Sunday, March 29, 2015

Heatmap contrasts old/new Incheon geography

Over on the fabulous blog Kojects, Nikola recently documented some missteps he sees in Seoul's bicycle promotion scheme. But what really caught my eye in his post was the beautiful cycling heatmap he linked to, from Strava Labs. I went exploring on it, and discovered something extremely fascinating.

It turns out that, when zoomed out, the underlying maps Strava is using are quite out-of-date (at close zoom levels, the maps are accurate). This leads to some very interesting contrasts. These older maps show, for example, the current airport island of Yeongjongdo (영종도) in its per-consolidated form, before the multiple former islands were filled-in to create one large island. Yet, of course, the heatmap signatures from joggers and cyclists, who apparently circumscribe the island as part of their exercises routines, are overlayed on top. This unintentionally results in a stunningly beautiful way of looking backward in time, and comparing the former geography with the current boundaries.

Here, for example, you can make-out the current island's features to the left. At the top right, the now well-built-up Gyeongin Ara Waterway canal (경인아라뱃길) is visible against the backdrop of former ocean, the banks of which I can vouch for as being a lovely cycling/jogging course. 

Strava heatmap of Yeongjongdo

The Korean-language side of Wikipedia shows this nice illustration showing the original layout of the islands (grey), where the landfill was placed (yellow), and the extent of the current airport facilities (green):

User:Mer du Japon - 기존 지도를 모사하여 자작의 "영종용유삼목신불도". 위키백과에 의해 퍼블릭 도메인으로 라이선스됨.

An additional similar side-effect is that these maps do not include any of the development of Songdo New City, which is also a popular area for cycling and jogging. Here too, you can see the outlines of what was once sea and is now a city:

Strava heatmap of Songdo area

Strava's world map includes the entirety of Korea, so I encourage you to pleasurably browse around it. Feel free to add any similar cool locations in the comments. Remember that, while also cool to browse up-close, you'll need to zoom out sufficiently in order to see these older background maps.

Strava Global Heatmap (focused on Incheon area)

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Most popular porn keyword searches in Korea-- or are they?

A couple days ago I was reading an article on KT titled "What do Koreans google most?" which included the following tidbits:

Naver is No. 1 and Daum No. 3, according to the Google Trend website, Thursday.
Data also showed that people turn to Google for free downloads and porn.
Illegal file-sharing and downloading site Torrent was second, while the largest domestic porn site, minkeynet, was fourth.
In every 100 Naver searches, minkeynet was searched 15 times.
Google excludes keywords related to sex on its search rankings.

[Korea Times]

Of course, aside from the comical "meta" implications of "Naver" being the #1 Google search term, I was intrigued by that last sentence there, and started wondering what sex terms Koreans would be likely to search for. Now, I don't claim to know anything about this "minkeynet" but I know something or other of Pornhub, and for shits and giggles, I decided to see what the most common search terms originating in Korea would be.

Luckily, you can easily get that kind of country-specific info here which compiles top searches across the PornHub affiliate network.

Let's take a look.

Screenshot for top-10 Korea-originating Pornhub search terms ("straight" category) []

Screenshot for top-10 Korea-originating Pornhub search terms ("gay" category) []

So for those keeping score at home, that would be:

Straight categories
  1. korean
  2. japanese
  3. korea
  4. x art
  5. hentai
  6. japanese mom
  7. japan
  8. asian
  9. sora aoi
  10. milf
Gay categories
  1. korean
  2. japan
  3. asian
  4. japanese
  5. korea
  6. japanese daddy
  7. xvideo
  8. chinese
  9. japanese mature
  10. korean sex

Of course, while this information is (arguably) (very mildly) interesting, there are a few problems with it:
  1. Just how many Koreans would be navigating Pornhub, particularly when the article above indicates that this "Minkeynet" is quite popular (has "Soranet" fallen out of favor?)? I would wager that at least some of these search terms, if they are in fact coming from within Korea, are being done by expats. Of course there's no way to tell, and if there's one thing that's clear from working in Korea, it's that the average bloke (I speak mainly of 'salarymen' but I imagine it would be true for high school boys as well), regardless of his level of conversational fluency, has a broad knowledge of English vocabulary in this area (I can't tell you how many times guys have been shocked to discover that "oral" is an actual, clean-society word).
  2. That emphasized part above. Consider that the sources of these searches, Pornhub and its affiliates, are blocked in Korea by the Korean government. So I'm not entirely sure how this site is determining that these keywords are in fact coming from Korea. Even for those using a proxy/VPN service to access pornography here, the requests would likely be seen to geographically originate from a point outside Korea.
So, take these rankings with a grain of salt. Or a big hot load of scepticism. Or a steaming pile of suspicion. Or other such colorful vocabulary.

