Answers to Random Questions: 01

As an exercise in transparency, I thought I'd share some insight into how I think and operate. It may sound like a job interview at times and that's because of where I found some of these questions. Please enjoy.

What's your expertise? What's your weakness?

The term is undesirable for many but I can't keep from describing myself as an expert "Swiss Army Knife." I pride myself with having a multitude of abilities and skills while being teachable in the areas I'm unfamiliar with.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

My attitude towards anything can be summed up as this: "It won't fail because of me." I believe that saying originated with NASA though I found it recently through Tom Sachs. Just one example of my dedication is through my use of the 1 Second Everyday iPhone app. I try to do something interesting enough to make a quick one second video snapshot and then mash them all together at the end of the year. Here's 2015 (with links to 2013 and 2014).

My weakness? Being concise. And while I'm constantly working on that, I make up for it with passion. I also suffer from a touch of imposter syndrome. One way I combat the feeling is by looking back at what I've accomplished. Especially looking at tasks or roles I previously labeled as impossible because they were unlike anything I've done before (leading weekly group activities, training volunteers, etc.).

What makes you tick?

I like a challenge and constantly working on making things better, no matter what it is. I'll go the extra mile because I set my own bar high. I don’t do well with monotonous tasks just for the sake of them but I do enjoy getting into the rhythm of a task with a decently paired soundtrack.

My professional resume may not be as full and polished as others so I created more of a "life resume" I call my Walter Mitty Resume. I feel it's a much better representation of me as a person.

Where do you consume content?

There's always the usual "checking the pulse" of people I know by surfing Facebook and Twitter for a few minutes, just to get a feel for things. I’ll frequently check out Reddit to see any big news things I’ve missed though I end up just saving funny stuff to share later. As far as podcasts go, I have a variety that I keep up with: Hello Internet, Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project, The Talk Show with John Gruber, The Tim Ferriss Show, G.O. Get Outside Podcast, and a good many others actually. I use the Overcast iPhone app to listen to my podcasts and I’m quite proud of my “smart speed” savings which is a little over 30 hours.

For blogs, I often will go just to certain sites when I need something. Wirecutter/Sweethome for reviews, The Verge for tech news, stuff like that. In my Feedly list, I’ll skim through blogs such as A Continuous Lean, Adventure Journal, Huckberry’s Journal, Seth Godin, Semi-Rad… I like more of the “adventure” (in any loose variation) flavor of posts.

Oh and I’ve actually been really enjoying BuzzFeed’s News app. It’s surprisingly well done and helps keep me updated on true current events (because I don't watch TV news very much). Digg also has a great selection of both “real news” and fun stuff and their copywriting is well done. When I can, I’ll check in on Their copywriting is impressively hilariously and they do it on a daily basis.

I also look forward to getting my email newsletter from The Hustle. Great updates on news I’m interested in (tech/business) and like the other examples, great copy.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

If I have to pick one found everywhere, it's going to be cookie dough. If I can find it, a new favorite has been the Double Dunker from Turkey Hill. But I also have deep rooted childhood memories of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae from Friendly’s. The absolute best of the best I've had? The classic hot fudge sundae from Ted Drew's. If you're in St. Louis and don't swing by Ted's, you've wasted your time.

Have a question you want answered? Let me know and I'll add it to the list.

Bananas, Domain Names, and Hover's Awesome Customer Service

To celebrate their 30th birthday, Verisign is giving away $35,000 in an online contest and they teamed up with a few partners to make it happen. I'm a big fan of [winning] contests and the price on this one was right.
“To enter the contest, all you have to do is register a really great new .COM domain. The .COM domain you choose should be all the things that make for a “great” domain name – original, memorable, and keyword-rich (but, we don’t have to tell you that).”
I've already bought a few domains through Hover (because they’re the best in so many ways) but I had a personal project site unregistered that I thought could be the perfect entry.

Lately I’ve been trying to find people eating bananas in Google Maps and through hours of mouse clicks and some sheer luck, I compiled a list of all that I found.

The grand total? One person.

But this sounded like the perfect chance to throw my name in the hat for the contest and fingers crossed, I submitted They said submissions had to be original and memorable and I thought my site hit those requirements nicely.

One day goes by and I open my email to reveal a pretty disappointing message. My entry was denied due to one reason or another and I was pretty bummed out. I did however get another email though that was a total surprise as well. Hover reached out and said that they were sending something in the mail to me because they felt bad I wasn’t in the contest.

That's a really nice gesture and just the thought made me feel better about things. They wouldn’t tell me what they were sending but it literally just arrived at my front door and I wanted to share it with you.

