MacBook Pro Docking and USB-C Dongles

With Apples move to USB-C only on their laptops you may need some adapters until manufacturers hop on the far superior USB-C standard. The most basic adapter almost everyone probably needs is the USB-C to USB adapter.

USB-C to USB adapters

Apple makes one that looks like this:

apple usb-c to usb adapter

Currently they price the USB-C to USB adapter at $9 but that is only out 2016, after that the price will go up to the original price. You can get it at Amazon.

Another best selling adapter is the nonda USB-C to USB 3.0. Looks like this:

nonda usb-c to usb 3.0

You can get this one at Amazon as well. It currently sits as #1 best seller in the USB adapter category. It is very small and neat, they also sell them in different colors so it matches the color on your apple laptop. If you are planning to use multiple of these make sure they are able to fit side by side. The Apple branded adapter shown above is certainly able to do that.

USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapters

When I am at work I use a Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express HD Dock with my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013). With that dock I just have to connect one thunderbolt 2 cable and I have everything I need. When the new 2016 model arrives it won’t work. To get it working I don’t have to buy a new docking station. The Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter will get it working again. Looks like this:

Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter

MacBook Pro Docking Stations

As I said above I use the Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express HD Dock and it has worked very well for me a few years. What I didn’t know was that I could not use all outputs on it at the same time. They state that it works with dual displays but under some conditions, namely this:

“Note about dual displays: At least one display has to be Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 technology-ready. For displays that are not Thunderbolt technology-ready, the Thunderbolt port is backwards compatible with Mini DisplayPort. The dock supports either HDMI or Mini DisplayPort, but not both. The dock supports only one display at 4K cinema resolution.”

I was planning to use one Mini DisplayPort to DVI and one HDMI but that didn’t work with this dock. So make sure you really check the specs and the fine print of the dock you are buying first.

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Print To PDF From Your Mac

You dont need third party software to create a PDF file from something you want to print. This functionality is built into macOS. If you have a document, website or something similar you want a PDF file from just go to File->Print. (Or CMD+P).

In the print window that appears you should be able to save it as PDF. Having a printer installed is not necessary to get this working.

See screenshot below.

Save as PDF on a Mac

In other applications (like Numbers) you may have to go to File->Export to get a PDF file. This vill vary depending on application you use.

A Professional Talks About The New MacBook Pro

The release of the new MacBook Pros have been controversial to say the least. With people complaining about missing ports, AMD GPUs, only 16GB RAM and high prices.

I am sure a lot of the complaints can be justified to some degree, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test it out yet so can’t chime in on that yet.

Thomas Grove Carter, a professional editor at Trim Editing in London just got his device and shares some thoughts in a new article:

Apparently he is able to do his paid work which includes cutting high end commercials in 5k ProRes, music videos and films on this MacBook Pro.

I am sure I am going to be able to do my music production with Ableton Live and some photo editing using Lightroom as well. Then again, I am no professional.

Maximize macOS Windows Without Going to Fullscreen

If you want to maximise your window in macOS a quick way without having to enter fullscreen you hold down the alt button and click the green button. If you hold the cursor above the green button and press alt at the same time you will see that it changes to a plus sign. When you see the plus sign click the button and the window size will increase so the content inside fits.

Apple Will Use Their Own CPU for Macs In the Future

Just think about it for a second. Apple really like their end-to-end control of everything. Nowadays they are dependant of Intel to release CPUs before they can update their computer lineup. What if Apple could make their own CPU instead? If so, they could tailor macOS to work as efficiently as possible on that architecture. They already do this with CPUs in iOS devices and this is what they will use as an argument when they “sell in” this new transition. When they control everything down to the chips in their computers they can do whatever they want.

The lines that define a desktop and a portable computer is already fading. Especially considering the latest notebook release where they again included iOS features in their Macs. (Touch ID, Retina Touchbar, Apple Pay, iMessage etc.). The performance you get from a laptop is enough for 95% of users out there and those are the ones Apple is catering for.

Apple have done this before. When they switched from PowerPC to Intel. The reason for switching according to Steve Jobs was that Intel had the strongest CPU roadmap for Apple to make personal computers for the next ten years. This happened in 2005, as of this writing its over ten years ago.

