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Android Tablet Gives Rare Glimpse At North Korean Tech

samzenpus posted 1 year,19 days | from the best-korean-tablet dept.

Technology 125

alphadogg writes "An Android tablet brought back from North Korea by a tourist has provided a glimpse at some of the restrictions placed on IT users in the famously secretive country. The Samjiyon is the third tablet to have gone on sale in North Korea. It was unveiled at a trade show in the capital, Pyongyang, last September and received some coverage on state television, but few westerners have had a chance to see it up close. The tablet was likely manufactured outside of North Korea and the hardware itself is fairly unremarkable, but the software and the usage restrictions placed on the device provide some insights about life in the country."

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North Korean Tech at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441773)

It would be nice to know more about it

Re:North Korean Tech at it's best (3, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441819)

It's not NoKo tech. It's Chinese hardware and American (and other) software imported to NoKo.

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (3, Insightful)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441931)

He/she was probably referring to the restrictions being put inside those tablets, and probably some big brother-style tech embedded in them

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442335)

He/she was probably referring to the restrictions being put inside those tablets, and probably some big brother-style tech embedded in them

... what, are they running iOS then?

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442363)

Packet capture everything coming and going out of it. I'm curious to know what exactly it "phones home" and if there's any correlation to user input or function engaged on the device.

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (2, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443939)

and probably some big brother-style tech embedded in them

So you're saying that it runs vanilla Android?

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (1, Insightful)

RockDoctor (15477) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445329)

Since he only got to tinker with it in the shop, but didn't actually buy one, then he didn't get the chance to examine it's bowels closely. for example, he notes that he could see configuration files relevant to WiFi, but couldn't get it to work. So, hardly a forensic investigation, more a quick poke around during a fag break.

Re:North Korean Tech at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441919)

Inappropriate apostrophe at its best.

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441977)

$200? You can get very similar tablet at Walmart for $70 with a USB keyboard. No TV tuner though.

Restrictive and a rip off. Wait till the government collapses and they find out they were double screwed!

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442207)

$200? You can get very similar tablet at Walmart for $70 with a USB keyboard. No TV tuner though.

Restrictive and a rip off. Wait till the government collapses and they find out they were double screwed!

It costs a lot of money to add all those restrictions, like the four TV channels that can't be retuned, the WiFi that either doesn't work or will only join specific networks, the intranet (yes, intranet) bookmarks, etc. Labor isn't free in NK (I kid, I kid, the wonderful people of NK probably pay to be able to work bless their oppressed hearts).

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (3, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443547)

To be fair, this was found at the gift shop of a restaurant. That is not exactly the place you would go for the best tech bargains.

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445193)

and a rip off.

Very likely they applied a "foreigner tax" similar to what were common (it probably still is) in Shenzhen, China in the 90's where many vendors applied a Chinese, Overseas Chinese and Everybody else price. The price I would pay for some veggies or fruit in a food stall were several times higher than the price a local paid. It's a practice that most people from affluent nations that have travelled to poor countries are familiar with, it should come as no surprise that the same is done in North Korea.

Re: North Korean Tech at it's best (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445247)

Come to think of it, different prices based on nationality is often not about the poor charging the rich more, just ask any Australian that ever bought Photoshop locally and only later learned what Americans pay for the exact same 1's and 0's about his opinion on the matter.

Lame summary (5, Insightful)

master_kaos (1027308) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441797)

You know, maybe it would be actually nice to list a few examples of the restrictions in the summary to see if I care to even read the article or not. (Yeah, yeah I know this is slashdot, who even reads the article.. even more reason to post examples)

Re:Lame summary (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441799)

It's so restricted that the submitter couldn't.

Re:Lame summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441883)

It is all right, the article is garbage. It contains slightly more content than the summary.

Re:Lame summary (3, Interesting)

barlevg (2111272) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442233)

The article doesn't actually go into too much more detail (TV tuner only has access to two channels and can't be re-tuned, can't access the internet...), so it's not really the fault of the summary.

