Tweetbot for Mac

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So I used the Alpha and Beta of Tweetbot for Mac.   It’s a great program.   It’s much better than the official Twitter app or the web app.  In my estimation it was easily the best Desktop Twitter client around.  I also use Tweetbot on iPhone.  I was excited for it to go final.   And then, I found out the price.  Twenty dollars is just more than I’m willing to spend on a desktop Twitter client.  Especially one that won’t work on many of the desktop machines I use.  

I’m what you would call a fairly casual Twitter user.  I use Twitter, I like Twitter.  I think it’s more useful than Facebook for sharing fun stuff with friends and colleagues.   I love it as a way to surface cool stuff that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.   However, I hardly know anyone else who uses Twitter to post things.  Almost all my friends are on Facebook and active posters, pretty much none of them are active Twitter users, and the ones that  are are just promoting their work, or duplicating their Facebook statuses.    So in that regard 20 dollars is a lot to ask.  

Secondly, as good as Tweetbot is, the fact that they are charging per platform while a reasonable decision doesn’t work very well for me.   I’m a Mac and Windows user.  Sometimes i’m on one sometimes I”m on the other and for a client that only works on my computer half of the time that’s a huge ask.   

Thirdly, I sympathize with their position.  Twitter is being totally unreasonable by limiting the number of keys a developer can have so they have to maximize their profit out of each one.   I can’t understand their decision.

Like i said the Mac version of Tweetbot is a pretty good piece of software.  However, it’s only for serious Tweeters, people who really need it for their job.   Not for people who like following people and reading updates.    For 3-5 bucks on iOS it’s a great value.  For 20 bucks, just too much for me.   

 

 

5 things I miss about Korea

 

 

 

 

So I’ve been home for several months now.   I’ve had time to really think about what it is that I miss from Korea and not what is just reverse culture shock.  These were the 5 most striking points.    I actually miss many other things but these things pop up in my head all the time.  Soon  I’ll talk about some of the stuff I really was glad to come home to.   

 

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#5 Ubiquitious MiniMarts

It’s amazing how often I find myself yearning for  these.   It may just be the adjustment to suburban living but I really miss having Family Mart, 7-11, Buy the Way, and so on all over the place.   I mean if you lived or Seoul or Busan you couldn’t go ten minutes in any given direction without hitting one or more of these minimarts.   They sold just about anything you’d need for a quick bite to eat, or drink or an umbrella without making a big trip up to E-Mart or what have you.   

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 #4 Living Without a Car

This kind of ties in with the previous one, I loved having everything right there at my finger tips without having to worry about how I was going to get there.  Everything I truly needed was within walking distance.   One or two neighborhoods over,  take the bus.   Across town, or out to the ‘burbs  take the subway.  All the way across Korea–KTX will get you there.  You could even get standing room tickets on the KTX the same day in a lot of cases.

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#3 Kindy Students 

I don’t know if many hagwon teachers realize how special some of their kids are.   What I wouldn’t give to have my Poly kindergarten kids with the kind of freedom that American teachers enjoy in lesson planning and instruction.Of course American teachers have problems and of course Korean hagwon kids  have problems.  Having students who are struggling because they’re only reading one year ahead of their actual grade level, is a good problem to have.   It’s far less frustrating than dealing with a fourth grader who reads like a first grader. 

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#2 Korean Food

Anyone who has read this blog before knows I’m a gigantic fan of Korean food.  So it should come as no great surprise that I miss it greatly.   It’s not even that I can’t make it at home.  I’ve bought boxes of Shin Ramen and great big glass jars of kimchi but I miss the ubiquity of it.  I miss under 5 dollar kimbap shops.  I miss afterwork soju and samgyupsal.  I really miss all of it.   Frankly sandwich shops are a poor trade for a Kimbap Chunguk.  Even though I can cook it, I just can’t duplicate the taste of kimchi jiggae on a cold day. 

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#1 The Foreigner Community

Most of all I miss the Foreigner community.  Almost any foreigner you meet in Korea has a similar well of experiences.  They’ve all experienced the same WTF moments, the same great moments.  There’s just a very homogenous thing about being an outside in the hermit kingdom that’s really quite cool.  I could strike up a conversation about  the same familiar things with almost anyone I met.  Compared to the states where I’ve got to carefully look for an in, something I have in common with this person.    I also deeply miss many of the people I met over there. Sure sometimes you go to an event like Mud Festival that could just be described as foreigners behaving badly and it’s a bit embarrassing.  THen there are those other times where you strike up a conversation with a stranger and even though your lives back home were totally different you have a really consistent common set of experiences in Korea.  