** Update: It turns out that at a post over at Via Korea they did essentially the same thing last year! Check it out and compare. It seems potty fetishes have fallen out of favor since 2013? Can't say I'm disappointed.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hyundai Premium Outlets Gimpo (현대 프리미엄 아울렛 김포점) photosphere

Today I paid a visit to the newly-opened Hyundai Premium Outlets, located in Gimpo (현대 프리미엄 아울렛 김포점) just beside the Gimpo Ara Waterway Terminal & Marina (아라뱃길김포터미널). The design was quite nice, and I used the opportunity to try out the "photosphere" 360-degree panorama feature of my phone. So here you can take a look at what it's like to stand in one of the outdoor galleries.

There doesn't seem to be a Google Maps listing for it yet, but in the meantime here's a dropped-pin; best I could do.

I really want to use Google Maps more in Korea, but they are generally just too unreliable. Naver Maps, especially the Android app, is my go-to.

지도 크게 보기
2015.3.26 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NAVER Corp.

You can also "Like" them on Facebook, so, yeah.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Extreme Yellow Dust in Seoul, 2015-Feb-22

A couple weeks ago I had posted about the emergency alert message we in the Seoul area received, warning us of a particularly bad bout of yellow dust (황사). And boy was it bad. The period between February 22-23, 2015 was the worst for yellow dust in five years. I was out and about during that time, and if I'm being honest, it didn't seem all that bad to me. Just another of the occasional hazy yellowdust days. But the numbers sure tell a different story.

Here are just a few interesting images I had saved, that show a little bit, with facts and figures, of just how bad it really was. Take a look. All of these are screenshots taken either Feb. 22 or Feb 23, 2015.

AQICN's air quality map of Seoul region,
as posted by u/torbjorn_bradda

Korea Environment Corporation's "AirKorea" mobile site

My Google Now air quality card, on Feb. 21, 2015

My Google Now air quality card, on Feb 22, 2015

Yellowdust Twitter bot's tweet

KMA's Asian Dust historical tracking chart

A nice, simple introduction to the yellow dust phenomenon can be found here at the KMA's website, including this interesting account of yellow dust in ancient Korea:
The first record of the dust phenomenon in Korea is found in the reign of Silla Dynasty's King Ahdalla (174 A.D.). It was called "Woo-To". At that time, the people believed that the God in the heaven became so angry that they lashed down dirt instead of rain or snow. This is why, whenever the King or his subjects saw a dust phenomenon, they would be frightened.
In the reign of Baekje Dynasty's King Kungusu in 379 A.D., there was the following record in April: "Dust fell all day long." There was a record that the sky of the Baekje's capital was darkened like night by dustfall in march in the reign of King Mu (606 A.D.).
Although these dust phenomena mainly occur during the springtime, there were some records of them occurred in winter as well. During the reign of Goguryeo Dynasty's King Bojang in 644 A.D., it was recorded that there was a red snow that fell from the sky in October. We can guess that Asian Dust was mixed with snow at that time.
The definition of Asian Dust event was introduced in the 「Goryeosa」 as follow: "There was dirt on clothes without getting wet by rain." It was called "Mae () or To-Woo".
In the Joseon Dynasty(1392~1910 A.D.), there was the following record in March 22, 1549: "Dust fell in Seoul. At Jeonju and Namwon in the Jeolla province, located in the southwestern part of Korea, there was a fog that looked like smoke creeping into every corner in all directions. The tiles on the house roofs, grass on the fields and leaves on the trees were entirely covered by yellow-brown and white dusts. When the dust was swept, it wiped away like dirt, and when it was shaken, it dispersed, too. This weather condition lasted until March 25, 1549." This record clearly depicts the characteristics of a dust phenomenon in Korea.
And if you're still here, the Wikipedia article on Asian Dust, and a Google image search of what it looks like.
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Download videos from Naver TVcast and other Korean streaming video sites


Readers have suggested various other sites for downloading Naver, Daum, and other videos. I'll collect their recommendations here.

