I like to travel, f*ck with technology, and partake in the occasional tropical drink.
I am also a co-host on The NBD Show podcast.
Follow Me

Not so recently I purchased a lifetime license for Plex, but never really used it. It seemed like most everything I wanted to watch was already on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. But when those streaming services let me down and I didn't want to re-purchase the digitally copy of a DVD I already owned I figured, why not digitize my physical DVDs?

So I stared searching the web and came across an excellent article by HowToGeek,com on backing up DVDs to digital copies using HandBreak. Being a Mac guy I was already familiar with Handbrake and loved it for converting media files, but I didn't know it could also back up my DVDs? So I wanted to post the Apple specific how to for backing up your DVD collection. For the entire article including the windows specific how to please visit the how to geek article linked above.

Step 1
Download and install Handbrake, which you can download here. Out of the box Handbrake can rip DVDs that are not copy protected or convert media files from one format to another…but almost all DVDs you buy in the store are copy protected. Getting around this is a weirdly gray area legally, so applications like Handbrake can’t legally include the software needed to decrypt copy protected DVDs. You can, however, download it separately as long as you’re just using this to watch a movie on your computer you physicaly own,

The software you'll need to install for backing up encrypted DVDs is called libdvdcss. This will let Handbrake read your encrypted DVDs and rip them to your computer. The process is a little different for Windows and Mac users, so if you are installing this on windows please visit the HowToGeek article. Note that you don’t have to do this every time you rip a DVD once libdvdcss is installed, you can skip to Step Two each time you rip a new disc.

Step 2
If you’re on El Capitan or newer, we’re going to use a command line tool called Homebrew. Sidebar if you’re not familiar with Homebrew this tool is awesome, spend some time looking into it. Basically they have created a software repository like apt-get for debian or yum for redhat I cant say enough good things about it. Fortunately, it only takes a few Terminal commands to install Homebrew if you haven’t already.

Once Homebrew is installed you can install libdvdcss. Open a the Terminal command line window on your mac. Then, type in brew install libdvdcss and hit enter. This will install libdvdcss, that's all you need to do.

Step 3
Once you’ve installed libdvdcss, it’s time to get ripping. Open Handbrake and choose your DVD drive from the sidebar that appears.

Handbrake will take a moment to scan the titles on your DVD. Wait until this process is finished. It should only take a moment. If libdvdcss wasn’t installed incorrectly, you’ll see an error saying that the disc can’t be read here instead.

Once your DVD is open, head to the “Title” dropdown box and choose which title you want to rip. By default, Handbrake will choose the movie, but if you want to rip any special features or deleted scenes, you can change the target you want to rip here. You can also change which chapters you want to rip, if you only want part of the movie. I chose to allow Handbrake to select the movie and it worked perfect for me.

Under Destination, click Browse to pick where you want to place the movie after you’ve ripped it.

Step 4
Next, you’ll need to decide the quality of your output file. The higher quality the movie, the more space it will take on your hard drive. If you’re technical, you can use the Picture, Video, and Audio tabs to adjust these settings, but most people only need to click one thing: a Preset.
Along the right side of the Handbrake window, you’ll see a selection of Presets (if you don’t see it, drag the corner of Handbrake’s window and expand it until you do). There are presets for nearly anything you could need: Apple TV, Android phones, PlayStation, and lots more. If you’re watching on your computer, use one of the “General” presets—“Fast” and “Very Fast” will be low quality but small in size, while “HQ” and “Super HQ” will have higher quality but take up more space.

Step 5
Once you’ve chosen your Title and Preset, click Start Encode at the top of the window. You’ll see a progress bar along the bottom that will let you know how much time you have left in the rip. Higher quality rips will take longer, so you’ll want to let your computer run for a while.

Once the rip is done, you should be able to double-click on it to watch it! Or, if you’re using a movie library program like Plex, go ahead and copy the file to your media server library.

I will start by saying yes I downloaded the app after the keynote but didn't open it till recently. Listening to Macbreak Weekly I had listened to Andy Ihnatko @ihnatko rave about how powerful the shortcuts app was. But what pushed me over the edge was a friend who had sent me a message telling me about an in-depth bad ass shortcut he wrote that runs shell commands over SSH to his NAS server, that was enough to inspire me.

