Friday, March 25, 2016

Naver Maps Dokdo underwater street views


You may know how Google Streetview includes lots of fascinating underwater imagery. Naver Maps also provides some interesting armchair explorer views of the sea around Dokdo, so you can swim all around the coastlines of the lonely islets. Here's a map of which areas currently have "street view" imagery available. I don't know what to call it. Underwater view?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Free phone with data service for tourists to Korea in 2016


Here's a pretty sweet deal if you're planning on visiting Korea as a tourist this year. Pick up a shiny new Galaxy Note 5 in the airport when you arrive and use it for free for five days with five gigs! That's a lot of Fs!

KTO "Enjoy Mobile Korea" sign-up page

SK Telecom said Wednesday it has teamed up with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Samsung Electronics to provide free telecom services to foreign tourists visiting the country.
...
The telecom company will select foreign tourists who apply for unlimited voice calls, text messages and up to 5 gigabytes of data available for five days. The tourists will also be able to borrow the latest Samsung Electronics smartphones free of charge.
...
SK Telecom received the first round of applications between March 15 and 20 and chose from 250 out of 2,500 applicants planning to visit Korea.
...
The telecom company said it will select about 250 foreign tourists every week, expecting to benefit more than 12,000 through the promotion. Interested applicants can access a dedicated website at emk.visitkorea.or.kr. Once chosen, they can pick up a smartphone at the SK Telecom roaming center on the first floor of Incheon International Airport.
[SKT provides free telecom service for foreign tourists]

Here's some important details on the promotion from the KTO site:

"Enjoy Mobile Korea For Free"
  • Event Period: March 15 – December 31, 2016
  • How to apply: Apply online at the Enjoy Mobile Korea promotion website (emk.visitkorea.or.kr) and only selected winners will be granted the free smartphone rental
  • Services provided: Free rental of Galaxy Note 5, date (1GB per day), free local voice calls, SMS messages (for 5 days including day of pick up; international calls excluded), mobile app (VisitKorea) providing Korea tourism information pre-installed.
  • International incoming calls and SMS can be received.
  • Smartphone rental & return location: SK Telecom Roaming Center at Incheon International Airport, Level 1 (Between Gates 10 and 11) 
  • Operating hours for T Roaming Center: 06:00–22:00
  • 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
[Grab the chance to “Enjoy Mobile Korea!”]

By the way, before you get too excited, there are a couple of interesting tidbits buried in the FAQs:

Q. Can I make an international call (or SMS) with the rental phone? 
A. No outgoing international calls or SMS/MMS messages are allowed.
However, incoming international calls or messages can be received.
...
Q. How much will I be charged for the deposits? 
A. If you return the smartphone within the period, the credit card authorization will be cancelled. 900,000 won (net price of Samsung Galaxy Note 5) will be charged as a hold on your international credit card, which must be activated for handling international transactions.
[Enjoy Mobile Korea FAQs]

So the "free" phone will, at least temporarily, set you back a cool $900. I'm guessing that the kind of tourists who would be most eager for this promotion are the young K-pop loving S.E. Asian crowd, and I wonder if that early-20s demographic is going to have plastic like that on them. I'm not alone. But what do I know?

Anyway, your old buddy Sam is just passing the info along. Get 'er done.

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Inoreader can replace Pocket


Quick tip for a great way to replace Pocket with Inoreader:
Make an Inoreader rule to "Add Star" to any new "Saved Web Page"

Now all the pages I used to save in Pocket, I just save them into Inoreader (whether on desktop with the bookmarklet or the browser extension or with the Android share menu). A quick sync with FeedMe before leaving the house in the morning, and all my feeds are synced and all starred items (including new saved webapges) are there offline and ready to go.

No hate to Pocket. It's a great app. I just want as few apps as possible, and want all my items in one single organized and concise location. Sure, you can subscribe to your Saved Web Pages as an RSS feed, but that's not inherently private, and then they're in two locations at once. Sure, you can subscribe to your Pocket private RSS feed, but Pocket only exports the title and link in that way, not the full article content.

This works great for me; give it a try. Inoreader is really one of those things where I go "huh, I wonder if I can..." and the answer is always "yes, yes you can."

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Google's AI vs. Korea's top Baduk player: schedule and livestream link


FloorGoban.JPG
"FloorGoban" by Goban1 - Own work.
Licensed under Public Domain via 
Commons.
Real quick here, a while ago I mentioned the baduk battle between Google's A.I. computer "AlphaGo" and expert player Lee Sedol. I live-streamed a bit of the first match today, which featured some American guy commenting on each move (in English), which was pretty cool, as he was explaining the game and strategies being employed so that a guy like me, with no baduk knowledge at all, could sort of follow along.

