Blade HQ Building Progress, Move & Grand Opening

We’re in! It took a bit longer than anticipated, cost a lot more than expected and turned out even nicer than I’d hoped. I love watching things like this come together! Here is a glimpse at some of the progress.

Framing started back in January of 2018.

We built a larger shell than we actually needed which gave us the option to have some rental units. This helps us generate a few extra bucks and  simplifies the “we need more space” problem that we hope to have in the future ( although I really like the layout of the units and have considered keeping one for another business I have)..

“Insulate it all!” I screamed. The city required us to drywall the warehouse ceilings. Is it wrong to admit that I was secretly pleased? It’s a fantastic looking warehouse.

The drywall and painting getting done. This time we installed some real lightning in the warehouse (there’s a persistent rumor that in our last place people sometimes wore head lamps?). Putting in the upstairs ceiling.

Moving Day! Here’s a time lapse I took of the new warehouse set up. The BHQ crew killed it.

 

I really like how the building came together. They even let me have an office. There’s still some move-in work to do and  few things to tweak but I’m pretty pleased.

At the end of August we celebrated the move with a grand opening party:

The turnout was really good (over 700 people showed up!). We had manufacturers and makers attending, free food, games, contests and a legitimate grand opening hosted by Pleasant Grove officials. My buddy Vaughn (and the first in store customer ever) got to cut the ribbon! The family came out for a bit, threw a few axes, spun our prize wheel and then called it a day. I was so stoked to get a “STAFF” shirt that I stayed almost the entire time.

So here’s some business advice you didn’t ask for (I’m pretty sure I’ve given it before). If you have a business (or will have a business) with substantial space requirements then take the time to do some important math. Does it make financial sense to own your own building? Check out this excellent article for more advice on Buying vs. Leasing.

991 Leather Gauge Trim Upgrade (Maybe?)

This may be the best upgrade that I’ve done yet! Okay, fine… maybe it’s the silliest upgrade yet. I’m running out of ideas for little tweaks. I’ve got some ideas for big ones, but I’m just not sure I want to commit the funds or emotional pain to them.

It turns out the trim surrounding the gauges on the 991 is actually plastic. I watched a YouTube video a guy putting in a gauge trim piece covered in leather. I actually went out and checked my car. Plastic! I was shocked and immediately ordered the part to remedy this horrific oversight.

The summary version is that is looks the same. I will never get my money, time or dignity back. Viva la leather!

2018 4K Razer Blade 15 Laptop

Razer knows how to make a sexy laptop- this is an indisputable fact. Over the years I’ve owned many of these laptops and, for the most part, I have enjoyed them all. Razor build quality is second to none and they cram an amazing amount of power into a very tiny frame. There’s no question that my Razer Pro was still getting the job done (well- minus a battery issue), but the Razor 15 was too intriguing to pass on.

Aesthetically the new design is much boxier than the past models. Personally I like the squarish design and the simple elegance of the laptop’s layout. The reduced bezel is a welcome relief (it feels “right” for lack of a better description) and the 15″ 4K screen is exceptional (bright, no dead pixels and great consistency). Build quality is as high as ever and the laptop feels exceptionally solid.

The very handsome Razer Blade 15!

Performance is on par with my old Pro. The graphic GTX 1070 Max-Q Design in the 15 can’t keep up with the Pro’s GTX 1080 but the 15’s newer CPU easily outperforms the Pro enabling a comparable 3D Mark score (both had scores right around 14,000 with the 15 edging out the Pro by a few points).

I opted to upgrade my 15 by expanding the RAM to 32 GB and upgrading the 512GB SSD to a 1 TB version (the same specs as my Pro has). The upgrade process was straightforward and relatively inexpensive. Interestingly, after my upgrade my 3D Mark score dropped into the mid 13500’s. This is probably a driver or configuration issue – I had to reinstall Windows 10) – and realistically we’re talking about a single fps loss at the moment.

The Razer 15 doesn’t necessarily represent a good value- I don’t think that’s the market they’re after. But as a high quality ultra-portable boutique gaming laptop they remain king of the hill for another year.

Things I like;

  • Smaller bezel and larger 4K screen
  • New square design and ultra-compact form factor
  • Expandable RAM and hard drive
  • Redesigned heat management (runs cooler than the Pro)

There aren’t a lot of things to complain about on the Razer 15 but there are still a few things that could be a bit better:

  • Shift function symbols are not backlit
  • Touch pad is finicky (misidentifies my palm as a finger and result in gesture misrecognition)
  • No backlighting around the touch pad (I liked the feature on the Razer Pro)
  • No SD card reader or Ethernet jack

Razer 15 System specifications:

Operating System

  • Windows® 10 Home (64-Bit)

Processor

  • 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H processor, 6 Cores/12 Threads, 2.2GHz/4.1GHz (Base/Max Turbo), 9MB Cache
  • Mobile Intel® HM370 Chipset

Display

  • 15.6″ 4K, 3840 x 2160
  • IPS, 60Hz
  • 100% aRGB, 16:9 aspect ratio, capacitive multi-touch
  • Custom calibrated at the factory

Graphic Card

  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR5 VRAM, Optimus™ Technology)

Memory

  • 16GB dual-channel SO-DIMM (DDR4, 2667MHz),
  • Upgraded to Micron Ballistix dual-chanel 32GB SO-DIMM (DDR4, 2666MHz)

Storage

  • 512GB M.2 SSD (NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4)
  • Upgraded to 1TB Samsung 970 EVO (NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD)

Battery

  • Built-in 80Wh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery

Size (Approx.)

