Saturday, September 24, 2016

Conan's octopus brought to his L.A. studio

Conan's octopus brought to his L.A. studio

If you went crazy watching Conan O'Brien's antics in Korea a few months back, you may remember when he bought an octopus at the landmark Noryangjin fish market, and affectionately named it Samuel. You can see that part here:
Conan Visits Noryangjin Fish Market - YouTube

Well, the Korea Tourism Organization milked some more airtime out of Conan, and sent (supposedly, but I have my doubts) the same octopus to his studio. Conan showed off Samuel and his new home on his show recently. You can watch here:
Conan Reunites With Samuel The Octopus - CONAN on TBS - YouTube

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Swing Browser hits 20 million downloads

Image: Aju News

That Frankenstein browser "Swing Browser," which tries to bolt the Korea-required features of Internet Explorer on top of Chrome, apparently hit 20,000,000 downloads last month.

If you've never used it, I did a review with plenty of screenshots while back, here:
10원 Tips: My review of Swing Browser (스윙 브라우저)

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Recommended: The Diplomat on "Christianity and Korea"

Recommended reading: The Diplomat did an article on "Christianity and Korea." This was just an all around interesting introduction to the various stages of Christian influence on Korea and does a nice job of tracing the history of the movements. I thought this quote was pretty insightful:

At the same time, Hong says, “It’s true that [a lot of] Christianity is corrupt. But there are a lot of hidden true pastors working hard, and their passion for God is why we are so successful in Korea.”
Christianity and Korea | The Diplomat

Very true, I'd say. There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of religious corruption around, and not just financial, but intimidation. Get on the wrong side of the church elders (who often aren't even pastors, just big shots in the congregation) and you and your family can see some opportunities cut off. But like the quote says, on the other hand there are a lot of hard working and selfless church-goers here, who work with passion and zeal and do some real good. These folks are deep into the Biblical life routine and can be the most selfless and good hearted folks. They can be intense and a bit "too much" day to day, but they'll come through for you in a pinch, which is more than I think we can say for most people around us these days. That's a good point I think the article could have looked at more -- how there was simply no or little government-sponsored welfare in the aftermath of the Korean war, and how religious organizations, as they do these days in the third world, stepped in to fill the void.

Religion is always a hot topic, but Korean religion is just so varied and so multifaceted, from Confucianism to Catholics, shamans to cults, anti-church politicians to gambling monks, you can never just box it in and say "this is how it is." But hey that's true for everything. You also can't just focus on the ajummas trying to serve you coffee on the street, or that wacky guy who roams the Airport Train with that massive cross. The ones who make the most noise get the most attention after all. I guess the best way I'd summarize my own experiences with ordinary religious folks is that they certainly don't half ass it.

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Papago released for iOS

Naver's clean new real-time translation app "papago" is now available for iOS.

Naver papago

I already did a small review of this app when it was released for Android, which you check out here:
10원 Tips: Naver Translator app "papago" (네이버 파파고) screenshots and review

It was only on Android at the time, but it's been released for iOS now. Download it here:
Naver papago Translate on the App Store

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Naver Blogs allows for PDF version of blog backup

This is not news, but just something I noticed the other day.

One thing I like about Google Blogger is that it let's you back-up your blog archive in an XML file. The downside of course is that it's difficult for a normal user to make use of this. So I was pleased to see the following feature in the settings of a test Naver Blog that I've been playing with.

Naver Blog's PDF backup page

You can export your entries, or any portion of them, to a PDF file. It automatically page-breaks at each post, which is good for a blog with long entries but not ideal if each post is very short. Still, it's a nice user-friendly feature that I wish other services would offer.
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Colbert's Korean Minions movie joke

The other day Stephen Colbert was talking about Hillary Clinton's reference to Trump supporters as a "basket of deplorables" and Stephen said it sounded like the Korean title of a Minions movie, and threw up this modified poster.

He changed it to 나쁜 사람의 바구니, literally a basket of bad people. The real title in Korea, because I know you're dying to find out, was just Minions (미니언즈). Anybody happen to know when the Korean box offices stopped translating titles and just transliterating them instead? I miss some of those great old titles, like 바람과 함께 사라지다.

Watch Colbert's bit here:
A Rough Week for Hillary Clinton - YouTube

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Links for Aug-Sept 2016

Here are a few interesting lnks from this past month. In this post:
  • SK releases Korean version of Amazon Dash button
  • Nice map of US state drivers licenses recognized in Korea
  • Naver's sign-in box is now available in English
  • Adorable shark-fin soup protest
  • Ambassador Lippert ready to get his drank on

SK releases Korean version of Amazon Dash button

This will look very familiar to anyone who's used Amazon's Dash button. Run by SK, it currently places orders through online shopping site 11st.

By the way, perhaps as a sign of how dumb I've become, I always thought they just miswrote "11th" (eleventh), following the "1st" rule. I've definitely seen my fair share of 5st or 6nd or 2rd over the years. Finally I saw 11번가 and it all made sense: it's 11 Street. Like I said, I'm not too bright these days.


