCOM.

To prove Dillinger’s guilt, Flynn took to hacking into computer systems to find proof of the wrongdoing.   Here, his skills as a programmer helped him break into ENCOM’s systems, though Dillinger’s Master Control Program (MCP) thwarted his attempts to recover the files he needed.  The MCP destroyed Flynn’s Clu program, which was the "best program ever written" – according to Flynn himself.  Later in the movie, we find out Flynn has also written other "tank" programs that are now being used against him.

I don’t want this to be a recap of the movie, so I’ll leave the commentary at that.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good movie to check out before the sequel hits theaters this winter.  From what I’ve heard so far, it’ll be helpful to know some of the events of the original film.  I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that some of Flynn’s programming will come back to bite him.

Kevin Flynn is a master computer programmer.  He’s an obvious character to profile when you talk about techies in Disney.  Flynn’s video games built a huge company, and his programming and hacking brought him his rightful position in the company.  This just goes to show that although the term "hacking" has taken on a negative connotation lately, it’s not by nature a bad thing (but that’s a different post for a different time).  If you’d like to read even more about Flynn, this wiki page has 900 to 1200 times more information than I could even think of!

As we near the release of TRON: Legacy, perhaps I’ll pick a few other characters from TRON to look at.  Let me know what you think about that idea, and give me some characters you’d like to see here.  As always, leave a comment below!

Finally, I’m going to sign off with the trailer for the upcoming film.  It looks great so far, with some wonderful effects and visuals.  Check it out below!


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