Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bing Maps shows driving directions in Korea


Following up from my last post, I further explored Bing Maps coverage of Korea, and discovered that it provides driving directions in English for within Korea. This is a fairly big deal, as that makes Bing the only free mapping service I know of that can do this in English.

Google, of course, provides public transit directions in English, but does not provide driving routes in Korea (again, see here or here for reasons why that is). Naver and Daum of course provide both driving and public transport routes, but are limited to Korean-langauge only. So if you're planning a drive in Korea, and don't read hangul well, or simply find using English easier, try planning your journey in Bing Maps.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Comparing map sites in Korea: Naver, Daum, Google, Bing - a Map Battle Royale!


Today I want to take you on a journey. Let's explore the various mapping services that cover Korea, and by the end, I'll show you in conclusion which is, in my opinion, the best. I'll compare samples of map imagery from 4 companies: two of the top Korean domestic sites, Naver Maps (네이버 지도) and Daum Maps (다음지도), and two top foreign sites, Google Maps and Bing Maps. Which of these top-4 portal services has the best maps of Korea? You may be surprised by the results.

Hint: Bing. Sort of. I know, right? Read on, you'll see what I mean.

Methodology


As a point of reference, I looked at each services' imagery of everyone's favorite place on Earth. No, not that place. This place: Lotte World. Located near Gangnam in Seoul, yes that Gangnam, it's an area hugely popular with tourists, who likely check for their way around with online maps. So, I used the official address of LotteWorld at 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 240 호텔롯데 롯데월드 as a reference point for comparison, and took screenshots at a few views and zooms. For Google and Bing, I changed the default settings (I'm in Korea, so it sends me to the Korean-language interface) to their English-language sites. 

Feel free to follow along and investigate for yourself: [Naver] [Daum] [Google] [Bing]

Which display the best information most clearly? Let's take a look. 

Comparing maps from Naver, Daum, Google, and Bing

Test 1 - Medium Zoom, Map View


Naver Maps, medium zoom

Clean colors, major locations clearly labeled. I use Naver most often. The red-highlight area covering the subway station (Jamsil Station, 잠실역) means you can view the underground map as well, to see the shops, restaurants, etc. located underground in the station area. Of course, the major problem with Naver Maps for tourists is that it's all in Korean.


Daum Maps, medium zoom

Daum Maps always seems brighter, more colorful, and fun to look at, while showing more details, but for some reason I tend to find it a bit cluttered. The wavy water is a cute touch, but distracting. Of course the LotteWorld complex itself is more clearly noted here. Can't say I'm a fan of those advertisements at the bottom, or those that appear on the map itself. Again, all in Korean.


Google Maps, medium zoom

Google Maps is probably the most likely for international visitors to use (and, interestingly, for Koreans to use abroad, as I recall Sunny [yes that Sunny] showing Seo-Jin-hyung to do while in Taiwan on 꽃보다 할배). Some English is here, such as the subway station, roadway names, and Western-brand locations. The big thing here is that, at this zoom level, LotteWorld isn't even mentioned. The magic island looks like simply a giant flower-shaped protrusion of parkland into Seokchon Lake, with a large nondescript building next to it. That could be problematic.


Bing Maps, medium zoom
Now get ready to have your mind blown. Check out Bing Maps at this location. Like a baller, Bing shows not only all the important local attractions, but does so in English! Everything! With cute icons indicating what kind of places they are! And a note (in Korean) about the coming opening of Lotte World Tower. To the casual foreign tourist, who may not read hangul that well, Bing would seem to be the best choice. 


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This post is a bit image-heavy, so please click the link below to continue reading:


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Send/Receive Naver Mail in G-mail


When you've created your Naver account, you may decide that using Naver's webmail client (네이버 메일) is difficult or bothersome, because it is entirely in Korean, and a bit cluttered. I personally prefer sending/receiving my Naver Mail through my G-mail account. 

G-Mail has a setting to automatically forward all mail to another account, but Naver Mail does not. Worry not; it's easy to get all your Naver Mail in G-mail using POP3. The process is super simple.
  1. Enable POP3 access to Naver Mail
  2. Create an application-specific password (only if using OTP / 2-factor authentication)
  3. Add your Naver Mail account to G-mail's POP3 Import settings.
The final step is well-documented online, so I'll skip it here. I'll quickly show you how to do the others now. Seriously, this takes less than five minutes. 

Enable POP3 access to Naver Mail


Log-in to Naver Mail and click either the gear icon or 환경 설정 ("Preferences") 

Click POP3/IMAP 설정 ("POP3/IMAP Settings")

Click 사용함 ("Enable")

Click 확인 ("OK")

That should normally be all there is to it, and you can add the Naver Mail account to G-mail now. And you'll send/receive mail to/from your @naver.com address to your hearts content without ever visiting that page again. 