I think the computers Apple just recently released are the latest one carrying an Intel CPU. If Apple could get their own silicon in there they wouldn’t be so dependant on Intel or AMD to get their CPUs and GPUs ready.

As time progresses the technology just get better and better. It is just a matter of time until Intel gets some competition again.

MacBook Pro with Retina Touchbar and Touch ID Released

13 and 15 inch MacBook Pro

Apple just released their updated MacBook Pro lineup. The big thing now is the retina Touchbar which replaces the function keys we have lived with for an eternity. With this, the key bar is able to change its function and form depending on type of application you currently have open.

This opens up new possibilities to control complex applications with customisable quick access to tools.

A Touch ID sensor is included as well so you can unlock the computer the same way you unlock your iPhone. It is also possible to use with Apple Pay. If you share the computer with others and have multiple user accounts you can just use your finger to login to another account on the Mac.

Naturally the new notebooks have gotten a spec bump with Skylake processors from Intel. As for graphics you can opt for a higher end version with graphics from AMD on the 15 Inch version. The lower end 13-Inch includes built-in graphics from Intel.

Design

Smaller and lighter, as always. A new smaller hinge and the new butterfly keyboard used in the twelve inch MacBook is what you get here. Although improved. This is the first time they release it in another color: Spacegrey.

15 inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar

13 inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar

Specifications 15-Inch MacBook Pro

Processor

  • 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

Graphics

  • Radeon Pro 450

RAM

  • 16GB memory

Storage

  • SSD: 256GB up to 2TB / 3GB/s

Display

  • 2880 x 1800 “retina” Display
  • 67% Brighter
  • 25% more colors

Ports & Features

  • Retina Touchbar
  • Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Specifications 13-Inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar

Processor

  • 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

Graphics

  • Intel Iris 550

RAM

  • 8GB memory

Storage

  • SSD: From 256GB / 3GB/s

Display

  • 2560 x 1600

Ports & Features

  • Retina Touchbar
  • Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Specifications 13-Inch MacBook Pro without Touchbar

Apple have released a 13-Inch model without the toolbar, it have the regular function keys instead and some lower specifications. This will be a solid choice for schools and others that have tight budget restrictions.

Processor

  • 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

Graphics

  • Intel Iris 550

RAM

  • 8GB memory

Storage

  • SSD: From 256GB / 3GB/s

Display

  • 2560 x 1600

Ports & Features

  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports

Review

I don’t have access to new hardware from Apple right away. A review from all about apple will come, but not before I get my hands on one. This will probably be around new year 2017. I plan to review every aspect of the device, but if you have anything specific you want me to review leave a comment about it below.

Where to buy?

Directly from the Apple Store is one option, this way you buy it directly from Apple and that is the most preferred option in my opinion. However you can also get them from Amazon, they usually have a little discount compared to the Apple Store. And if you buy it from Amazon you also support this website as I get a little kickback from each sale.

DFU Mode on iPhone 7

If your restoration attempts using iTunes or apple configurator have failed you may have some luck trying a DFU Restore. This can also be helpful if your iPhone doesn’t turn on, charge or it won’t go into recovery mode.

Doing this will wipe all data from your device so make sure you have a working backup somewhere. Hopefully you have done this before the phone stopped working, right?

If you successfully want to do this procedure timing is essential. I recommend you use a stopwatch to time it right. Use the stopwatch app on another phone for example.

How To DFU Restore your iPhone (including iPhone 7)

1. Charge your iPhone for about 5 – 10 minutes then connect it to a computer running iTunes.

2. Press and hold the following buttons for eight seconds, then release only the sleep/wake button.

  • iPhone 7 – Sleep/Wake and volume down button
  • iPhone 6s or earlier – Sleep/Wake button and Home button

3. Keep the home button (or volume down on iPhone 7) pressed until you get the Recovery Mode prompt in iTunes. This could take 30 seconds or so.

In DFU mode the display is supposed to be blank. If it lights up repeat the above instructions and make sure you time it correctly. If you time it wrong, it won’t work.

Normally you shouldn’t have to do a DFU mode reset. When you do a regular restore though iTunes it removes all personal data and media. But the basic iOS firmware is still on the phone. When you do the procedure above it also removes this basic iOS firmware and reinstalls it. In some cases it can help waking an dead iphone up and getting it to work again.