SK Telecom has released a new device named Smart Button Kkuk, which facilitates online orders of daily necessities under cooperation with its e-commerce affiliate SK Planet, Monday.
"Smart Button Kkuk is expected to draw much attention from homemakers raising children, double-income couples and unmarried working people who live alone," said Cho Young-hoon, senior vice president of SK Telecom's smart home business division.
SK releases smart shopping device for daily necessities

Homemakers, double-income couples, and single people. So in other words, everybody with money to spend.

Nice map of US state drivers licenses recognized in Korea

You may know that whether or not you can easily utilize your American drivers licence in Korea depends specifically on which US state issued your license. Each state works out a reciprocity agreement with Korea. That doesn't mean someone from a different state can't drive here, of course; you just have some additional hurdles to jump through. Folks from these states can just swap out their license for a Korean one; folks from other states can do the swap but need a written test and some evidential documentation first. Of course if you're just visiting, a simple International License from AAA should do.

Anyway I just liked the convenient infographic map the article included.

South Korea and Hawaii have signed a pact to recognize the validity of noncommercial driver's licenses issued by each other, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
Under the agreement, which went into force Wednesday in the US state after being signed, holders of driver's licenses issued by their own authorities are eligible for a driving permit in the counterpart region without additional training or tests, ministry officials said.
 - Korea, Hawaii sign pact to mutually recognize driver's licenses

Image: Korea Herald

Naver's sign-in box is now available in English

I don't know when exaxtly this started happening, but when I'm logged-out of Naver, it now asks me to sign-in in English. You can very easily sign-up for a Naver account if you don't have one, as the whole process is in English now. In fact all the security options are in English. I did a post awhile back about enabling two-factor authentication (password + a phone code) for your Naver account, which can all be done in English.
10원 Tips: Enable Two-step verification for your Naver account

Naver Sign-in box in English

Good to see Naver reaching a greater audience by (painfully slowly) incorporating English. They may still be the dominate player in Korea, but let's be honest, there's no potential for growth. They've saturated Korea, they are not magically going to get more Korean speakers, and if anything, Google will keep chipping away at them. They need growth and offering at least core account service in English and/or Chinese is the way. I really think they dropped the ball on this, letting the highest parts of the Hallyu pass by already. With papago and Line it's working, but they need to, for example, get Naver Pay working with credit cards from abroad. Imagine the Hallyu fan purchase frenzy! Anyway, I'm no trade expert.

Adorable shark-fin soup protest

This one is just for me. I just love this guy's way of maintaining his anonymity.

Image: Hankyoreh
Read about it here:
One-person demonstration against shark fin soup : National : News : The Hankyoreh

Ambassador Lippert ready to get his drank on

This guy always seems to love his job. Wish I looked like I was having as much fun as he seems to always be having on these events out.

Image: Yonhap

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (2nd from L) toasts with Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin (2nd from R) and Frederico Freire (far R), chief of South Korea's top beer firm Oriental Brewery, during a "chimac" festival in the southeastern city of Daegu on July 27, 2016, in this photo released by the brewery. Chimac, also spelled "chimaek," is a compound word combining chicken and "maekju," the Korean word for beer. (Yonhap)
'Chimac' fete in S. Korean city

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Read received Kakao messages without the sender knowing

Here's a real quick tip I saw over on Reddit for reading Kakao messages without the sender knowing.

In a nutshell: airplane mode

Turn off your data/wifi, read it, exit the app, and then turn data/wifi back on. This allows you to read it without it showing the read notification apparently. But I would test it with a friend just to be sure.
Is it possible to turn off read receipts in Kakaotalk? : korea

I thought this was pretty clever. I like this because it's simple and doesn't need any extra apps.

Testing it out

I also took his advice and tested it with a friend. We put our phones side-by-side. He sent me a few texts (let's call them ABC), then I went to airplane mode, then read ABC inside the chat room. I then exited the app and turned off airplane mode. In fact, I then opened KakaoTalk (another chatroom, not my friend's chatroom) and was able to read other messages from others. My friend's phone still showed the messages as unread. Success!

Just to push the limits, I then exited the app again, and my friend sent another set of messages (let's call them DEF). I re-entered airplane mode, entered the chatroom, and read DEF. Exit the chatroom, disable airplane mode. Fully back online again. Friend's phone still showed all messages (ABC DEF) as unread. Nice.

So it seems that as long as you never enter that specific chat room while internet connected, you can get away with sneaky readings.

Just don't share this post with your boss.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Kakao Friends wish you a happy Chuseok

Kakao Friends wish you a happy Chuseok

OK, now I just thought this was plain cute. I got a lot of Happy Chuseok messages last week, but this was my favorite. I tried to find the origin of it, but the best my lazy quick-Googling could come up with was a G-Dragon Twitter fan account.

