Monday, November 20, 2017

Naver Whale browser "snows" for first snow of the year

Today the Seoul area experienced its first snow of the season, and Naver's web browser Whale celebrated by making it snow on the new tab page. 

Screenshot of a snowing Naver Whale browser new tab page

I tried it this afternoon to confirm. If you run the mouse cursor around the screen, the snow will respond with a sort of hover/get-out-of-the-way response. 

Some users on Twitter (including the official Whale account) shared their shots too, including this one that shows the snow animation:

Snow falling on Whale's new tab page. Image: @Cha_Gyung

The effect is similar to what Kakao has done within KakaoTalk chatrooms when it's snowed over the last few years. 

I like this a lot. It reminds me of the kind of cute whimsy (or a brand of 센스) in technology that Google used to be known for. 

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Naver Whale browser Linux version released

Naver has released the Linux version of their Chromium-based web browser, Whale.

Naver Whale promo image for Linux version

You can download it either as a .deb package installer file (63 MB) from their download page alongside the Windows and MacOS versions, or from their repository. 

Naver Whale download page. Windows, macOS, and Linux versions ready. Just waiting on iOS/Android.

The direct link to the current version is:

It's listed as for Ubuntu 14.04 64bit or later, so of course other similar based distros should run it. For example here's a guy who got it running on Linux Mint:

Whale browser in Linux Mint. Image: CaveStory :: 네이버 웨일 리눅스 출시! 

I wanted to try it myself and throw some screenshots of my own up here, but sadly, the only Linux box I've got lying around right now is an older Dell laptop with Lubuntu, and importantly it's an x86 system. Whale is for x64 systems only. Looks like this guy tried installing it on a Raspberry Pi and found that out the hard way. I could add a Linux partition to one of my other computers, or maybe try running it in a Live CD session, but eh who cares.

Naver Whale package from Synaptic Package Manager. Yes, I'm guilty of analog screenshotting.

The Whale repository is at and there you'll find the commands to run in your terminal to add it and install Whale:

$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable/" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/naver-whale.list'
$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install naver-whale-stable

Naver Whale repository

Have fun. And if you really want to stick it out with Linux in Korea, take a look at HamoniKR, which is both a Korean-ready remix of Mint and a wider Open Source enthusiast community. A lot of answers can be found there. Meanwhile I'll stick with Windows. As a former Open Source junkie, turning to the dark side just plain made life easier here.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Naver opens Papago Gym, rewards for contributing translations

Naver's translation program "Papago" has opened Papago Gym, in which users can contribute translations to improve the system, in a gameified way.

Papago Gym promo logo. Image: Naver

To try it, visit and log in with your Naver account. Right now it's only available on desktop.

You'll be shown a text in Korean or English and then a few possible translations. Pick the right one, or contribute your own, and get points.

Papago Gym translation improvement sample. Image: Naver

It's pretty similar to what Google tries to get users to do, such as with their Crowdsource app. 

Right now there's some special promo event where you can get Papago swag. 

I don't know who wants to waste their time with this type of stuff that blatantly is outsourcing a major corporation's work to its own users, but then again I waste precious downtime with this blog so to each his own. 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

High Noon: Korean English levels meme

To celebrate the first ever delay of the Suneung, here is a funny meme picture that humorously illustrates many Koreans' perceptions of how English gets used. As the level goes "up," a simple statement like "It's high noon." becomes so convoluted and abstract that it's nearly impossible to comprehend. The drawing too becomes appropriately more and more abstract. The levels progress from:
  1. (easiest) actual native speakers
  2. middle school English textbooks
  3. high school English textbooks
  4. (hardest) Suneung questions (Korean College Scholastic Ability Test)

English levels, from "native speaker" to CSAT

This meme format is part of the Increasingly Verbose Memes | Know Your Meme family, and looks like somebody just added the Korean text to this one. The cowboy character is McCree from the wildly popular game Overwatch. He says this when doing some special move. 

If you want to see what the test is really like, I posted a few questions here:

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Korean government moves to Open Document (.odt) standard

That's right. The Korean government is going to start using the Open Document format (.odt) for official government documents and archives. Say goodbye to .hwp files!

Apache Open Office 4. Pic unrelated Image: T§ at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL], via Wikimedia Common

Sort of. Individual public servants can still use Hangul Office to make all the .hwps or .docs or .ptts they want in their line of duty. Plus this idea's been floated for 3 years. But ZDnet cites that considerations like budgeting (i.e. not having to pay Hancom to use their propitiatory software that plenty of people pirate anyway) and the advantages in operability among different OSes, and that it's particularly suited to cloud storage.

It looks like they won't actually be using Open Office or LibreOffice though, but rather some kind of cloud solution for creating the docs. So no, not Google Docs, or apparently even Netffice. They're also working on converting old documents into the .odt or .pdf formats.

It looks like part of the wider government initiative called the On-nara System (온-나라 시스템) to streamline government paperwork into the cloud. This is rabbit hole of info and I don't have time to go more into this now, sorry.

I actually sort of like Hangul Office. I got a (legal?) copy from a coworker and you can set the whole thing to English and it's actually pretty intuitive and powerful, and yes incorporates well with your cloud drive storage. I've got a whole series of posts up if you need help opening/using HWP documents and don't have the program: 10원 Tips: Posts tagged "hwp"

Funny, before I came to Korea I was deep into promoting the open source lifestyle. Ubuntu and LibreOffice all the way. Now I'm full time back on Windows and Word/Hangul/Adobe.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Recommended: "US Marine's love in the time of war"

Recommended read: US Marine's love in the time of war

I always enjoy Robert Neff's history articles. This one gives a small glimpse into one soldier's life. I couldn't help but imagine this same scene playing out again today if the North ever really does strike. Sure, Seoul has more bridges now, but it also has vastly more people.

On Jan. 3, 1951, the embassy was ordered to evacuate to Busan. There was no real organized plan ― merely each man for himself ― and Lampman told his young bride to gather up her family and return to the embassy. It was his intention to drive them south in an old Russian truck he had obtained some months earlier.
Lampman, his wife, and a young American named Wabash rode in the front while squeezed in the back were 18 young women ― all embassy switchboard employees. Everyone in the city was making for the one bridge crossing the Han River ― pandemonium ruled.
Korea Times | US Marine's love in the time of war

Read the full thing at the link. Condolences to Mr. Lampman.

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