Re:Lame summary (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442707)

Welcome to the modern world, where page long summaries are given their own shorter summaries, because no one important wants actual details (and by "important" I mean people who aren't us). To change this would require finding journalists who know how to do journalism, and if we did find such people there would be so few of them that they'd have to focus on more important stuff.

Re:Lame summary (1)

Hadlock (143607) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443035)

People smart enough to be real journalists go in to a field that pays more than journalism. Most of the time.

Re:Lame summary (2)

avgjoe62 (558860) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443311)

Go to the seventh quote down, the one by G. J. Goschen from 1894 on this page: obligatory xkcd comic [xkcd.com]

Everything old is new again.

Re:Lame summary (1)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443959)

There was the bombshell that it has Angry Birds preinstalled.

Re:Lame summary (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442247)

Wifi doesn't work (or perhaps is configured for a few preselected networks only). And the TV tuner only gets 4 channels, so you can't watch the channels being broadcast by South Korea. And it doesn't have Google's common apps.

That's really it... TFA is super-crap.

Re:Lame summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442267)

Here let me read it for you.

The version of Android on the device doesn't include Google services such as YouTube and Gmail, but the other familiar Android icons are there, including the browser, image gallery, calculator and camera. ... Despite the browser and bookmarks, Michael hasn't been able to get the Samjiyon online. Configuration files deep in the tablet suggest there is Wi-Fi hardware installed, but there's no apparent way to activate or control it. The hardware is either not present or has been configured to connect only to certain networks

And I thought the iPad was restrictive!

Re:Lame summary (4, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442893)

Summary:

  • * The software is locked down so that counter-revolutionaries are unable to modify the firmware, as approved by Dear Leader.
  • * Any attempt to bypass these restrictions can have you thrown in prison.
  • * All communications to or from the device are intercepted by the State Security Apparatus.
  • * Even telling people of the existence of this surveillance system can have you tortured and imprisoned indefinitely without trial .

I'm so glad I live in an enlightened democracy, instead of that totalitarian hell hole.
 

Re:Lame summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442973)

False, circumventing DMCA doesn't get you thrown in prison!

Re:Lame summary (3, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443237)

False [wikipedia.org]

Skylarov was arrested by the FBI and jailed for allegedly violating the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Re:Lame summary (2)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444033)

What makes it even more bizzare is that the code he "broke" is the same one that was written about by none other than Julius Caesar. That's right, Adobe's big secret was uniformly shifting letters a few positions in the alphabet. They called for the arrest of Skylarov but not for the arrest of Kellogs for putting a device that could break Adobe's code on the back of cereal boxes (the code wheel toy) or the arrest of all the children that have used the thing.
Aren't you happy that the DMCA means the taxpayer gets to pay for such stupidity? Keeping someone in jail for around a year and running a court case, even one which gets thrown out on day one, isn't cheap and Adobe didn't directly contribute a cent to it.

puff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441801)

Oh look a puff piece on a disgusting regime. Anything that could give this government even a shred of legitimacy should be boycotted.

Re:puff piece (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441941)

You talking about the US?

Re: puff piece (0, Offtopic)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441985)

Yes! Go frack yourself Obama! Oh we weren't talking about a regime that circumcised their citizen's right? Lock people without reasons or warrants?

Re: puff piece (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442117)

nigger nigger nigger JEW!

Re:puff piece (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442433)

Oh look a puff piece on a disgusting regime. Anything that could give this government even a shred of legitimacy should be boycotted.

RUNNING DOG of capitalist exploiter! You BRAINWASHED by PROPAGANDA of YANKEE IMPERIALIST!!! Want censor truth of glorious DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of KOREA paradise for working mans and womans. NOT TO CRITICIZE BELOVED LEADER!!!!!!

Re:puff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442587)

You have been banned from /r/pyongyang

TV (4, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441813)

The most interesting thing to me is that it includes an analog TV tuner, which is preset to only receive a handful of specific channels controlled by the state. I've never heard of an integrated TV tuner in a tablet.

The only other "unique" thing about the tablet is that he couldn't get the wifi to connect to anything, yet there is a web browser with 4 bookmarks to North Korean sites. The author surmises that it will only connect to hotspots that are proprietary in some way.

