Whenever there’s talk of North Korea launching something, governments in the region usually hold emergency meetings and consider a plan of action. However, the secretive state’s latest launch needn’t cause too much concern, as this time around it’s of a tablet rather than a weapon of mass destruction.A report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday claimed that the new tablet was designed and manufactured in North Korea.According to KCNA’s report, which was picked up on by Martyn Williams of the North Korea Tech blog, the new device, called ‘Achim’ (meaning ‘morning’), comes loaded with a variety of teaching materials, dictionaries and scientific data. It’s probably headed straight for schools and colleges, with most people in the desperately poor nation unable to afford a luxury item like a tablet.Unfortunately there are no details of its specifications and few photos showing it off. What we do … [Read more...] about North Korea unveils new tablet, probably not an iPad killer
North korea tech
When we wrote this tounge-in-cheek piece about what North Korea could do to look more technologically advanced than it is, we weren’t seriously expecting the reclusive totalitarian state to make some ridiculous moves to upgrade – it was just a joke. However, given North Korea’s tech track record, which includes the use of Windows XP at one of its rocket control facilities, as well as its status as a nearly failed state, perhaps we should’ve seen this coming.The newest version of North Korea’s Red Star operating system looks a heck of a lot like Mac OS X. But it’s not. Once again, we shouldn’t be surprised by this copycat maneuver. After all, the previous version of the OS looked quite a bit like Windows 7. Take a look at a screenshot of the previous Red Star release below to see what we mean. Red Star or Windows 7?News of Red Star OS and its existence hit the Web when Will Scott, an American computer scientist who was lecturing at the … [Read more...] about North Korea ‘upgrades’ to copycat version of Mac OS X
For a country not famed for its technological sophistication (OK, let’s forget for a moment that it appears to have developed a nuclear warhead), it may come as a surprise to some that North Korea has been working on its own smartphone, apparently powered by Google’s Android OS.Pictures released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) show leader Kim Jong-un touring a factory in the reclusive country where the handset, reportedly called the Arirang, is being assembled….or more likely, boxed.As North Korea Tech’s Martyn Williams points out, none of the images show any actual manufacturing taking place.Williams speculates that in reality, “they are probably made to order by a Chinese manufacturer and shipped to the factory where they are inspected before going on sale.”‘High pixels’The KCNA, in its inimitable style, reported that Kim Jong-un “highly appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm with which the officials … [Read more...] about The Arirang: A ‘high pixel’ smartphone made (or boxed) in North Korea
North Koreans will this week have a chance to catch The Interview – that’s if they happen to stumble across the contents of a balloon drop on the country.Sponsored by the U.S.-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and carried out by activist group Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK), the balloon drop is set to take place in the coming days.Besides DVDs and USBs of the controversial movie, the helium-filled balloons, which carry their consignment in attached plastic bags, will also transport leaflets, transistor radios, and other items geared toward presenting citizens of the so-called ‘hermit kingdom’ with information on the outside world.As you might expect, the balloon drops, which take place several times a year, don’t go down too well with the rulers in Pyongyang, who’ve described the activists as “human scum,” among other things.The regime has been directing much of its ire toward Park Sang Hak, a Seoul-based defector who … [Read more...] about The Interview heading to North Korea this week – via balloon
North Korea's Internet liberation has hit a snag -- it's still North Korea.One month after announcing that it would grant tourists and visitors 3G Internet access, North Korea appears to have revoked its 3G services.Tourists no longer have 3G access, Koryo Tours, a North Korean tour group, first reported on its website.There is a chance that the 3G service is merely busted, but given North Korea's history, the consensus at the moment is that the plug has been pulled. Heightened tensions with South Korea in the wake of the North's nuclear test -- a Koryo tour group blogged about the palpable sense of military readiness -- support the notion that this isn't a blip.Tourists reportedly can still buy SIM cards to make calls over North Korea's 3G network, which is more than capable of handling 3G Internet. However, access to the Web is impossible -- just like the old days.Coming on the heels of Google chairman Eric Schimidt's visit to the country, North Korea's decision to allow tourists to … [Read more...] about TECH TREK North Korea’s 3G Experiment Might Be Over
Upwards of 1.2 million people have used pirate sites to download Brad Pitt's World War II drama Fury, scheduled for release Dec. 25, according to Variety.That was one of five films hackers leaked onto the Web following an attack on Sony Pictures' network last week.The others are Annie, Still Alice, Mr. Turner and To Write Love on Her Arms.Sony has called in the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.Coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- the FBI on Monday warned U.S. businesses that hackers recently penetrated several companies' networks with a particularly damaging form of malware, according to a Reuters report.Sony apparently was neither identified nor excluded as one of the businesses victimized by the malware, but speculation is rife that the hack attack on the company and the FBI's warning are linked.Among other capabilities, the malware can override hard drives, shutting down and permanently disabling computers and rendering files inaccessible, the FBI reportedly said in its alert. … [Read more...] about Did North Korea Get the Last Laugh Against Sony?
North Korea is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons designed to disable enemy electronics, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service.North Korea reportedly purchased EMP technology from Russia and is now in the process of replicating it.Some American politicians, including Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rep. Trent Franks, have issued dire warnings about EMP technology. Gingrich went so far as to claim that an EMP attack "could be the kind of catastrophe that ends civilization, and that's not an exaggeration." In 2011, Franks helped launch the Congressional EMP Caucus.[Sources:Slate;AFP]Samsung recruitment rounds, which include exams and interviews designed to determine the best potential employees, are a pressure-packed, excitement-filled event in South Korea.Reuters ran a feature on the exams, quoting students who are themselves dreaming of landing jobs at Samsung.Samsung will hire more than 5,000 young people -- from more than 100,000 applications -- during its … [Read more...] about TECH TREK North Korea Gets Its Hands on Electromagnetic Pulse Weaponry
The U.S. State Department gave a measured but clear rebuke of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's upcoming trip to North Korea.News broke this week that Schmidt will join former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on a humanitarian mission to the impoverished nation. The itinerary and exact purpose of the trip has not been revealed, but enough is known for the State Department to give a verbal roll of the eyes."We don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, according to the BBC. She went on to say that both Schmidt and Richardson were "well aware" of the government's stance on their trip.As could be expected in a country staunchly opposed to free speech, Internet use in North Korea is stifled. The nation has an Intranet, but it doesn't allow citizens to access the World Wide Web at large -- and certainly doesn't allow for unencumbered Google searches.Richardson has been involved in ad-hoc negotiations with North Korea for two … [Read more...] about TECH TREK State Dept. in a Snit Over Schmidt’s North Korea Trip
North Korea is modernizing its technologies -- as only North Korea can.Foreigners are now able to bring their mobile phones into the country, with the caveat that they must purchase North Korean SIM cards upon arrival.Now Koryolink, a North Korean mobile phone provider, plans to launch a 3G data service -- but only foreigners can use it.More than one million North Koreans use mobile phones, but not a onewill be able to use the new 3G network, according to the BBC.Egyptian telecommunications firm Orascom, a partner of Koryolink, launched a 3G phone network in North Korea in 2008, but it can only be used for phone calls. (International calls, including to South Korea, are banned, the BBC reported.)North Korea's moves to digitize itself, small as they may be, come on the heels of a visit from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who visited the country in early January with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. After leaving, Schmidt wrote on Google+ that North Korea's … [Read more...] about TECH TREK North Korea Widens 3G Coverage – for Outsiders Only
When we have a hostile country regularly lobbing missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again -- and that is only if we forget the issues with fallout and the potential for a nuclear winter (granted, that could be good news for the global warming folks).However, the approaches to cutting the legs out from under North Korea largely have been in-the-box thinking: economic sanctions that require China's cooperation (and aren't working); military and assassination options that would trigger retaliation that likely would result in a lot of us glowing at night; and revolution efforts that have little or no chance of succeeding.Still, there are companies that have been working on technologies that effectively could contain North Korea's missiles and turn their leader into more of a vocal than a physical problem. Since I'm on the West Coast and … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Tech Nerf North Korea?