Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hani RSS feed back online

Image: Hankyoreh
If you read the Hani regularly, you'll be pleased to know that they seem to have solved the issues with their RSS feed.

Previously, their feed directed to a host at Feedsportal ( which was constantly triggered as an attack page by Google's Safe Browsing feature:
Status of:
Current status: Dangerous is not safe to visit right now.
Site Safety Details: Some pages on this website install malware on visitors' computers.
The feed would function sporadically, and sometimes for days at a time would go dark. I contacted them on their Facebook page and they said they'd look into it. Sure enough, it seems they've removed the redirect to Feedsportal entirely, and their direct feed is working well at:

I don't always agree with their political leanings, but they often have interesting content that other papers tend to ignore or avoid. I also enjoy their often in-depth reports, such as this one that has what is one of my all time favorite titles: [In-depth report] ‘When I ejaculated on her thigh…she seemed to like it’

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The yellow ribbon 🎗 is "Remember 0416" in Unicode

Somebody snagged the 🎗character in honor of Sewol-ho.
A remembrance ribbon which commemorates the deadly ferry sinking that took more than 300 lives two years ago was designated as a computing text standard, the Unicode Consortium said Wednesday.
The yellow ribbon, previously called the "reminder ribbon" under the code "1F397," changed its title to "Remember 0416" after an anonymous sponsor made a donation to the Unicode Consortium.
[Yonhap News | 'Sewol' ribbon listed as standard unicode]
You can see it right there at the Unicode consortium site:

Image: Yonhap
According to the site, this character was a "bronze" level item, meaning anybody willing to donate $100 could grab it. Not that I'm Scrooge McDuck or anything, but that makes the snag feel somehow less impressive. There's also this tidbit from the site:
There is no limit to the number of sponsors for a specific character at this level. Bronze sponsors are listed on the Unicode Consortium website with their characters, but do not have the option to include a hyperlink.
[Unicode Adopt-a-Character Submission Form]
You can see that some (like the unicorn 🦄) already have two sponsors listed. I'm now on the edge of my seat wondering if some Japanese netizen is going to pick up on this and send in their $100 check to sponsor the ribbon on behalf of the "DOKDO IS TAKESHIMA" foundation.

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EPIK fail, part deux: Photoshopped white girls in EPIK promotional imagery

UPDATE April 22:
They actually photoshopped out an perfectly decent white male teacher to replace him with a cleavagey white female stock model. See below. 

This post is really just a response to Matt over at Gusts of Popular Feeling. In his latest entry, he pointed out (and correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm going to paraphrase using my, not his, language) that the latest EPIK website model is, let's say, "titillating". He's looked before at the way young white females get depicted, although I can't say it's any worse than the way the English Goddesses get depicted.

That's the nice thing about men: sex sells, no matter what color the girl is. Hang a nice pair of boobies out there and suddenly racism vanishes, along with most brain function for that matter.

So here's the screen-shot he took from the EPIK website:

Image: Gusts of Popular Feeling

It looks like the image gets recycled for the Korean Education Center in San Francisco:

Image: KECSF

And here it is extracted from the page:

Image: EPIK

Looks like a lovely and pleasantly voluptuous teacher is eagerly engaged with those happy little Korean boys, respectfully keeping their eyes on their work. 

But I noticed something weird right off the bat. Check out her pair of... uh... sorry, got distracted for a second... her pair of eyes. Where is she looking? To me, if you follow her line if sight, it's not on any of the boys or any work they must be doing. Weird that she's staring somewhere at a distance, like either she's dead inside (likely, if she's doing middle school), or else she's actually looking at something else. And that got me thinking... if this was shopped, might there be any chance that an original is out there somewhere? 

Ask (Google), and ye shall receive.

I stumbled across this stock photo image from some edu-management site

Image: TalentEd

In fact, you can find the same stock photo not only there, but also here and here, and advertising for Koreans to study in Australia here and here, as well as buy it from Dreamtime or buy it from Shutterstock where it's titled "Portrait of diligent schoolkids and their teacher talking at lesson". Well at least now we know what she's looking at. It's whatever this blue-shirted pigtailed girl is doing. Now that makes more sense. 

It also means that EPIK (or someone they hired?) got hold of a stock photo of "busty white teacher" and shopped her out of that one, and stuck her next to some cute Korean boys. Classy. So the girl in the EPIK photos probably was not an actual English teacher in Korea. 