Re:TV (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441887)

The most interesting thing to me is that it includes an analog TV tuner, which is preset to only receive a handful of specific channels controlled by the state.

In a state where all the channels are controlled by the state, is it really significant that the channels that a TV bought there can tune is also controlled by the state? What difference does it make?

Re:TV (4, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441945)

Yeah,it is important, because in Asia you can relatively easily point your antenna across the border and get overseas channels if your TV can tune/decode them. In Vietnam you can pick up Cambodian, Thai and Chinese TV channels, and the TV sets sold there have a massive array of options to let you choose colour standard, field rate, audio subcarrier frequency, etc. to ensure that you can decode and view anything you can receive. DPKR doesn't look so kindly on such features.

Re:TV (1)

mjwx (966435) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443217)

Yeah,it is important, because in Asia you can relatively easily point your antenna across the border and get overseas channels if your TV can tune/decode them. In Vietnam you can pick up Cambodian, Thai and Chinese TV channels, and the TV sets sold there have a massive array of options to let you choose colour standard, field rate, audio subcarrier frequency, etc. to ensure that you can decode and view anything you can receive. DPKR doesn't look so kindly on such features.

You can pick up those channels in Australia if you've got a big enough dish.

The problem for the average NRNK'er is that getting the equipment is difficult. They could probably trade some rice and eggs across the border, but minefields and machine guns are a bitch to deal with.

Re:TV (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444049)

There is legit trade with China and some smuggling that goes on under that umbrella so there are some North Koreans with Chinese phones and a paid up phone plan within range of Chinese towers. There isn't much getting though though since the NK government doesn't trust China, but merely hates them less than everyone else.

Re:TV (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443591)

Yeah,it is important, because in Asia you can relatively easily point your antenna across the border and get overseas channels if your TV can tune/decode them. In Vietnam you can pick up Cambodian, Thai and Chinese TV channels, and the TV sets sold there have a massive array of options to let you choose colour standard, field rate, audio subcarrier frequency, etc. to ensure that you can decode and view anything you can receive. DPKR doesn't look so kindly on such features.

Except the tablet's TV tuner is restricted to tuning just the state-approved channels. There's probably restrictions on trying to tune it to something else as well. It's not a huge benefit other than having a portable TV.

Re:TV (1)

HJED (1304957) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441957)

No it's significant that it has a TV tuner at all because most western tablets don't

Re:TV (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442103)

As someone else here pointed out, it's apparently fairly common in the ROK.

Re:TV (1)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442383)

VHF TV channels can routinely travel 100miles+. That would mean at least the southern-half of the country could be exposed to TV broadcasts from South Korea from across the border.

However, radio is probably much better. AM/MW radio can travel up to 1,000 miles, and can be received with as little as a coil of wire (see: fox-hole radios). Simple AM radio can be extremely tiny, so easy to hide, and easy to make with a handful of electronics components and some skill.

South Korean TV isn't analog anymore (1)

wesley96 (934306) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444633)

Analog TV broadcast service in SK shut down completely on December 2012. It's now fully digital, using ATSC signal compatible with USA.

Therefore there is no way that the tablet in question will be able to pick up any SK TV broadcast even if it was not restricted.

Re:South Korean TV isn't analog anymore (1)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444905)

South Korea has a history of international broadcasting. If citizens of NK could tune-in the signal, the south would be only too happy to keep an analog tower transmitting near the DMZ. It's probably only because the north has locked down receivers so much that the south isn't even trying anymore.

And besides that, you're talking about a TV tuner connected to a CPU... There's very much a possibility of custom software taking the digital signal from the analog tuner, and decoding it. There's some difficulty with many common analog tuner chips cutting off part of the signal, but SK could invent their own digital signal that could be decoded on such a device, if they could tune-in a clear channel, and there was a big enough audience in the north. But that's a bit more of a stretch, and as I said, radio is a very good medium for that sort of thing.

Re:TV (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441909)

I've never heard of an integrated TV tuner in a tablet.

Thats quite common with mobile phones in South Korea.

Re:TV (1)

Billlagr (931034) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442527)

It's probably actually desirable - since streaming media is not accessible (IE YouTube and the like), the TV tuner is a sort of way of having government controlled media delivered. True it isn't on demand, and you can't pick what you like when you like, but it's probably the next best thing and can be tightly controlled

Re:TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44444535)

The parent was talking about SK.

Re:TV (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444815)

TFA also says the tablet has YouTube replaced by an NK state substitute on their national intranet. So you can enjoy videos of military parades and lolztastic NK propaganda.

Re:TV (4, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442609)

I've never heard of an integrated TV tuner in a tablet.

When I was in Seoul a few months ago I was surprised to learn that almost all smartphones in Korea include a integrated TV turner, complete with antenna. You could see all these people commuting on the train watching broadcast TV - Even on flip-phones.

http://modernseoul.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/south-korea-vs-qatar-cell-phone-tv.jpg [wordpress.com]

Re:TV (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442715)

Not a bad idea. I never understood why so many music players don't also come with radio tuners.

Re:TV (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444721)

I had a $50 Chinese dual simcard phone which had a TV tunner and an ugly small antenna in 2008 :) It looked like a ripped off Nokia phone but sometimes it was better than the nokia.

The reception was ok if the Antena was in proper direction.

When you turn it on... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441815)

It turns you in.

I wonder how many North Koreans could even afford such a device.

TOP level government workers (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441863)

TOP level government workers

Re:When you turn it on... (2, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442163)

I wonder how many North Koreans could even afford such a device.

Probably a lot more than you think. Try this: Use Google maps to look at Seoul, South Korea. Put it in "satellite" mode. Now pan north about thirty miles. You will see a very green strip of land devoid of any human features. That is the DMZ. Keep going north. You will soon see lots of signs of human activity again. You are now looking at North Korea. Now zoom in. You will see roads. Paved roads. With cars on them. You will see houses, not as big as in the south, but not shacks either. You will see shopping centers, with parking lots full of cars. But wait ... didn't your government tell you that North Korea was a dirt poor economic basket case? What is going on? Either North Korea really isn't as poor as you were told, or else PDRK agents have infiltrated Google and replaced 120,000 sq km of satellite photos. You decide.

Re:When you turn it on... (5, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442227)

You should follow you own advice and look at places other than the capital. It's pretty common for capitals of dictatorships to be at a significantly higher level of standard of living compared to the rest of the country..

Pick one of the smaller cities and zoom in.. you are indeed going to see lots of randomly scattered shacks.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442661)

Pick one of the smaller cities and zoom in.. you are indeed going to see lots of randomly scattered shacks.

That is true for most countries on the planet. Agriculture doesn't pay well, especially on small scale and when not assisted by the government. Small towns cannot support large industrial base. If you drive on county roads in the USA you will see plenty of towns that haven't changed in last 100 or 200 years - except some have a gas station.

Re:When you turn it on... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442781)

Small towns? Just compare Hamhung, North Korea's second largest city [goo.gl] and Busan, South Korea's second [goo.gl] .

Note that most of Hamhung's south part is fertilizer plant's territory

Note how small it is compared to Busan - FFS, Busan's comparable in size with Pyongang [goo.gl] , except one's sprawled around and another one's compact.

Note how abruptly civilization is cut and just about 1-2km west it's randomly scattered shacks.

Re:When you turn it on... (4, Interesting)

cdrudge (68377) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442427)

Parking lots for of cars? According to this several year old article, there's less than 30,000 cars for a country of 24m people. DFW airport has approximately enough parking for all of NK's vehicles.

Regardless, a $200 LCD screen that is useless for the average citizen seem to be an expensive luxury item where a car, if they somehow got permission to own one, may be necessary just to get around. How many people in the US or Europe have a vehicle but don't have a tablet?

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442819)

According to this several year old article

What article?

there's less than 30,000 cars for a country of 24m people.

Why should I believe your "report" instead of believing Google's photos?

$200 LCD screen

$200?? Tablets like this sell in China for less than $50 at full retail. Probably less than half that in quantity directly from the factory.

Re:When you turn it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442921)

I take it you've already counted all the cars on Google's photos to put those spiteful quotes on "report".

"Parking lot full of cars" is tens to ~300 cars, depending on size. Parking lots full of cars in Pyongyang don't extrapolate on whole country. Did you even look at any other cities except Pyongyang, or did you just fail to find them, what with them being mostly tiny and poor?

Re:When you turn it on... (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442993)

Most of that was built prior to the fall of the USSR. Almost of their buildings and most of their infrastructure is in a dilapidated state. Power generation is kept at a minimum accept for the core parts of the capitol and during the great games season. For repairs that can be done, it's just the facade.

The nation is falling a part, and so is their military hardware.

The next famine they have, I'm willing to bet the Kim dynasty rule will be over with military infighting over who will take over. Regardless who wins that civil war, the victor still wont be friendly to the US. Regardless, N.Korea is on borrowed time and the top echelon knows it!

Re:When you turn it on... (2, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443445)

The nation is falling a part, and so is their military hardware.

Do you have any evidence to support this assertion? Or are you just parroting what your government told you to believe?

I have no first hand knowledge of North Korea (and I doubt you do either). But I grew up in America and heard lots of stories about the terrible conditions in Communist China. Then I went to China. I lived there for years, made dozens of friends, married a Chinese woman, started a family, started a business. It was absolutely nothing like what I was told. So I am extremely skeptical when the US government tries to shovel propaganda in my direction. Especially when there is objective evidence, such as satellite photos, that contradict the official party line.

Re:When you turn it on... (5, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443873)

There have been walk-through documentaries of people taking a trip to N.Korea. The before and after images of pre and post Soviet Union era is remarkable. Once the USSR fell, China was the only major supplier. Today, support is limited and N.Korea is effectively on its own. Which is ironic given the heavy emphasis on Juche philosophy of self-reliance. You've seen the NASA imagery from space showing N.Korea a virtual black hole in comparison to neighboring nations, right? There is little to no electricity being used.

I'm also married to a Chinese woman. Actually, she prefers being identified as Shanghainese for obvious reasons. The Chinese are not monolithic in culture. Which BTW is perfectly normal given the vast history and massive size of its nation. Anyways, I've traveled the countryside with her. Not some western group tour guide, but an actual you're-on-you're-own-don't-get-lost-because-no-one-will-save-you sort of trip. The disparage in wealth in China is incomprehensible to most Americans. It's bad enough even in the major cities (pan handlers being pimped out, etc). But get out into the country side and you will haggle over the cost of using a public restroom for only a few fen. Good grief!!

Was my government lying about China and how bad the "societal reboot" was caused by the cultural revolution? Absolutely not! Mao Zedong was something of a "Hugo Chevez" for his time. Bombastic and (most importantly) incompetent. Millions died due to the miss management in resources under the idea of Communism. It was only after the economic reforms of the late 70s did things improve; vastly so.

Read the Propraganda (2)

Ottibus (753944) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443895)

I am extremely skeptical when the US government tries to shovel propaganda in my direction.

You should be skeptical of all propaganda, but it does tell you a lot about the country that produces it. Try reading some North Korean propaganda: http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm [kcna.co.jp] and tell me what sort of country produces something like that.

So while I am certain that life in North Korea is nothing like we are told, I douubt that it is significantly better than it appears to be from the outside.

Re:Read the Propraganda (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444183)

Try reading some North Korean propaganda

I can't because I don't understand Korean. But years ago, I remember reading the same sort of ridiculous claims, in English, about China. Then I learned Mandarin, and learned to read Chinese. I went back and read some of those documents in the original Chinese. The English translations put out by the US government were complete distortions of what was actually said. They would take common idioms like "raining cats and dogs" and translate it literally, when that clearly was not the real meaning (and Chinese is much richer in the use of colorful idioms than English). Sentences were twisted around to make the Chinese look like idiots. I suspect that the same thing is going on today with North Korea. Unless you actually understand Korean, you are naive to make any judgements based on translations provided to you by their adversaries.

