The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Geek Stuff (page 1 of 2)

Questions for Linux users

Does any of you really, really dislike Ubuntu 11.04′s new Unity desktop? Is there a reason I should like it?

Has anyone installed Gnome 3 on their Ubuntu in a way that wasn’t completely buggy?

Also, it it just me, or is OpenSUSE’s YaST painfully slow? I rather like OpenSUSE, but it takes something like 10 minutes to install simple programs like Picasa.

IGN wastes time and Internet bandwidth with pointless speculation

IGN is a gamers’ website with commentary and reviews on the various new and upcoming video games.  Yesterday, they wasted five precious minutes of my life as I read an article asking if North Korean domination of over half the U.S.A. is even possible.

(Image from IGN)

Here’s a slice:

But could North Korea really pull off an invasion of the United States? Even in fifteen years when the events of Homefront take place, it seems at best to be an extremely unlikely scenario. Yet, there’s a level of plausibility here that can’t be ignored. After all, no one could have expected that Nazi Germany would take over much of Europe only 10 years after suffering from crippling inflation the likes of which the world had never even remotely seen before. If history has proven one thing, it’s that the unlikely and implausible can quickly turn into something all too real.

Okay, it’s at least a little entertaining, I suppose.

UPDATE: Apparently, a novel based on the game is also out and user reviews on Amazon gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

The Ultimate Guide to Chungmuro for Photographers

As a photographer, I get asked all the time about Chungmuro, the traditional photo center of Korea. I sometimes give walking tours of the area as part of my photo classes, but I still haven’t gotten to do that as much as I’d like. So I’ve decided to give you all a virtual version, a map of the places I most highly recommend, which are pretty much the best 0f what Korea has to offer in terms of equipment, as well as specialized black-and-white, slide, scanning, and printing services.

chungmuro

Here’s how it works. The numbered red dots mark the specific landmarks referred to on the list below. The faint numbers are just block markers to use as reference, especially so one can refer to different parts of the streets and other specific places that weren’t given a red dot by me. So you can add your own favorite spots to the list! Click on the map to expand it to full size, then refer to the stuff below. Print it, save it in your iPod, whatever floats your boat.

Continue reading

Korean Software Piracy Declining?

An article from the JoongAng Daily looks at data from a joint study by the Washington D.C.-based Business Software Alliance – an international trade organization – and Massachusetts IT research firm IDC and it appears that software piracy in Korea is declining. However, it seems as if software piracy worldwide is on the rise.

The winner? Why the former Soviet state of Georgia at 95%! China is said to be improving, but 79% of its software is still pirated. The U.S. and Japan top the list as the most honest (20 to 21%) and Korea is somewhere in the middle at 41%, but below the worldwide average of 43%. For the Asia/Pacific region, Korea is actually in the upper third. Full study is here.

What We Will Never, Ever See from Samsung . . .

LG mobile has commissioned some of the most unusual advertising (public service?) spots one could imagine: Before you text, give it a ponder.  Compare this to other efforts by the Korean Government to encourage responsible behaviour on the internet.  This gives a new meaning to “bearding” and, according to Xeni Jardin (boingboing), is the work of Young and Rubicam in the states.
LG is now THE hub of bearding.

The Dungeon Master is Dead

Yes, I know, there is still a stigma attached to Dungeons and Dragons, and to even post about it is to provide fodder for the Trolls (not the same as those in Dungeons and Dragons, but nonetheless as annoying) but so many of today’s popular computer games owe their existence to this man, Dave Arneson – the creator of Dungeons and Dragons.  I am sure that there are some of you who, while not having played the paper and dice version of the game have enjoyed it in other forms such as Lineage and WOW, will fondly remember your days as a geek (some of us are still stuck in that mode) as you read over this obituary of the great Dungeon Master.

“We Must Match Nintendo!”

LMB has laid down the gauntlet.  Last month, South Korea’s Maximum Leader president lamented that Korea does not have ingenious (or “indigenous”) products like the Wii or the PSP. 

A saddened LMB was reported to have said:

A lot of our elementary school children have Nintendo game machines. Why can’t our companies develop products like that?

Nevermind that Japanese companies like Nintendo have been at it since Space Invaders in 1980 or that the onerous costs of developing, marketing and manufacturing complex game consoles like the PS3 has literally been like an albatross around Sony’s neck.  However, thus saith LMB, so thus it shall be done

Earlier this week the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced a partnership with a local electronics makers to form GamePark Holdings to try and match the Japanese prowess in game consoles. 

 From the KT

However, Korean gaming experts are stratching their heads.  Korea already has some pretty good gaming software companies such as NCSoft, which are not getting any government support.  An unnamed mobile games developer added:

Talking about Nintendo is out of touch, when you consider that the local software market is virtually on life-support. Piracy and lack of quality personnel has killed the vibrancy of the Korean software market, and I wonder whether the government has ever been serious about fostering the country’s software industry. It’s telling that most of the computers at government agencies rely on pirated software.