I started thinking about things I do everyday and the one thing that bubbled to the surface was carpooling with my wife.  Everyday I text her and let her know I am on my way to pick her up, but now I only need to lift my watch and say, ”Hey Siri tell my wife I am on my way." That simple Siri command triggers a cascade of events that notifies my wife where I am leaving from, when I will arrive, and the weather on the way home. Then after a pause for the duration of the drive it will send a second text letting her know I am down stairs.

In addition to my first shortcut I am going to add interesting shortcuts I write or come across on the web to this post, so keep your eyes open. Oh ya you will need to open them on your IOS devices, hopefully they will add the shortcut app to the mac someday.

Carpool ETA shortcut: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/23d0048b12804690b364761fe377739f

Boarding Airplane 2: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/90df7fff30b4488d897fa4242fdffaeb
      Cool shortcut that walks you through three easy steps to send your flight information.

 Cadaver Dan's

This year we decided to try out Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. We didn't know what to expect and even though we didn't dress up or wait in line for candy, we still had a great time. All the rides were pretty much walk on and the decorations in the park are really fun.  The spooky music lights and fog really changes the way the park feels. Also the Cadaver Dans and the fireworks show were really well done.  We missed the Parade (not really parade people) but again if you're only going for the party you can pretty much fit in all your favorite rides.

So in preparation for the party we were looking for Disneyland's Mickey's Halloween Party handout so we could plan our night but all we could find was the Disney World handout. So even though it is officially Christmas time in the parks I wanted to post my scans of the 2018 Mickey's Halloween Party flyer to hopefully help out any fellow newbies next year.

 The Front

The Back

The Unofficial non Scientific Noise Cancelling Headphone Shootout.

Recently a few of us at work bought Noise Cancelling Headphones, it just happened to work out that all three were different manufactures. So as Geeks you know the first thing we wanted to do was test them head to head. I added the unofficial non scientific part to the title because were not audiophiles and we didn't use any testing criteria outside of just our personal experience. This review is not meant to swing anyone person to purchase a certain brand but just express our personal and subjective critique of each headphone.

The three headphones we tested were the Beats Studio3, Sony's WH1000XM2, and Bose's Q35. All three headphones had a form of Active Noise Canceling and what better place to test than a data center. Luckily we work in one so we grabbed our headphones and headed to the raised floor. We figured the constant sound of fans spinning would be an accurate representation of plane noise.

The criteria we used to test the headphones was to pair via bluetooth to each persons respective iPhone. We all streamed the same song (Tupac's Changes) from Apple Music except the Sony Headphones (he used you tube), and we all set our volumes three click down from full volume. So below is the conciseness we came to for each headphone.

The Beats Studio 3:
Probably the loudest out of the bunch with really clear highs and mids.  Also out of all three seemed to stress the least with the bass keeping the sounds clean and tight. The downfall surprisingly was the bass, what Beats is supposed to be known for. Even though the bass was clean and sounded good there wasn't the resonance the other two headphones had. The other headphones just seemed to have more of that early 90s mini truck bass. Even though all headphones seemed to have almost the same level of noise canceling the Beats seem to be little behind the other two.  Not that it was bad it was much better then most headphones I have heard, I could hear more of the server noise through the Beats. One other thing we found interesting was when we stood near the exhaust of the servers the Beats were the only headphones that picked up the wind passing over the microphones. Again this isn't a big deal unless you’re flying an open cockpit plane but just something we found notable. Lastly as someone who has bought in completely into the apple ecosystem the W1 chip is really nice to aide in paring across all of your apple devices.

The Bose Q35:
These where probably the most compact of the headphones,  not a surprise since they are the primary choice of most travelers.  With the noise canceling turned up we felt it probably had the best noise canceling out of the three headphones, but was probably the quietest of all three. Also the bass seemed to be on the verge of distorting, not that it was terrible, but you could tell the driver was close to max output. It did have really good Bass resonance though. Also the Bose app is pretty nice to help pair and manage your headphones.

The Sony WH1000XM2:
Out all three headphones we felt the Sony's had the most balanced sound. They where also the bulkiest of all three but fold up pretty small. The app does some cool things  playing with the sound by creating Virtual Surround Sound that creates different listening environments like stages, clubs, or arenas. It also had very good noise canceling on par with the Bose headphones.

Final Consensus:
All three headphones where outstanding and even though there are differences none of these where  enough to say don't by these headphones. For us it really came down to price, all three retail for 349.00 but you can find some killer deals.  As of the blog post both the Bose and Beats are on sale at Costco for 249.00. The Sony's where found on slick deals for 200.00 and  included a Sony Bluetooth speaker. So if you in the market and with Black Friday quickly approaching keep your eyes out for deals and pick up any of these headphones we don't think you'll be disappointed.
Korean Sauce (Beef Dip)
1 c. Soy Sauce
1½ c. Water
1 T. Ground Black Pepper
3 T. Sesame Seed Oil
1 t. Ground Red Pepper
½ t. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. Fresh Garlic
1 T. Corn Starch

Mix all ingredients except corn starch.
Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
Add corn starch to thicken.

Safari Skewers
1 pound fresh asparagus (thick stalks)
1 pound bacon (regular cut)
1 lemon

Cut asparagus and bacon into thirds. Wrap bacon around asparagus pieces, and skewer (place the pieces on horizontally and not lengthwise - be sure to pierce the end of the bacon to prevent it from unraveling).

Place on outdoor grill, turning frequently. Squeeze some lemon juice over the skewers while grilling.
Skewers are done when bacon is thoroughly cooked, and slightly charred around the edges.
Squeeze some extra lemon upon removing from the grill.

Spicy Beef Skewers
1 c. Soy Sauce
1 1/2 c. Water
1 T. Ground Black Pepper
3 T. Sesame Seed Oil
1 t. Ground Red Pepper
1/2 t. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. Granulated Garlic
3 T. Cornstarch
18 1-oz. pieces Sirloin Beef Chunks
6 Bamboo Skewers

Combine all of the ingredients above and bring to a boil, adding cornstarch to thicken. Soak the bamboo skewers in water to avoid burning. Place 3 pieces of beef on each skewer and cook on the grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Brush with sauce and serve.

Yield: 2 3/4 cups sauce
Servings: 6

Tahitian Sauce (Chicken Dip)
4 Whole Cloves
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar
1 c. Ketchup
½ c. Crushed Pineapple
½ c. Pineapple Juice
½ c. Brown Sugar
½ c. Soy Sauce
¼ c. Orange Juice Concentrate
3 T. Water

Simmer cloves in vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Strain cloves and add other ingredients.
Bring mixture to slow boil over medium heat.

Tonkatsu Sauce (Chicken Marinade)
1 c. Teriyaki Sauce
1 c. Soy Sauce
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar
1 c. Brown Sugar
½ c. Sherry Cooking Wine
2 Whole Bay Leaves
1 T. Ground Black Pepper
3 T. Grated Fresh Ginger Root
2 T. Fresh Garlic, finely minced

Mix ingredients and marinate chicken overnight in your refrigerator.
Another off the menu Drink the Adult Dole Whip is so good. I think it taste better then the real thing. You get the familiar Dole Whip taste, but there is an undertone of vanilla that just takes it to the next level. 

(Adult Dole Whip)
This is the closest i could find courtesy of mirlandraskitchen.com
Adult Dole Whip
1 shot whipped vodka
4 oz pineapple juice
vanilla ice cream optional
strawberry and pineapple for garnish if desired
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. 
Add vodka and pineapple juice. Shake.
Pour into chilled glass and serve with ice cream or desired garnish.
The Old Kungaloosh is a delicious drink at Disneyland Hotel's tiki bar Trader Sams.  it's made with vodka, coconut rum, Midori and pineapple juice. I wasn't sure about the Mdori but it adds a subtle layer that balances the drink out perfectly.

(Old Kungaloosh)
Recipe from my friend at SasakiTime.com (check out his blog it is Awesome)

Old Kungaloosh Recipe -- Circa 1997 

1 1/4 ounce vodka
1 1/4 ounce Malibu Rum
3/4 ounce Midori (melon liqueur)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 splash cranberry juice

Mix well.
Serve over Ice

After watching Live PD, Cops, and pretty much every other police show on TV I was curious why you don't see more Springfield XD models in service. After doing some google searches I found this write up by DougD on the XDTalk forums.  It was very thorough so I wanted to re-post it here.

