Category Archives: computers

Oh Korean Internets!

Assiniboine

As much as I love that Korea has the fastest and most ubiquitous Internet access in the world, it is ironic how so much of Korea is doing the Internet wrong. Let me illustrate that with my past experience with ordering stuff through Amazon to be sent to the country.

First off, for some odd regulation, Amazon cannot send anything to Korea that are not books, DVDs, or CDs. Already, that sours the experience. Then a few years back, it became a new regulation for people to have a Uni-Pass ID to be able to order anything from Amazon. So I went and tried to get a Uni-Pass ID.

First off, in order to get a Uni-Pass ID or certificate, I have to register as a receiver of goods through customs. Now, one would assume that this would be foreigner-friendly and would have English on the custom’s Website. It doesn’t. Everything is in Korean. Not only that, I have to download and install a security software in order to go forward.

Registering my name, address and postal code proved to be a minor challenge. Seoul has recently changed its postal code system as well as its address system. This is something that mystifies even the Korean population as many don’t even know their own address under the current system.

I manage to successfully register at customs, but NO, I still don’t have my Uni-Pass ID. That’s another application I have to go through. One would assume that the only reason a person would register at customs was to get the ID, but I guess that would be too simple and obvious. In any case, I had to download another security program in order apply for my ID. Like the first program, this one didn’t have English, but worse, the Korean text on the menus won’t even show up properly on a machine running English Windows. I had to get help from a coworker who’s familiar with it.

Everything went well, including authenticating my phone and my carrier information, until BAM! It won’t let me get any further. I repeated the process a couple more times and still it won’t let me go further. And then I realized I was using Google Chrome. Korea is still very much wedded to Internet Explorer in 2017, including Active-X, so I had to repeat the process using Internet Explorer and then it finally worked. I got my ID.

Went to Amazon, ordered my books, and hopefully it will arrive soon. Hopefully! Some foreigners report that despite going through the whole process, their packages end up getting stuck at the postal office. When they call and inquire about it, the postal service workers ask them for their alien card number, something which all foreigners have here. Now, if that’s all that they needed, why make people go through the whole Uni-Pass process?! It’s just another system of which they can track my activities which the government already does with my passport and alien card number. What’s the point of all of this?!

The Korean Internet experience is great if you’re not doing any transactions with Korean sites or institutions. If you are, get ready to install a bunch of software you don’t need, do your business using Internet Explorer, and have an hour or two handy. It’s the most ironic situation for a country that’s so hip to the whole Internet.

Oh and if you ever want pornography, use a VPN to access sites. The Korean government has hired Christian watchdog groups to police Internet content, making many sites inaccessible without a VPN. Ironically, this means only members of these Christian watchdog groups ever get to enjoy pornography freely (and an unhealthy amount of it, if that’s what they’ve been tasked to devote their time on).

Update: If you want to modify or distribute modified games, you could face fines of up to $50,000 in South Korea. I guess this is to cut down on massive cheating on online games, which I would argue there are worse problems out there that needs legislators’ attention. If anything, I think this is just to protect the integrity of e-sports and companies profiting off of e-sports, because really, how is anyone supposed to police this? And what kind of legislator sits there and wonders about modifying games? That’s a big leap from stodgy legislators raging over violence in video games.

If I happen to modify an old copy of Super Mario, will that get me fined and how are they supposed to catch me? And what about say those Jamma carts with pre-loaded games? A lot of those have, by definition, unlicensed modified games. Are those technically illegal now? And what about trainer programs that aren’t really designed for online use? Again, pretty dumb Internet in South Korea.

 

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Messing Up My Fast Internet

city

As a continuation of the Website rant last week, my site is now accessible on most PCs. Last week, I had to change DNS settings on my PC at home in order to access my site, but this morning I was pleased to discover that my site is now accessible without changing any settings.

Initially I thought it had something to do with my Web host or South Korea’s Internet censors, but I soon learned that it was my local ISP that was fiddling around with things.

