Saturday, November 26, 2016

Korea emergency alerts via Line messenger


Naver's LINE messenger now has a special "friend" you can add to receive emergency alerts, for example for earthquakes.

Here's a sample of what the message looks like:

Line messenger emergency alert sample message. Image: ZDnet Korea

This sample earthquake alert shows the magnitude, time and date, and epicenter location info. The alert should be received within 5 minutes of an earthquake.

Add the username  [@line_disaster_alert] to be notified, or click here: https://lin.ee/65q7nbh

Of course you'll also now be getting these by regular SMS [Meteorological Agency to Send Earthquake Emergency Texts]


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Thursday, November 24, 2016

V-Live Store opens


V-Live Store opens


V LIVE Store. Image: Asia Today

For you K-pop fans, Naver's streaming music video service V Live now has an online store when you can purchase "exclusive contents" like emoticons and stickers of your favorite idols' faces (I don't know why, but seeing "콘텐츠" always rubs me the wrong way, like when people call a PowerPoint presentation a "UCC").

Check it out here: V LIVE - Store

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Get a Naver ID by signing-in with your SNS account


Naver now lets you sign up for a Naver ID by logging into Naver using an SNS account, currently either Facebook or Line. This is a simple first step to using a full Naver account, and the sign-up process is entirely available in English.

Naver login page, with SNS login options

I say "first step" because you will be prompted to fill out your profile details fully, as you would be required to do if you joined via e-mail address. For that you'll need to add an email address and mobile phone contact to receive an SMS text message verification code.

You can postpone all that for a while and use this SNS-linked account for most Naver services, (I tested it out with a dummy SNS account), but at some point (took about a week for me), it will require you to finish the proper sign-up. Seems like a way to lure you into signing up the normal way.

To be fair, adding an email address and a mobile number (it doesn't have to be a Korean phone: any number will work) isn't too much to ask. Of course you won't be able to fully utilize services like Naver Pay or other money-related activities, but the "email & phone number" account will work fine for utilizing most all the non-pay services. At least, I haven't had any issues with my Naver account, but to be honest I don't use it all that much anymore.

I can remember when the sign-up was all in Korean and we needed screenshot tutorials explaining step-by-step how to get a Naver ID. Now all it takes is one click with your Facebook. The foreigner-friendly march at Naver HQ continues.

Try it yourself here:
https://nid.naver.com/nidlogin.login


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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Recommended: "South Korea's Progressives Need to Grow Up in the Age of Trump"


Recommended read: "South Korea's Progressives Need to Grow Up in the Age of Trump"

At the risk of exposing some of my political leanings (which, anyway, are not very gung-ho in any direction), this was a deeply interesting commentary on the left wing reactions to the whole scandal with President Park and potential issues with a new President Trump.

... should South Korean progressives be tempted to return to their old ways and exploit anti-American sentiments again for any reason whatsoever, Trump’s likely braggadocious response would be less genteel than President George W. Bush’s response was while he was in the White House. Overt acts of anti-Americanism aside, one of the things that Trump ran on was for American allies to become more active in their own self-defense and to increase their share of joint-military budgets with the United States. It’s obvious how further South Korean attempts to maintain the status quo or push away Japan, which weakens the trilateral alliance (and we know what Trump thinks about perceptions of weakness), would be perceived in Washington.
The Korean Foreigner: South Korea's Progressives Need to Grow Up in the Age of Trump

This touches on something I have been thinking about. Koreans, especially the left-leaning ones, overwhelmingly supported Hillary. Just look at this headline, from, you guessed it, Hankoreh:

What I've been thinking, though, is how much a President Trump and the Korean left might actually have in common. Both seem to want American military presence in Korea reduced or removed entirely. Both seem against free trade deals between Korea and US. Trump is happy to devolve or reduce Korean dependence on big bad America and let Korea enact its own might (even to the point of nuclear weapons). I bet if you asked him, Trump would think laying down the cash for THAAD is a dumb idea. Under a Trump presidency, the Korean left could potentially be in a position to get some of the things they've wanted for a long time. But I haven't heard any cheers for his administration. Maybe the noise here at home is just too deafening right now. 

