Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Melbourne Age on Monday called Seoul the world's leading digital city. In the article "Tech capitals of the world", the Australian daily said, "In April, about the time Sydney newspapers were lambasting Australia's household broadband speeds, Oh Se-hoon, the mayor of Seoul, was sitting on a moving bus and using a laptop. Oh could have been downloading TV shows, playing online games or chatting with friends." The newspaper went on to compare how the countries match up in digital connectivity.
Lee Jun-ki, star of the movie "The King and the Clown," has caught the eye of acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige.
SK Telecom has lowered its fees for global roaming in some overseas countries. It has also expanded its roaming services, now offering rental phones to customers who have lost their handsets in foreign countries. Global roaming allows cell phone subscribers to use their phones overseas.
A much-reduced screen quota for Korean movies and a lackluster time for domestic works is allowing a bevy of Hollywood sequels to slug it out among themselves on Korean screens.
Samsung Electronics has secured a firm grip in France by taking the top spot in sales of major electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and side-by-side refrigerators.
No sooner had pundits identified a trend toward convergence of digital media than the backlash came, with simple “divergence” products dedicated to a fewer functions. A typical convergence product is a mobile phone with MP3 player, digital camera, electronic dictionary, mobile TV and a game console. A typical divergence product is a telephone.
LG Electronics said on Sunday that is has signed a contract to supply 10,000 electronic appliances, including 5,000 LCD TVs, to the Bavaria Hotel, a five-star hotel being built in Dubai.
Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee left for Central and South America on Friday to build support for Pyeongchang's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, according to an announcement from Samsung on Sunday.
In May 2005, Jung Da-yeon, the woman who kick-started the "momjjang" (hot body) fad in Korea, brought her message to Japan with the publication through Keibunsha of her popular fitness book. Now Jung has released a DVD called "Momjjang Diet" through popular Japanese publisher Kodansha.
KBS is moving to raise the monthly subscription fee it charges the public by 60 percent, from the present W2,500 (US$1=W938) to W4,000. KBS said a recent opinion poll showed 57.2 of the public supported the fee hike. The company is saying the public, 72.7 percent of whom opposed a fee increase to between W3,000 and W6,000 in 2004, have now suddenly changed their minds and want to pay more to watch TV. Explaining the latest poll results, a KBS official said, “The public’s image of KBS has improved a lot over that time and attitudes have changed over the subscription fee.” But a closer look at the KBS survey reveals an amazing fact.
Police arrested a college student who hacked into the website of pop singer BoA. The hacker, Seo, extorted W35 million (US$1=W938) from BoA's agent by threatening to leak private photos and e-mails between the star and another singer to the press.
Sending photos and video clips on a cell phone will be 15 times faster now. KTF, the nation's second-largest mobile operator, said Thursday it launched a new service in Seoul, Busan and Daejeon. The 3.5-generation high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology ensures download of data at a speed of 14.4 Mbps, but is slow in sending data: that is where the advanced HSUPA (for “uplink”) technology now introduced comes in. It sends data at the speed of 5.76 Mbps, 15 times faster than the HSDPA technology, still guaranteeing the same speed as its predecessor in receiving data.
A new wave of Korean mobile phones is sweeping the globe. Samsung announced on Thursday that global sales of its Ultra Edition 10.9, called the Miniskirt phone in Korea, have exceeded one million units only two months after its debut.
The pinnacle in high-end TVs is here. Samsung Electronics on Thursday debuted a 70-inch full high-definition LCD TV that has the world's largest commercially available LCD panel.
More than six million people in the country subscribe to digital multimedia broadcasting service (DMB) that enables the watching of movies and other multimedia content on their cell phones.
Domestic Internet portal sites accuse the government of using taxpayers’ money to help their biggest foreign rival. The government last October announced that it has attracted a research and development center for Google, the world’s largest Internet business. At the time, Google said it would develop innovative Internet technologies for global Internet users by employing Korean personnel. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy encouraged Google by saying the ministry would provide up to 80 percent of labor costs for programmers and up to 50 percent of accommodation expenses for employees from Google headquarters who come here to train Korean staff.
