Friday, December 12, 2014

Facebook's Korean Top-10 of 2014

Real quick here, Facebook put out a Year-in-Review site filled with Top-10 lists, including two focused on Korea. Nothing special or surprising here, which makes me wonder if it's been edited or filtered at all, because if I were to compile a Top-10 List for Korea 2014, it would certainly include Kim Yuna but where is any mention of Sewol, especially on a list focused on SNS?

Anyway here they are: supposedly the hottest topics discussed on Facebook in Korea in 2014, and the most checked-into places.

인기 토픽 - 한국

Popular Topics - Korea

  1. 김연아
    Kim Yuna
    (retired this year after a controversial Olympics judging decision)
  2. 밸런타인데이
    Valentine's Day
  3. 에볼라 출혈열
    Ebola virus
  4. 2014년 동계 올림픽
    2014 Winter Olympics
    (South Korea took 3 golds, almost a fourth)
  5. 교황
    The Pope
    (The Pope visited Korea this year for Asian Youth Day and presided over a public Catholic mass in downtown Seoul that was attended by huge numbers)
  6. 슈퍼볼
    The Super Bowl
  7. 박지성
    Park Ji-sung
  8. MTV 비디오 뮤직 어워드
    MTV Video Music Awards
  9. 만우절
    April Fools' Day
  10. 아시안 게임
    Asian Games
    (The Asian Games were hosted by Incheon this year)

인기 장소 한국
Popular check-in Places - Korea

  1. 롯데월드
    Lotte World
  2. 남산타워
    Namsan Tower (or "N Seoul Tower")
  3. 에버랜드
  4. 명동
  5. 홍대
  6. 잠실야구장
    Jamsil Baesball Stadium
  7. 동대문디자인플라자
    Dongdaemun Design Plaza
    (opened this year)
  8. 여의도한강시민공원
    Yeouido Hangang Park
    (site of a popular Fireworks Festival and a well-known Cherry Blossom festival)
  9. 대학로
  10. 경복궁
Read more ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Air Quality card in Google Now in Korea

I noticed a new card appearing yesterday in my Google Now stack, an Air Quality card:

Must have been that breezy winter storm that cleared the air, because that seems to be the cleanest I've ever seen it. I've blacked out my location, which was accurate to the "-gu" level.

I quite like this feature, as I used to have a bookmark in Chrome to check out the air quality. I wonder if Google noticed this in my web history and that's why it started displaying the card? I'd be curious to know if any other Google Now users in Korea are seeing this.

It seems the info is provided by the "Korea Environment Corporation"; when you tap the bottom of the card, it takes you to their, how can I put it lightly, 'non-mobile-optimized' homepage.

I did a quick Google search for "Google Now air quality card" and saw nothing in the results. Could it be a new feature? Any one outside Korea seeing it? Maybe a nice little Christmas gift for us Korean Google fans? ^_^
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Korea Times RSS feeds by section

I actually enjoy reading the Korea Times. The articles are sometimes poorly-written, but they do a good job of catering to the dishevelled, wild-eyed expat news junkie. One thing I really do admire in them is that Korean articles my coworkers discuss are, within a day or two, up in English on their site. So it's no surprise that I don't want to miss anything there, and since I love RSS (and their site itself is a bit of a flashy nightmare), what better way?

KT publishes their RSS feeds by section at this page:

I've reprinted the table below for your convenience and/or future reference.

    All News

One thing to note: that last feed has a typo in the spelling of "special" but manually correct the typo (or click the RSS button) and it delivers the proper feed.

I wish I could get more refined feeds for specific subsections. I also wish I could get just a feed of their Top Stories. It seems like a feed for this does exist at but the feed is empty.

Maybe play around with the URLs and see if you can find any others. Leave a note in the comments if you do.

Keep RSS alive!

Read more ...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Feedly vs Inoreader, my thoughts (part 2)

Note: This is Part 2 in my humble series, as I agonize over whether to commit to Feedly or Inoreader as my RSS reader of choice. See Part 1Part 3Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 

Revisiting Feedly vs. Inoreader

It's been a few months since my last post on this topic, so I thought I'd revisit these two fine products. I think I'll just cut to the chase this time:

While I like that Feedly has upped its search features for free users, Inoreader continues to innovate also, doing things I've really wanted to see in a feed reader. For me, two things have stuck out since last time: difficulty parsing smaller feeds, and Twitter integration.

Issue 1 : Smaller feeds : The case of r/Lubuntu

I'm a big fan of Reddit, but a bigger fan of RSS. So it's not surprising that I subscribe to multiple Reddit RSS feeds. I peruse them in my feed reader, and if I care to see (or make) a comment, I click-through to the Reddit thread itself. Normally, this works great on both Feedly and Inoreader. No problems.

