Tag Archives: iPhone


Prying Parents: Phone Monitoring Apps Flourish in South Korea

AP Technology Writer

SEOUL, South Korea — Lee Chang-june can be miles from his 12-year-old son but still know when he plays a smartphone game. With the press of an app he can see his son’s phone activity, disable apps or totally shut down the smartphone.

The app, “Smart Sheriff,” was funded by the South Korean government primarily to block access to pornography and other offensive content online. But its features go well beyond that.

Smart Sheriff and at least 14 other apps allow parents to monitor how long their kids use their smartphones, how many times they use apps and which websites they visit. Some send a child’s location data to parents and issue an alert when a child searches keywords such as “suicide,” ”pregnancy” and “bully” or receives messages with those words.

In South Korea, the apps have been downloaded at least 480,000 times.

The number will likely go up. Last month, South Korea’s Korea Communications Commission, which has sweeping powers covering the telecommunications industry, required telecoms companies and parents to ensure Smart Sheriff or one of the other monitoring apps is installed when anyone aged 18 years or under gets a new smartphone. The measure doesn’t apply to old smartphones but most schools sent out letters to parents encouraging them to install the software anyway.

Many countries have safety filtering tools for the Internet but it is rare to enforce them by law. Japan enacted a law in 2009 but unlike South Korea it allows parents to opt out.

South Korea’s new system is by no means impervious. For one, it can only be fully applied to Android phones not Apple Inc. phones. But cybersecurity experts and Internet advocacy groups argue the monitoring infringes too far on privacy and free speech. Some warn it will produce a generation inured to intrusive surveillance.

“It is the same as installing a surveillance camera in teenagers’ smartphones,” said Kim Kha Yeun, a general counsel at Open Net Korea, a nonprofit organization that is appealing the regulator’s ordinance to South Korea’sConstitutional Court. “We are going to raise people who are accustomed to surveillance.”

South Korea, one of the Asia’s richest nations, is crisscrossed by cheap fast Internet and smartphone use is ubiquitous. Many Koreans get their first smartphone when they are young. Eight out of 10 South Koreans aged 18 and below own a smartphone, according to government data. Some 72 percent of elementary school students owned a smartphone in 2013, a jump from 20 percent in 2011.

How technology is affecting the young has become a national obsession. The government and parent groups have pushed numerous initiatives to limit device and Internet use as well as prevent excessive gaming. Many parents welcome the ability to peer inside their children’s online world.

Lee, who worked in the online game industry for nearly a decade, said that having a control over his son’s smartphone has been positive and increased dialogue in the family. His son plays a mobile game about two hours on weekends. If he wants to play a mobile game outside those hours, he comes up to dad and talks about why.

“What is important is that parents and children talk to each other and try to build consensus. He is only in a sixth grade but he wants to have his privacy,” Lee said. “I told him: We are installing this and father will know which app you use,” he said. “I see it as positive in helping nurture his habit of self-control.”

Legal experts, however, say South Korea’s telecoms regulator has taken the sweeping step of legalizing the broad collection of personal, sensitive data that belongs to teenagers without any public consultation or consideration of the possible consequences.

“South Korea underestimated the chilling effect,” said Kang Jeong-Soo, director at Institute for the Digital Society.

Cyber security experts also warn that the apps could be misused and installed on phones without the owner’s knowledge.

“It could be an official spying app,” said Ryu Jong-myeong, CEO of SoTIS, a cyber security company.

To get around the regulations, some students say they will wait until they turn 19 to get a new phone.

“I’d rather not buy a phone,” said Paik Hyunsuk, 17. “It’s violation of students’ privacy and oppressing freedom.”

Cho Jaehyun, a senior year high school student, had to install a parental control app when he was in middle school. But he said he was lucky that his parents agreed to uninstall the app when he entered high school.

“We don’t always use the smartphone for something bad,” said Cho, 17. “Because I could use my phone freely without control, I got interested in developing iPhone games.”

Not all parents are on board either.

Park Choel-hee, father of a 10-year-old daughter, said South Korea resorts too much to regulation and makes “senseless” choices about what content is offensive.

“A few officials arbitrarily determine which websites are harmful and unilaterally shut them off. They rob the rights of Internet users. It is no different from the Great Fire Wall of China.”

Park, who gave his daughter his second phone so she didn’t have to release her personal information to mobile carriers, said he feels “uncomfortable” that his child is growing up in a society of prying eyes.

“Children will not have an ability to think for themselves,” he said.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Mega Tiny Corp’s Zero G Case Allows iPhones to Defy Gravity

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Sometimes, for better or for worse, parents can attest that a smartphone or tablet can be the best babysitter. When out with the family or at home, parents could use a few minutes of respite while their kids are captivated by whatever is playing on the screen.

That was the initial idea that sparked the eventual creation of the Zero G anti-gravity case for the iPhone and iPhone 6, which has been described as the “Spider Man of iPhone 6 cases.” The Kickstarter has already hit nearly $18,000 of its $25,000 goal at the time of publishing, and it’s only the third day since the campaign launched on March 31.

Mega Tiny Corp. co-founder Wannie Park recalled seeing his young children struggling with his own iPhone to find the best viewing angle, propping it up against a cup or napkin dispenser at a restaurant.

“I was thinking, man, why can’t I just build something where we could stick it to something?” Park said. “How hard could it be?”


Not many individuals can capitalize on an idea like that, but for someone with 15 years of product development at Intel and Belkin on his resume, it was just another day on the job. Park and partner Carl Winans, who co-founded the startup Mega Tiny Corp. in October 2014, began researching potential materials and designs, as well as other potential uses for such a product in December.

“I just wanted my kids to use my iPhone at a proper viewing angle,” Park said. “After that, the thoughts turned to guys tailgating, while watching ESPN with the phone stuck on the car window while they’re barbecuing. Or my wife, while she’s cooking, looking at the recipe on her phone while it’s stuck to the wood cabinet.”

Perhaps the most important use: The hands-free selfie that removes the awkwardness in asking a stranger to take a picture, as well as the potential disappointment in how it turns out. “I do that all the time now,” Park said. “Instead of asking someone to take a picture of my family, I can just stick my phone onto wood or glass somewhere, angle it properly and take it without bothering anybody.”


In their research, Park and Winans came across the company EverStik, which had developed the NanoSuction adhesive material that was primarily being used for industrial and commercial purposes. Integrated with a smartphone case, however, allows users to stick their phones on glass, tile, stainless steel, mirrors, counter tops, white boards, computer screens, windows and even some walls. From there, it’s just a matter of choosing what to do: hands-free selfies, video chatting, web browsing or video watching. The material is washable, and lint doesn’t stick to it.

Sound too good to be true? CNET’s David Carnoy stuck his prototype case to a window overnight, and it was still there in the morning. There’s obviously some common sense involved in utilizing the Zero G case, but users can have confidence in the material—a 6-inch NanoSuction patch can supposedly hold a 10 lb object.



There’s a good amount of consumer confidence already as evidenced by the Kickstarter’s early success, but Park isn’t surprised.

“Not to sound arrogant,” Park said, “But the thing is, I see how this product can be great. Think of it this way—nearly everyone I know attaches some type of protective cover or case for their smart device.”

The challenge is now to deliver the product in a timely fashion. This Kickstarter is Park’s third, and he knows the frustrations involved with waiting for a crowdfunding campaign to take several months in delivering its product. For the Zero G case, he wants the turnaround to take less than two months.


“Typically, that’s the result of them not ever having built a product in China and understanding logistics, imports, all the cost of doing business out there,” Park explained. “That’s the one thing we’re super strong at—I’ve been doing it for 15 years now.”

As for non-iPhone 6 and even tablet users, you may see different models of the Zero G case in the future. “I was really touched by how people, whether it’s friends, family, people I don’t really know, promote the product like crazy,” Park said. “I have people funding it who don’t even have iPhones, and they expect us to build one for the [Samsung] Galaxy or the iPhone 5S or whatever.”

The Zero G case will be available in June for the iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus for around $50 on Amazon or through Mega Tiny’s website. Kickstarter supporters, however, can get early deals for less than $40.



Samsung Loses Ground to Apple in South Korea

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Samsung has always marketed their smartphones as the “next big thing,” but when Apple went big with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2014, South Koreans flocked to the fruit.

According to Android Authority, Apple gained significant market share in Japan, China and Korea as Samsung lost ground. Sales for the iPhone reached record highs in October and November in Korea and Japan. Samsung, which has consistently held upwards of 60 percent of the smartphone market at home, saw their market share drop significantly.


As seen above, Apple’s market share in South Korea pretty much doubled from 15 percent to over 30 percent during the latter months of 2014. Globally, Samsung saw its market share decline to 23.8 percent in the third quarter, down from 32.5 percent from the same period in 2013.

