[lifestyle] knick-knacks on koreahallyu.com (plus a discount for this blog’s readers ^^~!)

Before I begin, I would like to say this is a promotional post of sorts. Promotional as in a vendor is being promoted over others but ‘of sorts’ because I am not endorsing this site or encouraging you to purchase things from it. I would like to expose you some cool things out there and a way to acquire them. I thought it would be nice to introduce Korea Hallyu, since so many readers of this blog love Korean culture, to do a post on it because Korea Hallyu offered to give my readers a discount. (Aww, what nice people! But more on that later!)

Some of their notable products:

Galaxy S2 – iPhone 4/ 4S Korean Phone Case Cute Smart Rabbit

My college overflows with overseas Koreans, and I cannot count how many times I have seen cases like these. However, I own a Galaxy Nexus, which is also a Korean-made phone, I would love to see Korea Hallyu offer cases for Galaxy Nexus and other Korean-manufactured phones, because no one else sells cute cases, and I have been forced to get custom skins from Zagg instead.

THEFACESHOP Power Protection BB Cream (SPF37PA ++)

BB Cream is the secret weapon of South Korean idols– it’s the be-all-end-all, sunscreen, skin whitener, moisturizer, foundation. I chose the most expensive BB Cream, because honestly, since BB Cream is the be-all-end-all, you need to get the best stuff, and the best stuff tends to be the most expensive.

Korean Circle Lens Dali Rose Brown 

Circle lenses! The reason why Korean idols look so doe-like and innocent with impossibly large anime eyes. However, like with BB Cream, be very careful with who and from whom you buy it from, because you will only ever have one pair of eyes, and in the United States, it is technically illegal to sell circle lenses without a valid prescription. If you wear contact lenses or glasses for practical reasons rather than just for fashion, please verify your prescription before you buy circle lenses. I am actually due for an eye exam soon; so perhaps grey circle lenses will be in my future. Exciting.. there will finally be some color in my bottomless black hole eyes..

Stainless Steel Vacuum Korean Chopsticks 10 Set

I absolutely love metal chopsticks! They are so sleek and modern-looking (I think this is my inner hipster emerging). Korea Hallyu also sells Korean spoon and chopstick sets with beautiful designs, but I hope they will add a set to the catalogue devoid of any inlay because plain steel is the most classic.

To be honest, their catalogue is a bit sparse now, but hopefully they will begin to flesh it out, as they receive requests from shoppers, and if they head towards the direction of fred flare, I am sure they will find a niche of shoppers looking for unique, cute products. I am also pretty impressed they are offering free shipping to USA, Asia, Europe. It is actually a good business strategy, since most of their patrons will be young, and what they afford will not really be big-ticket items. For example, Amazon offers free shipping over $25 because most of their shoppers are middle-class, while J-Crew only starts free shipping over $100 because most of their shoppers are on the higher end.

Please read on to receive the discount!

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[tech] $h!rtl3ssTAEMIn. yes. that was my password.

the Lulz boat

Lulzsec has been taking the technology world by storm now, hacking into Sony, the Senate, the CIA, etc. However, I’m sad to say, it has not received much general media coverage, except for little mentions on ‘hacking’ which do not even say the name of ‘Lulzsec’.

How to pronounce Lulzsec:
loooolz (a variation on lol, denoting laughing at a victim of a prank) + sec (like how you say the beginning of “security”, where it derives from)

Now that we have that name barrier out of the way, why should you care about these renegade hackers? Well, they’ve publicly released e-mails and passwords from sites they’ve hacked, exposing internet users to fraud and malicious acts. This action is especially damaging since most users just use one or two passwords for every single account they have. If you want to see if any of your details were released, visit here.

Lulzsec has declared that it wants to take on the “fat cats”, which generally points toward one direction: banks. Er.. so.. though Lulzsec says it’s not in it for the monies, but other people like monies a lot. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like my monies getting stolen..

The simplest way to provide a preliminary barrier and protect yourself against this hacking is to use different passwords for every account. So if one account is compromised, everything else won’t fall like dominoes.