But, for smaller subreddits, it becomes an issue. Here's an example. I'm a huge fan of Lubuntu, so naturally I subscribe to the r/Lubuntu RSS feed. Here's what it looks like:
Raw feed data for r/Lubuntu, in Firefox
I'm showing you this because, have a look at this raw feed data for r/Lubuntu (as displayed here in Firefox). Notice the most recent entries, the latest being 11/06/2014 10:12 AM. That's just a few hours ago.

Now, let's compare how r/Lubuntu looks in both Feedly and Inoreader. I took all these screen-shots just minutes ago:

r/Lubuntu on Feedly
Here you can see that, even after a few page refreshes, Feedly's articles for this feed are wildly out of date, the last being 162 days old. At some point, it seems Feedly just stopped polling this feed. That's a problem, as it means I missed over a hundred days of posts.

Notice also that I'm not the only RSS subscriber for this feed: 5 others are presumably having the same issue. OK, so we're not a huge contingent by any means, but I think one of the joys of RSS is not having to worry that we're missing articles. We know that each and every post will show up in our reading list. If items start going missing, and we have to visit the site itself just for updates, then it defeats the point of RSS.

Now let's see what it looks like in Inoreader:

r/Lubuntu on Inoreader
Here you can see that even the most recent post, along with each and every other recent post, is accounted for. Compare these posts to the raw feed data, and you'll see everything at it should be. Inoreader blows Feedly out of the water in this example. For reliability, I have to give it to them.

Note that Inoreader has alerted me to something wrong with this feed. Unfortunately, I can't share with you what that is. I refreshed the page, and the error disappeared. Checking the "Feed Info" (a nice option, missing in Feedly) no longer indicates any error. I've spent a few minutes unsubscribing/resubscribing, trying to recreate the error, but no luck. Note also that, in clicking the manual feed "refresh" icon, Inoreader polls Reddit immediately (and this info is reflected in the feed info section). Feedly, meanwhile, appears to have removed their feed refresh icon from the gear menu.

So, it's possible that Feedly is suffering from whatever issue it was that Inoreader had faced. Yet it's hard to argue with the results: Inoreader's got the items there, Feedly doesn't.

If you read Part 1 of this series, you'd know that this unreliability with smaller feeds was an issue for me several months ago. I have to admit, I have noticed better performance with Feedly since then on many of the problematic feeds. This was just one example of an area where Inoreader wins overall. The real trouble, to me, is that I can't be sure which of my Feedly feeds aren't updating or aren't working, short of manually opening each and every feed in Feedly, then opening the raw feed, and comparing dates. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Issue 2 : Twitter Integration

I don't think I need any screen-shots for this (though you can see my Twitter feed just visible there in the shot above), and it's quite self-explanatory, so I'll be as brief as possible. I absolutely love that Inoreader has integrated Twitter into the normal feed stream. Feedly had that side-bar Twitter integration, which felt, to me, very cluttered and distracting. I shut it off ages ago and never bothered to turn it back on.

Before Twitter changed their API, I had subscribed to most Twitter accounts via RSS. When the API changed and public RSS feeds were removed, I felt a hole in my consumption habit. One of the beauties of RSS is that it brings everything together, in a simple, uniform style. I think Inoreader hit the mark very well with their integration, treating my Twitter Home Timeline as a feed.

I think the only way it could be improved is if each person I follow's tweets were arranged into their own "feed" and my Home Timeline (or even better, my Twitter Lists) were treated as a feed group or "Folder".

Final thoughts 

Honestly, I still haven't chosen a single reader, and keep floating between the two. I'm very happy that Feedly has added mobile tagging (and I can view my tagged articles on mobile, which to me personally is more important than the act of tagging). But Inoreader's steady stream of adding new features, with G+ support recently added, has had me hooked for the last few days.

Both are great services with great products. This post isn't meant to disparage anyone. If anything, I hope it draws attention to a few issues I think are important in the world of RSS feed readers. And anyway, I'm just one guy with a shitty little blog. What do I know?

Thanks for reading, and for more of my comparisons, see this series Part 1Part 3Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 
Read more ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Follow with these RSS feeds, never miss your K-pop fix

Everyone knows I'm a big fan of RSS feeds. Last year, the K-pop fansite Allkpop removed their main RSS feed as part of their site redesign project. But don't worry, K-Pop fans, you can still follow them with the simplicity and non-clutter of RSS in a few other ways.

Here are some RSS subscription-ready links you can use to subscribe to their content:

Video uploads from AllKpop's YouTube channel:

Posts from their Facebook wall:

Posts from their Tumblr:

Results from Google News (surprisingly accurate at pulling-in Allkpop articles):

Posts shared to Reddit from the Allkpop domain:

I would actually be shocked if there are any K-Pop fans that use such an old-school technology like RSS, but God bless ya if you do, chingu.
Read more ...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Turtle dick

A co-worker and I were talking about what kind of animals we had as pets when we were young. He said he had a sort of turtle, but that he felt "turtle" must not be the right name in English. It's not a 거북이, he insisted: this one is called 자라. So, naturally, we turned to Naver Dictionary for help

Here are the results:

Fascinating. Learned a useful new phrase today: 자라자지. "Turtle dick". The more you know.