  • JAN. 2017: Readers have recommended even more tools for downloading the videos: Houlo Video Downloader (Windows tool with batch downloading on a wide variety of video sites; untested by me) [HT to Danelle Blackwell] -- and AllavSoft (Windows/Mac tool for Daum videos, possibly more; untested by me) [HT to Jacky Henry]
  • AUGUST 2016: Another potential download tool is Allavsoft, a Windows and Mac program that apparently can download Naver videos. [HT to +Jonh Emily]
  • MARCH 2016: Another site that works is Tube Ripper. I just tried it; worked great, no issues [HT to +Roms Dungeon at Roms Dungeon]
  • NOV 2015: Another site that works is I verified that I was able to download from both Naver TVcast and Naver V. They have both an online downloader tool and an actual program you can download/install on your own computer.
  • JULY 2015: Another similar tool is I tried it, and can verify that it works well. It may also be even even better than what I recommended below, as you can choose the framerate of the video you want to download, making it perfect for those of you who demand 1080p quality. [HT to  Xiao Long]

Also, many readers have been asking about how to download videos from Naver V. Please see my newer post here for that.

Original post follows below.

Naver runs a sort of YouTube competitor called Naver tvcast (네이버 tv캐스트), and if you've noticed that some of your favorite K-drama shows seem to have been disappearing from YouTube recently, this is likely why.

You also might have noticed that many of the usual video downloader extensions don't work on tvcast. There are some stand-alone apps that apparently can do so, including atresdownloader and Houlo Video Downloader, and the excellent youtube-dl (a nice illustrated guide to using youtube-dl to download Naver TVcast videos is here), but I bet you want something easier and something non-Windows-specific, and that will work on mobile.

Luckily, there's a simple online downloader that will do it for us. It's called "To Get FLV" and works for a variety of Korean streaming video websites. Here's a look at it in action:

Step 1:
Visit and paste in the URL of the video.
For this example I'm using a promo clip of a BBC documentary, located at

Step 2:
Click 검색 ("Search") and in a moment a thumbnail of your video will load below the search-box.
To proceed to downloading, click the button there circled in red above, which reads 위 저작권법에 동의하며 다운로드합니다. Don't worry too much about what it says. If you've come this far, it likely won't matter to you. (OK, actually it just says that you agree that the video is for personal use only).

Step 3:
You'll arrive at a simple link page like above. Just like it says, right-click on the second link to "Save as..." and you'll download the MP4 file. I had to add the .mp4 extension manually when I tried this but otherwise it plays great.

And that's it. This convenient tool apparently works not only with tvcast, but can also download videos from a variety of other Korean sites:

I tried a few on the list here, all with success. I'd suggest two things to remember:
  • If the tool doesn't recognize the video page at first, try using the URL from the Share / Embed / Copy URL feature
  • The file may download with a weird extension or no extension. Just manually add .mp4 or .flv where appropriate. 
Happy viewing!

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Best offline RSS feed reader for Android: FeedMe

I want to take a second here to give a huge shout-out to "FeedMe" an Android offline RSS reader app I found and have now been using as my daily go-to feed reader. This thing is a simple, pleasurable, super light-weight client that syncs through either your Feedly or your Inoreader. But where it shines brightest is in its offline support, because it does exactly what I wanted. 

Here are two situations, one I'm in almost every day, the other not nearly often enough:
  1. I take the subway in Seoul but, especially during peak commuting time, the subway Wi-Fi sucks. I get dropped constantly, and end up using my 4G connection to read my RSS feed articles. Damn! Wish my phone had just pulled them all in before I left the house this morning, so I could just read/browse them offline now. 
  2. I go abroad on vacation, and my hotel has free Wi-Fi (as does the local McDonalds) but I have no internet connection out on the beach. Damn! Wish I could catch-up with my article reading there!
True, one could use Pocket for reading offline, but one would need to have stored manually-chosen articles into it first. That's fine, but I just want to read all my incoming news and blogs offline, like in the days of newspapers! 