Apple’s newly released web browser for Windows is pie-in-the-sky for Korean users since it fails to display Korean characters properly. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first Windows version of Safari on Monday to huge international hype.
President Roh Moo-hyun will engage in a live TV debate with senior journalists on the government’s plan to shut the briefing rooms at 70 government agencies on Sunday, three days later than originally scheduled. In the process of rescheduling the debate, two presidential aides and one government official-- presidential secretary for policy planning Yang Jung-chul, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Jong-min and Deputy Government Information Agency Director Ahn Young-bae -- proposed a compromise to journalist groups at a meeting with Korea Journalists Association chairman Jung Il-yong.
Actress Kim Yun-jin has published the moving story of her rise to Hollywood stardom. "The World is Your Drama," published earlier this month by Hainaim, is looking like it will be a best-seller.
An angry SK Telecom customer who drove a Mercedes Benz through the company’s front door in April used the luxury car for a protest again. The 47-year-old man staged a fresh three-hour protest against the poor quality of his Samsung-made cell phone by parking the Benz in front of the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Taepyoung-ro, Seoul on Monday. The long-suffering vehicle is registered to a friend.
Yoshio Takahashi, a 60-year-old Japanese man visiting Busan with his wife, is pleasantly surprised on a city tour bus moving across Gwangahn Grand Bridge. He can buy bullet train tickets to Seoul by using an onboard laptop that connects to the wireless Internet even as the bus is moving at 70 km/h.
”Old” Busan, which marks 130 years this year since the port opened, is transforming itself into a new city with ubiquitous information technology. It started a U-City Project to become a ubiquitous IT-based city that makes such convenience possible.
Actor Ji Jin-hee, just back in Korea after a promotional event in Japan, is the subject of profuse praise in Japanese newspapers, including Asahi Shimbun and Fuji Sankei Shimbun.
The drink-soaked culture of after-work social gatherings in Korea is changing as more women enter the corporate workforce, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Samsung Electronics has joined hands with Mercedes-Benz to launch a joint promotional campaign for its "Miniskirt" phone (SCH-C220).
According to Samsung, Mercedes Benz will include a Samsung Miniskirt phone as standard equipment in select high-end vehicles sold in Korea, including the S-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class, E-Class, AMG and Roadster models. The Miniskirt phone can automatically connect with the telematics system of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles via Bluetooth technology. This feature allows drivers to talk on the phone using an onboard microphone and speakers.
Samsung Electronics, which is the leading brand of LCD and plasma TVs in Russia, plans to build a large-scale TV factory near Moscow.
Lee Don-joo, executive director in charge of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) at Samsung Electronics' Russia unit, said, "Samsung has decided on the investment to meet the rapidly increasing demand for digital TVs in Russia and the CIS region."
LG Electronics will officially sponsor the English Premier League football club Fulham from July until June 2010, following in the footsteps of perennial rival Samsung. Under the sponsorship deal, Fulham players will wear uniforms with the LG logo. Established in 1876, the London club boasts a long and distinguished history.
Singer and producer Park Jin-young has become the first Korean to be featured on the cover of Billboard Magazine, the influential music industry trade weekly. The cover of the Saturday issue of Billboard features a photo of Park with the headline "JYP, The Asian Soul."
The Korean singer Rain’s concerts in the U.S. as part of his world tour have been postponed due to controversy over his stage name. His Korean name “Bi” means “rain” in English, but the singer faces legal action filed by U.S. recording firm Rain Corporation with the District Court-District of Nevada in February. The company, which works with an American band also called Rain, demanded the entertainer drop the English name in the U.S.
