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The best dock for your desktop?

One of the main reasons I switched from the Mac back to the PC was very simple.
It had nothing to do with the fact I did not like MacOS, but it was the fact that my workhorse, the MacBookPro, was severly butchered by Apple. Taking away the magsafe, bad keyboard, no more ports like HDMI, standard USB and taking away the card readers…. and raising the prices again to an “insane” level….

But we are a few years further and Apple has done some very cool things.
Over the last year I’ve been using an iPad pro almost exclusively for all my work, including video and photo editing, but also creating and recording music, consuming media etc. it’s just an awesome device, but…. there is also a huge problem with the iPad pro if you want to use professionally.

With the release of the M1 chip things have changed a lot for me, and we are even thinking about getting the new MacBookPro for me when it’s released lated this year (or next year), but that also brings me to the reason for this review.

More and more I’m using my iPad pro, and where I in the past would only use it on my lap it’s now also often found on my desk connected to a wired network connection (for the NAS), an external monitor, keyboard and mouse and of course a nice audio interface. It’s actually quite impressive to see what you can do with the iPad pro, and also a bit frustrating that Apple still limits the usage on an external monitor to a the iPads aspect ratio, meaning black bars on the side, but let’s hope things will change soon. In fact when you look at the new way the Mac connects to the iPad as a second display and knowing both are running the same chips (language) I think (if Apple doesn’t close it all off) the future is very bright for creatives using Apple gear, and it’s one of the things that really drives me back to the Mac (although I love my Windows setup).

Anyway back on topic
One of the issue I run into almost daily is connectivity.
When working on the coach or in the RV it’s not a big deal, you simple connect an external Harddrive and when I need to use something else with USB you can use a USB dongle or just get a small convertor/dongle that supports several connections like for example something like this.

And trust me they work ok.
But they don’t do everything you need.
I actually have several of these kind of dongles and when I combine them all, I can attach everything, but I never found one that did it all (without problems), for example I have one that supports USB, USB-C, HDMI and Network, but…. that one can’t charge my laptop or iPad, so I’m limited to my battery life (which is pretty ok, but still). Now when we travel it’s not really a big deal, we use the dongles only a short period during for example a presentation, or to connect an audio interface.

But when I’m home or in the studio I want a solution that makes my iPad pro or MacBookPro completely capable to do whatever I want, without thinking about charging, network or whatever.

As mentioned before I’ve tried several solutions and never found one that did it all, without issues.

 

Enter the OWC Thunderbolt dock 3
First thing you have to realize is that this is not a portable device. It’s build like a tank, and it has a pretty large powerbrick. So this is really a device for the desktop, but that’s exactly what I need. So lets first take a look at the unit itself.

Ok as you can see, we have more than enough options here, including a working powersupply for a MacBookPro and also my iPad pro works like a charm, however I have to add that I cannot get my Dell XPS 9570 i9 to work with the dock, this could be a problem with my thunderbolt drivers, we are still looking into this issue, and I’ll update the review when I solved it.

The dock is very complete with I think almost everything you’ll ever need, and I love the idea that the dock is powered, somehow I never trust passive docks in the long run when recording music for longer stretches.

The main advantages from docks like this is that you can place it on the desk and forget about it. Just run one Thunderbolt Cable from the dock to your laptop or iPad and you’re done. For me this is an insanely handy option because with one cable I now litterally keep my whole setup in tact, same keyboard/mouse/monitor/network/external drives etc. as on the laptop, meaning it’s a very seamless experience switching between devices.

So how does the dock work
Well what can you say. You connect the power, and connect all the hardware you need and…. well that’s it.
What I really like about this dock is however that on the front I can find a cardreader for both SD and MicroSD, an analog audio in/out and of course a standard USB3.1 and a USB3.1 Gen2 connection. This makes it really easy to quickly connect an external harddrive or of course empty your cards.

The speed is very good, compared to some of my previous dongles it now finally feels like I’m working on an SSD instead of an old spinner drive (ok I do overreact a bit, but it’s just a lot snappier), also with my previous dock I had to reset my audio interface sometimes because it just doesn’t want to keep the clock correct (sample rate), on the OWC I did not yet experience this, big tumbs up.

