Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Uniform Code

One of the first things they ever tell you to expect about Asian cultures is the relative uniformity as compared to the West. So you might expect that when it comes to computers, Koreans might be less diverse and adventurous in straying away from Windows PCs, and you'd be right.

Now I'm a Windows user out of necessity but as security problems grow ever more and I fill my desktop with all manner of prevention tools, I find myself increasingly reluctant to expect non-technical people to have to - or be able to - maintain these machines with any degree of success. So when it came to thinking about what to buy for Korean Mother so that she could web-cam with us when we were back in the UK, I seriously considered whether a low-end Apple might fit the bill.

But I really wasn't putting two and two together. I use the Firefox browser and ever since I arrived in Korea I've come to realise how annoyingly prevalent the use of Windows and Internet Explorer (IE)-specific ActiveX components in webpages are. For a long time, I put this down to clueless Korean web developers, but recently I discovered that there was a more bizarre explanation. The Korean Government has mandated the use of ActiveX-based authentication technology for several years, which in practicality means that if you want to do online banking or anything of a similar nature, you have to have a PC with IE. In fact, so many commercial and other sites use ActiveX whether necessary or not it's like a plague. And what this ultimately means is that if you're an Apple or Linux user you're stuffed - so of course here, you're basically buying Windows or nothing.

Because Korean Mother isn't going to be banking online, but will probably struggle to understand how to use a computer to any great extent, we may eventually opt to go down the Apple route regardless, unless we can find an even simpler way of achieving the desired result.

4 comments:

wonderful-electric.co.uk said...

Don't get a computer. Get a broadband connection, and a Skype phone/videophone that plugs straight into the back of that?

Mike said...

Can't find any here - I think everyone has a computer with a webcam :-( We'll keep looking though - one problem is we're not really familiar with where to shop in Korea for this kind of stuff.

Jon Allen said...

Mike.
Don't get an apple.
We got one before we came here and wish we hadn't.
I am no big fan of Windows and I don't want to start an OS war, but don't believe all those people say apple is better.

It's not, it's just different.
On my apple mac :
I still programs aborting in the middle of doing stuff.
It grinds to halt everynow and again for no good reason.
Mail software is not as good.
It won't read files from the new version of Office 2007 till the end of the year.
The DVD drive cannot be hacked to change region.
and more that I can't remember at the moment.

Stick with Windows would be my advice.
Jon

Mike said...

Korean Mother has suddenly learned something about computers and decided that she wants a Windows system. The point has also since been made that Korean Brother can use it to play Kartrider when he's visiting.

Looks like I might have to install some remote management software and hope I can keep the machine up and running from a distance. I'm just afraid that I'll go over there one day and she'll have bought a Vista box on impulse, at which point she might be on her own.

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