Another exec also slammed Lee’s government:

You don’t have the right to be daydreaming about Nintendo, when Korean online game firms, which are actually doing well overseas, feel they could do better if the government wasn’t biting at their ankles.  (Emphasis Mine)

Korea’s rather forceful mix of government mandated development has worked for cars, ships and consumer electronics, but one can’t help but wonder if the drive to create a Korean Nintendo is just a big waste of time, money and energy that can best be used elsewhere.

Korean Military’s Attempt to Look “Hip” to its Recruits?

ROK military is apparently developing a “Halo”-esque combat uniform that will incorporate protection from “lasers and missiles.”  Me thinks that’s just Konglish for technology that disrupts laser aiming and hence provides land based missile jamming support, not literally a laser and missile proof uniform.  I don’t even think Halo can get away with that!

Photo from ADD

As If Korea Weren’t a Loyal Enough Microsoft Colony…

Seriously, more Active X shit? WFT?

NOTE: I’m somewhat disappointed with the latest release of Ubuntu. On newer machines, it’s fine, but the Compiz bug with older Intel graphic cards really blows. I’m leaning towards using OpenSUSE 11 on my work system, but I keep getting URL errors on the Samba shares. I believe this is a KDE 4+ issue, so if any of you KDE geeks knows what’s up, I’d appreciate the help.

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

Ubuntu 8.10 Screenshot

One more day until the official release of Ubuntu 8.10.

If you can’t wait, the release candidate is out. Works great on my home system (and most of the Korean translations are complete), yet oddly enough, it still hangs on my work system.

What also looks hella cool is Kubuntu 8.10 with KDE 4.1. I really, really want to like KDE, but I keep finding myself going back to GNOME. If anyone wants to explain to me why I should be using KDE, I’m all ears.

Somebody Owes Me “Dinner”

In a “shocking” move, and I mean we are all “SHOCKED”, KTF will not roll out the iPhone handset in Korea anytime soon. And in a similar “shocking” development one issue is Apple’s failed adherence to the WIPI industry standard (not a trade barrier we are assured). Even more “suprising” is the effort so dependant on one guy that nobody is there to take up the slack when he is “unexpectely” under an invesigation for bribery (again just “shocking”).

Oh, and for the expense argument in the article. Why is it nobody voiced concerns on how the Korean market cannot bare the price of the recent million won LG Prada phone? Or those ridiculous million won Samsung camera phones of a few years ago? Why would a theortical one million won iPhone be that different? Can you say “searching for excuses”?

I know the better question is “why is it much less than a million won in the US?”, but I am so fed-up with this. Trade Barriers, corruption, cronyism or incompetent juniors, and it’s collective ability to stifle  innovation and economic improvement all here. Everything I hate about Korean industry wrapped up in one nice little package. Somebody polish this turd for me.

IE: 98.66% of Korean Browser Market

This post at Technokimchi — to be read with this quasi-rant — tells you everything you need to know about the Korean web environment.

I’ve read more than a few foreigners (such as Stafford and Brian) expressing anger at Korea’s ID-login system. Frankly, the sign-in system doesn’t bother me much anymore, since in my experience, Korean websites have gotten much better about accepting Foreigner ID numbers in the “Citizen ID” column.

Not being able to access Korean sites because I use Firefox on Linux (both at home and work), however, irks the living shit out of me. And it happens A LOT.

Chrome Port for Linux

If you’d like to play with Google’s Chrome browser but can’t wait for the official release of a native Linux version, CodeWeavers has come up with a Linux port that works, although for Korean-language systems, it looks like you’re going to have to play with it a bit.

When Linux Geeks Attack (Each Other)

Greg Kroah-Hartman of Novell (i.e., the guys who make SUSE Linux) goes off on Ubuntu for (allegedly) contributing next to diddly-squat to the development of the Linux kernel.

Matt Zimmerman, CTO of Canonical (i.e., the guys who make Ubuntu), fires back.

“How Much is That Doggie in the Test Tube?”

I couldn’t improve upon the title in the New York Times International Edition article on Korea’s nascent dog cloning industry so it’s a direct quote.  It appears that the disgraced Dr. Hwang Woo Suk is competing with a former student to create the world’s first commerically viable process.

Per the article:

The high-stakes battle pits South Korea’s best-known cloning experts against each other: One is Hwang Woo Suk… other is his estranged protégé, Lee Byeong Chun, who also has been indicted on fraud charges.

In 2005, Hwang and Lee created the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy. But since then they have split into rival laboratories, each vying to become the world’s top animal cloning center. The competition is spurring technological advances, bringing down the cost of cloning dogs and raising the prospects for a new South Korean export industry.

New industry?  Yeah, for all of us who happen to have an extra $100-150k lying around to copy a dog.  Well, there may be good reasons to do so, but generally that much money for fido v.2.0, or a bowl of 보신탕, (yeah, you knew that one was coming so might as well get it out of the way) is a little steep for me.

Hwang and Lee are garnering all the credit, but it’s probably sandal wearing grad students, buried deep within the bowels of a lab at SNU who are doing all the work.

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