For video you are able to connect a monitor running up to 4K60 which is very nice for a dock. Do remember that unless you are a gamer 4K60 is more than enough for both videoediting as working on your photo’s. 4K30 would also not be a problem, but personally I rather have the 60hz version.
Power to the laptop or iPad is 85W, which will keep your MacBookPro charged constantly even under a heavy load, and trust me you don’t want to see your battery running down while streaming live (yes it happened to us).

Ofcourse you can daisy chain your Thunderbolt port, and the front USB port even charges your phone or tablet when connected.
Also the headphone/mic connector on the front can be very handy when doing zoom meetings (and we all do those a lot recently).
Now wired network might not be a big deal when you don’t copy large files, but try copying 30GB over wifi and get back to me… when you’re done, and now do the same thing over a wired connection… you never want to go back (and we use a lot of data stored on the NAS).

Can it be improved?
Heck yeah, of course, everything can.
One of the things I read a lot online is the fact OWC opted for a mini display port instead of the more standard availablee HDMI connector. Well I agree and disagree, for me personally it’s not a really big deal. Most monitors will also be outfitted with a mini display port and for example BenQ (the monitors I use) in most cases also delivers the cable in the box. If you don’t have a cable you do have to take into account the extra cost which is under 20.00 euros, depending on the option you choose (do make sure you get the 4K version and not a full HD version)

One thing I do really would have loved to see changed is the delivered Thunderbolt cable, with 50cm that is really way too short if you want to be able to place the dock a bit more freely on your desk or for example a bit higher than the connected device, and changing that cable… well is a bit more expensive, for a good cable you really have to add between 40-50 euros to the costs of the dock, but if you can use the 50cm version that’s not necessary of course, in my situation it’s matter of switching some places on the desk and it worked, but it’s tight. Luckily you can easily switch the cable, just make sure you get the right cable and not a cheap USB-c Cable.

Conclusion
It’s not possible to deny that now a days you really need a dock.
It’s a simple fact of life that laptops and tablets are getting less and less connectivity while we as users need even more than in the past. Luckily companies like OWC don’t only think about the “consumer” part, where wifi is fast enough, but also about the pros using their gear.

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock is not the cheapest on the market, but for what you get… it’s worth every penny I would say, although for us it would be cents 🙂
If you’re like me running a laptop and tablet as your main devices, just skip all the cheaper solutions, I think I spend over 300.00 on docks and dongles that simply don’t work in the home situation, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock does and it’s also very complete with all the connections one could wish, plus it charges with 85W which is a big deal when you really push your gear.

I would say “Highly Recommended”
Thx to OWC for giving me the oppertunity to test the TB3 dock.

 

 

 

Finally solved the iPad corrupt files issue

Solved my corrupting files issue on the iPad pro. And does make me worry for the future

Apple claims the iPad pro is a laptop “killer” and indeed you can do a lot on it. But apple…. Most people also want to get the stuff off their iPad into other machines. And no cloud doesn’t work in a hotel with 20-50gb per day. Also in the field without WiFi it just doesn’t work to make backups.

We need external drives.
After months of testing and getting way too many corrupt files I got a tip to try file browser for biz. Now I already have that app for batch renaming (also something apple doesn’t support)

So I tried it.
Copied everything via files and indeed corrupted video, half images etc. About 10% is corrupted. And this is repeatable. Also copying takes about 25 minutes.

After dropping the folder into file biz and connecting the USB drive copying was done in a staggering 10 minutes (excuse me) and…. Drum roll….. 100% correct. No corrupted files. No problems it just works….

Come on apple.
If you want people to spend such an amount of money on pro gear get your act together. My Android devices copy files back and forth without any corruption. And I can batch rename.

Well…. At least it’s solved now.

———–

The story continues
So this morning I found the solution to slow copying and getting corrupt files. And the solution was actually not using “apple files” but a third party app (filebrowser biz).

So I thought “let’s create a video about this”
And after trying 8 times to upload I never got further than 20-25%. Tried chrome and safari even in mobile version.

You know the solution?
You’re not going to believe this.
Don’t use load from files but first copy the video to the filmrol and from there it’s now uploading and rendering on YT.

