Holidays

Today, December 29th marks the start of the school vacation, or as we say in Australia “school holidays”
I have to be back at school on Friday, February 10th ! A grand total of 42 days of Rest and relaxation.

We finnished up with a lunch paid for by some of the parents. This sort of thing is quite common in Korea. It happens at the start and the end of the school year and important events in between.

Vacation: A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.
Holiday: Chiefly British. A vacation. Often used in the phrase on holiday.

STEPHENHUCKER.COM

Yesterday I changed my webhosting company and created a new domain name.

My website is now called stephenhucker.com
hucker.net still exists and will continue to do so for some time.

But for now, my focus is on stephenhucker.com

My previous webhosting company was POWWEB.COM
I hated them!
Their userinterface was terrible. It took me at least 10 minutes to find out how to do things.
Then I wouldn’t need to do it for a few months by which time I had forgotten where it was.
It looks like they are now changing that, but too late for me.

STEPHENHUCKER.COM is hosted at bluehost.com
For @ US $94 for one year I get 10 GB of disk space and 50 mysql/postgress databases.
As well as that they give me SSH access!
and it works prety well

I had to copy my wordpress installation from hucker.net to stephenhucker.com
In theory I could use wordpress to restore a backup of my hucker.net database and all would be well.
But it didn’t work

So I SSHed to my website and use mysql admin to import the database backup. It worked prefectly.
Without direct command line access I would have been unable to import my archives.

Below is a summary of what I did

stephenhucker.com# ls
./ ../ wp.sql

stephenhucker.com# mysqlshow -p
Enter password: #######

+—————-+
| Databases |
+—————-+
| wordpress |
+—————-+

stephenhucker.com# mysql wordpress < wp.sql -p

Enter password: #######

Downloading Movies in the land of the morning calm

About a month ago the Korean government finally got around to banning Napster type websites in Korea. Up until now people could download movies and songs and pay maybe 50 cents for a movie.
Thats a pretty good deal, but highly illegal, even under Korean law. So it is good to see the governement enforcing copyright law in a sensible manner.

Alas, I spoke too soon 🙁

Uri party lawmaker Woo sang-ho is hoping to introduce a bill which ?¢‚Ǩ?ìforces Internet companies to supervise file transactions between their users, and to delete or stop them when the contents are copyrighted materials such as music or video files. The bill also says that the companies would be punished for up to 50 million won in penalty.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

Korean ISPs are obviously not happy at such a heavy handed approach ?¢‚Ǩ?ì`It is a na?ɬØve idea that would kill the emerging Internet industry,?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ said the association in a statement. “even if there can be a short-term effects in protecting digital rights. But in the long term it will not benefit the contents?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ owners, let alone the Internet users and service providers.?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢

The problems with this sort of approach are the assumption that you can ban something by trying to stop people doing it. Remember the hugely successful war on drugs. After tens of thousands of deaths, billions of dollars spent, it is nearly impossible to buy drugs ? Oh, wait I must have been smoking something

Potential problems with this bill are:

1. Who pays for the added costs of monitoring file transfers?
2. What happens when you have a legal file with a name similar to some copyrighted material?
eg a home ?¢‚Ǩ?ìStar Wars?¢‚Ǩ¬ù video
3. If a file is mistakenly stopped is there an easy way to complain and get it working again?

Potential ways of avoiding the law

1. Use of Encrypted P2P. If a file is encrypted then the ISP can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t know what it is.
It probably is only a matter of time before P2P networks become encrypted. When this happens how will an ISP know what is being transferred? Will they then ban encrypted P2P networks because of the law or relax because they can’t supervise encrypted traffic.

Fortunately “Instant messaging services such as MSM Messenger, Web mail and portal services will not be subject to the new law. Only peer-to-peer service and Web hard service will be forced to take actions on the illegal file transactions,?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ said Woo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s aide Park Seung-nak.

