Saturday, April 25, 2015

Answer: Which button...

There are several ways... 

to answer this week's Challenge.  

Recall the question:  

I need to use the following device.... 

which has the following really interesting user interface: 

A higher-res version of this image

1.  There are a lot of buttons here... I want to be sure I don't push the wrong button!  Can you figure out which button changes the temperature of the seat?  Yes, that's an option here.  A friend told me so--but... which one changes the temperature?  
2.  Extra credit: What do the other buttons do? 

Answer method 1:  Let's do the obvious thing... Can we look up the characters that seem like they might be involved?  (Think about it-- if we're trying to change the temp, there's probably an HOT and COLD (or warm/cool) pair.   

It seems pretty clear that the buttons on the left are Stop and Bidet, but the others I couldn't figure out. 

Could we use Google's Translate app to help out here?   This App is available in the Play Store, and it's pretty much a point-shoot-scan-translate mobile app. 

I brought up the image on my laptop, then pointed my phone at my screen and found this: 

When I run my finger over the text in the middle and hit "translate," I find that it shows up as (Temperature settings) in translation.  

The good news here is that we found the temperature settings:  it's the buttons that are second from the right.  

The bad news is that using the Translate app doesn't work very well on the other texts.  I really DID get lucky here--some of the other buttons are either too worn out to be read accurately, or are a kind of abbreviation (like "H" and "C" on English water taps).  

I then switched to using the "write your Korean text here" in the web-based Google Translate app:  

This works, but it's kind of slow.  (Although I learned a good deal about Hangul in the process.)  

But note that sometimes the translations vary.  In the above example, I wrote  변 좌 (or what I THOUGHT was that), and it was translated as "Left side."  But using the Translate app, I find that it could also mean "

Or, I wrote  and got the translation "That."  

Here's one that was more successful: 

So, by going back and forth between using the Android-based Translation app and the writing-the-Hangul characters method, I was able to get most of the text.  

But not everything.  

I tried searching for the manual for the Panasonic DL-SH25HK by doing: 

     [ panasonic dl-sh25hk OR sh25hk  manual ] 

but mostly I found were out-of-date pages.  

I DID find a page for the Panasonic DL-SJX30HWM, which is (apparently) the same toilet seat in Japanese.  

The resolution isn't the best, but it does confirm the text I'd figured out via the Translation app.

Only then it occurred to me:  I bet I'm not the only English-only speaking person with this issue.

So I did a search for:

     [ Korean toilet controls translation ] 

and sure enough, several sites popped up.  The site Korea for Expats has a nice decoding page, with a chunk that looks like this:  

This allowed be to finally decode everything else on the panel.  Here's what I was able to figure out: 

So... the answer to this Challenge is that the two buttons second from the right control the water temperature and the toilet seat temperature.  Given the amount of wear on the surface of the buttons, it looks like you press them repeatedly until you get the right temp (that's indicated by the little lights to the left of the button).  

Denouement:  As it turned out, there was a handy user's guide hidden in the bathroom.  Naturally, after experimenting with all of the buttons, I found this on the very last day of my stay there.  Here's the hotel's guide to using the toilet: 

We did a pretty good job, all things considered!

Search Lessons:  This is a case where using multiple methods to get the answer is the best approach.  (Here we used Google Translate app on my phone, drawing in the Korean text into web-based Google Translate, and looking for someone else who has already translated some of the Korean text on toilets.)  

To double check some of these translations, I also used an online OCR system for Korean to English translation.  It's the same idea as my phone-based translation, but you have to upload an image to their service to do it.  (But this is a great method to remember when you find yourself without a phone..)  

Note that I double-checked everything, although I did ignore some of the translations that my handwritten Hangul gave me--I didn't trust my handwriting skills!  

As always, Search On!   


  1. Good Morning, Dr. Russell. I am glad you are back.

    This challenge was very interesting because we never think about what we can find in travels and how to solve it. Of course, hotels should provide the guide when someone makes check-in.

    I am glad that tried almost all the ways you did for solving challenge. I didn't do drawing because my handwritten I am sure will not give any good result. And [ Korean toilet controls translation ], never thought of doing that search and probably was the first thing all of us could think to do in a foreign country. Also never thought what you said about heat needs different grades and that should narrow or choices. After reading you tried [Korean toilet buttons] and also worked.

    Remmij, how did you do the translated image that you shared? The one that has out of order? I mean, did you use also Google translate and then edited?

    Wish you a great day and a week full of joy in all your activities.

    1. Hello Remmij! :)

      Did you enjoyed Greenland? Utah also looks very nice to meet and have fun.

      Thanks for your comment and answer to my question.

      Also, thanks for your links. The one about Pg 13, thought it was a joke or sarcasm. Then searched and it is true! That story is incredible.

      I liked all your links. Multi-colors roses, I wonder how they are made. Once I read some flowers receive vegetable colorant to add those colors.

      Calbuco Volcano time-lapse and video when all starts woow. That is impressive. The plane and volcano photo is amazing too.

      Very interesting the screen you shared with Google Translate. How many languages do you speak? Any preference about those in the photo?

      Happy days, Remmij and great new month!