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RIP Internet Explorer: South Korean engineer's browser 'grave' goes viral – Arab News

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SEOUL: A South Korean engineer who built a grave for Internet Explorer — photos of which quickly went viral — says the now-defunct web browser had made his life a misery.
South Korea, which has some of the world’s fastest average Internet speeds, remained bizarrely wedded to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which was retired by the company earlier this week after 27 years.
In honor of the browser’s “death,” a gravestone marked with its signature “e” logo was set up on the rooftop of a cafe in South Korea’s southern city of Gyeongju by engineer Kiyoung Jung, 38.
“He was a good tool to use to download other browsers,” the gravestone’s inscription reads.
Images of Jung’s joke tombstone quickly spread online, with users of social media site Reddit upvoting it tens of thousands of times.
Once dominant globally, Internet Explorer was widely reviled in recent years due to its slowness and glitches.
But in South Korea, it was mandatory for online banking and shopping until about 2014, as all such online activities required sites to use ActiveX — a plugin created by Microsoft.
It remained the default browser for many Seoul government sites until very recently, local reports said.
The websites of the Korea Water Resources Corporation and the Korea Expressway Corporation only functioned properly in IE until at least June 10, according to a report by the Maeil Economic Daily.
As a software engineer and web developer, Jung told AFP he constantly “suffered” at work because of compatibility issues involving the now-defunct browser.
“In South Korea, when you are doing web development work, the expectation was always that it should look good in Internet Explorer, rather than Chrome,” he said.
websites that look good in other browsers, such as Safari or Chrome, can look very wrong in IE, which often forced him to spend many extra hours working to ensure compatibility.
Jung said that he was “overjoyed” by IE’s retirement.
But he also said he felt genuinely nostalgic and emotional about the browser’s demise, as he remembers its heyday — one of the reasons he was inspired to erect the grave stone.
He quoted Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki: “People are often relieved that machines don’t have souls, but we as human beings actually give our hearts to them,” Jung told AFP, explaining his feelings for IE.
He said he was pleased by the response to his joke grave and that he and his brother — who owns the cafe — plan to leave the monument on the rooftop in Gyeongju indefinitely.
“It’s been very exciting to make others laugh,” he said.
DUBAI: UAE authorities say the extreme weather conditions across the country have ended, after a two-day sandstorm earlier this week hampered visibility and caused disruption.
The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) however said there was still a chance that some local convective clouds will form over some eastern and southern regions, in addition to Al-Ain and Al-Dhafra region, with a possibility of rain in the coming days.
The weather center also said some parts of the country would experience dusty winds for the rest of the week.
“Fair to partly cloudy in general and dusty at times, with a probability of convective clouds formation Eastwards by afternoon, may be associated with rainfall. Light to moderate winds, fresh at times, causing blowing dust during daytime. The sea will be slight in the Arabian Gulf and in Oman Sea,” NCM said in its weather bulletin for Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Temperatures could reach as high as 47°C in internal areas of the UAE and as low as 24°C in mountain areas, the center added.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.: Cops usually have a prime suspect. In this case it’s a primate suspect.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office believes it was a little Capuchin monkey that called 911 from a zoo last Saturday night.
The call disconnected and dispatchers tried to call and text back but there was no response, so deputies were sent to investigate, the office said in a social media post.
The address turned out to be the Zoo to You near Paso Robles, but the deputies found that no one there made the call.
They finally deduced that a Capuchin monkey named Route had apparently picked up the zoo’s cellphone, which was in a golf cart used to move about the property.
“We’re told Capuchin monkeys are very inquisitive and will grab anything and everything and just start pushing buttons,” the office’s post said.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Alphabet Inc’s Google is combining the eyes and arms of physical robots with the knowledge and conversation skills of virtual chatbots to help its employees fetch soda and chips from breakrooms with ease.
The mechanical waiters, shown in action to reporters last week, embody an artificial intelligence breakthrough that paves the way for multipurpose robots as easy to control as ones that perform single, structured tasks such as vacuuming or standing guard.
Google robots are not ready for sale. They perform only a few dozen simple actions, and the company has not yet embedded them with the “OK, Google” summoning feature familiar to consumers.
While Google says it is pursuing development responsibly, adoption could ultimately stall over concerns such as robots becoming surveillance machines, or being equipped with chat technology that can give offensive responses, as Meta Platforms Inc. and others have experienced in recent years.
Microsoft Corp. and Inc. are pursuing comparable research on robots.
“It’s going to take a while before we can really have a firm grasp on the direct commercial impact,” said Vincent Vanhoucke, senior director for Google’s robotics research.
When asked to help clean a spill, Google’s robot recognizes that grabbing a sponge is a doable and more sensible response than apologizing for creating the mess.
The robots interpret naturally spoken commands, weigh possible actions against their capabilities and plan smaller steps to achieve the ask.
The chain is made possible by infusing the robots with language technology that draws understanding of the world from Wikipedia, social media and other webpages. Similar AI underlies chatbots or virtual assistants, but has not been applied to robots this expansively before, Google said.
It unveiled the effort in a research paper in April. Incorporating more sophisticated language AI since then boosted the robots’ success on commands to 74 percent from 61 percent, according a company blog post on Tuesday.
