My thoughts on Apple Maps

apple maps - qiranger

With the release of iOS6, Apple has taken a lot of heat for its new Map app. Rightly so. It’s unusable, but not because of the app, but because of the data. If you take a look at the picture above, you see a comparison of Myeongdong Station. The top is Apple Maps, the bottom, Google’s web map application. Notice a difference in detail? I do. Watch the video below to learn more about my thoughts on why Apple doesn’t deserve all the blame.



What are your thoughts and experiences?

Crazy Fast LTE Speed

Believe it or not, I’ve been using the Internet since it’s inception… well at least when it was made public. I recall fondly the days of using ARCHIE and GOPHER to network into other schools and retrieve information about history and recipes (I must make for you that coffee cake sometime). When in the US, I routinely paid over $100 for a fast connection. Something on the order of 10Mbs download and 5Mbs upload. I was stoked! Until I moved to Korea.

Land of Speed

When I first got here I had no idea how fast a connection I was going to receive. Imagine my surprise when for a little over $30 per month, I am able to have a 100Mbs up and down connection in my home. A connection ten times faster than the US for a third of the price. AMAZING. Since coming to Korea, I’ve become accustomed to that kind of speed. In fact, being able to purchase and download a movie in SECONDS is what I live for. As a YouTube Creator, being able upload a 4GB podcast movie in a few days, is much appreciated. It’s something I would never try in the US.

Since I purchased my iPhone 4 in 2011, I have been pleased with the mobile speeds I’ve been able to achieve.

Olleh - KT - 3G - Speed Test - QiRanger

Above you see a recent speed test taken by my phone. The thing that stands out most for me, is that the 3G connection is faster than my average connection in the US. When I was paying for standard Internet, I was lucky to get 1Mbs download and 256Kbs for upload. This 3G connection is significantly faster, comes with unlimited data, and is cheaper than any mobile data plan I ever had in the US.

New Kid on the Block

Rolled out this year is the upgrade to 3G: the LTE network. I had seen commercials from SK, LG, and Olleh, but wasn’t sure how fast the networks really were in comparison. I mean, was the hype really worth it? To find out, I borrowed a Samsung Note to compare Olleh 3G and 4G speeds. This is what I found:

Korea - Olleh - LTE - 4G - Speed Test - QiRanger

That is crazy fast. 22.6Mbs for download and 13Mbs for the upload. I have never seen speed like that on mobile device. I ran the tests a number of times and most results hovered around 17-25Mbs for the download and between 9-17Mbs for the upload. Those numbers are awesome. As I continue to produce more mobile content, I’m left wondering if the next iPhone will be made available on LTE networks. The sheer power the network provides is amazing.

I’m curious to see how my tests stack up in your neck of the woods. Please surf on over to the app store of your choice and download the Speed Test app (available for both iOS and Android). Then post your results here with what kind of network you’re on (3G or LTE). I’m curious to see what speeds are out there.



Hanja (Chinese Script) in Korea

I was recently asked why Chinese is printed everywhere in Korea. Here’s my answer:



Got a question, feel free to ask – you might just get your own video response!

HPWhat?

I remember first coming to Korea in 2008,ready to tackle the world. There seemed nothing I couldn’t do. The food was awesome, the sights fantastic, and the Internet speed was blazing. However, the first major stumbling block I ran into was the fact that most Koreans don’t use Microsoft Office to write documents. When ever I received a paper from a student or tried to download government forms, they were always in HWP format. Just what the heck was that?

“Hangul (also known as Hangul Word Processor or HWP) is a proprietary word processing application published by the South Korean company Hancom, Inc.. It is used extensively in South Korea, especially by the government,” says Wikipedia. Because it was specifically designed to support the Korean language, it made it a favorite among the nation’s 50 million residents. In fact, in most offices, individuals will use both HWP and Word.

Unfortunately HWP files cannot be opened in either Word or OpenOffice. This was always a problem, since it required an extra step, requiring the government officials to open the document on their side and save it as a Word file. Since upgrading to Snow Leopard, I’ve found a new solution.



