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Korea’s Broken Internet Paradise

March 27, 2014

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Earlier today, we were talking about a TL;DR topic in the car about some common misconceptions about Korea, which we thought would make for a cool video. The last idea that we thought of for that video was about the awesomeness of Korea’s internet. We talked about it for such a long time that we realized, hey, we’ve been talking about this long enough for a full TL;DR, so why not do it as its own video?

So, here we are, and I hope that we’re clear with how we feel about Korean internet. Yes, we love it in many, many ways, and I’ll still pick it over the internet in any other country in the world, except for – maybe – Japan, which we’ve experienced as delightfully fast and not as hindered – but that was only from the perspective as tourists. I’m not sure if Japan’s internet has as many security flaws as Korea’s. Anyhow, even though this video talks about the negatives of Korea’s internet, we simply offer that as a counterbalance to the perception that Korea’s internet is glorious. It’s great in many ways, and flawed in many ways as well.

Another thing we find really interesting: I have no idea how the Korean news is reacting to Korea’s security breaches. Didn’t Target in the US recently get its customer data compromised? Didn’t everyone in the news loooooose their miiiinds? How would they react to a bank losing half of the country’s info, or for a major telecom to have its data compromised as well? I’m not sure. Just asking. Another thing: is it that Korea’s security just sucks, or is it that Korea’s hackers just have crazy mad hacking skills, and if they went to, say, Canada, they’d be living like kings from all the hacking they can do? Anyone in the IT field have any insight into this? Oh, and for the record, we weren’t joking about that letter we showed you. All of our info was leaked from KT. Great…

Some of you might be wondering why porn is banned here in Korea. From what we’ve heard, there was supposedly a horrific murder case in Korea, and they found porn on the murderer’s computer. So, the conclusion was that watching porn makes you bad. Is that how it was? I’m not sure, but if that’s the case, I’m sure they found kimchi in his fridge as well, but I’m still waiting on the kimchi ban to be suggested.

One thing we didn’t talk about for Korean internet practices: Hangul Word Press. Hangul Freaking Word Press! Oh God, how I hate hwp files! If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically Microsoft Word, but for Korea. It’s its own software, and, instead of exporting .pdfs or .doc files, it exports .hwp files, and the only freaking thing that can open .hwp files is Hangul Word Press. BUUUUT you can’t install it on Mac, and you can’t install it if you don’t know Korean enough. You might think, oh no big deal: it’s made for Koreans in Korea. Fine. I’m ok with that. What I’m not ok with is government websites aimed for foreigners, that put Visa application forms, or different tourism documents, in hwp format! Come on! If you’re making it for foreigners, make it a PDF! YYEEAERGGGHHH!

**Edit** I was just sent an email from a friend who said there’s an app to view hwp files on the Mac. I never used it yet, but it exists

Another small issue we have is this: we’d love to hire a web developer. Our site is very dynamic, and we’re constantly adding a bunch of different things to it, tweaking it here and there. Our web developer is totally awesome, but he lives in the US. We thought, hey, let’s get a web developer here in Korea. Should be easy enough, right? There are lots of programmers here. Lots! Just…none of them can code for WordPress. It’s just not common enough here. No one has enough experience (or, we just can’t find them!).

There are lots of people who blog in Korea, but a big portion of those blogs are on Naver or Daum. Self-hosting your blog isn’t that common, because free services are available on really popular platforms. So why host your own blog? For us, stuff like our KpopCharts and KpopAwards, and other functionality we’re building in right now, requires a lot of customization, which publicly hosted blogs don’t really offer. I’ll stop nerd-talking here: point is, we couldn’t find a web developer here in Korea.

Anyhow, that’s it for our talk on Korea’s internet scene here. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. If you’re Korean here in Korea, are you finding issues with the internet here as well or is it great for you? How about those real name verification laws, eh? And if you’re outside of Korea, what’s your internet situation like? We’d love to compare notes :D

Other than that, make sure you click on this button below, right here. It makes your internets faster!

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