Last year was not kind to Samsung’s mobile division, as the company struggled against cheaper handsets, led by the Chinese company Xiaomi, which overtook Samsung’s majority market share in China. On the premium end of the spectrum, the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 didn’t stand up as well against Apple’s larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That led to the company’s first annual profit decline since 2011.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Samsung, though. Their other divisions of the company, in particular television and memory chips, are going strong, and Samsung isn’t sitting pat. They replaced the head of its mobile design team amid criticism of the Galaxy S5 in May 2014, and recently added former Tangerine co-CEO Don Tae Lee as their global design team leader.

Lee was responsible for coming up with an award-winning design for British Airways’ business-class and first-class cabins, according to Korea Joongang Daily. He also worked with mobiles back in 2011 with Huawei and introduced some innovative design concepts that unfortunately never made it to production. At Samsung, Lee will be in charge of leading the design philosophy for not only smartphones, but other Samsung products including washers, televisions and refrigerators.

Lee is part of Samsung’s long game, though, and the company faces more immediate challenges. There will be a lot riding on the Galaxy S6, due out sometime in March, to be Samsung’s flagship on the premium front. Samsung’s $92 Tizen-powered smartphone, however, hasn’t been received too well in India, where the company hopes to gain traction on the mid to lower-end front.


Photo via Bloomberg News


Samsung, LG & Others Jab Apple While It’s Down During #Bendgate


The battle for smartphone supremacy hasn’t always been pretty, although some of the smartphones themselves are quite dazzling these days. Whether it’s in court between lawyers, online between fanboys or in back-and-forth snooty advertisements, Apple and Samsung haven’t exactly pulled any punches in past spats.

But with the hashtag #Bendgate going viral in regards to iPhone 6 Plus’s apparent structural weakness, it wasn’t just Apple’s main rival, Samsung, jumping into the fray. Though, one has to admit the Korean electronics giant is enjoying this way too much.

Fellow Korean company LG landed a punch with a tweet showing off the curved LG G Flex.

HTC threw in an elbow, too, showing off their HTC One M8’s aluminum casing. This writer doesn’t understand the picture on the right. Something something, aluminum alloy.

Even KitKat got in on the action. When a candy bar that melts on instant contact, let alone in a pocket, is kicking you, that’s harsh.

Here are a few more miscellaneous #bendgate tweets:

Apple definitely isn’t ignoring the issue, as they’ve promised to replace bent iPhones, as long as they fall under replacement guidelines. But in any case (which the iPhone should come with, har har), Apple’s not losing out on too much. The iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus sold 10 million units in three days–even without launching in China.

We would like to present our tips to properly maintaining your smartphone or phablet from any maker, brought to you by common sense:

1. Stick with your first instinct: If there’s any hint of doubt that your phone won’t fit in your pocket, don’t put it in your pocket. And for the love of Steve Jobs, don’t put it in your back pocket.

2. Get a case: Better grip and protection are no-brainers. If you’re whiny about the phone’s natural beauty, you can always remove the case when you want to get intimate with the device.

3. (For men in particular) Get a handbag/purse/tote: Women, most of you have it covered. Guys, if you didn’t know, men’s bags are in. Bags are things you can put stuff in. You can be stylish and functional, as opposed to wearing cargo pants all the time, which is only the latter.

4. Don’t buy your phone at launch: Seriously, why not read up on what you’re buying before you do so? There are so many options on the market, and maybe the latest thing from your favorite manufacturer isn’t the best for you. Brand loyalty only goes as far as your wallet, from the brand’s point of view. Do some research, but with a caveat.

5. Life goes on, and the tech industry goes on even faster: Get over it. Your device will be obsolete in a matter of months. Enjoy the banter and the privilege of having $500-$900 devices you get to choose from. The world is bigger and more beautiful than your 4 to 5 inch AMOLED/4k/Retina Display screen.


SKorean Smartphone Film Festival Features Eclectic Entries


In a world of YouTube and viral videos, smartphone footage is found aplenty online. But among the masses, there are those who push the boundaries of what stories can be filmed with a smartphone camera, and when it’s done correctly, the results can be quite interesting.

South Korea’s fourth Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival announced this year’s eight winners earlier this week, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The awards went to short films that were created exclusively on mobile devices.

It’s a fitting contest for a country that has 80 percent of its population using smartphones. A jury of Korean filmmakers handed out the awards this year to a diverse group of films and contestants, ranging from elementary school students to a 73-year-old man representing 43 countries. Nearly 1,000 films were submitted, marking a 30 percent increase from last year’s submissions.

In the 10-minute category, Kim Tae-yung’s Artificial Intelligence and Sylvain Certain’s Cercle Vicieux took the $8,000 cash prize and smart device. Yoo Su-jin’s The Prayer and Sathapranavan Sathasivam’s God is Dead took the top honors for the one minute category.

