Ok, first post of the new year. First off, my new years resolution, and my only one, is to understand at least 60-70% of Korean conversation. I’ve been really disappointed with my progress with Korean speaking/listening despite having studied it for 2.5 years. But I know why now. With anything, it takes a lot of exposure and practice to be good at something. With languages its the same. To improve my reading/writing, one has to simply read and write Korean articles, and to improve listening and speaking, one has to simply speak and listen to korean. But the trick is to have enough discipline to do this all the time. This is difficult, especially when you live in a country where the language you are learning is not spoken.
But I don’t give up easily, and I have to be more disciplined. I have to expose myself to Korean everyday. Read more Korean articles and news online. Watch more Korean dramas, movies, programs. Write Korean on my Facebook posts. Speak Korean to my friends. Speaking might be the hardest, because that one requires me to find a language conversation partner, and its not like I have many good Korean friends in San Francisco or a Korean girlfriend or anything, so its difficult to meet someone who is willing to talk to your regularly. Reading, Watching and Writing I can do on my own time however, just need to be disciplined.
I found the reason why I couldn’t understand almost all of Korean conversation is: 1) Some Korean words sound different spoken than written (take 작년 or 설날 as an example), 2) There’s lots of Korean slang and idioms I don’t know about and 3) There’s lots of Korean vocab in general I don’t know about. But I am confident I can improve my listening if I knew those words. I can already pick out the words I DO know from what they are saying, and I’m getting better at picking them out even when they’re spoken fast. Takes time however.
For my reading/writing, it also doesn’t help that Google Translate is just awful at doing asian languages. I’m not sure how Google can do things like make self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses but they can’t make a decent asian translator. Seems like no one has been able to figure out a good translator for asian languages, and I’m not totally sure why no one has started an app which specializes in asian languages (WordLens, Memrise and Duolingo like most language apps focuses on western languages).
I’ve been using mostly Naver for translation, but even then they don’t have all the idioms and slang in there.
I do alot of video recording. I try to do at least one video every week, if I have time, and if possible I prefer recording video to taking photos. Why is this? Because videos show you the atmosphere and vibe that happens at the time. Photos don’t show that. Photos have the advantage of being faster, easier to take, easier to share and easier to digest, but there’s alot of information lost in the moment that are better captured in videos. Some people use expensive DSLRs to take great pictures which get compressed when they get uploaded to Facebook, and some people even upload blurry pictures! what’s the point of that??
That said, I haven’t taken as many videos as I would have liked. Last year, there were alot of moments where I regret not taking any videos, this is mostly due to the inconvenience factor, but also because videos take up a lot of storage space, and my iPhone4S is only 16GB. If I want to have room for videos, I have to sacrifice some music for it. Another reason is that some situations like clubs, parties, bars, etc is just hard to take a video because of dark lightning, poor low light performance from cameraphones, too much noise and hard to hear any one person, and too inconvenient because you are always socializing, but would I have liked to have some videos of a special house party, or myself breakdancing? Of course I would’ve.
Another thing is, although I take alot of videos when I travel, I’m usually not in the video!! It would be nice if I could get a video of myself but its inconvenient to ask other people to take a video for you. And if you are travelling with friends, they are usually too busy enjoying themselves to hold a camera for you. Which brings me to another point, most people including me have trouble steadying a video camera and need optical image stabilization. Unfortunately, the Canon M400 I use disables OIS when its on the auto mode (the default one), for what reason I don’t know and I just found out so I have to re-stabilize all my Korea videos.
And when I take videos of myself playing music, I would prefer to have a camera-man rather than a tripod doing it, for a better video, but its difficult to find a camera-man every week, so I have to rely on my tripod everywhere. Which results in basically one constant shot the whole video. Like this:
This is probably the best I can do without a camera-man. Using autofocus + tripod + wireless mic. In the future though, I want something like this Pocket Drone which will auto direct a video for me. I feel video drones are the way to go, and the solution to inconvenience, however right now their performance is not perfect and their battery life tops out around 30min, which sucks.
Side rant: Laptops need 4G/LTE
Why don’t companies make a notebook with built in 4G/LTE?? Seriously, if a $300 tablet or smartphone can have 4G/LTE, then why can’t a $2000 laptop. You’re paying $1000+ for something that can only be used in places with wifi, and in the US that usually means Starbucks, McDonalds, and your home. Thats about as useful as having a tablet thats wifi-only, which is not much. And no I don’t want to always tether my phone (costs extra, takes up battery life) or use a 4G dongle (takes up a USB port, inconvenient). So far only business laptops have this, and by the way we should get fingerprint readers on consumer laptops too, these should be options on mainstream laptops!!
Anyways thats my rants for this month. Happy new year and Chinese new year!