Re:Read the Propraganda (2)

Ottibus (753944) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444341)

Try reading some North Korean propaganda

I can't because I don't understand Korean.

You make a valid point about translations provided by adversaries, but the link I gave was in English and provided directly by North Korea.

Something familiar... (1)

GodGell (897123) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444765)

You should be skeptical of all propaganda, but it does tell you a lot about the country that produces it. Try reading some North Korean propaganda: http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm [kcna.co.jp] and tell me what sort of country produces something like that.

Let's take a look at some of the current articles, shall we?


War Veteran Delegates Leave
Delegation of Korean War Veterans of Russia Leaves
S. Korean Believers Slam IS's Interference in Election
S. Korean Students Protest against IS's Interference in Election
DPRK's Victory in War Marked in Bulgaria, Czech Republic
Anniversary of Korean People's Victory in War Celebrated in Various Countries
Kim Jong Un Meets Women Soccer Players
Kim Jong Un Watches Men's Soccer Match

Hey, it looks pretty similar to Slashdot to me!

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444885)

Today the heavy bullshit is piled onto successful democratic leftist South American countries, particularly those in the ALBA group. They're all communist hellholes ruled by brutal dictators dontcha know.

Re:When you turn it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44445171)

Lols. Guys with the mailorder brides crack me up.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

bluegutang (2814641) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445553)

The satellite photos are exactly why I believe the so-called "party line" that North Korea is backwards.
North Korea at night [zenfs.com]

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444061)

The nation is falling apart

How can we tell? It was a mere basket case until the 1970s when it turned into an utter hellhole.

The next famine they have

It's had an artificial famine for decades that hasn't stopped.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444869)

A little bit of both. NK has built nice-looking dummy villages within sight of the DMZ and also likes to build unused structures in the capital for propaganda purposes (like that big ominous empty hotel tower rumored to be made entirely of cast concrete, with no reinforcement). They even have an amusement park that sits unused until a foreigner wants a visit, then they'll fire it up and bring in a few busloads of random people to surround you so the place doesn't seem desolate.

And keep in mind that those decent houses in the capital are the pinnacle of NK's real estate. In other places you'll find charming examples of 17th-century-style living and their famous prisons...

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

barlevg (2111272) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442257)

As the article says, not very many. It's $200 (USD), and the average income of a North Korean is $100/month.

Re:When you turn it on... (2)

BeerCat (685972) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442347)

As the article says, not very many. It's $200 (USD), and the average income of a North Korean is $100/month.

Traditionally (at least in the west), a wedding ring was meant to cost one month's wages.

A car typically costs around 6 month's wages (or more)

A house used to be 3 years' salary (though with mortgage bubbles, it's common for a mortgage to be anything up to 10x salary)

So, 2 months for the average DPRK citizen to be able to afford one of these? Makes it a pretty desirable object. Therefore, there will be many in NK who will want one of these, based purely on the price. So, in answer to "how many of them", clearly it's "as many as will want to save up"

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,19 days | (#44443373)

Considering how electricity is considered a luxury and vast swathes of land are in darkness, I think they'd have a hard time powering the damn things, let alone affording the whole deal.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | 1 year,18 days | (#44443609)

Traditionally (at least in the west), a wedding ring was meant to cost one month's wages.

A car typically costs around 6 month's wages (or more)

A house used to be 3 years' salary (though with mortgage bubbles, it's common for a mortgage to be anything up to 10x salary)

Interesting, I hadn't seen or heard of these figures before, but a quick Google search reveals you're right in many Western cultures.

From the looks of it, I underpaid for wedding ring (about 0.5 months salary); slightly overpaid for car (around 7 months salary); and don't own a house.

Re:When you turn it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44445045)

A house used to be 3 years' salary (though with mortgage bubbles, it's common for a mortgage to be anything up to 10x salary)

On Brazil (my country), you need more than 9 years of average salary to pay a usable house.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

chilvence (1210312) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445207)

Don't feel bad mate. In the UK, the only sensible option is to emigrate to Kazakhstan...

