Saturday, September 24, 2016

Quick Tips: Aug-Sept 2016


Sam's Quick Tips for August & September 2016

  • Read received Kakao messages without the sender knowing
  • SK releases Korean version of Amazon Dash button
  • Colbert's Korean Minions movie joke
  • Naver Blogs allows for PDF version of blog backup
  • Papago released for iOS
  • Conan's octopus brought to his L.A. studio
  • Nice map of US state drivers licenses recognized in Korea
  • The Diplomat on "Christianity and Korea"
  • Swing Browser hits 20 million downloads
  • Kakao Friends wish you a happy Chuseok
  • Google knows Chuseok
  • Naver's sign-in box is now available in English
  • Adorable shark-fin soup protest
  • Ambassador Lippert ready to get his drank on

A note about "Quick Tips"


Today I'm starting with an experiment that I'm thinking about making a monthly feature here. Basically these are just things I posted on my Twitter, but never mentioned here on the blog. These are just quick little items of interest that don't really warrant an entire post of their own, but I think are valuable tidbits of information anyway. Plus I've never really gotten into Twitter. I'll post stuff now and then but don't really follow anybody on it (I either follow their blog directly via RSS, or incorporate their Twitter posts into my Inoreader). So I don't really like the idea of having Twitter-exclusive content anyway. Hopefully this will give blog readers (do I have any?) a way to keep up without having to worry about following me on Twitter.

So maybe once a month I'll collect some of those tweets and expand on them just a bit here. Let's get started.



Read received Kakao messages without the sender knowing


I saw this over on Reddit and actually thought it was a pretty clever trick:

Turn off your data/wifi, read it, exit the app, and then turn data/wifi back on. This allows you to read it without it showing the read notification apparently. But I would test it with a friend just to be sure.
Is it possible to turn off read receipts in Kakaotalk? : korea

I like this because it's simple and doesn't need any extra apps.


SK releases Korean version of Amazon Dash button


This will look very familiar to anyone who's used Amazon's Dash button. Run by SK, it currently places orders through online shopping site 11st.

By the way, perhaps as a sign of how dumb I've become, I always thought they just miswrote "11th" (eleventh), following the "1st" rule. I've definitely seen my fair share of 5st or 6nd or 2rd over the years. Finally I saw 11번가 and it all made sense: it's 11 Street. Like I said, I'm not too bright these days.

Image: ITdaily.kr

SK Telecom has released a new device named Smart Button Kkuk, which facilitates online orders of daily necessities under cooperation with its e-commerce affiliate SK Planet, Monday.
"Smart Button Kkuk is expected to draw much attention from homemakers raising children, double-income couples and unmarried working people who live alone," said Cho Young-hoon, senior vice president of SK Telecom's smart home business division.
SK releases smart shopping device for daily necessities

Homemakers, double-income couples, and single people. So in other words, everybody with money to spend.

Colbert's Korean Minions movie joke


The other day Stephen Colbert was talking about Hillary Clinton's reference to Trump supporters as a "basket of deplorables" and Stephen said it sounded like the Korean title of a Minions movie, and threw up this modified poster.


He changed it to 나쁜 사람의 바구니, literally a basket of bad people. The real title in Korea, because I know you're dying to find out, was just Minions (미니언즈). Anybody happen to know when the Korean box offices stopped translating titles and just transliterating them instead? I miss some of those great old titles, like 바람과 함께 사라지다.

Watch Colbert's bit here:
A Rough Week for Hillary Clinton - YouTube

Naver Blogs allows for PDF version of blog backup


This is not news, but just something I noticed the other day.

One thing I like about Google Blogger is that it let's you back-up your blog archive in an XML file. The downside of course is that it's difficult for a normal user to make use of this. So I was pleased to see the following feature in the settings of a test Naver Blog that I've been playing with.

Naver Blog's PDF backup page

You can export your entries, or any portion of them, to a PDF file. It automatically page-breaks at each post, which is good for a blog with long entries but not ideal if each post is very short. Still, it's a nice user-friendly feature that I wish other services would offer.

