The “Helpful” Trap

This is a great read. At first the idea might seem terrible, but if you apply it to a mostly business-related perspective I think it works well.

Why I Stopped Helping People and You Should Too

Also, as much as I hate to say it, I think there are enough people out who are happy to take advantage of others’ time such that this article is warranted. I usually try and go out of my way to help friends, but I have cut back on what I’m willing to do for others. I think it has been beneficial for my own mental health.

MACarbon Seat Belt Buckle Repair

These MACarbon seat belt buckles have been a bit of a headache for me. I had to modify the covers for the two rear buckles before they would fit. A recurring warning light forced me to replace the front passenger side buckle altogether. And then the new buckle promptly “broke” apart (the two parts of the housing separated and it’s much worse where the belt is attached and there’s tension). I’m not sure if I’d buy / install these parts again.

Regardless, I’m a guy that looks for solutions. The first thing I tried was epoxy. I glued the halves back together but they came apart again shortly after transporting a  passenger. I considered a number of different options before settling on some 3M adhesive- the same stuff you might cover the exterior of your car with. I cut out a couple of sections and did some test fitting.

Originally I had just intended the fitting to be temporary but the 3M seemed to be exceptionally strong and the installation went fairly well (you can see the lines in the pictures but in real life it’s very hard to see where the film is at all).

One of the back seat belt buckles also had a case that was coming apart so I applied the 3M there as well. I suppose my next step will be to see how well the film works over the coming months (I’m worried about its ability to stick and the potential of stretching). In the meantime this appears to be a quick and elegant solution for anyone with a similar problem (and not just limited to seatbelts folks– you can wrap this clear 3M film around pretty much anything).

LLoyd Floor Mats for any Occasion

One of my car / truck “upgrades” is usually a set of floor mats. It’s become like a tradition. I really like the mats from Lloyd. Good fit, nice quality, no problems- ever.
The floor mats included with the Z06 were undersized, low-pile and kind of sad. I ordered a set of branded front mats from yatesperformance (eBay) and had them within a week.


What a difference! The fit and color match on these mats is great (they are “Jet Black”). I decided to order the cargo mat as well as I’m hoping it will diminish the road noise from the back a little (just a little). I used the “best offer” feature on eBay and saved about $20 off the seller’s regular price on each purchase  If you’re looking for floor mats Lloyd Mats makes some of the best.

Update 2/6/2015: I put int he rear cargo mat. It’s not compatible with the front cargo shade. Slits would have to be cut into the mat which I will do at some point. It does help a little with the cabin noise, but it’s not a significant reduction.

Moving On

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to posting a “July” update (or even an “August” update for that matter). July was the busiest month yet and I’m still in the process of recovering from everything (although the recovery is going poorly since August is giving July a run for its money…). How can there be so much freaking stuff?

I did want to make a quick post about one thing though:


Fran took the the kids and went to visit her family for a few weeks and that was an ideal opportunity to get the house in shape and put it up for sale. After being listed it was sold in less than two weeks!

Over the course of the ten days following the sale we moved into a rental in Traverse Mountain. We’ll be in that location until the end of September. Hopefully our new house will be done by then… if not I don’t know what we’ll do. Move again? You think I’m grumpy now…

Things on Ivory’s end are progressing more slowly than I’d hoped (albeit at the rate I expected). One of the big hang-ups is the cabinetry. Ivory is using a new company and the latest update we got is that closing has been pushed back three weeks because the cabinets won’t be ready on time (we have been very unimpressed with this new cabinet company). Overall the building experience with Ivory Homes has been okay. I’ll do a write-up at some point in the future.

I will miss our old house- it was in a great spot, we had great neighbors, and the home never gave us any trouble (outside the “normal” scope). I expect I have already idealized things in my memory.

Side note: Originally we were considering selling the home ourselves but a friend who’s a real estate agent convinced us to let him sell the home. I’d definitely recommend an agent for the additional exposure (i.e. an MLS listing) and convenience (you don’t have to deal with the hassle of scheduling showings, paperwork or negotiating the actual deal). If you need someone to sell your home contact Darin Southam.


2014 Razer Blade Review


As I said my last Blade post, my initial experience with Razer was…perplexing. After navigating  through an impossible checkout system I was informed that I’d actually failed to place an order. Nevertheless, and without further action, the Blade arrived and, being the inquisitive kind of guy that I am, I tried it out. Amidst falling in love with the quality, design and power I realized that the computer screen had a few dead pixels. Razer customer service was very responsive and the computer was quickly sent back to them via a 2-Day FedEx label they provided,

Turn around was quick. Monday was a holiday so my computer shipped from Razer on Tuesday and I had it back in my hands Thursday. They ended up shipping me a brand new laptop. In some ways it was too bad- I’d customized a lot of settings and had installed quite a few applications on my original unit. However, the new laptop they sent seems superior in a number of ways and there were zero dead pixels!

