Three Things Thursday

This week….

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…three marvels of modern technology.

I’m in the home of 삼성 (Samsung), the hub of the digital world and the ‘tech capital of the world’ according to the ever-reliable fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, so I thought it was time to share my observations on the topic.

As I noted on arrival in November, the first amazing geegaw I encountered was the incredible bum-scrubbing, orifice-clearing, self-heating plug-in toilet seat with optional massage setting. Sadly I had to leave that in the hotel, but Google it if you’re curious. It’s amazing.

The next ‘wow’ moment for me was being shown around potential flats. Instead of random bunches of keys trailing from a carpet-bag the size of Venus, our estate agent had a random bunch of codes filed neatly away on her smart phone which she punched into the keypads outside each of the apartments. A few beeps and a little jingle that tells you that you’re in, and you’re in! Imagine a life where you don’t live in fear of forgetting your keys, or the door slamming closed behind you. I don’t have to imagine that life – I’m living the techno-doorpad-dream, hells yeah!

The added super-bonus bonus with this piece of kit is the door screen-cum-TV which is installed in the perfect location under our kitchen cabinets to really make the most of the hysterical (by which I mean people frequently dissolving into hysterics, not that it makes me laugh a lot) Korean telenovelas whilst chopping veg for dinner. On the downside, the location also means it’s been subjected to steaming and frying and god knows what else, and the controls aren’t too reliable. In fact, all programmes are watched at quite high volume, which makes the hysterics unendurable pretty quickly.

The next wonder to which I was introduced was the high-speed broadband Seoul is famous for. I’m not computer-savvy and I know my scruffy desktop and random programme downloads (software, not Downton Abbey – although….) slow down my computer, but I haven’t been disappointed. 100MB home internet is affordable and relatively reliable; a current speed test tells me it’s running at 75% of advertised speed, and compared to some deals, I’ll take that! Being able to download an entire season of my favourite comedy show in 15 minutes instead of 21/2 hours is certainly a step up in my digital life.

Last but not least, I finally caught up properly with the digital age and got myself a phone. I’ve had a very archaic ‘dumb phone’ for the last couple of years, and for the last eight months in Peru I lost my connection altogether as I never put enough credit on it, so I’ve been stuck in the Virtual Dark Ages. In a new job and a technologically advanced city, finally earning real wages, I decided it was time to catch up. Accordingly, I rapidly set out to acquire myself a smart phone of the fanciest order. Obviously, this was not as straightforward as it should have been. The five phones you see in the photo are all ours, and the joke at the time we took the snap was that not a single one of them worked! Our old phones were Nokia, a brand which just doesn’t function in Korea. My Mexican dumbphone was not unlocked for international calls. We have no idea what is wrong with the work phone we were given to settle in, but I suspect that lack of credit might be the culprit, and at the time I had my shiny shiny new Galaxy S4 Mini, but I couldn’t connect to the network due to paperwork issues.

Oh, the irony. 

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