Well look, I'm no political pundit, so what do I know. 

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Open Hangul HWP files with ALPDF


ALTools, the suite from Korea's ESTsoft, which you might recognize as that cute little pill that tries to open all the zip files on your work computer, has a new program called ALPDF (Al as in Al Bundy + PDF) aka "알PDF".

ALPDF logo. Image: ALTools

I mention it because it lets you convert between all the usual Office formats, but also Hangul's HWP file format. So could be another free tool in your arsenal for opening/converting/printing hwp files. You can grab the app here, for Windows only:

http://www.altools.co.kr/Download/ALPDF.aspx

The download is about 50MB, and while the set-up is pretty straight forward, the instructions and app itself are all in Korean. So you might be better off checking out some of my other posts on opening Hangul HWP files.

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All the president's dogs 🐶


Just something cute I found out that I didn't know about. President Park Geun-hye has several Jindo dogs, named Peace, Unification, Geumgang, Halla & Baekdu (평화, 통일, 금강, 한라, 백두). Aww. Now those are some cute puppy names. Better than, uh, "Gil Ra Im" 😏 Man I'm a sucker for cute dog photos. Though give me a real sized dog any day over these little squirts.

From Dog or tiger? | Korea Times

Image: FamTimes

What can I say? I like to look on the light side of controversies. If you ask me (and you didn't), I'd say that as a leader, she's not one. But it's more the sinister vultures around her I'm afraid of. I mean look at this photo. This is exactly the sort of life she was used to. Perhaps a bit stunted in that princess phase. But so what? If you ask me (and you didn't), her party should never have pushed for her. It's not precisely that I think she should resign or be impeached. It's more that she probably shouldn't have been president in the first place. But with President Trump on the way, that's a pretty rich comment from me. 

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Some 2017 Suneung (수능) English questions


Today (well, yesterday) was Suneung day here in Korea, which you might have noticed in the morning since many offices and shops opened an hour or two later than usual to give a wide berth to the high school kids making their ways to other schools. And yes, the planes were stopped again.

Suneung 2017 English section. Image: Donga


I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the questions that were on today's test. These are from the English section of course. And although it's 2016, they'd call this the 2017 test since it's for kids entering college next year.

Pencil ready?

Selected Suneung Questions 2017


#21 - Identify the correct theme of the passage

The precision of the lines on the map, the consistency with which symbols are used, the grid and/or projection system, the apparent certainty with which place names are written and placed, and the legend and scale information all give the map an aura of scientific accuracy and objectivity. Although subjective interpretation goes into the construction of these cartographic elements, the finished map appears to express an authoritative truth about the world, separate from any interests and influences. The very trust that this apparent objectivity inspires is what makes maps such powerful carriers of ideology. However unnoticeably, maps do indeed reflect the world views of either their makers or, more probably, the supporters of their makers, in addition to the political and social conditions under which they were made. Some of the simple ideological messages that maps can convey include: This land is and has long been ours; here is the center of the universe; if we do not claim this land, the enemies you most fear will.

① the conditions essential to making a map accurate
② political and social conflicts caused by maps
③ subjectivity defining the creativity of map-making
④ the authority derived from trustworthy maps
⑤ ideologies lying beneath the objectivity of maps 

#23 - Identify the correct theme of the passage

The film director, as compared to the theater director, has as his material, the finished, recorded celluloid. This material from which his final work is composed consists not of living men or real landscapes, not of real, actual stage-sets, but only of their images, recorded on separate strips that can be shortened, altered, and assembled according to his will. The elements of reality are fixed on these pieces; by combining them in his selected sequence, shortening and lengthening them according to his desire, the director builds up his own “filmic” time and “filmic” space. He does not adapt reality, but uses it for the creation of a new reality, and the most characteristic and important aspect of this process is that, in it, laws of space and time invariable and inescapable in work with actuality become obedient. The film assembles from them a new reality proper only to itself.
① Film Making: Exploration into the Unknown
② A Filmic World: Lost in Time and Space
③ Innovative Technology in Film Editing
④ A Reality in the Film Director’s Hands
⑤ The Director’s Reality Never Changes

