My Review of the Skyroam Pocket Wifi Hotspot
I purchased a couple Skyroam pocket wifi devices for my office and have been trying out the service in the field, as well as lending them out to traveling end-users. Here is a summary of both my own impressions and feedback I've heard from colleagues...
Spelling-Out English Words For Japanese People
At yesterday's office drinking party, some Japanese coworkers told me they were amused as they overheard me on the phone struggling to spell-out my email address to an older Japanese woman. My mind flashed back to earlier that day: Wiping beads of sweat from my brow, it felt like 30 minutes passed as I grudgingly navigated shaky communication waters. In the end I was successful, but I vowed to drastically improve my workflow.
Indeed--I often grapple with spelling-out English words or names for Japanese people. The most common example is when I have to provide my email address or the romaji spelling of my name to a Japanese person over the phone. My long foreign name combined with my company's longer foreign name make this an (unwelcome) Japanese communication challenge. I wondered how Japanese people deal with this situation, and I discovered that they rely upon place names to clarify the letter they're spelling. For example, they'll say something like 「アメリカのA」.
Unfortunately since we Americans use uncommon words like "bravo" and "foxtrot," or person names like "Alex" or "Mike," the American approach doesn't function well in Japan. Therefore, working with some native Japanese speakers, I developed the following phonetic alphabet for spelling-out English words. This list is now posted next to my office phone, and I eagerly await the next time I have to spell-out my email address. がんばります！
I welcome feedback and suggestions. Enjoy!
Working Around the Limitations of the Sony a6300/a6500 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.
Read more: How to Balance the Feiyu Tech MG Gimbal Camera Stabilizer
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