Re:When you turn it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442281)

When you turn it on the only thing between the user and a picture of the Glorious Leader (aka: a fucken ugly beast that excaped the sewerage treatment plant...) is gorrila glass. Good thing gorrila glass is just strong enough not to shatter everytime that stinkin leader's image displays. Now if only someone could invent an anti-shit smell enclosure for the Glorious Leaders tablet that would be helpful to control air pollution.

Re:When you turn it on... (2)

number11 (129686) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442333)

I wonder how many North Koreans could even afford such a device.

According to TFA, it cost $200, two months' wages. Of course, that was at the hotel gift shop, and it's entirely possible that NK hotels are as good at gouging customers as hotels in other places, and that it might have been quite a bit cheaper from some other store.

Re:When you turn it on... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442865)

I wonder how many North Koreans could even afford such a device.

According to TFA, it cost $200, two months' wages. Of course, that was at the hotel gift shop, and it's entirely possible that NK hotels are as good at gouging customers as hotels in other places, and that it might have been quite a bit cheaper from some other store.

As most NK peoples couldn't even afford the room, these are probably for sale to Chinese who go to NK on business and are stupid enough to buy one, when they could get something much better back home.

Re:When you turn it on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44443049)

You are confusing the USA with N Korea again.

In the USA, You turn Your computer on and it turns You in.

Oh goody a preview of the future! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441855)

Given the war on general purpose computing [boingboing.net] , North Korea is far ahead of us technologically. We won't get this level of responsible computing for at least a few more years.

Re:Oh goody a preview of the future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442963)

Given the war on general purpose computing [boingboing.net] , North Korea is far ahead of us technologically. We won't get this level of responsible computing for at least a few more years.

If people wanted general purpose computers, they'd buy them.

Re:Oh goody a preview of the future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44443041)

A tablet with one giant button that plays back video of Obama and all his sage advise. Ya, looking forward to it. Think I can 'upgrade' to an Etch-sketch instead?

Yet (5, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | 1 year,19 days | (#44441873)

Still less restrictive than a Windows Surface

Re:Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442011)

BAZINGA!!!

Re:Yet (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442189)

And about as common...

Re:Yet (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442379)

I know its funny but it also kind of makes me angry to hear something so ignorant. Why is the Surface an example of a restrictive device, why not the iPad. And lets be very clear that the surface pro is actually a computer and the least restrictive device.

Re:Yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442741)

Get back under your Redmond rock, moron. The reason nobody's buying them is they're not good for anything.

Re:Yet (1)

chilvence (1210312) | 1 year,18 days | (#44445215)

The ipad is also an example of a restrictive device. Wow, this is complicated.

Re:Yet (1)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,19 days | (#44442727)

DPRK smuggled one in a while back and reverse engineered it. They figured if that was all the tech we had, we'd be an easy conquest. Hence their new missile program.

Can it play Robot Unicorn Attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44441903)

Or as it is locally known, Glorious Leader Commands the Defeat of the Traitorous For who Denies his Archaeological Discovery

What nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442129)

My friend came back from Korea with tonnes of photos... they are on facebook...

Re:What nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442141)

I meant North Korea, from Arirang games. Totally amazing.

Walled Garden (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44442779)

I thought Apple tablets were a walled garden! This sounds even worse, except for the garden part. The TV tuner part is useful, and would be useful on North American tablets for watching local digital television, except its so much more fun to waste bandwidth by broadcasting data redundantly over limited spectrum, and not just that, but terrestrial digital tv broadcasts are free, and where's the fun in that... make people pay for what they can otherwise get for free.

Tourist? (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444395)

Tourists? North Korea? Uh?

Re:Tourist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 days | (#44444729)

Sure, why not. [koryogroup.com]

Re:Tourist? (1)

Tony Currin (2862917) | 1 year,18 days | (#44444877)

Just remember to take lot's of photos, I mean lot's of them. Take pictures of everything you see. If you see anything military in nature, go ahead and take a picture of that as well, they love it when you do. You will most likely be assigned someone to watch over you and at times, it may seem like they're stopping you from taking photos; don't worry, they're usually just bored with their jobs and do that to annoy you. Just go ahead and take pictures.
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