Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview: Mr. Lee Han-soo, Mayor of Iksan City

The world's major countries are paying increasing attention to the new value of the food industry. North European countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands established a food cluster to create new national wealth. Particularly in Sweden and Denmark, the Oresund food cluster created more than 60,000 new jobs, while creating yearly sales of about $48 billion.
The Oresund cluster houses a variety of food manufacturers, including the globally-renowned brewer Carlsberg, sugar maker Danisco, and Novozymes, a specialist in enzymes for food processing. Plus it also accommodates food-related companies, including the world’s largest milk pack manufacturer TetraPak and packaging specialist Reksam. Unilever and Nestle also run their own R&D centers in the Oresund food cluster.
Under this backdrop, Korea is also developing its food industry into a high value and promising future industry. A food cluster is under construction in Iksan in North Jeolla Province to be used as a forward base to promote Korea’s food exports in collaboration with the Saemangeum project.
The government is injecting 580 billion won over the next five years. The plan calls for both state and private funds to be used to set up a so-called national food cluster, to be completed by 2015. Another "HUB" in the making ;)

I interviewed Mr. Lee Han-soo, Mayor of Iksan City  to probe further.
I think that attracting the foreign investment is the key element to facilitate the national food cluster in Iksan.
We agreed to promote Iksan national food cluster through participating in SIAL 2010 Food Expo, where we will operate the food pavilion, and also hold a CEO forum for foreign invested food companies to develop the strategies to attract the investment.
The event is a global marketplace for all those involved in the food industry (retail, trade, manufacturing, catering professions, services). SIAL is where business and innovation meets. This year it will be held from October 17th to 21st at Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris. More than 185 visitor countries and 101 exhibitor countries are expected to participate
-The main goal is to become the hub of food industry in Northeast Asia. In order to achieve the goal, we should attract businesses to the cluster, and improve the standard of the technology in food industry.
The most of advanced countries try to dominate the food market in advance via aggressive investment. Thus we should continue to promote the cluster in an efficient and feasible way to become the capital of world food market. Besides, we will try to secure the national budget to attract investments so we will be able to focus on the target region and companies who have an intention to invest in the national food cluster. At the same time I would like to stress that national food cluster will be equipped with comprehensive R&D infrastructure which will improve the productivity of occupants.
-We offer various kinds of incentives for the foreign investors such as start-up assistance and support for the local transfers, employment settlement subsidy, workforce training subsidy, and etc.
With regard to the benefits of investors we are planning to develop strategies such as designation of economic free trade zone and foreign investment zone within the national food cluster hence we will be able to offer more feasible incentives to foreign investors since legal basis just has been prepared for national food cluster due to the amendment of ‘Food Industry Promotion Act’.
-In the national food cluster, ‘Food Quality Safety Management Center’, ‘Food Function Evaluation Center’, and ‘Food Packaging Center’ will be built as core R&D institutions, which will bring high-added value to the food production and processing within the cluster. The main function of each center is as follows:
1. Food Quality Safety Management Center
- The center will execute the safety and quality test for the food produced in the area which is the requirement for the export, and also offer the various consulting services
2. Food Function Evaluation Center
- The center will carry out the analysis for food, food material and functionality assessment to add a high value to the product.
3. Food Packaging Center
The center will focus on the technical development related to the design, environment-friendly packaging, and prototype food packaging.
The R&D based national food cluster which is export-oriented will be fostered as the hub for the Northeast Asia food market.
-Iksan city ensures comfortable and pleasant residential environment for investors and employees moving to live in Iksan city. Iksan city is a government-designated women-friendly city, an attractive and hopeful land of dream as a future education city with Jeonbuk University, Wonkwang University and Jeonbuk Science High School and Education Institutes nearby.
Furthermore, numerous food-related companies such as Harim, Orion and Samyang, etc. have their presence in the region. It is a safe city with virtually no natural disasters, and a comfortable and convenient city to live in with advanced social infrastructure in the areas of education, medicine, culture, and residence, etc.
-The national food cluster in Iksan is ready to secure national budget due to the completion of feasibility analysis, and legal basis is prepared by the amendment of ‘Food Industry Promotion Act’. In addition the official name of the national food cluster project is recently determined as ‘Foodpolis’ which means a food city.  I would like to ask investors for continuous interest and support for the ‘Foodpolis’, future hub for the Northeast food market.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Japanese Sitting Dog

From here:
Ban, a dog from Ibaraki prefecture, baffled its owners when it showed off its street loitering look. Thus, the clever dog jumps onto the outside wall and sits astride the ledge, whilst peering around at the neighborhood.
The wall, it’s seemingly favorite perching spot, is a chest-high structure running along the perimeter of the owner’s house. According to Ban’s bemused owners, no one taught the nifty trick to her.
They assume that the dog was tired of the lack of space inside the house and thereby, devised a way to mount walls. They also believed that this position probably appealed to Ban as it provided her with a better vantage point of the area. In this way, Ban, the sitting dog, has been straddling ledges for one year now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

International Finance Center, Seoul

When completed, the International Finance Centre (IFC) Seoul is slated to be the city's leading business destination. The 5.4 million square feet development features three A-grade office towers, a five-star hotel and a three-level luxury mall which will add a new landmark to the city's skyline. The IFC Seoul project is one of the first large-scale real estate developments in Korea to be led by an international consortium. The project, which was officially launched in 2005, is a key component in the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s plan to rejuvenate the Yeouido area and to position the area as a regional financial center, creating employment opportunities and raising the quality of life for local residents.
The master plan for IFC Seoul includes three premium commercial office towers, a five-star hotel, three-level luxury retail mall, multiplex cinema complex, fine dining, and significant new public outdoor spaces and the Seoul subway transportation system.
The project design includes four above-ground towers of crystalline appearance, three of them in the southern, western and northern corners of the site, and one positioned close to the center’s northeastern perimeter that will dominate the Yeouido skyline.
To the south will be the 29-story Two IFC office tower, which will offer some 79,000 square meters of floor space; to the west will be the 32-story One IFC with 88,000 square meters, while the northern corner will be reserved for a 450- guestroom, 38-story five-star hotel. The structure on the northeastern side of the project, Three IFC, will be 55 stories in height and, with a total office space of 160,000 square meters, will be the largest structure in the complex.
The development is the result of a unique collaboration between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and AIG Global Real Estate, which acts as the developer, finance arranger and project manager. The landmark project is expected to be completed in phases through 2012. The first phase of the IFC Seoul project, which will include the retail mall, a five-star luxury hotel, and the One International Finance Centre Seoul commercial office tower, is expected to open in mid 2011.
To learn more about the project, I caught up with Mr. Jim Kohlhoff, Vice President / Property Management and Mr. James Tyrrell, Director of Office Leasing, AIG Investments, AIG Korean Real Estate Development YH.
AIG Korean Real Estate Development YH, a member company of American International Group, Inc., is a part of AIG Global Real Estate, a group of international real estate companies that actively invests in and manages real estate for clients and AIG member companies in over more than 50 countries around the world. AIG Global Real Estate owns, manages, or has under development approximately $24 billion in equity in more than 53 million square feet of all property types in major global markets.
Mr. Kohlhoff noted that taking advantage of Seoul's growing importance as a regional financial and business center IFC Seoul offers corporations a compelling mix of world-class commercial real-estate and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
He pointed out that the project is located in the heart of Yeouido, with immediate access to major transportation systems and just next to the Han River. It is the first large scale project to come up in Yeouido since the nineties. After the initial development of the financial business district, no sites have been cleared, even as development took place in Gangnam and CBD area.