Apple what the heck is going on with files ?
It copies slow and corrupts files and I can’t upload to YT with it.

All problems seem to be pointing towards files
And seeing this is like the main component in iOS……

Anyway if you also run into that issue. Upload from filmrol instead of files.

Aaargh

iPadOS my first impressions (mixed)

As you probably know we are working on a fully laptop less workflow for photography and video based on the iPadPro.
In all honesty I was more than happy with my Huawei M5 tablet and didn’t feel any need to go back to Apple (I sold all my Apple gear a few years ago and are 100% satisfied with my P30Pro, Garmin VivoActive, ChromeCast and Windows Machines) but thanks to the iPad Pro, but mostly the apps, I decided to take the plunge and order an iPad Pro with Pencil 2. So far so good.

When the iPad pro 12.9 was released I was I think one of the first that hit refresh, refresh, refresh to order one, and a day later I could pick it up, the PRO ipad…. wow….. and what a disappointment. No apps that really used the iPad “pro”, it was literally just like the iPad just a blown up iPhone, nothing wrong with the iPad by the way I loved it, but it was a FAR cry from a pro device (what is it with that Pro title anyway, it seems soon I can Pro underwear and Pro socks or something).

So my first experience kind of sucked, Apple promised the heavens and it delivered a slight hell. A totally closed up system without any serious apps. But things have changed, not thanks to Apple (where is Final Cut Pro iPad for example) but thanks to companies like Lumatouch with Lumafusion (which is absolutely mind boggling), Adobe with Lightroom CC and soon Photoshop iPad and of course Affinity Photo. All great apps which are mainly focussed on iOs which I think is a bit of a shame because the Android tablets are very fast too, anyway long story short, when they announced iPadOS my interest was peaked, FINALLY an open file system.

Now why is that important
Try travelling with an iPad a few times and you know.
As long as you have blazingly fast internet… no problem but we recently visited Johannesburg and had to work with a stunning 2MB down and 0.09 up (yep I didn’t make a mistake really 0.09 up) meaning uploading my images to Lightroom CC was impossible, we started uploading 20 images at night and the next morning we hit 25%, Starbucks was my favorite place, but they only offered 5GB a month for free so uploading a vlog was impossible but for photos it was ok. But this shows the incredible limitation of iOS as it is. One could say… “use an external drive” well yeah… and no. You know copying with 100MB/s is ok but thanks to the limitations of the iPad pro I somehow never was able to break the 4MB/s to my harddrive (LaCie CoPilot) although uploading to the iPad worked ok with 20MB/s, connect it to my PC and it broke the 100MB/s with ease. So think about making a backup with 3MB/s of 25GB each day…. you get the idea I think. Add to this that you can’t let the iPad run all night with a harddrive connected because you can’t charge the bloody thing because it only has one port and with a dock the harddrive wasn’t recognized and you know why the iPad Pro with iOS is no pro device at all.

Which is a shame because as mentioned the apps are there. And in all honesty I can 90% of my work with those apps. So the idea of not bringing my laptop during travels is awesome (especially with the Apple pencil).

So what works?
Under iOS everything works, but getting stuff OFF the iPad Pro is a disaster, without fast internet, connect it to your PC for example and images can come off but videos are not seen (WHY) also it’s super frustrating to not be able to just use my downloaded music from talentsy/epidemic in Rush and Lumafusion without making two folders with the same content (come on). But it works if you stick to your workflow.

At one point even batch renaming was “semi” possible, still ridiculous no app or apple supports this and you have to use automator, but hey, it works (semi).

Powerpoint/keynotes work great, every projector and TV we used worked flawlessly, expect at my seminar at B&H we couldn’t get the ipad pro outputting a signal, but that was only once, luckily we had a backup and that one worked (phone and laptop). Shooting tethered wirelessly worked flawlessly with the Camfi (not stable/fast enough with the Sony app) and of course video editing and photo editing is no problem at all, if you can life with the photo apps from Apple (which is a disaster for a pro but ok).

iPadOs
So iPadOS
Ok I didn’t want to install it while travelling and when we arrived back I decided to wait for the final release, but seeing it’s only end of September and it’s now the 14th and I use the iPad pro almost every day I took the chance and installed iPadOS. And lets see at what I think and found out.