Not that any of this really matters, if you want my opinion. I'm just making a big deal out of it because I've had insomnia lately and Sherlocking this was a fun distraction. It is a little bit funny that they shopped her out of a white school with mixed gender students and stuck her right with three Korean boys. Yes boys, study hard (not in that way... well maybe in that way) and someday you too can ride a busty Baek-ma

And if you want even more of her, there's a full-HD, crystal-clear 5000x3000 pixel version here.

Oh, Internet. You're always good for a mid-week chuckle.

UPDATE: I did a little more amateur sleuthing, and also found the original of the three chipper Korean boys. You guessed it: it was originally a white guy.

You can also see the same photo prominently featured in a TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea) newsletter from back in 2013:

Image: screenshot from

Not only that, but I get the impression that this guy is an actual TaLK program teacher, based on what appears to be his appearance in several other promotional images on the official TaLK site. This is him, right?

Image: TaLK

Image: TaLK

I'm surprised they even bothered to photoshop him out and put a juicy girl (not that kind) instead. He's definitely got a clean, friendly, approachable, teacherly look to him. Not at all the angry pot-smoking pedo that graces the papers now and then.

Alright, I think I've pretty much beaten this to death. But if anybody recognizes the guy in the photos (or the woman for that matter, but if she's a stock model, good luck), I'd love to add that bit of info to the post. 

Now back to my pipe and violin.

P.S.  If you haven't already, go subscribe to Matt's blog. I've been a regular reader for a few years now. He always posts good stuff. Guys like him made me curious about throwing my own keyboard into the ring. 

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

NYT: Seoul Celebrates the Home of an American Hero

This isn't normally the kind of thing I would post, but it's an interesting story and I hadn't seen much about it in the K-blogosphere. It's a NYT article from last month about the nearly-forgotten house of an American man in Korea back during the Japanese occupation period. Pretty interesting read and not too long either. Here's a nice snippet:

Image: NYT

Mr. Taylor arrived in Korea in 1896. He mined gold, ran an import business and worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press and The Japan Advertiser, a now-defunct American-owned English newspaper in Tokyo.
He happened upon his worldwide scoop while visiting his wife at Severance Hospital in Seoul, where she gave birth to their son on Feb. 28, 1919. Unknown to Mr. Taylor, a group of Korean patriots, inspired by President Woodrow Wilson’s speech supporting countries’ right to self-determination, were printing their manifesto in the basement.
When he lifted up his newborn son, he found under his wife’s sheets copies of the “Korean Declaration of Independence,” which called for an uprising against Japanese colonial rule the next day. Japanese soldiers had raided the hospital and found the printing press but not copies of the declaration; a nurse had hidden them in Mrs. Taylor’s bed.
“To this day, I aver that, as a newly fledged newspaper correspondent, he was more thrilled to find those documents than he was to find his own son and heir,” Mrs. Taylor wrote in her memoir, which was published in English in 1992, 10 years after her death.
[New York Times | Seoul Celebrates the Home of an American Hero]

I don't know how to end this, so I'm just going to take a page from friend-of-this-blog ROK Drop and say it: Read the rest at the link.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Use "Save to Google" in Korea

Image: Google OS blog
Real quick here, if you're in Korea and want to try Google Save, or "Save to Google" (a currently still semi-official bookmarking and saving service - read more here), you may notice that although the Chrome extension works here, the actual page for managing your saved items ( is giving you a 404 Not Found. I even tried a VPN from multiple locations including the US: didn't work.

As Redditor Tom_Sawyerer points out, you can access your Saved Items page from abroad at this URL:
I tried it here in Korea, it works fine. Not sure how useful it is, but fun to play around with.

UPDATE: And this is now unnecessary, as all normal in-extension links are working. Disregard this post.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nice Pojangmacha Pic

I know this is a weird thing to post during a nice cherry blossom springtime, but I wanted to take a second to give a shout-out to Paul in Uijeongbu, who took the photo that is my current desktop background.

Outdoor Seating (DSC_0540)

There's something about this scene that really puts me at ease every time I close all my windows and tabs. Such a warm, quaint, inviting-looking pojangmacha (포장마차) type place on a crisp winter evening. These places are great. If you're not familiar, these are usually just food stall tents set up usually just for the season, with cheap food and alcohol in a grungy ambiance that feels really humanizing. I've found it hard to not end up talking to people here. CNN even has a guide for you.

