Category Archives: technology

Fashion For the Dogs…

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Saw this little dude cruisin’ around Pioneer Square today. If the Westminster Dog Show gave out a prize for best dressed, this guy would win for sure. As a side note, I shot this picture with my new iPhone. I’ve never been impressed with phone cameras before, but with a little tweaking this bad boy actually pumps out some pretty interesting pics.

Compartment Country

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Tee’d Off: Jon hits the virtual lynx

With so many people and such limited real estate, frivolous use of space in Korea is out of the question. To make things more efficient, Korea has developed into a country of compartments. In addition to the endless numbers of apartment blocks in which most Koreans live, there are is also series of rooms (called “bangs”) for nearly every interest. There’s the PC Bang for playing Starcraft and other soul-sucking games. There’s the Norae Bang (song room) for belting out aweful karaoke jams. There are video rooms to watch new releases on huge flatscreens. There is the “Jim-Jil Bang” designed for sitting and sweating. I even found a room specifically reserved for playing ping pong.

Recently a few friends found another room to add to this compartment culture: screen golf. Now I can’t play golf to save my life, but the technology in these places is pretty impressive even to an outsider. It’s got hundreds of virtual golf courses, variable wind speeds, self-adjusting putting surfaces, and even soothing bird-chirping sounds for when you shank your ball into the water hazard. Best of all, it shrinks massive golf courses into the siz e of something just larger than your living room.

With space being so scarce, I can foresee a future in Korea where all outdoor recreational activities will be condensed into some sort of virtual form. People will go on virtual treks in the Hiking Bang, fly down virtual slopes in the Skiing Bang, and then head to the Fishing Bang to catch some virtual tuna. While many city planners would look Korea’s density as an intimidating¬† barrier, to Koreans, there is always room for growth.

Related Viewing: “Everything in It’s Right Place” – Radiohead

Hulu Hack

I’ve been hearing a lot buzz lately about a new video-sharing venture from NBC and Fox called “Hulu.”¬† Basically the two networks gathered up all their shows (and a few others from various networks) and put them all online, and here’s the best part: it’s all free. Want to watch the new episode of The Office? Boom! There it is. Jonsing for re-runs of Arrested Development like I am? Say no more. It’s all there, with limited commercial interruption. There are even movies there too.

Fast forward to today. I was all set to check out the site’s catalog and start a vigorous veg-out session. The cheese puffs were in place. The sweat pants were on. The pillows – fluffed. There was just one problem: the site isn’t accessible from outside the United States. Buzzkill level: High. As old Billy Shakespeare might say, “Water, water everywhere, But not a drop to drink.” It appears that various licensing agreements prevent shows from being accessed outside American borders, and until that’s solved, foreign TV junkies will just have to hold their horses. Or will they?

Being the determined couch potato that I am (is that an oxy-moron?) I did a little sleuthing and discovered that if the Hulu servers can’t determine where you’re accessing their site from, they can’t block you from using it. To accomplish this little feat of internet trickery, I downloaded The Hotspot Shield from Anchor Free, a simple background application that disguises your IP address and therefore allows you to access sites like Hulu hassle-free. The only drawback to the program is that it inserts a temporary banner ad in your browser while the application is in use. Though a touch annoying, these ads keep the service free and also disappear the minute you turn off Anchor Free. In my opinion it’s a small price to pay for thousands of high quality full-length TV shows and movies. Thanks to this simple hack, I will never have to leave my apartment ever again. I just hope the elastic in my sweat pants is durable, because lord knows, if I keep pounding these cheesy-puffs like I am now, I will be giving that waistband a workout.