Artificial Intelligence:

The Future of Tongue:

Four special prizes of $3,000 and a smart device were given to filmmakers from Korea. You can view the rest of the winning films at the festival’s website.

Monday's Link Attack: Korean Zombie, Clara C, Kraze Burger

‘Korean Zombie’ ties UFC mark with 7-second KO of Hominick
USA Today

The Korean Zombie turned off The Machine so quickly it tied an official record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Popular featherweight Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung knocked out Mark “The Machine” Hominick in seven seconds Saturday at UFC 140 in Toronto. That tied UFC’s mark for fastest knockout.

Hominick praised Jung afterward, but also admitted that he started the fight recklessly. The fight began with Hominick moving forward with his hands down as he looked to land his own power punches.

Jung took advantage by connecting with a right hand squarely to the temple, sending the other man tumbling to the ground. The Korean never gave Hominick a chance to recover, immediately rushing to stand over him and throw punches at his face until he went limp for a moment, eliciting an immediate stoppage from referee Herb Dean.

Chick-fil-A worker fired for offending Asian customers
Los Angeles Times

A cashier at the Chick-fil-A restaurant at UC Irvine has been fired after she put offensive names mocking Asian customers on their receipts.

Rather than take the names of two Asian customers, she typed “Ching” and “Chong,” which appeared, respectively, on the two customers’ receipts, according to Kelvin Lee, a UC Irvine student and friend of the customers. He posted photos of the receipts on his Tumblr account.

Since then, the post has spread through the blogosphere, attracting negative attention to the fast-food chain, which has already garnered animus from some corners because of its openly Christian roots and connection to conservative stances.

Company officials say the incident doesn’t reflect corporate views and stands in stark contrast to its ethos.  It was “simply [a] case of immaturity, failed judgment and human error” on the part of one employee, said Don Perry, Chick-fil-A’s vice president for public relations.

Silent UC Berkeley protester detained
The Daily Californian

Alex Kim, a UC Berkeley senior and Occupy Cal protester who took a vow of silence, was detained Sunday by UCPD officers on Sproul Plaza, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.

At around 4:38 p.m., a few officers approached a group of demonstrators sitting on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall and handcuffed Kim before taking him away, said junior Katie Rapp.

“I was so surprised,” Rapp said. “They just grabbed him.”


Chinese Fisherman Kills South Korean Coast Guardsman
New York Times

A South Korean Coast Guard member was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman on Monday during a crackdown on illegal fishing near South Korea, the Coast Guard said.

Nine Chinese crewmen violently resisted South Korean coast guardsmen trying to impound their 66-ton boat about 120 miles west of Incheon, near the border with North Korea, according to a Coast Guard statement.

Another Chinese ship rammed into the boat, and amid the confusion, the Chinese rebelled, said Chi Geun-tae, a Coast Guard spokesman, citing a preliminary report from the scene.

Former female prosecutor arrested over corruption suspicion
Korea Herald

A former female prosecutor embroiled in a corruption scandal was arrested on Monday to be questioned over allegations that she received a luxury sedan and a designer handbag in return for peddling her influence, prosecutors dealing with the case said.

SHOWBIZ: Fine company with Clara C
New Straits Times (Malaysia)

It is the age of the YouTube artist — the ultra-engaging, crowd-friendly product of an environment where everything including love, sweat and tears is shared.

Clara C is a good example of this.

Despite having arrived on our shores in the wake of concerts by two other YouTube celebrity singers, Jayesslee and Greyson Chance, Clara dazzled the audience at the Bentley Auditorium in Damansara Mutiara recently with her infectious, bubbly brand of singing.

The Korean-American singer was spontaneous, funny and witty — and the 300-plus strong crowd loved every minute she was on stage.

Kuala Lumpur is the second leg of her five-city Asia Pacific tour, having already performed at Singapore’s Esplanade Recital Studio the day before. Clara will perform in three more locations: The Music Museum in Manila, Arrow on Swanston in Melbourne, and the Basement in Sydney.

L.A. film critics association names Yoon Jung-hee best actress of 2011
Korea Herald

South Korean actress Yoon Jung-hee was chosen as the best actress of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) for her lead role in the award-winning South Korean film “Poetry.”

The association announced a list of the 2011 award winners, including Yoon, on Sunday (L.A. standard time).

Yoon won the honor, beating her close competitor from Hollywood, Kirsten Dunst, the winner of the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her performance in “Melancholia,” the association said.