If you're interested, here's the schedule for the rest of the match as provided by Google:
The games will start at 1pm Korea Time (4am GMT; day before 11pm ET, 8pm PT) on these days:
- Wednesday, March 9: First game
- Thursday, March 10: Second game
- Saturday, March 12: Third game
- Sunday, March 13: Fourth game
- Tuesday, March 15: Fifth game
They are live-streaming on this YouTube channel, and you can set-up reminders there for it.

Also Google is updating that blog post after each match, so if you're lazy you can check back there for the basic details of how each match went, or any number of media outlets. So far it's Man 0 : Machine 1. Read more here.

And for something funny, one of my coworkers saw the headline of this match but wasn't particularly interested in it. He saw that the match was between 이세돌 and 알파고. So when me and another guy are chatting about it during the smoke break, he goes "So anyway, what kind of a name is 알파고 anyway? Is he like some relation to 알 파치노?"   


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RSS feeds for multi-reddit searches


I knew that you can subscribe to Reddit searches via RSS, but I just realized that you can do the same for search terms among multiple subreddits (multireddits)  In other words, you can set-up an RSS feed for searching a key-word among a specified collection of specific Reddit boards, without even needing a Reddit account. OK maybe this is old news to some, but it's pretty cool and new to me, and shockingly powerful when you consider the possibilities.

For example, let's say you are lonely in Seoul. Sure, you can subscribe to r/Seoul, but it's pretty dead and you'd love to be automatically updated whenever "Seoul" is mentioned on a few particular subreddits, like say r/r4r (the Reddit personals board), r/penpals (because you want someone local to strike-up a keyboard conversation with), and just for the heck of it, r/aww (because, hey, you're lonely).

  1. Just stick those subreddits together in the URL to make a multi-reddit like so:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/r4r+penpals+aww/
  2. Do a normal search, limiting the results to these threads, for the resulting URL:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/r4r+penpals+aww/search?q=seoul&sort=new&restrict_sr=on
  3. And then, manually add ".xml" after the word "search" like so:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/r4r+penpals+aww/search.xml?q=seoul&sort=new&restrict_sr=on

Boom, instant and supremely customized RSS feed. Of course you can cut out those other steps and just edit that final URL yourself with as many subreddits as you want:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBRED+SUBRED+SUBRED+SUBRED/search.xml?q=SEARCHTERM&sort=new&restrict_sr=on

Just take a moment to consider all the possibilities here. You could create customized RSS feeds for automatic updates on any type of Reddit content. 
Subscribe and forget! Then see the update when/if your dream guy ever posts, or when/if you can "maybe, see you, at a movie, sneak preview" in Osaka. 

I'm really blown away by the level of RSS support Reddit provides. They even updated their feeds recently to increase compatibility. It's hard to argue these feeds are a "drain" on Reddit resources, since 90% of the time I end up clicking back through to Reddit to engage with the community, and the beauty of these feeds is that I'm engaging with content that I likely would have missed since this is search content and not always from my subscribed subreddits. 

So cheers to Reddit for this support, and of course you can even further customize your Reddit RSS subscriptions inside Inoreader with its Filtered Feeds settings which, good lord, are such a time-saver.

Happy Redditing.

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Blogger photos inside Google Drive


TL;DR: If you don't see your Blogger-uploaded albums inside Google Photos, try checking the Photos folder inside Google Drive. 

With the announcement of Picasa Web Albums being retired, I was worried about all the photos I've uploaded from within Blogger, from not just this blog but my personal and family blogs, some of which had years' worth of photos. Previously, Picasa Web Albums (picasaweb.google.com) was the only way to see all these photos, as Google Photos (photos.google.com) did not show them for me.

This is strange, as I have another personal/family Blogger account (not tied to Google+, as this one is), and all the photos uploaded via Blogger there do appear in Google Photos.

More strange, my Google Photos page does show "Assistant"-created creations, such as collages and animations, made from the photos I've uploaded to this blog. But that's it. The originals are, for some reason, not visible there. Have a look:

Blogger-uploaded photos not appearing in Google Photos-- but "Assistant" creations do!

I was nervous that Google's announcement of Picasa Web's "read-only" mode would mean no newly-uploaded Blogger photos would appear there:
That way, you will still be able to view, download, or delete your Picasa Web Albums, you just won’t be able to create, organize or edit albums (you would now do this in Google Photos). 

But luckily, I found that if I simply enable the "Google Photos" folder inside Google Drive, then they all appear there and can be easily managed inside the Drive interface. Here they all are:

Blogger-uploaded photos appearing in Google Drive

It's not ideal, as I'd prefer to just use the Google Photos interface for its powerful searching, but whatever.

So if you're like me, and nervous that your Blogger photo albums are missing from Google Photos, try checking inside that Google Drive folder. It sure made me breathe a sigh of relief.

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