(I sure hope he was referring to the terrapin...)
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kim Jong Pig in the Palace of the Sun

If there's one thing I love, it's cultural understanding and harmony. That's why I was so pleased to read the Google reviews for Kumsusan, the "Palace of the Sun" in North Korea were Kim Jong-un lives.

Here is a screenshot of reviews in English.

Now, let's compare those to the Korean reviews:

Some of these gems I've tried to translate below:
으이구,멋지면 뭐하냐 야 이 김정돼지야
Oooh boy, it's beautiful, and so what? You fucking pig, Kim Jong Pig.

백성들은 굶어죽는데... ㅉㅉ
Your people are starving to death, tisk tisk.

궁전은개뿔 돼지우리자나 김돼지를위한 돼지우리
Who said this is a palace, this is a fucking pig pen, Kim Jong Pig.

세계에서 제일넓은 돼지울
The biggest pig pen in the world.

동무동무~ 린민을 먹이시지요
Comrade! Feed your own people!

여기에 정은이란 돼지가 산다
Here lives a pig called Jong-un.

김돼지 ㅋㅋㅋ
Kim Jong Pig LOL

Shit-eating pig taxidermy office
꿀꿀꿀꿀~~~ 김정은 돼지가 사는 돼지우리 ㅋㅋㅋ
Oink oink oink, pig pen for Kim Jong Pig LOL
김정일 잘죽었다 Olleh!!!
Kim Jong-Il is dead! Olleh

My heart is warmed, reading these comments. It's nice to know that in this crazy, mixed-up world, some things never change. Some things still bring us all together. Foreigner or Korean, we can all stand keyboard-to-keyboard and together, with one, strong, unified voice, attack a man not just for his crimes against humanity, but for his resemblance to pork as well. God bless us, everyone.

Now if you'll excuse me, I suddenly have an appetite for 삼겹살...

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Spartan Brass Band at Bupyeong Pungmul Festival

I visited some friends last weekend and we walked through the Bupyeong Pungmul Festival (부평풍물축제). "Pungmul" is a style of traditional percussion music enjoyed by farmers in old times. It's a bit too clangy for me.

My favorite part was actually these guys:

Say hello to the Spartan Brass Band, a group from the 8th Army Band out of Yongsan Garrison, Seoul. The crowd seemed to really enjoy their fun and energetic performance. Well done, gentlemen.

Also, here's a video of the performance:

Read more ...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Panda Express now in Korea (in Myeongdong, near Seoul City Hall)

Everyone's favorite Americanized-Chinese food chain, Panda Express, has just opened a branch here in Korea. It's located in the basement of the Lotte Department Store at Euljiro (the really nice one, adjacent to the Lotte Hotel), right between Seoul City Hall and Myeongdong.

It looks like the best place for more info is the Panda Express Korea Facebook page:

At the time of this writing, a search for 판다 익스프레스 on both Google Maps and Naver Maps returns no results, but in the meantime, here's the address and a map of the department store's location:

서울시 중구 을지로 1가 롯데백화점 B1

Read more ...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Convert between SRT <> SMI subtitles on Ubuntu linux

I have a Korean cable box (from LG U+) with a USB stick input, which is convenient for watching movies but a pain for subtitles because it seems unable to play the common .SRT format. Instead, only subtitles in the SAMI (.SMI) format are supported.

Here's a very simple Ubuntu tool for converting between the two. It uses the command line, but wait wait don't go! It's super simple.

First, install libsubtitles-perl by running:

$ sudo apt-get install libsubtitles-perl

Next, navigate to the directory your subtitle file is in, then use one of these two commands to convert:

$ subs -c srt filename.smi -o

$ subs -c smi -o filename.smi

And that's it!


Also, if you're (in Korea and) looking for subtitle converters with a GUI, I suggest "Subtitle Editor" because neither Gaupol nor Gnome Subtitles can save into the SAMI format.

Read more ...

Friday, September 5, 2014

KakaoTalk's new Kakao Blog RSS feed

Kakao has launched a new blog, highlighting new services and some corporate info. You can follow the blog via email, but also through RSS or ATOM, though these links are not listed prominently on the blog site itself.

RSS is such a great technology. It's a shame that sites don't publicize it more. I agree with The Old Reader blog that "It's the background hum of the Internet."

** UPDATE 2015:
Following the merger of Kakao and Daum, you can now find the Kakao blog at:
and the RSS feed at:

Read more ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Feedly vs Inoreader, my thoughts (part 1)

Note: This is Part 1 in my humble series, as I agonize over whether to commit to Feedly or Inoreader as my RSS reader of choice. See Part 2Part 3Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 

When Google Reader died, I was heartbroken. Luckily, like a rebound lover, Feedly was there to pick up the pieces and make me feel all warm and safe. However, as time has gone on, Feedly has started to seem to lose interest in me, pushing me into the arms of another lover: Inoreader.