Razer's initial presentation is exceptional.

Razer’s initial presentation is exceptional.

Quickly I’ll go though the pros and cons of the 2014 Razer Blade:


• The QHD+ touchscreen is gorgeous! I love not being able to actually see the pixels. I was a little worried about the glossy finish but I’m sold at this point. Not to mention gloss is much better suited to a touch screen. I don’t know that I’ll use the touchscreen but it’s nice to have it just in case.
• Amazing build quality and aesthetics. The laptop just feels… right.
• The keyboard is second to none- no sponginess and the illumination doesn’t really bleed out from between the keys. The trackpad is super responsive and also feels nice.
• The sound is excellent. The speaker placement is ideal and the quality and volume levels exceeded my expectations.
• No bloatware on board. That’s always a wonderful treat.
• The Razer is whisper quiet. Sure you can hear the fans when you play something demanding, but even at their top speed they aren’t bothersome.

• A little surprised that there isn’t a network jack. And the omission of an SSD card reader is also perplexing. Yes, you can buy USB adapter for the missing items but I feel like they should have been integrated to begin with.
•  Expensive. A lot of what you’re paying for is the compact design. For the same price you could get a much more powerful, albeit much larger, laptop.

Not good but not really bad…
• The black aluminum case retains finger prints / smudges. I’m sure there’s a simple way to clear things, but I haven’t found it yet.
• The trackpad buttons are a little spongey. This is surprising given the quality of the actual trackpad. Interestingly I much prefer the buttons on my replacement Blade- they seem to have a much better feel and lack the “boink” noise of the others.
• You can’t change color on keyboard.  It could be nice to alter the colors, but the green does look great.
• Some programs (i.e. Chrome) really don’t really support the higher resolution screen. That’s not a Blade issue, per se, but it is a consequence of the higher res screen.
• With the only vents on the bottom and using the case act as a heatsink the Blade can get hot when doing serious gaming. Under normal use the unit temp is comfortable. I was surprised at how much cooler my replacement Blade runs. The returned model got extremely hot to the touch under fairly light loads, but my new Blade has remained comfortable thus far no matter what I’m doing (excluding intensive benchmarking / gaming).

Performance on my games seems excellent. The Cloudgate 3D Mark results for the Razor Blade was about 15,600. For the sake of comparison the Cloudgate score on my Pulse 17 was in the 12,600. And if you’re interested: Maingear Pulse 17 laptop review.

I think Razer is really getting close. I would like to see the next Blade with the addition of an SSD reader, a network jack, customizable keyboard colors, 16GB ram, TB SSD and a 15″ screen in same chassis. Because… why not? But all things considered the 2014 Blade is a phenomenal computer with nearly everything going for it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a compact gaming computer.

UPDATE: I purchased a 2015 Razer Blade (same model but with an upgraded graphics chip), Here are a few 3DMARK test scores from the newer version of the Blade.



Hughes Family: January 2014

I’ve decided to start blogging once a month about family stuff. Somehow the pressure to do even two posts per month started getting to me last year. January was a pretty low-key month and there wasn’t a ton going on (I confess it’s nice to have a break).


This is technically work stuff… but I don’t want to write a work-related post about it. Seven of us from BHQ headed down to Las Vegas for the annual SHOT show. It’s always fun (and a lot of work) to visit with some of our vendors and look for new products. And it’s a blast to try out new restaurants around town. My favorite this time was an all you can eat sushi place called Umiya (Mastro’s gets “honorable mention”). Always fun to visit Vegas.


The fam has been honing their skiing skills this January. Mike and Claire have it pretty much figured out and Gabe is still taking lessons, but well on his way! I stay home with Chloe for now, but come next year I think we’ll all be able to hit the slopes.


Extended family dinners occur monthly, but they are always filled with intellectual stimulation and memorable anecdotes. This month, as part of our family book club, we discussed George Orwell’s “1984.”
I’m pleased to report that our kids have started helping out around the house (Fran made them). It’s great to watch them set and clear the table and then wash and load the dishes. Thanks kids- you have finally made me proud. 


Fran and I went to see “Kiss and Tell” and the Hale Center Theater. If there’s one thing I like as much as movies it’s plays. Jim’s mom, Laura-Beth, had a role in this production so there was a great excuse to go see it. The play was excellent and quite funny.


And I’ll leave all of you with this random piece of land. Where could it be? What is is? Everyone loves a good mystery.