Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) RSS feeds list

The Chosun Ilbo offers several catagories of RSS feeds for their content by certain news sections. Here's a big list of all the feeds I could find for this news source.

The Chosun is one of the more conservative-leaning daily newspapers in Korea. Not surprising then, their English language edition is usually more newsy and serious. None of the left-wing soapboxing of the Hani, and few of the questionably-edited puff pieces of the KT. So it's a decent source for decent Koreaphiles to add to their RSS reader.

Main Chosun Ilbo RSS feed

They publicize only their main, full-news RSS feed:

But I always prefer categorized feeds to help keep the flood of articles down to just those areas I'm interested in. So I went snooping, and with some Google-fu and some trial-and-error, came up with the following list of other currently-working RSS feeds for various paper sections. You'll notice some repeat at different URLs. This is not an exhaustive list, as far as I know, and there may be others for other categories. If you find another, let me know.

Chosun Ilbo specific news category feeds:

Chosun Ilbo keyword search feed

Another neat trick I discovered, which is featured on their Korean-language RSS service, is that you can subscribe to keyword searches also. It seems to search your keyword across all content (Korean and English articles) but if you use an English-language keyword, the resulting article count is pretty well restricted to English content. Try it out:

Here's a feed for articles about "Busan" for example.

Awhile back I did something similar for Korea Times news section feeds, and you can my other feed-related posts here.

Happy news reading.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE's Top 10 Asian University rankings for 2016

Last week, the Times Higher Education Supplement, also known as "those posh Brits who do the world university rankings every year" released their special 2016 Asian Edition rankings. Three Korean schools made the Top 10, rounding out the bottom. 

According to the site, these are basically using the same criteria as the normal worldwide rankings, but are "adjusted" to reflect most Asian universities being younger than their established Western counterparts, and to factor in support from industry sources. Anyway here they are:

2016 Asian University Rankings 

Asian Rank - World Rank - Name - Location
  1. (26) National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  2. (55) Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  3. (42) Peking University (China)
  4. (~44) University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  5. (~47) Tsinghua University (China)
  6. (59) Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong)
  7. (43) University of Tokyo (Japan)
  8. (116) Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea)
  9. (85) Seoul National University (South Korea)
  10. (148) Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) (South Korea)

Most of the article reads like a huge puff piece about how great Singapore is. Never been, couldn't say. It's a long article. Here are the relevant parts about Korea:

South Koreans have also been “quite good on the internationalisation front, by relying effectively on the diaspora, inviting foreign researchers to their universities and multiplying the number of programmes taught in English”.
Chung Kyu Sang, president of Sungkyunkwan University, in 12th place, admits that internationalisation was a “weak side” of South Korea’s higher education system, particularly compared with Singapore and Hong Kong, but that recent investment in this area has raised its international reputation.
He adds that his own institution has recruited former company executives as professors to strengthen industry-university cooperation.
“As a result, Sungkyunkwan University has attained 329.4 billion won [£195 million] in research funding, which has increased significantly since 2010 when it was at 219.9 billion won,” he says.
However, Terri Kim, reader in comparative higher education at the University of East London, says that while a number of leading foreign academics had been lured to work at top South Korean universities following major government funding injections, many have since terminated their contracts and left the country.
“International students and staff are treated as guests and they are not really part of the local system, so there is a sense of exclusion, or non-inclusion, all the time,” she says.
Part of the reason for this, she explains, is that South Korea was never a Western colony, unlike many of its neighbours, meaning that the country has not had the same history of “accommodating Western cultural standards” as other countries in Asia.
She adds: “The culture of faculty doesn’t change with government policy. On a day-to-day basis, inside the classrooms and inside the laboratories, the old practice continues.”
Asia University Rankings 2016: results announced | THE Rankings

That bolded part is intersting. It's apparently true that many foreign professors end up not liking it here and taking off. The Chosun Ilbo reported on it awhile back  [The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) - Why Are Foreign Academics Running Away?] and even this very ranking group wrote it up [Foreign academics in Korea: disempowered and ready to leave? | Times Higher Education (THE)].

What do you think? Does Korea's awkwardness with English and keeping foreign staff happy relate to not having been colonized by the West? Sure, not like Singapore or Hong Kong, but the UN Occupation Forces, and specifically United States military and business interests have a good 50 years of being here in Korea and Japan too.

I'm going to go rogue here and say there's a bit of pompousness in this. The subtext: if you were occupied by Britain at some point, you're good. If you were occupied by America, you suck. Which isn't outrageous coming from a British paper that has turned a yearly list of numbers into nearly a full-fledged business of its own. But what do I know? Just having a bit of fun.