Basically it comes down to one key point: each RSS reader's treatment of "small time" feeds. What I mean are those feeds that are maybe not updated very often, such as once a month or once every two months, and those feeds with very few subscribers (including, but not limited to, feeds for which I might be the sole subscriber).

Examples of what I mean include:
  • Reddit subreddits that have just a few new posts each month
  • Blogger and Wordpress comment feeds (subscribing via RSS to new comments on specific posts)
  • Sourceforge application update feeds
  • Craigslist search results feeds
  • Blogs of some personal friends
I first started noticing that Feedly was dropping these feeds when I'd get curious about some sites, sites that I knew had updated, not showing up in my Feedly. Visiting the feed from within Feedly indicated no new material, even after manual refreshing. Yet a quick visit to the feed URL itself confirmed my fears: the feed was updated, and nearly a month ago, with two new items. Feedly totally missed them. Had I relied purely on Feedly to deliver my news, I would never have seen them. That, to me, is a big problem.

Putting them to the test: Inoreader on top

So I've tried out Inoreader for the last two weeks. Basically, I pared down my subscribed feeds, cleared them all out, then started fresh on both services by importing the same OPML file into both, and watching the results.

After two weeks of this, it became clear: many of my "smaller" feeds were being ignored by Feedly. One or two had "feed issues" (the Reddit feeds) according to Inoreader's informative subscription management pane, but were nonetheless being fetched by Inoreader.

Here you can see the relative fetching speed of each service. I erased all my subscriptions, loaded a fresh OPML subscription list (a smaller one than I usually use, just 20 feeds) into each service, then waited two hours. Here was the result:



You can see that Inoreader did a better job of feed fetching.

Some thoughts about both: Feedly's revenge

This may seem that I am overwhelmingly in favor of Inoreader, but that's not exactly true. I'm still a bit on the fence, and here's why:
  1. Feedly, for better or worse, seems the dominant player in RSS feed readers, which is a small enough field not to permit too many competitors. Most Google Reader refugees originally fled to Feedly. This may change in the future (Inoreader seems right on its tail, which to me suggests that others are migrating as well), but for now I'm still hesitant to leave behind the large and potentially more stable Feedly in favor of yet another newer reader.
  2. Feedly is more beautiful. This may not be an important factor for some, but I personally find Feedly to be the more "readable" of the two. It feels a little more slick, a little more polished, a little more concerned with appearances. And to me, as someone who reads hundreds of feeds a day, that matters. Inoreader is not ugly by any means. It's really just a personal preference. The font, the transitions, the design, seems smoother, especially in the Android app, on Feedly than Inoreader. This may change when Inoreader's update comes out.
Additionally, although this should be unnecessary, there are a few things I've done to improve the performance of Feedly:
  1. Feedburner. Going through my subscription list, I discovered many blogs for which I was subscribed to the blog's own RSS feed (like but that the blog also has a Feedburner feed. Switching my subscription to the Feedburner feed improved Feedly's performance in fetching articles, especially infrequently-updated blogs.
  2. IFTTT. For feeds that are rarely updates or unique to me, I've found that IFTTT's "feed" channel is equal to Inoreader at fetching articles from sources quickly and accurately. Thus I've just created IFTTT recipes for those problematic few feeds, so I now have new posts e-mailed to me. This has the fringe benefit of drawing more attention to these infrequently-appearing posts, which I might have inadvertently scrolled past in an RSS reader.

Final thoughts

After all this, I find myself leaning towards Feedly still. I've been with them since Google Reader, and feel willing to give them one more shot. Of course, until I'm more confident about the quality of their service, there's no way I'm buying a pro plan, even if I'd like to. Too risky to invest in a service I might soon see a need to flee from. Maybe they can change their ways, or maybe I'm going back to an abusive relationship and will long to get out again soon and into the sexy seductive arms of Inoreader. Either way, it's great that both of these services allow import/export of your OPML reading list, so that moving between them is fairly painless (unless you have a lot of tagged, saved articles you also want migrated, in which only Inoreader supports it.)

Expect a follow-up post in a few months.

UPDATE 2014-11-06: And the follow-up post is complete. For more of my comparisons, see this series Part 2Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 if you're interested. 
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Displaying your Blogger posts' location tag on mobile templates other than "Dynamic Views"

Vanishing Location Information on Mobile

I'm a big fan of tagging my Location on Blogger posts, especially on my travel blog, where I review restaurants, document my trips with tips for other travellers, etc. Blogger adds your location tag to the post in the post footer by default, which is great, but more and more people are browsing blogs on their mobile phones rather than the desktop.

As it stands, it seems if your Blogger blog is using the "Dynamic Views" template, the post's location information will be shown on both the desktop and the mobile view, including the address being a clickable link to a Google Map.

