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View Full Version : Strategies for dealing with the MacBook Air's Single USB Port




m021478
Dec 14, 2008, 08:19 PM
I wanted to know how some of the rest of you who also have MacBook Air computers have been dealing with the fact that these machines only have one available USB Port...

The single most inconvenient aspect of this is that, due to the mere 80GB hard drive I have installed in my MacBook Air, I use an external USB hard drive to store my iPhoto Library on...and then when the time comes that I want to copy photos to my iPhoto Library, there's no way to do so because the SD card in my camera has to be plugged into my MacBook Air via USB...

I've found three solutions for dealing with this problem...

1) Copy the photos from the SD card to my MacBook Air's internal drive first, the disconnect the SD card and connect the external hard drive that has the iPhoto library on it, then copy the photos to the iPhoto library from the MacBook Air's internal drive...

2) Use a USB Hub to provide a means of connecting both the external USB Hard Drive as well as the SD card via a USB card reader...The one major problem with this approach is, to the best of my knowledge is, that it would have to be a powered USB Hub (in order to provide the power required to run two external hard drives - SD card & USB HD). This means that my ultra thin, uber-portable MacBook Air is now tethered to a power outlet...

3) The third and final method I've come across that I've most recently been playing with is through using the Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD Card...This awesome little device, which Time Magazine has just listed as one of it's top 10 gadgets of the year, is truly incredible...you can read more about it here...This device would totally and completely solve my problem if it were not for one major detail...it's not compatible with RAW images (which for obvious reasons, I would much rather be using than JPEG)...This one simple fact is most likely going to wind up being the deal breaker....

And so...here I am...adrift without a simple, practical, realistic, method of dealing with the limitations of my MacBook Air...

Any suggestions anyone can offer as to how I might consider dealing with this situation would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!



Ironic
Dec 14, 2008, 08:21 PM
1. Buy a eye fi card, no need for wires it pretty amazing, something you must try.

Cynicalone
Dec 14, 2008, 08:27 PM
My MacBook Air(s) is my secondary computer. But to answer your question I would probably connect a USB hub if I had the same needs as you. Right now I only use the USB connection for my USB 881B Laptop Connect Card.

HLdan
Dec 14, 2008, 08:27 PM
1. Buy a eye fi card, no need for wires it pretty amazing, something you must try.

Great suggestion. The OP doesn't get the whole idea of the MBA, it's designed as a wireless notebook meaning free from ALL wires, that's why Apple implemented the wireless DVD sharing feature so you can install software wirelessly from using a different computer's optical drive.
I have MBA Rev B and I don't have issues with only one USB port. If it's a headache then the OP bought the wrong Mac.

cricketbird
Dec 14, 2008, 08:28 PM
I'm on a MBP, but I often plug both my SD card reader or my camera directly and my external hard drive (120 GB WD Passport) into an unpowered USB hub, and haven't found a need for additional power. If you are getting "not enough power" messages, maybe try connecting your camera directly (so your camera battery is powering the connection).

gotzero
Dec 14, 2008, 09:16 PM
Do you need the drive at home or with you all the time? Do you need to be able to access it all the time? Do you have internet on the laptop where you need to access the drive?

If you have internet at your mobile locations, or do not need the drive with you everywhere, I would recommend a ~$150 Atom box that you can set up at home, and then VNC from the MBA.

If you need access to the computer, card reader, drive, etc all portably at the same time, Maybe the MBA is not the best? I love my Air, but it gets slapped up and down the block as far as connectivity by my netbook.

I use mine as a secondary/portable computer, and only have problems with Vista (I HATE the Vista touchpad settings, I think Apple and MS are acting like two little kids not getting it right. Asus can do it on a $350 EEE...) when I want to use an external mouse and my USB thumb drive.

iVeBeenDrinkin'
Dec 14, 2008, 09:19 PM
1. Buy a eye fi card, no need for wires it pretty amazing, something you must try.

+1, the anniversary edit is 4GB... great invention.

aussie.damo
Dec 14, 2008, 09:32 PM
Now don't quote me on this one, and I don't have a link, but I seem to recall having seen a USB HDD that has an SD Card reader built in. I could be wrong, but that sure sounds like it would fix your issue.

A quick search shows this (http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/27/sata-hdd-dock-becomes-mutant-card-reader-scares-pets/) Not sure if that would suit your needs and DANG is it ugly!

Damo

Ironic
Dec 14, 2008, 09:46 PM
+1, the anniversary edit is 4GB... great invention.They have it at Costco for 79.00 now

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11319004&search=eye%20fi&Mo=1&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=eye%20fi&Ntt=eye%20fi&No=0&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1

m021478
Dec 18, 2008, 03:42 AM
They have it at Costco for 79.00 now

Dude...you really should try to read the whole post if you plan on responding with potential solutions...My original post clearly states:
3) The third and final method I've come across that I've most recently been playing with is through using the Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD Card

Thanks anyway though...

BornAgainMac
Dec 18, 2008, 05:03 AM
The new Apple monitor has a docking station. Bring an iPod when you want your iTunes. That was what I was going to do if I ever got the AIR.

Kan-O-Z
Dec 18, 2008, 11:48 AM
Do you own an Airport Extreme? If not, perhaps you should invest in that. It'll give you three things:

1. Ability to be free of external drives connected to your Air. Seriously you paid a pretty penny for your Air. It wasn't meant to sit and be hooked up to something. Let the Air be free.

What the Extreme will let you do is connect multiple drives wirelessly to all macs in your house. Say you have two external drives. One is for data, one is for time machine backup. You can connect both to the Extreme and access them both from your Air. You can set iPhoto, iTunes libraries on one of these drives and when you click on iPhoto, iTunes on your Air, it will automatically read from these drives wirelessly! Time machine will also work wirelessly!

2. If you don't have the Extreme, I'm sure you are running a Wireless G network. The Extreme will allow you to run a Wireless N network which is 5 times faster! Also Wireless N is backwards compatible to Wireless G/B in case you have any devices that run on G or B.

3. You can actually set up remote sharing when you're on the go, away from your home. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access iPhoto and iTunes libraries that are on your external drives from anywhere!

It's about $170 at Macmall. Well worth it!

Kan-O-Z

pilotError
Dec 18, 2008, 01:21 PM
I have an NAS that I can connect to over Wireless. It mounts via AFP and I can copy things back and forth all day.

It's actually pretty fast over Wireless N and best of all no wires.

I assume that since you connect to an external drive, your looking for something at your home or office, not out on the road.

Olvenskol
Dec 18, 2008, 03:55 PM
Great suggestion. The OP doesn't get the whole idea of the MBA, it's designed as a wireless notebook meaning free from ALL wires, that's why Apple implemented the wireless DVD sharing feature so you can install software wirelessly from using a different computer's optical drive.
I have MBA Rev B and I don't have issues with only one USB port. If it's a headache then the OP bought the wrong Mac.

Really, it can be true. As a secondary computer (though still the one I use most), I can't remember a time I've used the USB port for anything at all!