Read the rest at the link. Congrats to POSCO, KAIST, and SNU. Wow, Pohang, Daejeon, Seoul. East coast, west coast, up north. We got a nice mix of locales in there.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Korean dancers featured on

Real quick, if you missed it, over on Jason Kottke's famous blog he recently featured this Korean dance troupe "Morning of Owl":

And here I am struggling to lift myself out of this chair. Maybe I should try some Korean belly dancing.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Auto-add a map to Blogger posts

Here's an incredibly easy way to automatically add a fully functional small embedded Google Map to any of your Blogger blog posts.

Add this code to your template once, and automatically any blog post that you geotag will have a small embedded map featuring that location. Since it's a template edit, it will work automatically for any post you geotagged, past or present. This is really pretty amazing, as I know a lot of people, from travelers to businesses have wanted to do this.

Example map auto-embedded in a Blogger post

Here's an example of what it looks like. All I did was geotag that post at Gangnam station, and a convenient map automatically is displayed. Please ignore the fruity theme there, I was testing new templates.

Automatically embedded post map, based on post's geotag

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Export Blogger archive to Google Calendar or iCal

Here is a way to export a Blogger archive file to your Google Calendar, or any iCal-based calendar program.

Background: Blogger .xml archive -> iCal .ics file

Basically, I was looking for a way to recreate the sort of "Timehop" feature where what you were doing on social media "On this Day..." would resurface on that day years later. You know, like with Facebook's "On this Day" feature or Google Photo's "Rediscover this Day". But I couldn't find any such thing for a Blogger blog, and you might have years of old embarrassing posts that you'd love to relive. Why leave them just sitting unread? Relive them each day by having those old posts appear (either as links or full entries) in your calendar.

So I haphazardly found a way to import those posts into Calendar, so that I can set them as recurring events. Now I'm no programmer or app author. Basically, I just manually edited my Blogger archive file with a bunch of Find/Replace commands, until it met the standards of an iCal file for importing to Google Calendar. In other words, I manually transformed the file from one type to another. It's a totally do-it-yourself way.

Now like I said, I'm no expert and I am 100% sure there are better ways to do this, and someone much smarter than me could probably write a self-contained program or macro to do this automatically. But I've never found a program like that to convert Blogger archive .xml files to .iCal files. So I had to make do with my own limited knowledge.

But I'm hoping that following these copy/paste instructions can save you the hassle of figuring out the code manually, and can help semi-automate this process so that you can convert over the file quickly and hopefully painlessly. Just copy/paste these strings into the Find/Replace box and in about 5~10 minutes you should be ready to go.

Tool: Notepad++

The only tool you will need is a text editor program called Notepad++.
I chose this because it's free, open-source, and works great with regular expressions. I used version 6.8.8.

Notepad++ Find/Replace dialog box
Find/Replace dialog box in Notepad++

This is the Find/Replace dialog box in Notepad++. We are going to basically use this and only this. A lot. So get comfortable with it.

And before we start double-check that "Regular expressions" is selected and ".matches newline" is checked.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Naver Band, Google Spaces, and some Jandi

I just realized how similar Google's "Spaces" app looks to Naver's "Band."

Naver Band vs. Google Spaces
Naver Band vs. Google Spaces

Both are clearly designed for small-group sharing, and while some people (including me when Band first came out) thought it would be a Facebook rival, it's really not. Most people I know who use Band use it for their particular sub-team at work or college and high school students will make a "band" for their friend group and one for the whole class and sometimes even one for the whole school. They all still have Facebook, but use Facebook more for public or total-friends sharing (normal people still don't seem to get the Facebook "lists" feature).

Update: Well after posting this entry I asked a friend about how he's seen people using Band. He agreed with what I said but added that Band is actually pretty popular with the older middle age crowd, who don't use Facebook. They use Band to reconnect with lost friends from their bygone school days. That's sweet. Though he also mentioned that, alongside this use (or because of it?), there's an open-secret that older married folk will use it for arranging, let's say, "discreet encounters" with other married individuals. Boy maybe I ought to jump on the "Band"-wagon.

Still though, I think it's safe to say that for many people at work and in school, it's just more common to use Kakao group chat rooms still. In fact an article just came out today (June 13) about this:

Ever since her company began using mobile messenger KakaoTalk as a communication tool at work, Kim Jin-ah, 32, has been feeling as if the boundary between work and private life is blurring.
[New chat apps split work, play-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily]

That article also mentions a new Korean corporate team collaboration app called "Jandi" which I had not heard of. It sure seems a lot like Slack. Take a look at them side-by-side:

Jandi (left) and Slack (right). Images: The Mobile SurgeJANDI

Furthering the similarity, Jandi can also be connected to your Google Calendar, Trello, JIRA, and GitHub accounts, just like Slack. Now listen I've never used Jandi and barely touched Slack, so I can't say anything about them. Plus hey, I could say those screenshots there are Facebook and an RSS reader and you wouldn't notice, such is the standardized "look" for so many apps/sites these days. And hey I've got nothing against clone apps even though I'm not saying that's what these are. But I'm getting off topic now. The biggest red flag is this, yikes:
To distinguish itself from popular messaging apps like KakaoTalk, Jandi applied Internet security certificates often used in online banking. 

If you want more on Jandi, check out this article. I'm not exactly sure I agree with this part though:
One more reason that globally popular platforms like Slack have failed to gain a foothold in Asia, Harry adds, is their grassroots approach to gaining traction, which isn’t very effective for hierarchical Asian teams.
“Slack chose a bottom-up approach to promote its service by distributing press releases and being active on Twitter to reach their target audience. That worked well in the States, but the Asian market is different and needs a top-down approach to convince decision-makers to adopt the use of business-to-business software,” he says.
 - Korea’s Jandi raises US$2.5m to become Slack of Asia
I understand the point, but it's not like management held a big meeting and instructed all teams to start using KakaoTalk at work. That happened organically, from the bottom-up. Though I bet a lot of workers regret that, come nights and weekends when their phone blows up with work related "KaTalk!" notifications.

So anyway, back to Band. I thought it was interesting when Google released "Spaces" this year. The concept is basically Band. My opinion? Band is more "Facebook-y" with all those damn stickers and "shouts" (~ Facebook "Reactions" aka all those new ways to "Like" something). And there are many public Bands that feel like Facebook Groups, for people with shared interests or locations.

But the ideas of Spaces and Band are pretty much the same: a pinboard (cough Pinterest) of mostly invitation-only mini-groups, where you share the invitation link with your friends, they join your and other bands/spaces, and you basically post links/photos and others comment on it. Like Facebook but feels more "exclusive." Like Google+ Collections but feels more private.

I don't see Spaces ever really picking up steam even though it's a nice app and nice concept. What's interesting to me is that Band came first. You could say Naver's smoother modern redesign (I like the name "N-design") has followed Google's concepts and style (Naver really does look more Material Design like lately, though this was really just Google copying Apple's style in my opinion). And yes, Google did tweak their results page on their Korean domain to appeal to a Naver-conditioned audience. But this seems to me like the first time Google has so directly come later to a service/app that Naver had been doing well on. Was Naver ahead of the game here? Is there some big cultural argument about how tighter-knit Asian social groups demand more private group sharing unlike the Western "let it all hang out there" idea of public Twitters and Facebooks (or even Facebook posts to the entirety of one's several-hundred "friends")? Haha I don't know.

What's certain is that Band came out "way back" in 2012 and Spaces in 2016. It might be fair to say Band had some, let's say "influence" on Spaces.  Either way this arena is getting crowded, and from my experience KakaoStory is pretty much being pushed out. But hey I'm no SNS expert. I barely use any of this crap.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Is Seth's Blog right about how to promote feed reading?

I've seen a lot of buzz lately from blog nerds about the post [Seth's Blog: Read more blogs] over on Seth Godin's blog (anybody think he looks like the guy from Eat Your Kimchi?). Totally agree with him about the merits of RSS and how Google/Facebook don't want you using it. I especially like this line:
RSS still works. It's still free. It's still unfiltered, uncensored and spam-free.

Of course he can promote his love of Feedly as a feed reader. Like I said before, they've a good app that has done a lot for keeping blogs alive.

But I can't help feeling like he really undermines himself, doing just what I said would happen here:

RSS is inherently open and usable by any feed reader, anytime, anywhere. Consolidating control over the platform, as in encouraging publishers to add Feedly-specific content or features, even adding "Subscribe in Feedly" buttons (presuming they are placed in-lieu of normal RSS feed subscription links) is dangerous. It may allow Feedly to give a better experience to their customers, but only to their customers.

Now I'm not crazy, and I know he actually maintains links to multiple feed readers running his pure RSS feed. It just makes me nervous for where we're headed, and here's another high-profile guy pushing it forward. I'm not anti-Feedly. I'm just a guy who loves RSS as much as Seth and who hopes it stays as open and widespread as possible. Again, that openness is why companies like Feedly and Inoreader could thrive after the murder of Google Reader.

Recommend your favorite feed reader app, and recommend your feed, but the moment they become one-and-the-same is the moment another potential Twitter/Facebook is born.

But what do I know? I'm just some joker on Blogspot. Blogspot. So whatever. Follow me in Feedly if it suits you. Or in Inoreader. Or plain old-fashioned Feedburner RSS. Or don't.

Now share this post on Twitter and Facebook ;-)

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