Papago released for iOS


Naver papago

I already did a little mini-review of Naver's new real-time translation app here:
10원 Tips: Naver Translator app "papago" (네이버 파파고) screenshots and review

It was only on Android at the time, but it's been released for iOS now. Download it here:
Naver papago Translate on the App Store

Conan's octopus brought to his L.A. studio


If you went crazy watching Conan O'Brien's antics in Korea a few months back, you may remember when he bought an octopus at the landmark Noryangjin fish market, and affectionately named it Samuel. You can see that part here:
Conan Visits Noryangjin Fish Market - YouTube

Well, the Korea Tourism Organization milked some more airtime out of Conan, and sent (supposedly, but I have my doubts) the same octopus to his studio. Conan showed off Samuel and his new home on his show recently. You can watch here:
Conan Reunites With Samuel The Octopus - CONAN on TBS - YouTube

Nice map of US state drivers licenses recognized in Korea


You may know that whether or not you can easily utilize your American drivers licence in Korea depends specifically on which US state issued your license. Each state works out a reciprocity agreement with Korea. That doesn't mean someone from a different state can't drive here, of course; you just have some additional hurdles to jump through. Folks from these states can just swap out their license for a Korean one; folks from other states can do the swap but need a written test and some evidential documentation first. Of course if you're just visiting, a simple International License from AAA should do.

Anyway I just liked the convenient infographic map the article included.

South Korea and Hawaii have signed a pact to recognize the validity of noncommercial driver's licenses issued by each other, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
Under the agreement, which went into force Wednesday in the US state after being signed, holders of driver's licenses issued by their own authorities are eligible for a driving permit in the counterpart region without additional training or tests, ministry officials said.
 - Korea, Hawaii sign pact to mutually recognize driver's licenses

Image: Korea Herald


The Diplomat on "Christianity and Korea"


This was just an all around interesting introduction to the various stages of Christian influence on Korea and does a nice job of tracing the history of the movements. I thought this quote was pretty insightful:

At the same time, Hong says, “It’s true that [a lot of] Christianity is corrupt. But there are a lot of hidden true pastors working hard, and their passion for God is why we are so successful in Korea.”
Christianity and Korea | The Diplomat

Very true, I'd say. There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of religious corruption around, and not just financial, but intimidation. Get on the wrong side of the church elders (who often aren't even pastors, just big shots in the congregation) and you and your family can see some opportunities cut off. But like the quote says, on the other hand there are a lot of hard working and selfless church-goers here, who work with passion and zeal and do some real good. These folks are deep into the Biblical life routine and can be the most selfless and good hearted folks. They can be intense and a bit "too much" day to day, but they'll come through for you in a pinch, which is more than I think we can say for most people around us these days. That's a good point I think the article could have looked at more -- how there was simply no or little government-sponsored welfare in the aftermath of the Korean war, and how religious organizations, as they do these days in the third world, stepped in to fill the void.

Religion is always a hot topic, but Korean religion is just so varied and so multifaceted, from Confucianism to Catholics, shamans to cults, you can never just box it in and say "this is how it is." But hey, that's true for everything.

Swing Browser hits 20 million downloads


Image: Aju News

That Frankenstein browser "Swing Browser," which tries to bolt the Korea-required features of Internet Explorer on top of Chrome, apparently hit 20,000,000 downloads last month.

If you've never used it, I did a review with plenty of screenshots while back, here:
10원 Tips: My review of Swing Browser (스윙 브라우저)

Kakao Friends wish you a happy Chuseok


OK, now I just thought this was plain cute. I got a lot of Happy Chuseok messages last week, but this was my favorite. I tried to find the origin of it, but the best my lazy quick-Googling could come up with was a G-Dragon Twitter fan account.
GD-SUPPORTERS on Twitter: "오늘부터 추석 연휴 시작이네요. 본가로 내려가시는 분들도 계실테고 홀로 긴 연휴를 보내시는 분들도 계실텐데 긴 명절연휴인 만큼 가족들과 또는 스스로에게도 긴 휴식이 될수 있길 바랍니다:) 우리지용이두요🙏 https://t.co/dbGCm5zRPs"


Kakao Friends wishing you a Happy Chuseok

The Korean text on the side reads 더도 말고 덜도 말고 한가위만 같아라, which is an old saying something like "There's nothing more or less like Chuseok" or "There's nothing better than Chuseok". Send it to your Korean friends next year.