“This development is the dawn of a new era. Especially, since it will be an integrated project with quality office space, prestige hotel and shopping mall. It will be an international blend of property uses, which has never been done here before.”
The Shopping Mall is expected to attract the world’s leading luxury brands to its easily accessible and visually striking location. In addition to serving the area’s 150,000 office workers and the 6.4 million people living within a ten-kilometer radius of the project, the mall will also be an outstanding amenity for the residents of the five-star hotel and for the 25,000 future workers within the three planned office towers in IFC Seoul.
Such a concept is not found anywhere in Seoul. While the COEX mall in Gangnam does try to provide such facilities, it is still fragmented and does not gel together in one package. It was also build in the eighties, and the technology has vastly improved since then. The IFC Seoul project will take it to the next level
“Our project will take Korea into the next decade, and add vibrancy to Yeouido as a location. People who relocate here will experience a different lifestyle that is very unique and international in standard.”
Mr. Kohlhoff said that the Gangnam business district has built itself out and there are no empty sites left. At the same time it is very congested, unlike Yeouido. The IFC Seoul project will provide excellent facilities in a modern environment which will appeal to both office goers and office tenants.
Connectivity to other business districts is also excellent. Seouls’ amazing subway system connects Yeouido to Gwanghwamun in less than 15 minutes, with the new line No. 9 providing express shuttle to Gangnam area in about 12 minutes.
The key challenge, he noted is to get the tenants and to show them that IFC Seoul offers a different customer experience that is different from Gangnam and CBD. It will appeal to people looking for a more interactive lifestyle.
Speaking on competition from the other different projects that are under development, Mr. Tyrrell said that each offers something different. Songdo City for example is not located within the Seoul area, and needs to have more residential density before it really catches on as a pure office location. This could take anywhere between another 5 to 10 years. IFC Seoul on the other hand is already situated in the business district and the advantages that it offers are unmatched.
Now tenants have a lot of choice, which they did not have in the past. Currently Seoul’s commercial office market lacks large areas of contiguous floor space. Even large Korean conglomerates find that their headquarter office space is spread around the city and, for expanding international companies in Seoul, the difficulty of obtaining space to grow is significant. The IFC Seoul project is designed to accommodate the requirements of major industry tenants.
While Yeouido at present is regarded as a financial district, many more non-financial companies have shown keen interest to relocate to IFC Seoul. It is a very busy phase now, as pre-leasing agreements are being pursued. Traditionally building were not in a leasing phase 1 year before completion, it was always post completion, but the IFC Seoul project is being run in an international way and pre-leasing has started , as is common in global markets.
“We have a very robust infrastructure and it is very important that we offer our customers support. So while the buildings are state of the art, we are not just looking at customer support, but rather a customer experience program. Customer service is typically a reactive service, whereas customer experience is proactive,” Mr. Kohlhoff said.
IFC Seoul will also be one of the first few commercial mixed-use developments in Korea certified as a ‘Green Building’.
“The IFC Seoul development takes care to emphasize the natural beauty of the nearby Yeouido Park, one of Seoul’s most celebrated green spaces, with urban plazas, art-filled esplanades and a vast lawn. In addition, IFC Seoul is pursuing LEED certification as well as adherence to the Korean Green Building Council's recommendations,” he said.
The green features include: Photovoltaics to be used to make electricity; co-generation to be installed in the hotel to harvest heat from the generators to produce power; harvesting rainwater to supplement the flushing of toilets and irrigate the plaza; and comprehensive waste management practices to be employed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Korean music classes for foreigners

In case you are interested in taking Korean music classes, you should find this  interesting:
2010 Korean Music Classes for Foreigners
Period: March 06, 2010 - May 22, 2010
Place: National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, Seoul
The spring semester of 2010 Korean Traditional Music Class for Foreigners starts on March 6. The program will be conducted in English and Korean (with language assistant). The instruments necessary for the lesson will be leased during the class.
1. Duration
- Mar. 6 ~ May 22 (12 weeks) / 10:30~12:30, Every Saturday
* Costumed final presentation scheduled on May 22
2. Participation Fee
- 30,000 won (covering whole 12-week course)
3. Classes
- Janggu (Hourglass-Shaped Drum)
- Janggu for children (elementary school students)
- Gayageum (12-Stringed Zither)
- Haegeum (Two-Stringed Fiddle)
- Samulnori (Percussion Quartet, Prerequisite janggu class or basic janggu skills required)
* Classes are subject to be cancelled due to insufficient participants.
4. Application
- Period : Feb. 16 ~ Mar. 4.
- First come, first served
- How to : download application form, complete it and send it to
For more information and questions, feel free to contact Mr. Lee Baewon (02-580-3054,

Interview: Mr. Kim Hyong-O, Speaker of the National Assembly

Among the dozens of new democracies born during the so-called third wave of global democratization that began in the mid-1970s, Korea is often considered one of the most analytically interesting. It offers an interesting case on the institutionalization of representative democracy in a country that started off as a pure administrative state.

Developments in the Korean Parliament have not been smooth during the past 60 years, and this body has undergone several dramatic changes in major functions, political composition and administrative infrastructure since the establishment of the First Republic in 1948.
The Korean people have engraved democratic values and faith in their hearts and built up their potential through numerous failures and frustrations in history. The “miraculous” quality of South Korea’s democratic development arises from the fact that the very events and features which critics point to as signs and symptoms of weakness were time and again turned into opportunities to enact far-reaching reforms. As a result, a polity that was suffering from poverty, political unrest, and dictatorship as recently as twenty years ago has now joined the ranks of industrialized democracies. To be sure, there are still areas in which democratization and liberalization need to make more progress, but the foundations of a democratic order have been consolidated.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Kim Hyong-O, Speaker of the National Assembly spoke on the political system in the country and the task ahead to make it a more mature democracy. The fiollowign are excerpts
-Korea has achieved economic development and realized democracy over a relatively short period of slightly more than 60 years. This has been made possible thanks to the Korean people’s spirit of “Everything is Possible” and the achievement has been even more remarkable since it came while we were rising from the ashes of the Korean War.
But there has been a high price that Korea has had to pay as well. For example, Korea was under dictatorship for a long period of time and some aspects of democracy have not been fully implemented yet. This heritage and legacy have left us quite aggressive with a warrior-like attitude even more than 20 years after military rule came to an end. I believe that now is the time for us to change all that. We should make dialogue, reconciliation, tolerance and acceptance of differences become the norms of our political practices.
Among other things we need to address, we should improve the overall system of government. First, the Constitution should be amended. In 1987 when the Constitution was last revised, introduction of the direct election system of President meant the introduction of democracy itself. However, this step marked just the beginning of democracy, not its completion. The independence of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary branches of government should be completely ensured and the constitutional form of government needs to be fully respected. The current system puts a concentration of powers in the President’s hands and has led to a number of unfavorable side effects. One President after another has been mired in misfortune. In addition, the National Assembly Hall has become an arena for conflict to grab power. Refurbishing some of the systems on the edges cannot complete needed repairs at the heart. We need to change the main engine of the political system by ensuring the fair division and distribution of powers.
Second, operation of the National Assembly needs to be improved. It is shameful to admit that there is still offensive language and physical violence used in National Assembly meetings. Such violence should be put to a complete halt. I believe that a bicameral system such as that used by other advanced nations based on a parliamentary system could be a good option for us. If there are guarantees of the chance to raise objections and discuss issues thoroughly, there will be less room for justifying the practice of using physical force or abusive words. Another issue is the limited power given to the Speaker of the National Assembly. Once negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties break down, all activities of the National Assembly are put to a halt. The powerless Speaker is left with no option but just to wish the leadership of the ruling and opposition party would come to an agreement. This needs to change to allow the ruling and opposition parties to focus on policy-making and leave the overall proceedings of the National Assembly in the hands of the Speaker.
Last but not the least, National Assembly members should be freed from the yoke of their party platform. This means that an environment that allows them to confer and decide based on their beliefs as independent representatives of their constituents should be created. This doesn’t mean that I would deny the value in having a party platform itself. In party politics, a platform is what determines the identity of a party and the criteria on which the public base their selection. The problem comes, however, when the platform is too rigid. The days when dogmatic party limitations dominated the National Assembly should come to an end very soon.
-As all of you are well aware, the global financial crisis, sparked off by Lehman Brothers of the USA in September 2008, dealt a strong blow to the Korean economy. Since the global financial system is very closely intertwined, no country is free from the shock of the current crisis. However, Korea was more vulnerable than many other countries since its industrial structure has been heavily dependent on exports.
The foreign exchange market in Korea was directly hit by shock waves as we saw the value of the Korean won drop to more than 1,500 won to the U.S. dollar from an earlier 900 won to the dollar exchange rate. Every sector of the Korean economy was exposed to the shock. Foreign capital was poised to flee the country while domestic consumption and investment were basically frozen. Among other difficulties, skyrocketing oil prices were a huge burden to Korea, which has few natural energy resources of its own.
Notwithstanding such difficulties, all players in every different sector of the economy wisely dealt with the situation. It is true that the lessons that we got from experiences we had in 1997, which forced Korea to rely on a relief package from the International Monetary Fund, helped us greatly. While stabilizing the fluctuating exchange rate by putting in place a currency swapping system with the USA and Japan, the Korean government made efforts to revive the market by lowering interest rates and expanding government spending. In addition, the National Assembly passed a supplementary budget package in time to boost the economy putting aside longstanding conflicts that the different parties had faced over the Media Bill.
I remember that the supplementary budget volume reached around 30 trillion won, which was the largest in Korean history. Jobs for young people were created with the budget to hire interns in administrative departments while increased subsidies were provided to the poorest Koreans who did not even earn the minimum cost of living. Budgetary assistance for corporate restructuring and large-scale construction projects in the public sector were very timely and necessary at that time.
In these areas, I think political leaders have a big role to play in creating jobs and coming up with policies for the poor. Making steady efforts to ease regulation and boost regional economies are what we should be doing as well. We need to protect the economically weak because that is what is required from a representative of the people and devote ourselves to creating policies that boost the country’s growth. A good example of success in this way was the supplementary budget for 2009, which was approved with collaboration between the ruling and opposition parties that transcended all their political differences and interests. Continuing to get things done in the same way will do a lot to help the general public recover confidence in Korean politics.
-The first initiative I announced after inauguration was a call for revision of the Constitution. I did so because I have long had a strong belief that revising the Constitution is a necessary prerequisite for the development of Korean politics and Korea as a nation. The Constitution should be revised into a highly advanced set of principles that fully guarantee the division of powers.
By this, I mean that the current major trends of globalization, localization and informatization should be integrated into the values of the Constitution. In other words, the trends that have swept the world since 1987 when our Constitution was last revised should be reflected so that it can provide a new national vision better fitting the 21st century. Another challenge that I have made to the current system is the demand that we get rid of the evils of the current Presidential system, which gives too much concentrated power to the President. We can only have a well-functioning democracy in place when our political system is fully established on the strong foundation of a clear and fair division of governmental power.
It goes without saying that a move to revise the Constitution must be led by the National Assembly. As an organization that represents the people and a sanctuary of the public’s will, the National Assembly should collect opinions and win the sympathy of the people on this issue. What should be done first and foremost in order to achieve needed change is to form a commission for Constitutional revision at the National Assembly. If we miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, our failure will be long remembered, both by the general public today and throughout history.
-Balanced regional development is aimed at enhancing Korea’s national competitiveness by achieving coordinated development of its metropolitan areas and rural regions, as well as resolving the problem of excessive population in metropolitan areas, which has been such a great burden for us. Given the fact that a quarter of the nation’s population lives in Seoul – more than half of it in the Seoul Metropolitan area – it should be no surprise that we consider it a number one issue to tackle. This has also been a problem that every administration has committed to solve, but none have yet succeeded.
However, in reality, the original intent has often been distorted by conflicts of power among different regions and in some cases, it has even degenerated into an emotional war of attrition. Political leaders, including National Assembly members, must put their best efforts into solving this problem. Striving to bring more profit to one’s own region can only worsen the chronic disease that we have suffered from for so long, regionalism.
Reform of the regional administrative system has focused on the integration of different nearby areas. Currently, the special committee on reform of the regional administrative system at the National Assembly is working on system improvement while procedures are under way to integrate Seongnam, Gwangju, and Hanam into one administrative unit and Masan, Changwon and Jinhae into another.
In a nutshell, we can no longer live in the old regional administrative system, which was formed 500 years ago when carts pulled by horses and oxen were the main means of transport in our nation. By integrating the municipalities, public office buildings can be more efficiently shared and utilized and the number of government officials can be cut by integrating general affairs departments and other functions that can be shared.
The reform of the regional administrative system is part of our responses to prepare for an aging society. Japan has also been making efforts to solve a similar problem it is facing – a drastic decline in regional tax income – by integrating its basic small administrative units. The challenges posed by an aging society are perhaps the most urgent and serious issues that Korea faces today.
One thing, however, that we have to keep in mind in the process of integrating local areas is that it should not harm or damage the traditions or values of local municipalities that have been handed down over hundreds of years. This is the main reason why we should carry out the integration process by first gaining the consent of residents living in the affected areas and generating their voluntary participation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The next book on my reading list is definitely going to be “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
It tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer who was the unwitting donor of cells from her cancerous tumor, which were cultured to create an immortal cell line for medical research. This is now known as the HeLa cell line and has had a groundbreaking impact on modern medicine. The book tracks the story of the source of the HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks, and documents the cell line's impact on both modern medicine and the Lacks family.
Born in 1920, she died from an aggressive cervical cancer at 31, leaving behind five children. No obituaries of Mrs. Lacks appeared in newspapers. She was buried in an unmarked grave.
The cells taken from her tumor, without permission, were put into mass production and traveled around the globe- even into space, on an unmanned satellite to determine whether human tissues could survive zero gravity. They were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture, and in the half-century since her death, have continually been used for research into cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuits.
Read the review of this book here, , and interview with the author Rebecca Skloot here.
As the New York Times states:
It is “a thorny and provocative book about cancer, racism, scientific ethics and crippling poverty...It is also, from first page to last, a meditation on medical ethics — on the notion of informed consent, and on the issue of who owns human cells. When they’re in your body, it’s obvious — they’re yours. But once they’ve been removed? All bets are clearly off."
I am sure you will be tempted to read this book.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Citizen paparazzis in Korea

