Sick of plugging and unplugging.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by nazedayo, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. nazedayo macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2012
    I have a Mac mini for home use, macbook air for work. I have the following peripherals:
    -Logitech mouse (USB)
    -Printer (USB)
    -Das Keyboard (USB)
    -2 WD hard drives, 1TB each (USB)
    -Scanner (USB)
    ->4 of the USB peripherals connected via a 4-USB 2.0 hub, since none of my devices take advantage of USB 3.0
    -Speakers (Audio in)
    -21.5" Monitor (Thunderbolt)

    In other words, I have to reach for the back of the Mac Mini and plug out the speaker, thunderbolt cable, USB cable (for the hub), USB (for one of the external hard drives). Small price to pay to be ergonomic, but it's starting to get annoying. Any tips on how I can minimize the plugging/unpluggin on a daily basis (besides Thunderbolt display– way out of my price range)?
  2. mgipe macrumors demi-god


    Oct 6, 2009
  3. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    Is the goal to use all of these peripherals on either the Mini or the MBA? How about one of the many Thunderbolt hubs on the market. They are relatively expensive, but they will allow you to plug everything on your list in with just the Thunderbolt cable to your Mini or MBA. I'm using the Matrox one with my rMBP. Attaches ethernet, monitor, and USB by plugging in one TB cable. I'm using a wireless keyboard, but a USB one would work fine through the TB hub as well.
  4. nazedayo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2012
    Thanks, that was the answer I needed. Sigh, looks like convenience isn't cheap– $249 is a bitter pill to swallow...
  5. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran

    this "should" be out late October/early November.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Ditch the Mini and run everything on the Air then get a Apple Thunderbolt Display and connect everything to the display. One TB cable and a Magsafe to pop off and you are out the door.

    I made this switch over a year ago and have been very happy. Only one machine to update/maintain and everything I need always with me.

    Caveat> The Apple TBD is very likely to get updated soon. Flip side is you can get a better deal on a TBD refurb now.
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I'm trying to understand the problem here. Are you having to unplug the periphals from the mini to use them on the air? If so, why not leave them on the mini and just share them over the network?
  8. nazedayo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2012
    Thanks. will keep an eye out for it.


    Only problem– the Air is provided by and controlled by my employer, so content on there is strictly limited.

    I'm planning to renew my old Mini (personal) next year– I can either:
    1. Buy the newer mini w/ a thunderbolt dock (like this $200 one:, or
    2. Buy a Mac Air and use Landing Zone ( This actually might work better, as this set-up would require literally 0 unplugging.
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I assume the 21.5" (Thunderbolt) monitor is really a regular monitor using Mini-displayport right? Or are you using a dongle to convert from Thunderbolt to say HDMI? