Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 5 Annoying Tech Issues in Korea

Because all of these REALLY annoy me, and small explanations for those who may not be aware, I present the Top 5 Annoying Tech Issues in Korea:
  1. Active X in all its glorious forms.
    As SSL security methods are not used here, all online transactions must be handled through individual site plug-ins. Meaning once you proceed to check-out, you have to install 400 damn stupid little plug-ins, then repeat your order all over again. Grr. Until recently, this required the use of Windows and Internet Explorer, but nowadays plug-in frames are available for Mac, and Chrome/FF on Windows, but suck it Linux users. If only we'd voted for this guy.
  2. Flash.
    The most important and necessary Korean websites that foreigners would find useful, aside from lacking English information, contain nearly all their Korean text in images or Flash animations/menus. Thus, one cannot simply pass the page through an online translator. Perhaps this made sense 15 years ago when browser text encodings were screwy, but there's really no excuse today. Apparently they haven't heard of Unicode/UTF.
  3. No Right-click.
    Most Korean portal-hosted sites, particularly blogs and cafes, employ bizarre Javascripts that prevent or severely limit your ability to right-click on their sites. There are browser extensions to counteract this, but it is an unnecessarily annoying practice at the least. It reminds me of pens that are tied to the desk at the bank, except if there were infinite pens, all tied there. 
  4. Android Market restrictions.
    I don't know about iPhone, but Korea places several restrictions on what can be accessed in the Market. Until recently, all Games were banned under the guise of being "unrated." Yet today, features of Google Maps such as Latitude, Check-ins (oddly still available in the G+ app), and Location History are blocked, citing "Privacy Concerns." The same applies to the Android app version of Google Earth. Other Google products (Music, Voice, etc) have at least semi-legitimate reason to be unavailable.
  5. Porn Warn.
    Nearly all porn is blocked at the IP level, so changing your DNS is not enough. A VPN or proxy is required. As if Koreans weren't tech-savvy enough to figure this out. 
What do all of these have in common?
They are all meant to annoy you, while offering either no, or highly arguable, benefit.

End rant.
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Jailbreak iOS 4.2.1 on MC series iPod Touch (bought in Korea)

If, like me, you have an old iPod lying around and want to make use of it, read on:

I bought an iPod Touch (2G) (Model #MC086KH/A) in Korea a few years ago. After finally getting an Android phone, I didn't have much use for it anymore, and I nearly forgot about it in my desk. I recently rediscovered it, to find that it can only be updated to iOS 4.2.1. At less than iOS 4.3, there aren't many decent apps that can be used with it.

There is a custom firmware called whited00r, but it only works with the MB-series models of the 2G iPod Touch.
At least wanting to jailbreak it, I discovered that most modern jailbreak methods no longer support the older iOS versions. However, I had success using this method on Lifehacker.

So now, through a combination of Veency (on the iPod) and Android VNC Viewer on the android phone, I have the iPod permanently attached to a set of speakers above my refrigerator, and can control it from anywhere in the house (including MP3 playback and, most commonly, streaming radio). There's an excellent and simple tutorial for accomplishing this here.

Nice way to bring an old piece of tech back to life. Hope this helps others as well!
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