But I recently noticed that this is not the case for any other template. I tested out Blogger's other templates (Simple, Picture Window, Awesome Inc, Watermark, Ethereal, Travel, all of them!) and noticed that the location tag is not included when using these templates on mobile.

Here's a demonstration. Here's a test post I made, location tagged at beautiful Bass Lake. These are screen-shots from my phone. Notice the location info displayed here in "Dynamic Views" layout:

Great, I like that a lot. But what if I'm not a fan of Dynamic Views, for one because it takes longer to load?

Here's the same post, with the blog template switched to "Simple":

As you can see, the location information is gone. How can we get it back?

A possible solution?

This can be fixed by adding a short bit of code to your blog's template, telling it to display the location on mobile. However, in my tests, this method only works:
  • on SOME templates ("Simple" but not "Awesome Inc" for example) and
  • seems to only work on blogs that do not use Google+ integration (i.e. still use the old Blogger profile)
Update: I heard from others that this does work on all templates, so give it a try!

Anyway, to try this, edit your blog's template HTML by going to (duh) Template -> Edit HTML.

*** First make a back-up of your blog's template, just in case something goes wrong ***

Now, in the HTML editor, you need to find this tag:
<b:includable id='mobile-post' var='post'>
This will contain the code for how your blog is displayed on mobile devices. You may or may not need to click the little arrow on the side to expand this entry.

Now all you have to do is add this bit of code to the spot where you want the Location displayed. For example, I like having mine displayed in the post footer, so I search for this (it was about 50 lines of code down from the 'mobile-post' tag in mine):
<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'>
Now then, right below this line, add in the special location-displaying code:
<span class='post-location'>
<b:if cond='data:top.showLocation'> <b:if cond='data:post.location'>
<data:postLocationLabel/> <a expr:href='data:post.location.mapsUrl' target='_blank'><></a> </b:if> </b:if> </span>
And that's it! Now I save the template, and when I refresh my blog post, I see this:

The location details are back! Success!

Helpful Notes

If, like me, you are not a coder in any way at all, please take note: your blog HTML template is going to have multiple entries of the kind <div class='post-footer>. I won't even pretend to know what each of them does or why they all exist. All I can tell you is that this will only work if you put it in the section under that <id='mobile-post' var='post>' tag from above.

Also, as I mentioned above, I've had limited success, depending on the particular blog template. I'd love to hear your experiences with this. 


Credit for the majority of this idea goes to whose blog post here gave me the code used in this trick. I appreciate his support in trying to solve this.

P.S. This post is location tagged at beautiful Napa Valley, California. If the code works, you will hopefully see this post tagged (if you're reading on mobile) as such.

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blogger Map widget, for showing geotagged blog posts on a map

This post will show you how to add a side-bar widget to your Blogger/Blogspot blog. The map will display pushpins at each of your location-tagged posts' locations. Click the pins, and a small card appears with the title, date, and a link to the post.
If you'd like the cards/pins to show the full post entries, click here for my other post.

UPDATED June 2015
You can embed the map in a page too, not just as a widget. 

Location-tagged Blogger posts

I like using Blogger, and I always geotag the posts on my travel blog using the "Location" setting in the right-hand side of the Blogger compose page.

Blogger's "Location" tag feature

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RSS feed for Reddit searches

I'm a big fan of RSS and Reddit. I follow all my subreddits in Feedly, and it turns out that you can also follow Reddit search results via an RSS feed. All you need to do is add ".xml" to the Reddit search results URL, right after the word "search".

For example, here's a Reddit search query for professional actor George Takei:

And here's the corresponding feed URL you can plug into your RSS reader:

Note that you'll want to sort the results by "New" to get posts chronologically in your feed reader. Big hat tip to Jay Neely, from whom I discovered this trick over on Quora.
Read more ...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dragnet (1987) Korean subtitles - 드라그넷 한글자막

I'm a fan of most anything with Dan Aykroyd, so I decided to watch the 1987 film Dragnet with some Korean friends. But my usual source of subtitles only provided the Korean subtitles split apart two files (CD1 and CD2) which wouldn't work on my TV.

So after some hassle, I was able to combine the files into one. I don't know how exactly to submit files to the site, nor do I suspect many people are looking for these. But, in case you are one of those amazing few weirdos looking for Dragnet 한글자막, you've found it.

>>> Dragnet.smi
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Saturday, July 5, 2014

How to fix the graphics drivers on a Dell Inspiron 1501 on Windows 8

I use an old Dell Inspiron 1501 that I recently upgraded to Windows 8. Although it's an old computer, most all the features of Windows 8 worked fairly well right after installation. I had had only one problem: the graphics drivers. This laptop has a ATI IGP Radeon Xpress 1150 graphics card, but the Windows 8 system was using a generic driver for the display, resulting in a low-resolution picture. This wasn't terrible for using the system, but when it came to video playback, VLC, GOM Player, nearly everything, would freeze up and be unable to play at full screen.