Here is the link to the original post: http://www.xdtalk.com/threads/cutting-through-the-hype-and-myths-is-the-xd-good-enough-for-professional-use.156561/

The post is an exploration of the popular myths, hype, and misinformation floating around about Springfield XD/XDM pistols; specifically, the suitability of the XD/XDM for professional use. I would like to share some information that I have been gathering for several months now. Just so you know where I'm coming from on this subject...I'm a police officer with a large PD in Texas. I'm a firearms instructor in several disciplines and am currently assigned full-time to the Training Unit. I have worked patrol and criminal investigations. I spent 8 years on a well-respected SWAT team and have had some excellent luck in SWAT competitions and USPSA/3-Gun matches. I have received formal training at some of the best schools in the country and from trainers who are widely acknowledged to be among the best in the business. I am professionally experienced with Glocks, S&W, and multiple variations of the 1911. I am personally familiar with Sig, CZ-75, Para-Ordnance, Beretta, and several other semi-auto pistols. I do not purport to be an expert or a "gun guru" but it's appropriate to say I have a practical and professional foundation where shooting and handguns are concerned. I carried a 1911 for 10 years and I carried a Glock 22 before that and I still believe both of those platforms are excellent for LE duty.

I currently use a Springfield XDM (.40 S&W) for my duty weapon and have about 10K rounds through it with no problems whatsoever. I do not have an emotional attachment to any duty weapon. If a pistol is unsafe or no good for saving my life, my family members' lives, or your life, then I won't carry it....period. I have always said that if anyone could offer any evidence that XD/XDM pistols are unsafe or unsuitable for duty use, I would ditch mine immediately and tell everyone else to do the same. Thus far, the overwhelming majority of my research has shown nothing of the kind. I conducted extensive research (emails, phone calls, internet, actually shooting them, examining the XD's used at my agency, etc.) on XD/XDM pistols, trying to chase down the internet myths and stories told by a small number of people who claim the XD is not suitable for duty purposes. I made contact with pretty much all of my resources which includes trainers, shooters, and end users at numerous, "Tier 1" LE and MIL organizations. I pretty much pulled every string I could with old teammates and current colleagues and those guys made phone calls and forwarded my emails to their old units and talked to current members. I even looked into the secret testing hinted at on another forum and I was able to get an answer on that. I have received specific information about the real-world test results of the XD/XDM from trainers and firearms gurus employed by the absolute best organizations/teams in North America. 

The bottom line:
There's nothing wrong with XD/XDM pistols and they have "beaten" other popular pistols in some tests even as they have been "beaten" by those same pistols in other trials. I am not allowed to publicly distribute the test results that were sent to me. I have confirmed that some of the largest police departments in the U.S. extensively tested the XD/XDM pistol and found the platform to be reliable and robust. Many smaller departments and professional users have come to this same conclusion after conducting their own testing.

By far, the biggest weak spot on XD/XDM pistols is the roll pin in the top of the slide. That pin is known as the #8220; Striker Retainer Pin #8221; and it is quite possible to break after extensive dry firing or under extreme usage. If that pin breaks, your striker (AKA: firing pin #8221) can be seized and your pistol may not fire. Some users report being able to fire their XD's with the pin broken and/or removed. I have confirmed several instances in which the pin broke and caused the pistol to cease functioning. Luckily for all XD users, the pin is easily replaced. The white arrow in the picture below is pointing to the striker retainer pin:

When one of the top 5 largest PD's in the U.S. conducted hard-core testing of five (5) XD pistols, the factory pin broke in one of the sample pistols and it stopped functioning. They replaced it with a stronger pin from a Sig pistol and kept shooting without incident. A SWAT officer whose XD was used in the Texas SWAT Competition and the Florida SWAT Roundup (where it was subjected to use in water and sand) was recently having his pistol serviced by an armorer and the pin was found to be partially broken when removed from the slide. That officer had fired thousands of rounds through the pistol during the train up for both comps and the pistol continued to function. 

Powder River Precision and other suppliers offers stronger striker retainer pins that look like this:

If you run your XD hard or if you just want peace of mind, you should replace the pin. They are available at many industrial outlets or you can buy a set from Powder River Precision for $12.00. You can also call (541) 403-2999 to buy them over the phone. 