If, however, you followed my advice and set-up 2-factor Authentication for your Naver account, you have one more step. 

Create an application-specific password (only if using OTP / 2-factor authentication)


Naver's 2-factor authentication creates application-specific passwords just like Google does

Go to your Naver OTP settings, either by being a chump and navigating Naver.com > 내정보 > Security > OTP Sign-in (2-step Verification) or go there directly like a boss by clicking on https://nid.naver.com/user2/help/secondAuth.nhn

Scroll down to Application password settings

Pick a name for the app you will use, click "Register", copy the generated password

This will be the password you'll need to use when adding you Naver account to G-mail's settings. 

And that's it!

Sometimes this is so simple, I don't know why I bother doing this. Hopefully someone out there, maybe even YOU, will benefit. If I touch just one person, help one soul do something he couldn't do before, my life on Earth is justified. At your service, sir/madam. 
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Netffice 24 Android apps for opening/editing Hangul (.hwp) files


Netffice 24

The Netffice 24 (넷피스 24) Android apps


Note: You can also check out my other posts on opening Hangul (.hwp/.hml) files.


In my last post I showed how you can easily open/edit Hangul (.hwp) files online. Now I thought I'd do a similar run-down showing you how the Netffice 24 suite works on Android. The app suite can be used entirely in English and works quite well. Let me show you how it works.

The first thing you should note is that, like with the Google office apps suite, the Netffice 24 apps are divided by program feature (PDFs, Text, Spreadsheet, Presentation, etc.) If you're going to be working with Hangul files, I suggest just downloading the default Netffice app; you do not necessarily need to download the others. This is similar to the way Google Drive works: the Drive app stores all your documents and allows you to view them, but the actual editing is done in separate apps (for example, you can view a spreadsheet in Google Drive, but it will open in Google Sheets for editing).

In fact, when viewing my .HWP file in the Netffice 24 app, the app automatically began to download the proper editor (Hword) when I tried to edit the file.

Let's take a look at it in action, with more screenshots than you can stomach.

Viewing, Editing, and Saving/Exporting an HWP Document



Here was my "drive" folder when I open the Netffice 24 app. You may have noticed that that "Asian Games" speech was the same file I uploaded to the cloud in my last post. Similarly, I can upload files to my Netffice cloud storage from within the Android app.

Now I'll just tap to view that file.


The file displays cleanly. As this is simply the storage/viewer app, if I want to edit or export as a PDF, I'll need to open it in the Hword editor.

Tap the pop-out arrow icon at the top-right to launch the editor (at this point, it will download the needed editor files, if you do not yet have it installed)


Here's the view of the document in the Hword editor. From here you can tap anywhere the edit the text of the document. I won't show you examples of the editing in-process, but you can see many such screenshots here at the Play store.

I should also point out that the appearance of the editor is meant to change depending on your screen-size, so it may look a bit different (with more visible options and a traditional menu bar) on larger screens.

Let's open the menu and take a look inside.


Here's the full menu for document editing. Let's take a look at some of the options in here.

Start with exporting this as a PDF. You can see there in that 3rd "save" icon that "PDF" is written. Perfect to export the file. Tap it.


It asks us where we want to save the exported PDF.  


For this example, I chose the Internal Storage option. Now I can rename the file and choose the specific directory path in which to save it.

Other Options in the Menus


Let me just quickly run through what else is available from the menu:

"Options"

"Document Info" - Normal

"Document Info" - Summary

"Document Info" - Statistics

"Print" dialog

Storage Space


Here are the app preferences. You can see that I've got 10 GB of cloud storage for my Netffice drive account, and also that, as I mentioned before, I have "Pro" account status. Is that 10 GB a result of that "Pro" status? I'd be curious to know what others see. 


One issue with using these apps is that they installed a lot of additional files, including quite a large list of fonts, presumably Korean-language-ready, given the "Han" prefix on each. These files add-up to a fairly hefty size. 


The Netffice app itself seems slim, but you can see that the overarching "Hancom Office (Netffice 24)" app it downloaded is 45.63 MB, and "Hancom Office Hwp for Android" app is 52.48 MB. That last app can be moved to the SD Card, but the others cannot (on my Android 4.4.4). Note that neither of these will show-up as launchable icons in your application drawer.




