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Dongle question
#55077 06/30/20 07:09 AM
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I never used a dongle before I got this 16" MacBook Pro with which I need to use a USB-C to USB adapter, so I don't know if earlier Macs suffer from the same issue, namely that the two USB-C ports are so close together that if you've got a dongle plugged into each of them there's no obvious way to unplug either of them without picking the MBP up and maneuvering it to grip the dongle on its top and bottom, which is a giant PIA, invites accidents, and is jut plain ROTTEN design.

Am I really supposed to pull on the extremely difficult to grasp thingy that protects the cord? Is there a some sort of 3rd party tool? Anything?

And in a similar vein, USB-C, Lightning, et. al. (?) connectors are so small that under any circumstances, they could REALLY use some texturing to make them easier to grip.


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Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55079 06/30/20 10:33 PM
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I thought the USB C/TB 3 ports were tight on my MacBook Pro until I swapped it for a mac mini. I found adapters with a 4" cable between the USB C male and the USB female connectors which allows enough room to plug in multiple adaptors and still get your fingers in to add or remove them at the expense of some additional cable dangling. The brand name is Syntech and I found them on Amazon, but there are other similar products. Caution: USB C may not be as quality sensitive as Thunderbolt 3, but you do get what you pay for.

I agree the hard plastic USB C connectors can be challenging to get work, especially if you have big hands and fat fingers as I do. It would be nice if the manufacturers would either make them with a grippier surface or at least put some serrations or ridges on them to make them easier to get a grip on.


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Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55080 07/01/20 06:47 AM
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The USB-C ports on the current Mac mini look like they're about the same distance apart as those on my MBP, but they come with the advantage of having sufficient space between them and the surface below to get your fingers in there and get a grip on them, while those on my MBP are so close to my desktop that there's absolutely no way to grip them without lifting the machine off the desk, which, beyond being MOST ANNOYING, is simply unacceptable design.

We agree on the need for some sort of texturing on the connectors, but I don't expect to ever see it from Apple, because the texturing would tend to collect dirt, which would be totally contrary to Apple's "beauty over functionality" mission. mad


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55082 07/01/20 01:02 PM
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My Mac mini is standing vertically on one edge but the connectors are still a PITA. 🥺 I suspect you are going to be very unhappy with future generations of MacBooks because like laptops, in general, they are only going to get thinner and lighter. Think in terms of the iPad form factor, but with a permanently attached keyboard. That will mean the options for physical connections to external devices will be even more limited than they are in today's models.

I don't know how you use your MBP but have you considered one of those stands that raise the back of the laptop up to create a comfortable keyboard angle and incidentally get the connectors a bit above the surface? I had one that worked brilliantly, but it was definitely not cheap (>$120). if you use your MBP with an external monitor you could run it case closed standing on edge with a Magic Keyboard and Mouse or Trackpad and you would have good access to the USB C/TB 3 ports.


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Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55083 07/02/20 06:28 AM
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My post was really just a pre-necessity rant; at the moment the ports are just a potential issue.

Thanks for the suggestion, but having my keyboard resting flat suits me fine, and I'd stick with it even though your alternative would mitigate a down the line port situation.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
That will mean the options for physical connections to external devices will be even more limited than they are in today's models.

How would you envision them being more limited than the four USB-C ports I've got now? Do you think Apple would cut the number down to one or two and force us to buy docks?


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55086 07/02/20 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: artie505
How would you envision them being more limited than the four USB-C ports I've got now? Do you think Apple would cut the number down to one or two and force us to buy docks?
Not fewer ports, new port options. Just thinking out loud but in rough order of probability possibility:
  1. more dependence on Bluetooth for external device connectivity
  2. slimming down the wrapper on the USB male connector (they did that with Lightning)
  3. a wired external TB3 Hub for MacBooks and iPads.
  4. a new proprietary port design with USB adapters
  5. Moving the ports to the lid rather than the body of the MBP
  6. A proprietary high-speed wireless technology
  7. An optional wireless external hub for MacBooks and iPads (with multiple ports for wired devices)
In any case we will probably have to buy new cables, new adapters, new devices because the old technology will not be fast enough to keep pace with the new SoC Apple devices. 🤷‍♂️


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55094 07/03/20 07:32 AM
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Some interesting ideas there...

The lid of my new 16" MBP is only about 1/8" thick, so it's not about to harbor any ports.

I kinda like the idea of Bluetooth or some other wireless option, because it would at least eliminate the need for cables, but I continue to reject the idea that forcing us to carry around any extra hardware in the name of making our computers smaller (and prettier tongue ) is in any way, shape, or form an improvement! frown mad


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55101 07/03/20 03:37 PM
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Option 7 on my list (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) is easily doable right now with existing technology and a little ingenuity. In fact, I have such a system running in my home today.
  1. THE EQUIPMENT
    1. a mid 2011 Mac mini (hereafter referred to as server) running Catalina (that started life with a Fusion drive but now has a 500GB SSD and a 2TB HD internally)
    2. two external HDs
    3. three printers
    4. scanner
    5. a plethora of Home devices
    6. all connected via USB 3.0, TB1, and ethernet.
  2. CONFIGURATION
  3. MANAGEMENT
    • Since the Server is both remote and headless, I use Screens 4 on either my Mac or IPad to manage the Server but Finder on the Mac is almost as good.
  4. DEVICE ACCESS
    • Printers appear on my Local Area Network (LAN) as bonjour devices and can be attached using System Preferences > Printers & Scanners on the Mac just as if they were physically connected. On the iPad I have to use an app appropriate to the specific printer
    • Disk Drives require logging onto the server but after that they are just another drive albeit a touch slow.
If you don't have a Mac mini lying around, they are available used on ebay for under $100 in a configuration adequate to the task.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55118 07/05/20 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Option 7 on my list (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) is easily doable right now with existing technology and a little ingenuity. In fact, I have such a system running in my home today.
  1. THE EQUIPMENT
    1. a mid 2011 Mac mini (hereafter referred to as server) running Catalina (that started life with a Fusion drive but now has a 500GB SSD and a 2TB HD internally)
    2. two external HDs
    3. three printers
    4. scanner
    5. a plethora of Home devices
    6. all connected via USB 3.0, TB1, and ethernet.
  2. CONFIGURATION
  3. MANAGEMENT
    • Since the Server is both remote and headless, I use Screens 4 on either my Mac or IPad to manage the Server but Finder on the Mac is almost as good.
  4. DEVICE ACCESS
    • Printers appear on my Local Area Network (LAN) as bonjour devices and can be attached using System Preferences > Printers & Scanners on the Mac just as if they were physically connected. On the iPad I have to use an app appropriate to the specific printer
    • Disk Drives require logging onto the server but after that they are just another drive albeit a touch slow.
If you don't have a Mac mini lying around, they are available used on ebay for under $100 in a configuration adequate to the task.

My head is still spinning from your configuration! I can't begin to comprehend all that.

And what I definitely don't have is any need for anything like it. My next printer will work wirelessly, and that and AirPlay are the extent of it.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55620 08/11/20 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted By: joemikeb
My Mac mini is standing vertically on one edge but the connectors are still a PITA.

I searched Amazon for USB C to USB adapters, and on the basis of favorable reviews of the brand by you in particular and others I wound up with this guy, which enables this.

It's not ideal, but it's probably the best that can be done under the circumstances: each of the adapters is accessible and manageable.

Note that the Anker listing specifies "This adapter doesn’t have a 56K ohm resistor," which, if I understood what I read, COULD POSSIBLY result in one"fried" component or another if you use the adapter for charging, although the article wasn't specific about situations that may result in such damage.

I wonder if Anker balks at paying Amazon for placement, because my "USB C to USB adapter" search turned up a bunch of CHEAP, i.e. 2 or 3 packs for less than $10, similar devices, but the only Anker result was cabled.

If I hadn't know to search specifically for Anker, I'm not sure what I'd have done, because even before becoming aware of the 56k ohm resistor caveat I wasn't thrilled by the ridiculously cheap prices for a device such as this one.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55624 08/11/20 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted By: artie505

It's not ideal, but it's probably the best that can be done under the circumstances: each of the adapters is accessible and manageable.

I wonder if Anker balks at paying Amazon for placement, because my "USB C to USB adapter" search turned up a bunch of CHEAP, i.e. 2 or 3 packs for less than $10, similar devices, but the only Anker result was cabled.

If I hadn't know to search specifically for Anker, I'm not sure what I'd have done, because even before becoming aware of the 56k ohm resistor caveat I wasn't thrilled by the ridiculously cheap prices for a device such as this one.

Anker has a "Store" on Amazon so I doubt payment for placement is an issue. I suspect the cheaper versions appear because they add Anker to their list of keywords because it is a market leader. Personally the ones I use are these but either should do the job.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Dongle question
joemikeb #55638 08/12/20 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Anker has a "Store" on Amazon so I doubt payment for placement is an issue.

I'd be surprised to learn that Amazon doesn't sell placement, same as supermarkets do.

On the other hand, though, why should Anker pay to prominently place the highEST priced option in the category when they're the industry leader to whom users who want high-end product go?

Chances are they lose some low end buyers who might be tempted by their high end products, but not enough to justify fishing for them.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I suspect the cheaper versions appear because they add Anker to their list of keywords because it is a market leader.

Sorry, but I don't follow that.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Personally the ones I use are these but either should do the job.

I like my compact adapter because of its aesthetics on top of its making a side by side setup workable.

Heresy: Your cables look so much more substantial than Apple's and so much better joined to their business ends that they may actually be strong enough to be tugged on to overcome the side by side conundrum (An USB C port isn't overwhelmingly tight.)...and I"ll bet that the thought isn't lost on many of Anker's customers...nor, maybe, on Anker.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Dongle question
artie505 #55817 08/28/20 10:30 AM
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I generally use a full external USB-C to USB hub rather than the little plug-in dongles, since (a) it offers more ports, (b) it's powered, and (c) I don't have the problem you noticed with the dongles being so close together.

I really, really like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NP7B9WK/


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Re: Dongle question
tacit #55819 08/28/20 10:39 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion, but a hub is extreme overkill in my situation.

My tiny adapter not only suits my needs, it's almost invisible on my desk.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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