Category Archives: Accessory

Review of the Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

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Product Review – A few months ago my home suffered a lightening strike that. among other things, broke the ethernet port on my Mac Mini. While I have been able to use the built in IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) connection, I prefer a hard wired network connection.

A few days ago I found the Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter on Amazon and thought it would be just the accessory to put my Mac Mini back on the wired network. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. I was able to install it easily: connect a RJ-45 cable from my Ethernet switch, then just insert the adapter into a free USB port on my Mac Mini.

The new connection was immediately recognized by macOS and I was back to using the wired connection. While I have only been using if for just about 24 hours it has worked perfectly so far.

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Low cost ($13.99 as I write this review)
  • USB 3.0 compatibility, backwards compatible with 2.0/1.1
  • Gigabit Ethernet support
  • Portable if needed
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows
  • Powered by the USB port

 

CONS

  • Does require committed use of a USB port

 

CONCLUSION

This is a product that I would recommend to anyone who needed to add a wired Ethernet connection to your Mac or PC. You could also use this to add a higher speed or second Ethernet connection to your computer.


See my other Mac and OS X articles


 

Mac Accessory – Zip Brief

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Product Announcements – WaterField Designs of San Francisco, California  has released Zip Brief. Ideal for the minimalist professional, the ultra-slim Zip laptop bag looks sleek from every angle, yet holds a full array of tech and personal necessities. The briefcase unzips around three sides to lie flat for TSA-airport security and slips over a wheeled suitcase handle to help travelers easily race from curb to gate. Increased depth and a pleated front pocket allow the new Zip laptop bag to hold a MacBook and an array of necessities while maintaining its slim profile, and the comfortable yet sophisticated look works well with everything from a suit to a casual Friday wardrobe.

“Based on customer feedback, we added a bit of depth and a pleated front pocket to the Zip Brief so it now holds more while retaining its efficient form,” explained owner Gary Waterfield. “The Zip sports a clean, attractive look for MacBooks of any size and is ideal for darting through airports.”

The Zip Brief is carefully designed to hold the essentials a professional needs for a day at work – a laptop or tablet, power supply, cables, small hard drive, iPhone, pad of paper and Apple Pencil – all organized and protected in one compact bag. Inside, a padded laptop compartment with cut-out corners allows users to charge a device while it remains protected inside the sleeve. Two internal mesh pockets hold additional accessories and a slim enclosure stows the Apple Pencil, Surface Pen or other writing instrument. A few files or a notebook fit easily between the laptop sleeve and mesh accessory pockets. For quick-access items, a pleated front pocket with an internal Ultrausuede(R) iPhone pocket, zippers securely closed.

The checkpoint-friendly briefcase can be fully opened at airport security while contents remain safely secured, and a pass-through panel slides over a rolling suitcase handle for easy transport. Dual leather handles and a removable shoulder strap provide two additional carry options. The meticulously-crafted Zip Brief is available in handsome, tan waxed canvas with grizzly or chocolate leather trim, or black ballistic nylon with chocolate or black leather trim. The laptop bag closes with waterproof zippers to keep contents safe from the elements. Three size options fit PC laptops, 15-inch, and 13-inch MacBook Pros.

Dimensions/Weight:

  • Small 13.75 x 9.75 x 2 inches; 1.4 lbs.
  • Medium 15.5 x 11 x 2.5 inches; 1.7 lbs.
  • Large 16.5 x 12 x 2.5 inches; 2.1 lbs.

The Zip Laptop Brief is available in three sizes: Small $219. Medium $229. Large $239 (USD). Pre-order now. Shipping begins August 4, 2017.

Color/Materials: Tan waxed cotton canvas with naturally-tanned, full-grain grizzly or chocolate leather trim, or black ballistic nylon with grizzly leather or black oil-tanned leather trim. Bag includes two nylon handles and a detachable suspension shoulder strap.

Cheap, Easy Cable Tags

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Tech Tip – I saw this in a Life Hack article. Many bakery products come in plastic a bags like the bagels and english muffins shown above. Many have a little plastic tab (red and white above) that holds the bag closed. Generally we just throw these away when we are finished with the product. These can be saved though and reused in an entirely different way.

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Those tags can be reused as cheap and easy cable tags. I have saved up a few and just today bought a Sharpie Fine tip marker (I tried using a regular Sharpie and the results wasn’t very readable).