Subway and Bus fares on the rise

The Korea Times is reporting a bit of bad news.

The subway and bus fares in Seoul are on the rise.  Sometime in early 2012, they’re going to raise the fares 200 won, making an average transaction 1100 won with T-money.

The fares will go into effect gradually.  100 won  will go into effect in November, then later another 100 will kick in.

Still, compared with cities of similar size, it’s pretty reasonably priced.

Hong Kong Slideshow

Here is a slideshow of some of the best of the photos which I took in Hong Kong.

Asia’s Global city

So, for Chuseok I went to Hong Kong and Macau.  It was a really wonderful trip.  The bizzarre thing about it is it’s hard to pinpoint what was so wonderful about Hong Kong.

I think it’s great selling point, especially from someone living in Seoul, is how international it is.   I mean it was a hunt to find Chinese food in Hong Kong.  Western food from steak houses to McDonalds on the other hand were all over the place.  We found some Chinese food, but it was a bit of a hunt.

Not only that but if you like shopping Hong Kong has every premiere brand I’ve ever heard of there.  From Apple and Armani to Prada and Rolex if you want something expensive you can find it in Hong Kong.  Or if you want something cheap they have a huge selection of  pretty good knock-offs  and discount items.  I got a great ironic t-shirt.

 

Not only that but English was everywhere.   I was expecting it to be Seoul-like with most of the working class people only speaking Cantonese.  However, English was so common here.  It makes me so jealous.

It was a city with some beautiful sites to see.    The Skyline of the city was wonderful both from the ferry and from the top on The Peak’s observation deck.   The skyline also showed itself extremely pretty from the waters between Hong Kong proper and Kowloon.

The trip out to Lan Tau was a pretty remarkable side expedition.  The glass-bottomed cable car proved every bit worth the wait in the long line.   The Big Buddha was a pretty beautiful statue.  I was tempted with the cynical thought that if you’ve seen one Buddha you’ve seen them all but I think no that really isn’t the case as each beautiful statue I go to see is as cool as the last one.  The real star of this was the glass-bottomed cable car ride. The view up and down the mountain path is truly spectacular.    When you come over a hill and see the giant statue at the end of a long stretch of trees it’s quite spectacular.

Macau was really another great side trip.   If you don’t like gambling their is just enough to spend about a day wandering around this small island part of China.    It’s got a unique look thanks to several hundred years of Portugese occupation.  Also it’s one of the few places in the Far East that allows everyone to gamble on casino games.  So they have several big Casinos there.   We went to the Sands, and I won about $60 US playing black jack.   I was surprised to see row after row of baccarat tables.

I think the real star of the trip though was just the overall look and feel of Hong Kong.  I’d reccomend it to anyone looking for a break from Seoul’s somewhat provincial attitudes.

Macau live diary

Should Have Seen It: Casablanca

So Casablanca turned out to be another film which earned its reputation. It’s the kind of film they just don’t make anymore, for better and for worse. I hope that does not sound like bleary nostalgia, its more of a description than anything as some of the movie just screams,”This was made a long time ago.”

The film starts with a long introduction of the scene and an enormous amount of expository dialogue. It takes almost one-third of the film to know who all the principles are and what it is that they’re doing.

The importance of Casablanca may be lost on a modern audience. It was a way-station on the route out of Nazi occupied Europe for many people fleeing to America via Lisbon Portugal.

This owed to it being controlled by the Vichy French government, puppets of Berlin. Some of the tension in this film depends on this understanding– which I imagine everyone knew when this was released in 1942.

Once the story gets started, it has two tracks. A love story between Rick and Ilsa and an escape story involving a few more characters. Bogart and Bergman excel in both roles and have tremendous chemistry together.

A great deal about this film had been spoiled for me because of all the references over the years but seeing these scenes in their full context was rewarding.

The action in this film is great for how little action is in it. A gun is shown a few times in the film but only rarely are they fired. This gives real emotional weight to the scenes where the characters are willing to resort to guns.

Speaking of spoilers the ending deserves special discussion. I think the idea of spoiling one of the most well known scenes in a seventy year old film is absurd but if you don’t want to read about the ending stop reading now.

The ending is the good of why they don’t make films like this. Bogart chooses duty to humanity over being with his love. Oddly the film succeeds at making this a touching and bittersweet but not sad moment. I can not picture a modern film maker succeeding so completely.

One final note. I loved the beautiful theme to this movie’s score. Time goes by was a beautiful piece of piano. It complemented the feeling of the film exceptionally.