Google knows Chuseok


Speaking of Chuseok, I thought this was funny. I did a Google voice search on my phone, asking "When is Chuseok" a couple of weeks back, and it actually understood the word "chuseok" and brought back an info card filled with details. Nice.

Google Search results for "Chuseok" on mobile

Naver's sign-in box is now available in English


I don't know when exaxtly this started happening, but when I'm logged-out of Naver, it now asks me to sign-in in English. You can very easily sign-up for a Naver account if you don't have one, as the whole process is in English now. In fact all the security options are in English. I did a post awhile back about enabling two-factor authentication (password + a phone code) for your Naver account, which can all be done in English.
10원 Tips: Enable Two-step verification for your Naver account


Naver Sign-in box in English

Good to see Naver reaching a greater audience by (painfully slowly) incorporating English. They may still be the dominate player in Korea, but let's be honest, there's no potential for growth. They've saturated Korea, they are not magically going to get more Korean speakers, and if anything, Google will keep chipping away at them. They need growth and offering at least core account service in English and/or Chinese is the way. I really think they dropped the ball on this, letting the highest parts of the Hallyu pass by already. With papago and Line it's working, but they need to, for example, get Naver Pay working with credit cards from abroad. Imagine the Hallyu fan purchase frenzy! Anyway, I'm no trade expert.

Adorable shark-fin soup protest


This one is just for me. I just love this guy's way of maintaining his anonymity.

Image: Hankyoreh
Read about it here:
One-person demonstration against shark fin soup : National : News : The Hankyoreh

Ambassador Lippert ready to get his drank on


This guy always seems to love his job. Wish I looked like I was having as much fun as he seems to always be having on these events out.

Image: Yonhap

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (2nd from L) toasts with Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin (2nd from R) and Frederico Freire (far R), chief of South Korea's top beer firm Oriental Brewery, during a "chimac" festival in the southeastern city of Daegu on July 27, 2016, in this photo released by the brewery. Chimac, also spelled "chimaek," is a compound word combining chicken and "maekju," the Korean word for beer. (Yonhap)
'Chimac' fete in S. Korean city




That's it for this month. Let me know in the comments if you find this useful. Find more of my quick tips here. Happy Chuseok 2016!


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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Naver Light Home, a new homepage for trips abroad


Naver has started rolling out a new light-themed version of its mobile homepage, targeting people travelling abroad.

Naver "Light Home". Image: Aju News

It's meant to be fast-loading and light-weight, consuming 70% less data. It also shows local and home information, like time differences, currency conversion, local weather and points of interest, local language translation, etc. It's a nice hub, reminiscent of the cards Google Now provides when you travel abroad.

You can try it out here: http://m.naver.com/preview/light/

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Show Google+ comments only on Blogger posts with a certain label


Here is a simple piece of code that will let you add the Google+ comments box to only certain Blogger posts. This code relies on the post having a specific label.

For this example, I'm going to have all posts show the normal Blogger commenting box, but I want certain specific posts (those with a given label) to also show the G+ Comments box just above that. Basically like this image here.

Example: Display Blogger comments on all posts, add G+ comments to certain labeled posts


Here's a real life situation where this might come in handy. Let's say you have been using G+ comments on your blog, but you decide to switch back to the default Blogger commenting system, which in my opinion is a much better choice. But let's say certain posts had a lively G+ discussion that you'd like to keep around just for those posts, in addition to the normal Blogger commenting box on all posts. This will allow those old G+ comments to remain visible and active, but also keep the normal Blogger comments operational on all pages (including these).

To do this, first you should disable the G+ comments system on your blog, and return it to normal Blogger comments. Don't worry; none of the G+ comments will be deleted. G+ comments are associated with G+ and your post's URL only. Even if you remove G+ commenting, all G+ comments are still out there in G+ land.

Once you've got the normal Blogger commenting system working, add this code to your blog template.