  1. External drives
    Yes it works, well semi.
    You have to format your drives in ExFAT, don’t try anything else it won’t work, don’t try to format on the iPad pro… because it doesn’t have an app for that, which I think is ridiculous seeing harddrives come mostly not in ExFat when you buy them, so you still need a computer to format them.
  2. External drive speed
    This is a HUGE disappointment for now, I hoped for a speedy way to copy my files or maybe even work straight from the hard drive, well forget about it. I did a quick calculation based on time and file size and I think the iPad pro tops out at max 25MB/s and this is with an SSD that tops out at 300MB/s on my desktop so it’s not the SSD.
  3. External tumbdrives
    Works although I only tested a few, speed was nothing more than usable
  4. Open file system
    NO WAY….
    This is not what I expected.
    Yes you can use external drives and files (the app to browse etc) but it’s still very iOS (like) for example there is still no way to batch rename files, the files app still doesn’t show you the film roll etc but I have some tips for that
  5. Look and feel
    Now for some people this is the biggest change but in all honesty I don’t really care for it, but I have to say, getting more apps on one page is awesome and well overdue, also the widgets on the home page is cool and of course Dark Mode and a full browing experience and semi multitasking is great, but that isn’t what I hoped for the most, but it’s cool don’t get me wrong.

Some tips for copying
For me the most important thing was getting files on and off and browsing via apps.
Well the most disappointing factor is that NONE of the apps so far use this option, Lumafusion still needs the import folder, Project Rush doesn’t even have the option for a folder or external drive (only cloud etc.) same with almost every other app I tried, BUT that being said this is still the beta so I guess the apps will be updated, if not…. I have to be honest I’ll go back to a laptop because this is just a very cumbersome way to work, that being said I’m almost sure they will update the apps so just wait for the final release and for now ignore that remark 😀

Ok so how do you go to and from the film roll.
Most apps use the film roll from apple for all the files, but how do you get files from the film roll to your harddrive and from your harddrive to the film roll when you don’t see the files/drives?

When you are in Apple’s film roll just select the files and select/copy. Now just leave the film roll and go to files and long press and use Paste. It took me a few minutes to figure this out because I expected actually to have it available a bit more obvious. Going from files to the film roll is a different story…. pffff.
Select the files and use SHARE, now under share use SAVE FILES and voila it saves it into the film roll. So it’s doable but it’s still very iOS like.

Conclusion
I still haven’t test a lot more like mouse support etc. because for me the most important thing is that file system.
So far so “good” I’m ok with how it works (when I figured it out) but I don’t feel like I’m working with an apple product and it hurts me to say this but I really feel Apple lost it’s way, and iPad OS so far shows this very clearly. For me Apple was always simple, easy to understand and very very clear how it works. At the moment (and it’s still in beta) we have a file system that works, but it’s not Apple worthy, it’s not impossible to use it (far from) but it’s more complicated that it needs to be, I only want to say… look at Android. For years I’ve been able to just connect it to my desktop and see all my files and copy back and forth without any limitations, also within Android most apps just let you select files from different locations. If you’re not careful it can become a mess but let’s be honest it’s the same on your desktop.

Apple has an amazing, magical (to speak in keynote words) device with the iPad pro, and I really mean this, it’s a kick ass device with incredible speed and battery life for what it does, yesterday I edited a complete vlog again and after editing, rendering and uploading with almost full brightness it only took a 18% battery hit, my laptop would be almost empty (remember these are 4K vlogs with edits in video and audio) and 10 Minutes vlog only takes 10 Minutes to render, my i9 on premiere pro does it in similar times so that’s just incredible.

What I miss is that Apple sauce. That very easy to understand interface, that interaction between the human and the machine (well you know what I mean), It seems like Apple is going backwards in a fast tempo for user interface but also going forwards in other departments like finally a full browsing experience (although on Chrome you can also ask for the full version of a website, but ok I’ll give them that).

