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Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 1) 213

by Froomb (#37396682) Attached to: Apple Bans Game App That Criticizes Smartphone Production

So Apple is deemed evil for removing a game treating worker suicides as grist for a clever post-modern parody of jaded consumerism? The "evil Foxconn drives its exploited workers into suicidal despair" meme is apparently now so entrenched its supposed truth is the stuff of games. Nasty Apple for choosing not to endorse a superficial falsehood presently crudely and for lucre.

Comment: Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 608

by Froomb (#34598508) Attached to: North Korea Says War With South Would Go Nuclear

A sad parody that resonates all with well of the general ignorance about North Korea endlessly amplified in media outside Korea. Is that you Nick Eberstadt?!

The next time you see a talking head on the tube speaking about NK or read another hyped-up "nuke the bastards" blog piece, just do a quick reality check and ask yourself if the author can speak a word of the language or even name three cities in NK and two major events in Korean history before 1900.

Here in Seoul, where I've lived off and on for over 30 years and hang out a major university the mood towards NK continues to be blase. And (for all you fans of the free market place) land places up in Paju, say in Munsan, near the DMZ continue to be high and certainly don't appear to be discounting the future value of a nuclear war.

I'm certainly no fan of the north, but before evoking the need to obliterate the place, those of us who are Americans might well pause a moment to ponder why nowhere in the U.S. (corrections are welcome) is there any public recognition of the massive NK civilian deaths (1 million plus) brought about by U.S. bombing in the Korean War, dwarfing HIroshima, Nakasaki, and the Tokyo and Dresden firebombing combined. "They had it coming"??? Because NK initiated a massive attack in a civil war attempting to reunify through force the country in 1950, not a war against the U.S.? Because were somehow so alien, so very *Asian*, that their deaths don't even merit a moment of self-reflection? Because they were "filthy nationalist Communists" and thereby deserved to be indiscriminately slaughtered? From a NK perspective the U.S. air force pilots were mass murderers (including, sadly, John Glenn) and the parent poster ably presents the rhetorical spirit that so effortlessly provokes their paranoia.

Then there's the not so small matter of the nuclear weapons that the U.S. is universally believed to have based at Gunsan and Osan airbases (without the SK population ever being allowed a say in the matter) from the 1950s to the early 1990s, mere miles from NK, essentially threatening them with nuclear obliteration.

North Korea has its deep problems, but it is filled with interesting, talented people who deserve better leadership than the brutal Kim regime that has derived so much of its legitimacy from standing up to the U,S.

Comment: Re:Truth hurts. (Score 1) 299

by Froomb (#34078618) Attached to: South Korean Cartoonists Cry Foul Over Edgy Simpsons Intro

To me, calling a nation full of people with PVRs in their pockets "3rd world" is ridiculous.

Amen. Ride the green subway line in southern Seoul during rush hour and note how at least three out of four commuters are using their wired-in gadgets. More to economic point, South Korea is a member of the rich countries clubs, including the OECD and is hosting the G20 summit next month. I'm not sure what definition the "3rd world" held by grandfather poster is, but South Korea is not it. Try the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, etc. and s/he'd be much closer.

Comment: Re:Modern South Korea (Score 5, Interesting) 299

by Froomb (#34078588) Attached to: South Korean Cartoonists Cry Foul Over Edgy Simpsons Intro

if korea (et al) are successful, fine; but its not successful on honorable reasons. it has been stealing jobs and there's no way to compete when you NEED healthcare in the US and that, alone, is enough to disbalance things unfairly.

I sympathize with your frustration, but have felt this for America likely long before you. The small Kansas town in which I grew up (pop. 150) flourished in my father's lifetime with a bank, hotel, drug store, barber, etc. But by my youth in the 1960s, only two repair garages and a tavern remained; essentially it was a ghost town, and even lost its high school. Thanks to the automobile and better roads (an ICBM station nearby got us asphalt roads), almost all the jobs were "outsourced" to the big city, Tokpeka. Then in my late adolescence the same happened to Topeka, when the Goodyear tire plant (once the largest in the world) scaled back its production, putting Topeka on the skids and the economic energy went to Kansas City, Chicago, and the coasts. And this was the 1970s. This hollowing out process due to changing technology, mobility of capital and labor has continued in the U.S. for the past century and likely will continue apace globally, as borders become less relevant. Some companies, such as Apple and Catepillar have been able have been able to adapt and create products desired around the world, others such Zenith and RCA have fallen into senescence.