"If XD pistols are so great then why didn't [insert name of team/unit/dept here] adopt them?"
I asked this question of every person I talked to about XD/XDM pistols. After all, critics of this platform (especially fans of the Glock and M&P) do have a point about the XD/XDM not being formally adopted by a major PD/.MIL/.GOV agency. The answers to this question usually broke down into four basic forms:

1) They're made in Croatia and the people in charge of purchasing/procurement believe that's an unstable region of the world which may or may not necessarily be a friend to the U.S. We're not prepared to enter into a commitment which would require us to use a pistol made there. There's plenty of good pistols made in the U.S. or Western Europe that work just fine. We're not switching.

2) We really liked it but the pistols we have now are working fine. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We're not changing over to another polymer framed pistol when our Glocks are working just fine.

3) We really liked it but we already have a relationship with [insert name of company here]. Why would we want to jeopardize that by switching to a new pistol now?

4) We don't have the money to buy all new pistols and holsters right now. Budgets are shrinking and there's no way I'm going to call the [insert title of potentate who controls $$ here] to request that we dump our current weapons and buy something new. 

Regarding the claims that XD's have been jammed so badly that they had to be sent back to the factory while still loaded:
Springfield Armory LE reps informed me that this is untrue and that no such incidents have occurred. The LE rep informed me that these stories are internet myths with no basis in fact. She stated that there have been a few people send pistols back with bullets lodged in the barrel due to squib loads. She also stated that when the XD's were first released, some people horribly jammed their pistols while reassembling them by pressing down on the barrel hood while also forcing the slide/barrel assembly back on to the frame (BTW: There's a quick and easy fix for this and no it does not involve beating on the pistol with a mallet). These few instances may have been the root of the internet myth in question. Springfield Armory LE Reps state that there are no recorded instances of XD pistols suffering catastrophic, unfixable-except-at-the-factory jams while being loaded, unloaded, or fired. It's internet myth. I have discussed this issue with trained XD/XDM armorers and long-time users who likewise deny that it's a realistic story.

Regarding claims that XD's cannot be manipulated with one hand (AKA: Incapacitation Drills or Wounded Hand Shooting)
This is simply not true. Despite the fact that the slide cannot be retracted unless the grip safety is depressed, the XD/XDM can be effectively manipulated, loaded, cleared, and fired with one hand, including the "weak" hand. I have tested and demonstrated this myself in the presence of other trainers. I am seriously considering making a video which proves that the XD/XDM can be successfully and normally manipulated in the same one-handed/incapacitation drills that will work with any other duty pistol(e.g. Glock, Sig, 1911, H&K, etc.). The grip safety on the XD requires so little pressure to activate it that it's almost (I say almost) negligible.

Regarding claims that Springfield Armory does not offer ample support for LE or the professional end user
It is true that for years, there was not a great deal of end user or aftermarket support for XD/XDM pistols. That is no longer the case. There is now ample after-market support and accessories available for the XD/XDM. For police and military personnel, Springfield Armory is now offering armorer's courses via Team One Network. Spare parts, tools, and all other standard accouterments for the professional user have been available for several years now. Speaking from personal and professional experience, Springfield Armory's customer service is both responsive and eager to please.

Regarding claims that XD/XDM pistols begin to break down after a high round count: 
Every time I tried to validate this claim, I ran into a dead end. Nearly every claim I have read or seen about this turns out to be from the internet or a "guy I know who knows a cop who heard it at a shooting school" or "a secret government test that I cannot tell you about but believe me it happened." I'm a professional who works off evidence, probable cause, and facts. When I hear critics bashing any weapons system or TTP, I look at their professional background and then I try to get the answer to this question: What do you know and how do you know it? There is a lot of anecdotal information about XD/XDM pistols supposedly breaking down and failing horribly after 30K or 40K rounds. I have been unable to locate corroborating evidence of this. When you start asking people hard questions such as, "What's his name? What agency does he work for? When did this happen? Who can I talk to about this incident? Were you there? Did you see it? Did you contact Springfield Armory about this?" the claims dry up right quick. 