Hancom, Inc. has released both a MacOS and iOS version of a viewer, allowing Apple users to open documents on their own machines without the need to purchase the software. This has been extremely useful to me, since many of my students use HWP to write their term papers. Now, I can simply open the native document, rather than having to ask them to resubmit their papers. If you’re in Korea or doing business with Korea, I highly recommend you grab both of these free software programs.

Lap/Desktop: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hancom-office-hanword-viewer/id416746898?mt=12

Mobile: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id369832061?mt=8

Apple Disappoints!!!!

It’s what I’ve been reading all over the Internet this morning. How many pundits are saying that Apple has either disappointed or underwhelmed its customer base today with the release of the iPhone 4S.

Really?

Let’s take a look at things a bit closer. First, everyone knew we were getting a new phone today – and Apple delivered it. Customers wanted a phone with a larger storage capacity, better battery life, and a better camera. The new 4S has all of those. What doesn’t it have (besides a larger display)? A “5” in its name. This was to be expected.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the phone’s history. There was first the iPhone, then the updated version of the original. A new design came with the iPhone 3 and was updated again with the 3GS. Finally, a new design arrived with the iPhone 4 (the phone I have).

Since this phone is only a year old, it’s quite stupid to think that Apple would abandon the design after one release cycle. The 4’s function and style is perfect (aside from the glass back). With all the time and money spent developing that phone, it makes perfect sense to have it around for another year. Furthermore, the number of products developed specifically for the 4’s body style make even more sense to have it around longer.

We will see the iPhone 5 soon. If the pattern holds, it will be next year. I even believe it will have that new design people want, too!

Apple Rumor Mill

Jo mentioned it to me last night and I saw it again this morning: rumors that Apple will be changing its product line once more.

This is no secret, as we all have come to expect the tech giant to change things here and there. In fact, the October 4th event is eagerly anticipated, since it will most likely mean the formal announcement of the iPhone 5 (something Jo can’t wait to get her hands on – and me, too!).

But these latest rumors surround two of Apple’s oldest products: The iPod Classic and iPod Shuffle. While the classic iPod started the revolution and propelled Apple to the top, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch, I can’t even remember seeing out on the road anymore. I have the 120gb model that I purchased in 2008, but one getting my iPhone, it’s been sitting on the shelf. In fact, I purposefully uploaded the school texts’ audio to the device, so I could easily use it in class, but find the old controls too slow. Give me the touch interface any day.

However, I still use my iPod Shuffle on a daily basis for exercise. It’s small design makes it perfect. I simply clip it to my shirt and I’m good to go. When I started running and exercising more, I quickly found out that the iPod was just too big to strap on – and while I do go running with my iPhone (to take advantage of the GPS feature), I still prefer to go running with the shuffle.

I suppose the reason the Shuffle may get the cut is because of the newly redesigned Nano. Essentially the new Nano looks like a slightly larger Shuffle with all the benefits of an iPod Touch: playlists, pedometer, Nike+, stopwatch, clock feature, and the potential for apps. Furthermore, it still clips on. I know that if my current shuffle dies, I’d line up in a second for this model.

What do you think of the rumor? Will Apple finally retire the classic iPod and the screen-less Shuffle?

Five Camera Apps

Let’s face it, more and more people are turning to their mobile devices as their go-to camera. It’s always with you and fairly easy to use. While it will never the a replacement for a DSLR, the cameras are equipped with some great features. This month, I spent some time looking at the apps I use most often on my iPhone and wrote a little piece for The Korea Blog. Below are the apps I use most frequent.

Camera

That’s right… the regular camera app. I like it because it usually starts up faster than others. Also, the movie option is tied into the device. Making it really versatile.

Instagram

A great little app that fully integrates your social networking with photography. I love this free app, because of the stylized photos it produces.

Get it! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/instagram/id389801252?mt=8

Retro Camera Plus

A fun little app that offers much of the same functionality as Hipstomatic… but for FREE!