I'm not sure what you mean by "honorable reasons", but the meme that Asians cheat at trade hasn't really been a fair observation since even the GATT says in the 1980s and certainly not since the WTO began in 1995. Basically the reason South Koreans got ahead was because even though they have few resources they worked harder than everyone in the world, saved as much as they could, and sacrificed for higher education. Among other things they created world-class steelmaking, shipbuilding, and semiconductor industries out of nothing, using mostly Japanese capital and technology, since the U.S. viewed them as foolish to have such ambitions from the 1960s.

At present, South Korea does more trade with China than the U.S., and they are one of the few countries that manage a balance of payments surplus with China because they produce goods that the Chinese want to buy. Moreover, the largest group of foreign students in China are South Koreans and the largest group of foreign students in South Korea are Chinese. South Korea remains firmly in the U.S. camp militarily and is grateful for the troops stationed here (though they get almost no credit in the U.S. for the sizable contingent of troops they sent to Vietnam and Iraq), but over time, the U.S. is gradually becoming much less important to the nation's future, as evidenced by the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) they recently signed with the European Union, while the prospective one with the U.S. is stalled, largely due to protectionist sentiments.

South Korea is by no means perfect and they go overboard at time on anti-American issues such as fears of beef BSE contamination, but on the whole they are a hard-working, highly educated people who deserve the success they have achieved by dint of great efforts over decades.

Comment: Re:Modern South Korea (Score 3, Informative) 299

by Froomb (#34077420) Attached to: South Korean Cartoonists Cry Foul Over Edgy Simpsons Intro

As a expat resident of Seoul who has been coming to Korea since 1976, I'll second this. The ROK has made huge strides over the past generations, from desperate poverty to relative wealth. South Korea is a member of the OECD and will host the G20 summit next month. There is a large and vibrant middle class, the economy is growing at a nice clip (~6%) and Korean companies are kicking Japan's corporate ass. Americans largely aren't tuned into Korean popular culture, but much of the rest of Asia is, with 1000s of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, HKer, etc. arriving daily to shop and hang out in places made famous in Korean TV soaps and films. Essentially life is very good here (as a university professor) and a welcome relief from the insane political rhetoric in the U.S. There is universal literacy here, with a majority of South Korean high school grads going to university, although admittedly unemployment post-graduation can be daunting. The big problem in South Korea is the high cost of real estate, with an average 2-bedroom apartment in Seoul going for between $500K - $750K and 3-bedrooms, often over $1m in nicer neighborhood. For those not already in the real estate market, it's almost impossible to buy in without support from relatives.

North Korea is another story, but even there a nascent market economy has arisen in the past decade, joint ventures with the South, show long-term promise, new universities have been founded with foreign support, and likely gains substantial economic support from NK refugees abroad. The NK workers lucky enough to work on animation likely enjoy a privileged status and consider themselves fortunate. It's the famers who have the hardest lot, as the north has never been all that productive given the harsh climate, and the small scale of production together with lack of advanced machinery and fertilizer put them at a major disadvantage.

Comment: Re:chemistry of n-hexane (Score 1) 260

by Froomb (#34071974) Attached to: Workers Poisoned Making Touchscreen Hardware

Either ABC news in Australia has been trolled by the workers' lawyers, or they were deliberately looking for a sensational story to highlight problems in China and presented it disingenuously as if it were current news.

It's odd they need to bring up an incident that dates from 2009 and that no mention was made of Wintek, rather than imply it was an Apple-controlled factory.

Apparently the situation for workers in China is now so good that critics have to recycle old news to gain attention?

Comment: Re:Is anyone surprised? (Score 1) 289

by Froomb (#33857706) Attached to: Chinese Nobel Winner's Wife Detained

Not to mention the 1 million plus North Korean civilians who died due to aerial bombing during the Korean War, as every urban area in North Korea was destroyed through indiscriminate bombardment. Near the end of the war, the U.S. was bombing dikes and dams in an attempt to "soften" the morale of the public through mass starvation.

The North was of is hardly a pacific, gentle state, but how is that their surprise attack on the southern zone in 1950 and launching of a civil war somehow justifies the mass slaughter of civilians in the minds of Americans, that is when they bother to remember the carnage at all.