What’s your opinion?
For me I just hope they make the copying to external devices much faster, 25MB/s in 2019 is really not from this time, we need at least 100MB/s and on USB-C that should be more than possible. Also I hope they open up the file system a bit more and make it integrate with the film roll like it should be. Or make the film roll an app like gallery and open up the folder film roll, now it’s really that it’s a fully closed app with all your photos which you can’t rename (still find that weird to the max) and can’t see on the iPad itself.

For now I think the iPad pro is an amazing device and a real game changer, the Apple Pencil 2 is just sick (in a very positive way) and the apps are more than adequate replacements/helpers for the desktop apps, it’s not that I really miss things, even skin retouching is easy with both Lightroom CC and Affinity (and soon Photoshop), but the file system REALLY needs some more work, but at least we now have something. It’s just a shame that a real Pro device is still a bit crippled by Apple that can’t seem to make up it’s mind if it’s fashion brand or a creatives dream company (which it once was).

Looking forward to your opinions.

iPhone x

Ok so the iPhone x has been released what are your thoughts? Let me share mine.

I’ve been critical to Apple ever since the mbp. Since than my Apple Watch has been switched and even my Macpro and iPad are replaced. The reasons….. very simple.

Where Apple always was first and best it’s now the best in build quality and probably experience but it’s running behind on things that are already available with the competition.

So what are my thoughts.

Don’t worry this will be short.

Love love the iPhone x

Let’s be honest it’s gorgeous it’s amazing and incredible, almost magical (like Apple said) the design is really nice and I like the new camera options although in all honesty you can do the same very quickly in Lightroom mobile or other apps.

Love the depth effect on the front camera

Love wireless charging, although I don’t see me doing this at home. But at Starbucks, airports etc it’s very handy

Face recognition is WOW and I mean WOW. Awesome and magical.

And that’s about it.

I don’t care about animojis. Yeah it’s fun and I would love to use it for fun.

Now in all honesty I was almost planning on not switching to the Samsung note 8. I’m still a bit terrified to do it because I only had ios smart phones. But my experiences with the Samsung tab s2 has been nothing less than good and very positive.

So what did me change my mind…..

Something I never expected to say, the design of Apple iPhone x has a MAJOR flaw and I can’t believe that they did this.

We have all seen the mock ups with the top part where all the cameras are housed. My expectations were that when you watch a video or look at a photo that this part would be totally black. To my horror it isn’t. At first annewiek told me that that would be something I could get used to…… heck no. Never. It’s like a dust particle under my protector. My eyes just drift towards that gaping gap where video or photos are supposed to be…… it’s not the way I would expect a end design team to work. I’m actually quite shocked.

So what next

I’ve been waiting for a new phone because I wanted to do more with video on the phone and IS on the tele is very welcome plus external audio. The note 8 caught my attention to the very bright screen (1200 nits vs 750) which is awesome when flying my drone in the sun. Als the Samsung supports external mics

I love the depth effect but also want raw support and of course being able to alter the effect after taking the shot. Samsung offers this including the option to take both wide and tele shots and altering the effects afterwards.

AR looked awesome but in reality I will never use it. I’m just not a gamer. I shoot and edit photos and video, I consume media, do mail and social media and I love the idea of the spen for video editing. (Love iMovie but with your fingers on the iPhone 7plus was not really handy. With the iPad Pro it’s awesome).

So……

After many many years of Apple iPhones which I absolutely loved it’s now time to say farewell to my beloved iPhone series. And even when you take out the idea of the gap the pricing Is just insane. 999.00 will be 1159 euros in the Netherlands which means the 256gb will probably be 1350. The note 8 retails for 999 plus a free dex station valued at 159.00. Saves me a lot of money.

What will I spend that money on…..

On the Apple TV 😉

Finally 4k and hdr and with Apple TV you know for sure that Netflix and youtube will be supported plus I found a good working remote on android 😉

So what are your ideas?

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the whole Apple feel and mood. And will probably always be an Apple fanboy. Only now without Apple products.

Man it feels weird.

One more thing….

4k 60fps is superb but my other video material is all 4k 25fps so I have to integrate it into that timeline. Also 1080p 240fps is great but I hardly use it for “real” material. But hey that’s me. Your opinion might be totally different.