GD-SUPPORTERS on Twitter: "오늘부터 추석 연휴 시작이네요. 본가로 내려가시는 분들도 계실테고 홀로 긴 연휴를 보내시는 분들도 계실텐데 긴 명절연휴인 만큼 가족들과 또는 스스로에게도 긴 휴식이 될수 있길 바랍니다:) 우리지용이두요🙏"

Kakao Friends wishing you a Happy Chuseok

The Korean text on the side reads 더도 말고 덜도 말고 한가위만 같아라, which is an old saying something like "There's nothing more or less like Chuseok" or "There's nothing better than Chuseok". Send it to your Korean friends next year.

Google knows Chuseok

Speaking of Chuseok, I thought this was funny. I did a Google voice search on my phone, asking "When is Chuseok" a couple of weeks back, and it actually understood the word "chuseok" and brought back an info card filled with details. Nice.

Google Search results for "Chuseok" on mobile

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Naver Light Home, a new homepage for trips abroad

Naver has started rolling out a new light-themed version of its mobile homepage, targeting people travelling abroad.

Naver "Light Home". Image: Aju News

It's meant to be fast-loading and light-weight, consuming 70% less data. It also shows local and home information, like time differences, currency conversion, local weather and points of interest, local language translation, etc. It's a nice hub, reminiscent of the cards Google Now provides when you travel abroad.

You can try it out here:

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Show Google+ comments only on Blogger posts with a certain label

Here is a simple piece of code that will let you add the Google+ comments box to only certain Blogger posts. This code relies on the post having a specific label.

For this example, I'm going to have all posts show the normal Blogger commenting box, but I want certain specific posts (those with a given label) to also show the G+ Comments box just above that. Basically like this image here.

Example: Display Blogger comments on all posts, add G+ comments to certain labeled posts

Here's a real life situation where this might come in handy. Let's say you have been using G+ comments on your blog, but you decide to switch back to the default Blogger commenting system, which in my opinion is a much better choice. But let's say certain posts had a lively G+ discussion that you'd like to keep around just for those posts, in addition to the normal Blogger commenting box on all posts. This will allow those old G+ comments to remain visible and active, but also keep the normal Blogger comments operational on all pages (including these).

To do this, first you should disable the G+ comments system on your blog, and return it to normal Blogger comments. Don't worry; none of the G+ comments will be deleted. G+ comments are associated with G+ and your post's URL only. Even if you remove G+ commenting, all G+ comments are still out there in G+ land.

Once you've got the normal Blogger commenting system working, add this code to your blog template.

Code for displaying G+ Comments box by post label 

<!--Start G+ comments by label-->
<b:loop values='data:post.labels' var='label'>
            <b:if cond=' == &quot;LABELGOESHERE&quot;'>
          <script src=""></script>
<div id="comments"></div>
gapi.comments.render('comments', {
    href: window.location,
    width: '500',
    first_party_property: 'BLOGGER',
    view_type: 'FILTERED_POSTMOD'
<!--End G+ comments by label-->

Just replace LABELGOESHERE with whatever label you want to activate the display of G+ comments.

Where to place the code

You can place the code anywhere in your blog template (by editing the template HTML). For example, just below "footer-line-2" would work. However, I recommend searching for this line in your template, and placing the code just below it:

<b:includable id='comment_picker' var='post'>

The advantages of placing the code just below that line are

  1. It will appear along with the normal Blogger comments, not in some weird place
  2. This one code insertion will make the G+ comment box display on both desktop and mobile views of your template. No need to paste it in both sections!


Here is the desktop view. G+ comments appear just above normal Blogger comments. This box only appears because the post contains a label I assigned "gpluscomments".

Here how it looks on mobile views. Note that you can manually alter the width of the G+ comment box in the code above, but nicely, the box will automatically shrink if necessary on a mobile phone.

There you go. Just remember that your mobile template needs to be set to "Custom" for this to work (not "Default").

As an experiment, I've labeled this post with my trigger label ("gpluscomments") so, assuming I haven't removed the code from my template yet (which I may do eventually), you should see both comment boxes here.

A few other things

By the way, the default URL scheme for your blog's G+ comments is this:
So you could also embed them in an iframe.

Also, the G+ portion of the code works just simply pasting it into the HTML editor of an individual blog post or page. So if you wanted to place a G+ comment box only on one or two specific pages, just add the code right into the post itself:

<script src=""></script>
<div id="comments"></div>
gapi.comments.render('comments', {
    href: window.location,
    width: '500',
    first_party_property: 'BLOGGER',
    view_type: 'FILTERED_POSTMOD'

Overall, after having used Google Plus comments for awhile now, I think they're pretty limiting and annoying. Blogger's original commenting system is more open (any Google, G+, Wordpress user can comment), it allows simple e-mail follow-ups, the "look" fits more with your blog, and comments are saved/backed-up in your own blog archive.

Finally, if you'd like to run both Blogger and G+ commenting systems side-by-side on every post, try this: Show/Hide Blogger and Google+ Comments System With Toggle | Helplogger

Happy blogging.

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