Code for displaying G+ Comments box by post label 


<!--Start G+ comments by label-->
<b:loop values='data:post.labels' var='label'>
            <b:if cond='data:label.name == &quot;LABELGOESHERE&quot;'>
          <script src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script>
<div id="comments"></div>
<script>
//<![CDATA[
gapi.comments.render('comments', {
    href: window.location,
    width: '500',
    first_party_property: 'BLOGGER',
    view_type: 'FILTERED_POSTMOD'
});
//]]>
</script>
  </b:if>
        </b:loop>
<!--End G+ comments by label-->

Just replace LABELGOESHERE with whatever label you want to activate the display of G+ comments.

Where to place the code


You can place the code anywhere in your blog template (by editing the template HTML). For example, just below "footer-line-2" would work. However, I recommend searching for this line in your template, and placing the code just below it:

<b:includable id='comment_picker' var='post'>

The advantages of placing the code just below that line are

  1. It will appear along with the normal Blogger comments, not in some weird place
  2. This one code insertion will make the G+ comment box display on both desktop and mobile views of your template. No need to paste it in both sections!

Screenshots


Here is the desktop view. G+ comments appear just above normal Blogger comments. This box only appears because the post contains a label I assigned "gpluscomments".


Here how it looks on mobile views. Note that you can manually alter the width of the G+ comment box in the code above, but nicely, the box will automatically shrink if necessary on a mobile phone.

There you go. Just remember that your mobile template needs to be set to "Custom" for this to work (not "Default").

As an experiment, I've labeled this post with my trigger label ("gpluscomments") so, assuming I haven't removed the code from my template yet (which I may do eventually), you should see both comment boxes here.

A few other things


By the way, the default URL scheme for your blog's G+ comments is this:
https://apis.google.com/u/0/_/widget/render/comments?usegapi=1&href=http://YOURBLOG.blogspot.com/2016/08/POSTTITLE.html&first_party_property=BLOGGER
So you could also embed them in an iframe.

Also, the G+ portion of the code works just simply pasting it into the HTML editor of an individual blog post or page. So if you wanted to place a G+ comment box only on one or two specific pages, just add the code right into the post itself:

<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script>
<div id="comments"></div>
<script>
//<![CDATA[
gapi.comments.render('comments', {
    href: window.location,
    width: '500',
    first_party_property: 'BLOGGER',
    view_type: 'FILTERED_POSTMOD'
});
//]]>
</script>

Overall, after having used Google Plus comments for awhile now, I think they're pretty limiting and annoying. Blogger's original commenting system is more open (any Google, G+, Wordpress user can comment), it allows simple e-mail follow-ups, the "look" fits more with your blog, and comments are saved/backed-up in your own blog archive.

Finally, if you'd like to run both Blogger and G+ commenting systems side-by-side on every post, try this: Show/Hide Blogger and Google+ Comments System With Toggle | Helplogger

Happy blogging.


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Embed Naver V videos in your blog or website


A reader asked me how she could embed Naver V videos in her personal blog. Basically, it's possible, but the result is a little clumsy or awkward. I'll show you some examples now, using the video
BLACKPINK - '휘파람'(WHISTLE). The nice thing about this method is that you only need the 5-digit number in the URL address of the video, which in this case is 12168 from the link [http://www.vlive.tv/video/12168]


What your embeded video will (hopefully) look like

Now, it's difficult to embed just the video file (see the end of this post), but the pages the videos load on are simple, so if you really want to embed the video, you can take the easy way, and just embed the whole page using the IFRAME tag. 

Embed the full-page video


You can embed the full page, size-adjusted so that just the video area is visible, and target it to load at the position of the video.

Here's the code. You only need to change the 5-digit number:
<iframe align="center" height="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.vlive.tv/video/12168#playerBoxArea" width="880px"></iframe>

And here's the resulting embedded video. You might need to click it to play:



Now that looks great, but it's probably way too big. Sadly, Naver V's video pages are not responsive to browser window size, which means I can't easily resize the video player.

So the best alternative is use a video player that's already smaller by default: the mobile site.

Embed the smaller 'mobile' page video


Aside from being probably too big, the full-size embed might load slowly, especially if you're embedding multiple videos. So overall, I think a better option for a blog is to embed the mobile site page. If you size it right, it can look very clean and nice, including the artist/title and etc. I recommend this method.

