2020 Porsche 911 (992) Unleashed.

I was hoping to get around to this post yesterday but, as always, time got away from me. I watched Porsche’s live 992 launch event and found it quite enjoyable (was it just me or did everyone seem slightly uncomfortable)? It was fun to see all the different 911 models parading around and listen to the designers’ thought processes and inspirations.
My initial impressions are mixed. I recall not being particularly awed by the 991 when I originally saw it, but now I think it’s far and away the best looking 911 ever made… so there’s probably some hope for me.

When the 991 replaced the 997 it didn’t seem like much of a jump. Initially the exterior changes required a double take to figure out which model you were looking at. In comparison the move from 991 to 992 feels eve smaller-  just a hop…until you see the back of the car. Good or bad, no one will mistake that light bar for anything but a 992. While the light bar feels okay to me the third brake light seems like a bad design choice. The car itself has a slightly more hatchback feel, reminiscent of the Panamera. There’s definitely something less cutesy about the 992 which makes it an additional step removed from it’s cousin, the Beetle. I will be extremely curious to see the Turbo version of the 992.

The interior has changed more dramatically. At first glance I thought the changes added additional elegance. As I studied the interior further I started to wonder what the impression would be like in person. I loathe the new shift knob. Do they think guys want to shift with their shaver? I think those center vents must be for the people in the back seat; I know I’m not interested in having air blown on my stomach. That being said, I’ll withhold final judgement.

Now that the car is officially unveiled I’m excited for the onslaught of reviews that will provide user-related insights and driveability impressions. It’s conceivable that this car could grow on me. And yet… would it ever be enough to make me trade in my current car? In the meantime the McLaren 720s has planted a few roots in my heart.

Razer Blade / Windows 10 Adaptive Brightness Problem & Solution

For the most part I love my Razer Blade 15 and it’s been a reliable Clydesdale workhorse that looks like a thoroughbred Arabian. However, once in awhile some small issue will pop up and drives me nearly insane. This latest issue has to do with the adaptive brightness “feature” that’s included in Windows 10.

In case you are unfamiliar with the adaptive brightness setting here’s the gist: your screen backlight is automatically dimmed when anything on the desktop is a darker color. The effect is extremely noticeable in an application like Photoshop (the GUI is dark-themed) and the screen dims to the point where white looks like gray and it’s difficult to do any real work. Why anyone would choose to have the adaptive brightness enabled is beyond me.

In theory it’s very simple to turn the setting off. You simple open your “power options” then navigate to “change plan settings” and the click the “change advanced power settings” link. This brings you to a pop-up box and under the “Display” options you can switch adaptive brightness on or off. Easy right? Not so fast…

When my Razer Blade is plugged in Windows respects the setting and everything is just fine (well, usually- sometimes I do have to restart my laptop). But when the laptop is operating on battery power the adaptive brightness setting is completely ignored. I searched and searched online for an answer to my problem and came across an excellent article suggesting a myriad of different solutions:
https://windowsreport.com/adaptive-brightness-windows-10-wont-turn-off/

The root problem appeared to be a power management setting for the integrated Intel graphics. This setting was a redundant adaptive brightness routine that was overriding the Windows 10 version. Eureka! Only there was an issue…

…I didn’t have an option to access the Intel graphics settings. The registry edits suggested by the article also proved impossible because the corresponding file location wasn’t present. No amount of rooting through Windows 10 allowed me any access to any Intel-related graphic settings. Additionally, no amount of online searches brought me any closer to finding a solution. A few articles suggested the only way to fix a problem like mine was through settings in the BIOS. Did I even have Integrated Intel graphics?

I already knew the answer to that. I’ve installed a few games that haven’t recognize the Nvidia GPU, defaulted to the Intel chip and had to be manually configured (i.e. Transformers: Devastation). A quick peek under the advanced display settings and it was clear the Razer Blade was using an Intel UHD Graphics 630 while on battery power. Okay, so it was still there and it was working.

So what on earth could cause my Intel control panel to be missing? Maybe that there was software that I could get directly from Intel. No dice. Intel’s website suggested contacting the OEM if the Intel Graphics Setting option is missing. I imagined trying to get Razer to help me with my problem chuckled. Okay, so maybe I had the wrong driver installed.

I racked my brain and it hit me. I had swapped out my hard drive and that necessitated a Windows 10 installation. Maybe I had missed something when I was reinstalling my drivers! It certainly couldn’t hurt to reinstall them again.

I downloaded the Intel Graphic Driver file from Razer’s Support page. I ran the installation (side note: Windows Defender repeatedly warned me that threats were detected during the installation, but it completed just fine). And then:

After the installation and a restart there was the “Intel Graphics Settings” option right where it was supposed to be. I held my breath and opened it.

Under the power settings there is an option to disable “Display Power Saving Technology.” Click it, hit apply and voila!

This fixed the problem. Now on battery power the laptop will respect the Windows 10 adaptive brightness settings. I suppose part of me understands why the power saving is enabled by default but what an absolute pain the neck.

Summary Version: If you can’t turn off adaptive brightness then you need to disable the power saving feature in the Intel graphics settings. If the Graphics settings aren’t visible make sure you have the correct OEM driver installed. 

 

Cars 4 Kids 2018

Cars4Kids recently did a toy drive. Ha! It just occurred to me that it was a literal toy drive (read on)! We loaded up our car with toys and went on a 400 mile drive through various Utah canyons (we opted for the shorter day-only event but there was a longer four day event option as well). We started out at LaCaille, traveled to the Conestoga Ranch and toward SLC (we were always careful to obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits… just kidding). It was an awesome drive, with fantastic food and for a great cause. At the end of the drive the toys were collected and presented to the Ronald McDonald House.

This is a video covering the Cars 4 Kids (I didn’t make this one):

And this is a video of my experience (this one I did make):

This coming year I’d like to participate in the longer event and, possibly, even be a sponsor. Knives and cars… Like peanut butter and chocolate.