Amazon gift wrapped box? Off to a nice start...

The card read: "Hey Mike, really sorry that your awesome site didn't qualify for the Verisign contest. Hopefully this will help you get more noticed by Google Maps. From: Your pals at Hover."

Just by coincidence, today's also my birthday and when I first opened the box and saw this lump, I thought, "oh no, it's clothes. " Who wants clothes for their birthday?! They want doodads and gizmos!

Suspicions confirmed. Clothes. But Hover wasn't wrong. This hoodie will clearly get me more noticed by Google Maps. I mean, it's bright yellow!

Turns out there's more...

This isn't your typical run-of-the-mill-bright-as-the-sun-yellow hoodie...

It's a banana hoodie! Wha?! I had no idea this was even a thing! I probably should keep this in my car in case I see a Google Maps car drive by!

Long story short, Hover has some of the best customer service around. I'm not just saying that because they sent me a banana hoodie though. I've had to contact them in the past and they're super easy to work with and very down to earth. If you're looking to register a new domain or even interested in transferring to something better, give Hover* a try, you won't be disappointed.

Thanks Hover for the banana hoodie and totally making my day! It's actually surprisingly comfortable too!

*Yeah my link above is an affiliate link. I get a small kickback ($2) in the form of store credit and it's only fair because I found them first. But trust me, you'll love 'em.

Being Nitpicky about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

I recently bought Modern Warfare 3 because I'm a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise but more specifically, I love the Modern Warfare series.

[For some reason, I don't like the Treyarch versions of CoD.]

If you're looking for a review, here it is:

It's good and I recommend getting it. Some people say it's just like MW2 and I think that's mostly true but MW2 was really good also. New weapons, refreshed maps, a snappier feel, all reasons to join the fight.

Read on to hear my gripes* about the game. (*Spoiler alert, it's really just for fun and these things don't truly bother me. Well... maybe a little.)

Ok now that my official review is out, let me get picky. I haven't been around guns my whole life but I know enough that they could have hired me as a consultant and the game would have been 83% better.

Select Fire on Assault Rifles

They don't let you select fire on the assault rifles. In real life, rifles like the FN SCAR and Remington ACR allow semi auto or full auto fire but in the game they just allow full auto. Having the ability to change in game would allow greater control and accuracy as well as adding realism to the game.


ACR 6.8

Ballistic Vests

One of the kill streak rewards is the use of ballistic vests. When you acquire one of these vests, your vision gains a slight yellowish tinted vignette. Does this usually happen when you wear a ballistic vest? No. What does happen is that the added weight could slow you down. Why not make the downside of the vest use a slower sprint speed or decreased sprint distance?

Not Wearing a Ballistic Vest
Wearing a Ballistic Vest

Sprinting with a Light Machine Gun

With some of these light machine guns weighing as much as 20 pounds (not including ammo), they still allow you to spring quite a bit. I guess that they still slow you down when compared to the SMG's but I imagine it would be more realistic if they slowed you down further. These are some heavy guns!

Shoulder Firing .50 caliber Sniper Rifle

You'll see a ton of people in multiplayer firing multiple times on body sized targets (other players) while standing or even moving with the Barrett. That's just not accurate. Also, the bipods on these rifles should be functional for times when going prone to take a shot. 

Kel-Tec KSG 

The Kel-Tec KSG was new at SHOT Show this year and as cool as it is, I don't want to use it in Modern Warfare 3. It has 2 tubes that can each hold 7 rounds. The idea is that you can have 7 rounds of buck shot in one tube and 7 rounds of slugs in the other. That allows you to engage targets in close quarters and at a considerable distance through the use of a red dot sight. This could have been a great gun in the game but they don't allow you to change ammunition types.

Hybrid Sight

The hybrid sight offers horrible sight picture all around. In the real world this could be very useful even though it has some downsides (getting caught on entryways when flipped out). Look at the comparison of the various sights in MW3 and take note of the bottom two photos which is the hybrid sight in it's two stages.

(click to embiggen)

Suppressors for Shotguns

Ok, these 'do' exist but I don't think they should be included in the game unless they allow you to use slugs in the shotgun. I am really not an expert in this field but I don't think a suppressor would work with buck shot due to so many projectiles. Like I said, it's something that is possible in the real world but not so much that it's mainstream.


It's just a game and I like to find stuff to be picky about. You really should buy it.  <-- Amazon Affiliate Link

Let me know if you have any gripes about it because I'm sure I'm not alone and there probably some things I've missed.

But wait, there's more...
Short URL:
Video of my recent gameplay: