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Living Abroad - Credit Reporting, Alerting, and Freezing

Living abroad I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to my financial accounts and credit rating back in the States.  It would really suck if I were the victim of fraud and didn't even know it.  Even worse would be dealing with identity theft while living overseas.  Below I compiled some helpful links and tips for keeping a close eye on your USA credit situation.

NOTE: Many of these sites are only accessible from within the US, so I recommend a service called Getflix that offers VPN connections.  This very affordable service allows you to access these sites while abroad.

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Working Around the Limitations of the Sony a6300 Camera

The Sony a6300 camera is an amazing little guy, and overall I've been fairly satisfied with its performance thus far.  However, as is the case with small form-factor mirror-less cameras that feature big-ass sensors and 4K video recording, it's not without limitations.  Below I list the a6300's limitations, along with how I've been working around them.  As 4K video recording is the most intense shooting scenario for this diminutive camera, I primarily focus on that situation.  Knock-on-wood--I have yet to suffer nearly as much when shooting stills or HD video.

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How to Balance the Feiyu Tech MG Gimbal Camera Stabilizer

I recently bought a Feiyu Tech MG gimbal camera stabilizer, and I nearly returned it as I endured the tortuous balancing process--a process that could have gone smoother had the cryptic manual been better.  Even after watching a couple YouTube videos, I still couldn't get it to work properly.  The motors made an nasty grinding noise shortly after turning it on.  I thought it was broken.

Long story short, it wasn't.  The camera must be near-perfectly balanced so as not to strain the motors, and there are 4 locations to adjust.  These 4 locations are indeed covered in the manual; however, with its non-native English translation and tiny graphics, that manual haunted my restless slumber over a 3-day bout.  The YouTube videos helped a bit, but they didn't cover all 4 locations--a tragic flaw.  So here are the 4 places you must adjust the balance.

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Starr Labs - How to Get a Refund of an iTar Preorder

I preordered Starr Labs' iTar in December 2011.  Three years later this device still didn't exist, and the fact the iTar was no longer even mentioned on the company's website had me worried.  I decided to give up on the preorder and seek a refund.  Unfortunately, Paypal's statute of limitations is 45 days, so I was way beyond that deadline.  Was my money gone?  Evaporated into a mythical device cloud?  I had certainly hoped not...

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The Hunt for the Ultimate Folding Bicycle

Despite its plethora of hills, oceans of smartphone zombie pedestrians, seas of taxis, and rivers of bulky buses, Tokyo is a fairly convenient city to cycle in because it's both compact and brimming with transportation options.  Hacking through some pithy calculations, I determined that I could likely cycle to work daily, thus building a daily calorie-burning workout into my lifestyle routine.  I'm a huge fan of such natural exercise because I don't have to think about it nor remember to schedule it.  Next was to find the ultimate two-wheeled solution for my daily commute conundrum.  Perhaps this is Japan's influence on me, or perhaps this is my own obsessive personality connecting with Japan's, but this is what I love--researching the ultimate solution to a life project.

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