Yes, I know, that means I have more than 20 passwords. It’s not impossible. $h!rtl3ssTAEMIn was incredibly easy to remember, and according to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take a trillion years for that password to crack. The strength of my newest WordPress password? Let’s say in the neighborhood of nine quadrillion years.

The trick is to settle on a theme you like and you’ll remember easily. For example, your favorite books. A sample set of passwords could be:

  1. D3@thly01H@llowS
  2. Am3r!c@n02P@stor@L
  3. M@d@m303Bov@rY
  4. P3rfum304Murd3R
  5. Th305Hobb!T
  6. S3p@r@t306P3@cE

Things to note:

  • I replaced e with 3, a with @, i with !
  • In the middle of each title, I put numbers: 01, 02, 03…
  • I capitalized the first letter of each word
  • I capitalized the last letter of the password
If that patterning is too taxing on your brains, you can create a base password, such as: D3@thly01H@llowS, and then for each site you visit, you’ll add something unique–
  1. Facebook: D3@thly01H@llowSF@CEbook
  2. Twitter: D3@thly01H@llowSTW!Tt3r
  3. WordPress: D3@thly01H@llowSWORDpr3ss
Do whatever makes sense for you, but always make sure that your passwords:
  • are at least eight characters long.
  • include at least one symbol, one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, one number.
  • do not have whole words in it. What I mean is, don’t use “dancing”; “d@nc!ng” would be better, because last I checked, “nc” and “ng” aren’t words in the dictionary–dictionary words are easily run through by password-breaking programs.

However, I bet some of you are still thinking, “All I have is a dinky mail and Facebook account. I really don’t need this 15 character password, Michelle! You dinky blogger nerd!”

Unless you really profess to live under a rock, you will have online dealings with sensitive information someday. The way the internet is moving, it’s toward greater transparency towards your identity– you can see this in the new commenting system Techcrunch implemented to stem the flow of trolls, and the new system WordPress has started, both letting users comment via Facebook, the ultimate destroyer of anonymity. It’s better to start strong now than to regret it later. Possibly one day, stealing your Facebook account details will be akin to stealing your passport (that is, if Google Wallet concept ever takes off).

Oh, one more thing.

Completely change your passwords every six months.

I’m due for a revamp soon. Fun.

[kpop/musings] am I a kpop fangirl?!

So, last night instead of filling out scholarship applications, I had a mini-crisis of identity, and rambled it all on Twaudio. As I said in the Tweet, do not listen unless you want to die and lose all respect for me.

This crisis consists of a few components:

Let’s assume I hate chocolate. Then, let’s assume SHINee is dark chocolate. Result? Michelle-in-corner stuffing her face with dark chocolate even though she detests all chocolate-ty goodness in her black, coal and cholesterol filled heart. I tell others that there’s a distinction between being a SHINee fangirl and a kpop fangirl. Then most other people laugh at me and say I’m pretentious and point to my huge music library of kpop, my one-time, quasi-infatuation with G-Dragon and superfluous praise of Big Bang and 2NE1. To them, I say, “But I like electronic music! Look at all my europop! I love blond-hair—TOP looks fabulous now)!! Plus, 2NE1 and Big Bang consistently make good music!!!” Everyone still says I’m pretentious, trying to rise above my kpop fangirl status, just saying I like the music, yeah right, because kpop is an entire entertainment package. No way you can just eat the dark chocolate without voraciously consuming the other chocolates in the box (I hate coconut).

To add to my kpop virginity, I can honestly confess I have never seen music videos by these following artists: 2PM, 2AM, 4minute, IU, Brown Eyed Girls, Dalmation, F.T. Island, f(x), SNSD (I used to have “Gee” on my iPod, but have since deleted it), KARA, HyunA, U-Kiss, Secret, missA, Teen Top, and ZE:A. Surprised?