Want to earn some money by being a papparazi? Apparently the government pays out huge rewards.

As this article notes:
The central and local governments are moving to expand the “paparazzi” system this year with the goal of reducing illegal acts through “voluntary citizen participation,” and the number of applications has correspondingly risen greatly. The “Emergency Exit Paparazzi” system was launched on Jan. 1 as a trial period during which citizens can report blocked emergency exits in buildings used for business purposes. In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) recently announced plans to introduce the “Education Paparazzi,” saying that it would take reports on educational improprieties. On Jan. 19, the Korean Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) decided to accept reports written by citizens on hidden assets overseas. This means that three more paparazzi systems have already been added in 2010. The Education Paparazzi system offers reward money of up to 100 million Won, while those who report hidden overseas assets could receive reward money of up to 500 million Won.
Well-known examples of paparazzi systems operated by the government and other organizations include the “Bong-parazzi,” who tracks the issuing of free plastic bags, “Soe-parazzi,” who check for false labeling of beef place of origin, “Kkong-parazzi,” who report on the improper disposal of cigarette butts and “No-parazzi,” who report on illegal karaoke operation. The systems, however, are not limited to these examples. There are more than 60 systems altogether, including “Pharm-parazzi,” who monitor violations of the division of labor between pharmacy and hospital and whose participants require a certain degree of expertise, and “Ssal-parazzi,” who monitor false labeling of rice place of origin. The amount of reward money given varies widely, from tens of thousands of won to hundreds of millions.
Time to polish your sleuthing skills. Or better still, join one of those academies that train you!
In light of this situation, paparazzi academies have started to become more and more specialized. The “M” Academy teaches students how to use high-tech equipment ranging from ordinary digital cameras to the kind of infrared pinhole cameras used by security agents, and instructs them on techniques for on-site filming of activities such as prostitution and trash disposal. For course fees totaling around one million Won per month, the academy will teach people how to take “profitable” pictures, including those of entertainers appearing before prosecutors, and how to avoid legal obstacles such as restrictions on violating an individual’s right to his or her own image. For the short course, a two-day program where students study from a “reward system textbook” made by the academy itself, the course fee is around 250,000 Won. The industry estimates that there around 20 such formal paparazzi academies nationwide.

Monday, February 1, 2010

iPad for iPricks

Having just got my iPhone a few weeks back, I am not very keen to spend some more money for an oversized version- the iPad- which will be available here starting March.
While I must confess that my iPhone has not disappointed, I would rather wait for version 2 of the iPad which will most probably come fitted with a camera, allow for multi-tasking, and support flash. However, that will not be.
My girlfriend’s birthday is in June, and she seems to be besotted by the iPad. All my attempts to convince here have failed>> > so I guess I will just have to go ahead and buy a version of the tablet that will be outdated soon.
Meanwhile, here is a hilarious column by "Charlie" Brooker in The Guardian. In case you do not know, he is a British journalist, comic writer and broadcaster, whose style of humor is savage and profane, with surreal elements and a consistent satirical pessimism.
Read the entire column here.
It's an iPhone for people who can't be arsed holding an iPhone up to their face. A slightly-further-away iPhone that keeps your lap warm. A weird combination of portable and cumbersome: too small to replace your desktop, too big to fit in your pocket, unless you're a clown. It can play video, but really – do you want to spend hours staring at a movie in your lap? Sit through Lord of the Rings and you'd need an osteopath to punch the crick out of your neck afterwards. It can also be used as an ebook, something newspapers are understandably keen to play up, but because it's got an illuminated display rather than a fancy non-backlight "digital ink" ebook screen, it'll probably leave your eyes feeling strained, as though your pupils are wearing tight shoes….
The iPad falls between two stools – not quite a laptop, not quite a smartphone. In other words, it's the spork of the electronic consumer goods world. Or rather it would be, were it not for one crucial factor: it looks ideal for idly browsing the web while watching telly….
Absurdly, Apple keeps trying to pretend it'll make your life more efficient. Come off it. It's an oblong that lights up. I'm sick of being pitched to like I'm a one-man corporation undertaking a personal productivity audit anyway…
Some people are complaining because it doesn't have a camera in it. Spoiled techno-babies, all of them. Just because something is technically possible, it doesn't mean it has to be done. It's technically possible to build an egg whisk that makes phonecalls, an MP3 player that dispenses capers or a car with a bread windscreen. Humankind will continue prosper in their absence. Not everything needs a 15-megapixel lens stuck on the back, like a little glass anus. Give these ingrates a camera and they'd whine that it didn't have a second camera built into it. What are you taking photographs of anyway? Your camera collection?
And don't bring up videocalls to defend yourself: it'd be creepy talking to a disembodied two-dimensional head being held at arm's length, and besides, the iPad is too heavy to hold in front of your face for long, so you'd end up balancing it in your lap, which means both callers would find themselves staring up one another's others nostrils, like a pair of curious dental patients. …
I just hope buying an iBook won't turn me into an iPrick. I want a machine that essentially makes itself invisible, not a rectangular bragging stone…