The overall experience of using these apps is pretty nice. Not going to lie: I doubt I'll ever actually edit documents on my phone, but it's nice to have the app as a storage drive for my HWP files. This is especially true since the Netffice 24 app integrates with the native Android share menu. This way, when a co-worker emails me an HWP file, I can send it (via my phone) directly to my Netffice cloud storage, so it's waiting for me at the site when I sit down to my laptop.

For being a fairly light-weight Hangul viewer, and for seamlessly sending emailed HWP attachments to the online editor, I think it's a worthwhile addition to your phone.

Of course, if you're super hardcore about editing the most extreme documents possible right on your tablet, you can always purchase the $25 deluxe version.

Seriously guys, if you weren't here in Korea five years ago, you won't understand how annoying and difficult it was to have to deal with HWP files as a non-Korean. Even half the Koreans in the office were using the same pirated version of Hangul Office that the "techie" guy had installed on everyone's computer and on which he warned us never to click "Update" when it popped-up.

I may sound like a Hancom fanboy lately, but it's only because 90% of the hassle of dealing with HWP files is now a thing of the past. I am full-on editing HWP files on my Lubuntu Linux machine! If you'd told me that five years ago, I'd have said you're insane, Korea will never reach that point. Things move fast here, friends. My bold prediction? No one will remember Active X by 2016. 

 - Online cloud-based Netffice app -- https://www.netffice24.com/
 - Netffice 24 Android app -- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.netffice.drive&hl=en

Finally, see my other posts on opening Hangul (.hwp/.hml) files.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

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


Netffice 24 logo

What is Netffice 24, and why use it?


Also see my other posts on opening Hangul (.hwp/.hml) files.


In addition to the methods for opening Hangul (.hwp) files that I talked about before, you can also now use Hancom's new Netffice 24 (넷피스 24) service for opening, editing, and exporting Hangul files, all in a web browser with no special software needed. This terribly-named* service is a cloud-based office suite from Hancom (the company behind HWP) that seems designed to compete with Google Docs. Much of the styles/inspiration seems similar. In fact, if you're familiar with the Google Docs/Drive ecosystem, using Netffice 24 will be familiar to you.

* Someone needs to scrutinize these contractions for suitability in English. It's a good idea on paper (Net + Office) but I had no idea how to pronounce this until I saw it written in Korea. What sound would "TF" together possibly make? If your hangul reading isn't up to par, it's pronounced "Net-piss" (no joke) or "Net-piece-uh."

There are a few very good points about this service:
  1. The majority of its use can be done in English. The screenshots I provide below demonstrate how to navigate it in Korean, but already since then I've discovered that the English interface is expanding. I expect soon this can be used entirely in English (negating the need for this guide, really!)
  2. You can sign-in / sign-up using your Facebook or Google account. Rather than having to register, you can one-click sign-in using your SNS credentials. Signing-in under Google will also allow you to access your Google Drive documents, for editing in the Netffice environment. 
  3. No extra software needed. This suite nearly negates any need for the full Hangul Office software suite, depending on your usage needs. I was able to open/edit several documents, then re-save them either as .HWP or export as .PDF and all within my browser (I tested both Chrome and Firefox with no issues)
As a result, Netffice has quickly become my preferred method of dealing with HWP files, without having the actual Hangul Office application (I use Lubuntu mostly, so it's really not even an option). 

So, how does this work?

I'll show you a walk-through of converting an HWP file on my hard-drive to a PDF. But along the way, you'll see how you can fully edit/manipulate the files online, making 'conversion' per-se less necessary than it was in the past.

Let's begin.

Walk-through of Netffice 24

UPDATE May 2015: The Netffice interface, which I demonstrated below in Korean, is available in English! 


Netffice homepage
First, visit http://www.netffice24.com and log-in. You'll be able to log-in using Google, Facebook, or creating a traditional account there. As you can see in the screenshot, my registration was 'bumped' up to Pro status, whatever that means.


Here, you're presented with the Netffice 24 "drive" folder. Think of this page as your Google Drive file list. There are two welcome messages already inside. You can immediatly notice how clean and user-friendly the interface is. 


Now, to upload your .HWP document, click the (+) icon and choose 업로드 ("Upload")


Once the document is uploaded, click it and it will open in a light-box viewer like this. From this viewer, you can "Share" or "Download" the file, but to edit the file, click 편집 ("Edit").

At this point, I was using Firefox, and received this message stating that the Web Office editor is optimized for Chrome.


Here now, the document is open in Hword, the "Google Docs" text editor of Netffice. Spreadsheets and Presentations open in their own respective online applications.


Of course, we could just copy/paste the contents of the document at this point, but let's export it as a PDF. For this, click the three-line "hamburger" menu, then 파일 ("File"), then 인쇄 ("Print").


This automatically generated a PDF version of the file, which began downloading. 