As big Hollywood blockbusters start flooding our screens this summer, with every one claiming some box office record or other, the Chosun Ilbo for the first time rates the ticket sales of Korean movies, as opposed to audience numbers. The numbers come from movie distributors like CJ Entertainment, Showbox and Cinema Service, and the results are sometimes surprising.
Two middle-school students face proceedings for juvenile delinquency over their posting in March of a pornographic video on Yahoo Korea that was freely accessible for about six hours.
Meanwhile, the Japanese game maker Square Enix applied for an injunction to a local court banning distribution and screening of “Sonata of Temptation”, a music video by Korean pop singer IVY. Square Enix claims the characters, costumes and plot of story are similar to those in the firm’s computer game “Final Fantasy.” The Seoul District Court granted the injunction.
LG Electronics said on Thursday that it has signed a patent cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft that allows them to use their patented technologies in each other's products.
Onse Telecom announced on Thursday that it has launched a service allowing subscribers to call the U.S. and other foreign countries for just W98 per minute.
Lee Dong-seob, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said, "With an increasing number of international telecom companies, prices have fallen to one tenth their former cost in the last 10 years. I think this decline in prices will continue."
China is not a country of press freedoms. It was Mao Zedong who famously said, "To have power you need two things: the gun and the pen," and since then China has maintained an iron grip on the pen. As far as freedom of the press is concerned, China can't compare to South Korea. Or that was true in the past, anyway.
Asian superstar BoA unveiled a hidden talent on Wednesday with the launch of her personal blog in Japan (blog.oricon.co.jp/boa). The pop diva plans to use the blog as a new way to interact with her fans by showing her offstage life and sharing her day-to-day musings. She also plans to showcase her own photography, a talent that most of her fans were unaware of.
Amnesty International warns that the Internet could change dramatically, unless action is taken against the erosion of online freedoms.
Amnesty International UK made the warning before a global Web-cast conference that will feature victims of Internet repression from around the world.
Humor has become a desirable quality in politics of late. Many politicians, including presidential contenders, want to be remembered as humorous individuals. They crack jokes during lectures, tell humorous anecdotes or deliver punch lines prepared by speechwriters who used to be writers for radio or TV. Some lawmakers have even founded a "Humor Forum" or "Humor Academy" and hosted several seminars on this topic, under the motto "Humor can revive the country." Politicians are making great efforts to catch up with this era of jocularity.
A supporters club for President Roh Moo-hyun believes that the government is determined to wage war on the media. The group, named the Government Evaluation Forum, in a recently published document says the government’s efforts to depoliticize the media and the media’s resistance would be “as intense as a war.” The forum said the politicized media was “the sole remaining privileged group in Korean society” and added the government will stint no effort to straighten out the media.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy predicts the size of the world electronics industry will grow 5.8 percent to US$1.54 trillion and exports of Korean-made electronics will increase by 16 percent to $133.1 billion.
According to the report, home IT devices will evolve into a ubiquitous system that people will be able to use whenever and wherever. It also says the market for 10-megapixel digital cameras and digital multimedia broadcasting devices will grow the most among mobile devices.
In the display sector, the ministry believes that flat panel and organic light emitting diode (OLED) devices will be commercialized rapidly. Small electronics such as game consoles and digital cameras will have strong sales, the ministry forecast in the report.http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200706/200706070019.html
The Japanese government will launch a radio channel for North Korea focusing on Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang. A Japanese government official on Wednesday said the channel will be launched in July and is different from the privately-run Shiokaze channel that started broadcasting for North Korea in late March. Shiokaze is run by an activist group calling itself Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea.
Viewers are certainly passionate. If you enter “My” on a local search portal, the engine automatically completes “My man’s woman” and the page fills up with relevant sites. The trivia hunters already have their hands full. “What’s the title of poem that Bae Jong-ok recites in the 14th episode?” “What is the brand of sky blue T shirt that Kim Hee-ae wore in the soap?” “What is the education website that Bae’s son uses?” And the answers are all there too, from the places the characters visit to the brand of wallpaper in their bedrooms.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Electronic products from mobile phones to LCD TVs available in the market can change color to match your clothes and interior design. The products are particularly popular among young people. The idea fits in with a wider trend for customized merchandise to stem the tide of uniformity.