It turned out that the solution was super simple, despite me spending hours that day trolling internet message board threads. Do NOT worry about trying to extract the .INF files and try to deal with them not being signed and all that. For me, it basically, it came down to two simple steps: (1) download the drivers for Vista, (2) run that installer in compatibility mode, and viola!

Slightly more detailed instructions on what I found that works:
  1. Visit the official Dell product support page for the Inspiron 1501 and ensure you're in its "Drivers and Downloads" section.
  2. You'll see a list of all the older official Dell drivers for the 1501. Change your viewing list from XP to Vista (it will only offer 32 bit for Vista, but I used these on my 64 bit Windows 8 install just fine).
  3. Down in the Video section, download the .exe file for ATI IGP Xpress 1150, v. VISTA WHQL 061124a2-053906C-Dell, A07 or just click here to go to that page directly.
  4. Once it's finished downloading, right-click on the file and choose "Troubleshoot Compatibility" 
  5. Windows 8 will scan the .exe file, and soon a pop-up will suggest running it in Windows Vista compatibility mode. You'll need to click "Test" before you can click "Next" but "Test" will launch the installer.
  6. The Vista installer will come up. Follow it's instructions and just let it run. Afterwards you'll be prompted to restart the computer.
  7. That's it! Your computer will restart in a higher resolution and you'll find both Catalyst Control Center and Catalyst Install Manager entries in your Start Menu (assuming you installed Classic Shell to get the old style Start Menu)
Hope this helps any other 1501 users out there, or anyone else trying to use modern software on aging hardware. Squeezers of every last drop, unite! 
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to know if Homeplus or E-mart is open today

If you want to know exactly when Homeplus or E-mart is going to be closed, a very simple Naver search will tell you precisely, and you really don't even need to know Korean to do it. Seriously, it is SUPER simple, and it's what all the Koreans I know do. Don't bother trying to count which Sunday it is today, or if today's a special holiday, or if your local branch closes mid-week, or guess what time it opens or closes. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Here's what you do:
  1. On your phone go to the Naver homepage. You can do it on your computer too, but in that case I recommend going to Naver's mobile site ( Otherwise you might not get the convenient info card. 
  2. Type in the store name (홈플러스 for Homeplus or 이마트 for E-Mart), followed by your branch. It's more reliable to include 점 ("branch") afterward. 
  3. Look at the red text next to 휴무 ("closed"). Those are the upcoming dates it's closed. 
For example, if you want to know when the E-mart in Yeoksam will be closed, just search 이마트 역삼점
For the Homeplus in Gangseo, search 홈플러스 강서점.
etc etc etc...

In other words, just replace the XX with your location in this link:이마트+XX점

Here are some screenshots I took on my phone. Notice the red text for holidays, and you'll also see that it's not always Sundays that the place is closed. You know the days of the week in Korean, right? 

월(Mon) 화(Tues) 수(Wed) 목(Thurs) 금(Fri) 토(Sat) 일(Sun)

A search for the Paju-Munsan branch of Homeplus shows it's closed June 9 (Mon) and June 24 (Tues) 

A search for the Daegu branch of Homeplus shows it's closed June 8 (Sun) and June 22 (Sun)

A search for the Yeoksam branch of E-Mart shows it's closed June 8 (Sun) and June 22 (Sun)

I see a lot of people asking about this on Waygook and Reddit and Facebook, so hopefully this post has helped you. Remember after you've searched it once and got it working, be sure to bookmark the results page. Then you will NEVER AGAIN have to freak out about whether or not you can buy your adorable Tesco Penguin Frosted Flakes today. 

Update - Feb. 2016:
Reddit user yh5203 has made a convenient English-language dedicated site, so give it a look too.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to save people's KakaoTalk profile photos

To save friends' KakaoTalk profile pictures, you don't have to rely on taking screen-shots. There are actually several apps that can save the photo files to your phone's storage, and they all work basically the same way.

What's the best app for this?


My vote goes to ProfileAlbum.

Yes, I blurred out my friends' beautiful faces
There are several apps that do this, but my favourite is "ProfileAlbum" because it is super simple, very minimal, and works with a variety of messenger apps:

How It Works

When you view your friends' profile photos, the file gets saved in Kakao's cache folder. You could, in theory, go snooping through these folders with a File Explorer, but it would be annoying because they are stored in weird folder hierarchies with weird file names. ProfileAlbum consolidates them in a clean list, and let's you check-box the ones you want to save to a folder that your Gallery app can see.

So here is the key thing to note: YOU MUST VIEW THE PHOTO AS BIG AS YOU CAN FIRST. The apps don't "download" anything; they just grab what is in your cache already. Thus, you should be sure to view the person's full-size photo FIRST, THEN run the app to save it. Got it? So you can't use it to snoop on people you blocked (unless you unblock them real quick, view their profile photo fully, then block them again before they notice Bob's your uncle)

Note that for best results in KakaoStory, don't just view the picture in its "story"-- click it to get it individual and full-screen, so that the version with the largest possible resolution will be downloaded to your cache.


