Please, nobody tell Michael Gove about this…

November 3rd, 2013

Professor Ruediger Frank's review of a North Korean tablet computer (NB: PDF file) is almost as long as a John Siracusa Mac OS X review, but for very different reasons. Specifically, Professor Frank's survey of the enormous amount of DPRK-approved educational literature/propaganda that is loaded onto every machine.

Utility is obviously in the eye of the beholder. I find it unlikely that somebody without a certain interest in North Korea would ever purchase a Samjiyon. For non-Korean speakers, the main treasures of this tablet will remain hidden, except perhaps the dictionary.

For experts and those who want to join this illustrious group, the Samjiyon can easily develop into one of their major research tools. The DPRK-specific dictionaries and the encyclopedia are tremendously useful as reference works. It does not take much imagination to see all the future Ph.D. theses written about the North Korean educational system based just on the textbooks available on a single Samjiyon (don't forget to give credit to the one who provided you with this idea).

[Via ongoing by Tim Bray]

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Reparations required

July 8th, 2012

Dangerous brinkmanship from Kim Jong-un:

Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh took the stage in North Korea during a concert for new leader Kim Jong-un in an unusual performance featuring Disney characters.

Performers dressed as some of America's best-known cartoon characters pranced as footage from Snow White, Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast and other popular Disney films played on a huge backdrop, according to still photos shown on state TV on Saturday.

I really hope someone in the DPRK's leadership thought to acquire the proper permits. Such blatant disregard for the norms of civilised corporate intellectual property law will not stand.

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