References:
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/biz/200512/kt2005120719195011890.htm
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=298373

A Taxing Korean problem

2005 is my third financial year in Korea. The first two years for Australians are tax free 🙂
The Korean tax system is based on the calendar year whereas Australia’s is July – June.
I think the Korean system is better b/c the tax year is the same as the calendar year. But it also means you have to do your taxes at Christmas time!  That sucks!

The English version of the Korean tax website is at Korean Tax office

They have a word document explaining the tax system at Korean Taxation 2005 It has a HWP extension (Hangul Word Processor) but it is actually a word document, so don’t panic.

Gallery2 and WordPress

What is WPG2?

WPG2 is a WordPress Plug-in that embeds Gallery2 within WordPress to share photos, videos and any other Gallery2 content seamlessly into the WordPress Sidebar and Blog entries. The current version of WPG2 is 1.0, released on September 13th, 2005.

http://wpg2.ozgreg.com/index.php/Main_Page

Good example of Gallery 2 integration into WordPress – http://www.ozgreg.com/

Gallery 2 Download – http://codex.gallery2.org/index.php/Gallery2:Download

Weekend

Friday, 2nd December
Friday night I decided to visit my friend who works in a shop in Songnamdong. After riding there I discovered the shop in the nearly empty. My friend told me that the owner is closing the shop and he is moving back to Daegue where he will start work Monday working in car detailing (painting).
I was quite shocked. He is one of my few Korean friends, and now he is gone 🙁
After saying goodbye, I went and saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Friday. It is the best movie in the series yet.
It marks the transition to a darker more adualt theme with characters dying within the first few minutes of the film.
The special effects are wonderful and more importantly are not there to cover up a lack of story or acting. The script is very tight and the acting excellent.
I would recommend this to anyone, except very young kids who might get frightened.

Saturday, 3rd December
Saturday afternoon I couldn’t study so I went window shopping at Lotte Department store.
To my amazement they actually had in stock the new Apple iPods, the Nano and the iPod Photo and at offical Apple prices.
So next time I need an iPod product I shall visit the store.

My new iPod Nano


iPod Nano
Got myself an iPod this week. Earlier this year one of my students stole my iPod Mini. As you can see it is pretty small.

So I was on the lookout for a new iPod. It seems the student did me a favour. Since his mom paid me for the stolen iPod I essentially got a new Nano for 40,000 won.

I was looking for an iPod in Ulsan. But stores selling Apple products are pretty scarce on the ground in Korea. It’s not Japan or an occidental country where iPods are really popular.
I couldn’t concentrate so I went window shopping at Lotte Department store and what did I find?
All the new iPods right there on display in their basement, near the supermarket !
Bummer … I could have purchased it right here in Ulsan.

Apple Service
Instead I had to deal with Apple directly in Seoul over the telephone.
I was impressed with their service. The person on the other end of the line spoke excellent English and was very well informed about their products and their competitors. He even picked my accent as non American. He thought I was British, but that’s OK.
Buying stuff over the phone
If you buy something in Korea over the telephone you can’t use your credit card.
So to buy the iPod I have to transfer money from my account to Apple’s. This sort of thing is very common in Korea, but not in western countries where we tend to use credit cards for online/phone transactions.

In Korea they have a National ID card where every citizen and Alien (that’s me, not ET) has a number identifying them.
To buy something online, you use some software from your bank which encrypts the transaction based on your account info and your national id.
In western countries we don’t have National ID’s. So when we buy something over the phone or online they verify who you are by the addreess you give. The idea is if someone knows your credit card number they won’t know your address and without the address they can’t use your card.
The info asked for when you use your credit card is:

Name on credit card
Address on your credit card statement
Card Number
Secret number on the back of the card above the magnetic swipe area.

The Korean system is probably more secure, but a big hassle for foreigners.
Oh! Did I mention it doesn’t work for foreigners?
When you type in your National ID it tells you that it is an invalid number. What has happened is that the computer only checks it against the range of numbers used for Korean citizens. Aliens have a different number range, so it doesn’t work.
This situation has been going on now for about two years! Back home companies would probably get sued or get in trouble with the government for discriminating against aliens. But not here!
Given time this will change, but I am not going to hold my breath.

Navigation