The government is apparently trying to suppress reports critical of its policies by state-run research institutes and prevent researchers from giving interviews in the press.
The Korea Institute of Public Finance, a state-funded research center on taxation policy, is not publishing a December 2006 comparative report on holding taxation systems in major countries. The report was distributed to relevant agencies, including some libraries, last December and posted on the KIPF's web page. Press reports in March criticized the government citing the report, saying the comprehensive real estate tax would result in a drastic increase in taxes and calling for measures to prevent this. Immediately afterwards, the KIPF changed policy and decided not to publish the report. It also removed the report from its web page.
Criticism of the government's merger of press rooms and restriction of press access to government officials is spreading worldwide. The International Press Institute sent an open letter of protest to President Roh Moo-hyun on Friday, and on Monday the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) sent a similar letter to Roh signed by its chairman Gavin O’Reilly and World Editors Forum president George Brock. In the letter, WAN expresses concern on behalf of 18,000 media companies in 102 countries about the new rules' restriction of reporters' contact with public servants and warns of negative effects on news reporting.
"I'll seduce Japanese fans with my sexy looks," promised Lee Hyo-lee, revealing her strategy for cracking the Japan market. Lee was speaking at a press conference on Monday at the Hotel Okura Tokyo in Japan ahead of the launch on Fuji TV CS of her soap "If in Love... Like Them."
The Seoul International Book Fair opened last Friday for a six-day run. Visitors can don their explorers' caps to roam the world by perusing books from some 500 publishers in 28 countries.
The fair is Korea's biggest gala for publishers, authors and readers. Now in its 13th year, the event is spearheaded by the Korean Publishers Association.
Twenty-three journalists of a weekly magazine Sisa Journal, who are members of the Korean Federation of Press Unions, launched an indefinite hunger strike on June 18. They have been on strike since June of last year, calling for the magazine's chief to immediately resolve a dispute sparked by the chief's order not to publish an article regarding Samsung Group.
Any cartoon fan would want to have original drawings by his or her favorite cartoonists. However, Korea has no official market for trading original cartoons, and there is no standard regarding their prices.
I went to see "Jump" the other day, the first time I'd seen a show with friends. It was a well-structured martial arts farce. It has been popular with audiences, and indeed the place was packed. There were young and middle-aged people in the audience, as well as elementary school-aged students, but nowhere did I see anyone middle or high school aged. I will refrain from preaching about how this demographic needs art and culture to stimulate their sensitivities and imagination, but really, the show might as well have been tailored for teenagers and yet none was to be seen.
Several days ago, a 39-year-old man, who is only identified by his family name, Kim, searched the Internet at home for online pornography. After surfing, Kim decided to visit a blog he had found to watch the pornography because the site did not require payment.
Kim, after a simple download, was able to watch the porn via the blog, which was posted as user created video clips. Since then, however, Kim's personal computer has started running slowly, as his antivirus program is running overtime in order to cure malicious codes downloaded onto his computer. A toolbar has appeared on his computer screen, unsolicited, but Kim cannot delete it. Kim's computer is officially infected.http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/216315.html
An elderly man prepares his answers on a competition on Internet use in Seoul on June 14, part of an annual government-sponsored festival for seniors. The grand prize was 1 million won (US$1,080).
"An Inter-Korean summit won't be possible unless North Korea's nuclear problem is resolved."
Regarding controversy surrounding the government's media reform plans, Roh said, "Let's prove who is right through a public debate [between the president and journalists]." He continued, "In South Korea, the matter of real press freedom lies in freedom from owners of media companies, not on [the number of government] press rooms or freedom from 'political powers.' "