Here's the code:
<iframe align="center" height="400px" scrolling="no" src="http://m.vlive.tv/video/12168" width="300px"></iframe>

And here's the result:


Not bad, right? A better size would be to make the height 350px, but then part of the info box will be hidden if you get the "Install Naver V!" message pop-up. It's a trade off I think: 400px fits the pop-up and keeps the video looking good; but if the pop-up doesn't show, you get some extra related-video page portion visible. Play with it and see what works best for you. 

Why embed the whole page?


You may notice that we are embedding the entire V page, not just the video. This is a lazy shortcut, because Naver V's videos are not easy to embed. Naver does not provide any simple, official embed code like YouTube does. I tried extracting the raw code for the videos and modifying it, but always I got stuck with expiring video tokens (I bet modifying the rmcPlayer argument could fix this, but my trials-and-errors didn't find a solution) In other words, you can embed just the video file, but it will only work for about 24 hours. After that you'd need to refresh the Naver V page and generate a new code. Embedding the page and focusing on a portion of it (like I've done here) solves that issue. So although it's not perfect, this is the most simple and easy method I can think of.

But I know many of you are smarter than me. I'm not an expert at this stuff. I'm sure there's a better solution to embed just the video content and have it endure longer, but I don't know it. Like I said, I tried various edits of the code, but they'd either return errors or expire. If anyone can figure out a better way, let me know! You can also try playing with the sizes and zoom levels, which might get you more appropriate size options.

Places to embed the code


Here are some places I tried out:

  • Blogger of course works fine, as you can see above. 
  • Wordpress users, I'm sorry but this may not work for you. Wordpress limits the type of content you can embed, unless you are self-hosted or a VIP member
  • Tumblr users, the code works, but if you use the full-size code, your Tumblr template may cut off the side. Use the mobile one in that case (it looks better anyway). To add it to your Tumblr, make a new "Video" post, choose "Add video from the web", and paste the code there. It will appear as "Watch on (your blog)..." in your dashboard but the video will play on your actual blog page.

Have fun spreading that K-pop love.


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Subacca (수박가)


We're in 말복 now, and that means summer is coming to an end. But it's still hot as all get outside, so let's take a comedy break and help cool our spirits.

First, here's the result of a conversation I was having with a friend. Honestly I was farting around on the computer this afternoon and not paying attention to him. He was saying something about how the watermelons haven't been good lately, but since I was only maybe a quarter paying attention to him, when he said "subak" (watermelon )my mind heard "Chewbak" and I spent maybe a good absent minded 5 minutes half thinking he's talking about Chewbacca.

So I spent the rest of my evening today (don't tell the boss) half-assed working on this.



Yep, this is what I'm did on a Friday evening. I need a better hobby. Or need to get laid. I wonder if Chewbacca Mask Lady is up...

And here's a bonus for you:

With how hot this summer has been, make sure you know the difference. You don't want to be meaning to ask for the air con turned on and end up getting Con Air turned on. Actually both would be pretty nice right now. Great movie.

Boy it's a good thing I have a day job.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Download videos from Naver "V" app on Android phones


Naver "V"

Many readers have asked me how they can download the videos from Naver's V Live app on their phones. I've already gone over a few ways of downloading the videos on your computer. But here's a convenient way to do it right from your Android phone.

It's an Android app called "Stellar Browser" which is actually useful for downloading videos from many sites, and the author recently added Naver "V" to its arsenal. Here's how it works:

Using Stellar Browser



Open the app, and click the "V" to go directly to the V live homepage, or you can just visit the page manually. 


You obviously cannot download live videos, but once the broadcast is finished, you can download. 



Go ahead and find that dreamy new EXO video. 



Press the green "high quality" version button. The orange download arrow will appear at the bottom of the Stellar browser. Press it!



Swipe right in the browser to see the list of your downloaded videos. 


Downloading Stellar Browser


Because this browser can download videos from various sites (most importantly, from YouTube), Google does not allow it in the Play Store.

However, it is available in various other app stores:

Stellar Browser is available in multiple languages, including: Thai Indonesian Turkish Korean Hindi Russian Arabic Japanese French Chinese Italian German Spanish Portuguese

Special credit to 세바스찬 from whose blog post I've taken and translated the information:
Future belongs to those who prepare for it today : 네이버 블로그


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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Use "Polaris Office" to edit Hangul (HWP) files


Here's another free and easy way to open Hangul (.hwp) documents. I've already highlighted several ways of working with HWP files, but this one has the added bonus of letting you fully edit, print, or convert them too.