  • 13.98″ / 355mm (W) x 9.25″ / 235mm (D) x 0.68″ / 17.3mm

Weight (Approx.)

  • 4.73 lbs / 2.15 kg

Communication

  • Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth® 5 connectivity)

Input & Output

  • Precision glass touchpad
  • Built-in webcam (1MP/720P)
  • Anti-ghosting keyboard with Razer Chroma™ backlighting
  • Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C™)
  • USB 3.1 port x3 (SuperSpeed)
  • Mini DisplayPort 1.4
  • HDMI 2.0 audio and video output

Other Laptop Links:
Review: Pulse 17
Review: 2014 Razer Blade
Razer Blade Pro

Porsche 991 Washer Nozzle Replacement

Legend has it that in order to replace the 991 headlight washer nozzles the entire front bumper of the car needs to be removed. Not so! With just a few simple tools anyone can swap their washer nozzles in about 10 minutes. You can pull them out and repaint them yourself or pop in a ready to go set. Below is a quick video showing you how:

I ordered a carbon fiber set from eBay but the weave wasn’t quite right and the quality didn’t impress me. I bought a second pair from BumperPlugs.com and had them painted metallic white (that must be an impossible color to match). This is the set that I ultimately put in but I’m not sure if it’s the look I’m going for. You know you’re pretty desperate to do projects when you’re replacing your headlight washers. #modlife

Cars4Kids – Limitless Top Speed Race

I like to drive fast. Really fast. I love adrenaline inducing acceleration and speed. There aren’t a lot of good options for that around here. Sometimes I sneak a hair over 70 while I’m on the freeway. I’ve also been known to find abandoned roads and go a couple miles an hour over the speed limit. Imagine my delight when I learned about the Limitless race being hosted in Eagle Mountain UT. Your car. 2 miles. As fast as you want. Heaven!

Eagle Mountain Blvd- two large turns and then a mile of straightaway. Longer would be better but that’s still a nice stretch of road. A lot of participants- myself included – were hoping to hit 200+ mph. Utah elevation coupled with a hot day limited people’s top speed a bit and a 2005 Ford GT’s 192 mph ended up being the fastest of the day. My best run was my first and I hit 184 on my speedometer (178 on a radar gun). It was an interesting experience to drive with no fear of being pulled over on a nice straight stretch of road during the day. Still plenty of adrenaline too.

My family came along for part of the event but the heat got to the kids quickly. The spectator seating area was situated in some deep dust and positioned at the mid point of the road only allowing the audience to watch cars accelerate away after the road’s second turn. Understandably the fam bailed after the first run but it still great to have them there! Hopefully next year they find a way to improve the spectator experience a bit. Not to complain too much- Cars4Kids put on a really good event!

Cars4Kids is a local organization that sponsors car-related charity events. In the Limitless event drivers pay double their top speed and that money goes to the Utah division of the Make a Wish foundation. It’s a great way to help people while enjoying awesome cars.

Speaking of awesome cars- Dan, from What’s Inside, was testing out his Tesla Model X at the event. In theory his car should have hit 155mph before being restricted by a speed governor. Did he do it? Watch the video below to find out:

 

Porsche 919 5:19:54 Nürburgring Record

It’s been more than 35 years since Stefan Bello completed his 6:11 Nürburgring lap in a Porsche 956 C (the history around this run is fairly interesting). I like to keep a close eye on Nürburgring lap times; It’s exciting to see what “your car” can do in a track environment like this.

Naturally I was excited to hear that Porsche’s 919 Hybrid Evo had set a new track record. “Set” might be the wrong word though- the old record was obliterated. The new time of 5:19 is so much faster it’s hard to comprehend. I’ve posted the official run from the car below. Keep in mind that 300 kmh is about 186 mph! On some of the straight track sections Timo Bernhard is driving at over 220 mph.

When the production 919 comes out you can bet I’ll be in line… probably at Disneyland. But thinking about the 919 for sure. 

Porsche 2018 Photo & Video Shoot

I do a lot of cosmetic stuff to my car and so periodically it makes sense (to me) to grab a few pictures of these changes. Since I fancy myself an budding car photographer I took on this mission personally (and no… this is not my iPhone camera). I figure posting six pictures of my car should be plenty since I also cobbled together a video montage. I’m certain this kind of obsessiveness will delight whoever ends up with my car someday. In the meantime I’m slightly less sure it will delight the Internet.

Plain in many ways, but beautiful…

That backside. Nothing better.

She waits patiently. But when we get underway she’s a monster.

When something is this pure the gossip is hard to come by. [Huh? What does this stuff even mean – Ed]

Some say no one “needs” a car like this. They are exactly right.

Black wasn’t my first choice when I got the car. But it’s my first choice now.

I can’t help but sing the praises of this car just a bit. In many ways it’s a nondescript monster. The handling, power and precision are unmatched. It’s the only car I’ve owned that hasn’t left me disappointed (yet). I think it’s okay to splurge on one thing. This is my thing and it’s worth every penny.

Want to hire me to take pictures of your car or put together a fun little video? That would surprise me. That being said, feel free to drop me a line if you’re in Utah.

 

Porsche 991 MACarbon Fuel Door

What’s better than a stock part? A carbon fiber part! MACarbon makes an awesome all carbon fiber fuel door replacement for the 991 series. I tried to hold out but there was never any hope:

Installation was a little tricky as my part required a slight modification (as have some of my other MACarbon items) but I don’t mind that stuff at all. The fuel door looks fantastic, and, in my opinion, it’s a part I would recommend to anyone who wants to shave a few ounces off their car (okay, it is lighter but that’s obviously not why you’d get this part).