Final Thoughts


That's it! Manipulating Hangul files has never been so easy, nor so free! To be honest, this service is sort of a life-saver, and long overdue. I personally no longer use any of the other software methods I've mentioned before. Cheers to Hancom for making this service available, for making it free, and for making it in English. Millions of torrent pirates can rest easy.

One important thing I do find odd, however, is that (for now?), you can only upload Hangul (.hwp) documents. If you try to create a document from scratch, it will only do so in the Microsoft .docx format. I get around this by having a single .hwp file I leave "blank" and saving it under various names after writing it up each time (it auto-saves, so I manually save a copy under a new name, then next time just erase it when I'm ready to write a new document). Pain in the ass? A little, but most of my work involves editing/reading anyway, so I abide.

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

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Enable Two-step verification for your Naver account


Today I'll walk you through a brief tour of enabling two-step protection on your Naver account.

Two-step verification, or Two-factor authentication (i.e. getting a code on your phone to sign-in), adds an important layer of security to your account. I have this set-up on my Google account. I didn't notice this until recently, but Naver (네이버) also lets you enable this security feature, though they refer to it as OTP. With all the hacking stories out there, it's useful to "set it and forget it." It's pretty simple if you're already familiar with 2-step authentication, with one main difference: the Naver app itself is used for generating the codes. But we'll get to that.

Creating a Naver Account
The brilliant thing is that 90% of all this process can be done in English. Creating a Naver account and editing all major account settings on Naver can all be done in English (and Chinese), even though most Naver function beyond that are only in Korean. No Alien ID Numbers (외국인 등록 번호) or passport numbers are needed; but you will need a mobile phone to receive a verification code. I was required to enter a Korean (+82 prefix) phone number, but when signing-up from abroad, you can choose from an international country drop-down list.

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Enabling the Protection
Once you've created your Naver account (and it really is super simple), we can enable the Two-step verification.

While logged in, click 내정보 ("My Account") circled above.


From there, all your settings will be in English. Click over to the "Security" tab and scroll down to "OTP Sign-in (2-step Verification)". You might also want to take this opportunity to enable some of the other security features on this page.


The process is pretty straight-forward. You'll be taken first to an introductory information page.


The main difference between Naver's OTP and that of other services (like Google's) is that the codes will be generated within the Naver App itself, not using a seperate stand-alone app (like Google Authenticator) nor by SMS text messages. That last fact is strange, considering that Naver will use an SMS message code to verify your phone number here. Why not just have an SMS option for receiving codes?

Part of the reason may be this:
The malicious application attacks a smartphone to steal personal information in the phone by pilfering authentication SMSs when the person uses an e-commerce payment service. [Korea Bizwire]

Note also here that the phone number you use here does not have to be the same number associated with your account (the number you gave when signing-up with Naver). For example, I didn't want to install the bloated Naver app, so here I used the number of a family member who does have the app. It worked just fine, though of course I'll need that person's phone when logging-in on an unknown/untrusted computer. Input the number, Naver will send you an SMS code, and input that code here.


Now it will tell you to install the Naver app (Android - iOS) to your phone, if you haven't done so already.


Now it's time to get the code from the app and input it here. For this step, you'll need to put both the one-time code, and the app's serial number. In the future, you'll only need the one-time code.

If you're not sure where to get this code, I'll show you now.


 Open the Naver app on your phone, tap the three-line "hamburger menu", and go down to 앱 설정 ("App Settings").


Tap the second item "네이버 OTP".


Here is your OTP code. You can do this each time you want to log-in to Naver on a new/untrusted computer.

Now back to the set-up:


Assuming you input the code correctly, you'll reach a penultimate page asking you to choose a back-up email address.


And finally, take a look at the number and email to make sure everything looks good. If you're ready, click "Confirm" and you'll now be required to enter the code when logging in.


This is the screen you'll be presented with, from now on, after entering you Naver ID and password.
This could be really annoying to do every single time, so don't be a chump. If you're on your personal computer, just be sure to click the "Stay OTP Signed in" checkmark button before entering the code, and you won't need codes for that computer anymore. Set it, and forget it. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that no other computer will be able to log-in as you.

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Hopefully you found this guide helpful. Though, of course, nearly the entire process was in English so really such a guide is a bit unnecessary. Personally, that makes me glad, that Naver expands their English offerings. Naver's services really are useful and powerful; not just "Korean Google". I think they could see a lot of expansion and growth by supporting even just a few foreign languages (English / Chinese / Japanese). As I wrote before, Naver Dictionary and Naver Translate can be used fully in English. Let's hope more Naver services continue to become multi-lingual.
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