FeedMe exactly takes care of this. In my daily life, it automatically synchronizes itself with my Feedly/Inoreader account every two hours (user editable), only when I'm connected to Wi-Fi (user editable), so during commute time I always have the latest already stored and ready for me. It smoothly and perfectly matches up with the desktop version later, even if I've made edits/changes on my computer since after the last sync. And after I've read and it resyncs again, stars/favorites, tags, send-to-Pockets, everything just resyncs perfectly. I cannot express how convenient and reliable this is. 

And best of all, for feeds that just provide a one-paragraph summery of snippet of the article, FeedMe can (if you choose so in the settings) automatically fetch the entire article in a mobilized ("easy reading") version, and keep that for offline reading. LET THAT SINK IN. The only major downfall of RSS --that being that some sites' feeds make you "click-through" to get the full article content-- is a non-issue. The pure reading experience, with full, cleaned, offline articles, cannot be beat. Only suckers are wasting their time/data browsing Twitter timelines, clicking headline links, and zooming around some ad-infested site (ironic given that ads run on mine).

Even saving Twitter article links automatically to Pocket, while achieving a similar end, isn't as efficient/convenient. The closest to doing this well would be something like Flyne, but as you can guess from this post, you know where my sympathies lie. Flyne seems to (disclosure: I didn't try it) combine your Feedly feeds with your Twitter timeline for offline use... but of course, Inoreader lets you subscribe to you Twitter timeline and it appears as a normal feed, the end result of course meaning that all those tweets will be synchronized for offline reading by FeedMe assuming (like me) you use it as an Inoreader client. That means FeedMe is an offline Twitter client also, as well as offline RSS! Here's an example of that. Here's the "article" i.e. the tweet I had posted for this blog entry:

Reading tweets offline in FeedMe

Now let me show you an example of the 'full article fetching for offline reading' feature of FeedMe.

Here's the feed for the Korea Times (no longer advertised on-site but available here) as it looks in FeedMe:

Korea Times news feed, synced for offline reading by FeedMe

All these articles are stored offline on my phone. Let's start reading. That first article looks good. Click. (I've switched the theme from "light" to "night" just to show you a taste of how it can look. Personally, I prefer night-theme. Easier on the eyes, easier on the battery)

Korea Times' "snippet only" feed article, before applying webpage download setting

Damn! Korea Times is one of those sites that only provides a snippet! BUT WAIT. Because I marked this subscription as a "get mobilized content" one in the settings, I see this instead, and can go ahead and scroll through the whole article, never leaving the FeedMe app, and never going online (disregard the fact that I was indeed connected to Wi-Fi at the time):

Korea Times full article, fetched automatically and stored offline by FeedMe

You can toggle between the feed (snippet) and web (full article, mobilizer reading) views manually, on a per-article basis, at the top-right above the headline. To have FeedMe automatically download all such full-article views for a particular site/blog: go to any article in the subscription --> hit the three-button menu icon --> check the third box "Download web page when start sync". Note too that while this particular article has no images, images do sync for offline view as well. 

Even when offline, you can share the content (uses Android's native sharing), send it to Pocket, add Feedly/Inoreader tags to it, or unsubscribe, all of which will sync-up during your next synchronization.

There's not much to this entry aside from me being a fanboy, I know. I just wanted to demonstrate a simple and reliable solution to a problem that always annoyed me, but that I had assumed was just part of modern Internet life. If, like me, you ever wished for an easy, simple way to regularly read all of your news/blogs offline and full at your convenience, I cannot recommend FeedMe enough. This brilliant little app deserves wider fame. 

FeedMe (Free) | Google Play

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Feedly vs Inoreader, Part 3: Shots Fired, Reddit and Websta RSS feed issues

Note 1: As I continue to agonize over whether to commit to Feedly or Inoreader as my RSS reader of choice, I look for areas in which one objectively excels over the other. This is now a very short Part 3 of that agonizing. See Part 1Part 2Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 

Note 2: Information has been added as "UPDATES" below which may make this post irrelevant. 


Case Study: r/southkorea

As I highlighted before, Feedly sometimes has issues with parsing smaller / less active RSS feeds, and this seems especially true for Reddit feeds.

Now, for the very active r/korea subreddit, Feedly has no problem. All those posts load fine. But the other day I noticed that I was seeing things in Inoreader that weren't showing up in Feedly, and realized that the issue was the r/southkorea subreddit. Granted, this particular subreddit is not exactly the highlight of the site, as you can see. But that shouldn't matter. Feeds should be treated neutrally, even those with few or even one subscriber. (I wouldn't even mind it getting scrapped once per week, so long as it happens!) To me, this is one of the key philosophies of the open web, and of RSS in general. I don't want to wonder if I'll see the posts or not. If a post is made, I, as a subscriber, want to see it.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Here's r/southkorea's RSS feed as displayed in Firefox. All the following screenshots were taken in immediate succession. Notice that the most recent posting here was on 2015-03-05.

Screenshot of r/southkorea feed

Now let's check and see what shows up in Inoreader. Everything seems to check out. Here too, the March 5th post is the most recent.

Screenshot of r/southkorea on Inoreader

There's one interesting thing to notice here, and that is that Inoreader does present a warning message alterting me to problems with the feed. This is a feature I really like about Inoreader. In the subscriptions preferences, you get a clear picture of which feeds are not parsing correctly, and can investigate. Feedly offers no warnings, no method of knowing if a feed is actually updating or not. If you love RSS as much as me, I don't have to tell you the frustration of finding out that a site is updating, but all along, sometimes for months, Feedly hasn't been pulling those posts in, and you never knew. For Feedly to gain my confidence, they don't have to do everything perfect, but they should at least let me know if/when there's a problem.

Now then, let's see how Feedly handles this feed:

Screenshot of r/southkorea on Feedly

Oh boy. Posts from 2014, a year ago. Feedly stopped parsing this feed ages ago it seems, and of course, I was none the wiser. It was only thanks to Inoreader that I discovered this.

Look, I'm not trying to bash Feedly (too hard). And believe me, I know how stupid and inconsequential a Reddit feed, especially r/southkorea, can be. But some of you out there may need this service for more important reasons. And even if it's just for pleasure, as in my case, if a feed reader is not pulling in the feed posts, what's the point of using it? This is why I refuse to become a Feedly Pro member. (And I'm one of those people who does pay for apps and services that excel at what they do.)

I do still use Feedly frequently, for the simple reason that it is beautiful. Seriously, Feedly team, if you ever read this, the Feedly product is beautiful, and a pleasure to use. Your UI blows other readers out of the water. But underneath it all, I need you to be reliable. We can date, but I don't think we'll marry, not quite yet.

UPDATE - 21 March 2015
A commenter pointed out that Feedly addressed this exact issue here

Case Study: Websta's "서울" tag

Now hold up a second. You didn't think this entire post was going to be anti-Feedly did you? No sir. Inoreader won't escape the wrath of this post either. 

Websta is an Instagram viewer site that conveniently provides RSS feeds for Instagram users and tags, which is great now that Instagram removed their own (thanks, Zuck). For example, if you love seeing what's going on in/around Seoul, you might use their search results for the "서울" tag. And if you want to follow these posts via RSS, you can do so easily here. Let's see what this feed page (서울) looks like:

Screenshot of feed page for Websta's 서울 tag

Ok, everything looking good there. Let's go ahead and open it up in Feedly:

Screenshot Websta's 서울 tag in Feedly

Hmm OK, looking good. Feedly's UI layout here really shines, I think. I want to look at this page and read these articles (or, um, oogle these gorgeous Korean girls?), rather than just click "Mark All As Read" as I sometimes feel tempted to do in Inoreader. Speaking of Inoreader, it's never let me down so far, so let's fire it up:

Screenshot Websta's 서울 tag in Inoreader

Oh dear... what happened? In my tests, it seems that Inoreader "cannot find feed" when the URL of the feed contains Korean characters. That's a bit odd to me, as Innologica Ltd, the company behind Inoreader, is based in Bulgaria. I'd have assumed they, more than Feedly, would be better equipped to support a variety of language scripts. But what do I know? It just goes to show: nobody's perfect.

UPDATE - 21 March 2015
Inoreader responded, pointing out that, while the direct non-Latin characters are not supported in the URL, feeds with such characters do work if they are first converted to their equivalent percent-encodings, which a web-browser should automatically do but which was not happening for me.
Therefore, this sample feed for Websta's 서울 tag at서울 will work if added to Inoreader as

Parting Thoughts: Shots Fired!

This last example shows that reliability is not just a Feedly issue, but the take-home message here should be this: a feed reader should both look beautiful and bring in each post from each of your subscriptions. If it cannot, it should at least have some means of informing you of this. To my mind, Feedly wins in beauty and "mainstream" feed reading... but if that's all you want, then Flipboard is an even better choice. For having custom "off the beaten path" subscriptions and power-user-level tools, Inoreader wins. Ideally, I'd like to see Feedly simply (1.) adopt a means of showing users when feeds aren't updating properly and (2.) sort out its parsing so that "1." isn't even routinely necessary. In fact, I imagine that if they were to adopt this "1." idea, then I could be aware of issues like subscription changes or sites changing URL or sites simply going down (like my favorite Tumblr blogs have a habit of doing), in which case I could pare down my large number of subscriptions.

I do still use Feedly more than Inoreader, and maybe that's why I want them to get their game together.

After all, they're not the only feed reader in town, as NewsBlur hilariously reminded me the other day when I did a Google search for Feedly:

Screenshot of "feedly" Google search on Android Chrome

"Better than Feedly" and "with more features than Feedly"... ouch. Shots fired!


Thanks for reading, and for more of my comparisons, see this series Part 1Part 2Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SNL Korea's "Eating Alone" (혼자 밥 먹기) sketch

SNL Korea had a sketch a couple weeks ago about eating alone (혼자 밥 먹기) that was mildly amusing. When I saw these still shots of it on Facebook, I was reminded of it. I think it's not as funny in English. Judge for yourself!

Secret 6: Eating Alone 

"She's eating alone again..."

Do you feel embarrassed eating alone?

Now you can eat alone without ever being seen...

The Lonely-Eater Spandex Disguise!

"This is great, huh!?"

"Seriously, so comfortable!"

"Bon Appetite!"

Perfect disguise for your eating alone!

The video seems to have been taken down from YouTube, but here it is on DailyMotion:

혼자 밥 먹기 창피하다고_ 걱정마 by samiashahzaidi
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Open Hangul (.hwp) files in Microsoft Word or HWP Viewer

Opening Hancom Office Hangul (.hwp) files

Note: also see my other posts on opening Hangul (.hwp/.hml) files.

Let's say a Korean co-worker sent you an .hwp file, but you don't have Hangul Word Processor on your computer. Lucky for you, there are a variety of ways of opening the document for viewing, printing, exporting, and in some cases, editing, all for free.

These are the options I'll talk about: (click the links to jump to that section):
  1. Stand-alone HWP Viewer applications
  2. Microsoft's MS Word <> HWP converter tool
  3. Online file conversion & office suites (Netffice 24, Naver Office)
  4. Hangul Office trial versions
This post originally published 09/2011, updated 04/2015.

Stand-alone HWP Viewer application downloads

This is where we can see the biggest change from just a few months ago. To their credit, Hancom have consolidated all of their viewer and trial apps at the site "H&Friends" at where you can download this software for a variety of platforms. Here's what it looks like:

Screenshot of the site

Official Hancom downloads

Here, in the two green tabs, you can download trial versions of their full software suite at the 체험판 다운로드 ("trial download") tab and viewers at the 뷰어 다운로드 ("viewer download") tab (viewer download tab pictured here). From here, a quick glance through the options and buttons show that you can download:
Note that if the Mac viewer isn't working for you, you can still download the older viewer, available as a .pkg file here or by clicking the small disk icon here.

Clearly for the App Store and Google Play apps, there's no problem, but the bad news is that for the straight downloads of the Windows/Linux viewers, you have to be logged-in to the site, which requires creating a (free) user account, the set-up of which is entirely in Korean, even if you specify yourself as a foreigner / foreign customer.

Unofficial Mirrors

But fear not. Many sites host copies of these files. This one includes the added bonus of the older 2007 viewer included in the Windows bundle:

⏬ (433.5 MB)
 - HOffice2014VP_Viewer.exe (445.2 MB)
 - HwpViewer2007.exe (17.3 MB)

⏬ (142.3 MB)
 - hwpviewer_9.20.0.346_i386.deb (75.0 MB)
 - hwpviewer_9.20.0.347_amd64.deb (74.2 MB)

And if that doesn't wet your whistle, you can also find these programs hosted on other sites such as [here], [here] or [here].

Microsoft's official HWP↔MS Word Converter

Rather than just view the file, as the above options allow, you can also convert that .HWP file to a Word document. Microsoft offers a converting program that will let you open .hwp files in Word (File -> Open) or batch-convert .hwp files to .docx

Screenshot of the MS HWP converter download site

You can see this converter in action with screenshots here, and also download the converters there if the Microsoft link is down. You can also download them here:

⏬ (28.0 MB)
 - HwpConverter_x64_en-us.exe (8.0 MB)
 - HwpConverter_x64_ko-kr.exe (8.0 MB)
 - HwpConverter_x86_en-us.exe (7.1 MB)
 - HwpConverter_x86_ko-kr.exe (7.1 MB)

Online Conversion & Cloud-based Office Suites

There are now two methods that I know of for opening Hangul HWP files online: Hancom's Netffice 24, and Naver Office.

Which you use, in my opinion, depends on whether you just want to open/print/edit the document, or have more varied options for converting it. For document conversion, Naver Office seems better but the process is more difficult. I personally suggest Netffice 24.

Screenshot of Hancom Netffice 24's "drive" storage page 

The best part about using Hancom's own Netffice 24 is that you can log-in to the service with a one-click sign-on using a Google or Facebook account. After that you can upload the .HWP file, and view it online. Editing or printing the document requires just another click.

I've made a separate, illustrated, super-simple guide to doing this. It's filled with screenshots so I've written it up in a post by itself. Check it out here:

Open Hangul (.hwp) files online with Hancom's Netffice 24

Additionally, you can use Naver Office by uploading the .hwp file to the Naver Office cloud, then exporting (downloading) it as a MS Word file. You'll need a Naver account to access Naver Office. The sign-up form for Naver accounts is in English, but Naver Office itself is in Korean. I personally don't use this method, but this useful illustrated tutorial (also in Korean but easy to follow along) can help.

Trial Version of Hangul Office

Finally, if you want the full power of Hangul Office, Hancom offers 30-day trial versions of their full office suite for download.

Screenshot from the Hancom Office 2014 download screen, with "Free Trial" button visible

The trial version is available on the site, but like with their other downloads, it will request you to log-in. One way around this is to visit this page for purchasing the software, and, instead, choosing the "Free Trial" option. This will initiate a download of the Hoffice2014VP_Trial.exe (1.7 GB) file.

The trial version of Hangul Office 2008 for Linux is still available here, but good luck getting it to work nowadays.

Parting Words

There are, of course, full versions of the software out there for all platforms, for those pirates among you, which are easily enough to find. You might even consider giving the full 2014 version a try. It seems quite snappier than 2010.

Hangul Office gets a lot of flack from foreigners for being the outlier in a world that standardized Microsoft Word, but Hangul Office does have its charms and once you start playing around with it, you may find that you like it even more. It's a full-featured, powerful suite, that offers a massive variety of options, all of them in English and/or Korean depending on your settings. 

Of course, I use LibreOffice (which does have a Korean version) as my default suite, so what do I know?

This post has been the most popular entry on my blog for some time now. Hopefully it can help others out of a tight spot. It can be very frustrating to need to open an important file and lack the tools. I hope that this information was useful in your mission. Good luck, soldier.

And don't forget to see my other posts on opening Hangul (.hwp/.hml) files.

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