I find this a great way to set Android Contact photos that are then utilized across all my Google-sync services. Note that there are apps that will better automate this process, but I feel uneasy giving apps access to my Contacts.
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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kakao Story now available on the desktop

KakaoStory now has a desktop version via the web called, not surprisingly, KakaoStory Web (카카오스토리 웹).

You can find it at
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Kakao Talk blog feed (RSS)

UPDATE 2014-09: KakaoTalk have now launched a full-fledged English blog. The link below is still active though, and seems to focus more on the "fun/social" aspects of the service, while the new blog is more about features/services.  

 Kakao have their main Korean-language blog here, with an RSS link here. It has lots of information on the company and the technical side of Kakao services like KakaoTalk and KakaoStory.

But if you want English-language information, which usually concentrates on new feature releases and promotions, their Facebook page is your best source of information. So, since they don't really have an active English-langauge blog, you can just subscribe to their Facebook page feed in your RSS reader, at this link:

This is a good source of information, for example, about the new Mac version of KakaoTalk for the desktop.
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Set Naver as your browser's default search engine

To set your browser to use Naver as its default search engine (i.e. it will bring you to a Naver search results page when you type search terms in the URL bar aka "omnibox"), simply add a custom search engine in your desktop browser's settings using this URL string:{inputEncoding}&query=%s


In Chrome, just follow this path:

Menu → Settings → Search → Manage Search Engines → Other search engines

You can copy/paste the above URL string manually there.

Note: for the mobile version of Chrome, see my other post here


In Firefox there are various ways, but I prefer:

  1. Enter about:config in the URL bar
  2. Find the entry for Keyword.url
  3. Replace the string with the the URL above

Internet Explorer

IE and Edge make it a bit harder, since it seems you can't just add your own search engine manually. So we need to let them find Naver search themselves.

In Internet Explorer, probably the easiest way is this:
  1. Visit the Korean version of IE Gallery at
  2. Scroll down to the entry for Naver
  3. Click 추가

(Naver won't appear as an option if you visit the English version of IE Gallery)

This will add Naver but you may need to manually set it as your default search engine here:
Gear icon → Manage Add-ons → Search Providers → right-click → "Set as Default"

Microsoft Edge

In Edge, first you need to actually search for something. Yes, this is weird. It won't recognize Naver as a search engine unless you're on the search results page. Just click here to go directly there.

Then you can follow this path:

Menu (...) → Settings → scroll down to "View Advanced Settings" → scroll down to "Search in the address bar with Bing [Change]" → click "Naver (discovered)" → click "Set as Default"

Using the Mycroft Project

You can also add customized versions of Naver Search by visiting the Mycroft project. They have custom search engines you can add for things like searching Naver Images, Naver Movies, Naver's English-Korean Dictionary, etc.

That page is a real one-click solution. It's actually the easiest method, period. I didn't list it first only because it seems to no longer work with Chrome.

Naver's mobile site makes a good homepage

Since you're setting Naver as your default search anyway, I'd personally also recommend setting your browser's homepage to Naver's mobile site []. That way you get the benefit of a Naver homepage, complete with Korean news and predictive search while you type, but without so much gaudy Flash clutter. Or you might like Naver's pure search page at []

Thanks for reading.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"21st Century Family" (21세기가족)

I'm usually not a fan of K-drama, but for this I made an exception.

21st Century Family, Image: tvN

"21st Century Family" (Korean title: 21세기 가족) is basically a Korean version of ABC's "Modern Family" and pretty funny. It features that wild old guy with the nice (fake) hair from those health insurance ads as the Jay (wealthy, conservative, cranky grandpa figure) and enough real humor to keep you interested. Of course there's the hot stay-at-home mom (aka Claire) with the childish husband (aka Phil) and the 1-son-2-daughters mix (dumb boy, hot slut daughter, smart daughter), and of course the grandpa married a much younger hotter woman (aka Gloria), but instead of the gay son there's an ugly slut daughter, though I would definitely do her don't get why she's ugly and her brother who basically is a manchild that still lives at home and despite his heart of gold fails at every job interview. I like American Modern Family, and I like this one too. The plot is different of course but still pretty funny. I like it because it's so unlike normal Korean melodrama.You'll forget that what you're watching is Korean. Or, it will make you think that Koreans aren't so different from "us" after all. Aww.

UPDATE: I had originally linked to a site that provided this show for streaming, but it turns out the content was removed. Therefore you'll have to find your own (legal) way of watching this cute show.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The eeriness of the Sewol ferry's name (세월)

The ferry that recently sunk in Korea was named Sewol, or 세월 in Korean. I had not thought much about this until a Korean friend pointed out how creepy a name it is, given the circumstances.