#28 - Choose the incorrect word

When people face real adversity ─ disease, unemployment, or the disabilities of age ─ affection from a pet takes on new meaning. A pet’s continuing affection becomes crucially important for ① those enduring hardship because it reassures them that their core essence has not been damaged. Thus pets are important in the treatment of ② depressed or chronically ill patients. In addition, pets are ③ used to great advantage with the institutionalized aged. In such institutions it is difficult for the staff to retain optimism when all the patients are declining in health. Children who visit cannot help but remember ④ what their parents or grandparents once were and be depressed by their incapacities. Animals, however, have no expectations about mental capacity. They do not worship youth. They have no memories about what the aged once ⑤ was and greet them as if they were children. An old man holding a puppy can relive a childhood moment with complete accuracy. His joy and the animal’s response are the same.

#30 - Which "he/his" pronoun refers to someone different than rest?

 Dr. Paul Odland and his friend Bob travel frequently to South America, where they provide free medical treatment for disabled children of poor families. One day, they went to a local marketplace. Paul wanted to buy some souvenirs, and ① he spotted a carving that he liked. The non-English speaking seller was asking 500 pesos for the carving. With Bob acting as interpreter, Paul offered 300 and ② his opponent proposed 450. The bargaining in the noisy market became spirited, even intense, with Paul stepping up ③ his price slightly and the seller going down slowly. The pace increased so fast that Bob could not keep up with the back-and-forth interpretation. Meanwhile, observing the seller carefully, Paul sensed something wrong in Bob’s interpretation. In fact, the seller had gone below Paul’s last offer. When Paul raised his doubt, Bob instantly recognized the error and corrected ④ his interpretation. At length, they settled the deal, and ⑤ he was delighted to purchase the carving at a reasonable price and thanked Bob.
#32 - Fill in the blank

Temporal resolution is particularly interesting in the context of satellite remote sensing. The temporal density of remotely sensed imagery is large, impressive, and growing. Satellites are collecting a great deal of imagery as you read this sentence. However, most applications in geography and environmental studies do not require extremely fine-grained temporal resolution. Meteorologists may require visible, infrared, and radar information at sub-hourly temporal resolution; urban planners might require imagery at monthly or annual resolution; and transportation planners may not need any time series information at all for some applications. Again, the temporal resolution of imagery used should _______________________. Sometimes researchers have to search archives of aerial photographs to get information from that past that pre-date the collection of satellite imagery.
① be selected for general purposes
② meet the requirements of your inquiry
③ be as high as possible for any occasion
④ be applied to new technology by experts
⑤ rely exclusively upon satellite information 

#35 - Which sentence does not belong?

Most often, you will find or meet people who introduce themselves in terms of their work or by what they spend time on. These people introduce themselves as a salesman or an executive. ① There is nothing criminal in doing this, but psychologically, we become what we believe. ② Identifying what we can do in the workplace serves to enhance the quality of our professional career. ③ People who follow this practice tend to lose their individuality and begin to live with the notion that they are recognized by the job they do. ④ However, jobs may not be permanent, and you may lose your job for countless reasons, some of which you may not even be responsible for. ⑤ In such a case, these people suffer from an inevitable social and mental trauma, leading to emotional stress and a feeling that all of a sudden they have been disassociated from what once was their identity.


#36 - Place the three specified passages in the correct order.