You may already know Polaris Office as an app that came pre-installed on your Samsung phone. It works pretty good for opening any documents on your phone or tablet, including HWP files. But it turns out that Polaris Office offers an entire free downloadable office program that lets you fully edit, print, and convert .hwp files, with all menus and options in English. It has a nice smooth 2016 MS Word sort of style to it that makes it very easy and fluid to use and navigate from the very first time. So let's take a look.

Download Polaris Office


Just go to the Polaris Office download page to download the .exe installer:

Polaris Office download page

The installer is a stub, so when you run it, it will need to connect to the internet to download the actual installation files. 

Once that's done, you can fire it up. 

Create a New Document


Polaris Office "New Document" dialog

To be clear, the program is limited in the same way that Netffice 24 was: although you can open and edit HWP files, it seems you can't create one from scratch. Polaris Office only lets you create blank Microsoft (.doc etc.) files. But you can always just take any old HWP file, open it, delete everything in it, and "Save As..." as a new HWP file. 

By the way, if you're having a hard time figuring out just how to create a new document to begin with, check the program's tray icon in your Windows toolbar. Right-click and you'll get a big orange Plus button for that. 

Open and Edit an .HWP document


Polaris Office editor environment

Here's an HWP document I created on real Hangul Office. After installing Polaris Office I was able to just right-click on the document and "Open with..." Polaris. Here you can see the editor in full. The look is very modern, smooth, and of course in English (there is a variety of language options when you download the .exe). 

Although the program is free, it's fully featured. Very nice alternative to the headaches of trying to convert the file. 


Save / Export a file as .HWP


Polaris Office file Export dialog

Here's the Export dialog box. If you choose Save or Save As, you'll only be given the option to save in the document's current format (fine for us, since we opened an HWP anyway) or as a .doc, Open Office .odt, or even .pdf in my case (strange since PDF export is a "premium" feature in this dialog). 

Polaris Cloud Storage


All this will let you open/edit/print the document, no problem. But although it works fine as a standalone app, Polaris Office is clearly wanting you to use their free online cloud storage for your documents. You don't have to, but just be aware that it will prompt you and urge you to save everything there.

If you want to use their cloud storage, they also have a Dropbox-like folder sync app to automatically keep your documents synced there and with your smartphone Polaris app. 

One odd thing though is the apparent limit on the storage:

Polaris Office web viewer

Really? 60MB of cloud storage? I quit Dropbox due to their miserly 5GB limit. I can't even fathom how much 60MB is anymore, it's so little. And a Monthly Allowance reset? I don't really know what they mean by this, and frankly I don't care. Don't bother. Just connect your current cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc) to Polaris in the web settings, and problem avoided. 

Polaris Online Viewer


If you purely just want to view an HWP file, you don't need to download the software. Once you create your account and log-in, you can upload the file to your cloud storage from the browser, and view the file in their online viewer. 


As you can see, there seems to be no editing features here, which is a big departure from the (basic but usable) online editing features of Netffice 24. Polaris seems to want you to do all actual editing in their downloadable app. 

Final Thoughts


Overall, I think this is a very decent, totally free program. It has most of the features you expect and can be a great free alternative for working with HWP files. Here are a few final considerations:

  • You'll need an account on Polaris, but all it took to register was an Email address verification or a Social (Facebook, G+) login. 
  • The Polaris Office program is set to start-up when Windows starts up, which I find an annoying waste of resources. I'm not going to be using this everyday. Luckily you can disable its auto-run in the settings (from its Windows toolbar area icon). 
  • I felt that it has a non-Windows-native feel to it. The design and execution feel like it doesn't quite fit it; it's got that look/feel to it like Java-based apps.  

But overall, for the price (free), it's a great tool for your toolbox. Once again, that download page:

With so many free ways of working with Hangul files these days, it's funny to remember back when it was such a pain. Be sure to see my other posts about opening HWP files for other methods. 

Thanks for reading. 