Links to reports about the quality, durability, and "shootability" of XD pistols: 

Ron Avery on the XD

Old Review from HiPowers and Handguns

Chuck Taylor on the XD

Opinions regarding Springfield vs. Glock vs. S&W vs. Every Other Polymer Pistol
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Glocks or S&W M&P's. I have personally owned and tested an M&P in .40 (with lots of work done by Burwell Gunsmithing) and I found it to be a great pistol that has its own strong and weak points. I currently own a Glock 22 that I am about to send to Boresight Solutions for recountouring and stippling. All serious shooters have their favorite platforms and we all have our prejudices. It is apparent that for some critics, when Glocks or M&P pistols suffer stoppages or broken parts, the failures are considered to be anomalies or inconveniences that are easily remedied/replaced. For some of these same critics, identical stoppages and failures in XD pistols serve as confirmation of a deeply held belief that the platform is inherently flawed and unreliable. One thing my research has indicated is that there does seem to be a very small but very vocal bit of prejudice against the XD/XDM platform voiced by a few individuals who have an axe to grind against Springfield Armory. I will not discuss this further except to say that a professional and reputable source informed me that one well-respected shooter/trainer who regularly bashes the XD/XDM only does so because SpringfieldArmory refused to sponsor him. Most importantly, my research has confirmed that much of what one reads on internet forums, even the good ones, should be thoroughly vetted and double-checked before believing it....and that includes the post you are reading right now.

There is no such thing as a perfect pistol...the 4 other faults of the XD/XDM:

1) For some people, the bore axis is too high. Much like Sig pistols, XD's have a significant, reciprocating mass high above the shooter's hand and this makes recoil management more difficult than with some other pistols. A low bore axis is one of the strong selling points of the S&W M&P pistol. For those who are accustomed to Sigs or some H&K models, the XD/XDM slide doesn't seem obtrusive at all. For those who are coming from a Glock, 1911, or M&P perspective, it does. 

2) It can be difficult to press the magazine release and drop a fully loaded, or "mostly loaded" magazine. This makes tactical reloads or magazine removal difficult when you have a lot of cartridges still in the mag...but then...why would you do a tactical reload after only a few rounds anyway? This issue reminds me of the controversy with Glock magazines when they first came out. You may recall that Glock mags were not metal-lined and would bulge when fully loaded, thus preventing them from dropping free from the pistol even when you pressed the magazine release. Glock originally stated this was a benefit because it would mean that a fully loaded magazine would stay where it belonged in the event that the magazine release was inadvertently pressed. That was probably BS even if it sorta kinda makes sense. More to the point, if you suffer a serious stoppage (during the first few rounds out of a full magazine) which would require you to drop the magazine out of the pistol, you might have a hard time doing it if you don't press the magazine release hard enough. The way to get around this is to download the magazine by one round. If you prefer to use a fully loaded magazine, you can also press up on the base of the magazine with your support hand as you press the magazine release with your strong hand thumb. (You can also get serious about your hand strength by using Captains of Crush hand grippers.) It should be noted that once you've fired a couple of rounds out of a full magazine, it's quite easy to drop the magazine by simply pressing the magazine release. Regardless, this is seen by some as a flaw in the system....and it probably is.

3) The trigger could use some work, especially on regular XD's. The reset is considered to be too long by most serious shooters. The factory trigger can also be a bit "mushy." The XDM trigger is a significant improvement over the regular XD, which is one of the reasons I carry it. While Springfield Armory does a phenomenal XD trigger job in their own custom shop, they should consider taking lessons from Springer Precision or Powder River Precision. If they do it right, they could probably put a superb trigger in there for a total cost of an additional $50 per unit. Maybe this is too much to ask when considering the slim profit margins on firearms and the realistic expectations of the average purchaser. FWIW, I have been using the stockXDM trigger for 2 years now and have been shooting great with it. It's fine for tactical and duty work. I have shot a few matches with it but I admit that it would not be good enough for serious USPSA/IDPA competition.

4) While relatively minor for most users, the factory sights are set to more of a "pumpkin on a post" or classic bullseye sight picture that looks like this:

This becomes especially apparent at 10 yards and beyond. Some serious shooters, such as competition shooters and professionals who train to make hostage rescue shots prefer a sight picture that is truly point-of-aim/point-of-impact and which looks more like this sight picture where the blue dot represents the actual impact of the bullet:

Sumary and Conclusion:
Most if not all of the internet myths about XD/XDM pistols have been busted. There have been some valid criticisms of individual XD pistols which were found to be faulty. However, there is no probable cause to believe that XD/XDM pistols are not suitable for duty use, even after extensive firing. It should be noted that all pistol brands break and malfunction. All weapons manufacturers produce lemons; this includes manufacturers such as Glock, Sig, and Colt. I've seen it with my own eyes. To date, no quantitative, objective evidence has been presented to support the claim that Springfield XD's are more likely to break and/or malfunction than other polymer framed pistols. 