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I made tags for some of the cables that are plugged in to my USB Expansion. Why would you want the cables tagged? I am often changing things around in my office and want to remove one cable and add another. These tags let me know at a glance what the various cables are attached to without tracing the cable back to the device it is plugged into.

Pros

  1. They are free, though it takes time to accumulate them
  2. They do come in different colors

 

Cons

  1. They don’t fit tightly on all cables (see standard white Apple USB to Lightning above)
  2. Colors are limited to what the products you use come with
  3. The space to write on is limited to 1″ x 1/2″

Mac Accessory – Bolt Crossbody Laptop Bag

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Product Announcement – WaterField Designs of San Francisco, California, a designer and manufacturer of custom laptop sleeves, bags and device-specific cases, debuts the slim-profile Bolt Crossbody vertical laptop bag. Available in three sizes to fit Macbooks, iPads and other devices, each Bolt includes a padded laptop compartment and a mix of functional pockets. Like bags long-popular in Asia and Europe, the compact Bolt Crossbody provides a convenient and handsome carry for commuters, professionals and adventure seekers alike.

The Bolt Crossbody Laptop bag easily holds a day’s necessities ” Macbook or iPad, water bottle, wallet and travel documents. An extra wide, zippered opening allows easy access to the main compartment that houses a padded laptop sleeve, and simple pockets to keep the Apple Pencil and smaller items easily accessible. A premium leather flap closes with a silent magnetic snap over an expandable front pocket. Inside, a hidden scratch-free Ultrasuede(R) hutch cradles the iPhone 7 or a similarly-sized smartphone.

For frequently-used items, a body-side pocket closes with a self-locking zipper for added security. The Crossbody’s gold, water-resistant lining boosts visibility of bag contents. An adjustable shoulder strap can be worn diagonally or off one shoulder, and a rear grab handle comes in handy for retrieving the Bolt from overhead bins or the trunk of a car. Because of its shape and wide zippered access”even when filled to capacity”the bag remains lean and comfortable to carry.

The Crossbody’s universal style fits with professionals and travelers of all ages. Offered in rugged black ballistic nylon or tan waxed canvas, each with full-grain leather highlights, the Bolt Crossbody is meticulously crafted and built to last. The comfortable Bolt hangs naturally and its clean design complements any look. Three compact sizes provide unrestricted motion yet contain ample space. The Bolt Crossbody joins other hard-wearing, stylish bags in the Bolt Collection: the Brief, the Duffel and the Backpack.

The Bolt Crossbody:
Small: $199.
Dimensions: 11 x 9.25 x 2.25 inches; 1.35 lbs.
Fits 10-inch iPad, most tablets

Medium: $209.
Dimensions: 12.5 x 11 x 2.25 inches; 1.65 lbs.
Fits 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016), Microsoft Surface Laptop, Surface Pro 4.

Large: $219.
Dimensions: 14.25 x 12 x 2.25 inches; 1.85 lbs.
Fits 13-inch MacBook Air, 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016), Surface Book.

Colors: Tan waxed canvas or black ballistic nylon with naturally-tanned, full-grain grizzly, chocolate or black leather flap and details.mThey can be ordered through the website.

MacBook Pro Accessory – Gumdrop Case

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Product Announcement – Gumdrop Cases of Walnut Creek, California has announced that its 13-inch MacBook Pro case is available online. Like all portable laptops, it’s easy to drop or ding the MacBook while carrying it around the office or house. Any visible damage can void the warranty, since Apple does not cover accidental damage. The new DropTech case from Gumdrop Cases is the best way to prevent damage from everyday accidents and mishaps.

The DropTech MacBook Pro 13 case not only protects from scratches and splashes, but also from disastrous, damaging drops. It’s Gumdrop’s most rugged case design yet! The DropTech’s unique design strategically employs a combination of rugged and high impact materials that have no problem protecting the edges and corners of the MacBook from normal use and repeated abuse.

The bumpers in each corner are made from 10mm of silicone to maximize protection without being overly bulky. Beneath the protective bumpers is a transparent Polycarbonate inner top shell. The shell is tough, and lightweight, allowing for lasting protection from general wear-and-tear. Plus, it’s easy to clean and can show off the iconic Apple logo, asset tags, school logos, or anything else you need to add to your MacBook Pro!

Installation is a snap! No tools, no sweat. Just slip it into the case, and give it a simple snap and click! It will stay on when you open and close your MacBook Pro, allow access to all ports, and provide proper ventilation so your MacBook doesn’t overheat!

Why are cases so important?
Case protection is incredibly important for keeping a MacBook Pro within warranty, and saves customers from spending a considerable amount of money on repair (or even full replacement cost!).

You can settle for a hard shell case, or a sleeve of some kind, but those may only help protect from scratches and splashes. Zippered sleeves can get left behind. Clip-on shells pop-off at the first hint of trouble and don’t always offer adequate protection. Any decent drop can crack the screen or casing, or damage the insides (including the battery) – even with your MacBook covered in a hard shell or sleeve!

FYI: Apple’s warranty DOES NOT cover damage caused by accidents! If they see any damage on the outside, it will most likely void your warranty and you will have to pay for repair or full replacement.

In fact, just a single 1-foot drop can dent the casing, so it’s better to protect your MacBook as soon as possible to keep it looking great and free from damage.

Never dropped, or banged up a laptop? You don’t have to be a klutz or walking disaster to worry about your computer hitting the ground or getting scratched up from regular use. You could simply be:

  • Someone who uses their MacBook in the field and need something to protect it
  • A student who carries their MacBook between home and class
  • A commuter who knocks out some work with a MacBook on their lap
  • An employee carrying their MacBook around the office and into meetings
  • A teacher who stores MacBooks in a cart
  • Someone who slips their MacBook into a briefcase or bag often

Whatever the situation, if you’re a mobile, on-the-go Mac user you should protect your new MacBook Pro with a DropTech case! And, if you are a bit of a klutz, then you shouldn’t need any further convincing to protect a computer that cost you over $1000.

The DropTech case for the new MacBook Pro is now available in a Black/Smoke color combination for only $69.95 (USD) and fits MacBook Pro 13″ models A1706, A1707 and A1708.

macOS New Tutorial Plan – Noteboom Tutorials

Product AnnouncementNoteboom Productions, Ltd. of Holland, Michigan has announced Pay What You Want Pricing for their membership site, Noteboom Tutorials. Noteboom Tutorials has over 50 tutorials with over 1,500 easy-to-follow video lessons on the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch designed to give users a better understanding of how to effectively use Apple devices.

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Membership also includes access to new tutorials as they are released. Users can watch the tutorials on any device – Mac, iPad, or iPhone. The site tracks the tutorials users are enrolled in as well as a user’s progress by tracking individual lessons as they are viewed. Select tutorial can also be downloaded in the iBooks format for members.

Mac tutorials include:

  • Tutor for Mac: The Basics
  • Tutor for Mac: Beyond The Basics
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for iCloud
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Preview
  • Tutor for Final Cut Pro
  • Tutor for Filemaker Pro
  • Tutor for Pages
  • Tutor for Numbers
  • Tutor for Keynote
  • Tutor for Word
  •  Tutor for Excel
  • Tutor for tap Forms 5

iPad tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPad: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPad: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Office

iPhone tutorials include:

  • Tutor for iPhone: The Basics
  • Tutor for iPhone: Beyond the Basics
  • Tutor for iMovie
  • Tutor for Photos
  • Tutor for Calendar
  • Tutor for Safari
  • Tutor for Contacts
  • Tutor for Mail
  • Tutor for Apple Watch with watchOS 2

Membership is subscription based and includes instant access to all the tutorials. Users decide what they want to pay for membership. Membership also includes 14-day free trial.

Mac New Accessory – AC AirPort Time Capsule Upgrade

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Product Announcement – QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas has announced an Apple AC AirPort Time Capsule upgrade. The upgrade adds a 5TB (Terabyte) hard drive and, by request, six external antennas. Designed as a central backup solution for all of the Mac computers in your home or office, the addition of the 5TB hard drive adds a boost in storage capabilities for those in need of more than the 2TB or 3TB storage offered with the unit alone. To complete this upgrade, QuickerTek first opens the chasis and removes the existing hard drive. Once this is done, the 5TB hard drive is slid into the empty space and plugged into the internal board.

The antenna upgrade not only offers dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi, it also triples the range of the Time Capsule. The improved wireless power allows users the ability to arrange and use their Apple wireless anywhere they choose by providing a wider range and blasting through common line of sight objects. The standard Apple AirPort Time Capsule does not have a built-in port to connect these antennas. So, QuickerTek engineered a means of modifying them with antenna connectors. Customers will quickly discover the wireless performance they have been missing. Buffering is eliminated and multi-user Wi-Fi connections are all smooth and fast.

QuickerTek is the only company in the world offering this innovative upgrade. Two different product versions are available: a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with the 5TB hard drive alone for $499 (USD) or a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with both the 5TB hard drive and high gain 5dBi antennas for $699 (USD).

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.85″ x 3.85″ x 16″
  • Weight: 2.38 lbs
  • Color: White

Includes:

  • User manual
  • Adapter cables
  • Mounting base
  • 5TB hard drive
  • Six 5dBi antennas

Pricing:

  • 5TB Upgrade Only $499 (USD)
  • 5TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $699 (USD)

Like most QuickerTek products, the new Time Capsule Extreme AC Hard Drive and 5TB Antenna Upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Mac New Accessory – Maverick Leather Messenger

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Product AnnouncementWaterField Designs of San Francisco, California, a designer-manufacturer of custom laptop sleeves, bags and cases, has released the Maverick Leather Messenger, a premium laptop bag reminiscent of a Wild West postal satchel with functionality for modern-day professionals. Each Maverick is cut from a single full-grain leather hide with few seams and will develop a gorgeous patina over time. With padded laptop and tablet compartments and internal accessory pockets inside a raw-leather interior, the Maverick brings old-world artisanship into the digital age.

The Maverick’s uncluttered design keeps the bag compact, even when full. It features waxed-canvas, padded laptop and tablet compartments, and comes in a choice of two sizes: the Compact fits the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and other 13-inch Macs, and the Full fits the 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina and similarly-sized laptops. Each also includes a 12.9-inch padded tablet pocket. Opposite that are two waxed-canvas accessory pockets, the first with a self-locking zipper to secure valuables and a second, open-topped for easy access. An angled shoulder strap and matching leather shoulder pad enhance comfort. A leather grab handle, secured with strong rivets, offers a more formal carrying option. The laptop messenger bag’s double leather flap closes with a leather tab and a secure screw stud, adjustable to two lengths.

The Maverick’s minimalist design highlights the bag’s exquisite leather and classic look. Available in black, chocolate or grizzly full-grain leather, each bag is cut from a single hide, ensuring an even tone and feel throughout. Thick, supple leather gives the bag structure. Inside, a raw leather main compartment shows off the beauty of the leather and the bag’s careful construction.

Padded laptop and tablet compartments:

  •  Compact – 13-inch padded laptop compartment fits MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and all 13-inch Macs. Padded tablet compartment fits up to 12.9-inch iPad Pro or similar tablet.
  • Full – 15-inch padded laptop compartment fits MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Retina and similarly-sized laptops. Padded tablet compartment fits up 12.9-inch iPad Pro or similar tablet.

Dimensions/Weight:

  • Compact – 10.5 x 13.5 x 3.5 inches; 2.3 lbs.
  • Full – 11.5 x 18 x 4.25 inches. 2.5 lbs.

Maverick Leather Laptop Messenger – Price: Compact – $299 / Full – $329 (USD)
Colors: Full-grain leather in black, chocolate or grizzly. Each bag is cut from a single hide.

Mac New Product – Pad and Quill Cartella Slim Case

Product announcement – Pad and Quill of Minneapolis, Minnesota, makers of luxury goods for tech & lifestyle, has just released the Cartella Slim Case for the 2016 Macbook Pro that puts the “book” back into Macbooks! When you hold it, it looks & feels like an actual book… because it is!

The Cartella Slim Macbook case envelops your laptop in an archival quality buckram linen cover, turning your Macbook into an actual hardbound book. This is the same material used on books in the Library of Congress. Made in the USA, Pad & Quill’s bookbindery is right around the corner in Minneapolis St. Paul and has been making books the old-fashioned way for decades. A true union of innovation & tradition, The Cartella Slim Macbook case captures the beauty of a book that you can feel in your hand while protecting your Macbook and leaving it completely unhindered in every way to do what it was meant to do.

A specially developed 3M residue-free adhesive technology takes only seconds to put on the MacBook Pro. Safe and secure, it will never come off and it will never let go, unless you want it to. This same material that holds thousands of iPhones and iPads in place safely and securely on other Pad & Quill products.

Our precisely designed multi-seamed bindery spine allows for the full range of motion that you would normally find in the MacBook Pro with loads more protection from scratches and drops. A moleskine-inspired elastic band seals the deal for a secure and visually stunning on-the-go look with superb protection. We like to think that the Cartella Slim is the world’s best and only old-world cloaking device for modern day MacBooks.

Available now for 2016 Macbook Pro 13″ and 2016 Macbook Pro 15″