Because only "conventional" bombs were dropped, the deaths are somehow not deemed morally comparable to those of Nagasaki or Hiroshima. And because they are not Western, while the bombing of Dresden is lamented and storied in books and films, that over North Korea is simply ignored.

Comment: Average iphone/ipad user (Score 1) 298

Just to provide another perspective, one not often seen on slashdot, that of a "normal" consumer. I'm comfortable with computers, have used windows since 1983 and macs since 1987. As a mostly harried laborer in the vineyards of academia, I enjoy keeping up with technology though the usual surrogates, but haven't run linux (debian, mandrake) or freebsd for some time. Mostly i am busy doing things in real life. And over time I've found apple products to my liking: a good blend of power, elegance, and quality.

As for iphone apps, personally I like knowing that someone, somewhere holds the apps to a minimal standard of compliance with guidelines that tend at least minimally to insure the security of my information and the general integrity of the program. That's one reason I feel comfortable buying ios apps on a whim and trying them out. I've probably spent around 1K on the app store in the past two years and much enjoyed exploring all the imaginative possibilities that developers have provided.

My simple point is this: the iphone and ipad enjoy a large and growing audience willing to pay blindly for new apps precisely because we trust they have been vetted. It seems to me Ron Gilbert wants it both ways. On the one hand he wants the freedom to do whatever he wishes with ios devices and to allow its users the freedom to install any and all programs on the one hand, and he also wants access to the global audience of 100+ million credit-card-carrying ios owners, who spend money freely largely because they trust their devices not to cheat them with crappy apps or rob them blind through data theft, on the other.

As others have opined, what not go Android? Its users seem to comprise a fascinating set of anarchists, first-adopters, techies, principled FOOS devotees, and likely a smidgen of frustrated Verizon iphone lovers. That's a group I would have surely have joined 20 years ago (had it existed) when I had enough time to enjoy my genteel poverty.

But not now. And I'm willing to spend quite a bit of money for tech that satisfies the needs of a busy lifestyle. If developers want access to me and those like me (not a few in this world, I think), then ios is the place.

There's room in this world for both MOMA and for local art flea markets, where on a good day you just might spot a future Van Gogh lurking among the seascapes and velvet Elvis renditions.

Comment: Re:highest ethical standards (Score 1) 218

by Froomb (#33258494) Attached to: Apple Manager Arrested In Kickback Scheme

Have you looked at the Chinese labor market recently? There's a shortage of workers in many places--esp. in Gwangdong--and considerable mobility for workers who are unhappy with their current job. Gross abuses likely still exist in small factories, but the larger ones have to compete on the basis of wages and amenities. The new frontier appear to be Vietnam, and conditions there bear close monitoring, IMO.

Comment: Re:InformationWeek on Windows Phone 7's app store (Score 1) 610

by Froomb (#32253292) Attached to: iPhone SDK Agreement Shuts Out HyperCard Clone

And there is this thing called the "Android Market" where you can (yes, it's true!) buy applications! Amazing, isn't it, that someone was able to come up with something that's just as functional as an Apple product? More to the point, a developer can sign up for the market for the princely sum of $25, and the SDKs are free (yes, free.)

Yes, but too bad if the developer lives in, say, Canada or South Korea. Google only allows developers from a charmed group of nine countries to sell for-pay applications in the Android Market and refuses to say why the others can't do so or if in the future they will be allowed. Very free and open. . .

Comment: Re:multitouch and Apple (Score 1) 174

by Froomb (#31017302) Attached to: Nexus One Update Fixes 3G, Adds Multitouch
How about Patent 7,479,949(358 pages) granted to Apple on January 20, 2009, which contains language such as:

"In some embodiments, a multi-finger de-pinching gesture magnifies the image 1606 by a variable amount in accordance with the position of the multi-finger de-pinching gesture and the amount of finger movement in the multi-finger de-pinching gesture. In some embodiments, a multi-finger pinching gesture demagnifies the image 1606 by a variable amount in accordance with the position of the multi-finger pinching gesture and the amount of finger movement in the multi-finger pinching gesture."

IANAL, but almost certainly prior art was considered at every stage of the drafting and granting of this patent. IMO those who cavalierly invoke early versions of multitouch technology as inherently rendering such a patent invalid have the burden of proof to demonstrate their case.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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