Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season's Greetings from Constructing Amusement

Dear All, wherever you are in the world--
Here's wishing you and yours a very joyous holiday season, filled with love and laughter.

It's been a challenging, utterly immersive, mind-bending year here at Constructing Amusement: Korea edition. Very productive, and a little too much so at times with little reprieve! The holidays however, provide the proper opportunity to take a step back for everyone and reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come. Such opportunities, even if not readily apparent, must be sought out and seized.

A little over 2 months in the fieldwork left to go. Many new and old friends who smooth out the process in Korea. To friends in Canada (and the RoW), I look forward to catching up with you soon. Not too much longer--please bear with me.

I leave something with you that seems to capture the spirit for me. Telling of the culture I grew up in. ;) Have fun.


Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blackberries in Korea

According to the latest press release from SK Telecom and this AP article in the Boston Globe, Canada's Research in Motion and South Korea's SK Telecom have just announced the launch of corporate service for the Blackberry Bold smartphone, which will be available in South Korea via a local network for the first time.

The interaction of technology, and policy: The Korean Communications Commission announced last week that the rule requiring all mobile carry special software adapted to SKorea's wireless platform -- will be abolished as of April 1st.

It will be interesting to see how the local mobile device market (currently dominated by major Chaebols Samsung and LG) changes with the growing ease of using phones made by foreign manufacturers.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 05, 2008

Google Maps in Korea and navigating the sprawl

Last week, an interviewee told me that Google Maps had -just- recently launched in Korea.

I think it was September, when I was looking at Google maps trying to find Korean places to no avail. There was China, and Japan... and BLANK in the middle where Korea was supposed to be.
This will be interesting, given that navigation here, as others have pointed out (nice ref to U2 btw;), is done by landmarks like subway stations, shops, and services. This leaves people like me, who like to navigate by street names somewhat distraught.

I have adapted to this and since I ride the subway more often than not, find the maps on websites ok for finding places. Some interesting and sadly typical experiences one should keep in mind when navigating here:

1. If at all possible, try to find it yourself. Asking locals is hit and miss. My local friends have told me that even when they don't know a place, they will point someone in any direction just to 'help.' More than once though, I have been personally escorted by a local to the place I was looking for because it was easier than being told. This is not always a language barrier issue, and many locals do the exact same thing with their mobile phones: call when you get to (x) point, I will come and escort you down a little alley, into a basement, where the (y) is. Seriously. Implications for technology? Tonnes.

2. I have had taxi drivers in the local neighbourhood punch in exact addresses into their GPS and come up with nothing. Then I have had to leave the cab with a shrug.

3. Due to the social, historical, and economic clustering of Seoul, people are not inclined to leave their immediate neighbourhoods. Anyone who's lived here for a while knows about the groaning that takes place when one has to go "North" or "South" of the river, just say.

Sites like Naver is kind of like an Ask Jeeves (back in the day), sponsored crowd-sourcing type site. For a good comparison, see James Larson's blog>> and that is generally what Koreans like to use if not relying on local trusted knowledge.

Korea Times article on Google Maps debut >>

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Top 100 Anthropology Blogs

Online has posted a list of their "top 100 Anthropology Blogs," with a brief run-down of what they're about.

On the whole, it's a reasonable list of blogs, many of which I myself already keep up on )like Savage Minds, This Blog Sits at the, INCITE... or guested on, as with the case of Terra Nova), and some that are new and interesting.

I just don't know why #39 is on there... (cough)...blimey. heh

Thanks for the props.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Games not addictive? Sound familiar?

Well, some heartening news. Thanks to Aleks K. at the Guardian Games blog for posting this one:

"Games not addictive says game addiction clinic founder."

So the Netherlands front looks like it's turning out well. I'm still fightin' the good fight here on the Korean front.

Labels: , , ,