Interestingly, being observed has two quite distinct effects on performance. In some cases, performance is decreased, even to the point of non-existence. The extreme of this is stage fright, the sudden fear of public performance.
(A) So, if you are learning to play a new sport, it is better to begin it alone, but when you become skilled at it, then you will probably perform better with an audience.
(B) There are many instances of well-known actors who, in mid-career, develop stage fright and simply cannot perform. The other extreme is that being observed enhances performance, people doing whatever it might be better when they know that others are watching.
(C) The general rule seems to be that if one is doing something new or for the first time, then being observed while doing it decreases performance. On the other hand, being observed while doing some task or engaging in some activity that is well known or well practiced tends to enhance performance.
① (A) - (C) - (B)
② (B) - (A) - (C)
③ (B) - (C) - (A)
④ (C) - (A) - (B)
⑤ (C) - (B) - (A)

How did you do? Tune in tomorrow for the answers. Just kidding. Here you go:

Answers


21 [5] - 23 [4] - 28 [5] - 30 [4] - 32 [2] - 35 [2] - 36 [3]

UPDATE: I had mixed up my "odd/even sheet" list, so the first two answers I listed here were wrong. I've double-checked them all now. Sorry about that. 

The entire English section, as well as all other sections of yesterday's test, are available as PDFs on the DongA News website:


Donga News Suneung files by section

"Friendly Fails" & other suneung musings


Regarding the test, I learned something I thought was pretty interesting today while chatting about the test with a coworker. I'll call them "friendly fails".

You may already know that many universities have special early admissions, for example for students who were outstanding in certain subjects and have sparkling school grades, or a school record filled with awards and extracurricular activities. Or even some students who lived abroad and excel in a foreign languages and pass the university interview. The nice thing about early admission is you can beat the crowd and learn your acceptance status earlier (duh). The catch is that if they accept you, you essentially are bound to go. No waiting to see who else will accept you. You made your choice by applying to the early admission track. 

Anyway, students who get granted early admission will usually know their result before Suneung day, meaning that for some kids, despite their years of study, they may not actually need to sit the test. Their scores are irrelevant; they already got their "in". 

But some of them will attend the Suneung test anyway, and purposefully fail it, purposefully choosing answers they know to be wrong. They believe that by doing this, they are contributing to lowering the average nationwide score set, which will help make their friends, who desperately need a high school, seem to have done "better" than the national average. If lots of students did poorly (or seem to have done poorly), then your mediocre score seems relatively higher (and this is a test where relativity is everything). If not for the entire test, they can do this for particular subjects that they know they won't be submitting (like a second foreign language score for a science major, etc.)

You guess is as good as mine as whether this actually works and has any effect (I doubt it), but it could be a nice sort of moral support or mental charm for the serious takers. 

I was also told a rumor that any student who gets 0%, a total failure, is automatically granted admission to Seoul National University, because anybody able to beat the statistics and purposefully fail every single question is obviously a genius who knew every answer's correct choice and skillfully avoided it. Take that for what you will. 

Caveat: I am not an expert on the Korean education system. There are details I could be getting wrong. I have never taken this test nor applied to college here. That's probably good because I doubt I'd have made the cut. 

Best wishes for all yesterday's test takers and for their college dreams! Now they've earned the right to lame-duck their way through the rest of the year. If you've got coworkers with high school 3rd-grader kids, show them some love. This could be the most worrisome time for them as their kid's acceptance (and rejection) letters start pouring in.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Naver app "Labs" settings to customize the Naver app homepage


The Naver app has a section in the settings called "Labs" (네앱연구소), where you can optionally enable a few neat features. If you're familiar with G-mail's labs settings, it's very similar. Here's a quick rundown of the features offered.

To get there:

  1. open the Naver app
  2. tap the main Menu button in the upper left
  3. tap the gear icon
  4. choose 네앱연구소 (My App Lab), which is the only option under the 연구 중인 기능 section.


Here's what you'll see, with English translation:

Naver app "Labs" settings (네앱연구소) currently available


Naver App "Labs" section settings

Naver app Labs features


Topic auto-cleaner
안 보는 주제 자동 정리


This feature will automatically remove categories from your main Naver homepage if you haven't interacted with them in a user-set amount of time (30, 60, or 90 days). For example, if you never view the "Sports" section, then the app will eventually remove the sports section for you, and present more content for the sections you actually do browse.