They're usually better in spring and summer since it's outdoors and all, but I'll be damned if some of the nicest coziest times weren't spent at this kind of place after a long snow-trudging hike up some mountain or other. Maybe that's why I like this picture so much. Like non_ducor_duco said on Reddit, it's really a Korean version of Nighthawks. And like I said, it makes a great desktop.

See more of Paul's great collection of photos here, and follow his RSS photo feed here.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fix Korean online banking, shopping character-encoding problems

If you try to use online banking in Korea, or to buy things from online using a Korean debit/credit card, you might sometimes find that the pop-up messages and purchasing windows have some jumbled garbled text that looks like gibberish. Obviously you need to know what to click or what it says. For example, you might see something like this:

Encoding mistake makes the text illegible
This usually happens basically because the banking software uses an older non-Unicode standard for encoding text. 

The solution is very simple. You just need to change one easy setting to tell your computer that unspecified text is Korean, not English. Don't worry, this won't mess up your computer and change everything into Korean. 99% of English software will have the correct specifications to display in English. You're only changing how your computer handles texts that is explicitly missing any specific encoding info, which in this day and age is pretty much limited to Korean banks. 

Windows region settings, administrator tab
Step 1: Go to your computer's "Region" settings
(on Windows 10, just click/press the Start menu and type "region", or go to the Control Panels)

Step 2: Click over to the "Administrative" tab

Step 3: Click that second box, "Change system locale..."

Windows region settings, administrator tab Step 4: Choose "Korean (Korea)" from the drop-down menu. Click OK on each box, and you're done. 

Mac users, I don't know. Find something similar in your settings. Just buy a real computer already, geesh.

For some background, if you're seeing that kind of jumbled text, then chances are, you likely have your computer's language set to English. In that case, your computer is assuming that any text that doesn't specifically identify what language it's in must be English, which of course in this case is wrong. This is why a Korean speaker would likely never encounter this problem: their computer is set to Korean anyway, and is presuming all text is Korean, which of course in this case it is.

This is also usually the problem when a Korean subtitle file doesn't work right in your movie player, showing the same kind of gibberish, but your Korean girlfriend's laptop works fine. If that's you, check out my short post on Korean subtitles.

Happy banking.
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The School of Life, in Seoul

I just noticed this, but if you're in Korea and you're a fan of Alain de Botton then you're in luck. He's opened a Seoul branch of The School of Life, which features workshops and classes on better living, mental wellbeing, a cafe, and of course School of Life merchandise and books.

Here's his announcement video on the opening of the Seoul branch. You can skip it if you want, there's not much Korea-specific content to the interview.

They've set up a website for the Seoul branch that includes a lot of Korean-language content and more details on the classes and workshops they offer. You can even add them as a KakaoTalk Plus friend. Now that is localized marketing, right there. Take a look at their cafe too where you can buy that artsy intellectual gold miss you've had your eye on a nice S.o.L. notebook for her to be seen writing in.

Over on Time Out Seoul there's an interview with Alain in which he talks a little about Korea:

Korea is a society that has many of the problems (and pleasures) of the modern world where people are extremely busy, life is crowded and expensive, there is never enough time and there is a tension between tradition and the hyper modern, between loyalty to family and to oneself. Koreans are extremely well-educated and curious and it seemed natural to open a branch here. We are so happy to have found a home in Seoul. [Time Out Seoul]

If you're still here you're probably just looking for the location of the branch. It's right by the Yongsan District Office in Itaewon:

47-4 Noksapyeong-daero 32-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

서울특별시 용산구 녹사평대로32길 47-4 

지도 크게 보기
2016.4.2 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NAVER Corp.

And finally, if you're interested, the School of Life Youtube channel also featured a Seoul hairdresser in one episode of their "A Working Day" series on various jobs:

I've read a couple of his books. They're pretty light and pleasant reads. He does a pretty good job explaining some big ideas that I never paid attention or never learned in school but somehow a lot of Koreans know about. It's weird when your Korean coworkers know more about Plato and all that Ancient Greek stuff than you do. Anyway I wouldn't call his books life changing or anything. After a while I feel like once you've heard or read one of his spiels, you've heard or read them all. But hey who am I to judge. My idea of the height of human intellectualism is making fun of his name. de Botton. He he. de Bottom. Heh...

UPDATE 9 April 2016:
The Korea Times has done an article on the opening:
"It's not your typical school, but rather one for those who need a ‘jjimjilbang' for the soul," said Sohn, referring to the sauna house Koreans go to de-tox, relax and de-stress, as well as to talk with friends.
[Korea Times | Renowned School of Life comes to Seoul]

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