I suspected South Korea’s Internet censors because the country is notorious for allowing Christian groups to look around for offensive Websites, report them to the police, and have the sites banned in the country. It is an extremely backwards policy especially when you consider that the country has one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. What’s even more ironic is that since Christian groups are the ones hunting down offensive sites, usually pornography, it is the hardcore Christians who get to see most pornography on a regular basis before they (cock) block everyone else’s access. Some other sites also banned in South Korea are political in nature, especially concerning North Korea.

This censorship, plus random fiddling of Korean ISPs make some rather benign Websites inaccessible in the country. For a while there, lululemon.com was inaccessible in the country. (Not that I was shopping for yoga pants!) What annoys me the most out of this censorship, including in other countries like China, is that the law makers and the morality zealots are idiotically unaware of VPNs and proxy servers. And even taking those options out of consideration, people will still be able to get their pornography and political subversion fix despite the constant censorship. More sites will replace the ones that are banned. It’s like a global whack-a-mole.

Anyway, that gets my gourd…

That, plus South Koreans use so much security on their sites using Active-X. The whole country is tied to Internet Explorer, which, after a year or so surfing the Internet and installing a bunch of security certification programs, can drag an average PC performance to a snail’s pace. It’s just more stuff to install and more passwords to remember and more e-mail to respond to, etc. A coworker of mine complains that it takes him forever to do Internet banking on Korean banks because of all the security and certificates he has to deal with. It’s probably less of a hassle to just go out to the bank and deal with a teller.

And in another ironic twist, while the intent of marrying Active-X was to bolster security, it would seem that Active-X actually poses a wide security risk for many Websites since many hackers can use it to gain access to computers. Ugh.

South Korea has amazingly fast Internet and I don’t have to pay premium for it. I guess that’s part of the reason why the country is a haven for online gaming. However, I could really do without the censorship and all the security BS.

 

 

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Why Won’t It Work? Nothing Works!

sleep

Ugh! Godaddy’s website builder is suddenly inaccessible in South Korea. I can’t write my weekly updates on http://josephmreyes.com/. Grrr! What the heck is going on?

Speaking of “grrrr,” I cannot, CANNOT, stand airline companies. I love travelling, but dealing with travel companies is the worst. I just got word from Travelocity that my one leg of my flight was cancelled, so I have to change my whole flight. I called Delta and they said everything was fine. So I called Travelocity again, and they tell me that Delta was wrong and a flight to Tokyo using Korean Air was cancelled. So I have to call Delta again and figure out what’s up.

I’m ten years-old all over again, passing messages between my parents. That is, if my parents are East Indian  customer service representatives.

What’s equally annoying is that I booked my flight a month ago. It was confirmed and everything, but that confirmation is worthless since one flight in a series of many flights was cancelled. And because that one flight is messed up, everything else gets thrown with it as well. I can’t replace the cancelled flight with another flight. Either I take an alternative route that they’re giving me with no charge, or get a refund and re-book a more expensive flight. Ugh!

Worse, the alternative flight they’re giving me includes a 30 minute layover in Minneapolis, one of the busiest airports in North America. Good luck making that flight!

Of course, one quick look at Travelocity’s website shows a better flight agenda with reasonable layover times. The customer service personnel didn’t even initially consider this and was pushing for me to commit to a ridiculous agenda.

And no…. no apologies from Delta, Travelocity, nor Korean Air.

I really miss home. I really miss Canada. But dammit, this whole clusterf**k and the thought of transferring through American airports and going through security have me dreading coming back home.

(BTW: I say these things out of recent frustrating events. I don’t always have bad experiences with airline companies. Once in a while I do get upgraded to business class. And once in a while, I do get very helpful assistance on the phone. It’s just that dealing with a cancelled flight is not the best way to spend my Sunday night.)

 

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Damned Windows

what

Pet peeve: computers messing up. Losing files, programs not working, re-installing things, re-connecting the Internet, thinking back how I figured it all out years ago. Aaaargh!

I hate how people are doing things with their lives: solving life’s problems, becoming better people, enlightening young minds, etc. And I’m here figuring out why I’m getting the blue screen of death. Ugh!

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