Korea’s Kraze Burger Aims to Cash in on US Craze
Voice of America

Americans are used to hearing about the latest McDonald’s opening in a remote part of the world, but it’s unusual to see a foreign food franchise setting up in the United States, especially one selling the most quintessential of American foods: hamburgers.

However, one plucky chain of Korean restaurants is doing just that, and recently opened its first U.S. branch in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

Video: Student “freaks out” in library over others “breathing loudly”
Yahoo News

This video from the California State University, Northridge campus has ignited controversy across the Internet this morning. In the video, reportedly taken during finals week, a female student loses her temper with her fellow students, accusing them of being disruptive. (Be warned, there are a few choice words whispered during the rant):

[Recap] Saturday Night Live Korea, Episode 1 – Poking Fun at Politics

“Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea” finally aired its inaugural episode last weekend, and I have to admit I was more than ecstatic to see my favorite U.S. comedy show air in Korea. It did a pretty good job of living up to the “SNL” name with a lot of political/cultural parodies. Kim Joo Hyuk also did a flawless job of running the show live as the first host.

Student Develops Smartphone App About N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

Kim Min-jong, a 26-year-old student in the Department of North Korean Studies at Korea University, made the country’s first Smartphone app providing expert information on North Korea. Over 1,000 people have downloaded it in the week since its launch, and the app is in the region of 20th on Podgate, which ranks the top 300 most popular apps.

Kim planned and produced the app, and spent W5 million (US$1=W1,126) to make the project a reality through an app developer. It can be downloaded for free on Android.

Penguins F Park has broken foot
Miami Herald

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Richard Park is slated to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured foot.

Pens head coach Dan Byslma made the announcement following Monday’s practice. Reports indicate that Park suffered the injury while blocking a shot in the late stages of Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Philadelphia.

The 35-year-old native of South Korea returned to the NHL after a one-year absence, signing on with Pittsburgh. He has totaled two goals and seven points in 21 games this year.

Wedding Announcement: Jung Pak and Jay Habermann
New York Times

Jung Hyun Pak and Jonathan Brewster Habermann were married Saturday afternoon. The Rev. Richard D. Sloan, an Episcopal priest, performed the ceremony at St. Paul’s Chapel on the campus of Columbia University in Manhattan.

The couple met at Colgate University, from which they graduated. They also have graduate degrees from Columbia; the bride received a Ph.D. in United States history and the bridegroom an M.B.A.

The bride, 37, was until December 2008 an adjunct assistant professor of American history at Hunter College. From 2003 to 2004, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where she created an archive on the late Horace G. Underwood, a professor at the university and a Presbyterian missionary. The bride is a trustee of Colgate.

She is a daughter of Kwan Song Pak of Flushing, Queens, and the late Ok Sook Pak. The bride’s father owns and operates a tailor shop in Manhattan that bears his name.

Traffic in Vietnam
via channelAPA

Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.


New App Offers Glimpse Into North Korean Society

A new application for the iPhone and iPad gives outsiders a rare glimpse into modern North Korean society.

The free app, available here, is called Fotopedia North Korea and launched last week. It is the brainchild of French photographer Eric Lafforgue, one of the few foreign photojournalists to receive a visa to work in North Korea.

The collection of well over 1,000 high-quality photos show North Koreans in all walks of life. The collection also includes propaganda materials, public monuments and cityscapes.

Korea to Steve Jobs: Give Us The iPhone 4!

It looks like South Koreans will be waiting a while before they get their hands on the coveted iPhone 4. The supergadget releases at the end of July in 17 countries including Singapore and Hong Kong, but not in Korea. And it seems that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is blaming the Korean government.


“It’s going to take just a little bit longer to get government approval there,” Jobs said at a press conference. But as reported by The Choson Ilbo, Korea never received an application.

“The Korea Communications Commission, which gives the green light to sales of electronic communications devices, issued a quick response denying responsibility, saying the Radio Research Agency has yet to receive an application to test the electromagnetic frequency levels of the iPhone 4.

KT, the distributor, appears to have been caught off guard. On its website it published the full text of Apple’s response to its queries in which the company admits that a delay in its preparation is behind the two-month postponement.”

Many are also upset about another comment Jobs made at the press conference. When asked about the iPhone 4’s reception glitches, he complained of an American press campaign against Apple. “Would you rather that we were a Korean company, instead of an American company?” he asked.

Korea saw its first iPhone, the 3GS offered in 2009, almost three years after the U.S. launch of the original iPhone.


Photo from Fast Company