Korean culture ??
I have made it a goal to learn Korean. Reasons: (1) I like learning languages, personal goal to pick up Spanish this summer (2) kpop is becoming a brain drain = Michelle being stupid for a good chunk of time (3) I am increasingly conscious of all the badly translated things I read/watch after I took a course in translation. Note that nowhere in these goals is an actual desire or passion for Korean culture. I never want to live, study, or work in Korea. Heck, I’d rather live in Italy or Japan, but if I probably do live in Asia, it’ll be Hong Kong. Imma Chinese. I like Korean individual stuffs, like Jonghyun. The actual Korean culture, well, let’s just say that real Chinese food pawns Korean food (kimchi ew).

Overall, I’m not invested in the Korean culture itself. I like a boy group, and I like several songs in the genre. Like I like some of Lady Gaga and some of Britney Spears, but that doesn’t mean I like Rihanna. One of the reasons I turned down an intern position at a really, really good kpop news site was the simple fact is I don’t care about the kpop culture enough. I could care less if 2NE1 visited the Pinkberry and liked the lychee froyo. Even if SHINee had visited, I wouldn’t rush down to the only Pinkberry in Boston to buy some (though I did have its lychee froyo yesterday—uninspiring). This kind of news is best left on fan sites and forums.

Real-life Michelle v. Online Michelle
When you meet me in person, I rarely talk about kpop. Mostly, I complain about school. Or my Chromebook. On my private Twitter, I have two followers with whom I work with on blogging for kpop news, and I’m sure they’re both annoyed with my non-kpop Tweets.

A sampling:

23 march 2011 dahhhhhh I woke up at 8:45AM. I had work starting at 8:30AM. TT___TT I am such a dumbass!!!!!!
22 march 2011 “I have ten years of shoujo manga expertise!” .. definitely the greatest expertise to claim
21 march 2011 mom offered to buy me an iPad, then retracted it saying I already had a Chromebook =_____=
21 march 2011 drinking a $40 Bird’s Nest drink.. life is good..
21 march 2011 I don’t understand!! who is the gnome that turned off my “Compact & Clean for Google Reader” extension?!!!!!!! wtf
20 march 2011 just learned that Alan Greenspan went to Juilliard for saxophone. but then dropped out. iono what to feel. impressed or is he a BUM. bum bum

*I excluded a lot of Tweets in which I ranted on plagiarism.. I got plagiarized quite a few times this past week.

I know a lot of my readers stem from kpop, which is great, but then the thing is, when I describe myself to anybody, kpop is probably the last thing I will use. Heck, I’d probably talk at length about the intricate connections between William Faulkner and Samuel Beckett and my hate of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” before I mention kpop.


Then, at the end of my long, analyzing rant, I was unable to come to a conclusion if I was a fangirl or not. Honestly, is it a bad thing to be a fangirl? No. But it definitely changes how I think about myself. Because, look, if Imma be ranting on fangirls about how dumb they are sometimes, and I’m actually one of them… see where the irony lies? Silly thing to keep me up at night, but I dun wanna be a hypocrite for the people that I’m writing this blog for.

BBC seriously needs to do new adaptations of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Never mind ridiculously good ones have already appeared within the last 15 years. I need to return to my banana Asian American ways before I melt in identity crises.

[Tech] Facebook profile pictures hack. Be nerd.

Since the new Facebook profile debuted, people have been tinkering with its pictures.

One day, after spending a day in Boston and going to the beach, I spent three hours on Photoshop, and this is what I came up with:

Yes, I my Facebook is in Italian. I also believe in Glenn Gould. I don’t really live in Siena, Italy (cries).

Since I was being stupid at 10AM in the morning, this took me over three hours—I also photoshopped the original picture to have a more retro, developed-with-chemicals-in-dark-room feel:



However, by following instructions correctly the first time around, with Photoshop or using an online editor made especially for this, you can do this in less than 20 minutes. The instructions and other really nifty examples are here at Techcrunch! I traditionally dislike taking photos, but to make a cool Facebook profile.. I think I’ll need to start going to parties and being social. Right.

Be nerd. Send me screenshots if you do it! :)

[tech/nerd] Michelle and the Chromebook: our two month anniversary. and my gripes.

When I filled out the survey for the Chromebook, there was a little checkbox at the end, saying “Would you use the Cr-48 as your primary computer?” and who wouldn’t check it, if it meant getting a free laptop? So I checked it, and after a honeymoon of two days because of its novelty, a nightmare of two months ensued. Bottom line: I cannot imagine using the Chromebook as my primary computer. Ever.

My Gripes:

  1. It’s super slow. Like epic slow. Like slower than particles at 0 degree Kelvin. OK, I may be exaggerating. The startup time may be speedy, but once I put in my password, and my pinned tabs open up (Gmail, Extensions, Google Reader, nothing fancy), the Chromebook takes a long minute to become acceptably receptive to manipulation. Also, if I am opening multiple tabs at once, if one tab is still loading, the rest of the tabs remain a blank white until the final tab loads. This particularly bites when one tab is very content rich. There is also a noticeable delay when I open a new tab–it’s not smooth at all. My Asus UL80VT takes around the same time to boot from hibernation, and its Chrome runs like butter.
  2. It loves to cache. I religiously clear the cache every day, but still Chrome insists on being slow!
  3. The battery takes forever to charge. It might be just me, but when I plug my Asus, it takes around an hour, then it’s good for 8 hours. When I charge the Chromebook, it takes around 3 hours to get up 8 hours of juice. This is not ideal for something on the go, if you need to dock it for such a long time to charge.
  4. The apps misfunction all the time. One of the best things about Chrome OS are the panels, which is utilized in the Google Talk app for Chromebook. However, 4 out of 5 times I click on the app to start it, the panel remains blank. I like this feature so much that I obsessively restart the Chromebook until it works again. Even then, the people who are online appear offline, and I’ve been told by Ian that I am in fact “online” when I set my status as “invisible.” I restart the computer when Incredible Startpage isn’t working either; it will tell me that Chrome Bookmarks aren’t “ready” when the notebook has been running for 10 minutes already. Also, Chromed Bird periodically stops working too–I have to go to the Extensions page and disable and re-enable. SO MUCH WORK! UNACCEPTABLE!
  5. Sometimes I need to turn my fingers into ninjas to get the trackpad to recognize my double finger tap. Since the whole trackpad is one big left click button, the only way to right click is to double finger tap, and though I have the trackpad set to the highest sensitivity, it does not register at times, and I have to stab the trackpad multiple times. Annoying. PS This would never happen on a Mac.
  6. The download center is a horror to navigate. Sure, I downloaded this picture.. but then where exactly did it go?! I think Google should integrate saving images with Picasa, so it will truly be in the cloud, not somewhere in this esoteric Linux system.
  7. There is no online equivalent to native desktop applications. Though I do most of my word processing on Google Docs nowadays, it’s nowhere near the capability of Microsoft Word. Though I may type initial drafts in Google Docs, I will always switch to Word for final drafts and formatting. Also, the other elephant in the room: iTunes. The transition to the cloud will be slow from Apple (I hypothesized about it last year, but to no avail), and until then, I want to listen to my SHINee.

Though I must say that the Chromebook has been extremely handy for watching episodes of DragonBall Z: the battery lasts for 4 hours on continuous video. Also, the Cr-48 is light and sufficiently sturdy for me to toss around without damaging.

However, in real life, I need a computer that can do more than stream DragonBall Z episodes. I can deal with a fragile computer if it is fast and reliable (read: Cr-48 is neither fast nor reliable). Though the Chromebook has all the specs of a good netbook, it still runs disappointingly slow and is buggy.

Google definitely has a long way to run before Chrome OS can go to market: it needs to make Chrome OS faster, smoother, get rid of bugs, make sure that native desktop applications can be satisfactorily replaced by online applications, clean up its file storage. In short, Google needs to polish Chrome OS like nuts before it can run with sleek competitors such as the MacBook Air and breathe life into the netbook market in face of the expanding tablet market. 2011 will be an uphill battle for Google on all fronts.

Fun times with Chromebook. Writing essay on Babel Fish, decided to take a stretch! Left this lovely message. You can tell that I was brain dead after all that essay-writing..