As mentioned above, the lack of support for professional users of the XD/XDM has been solved. Parts, accessories, armorer's tools, and holsters are now readily available for the XD/XDM. Law enforcement armorer training is available and Springfield Armory has been supportive of the LE market. 

Professional users of XD/XDM pistols are strongly advised to replace the factory striker retainer pin with a more robust model. Shooters who require a true POA/POI sight picture may wish to consider changing the sights. Excellent options for sight replacements can be found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. 

I have about 10K rounds through my XDM with no no breakages of any kind and no serious malfunctions. The pistol has been accurate and dependable thus far. Contrary to internet myth, the magazines are solidly built and function well. The weapon functions as it should and has not failed me yet. However, I have taken my own advice in the paragraph above and upgraded the roll pin.

While it may not seem so when reading passionate internet discussions about pistols, we are actually living in a "golden age" of semi-automatic pistols. The pistols that are being produced today are among the best hand held weaponry made in the history of mankind. There is a good pistol out there for you. Use objective, common sense criteria to pick the one that meets your mission essential tasks, test it thoroughly, and then drive on. 

Thank you for reading this. I sincerely hope it helps you with your decision to purchase, discard, retain, or upgrade your XD/XDM.

Two cool new exploits have been released complete with cool names and graphics. Welcome Meltdown and Spectre, these critical vulnerabilities exploit pretty much all modern processors. Even though these hardware vulnerabilities have been around forever, four independent groups of researchers discovered these vulnerabilities simultaneously. Meltdown and Spectre at a high level allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs.

Meltdown and Spectre work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. But what about our network and security equipment using modern processors, are they vulnerable? Below is a list I put together of links to vendors sites and their responses to the vulnerabilities. I imagine most of them will keep these pages up to date as they discover new information. This is a complicated and low level issue so most vendors are going to need time to really evaluate their products and create patches.

Luckily in most cases it is an attack that is performed through the management access, so if you follow the best practice of limiting device management access from only trusted IPs or networks you should be good until the patches are released.

 PaloAlto Networks

"Our initial review of the vulnerabilities disclosed in the research concludes that all PAN-OS/Panorama platforms are not directly impacted by these attacks. There are no immediate plans to release a software update to PAN-OS in response to these issues at this time"


For products with None in the Versions known to be vulnerable column, there is no impact. For products with ** in the various columns, F5 is still researching the issue and will update this article after confirming the required information. F5 Technical Support has no additional information about this issue.

All three vulnerabilities require an attacker capable of providing and running binary code of their choosing on the BIG-IP platform. This raises a high bar for attackers attempting to target BIG-IP systems over a network and would require an additional, un-patched, user-space remote code execution vulnerability to exploit these new issues. The only administrative roles on a BIG-IP system that can execute binary code or exploitable analogs, such as JavaScript, are the Administrator and Resource Administrator roles. These users already have nearly complete access to the system and all secrets on the system not protected by hardware-based encryption. F5 believes that the attack with the highest impact may occur in multi-tenancy Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing (vCMP) configurations, running single-core guests owned by different administrative domains on a single BIG-IP system. In this scenario, Spectre Variant 2 may allow an attacker in one administrative domain to collect privileged information from the host or guests owned by another administrative domain, if the attacker's guest is configured as a single-core guest. The BIG-IP system always maps both hyper-threads of a given core to any guest with the "Cores Per Guest" configuration set to 2 or more, but single-core guests may execute on the same processor core as another single-core guest or host code. This threat may be mitigated by setting the "Cores Per Guest" configuration to 2 or more for all guests."


"Cisco is investigating its product line to determine which products may be affected by these vulnerabilities. As the investigation progresses, Cisco will update this advisory with information about affected products, including the Cisco bug ID for each affected product."


"Juniper SIRT is actively investigating the impact on Juniper Networks products and services.”




"Citrix NetScaler SDX: Citrix believes that currently supported versions of Citrix NetScaler SDX are not at risk from malicious network traffic. However, in light of these issues, Citrix strongly recommends that customers only deploy NetScaler instances on Citrix NetScaler SDX where the NetScaler admins are trusted."