Fellow Alphabet subsidiary Everyday Robots designs the robots, which for now will stay confined to grabbing snacks for employees.
DUBAI: Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled after a Middle East Airlines flight from Madrid to Beirut with 145 passengers on board failed to respond to radio messages, aircraft-tracking site IntelSky said on Monday.
“There were reportedly several attempts to contact the aircraft but no response had been received over the radio, something that was particularly worrying,” IntelSky said in a series of tweets about the incident, which happened on Aug. 10.
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.
As a result, the NATO air traffic control center in Spain sent an alert to Greek authorities. A “Code Renegade” was issued, which is a distress signal usually used to signify that a plane has been hijacked, according to media reports.
Greek authorities sent two F-16 fighters to intercept and check on the aircraft. They did so and determined there was no problem to be concerned about. A video clip posted by IntelSky appeared to show one of the fighter jets flying alongside the passenger jet.
IntelSky said it is thought that the pilot, Abed Al-Hout, the son of the chairman of Middle East Airlines, Mohammed Al-Hout, forgot to tune cockpit instruments to the correct frequency and this was why he failed to respond to hails. The incident did not go unnoticed by residents in the Argos area of Greece, IntelSky said, some of whom reported to the fire department strange noises that sounded like explosions.
In a message posted on Twitter, one of the passengers on the flight, Maria Sfeir, said that after the fighters departed, the “cabin crew reassured us from the captain that these were regular trainings that were notified in advance by the airline.”
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.
However, when other users pointed out that such training activity was unlikely with passengers on board, she said she had not believed the crew’s explanation.
Other Twitter users also commented on the incident. “Why would NATO send armed F-16s on a civilian aircraft unless it’s kind of a political” message, one person asked. Several accused the pilot of negligence.
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut.
LAPPEENRANTA, Finland: A crowd of people gathers in the Eastern Finnish city of Imatra on a bridge overlooking Imatrankoski rapids, one of the Nordic country’s most well-known natural attractions.
At the same time every day, the river’s almost century-old dam is opened and water rushes under the bridge, to the sound of music by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.
It is a popular attraction especially for Russian tourists. Even Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, visited Imatrankoski in 1772.
But since the end of July, the city of Imatra has started the show by playing the Ukrainian national anthem, to protest the Russian invasion.
Finland, which shares 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) eastern border with Russia, is also preparing to limit tourist visas issued for Russians.
“This is bad for the Russians who love Finland,” says Mark Kosykh, a 44-year-old Russian tourist who has come to see the rapids with his family.
“But we understand the government of Finland,” he says.
Kosykh emphasises that there are Russians who do not like the war.
“Not all Russians are for Putin. The government and all people must understand this.”
Also in the nearby city of Lappeenranta, the Ukrainian national anthem is played every evening above its city hall, overlooking shopping centers popular with Russian tourists.
“The aim is to express strong support for Ukraine and to condemn the war of aggression,” Lappeenranta’s Mayor Kimmo Jarva told AFP.
Many Russians visit Lappeenranta to shop for clothes and cosmetics, for example, and Russian number plates can be seen on numerous cars.
But tourism from its eastern neighbor has caused discontent in Finland due to the war in Ukraine.
A poll published last week by Finnish public broadcaster Yle showed 58 percent of Finns in favor of restricting Russian tourist visas.
“In my opinion, they should be restricted very strongly. I don’t see any other way to make Russian politicians think,” Lappeenranta local Antero Ahtiainen, 57, says.
Although he has nothing against individual tourists, Ahtiainen says his relationship with Russians has changed.
Spurred by the rising discontent, Finland’s Foreign Minister presented a plan last week to limit tourist visas issued to Russians.
The Nordic country remains Russia’s only EU neighbor without restrictions on tourist visas to Russian citizens.
As flights from Russia to the EU have been halted, Finland has become a transit country for many Russians seeking to travel further into Europe.
“Many saw this as a circumvention of the sanctions regime,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told AFP.
Although the Schengen regime and Finnish law do not allow for an outright ban on visas based on nationality, Finland can reduce visa numbers issued based on category, Haavisto noted.
“Tourism category can be restricted in the terms of how many visas can be applied for in a day,” Haavisto said.
Haavisto said he believed the final decision to adopt the plan could be taken by the end of the month.
Although many Finns are unhappy with Russian visitors now, traditionally people on both sides of the border region have lived in close contact with each other.
“In Saint Petersburg, many people have grandpapas and grandmamas from Finland, like my wife,” Kosykh says and adds that he visits Finland every year.
Russian tourists are also an essential source of income for many Finnish border towns.
After Russia lifted Covid travel restrictions on July 15, the number of Russian tourists heading to Finland has steadily increased.
While the numbers are still well below pre-Covid levels, there were more than 230,000 border crossings in July — up on the 125,000 seen in June.
“Of course, if Russian tourists do not come here, there will be a loss of income for businesses, which is unfortunate,” Jarva says.
But Jarva believes that there is strong support for limiting Russian tourist visas.
“We have to make a choice. We are strongly behind Ukraine.”


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