International threats, hacking scandals, a major production company brought to its knees and a hilarious Dr. Evil Saturday Night Live bit later, these past couple of months have been a wild ride for Sony’s film The Interview. Starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, the premise of the film is centered around two talk show hosts being tasked with assassinating the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.
It is widely believed, even by the FBI, that North Korea is responsible for retaliating against Sony with a massive data breach that exposed many terabytes of confidential information from Sony’s computers to the world. The data released globally ranged from completed films like Annie to medical records of famous celebrities.
Recently Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt appeared on the Martha Kearny show on BBC Radio 4. At about the 4:27 mark in the interview, he describes how Google Glass looks and works, and he likes that we can talk to it. When asked when we could expect to see them on the market, his response was “probably a year-ish away”, but they will monitor the feedback they get from the developers who will be getting their Explorer Editions in the coming months.
Google’s executive chair Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson have arrived in North Korea. The trip has been described as a goodwill mission to the country that in many respects is cut off from the rest of the world. It should be no surprise that Schmidt, a big believer in opening up access to the Internet to all people, would be interested in establishing a relationship and possibly starting the process of changing North Korea’s stance. The visit comes at a time when tensions have notched up a bit between the U.S. and North Korea over some of North Korea’s military moves, like the recent test firing of an intercontinental capable missile. The timing of the trip had not been disclosed previously.
Google head honcho Eric Schmidt is all set for for a visit to North Korea as part of a goodwill mission with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. While the country is identified as a potential hotspot oozing with technological and academic talent, North Korea country is mainly known for its almost militaristic-style government and a country with restrictive internet policies. For now, North Koreans currently has access to a built-in intranet, though access to outside content through the internet is currently not available. While Google is not likely to launch a business venture in North Korea, it is likely that the country is interested in Google specialties as email, maps and products and services. But then again, there is the potential that Google may push for North Korea to embrace access to the World Wide Web: Schmidt is no doubt a supporter for granting internet access for any and all people in the world and also believes “the Internet and mobile technology have the power to lift people out of poverty and political oppression”. It’s also possible that we may see the overall expansion of Android into the country as well.
Regardless of what it is that comes out of this meeting, it should be something that should progress the isolated country. We’ll know what happens soon enough as Schmidt and Richardson are due to arrive to North Korea possibly as early as this month.
source: Associated Press
If you were a looking for a tablet device in a closed country like North Korea, which is largely ostracized by much of the world even in matters of trade, how would you go about doing so? One option may be to get one from a company producing them “in country.” That option may be a reality based on a photograph that recently surfaced from Pyongyang.
The photo shows Choi Cheol Min of the Chosun Computer company holding what appears to be about a 10-inch tablet. Based on the screen, the device may be running Google’s Android operating system. In the background is a shelf full of boxes labeled with “Samjiyon” which is the name of a tablet maker in North Korea. However, it is not clear whether the device being held by Choi is the same device sold in the boxes.
Sources have noted the irony of a closed country like North Korea, which goes so far as to cut off access to much of the Internet, taking advantage of an open-source project like Android in order to produce a tablet device. We don’t anticipate an announcement any time soon regarding availability of the device in other markets.
source: Wall Street Journal
For the next 100 days, mobile phone use is punishable by death.
This is the news we’re hearing trickling out of North Korea, where the country is in mourning for the death of Kim Jong-il. This will continue for 100 days out of “respect” for the late dictator. Anyone found to be using a mobile phone during this period will be labeled a war criminal for which the penalty guarantees jail time and in some cases, death.
Though not an explicit reason, it seems likely that this outlawing of mobile phones also has to do with the the events from Spring 2011. In a time without concrete central power, the Korean government surely wants to prevent any sort of uprising that could occur from mobile phone coordination.
The decision is plain surreal to those of us here in the western world. What would you do without your phone for 100 days? While mobile phones aren’t as ubiquitous in North Korea, for the supposed 700,000 who do have and use them, just imagine being in their shoes when you fire up your favorite app.