Get it! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/retro-camera-plus/id403503545?mt=8

Pudding

… or more accurately 푸딩 카메라. This Korean application has a great interface that’s in English. It offers several different cameras and film, allowing the user and endless array of combinations. Best of all, it’s FREE!

Get it! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id379411152?mt=8

Camera+

Probably my favorite camera app and the only paid app on the list. While there is a LITE (free) version, I really recommend dropping the $0.99 on the application. You won’t be disappointed.

Get it! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id329670577?mt=8

Hear my thoughts on the applications and more here:


What apps do you like and use the most? Let me know!!!!

Thankful

These have been a few stressful days. As Jo and I continue to get things sorted for our next adventure, we’ve been relying on friends to help us navigate through the process of getting an apartment. Thankfully, it appears as if everything is set and we sign the final contract on July first. At one point, during the last little bit of pleading for a place, the real estate agent made a few calls and I prayed that things would work out… and they did. It made me very thankful for having the faith that all would work out. Both Jo and I love our soon-to-be new home.

While riding the subway to the University to do a little Visa work, I noticed this man deep in prayer. I thought it pretty awesome and couldn’t help but to snap a picture. Usually when I ride the rails, I listen to podcasts, but today I was just reflecting on the previous day’s events and how faith helped me through it.

On the way back to Dongtan, I managed to capture this little gem of the Line 1 Express blowing through my stop:



How has your day been? How do you get through tough times?

When 24 isn’t enough…

One of the things I love about Korea is how convenient everything is. Since the Seoul metro is a city that never sleeps, movies are available for viewing until the wee hours of the morning. While in the United States, movie times are listed as 12:30am or 1:00am, movie times here are listed a little differently. I guess this is because many forget that 12:30am on June 15th means the night of June 14th after midnight and the morning of June 15th. Korean cinemas get around this problem by using a modified 24-hour clock… with more than 24 hours in a day.

In the preceding example, the movie time would have been listed as 2011.6.14 24:30. The 1am time would be listed as 2011.6.14 25:00. Since so many people have a problem keeping tract of when dates change after midnight, this system seems quite helpful.

Speaking of being helpful, I snapped this up on my Instagram the other day. Many convenience stores in Korea sport a “25” in their name. This one happens to be from my building. The Korea reads 세븐, which sounds like “seven.” Essentially, the store is boasting that it’s open 25 hours a day, seven days a week. While it is open every day… it does close around 3am.

What’s teh most unique thing you’ve seen in advertising lately?

Busan Street Temple: Daegaksa

This past weekend, Jo and I ventured down south to the port city of Busan. We had traveled there the previous year to meet a friend of a friend, but this trip was different. This time we were going to take a little time for ourselves and explore the city (and meet up with a few friends). In fact, while I did have a few projects to work on for the weekend, once we got into town, I opted not to take my camera with me and just enjoy the sights.

It was such a joy traveling without the bag, mic, and weight that I usually canvass towns with; however, when we shopped around, Jo looked up and saw something really unique: a temple.

We, of course, have seen many temples over the years, but this one was a little different. Stuck in the middle of Nampo-Dong’s shopping district, the temple rose two or more stories above the road. Furthermore, the backside was covered in retail establishments. Seeing this, we knew it was something special and had to be explored. With that thought in mind, I quickly took out my iPhone and turned on the camera.

It took only a few minutes to get to the temple’s entrance, where we learned its name: Daegaksa (대각사). After being on the KTX and in our hotel room for most of the day, it was nice to be in such a wide open area. The temple was peaceful and surprisingly quiet. During our time there, we only saw one monk and one person praying. I think that’s what I like about these small urban temples the most, is that they aren’t crowded. You can really get a feel for how Buddhism is practiced in Korea.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, the video was shot on the iPhone. I’m quite impressed with how it came out. Sound isn’t too bad and the colors are good. Editing was simple enough in iMovie. My only complaint is with the music that goes with the travel theme.

What do you think?