Fonts
글꼴


Changes the fonts used in the app. You'll be asked to download a 16MB font package if you choose this. Interestingly, it seems over 70% of those who use this feature are women. I'm going to guess they're using "Choco Cooky."

Lock Screen
잠금 화면


Requires you to input a passcode for using the app. KakaoTalk also uses this feature. I don't know if it's just me, but I've noticed most coworkers do utilize this feature. I don't get it, myself. I guess they let others use their phones but want to keep the chats private. I never share my phone, so the default system-wide lock screen is fine by me.

Naver Home cover photo
네이버홈 커버


Changes the cover photo, i.e. the image behind the search box at the top of the app. You can replace the classic trademark green box with your own custom image from your phone or choose one of the cute Google Now-style images.

Here's an example from me that looks pretty bad. Maybe I need a better banner logo. If you want your own custom perfect photo here, make sure you choose one sized 800 x 277 pixels to fit perfectly.

Naver App with custom banner image

Here's the setting to choose the image, which shows some of the cute default choices offered. I couldn't figure out where these are stored. I'd like to download them and use them myself.

Image: Appilog

You can also see some other nice examples, many of which are either people's baby photos or K-pop stars, here.

Naver Home MyBoard
네이버홈 MY판


This lets you add your own custom category to the Naver homepage, right alongside "News," "Weather," "Sports," etc. For example, you could add a section for your favorite website and have it easily accessible. Mobile-friendly websites are best to add here. If you're browsing the web through the Naver app's built-in browser, there will also be a "send to MyBoard" option (looks like a hashtag) to add that page/site as a custom category.

For example, I added my blog as a custom board. Here's what it looks like on my Naver homepage:



I tried adding the RSS feed but it didn't work. It seems to work better with Naver services pages, but any mobile-friendly site will do.

Naver Light Home
라이트홈


Allows you to use the newish Naver Light home theme instead of the default Naver homepage. This is a lighter-weight version of the Naver home that loads faster and has more Google Now-style cards. I wrote a short post about Naver Light Home here:
10원 Tips: Naver Light Home, a new homepage for trips abroad

Custom Toolbar
커스텀 툴바


Wow, in the couple of days since I took the screenshot, Naver Labs already added this new feature, so it's not in the photo here. You can customize the toolbar, which is the floating menu that remains at the bottom of the page in the Naver app's built-in browser.

Secret mode
시크릿 모드


Basically just their name for "In Cognito" mode. Browse with this turned on, and it will delete your search/browsing history.

Screen capture editor
캡처 에디터


A fancy way to take and edit screen shots.

Keypad slider
키패드 슬라이더


This is handy if you do a lot of manual URL editing. We know it's annoying to try to slide the cursor with your finger through that tiny URL box up top. This adds a slider button so that you can more easily get the cursor in the exact spot you want. I can imagine this really useful to a few people, and useless to most.

Suspicious connection protection
수상한 연결 탐지기


Warns you when your Wi-Fi connection might be spoofed, especially for public Wi-Fi use. As it says itself: if you never see its message pop up, then good!

Gesture drawing
제스처 그리기


You can navigate by drawing large gestures on the screen. You can draw these gestures:
  • "N" to go home
  • "<" or ">" to go backward and forward
  • "^" or "V" to go to the top or bottom of the page
  • "W" to go to the URL input bar
  • "ㅁ" to open a new tab
  • "S" to cancel/refresh.

I tried this for awhile, and while it was a bit cool at first, it became bothersome and I disabled it.

Night mode
나이트 모드


Not a dark theme, but instead puts a red tint over everything, to reduce blue light and help you sleep at night. I already use a nice quality app called Twilight for this system-wide.

And that's it.

Now if only they'd take the plunge and have "English interface" as a labs setting...


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