Ferry Sewol 1

세월 literally means "time" but with a connotation of its movement; i.e. the passing of time. I've tried to come up with a good translation. Let's look at some examples from Naver and Google:

From Naver:

세월 (歲月)- Time
  • 세월이 가는지 오는지도 모르다 (무사태평하다) be unaware of the passing of time
  • 세월 참 빠르다 Time flies
  • 세월 가는 줄 모르고 바쁘게 살았다 I've been so busy I didn't even notice the years go by. 
  • 그녀의 병이 회복되는 데 오랜 세월이 걸렸다 It took her ages to get over her illness
  • 세월이 약이다 Time heals all wounds / Time will take care of this.

Google translates 세월 as Years, Time, The Years, Ages

My friend and I decided that one of the best ways to translate the sentiment of nostalgia or reflective longing of 세월 would be something like "As time goes by".

You can see why this would be a suitable name for a slow-paced, relaxing, easy, reflective, sentimental journey to Jeju. I imagine the old people, celebrating their 60th birthdays, sitting on the deck at sunrise and sunset, reflecting on their long, happy lives.

It also becomes a horribly apt and disgusting name, when you consider the children trapped, floating in their cabins, awaiting rescue as the crucial moments of the "golden hour" slip by.

Author's commentary:

I'm sorry to write something so morbid about this. During this discussion of 세월, I realized the depth of my own uneasy feelings about this event. Perhaps that is why something so trivial as the name of the boat, and its tenuous connection to the event, blew up in my mind. It seems a horrible microcosm of what happened. I don't like to add much opinion to this blog, but all those kids, scared, not knowing what to do, looking to the adults for help. It's too much. I apologize for any discomfort this post causes. 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yellow ribbon to support Sewol ferry disaster families & victims

You may have noticed this image appearing as Koreans' KakaoTalk or Facebook profile pictures recently:

This is a "Yellow Ribbon Campaign" (노란리본 or 노란리본 달기). The text says 하나의 작은 움직임이 큰 기적을 which means something like:
  • One's smallest movements can make a huge wonder, or
  • The smallest steps can have a huge impact, or
  • If we all do a little, we can do a lot, or
  • The littlest things can make the biggest difference, etc.
It's been adopted as a semi-official badge or "yellow ribbon" (thus the bow-tie picture) of goodwill regarding the recent sinking of the ferry Sewol off Jindo to show solidarity with the families of the lost students. 

Source: 카톡 노란리본…‘노란리본 달기’ 확산 “하나의 작은 움직임이 큰 기적을”


Another one that seems to be popular is this:

 This one features the same text as above, but adds at the bottom 다시 돌아오기만을 기다리며 기원합니다 which is something like "Hoping for your return" or "We're waiting for you to come back" "Wishing for you to come back again."
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Naver's English-Korean Translator now available

Update 2016-Sept: 
Also see my post on Naver's newly released official translation app "Papago".

Original post below.

Naver has released a Translation program that appears very similar to Google Translate. It operates, much as Naver Dictionary, as a mobile-friendly website at this link:

Here's what it looks like on my phone:

Naver Translate's mobile site

Here it is in operation:

Naver Translate in operation

You can see that it translates in the "card" style Google now uses. It can pronounce the words, has a "conversational" feature where the translation is displayed full-screen (again, much like Google Translate). It also lists several sample usage sentences displayed in both Korean and English.

 Once you've translated something, you can then "Share" the translation through a variety of apps, though this sharing feature utilizes short-links (via as a share medium:

Naver Translate sharing options

It also features a row of emoticons, though I don't understand what they're for. They are apprently for feedback: Press them, and you are asked to submit your comments and feedback, so I guess the emoticons are to indicate your overall satisfaction with the translation?

Feedback option

Anyway, I'm very pleased to see Naver continuing to come out with English-language interfaces for their services. Naver has a wide variety of great features and services; wider, I'd say, than Google ever since Google's streamlining efforts. Google's main advantage, like Facebook's over CyWorld, was multilingual (thus international) support. Here's hoping that Naver continues to provide services in English (Naver Maps, perhaps?)

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RSS feeds from Daum Cafes

It sometimes isn't obvious, but most Daum Cafes have RSS feeds available, which follow this format:

RSS feed:

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Google Maps Pokemon found in Korea

Today for April Fool's Day, Google Maps had a Pokemon challenge. As best I could find, there were two Pokemon to be found in Korea.

The first, which I found at Gangnam District Office in Seoul (map link), was Raichu. In my excitement to capture him, I only took a screen cap after he'd been caught:

 The second was Luxray, which I found while zooming around Busan. He was chilling in a park next to a statue of 송상현 (map link).

I tried this on my friend's phone (set to Korean language) but it didn't allow me to "Start" the chase, so I guess they hadn't translated the Pokedex into Korean?
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