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Naver Translator app "papago" (네이버 파파고) screenshots and review


Naver has released their own real-time Korean translation app "papago", which is visually similar to Google Translate but has better Korean visual recognition. This will likely be very handy for visitors to the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, or just any tourists visiting Korea, or even newbie English teachers who can't figure out how to turn on their hot water.

The app currently translates between Korean and Japanese, Chinese, and English. I've got to say, I have been impressed after using it for a few days. It is very minimalist, simplistic, includes full English menus, and is lightweight and responsive. If you're one of those "Naver sucks" types, give this app a chance for yourself. It really won me over. Let's take a look.

Naver papago (네이버 파파고)

Naver "papago" Official Features Post


Let's start with the official features. I was reading through a Naver Post about the app, and thought the information there might be good for everybody. So I'll run through the features that that post highlights real quick.


1:1 Conversation Mode

Split the screen for a conversation mode where each person can take turns talking and it will translate their speech on the fly. Google Translate also has this feature.



Image Translation (OCR)

Take a photo and papago can pull out the text (after you highlight it with your finger) and translate it. Google has this feature too, but it's pretty terrible at recognizing Korean text. papago works much better at this. Scroll way down for a real life example I did.


Word Sense Disambiguation

This is pretty cool. To help prevent mis-translations, it will ask you to verify certain words that might have more than one meaning. For example, in the picture below, the Korean word 차 was interpreted as "car" but it could also mean "tea."
If a word could have multiple translations, the word will appear underlined and green in the resulting translation. Click it and pictures of the possible meanings will come up. Very handy if you have no idea what the person is saying and they could see the images and tap correctly for you.


Currency conversion

If your translation result includes a price, it too will appear green and underlined. Click it to get that amount converted, with the current rates from KEB Hana Bank.


Phrase Book

The app comes with a built-in phrase book, with a wide variety of important and useful set phrases. Choose from catagories like shopping, food, buses, etc. These are built into the app, so they do not require a data connection and work fine offline.


Favorites and Hashtags

Like with Google Translate, you can add your own specific things to the Phrase Book. Sort of. You can "star" specific translations to add them to your favorites list. Then if you want to get intense, you can then go to your Favorites List (located under the "History" menu for some reason) and assign hashtags (up to 3) to each Favorite. This will collect the favorites into groups under those Hashtags. So for example you could add hashtag #triptoUSA to the translation for "Please, don't shoot!" or #bestblogs to "I love 10원Tips" etc.


Push-to-talk

I was impressed with the quality of this feature. Just as it says, you push, you talk, it translates in real time as you speak, updating and correcting the translation while you talk.












My own comparisons of "papago"

That was all official stuff. Now I'll add some of my own details to fill in the blanks.

Basic translating 

Overall, not bad when it comes to basic translating. See for yourself how it compares with Google Translator in a quick test:

Translation in Naver papago

Translation in Google Translate

I have to give this point to Google, for two reasons:
  • Papago suddenly went from formal to very informal speech. Why? Google played it safe and stuck with polite speech the whole way.
  • "Thanks for visiting" makes much more sense in Google's translation than Papago's. 

Camera OCR translations


To test the image translation feature I wrote out by hand 안녕하세요 샘입니다 오늘 날씨가 너무 더워요 (Hello, this is Sam. Today's weather is too hot) on a piece of paper and used the camera functions of both apps.

papago's visual translation

Google's visual translation

Please excuse my crappy handwriting, but papago seems to have identified it more clearly.

Other screenshots


papago menu

papago settings menu


papago's Android app permissions page

Final Thoughts

I was impressed by the quality of the app and its easy simplicity. Anybody could use it, no matter how limited your Korean, and you'll find it useful and reliable. It could be a real competitor to Google. I'm glad Naver has been moving in this English-friendly direction lately with Line, Band, and V app, for example. Like I've always said, I think Naver's only real handicap in competing against Google is its Korean-language exclusivity, which it's slowly working on eroding.

By the way, it's called "papago" because that means parrot (a creature that talks and repeats) in Esperanto. Well I'll be. Still hate the name.

Read more about it here in Korean:
한영일중 통역이 필요한 순간! 네이버 파파고(papago) : 네이버 포스트
or here in English:
Naver launches new translation app Papago [Korea Herald]

Download papago







This post took way too long to make. Really regretting wasting this much time on it now. 
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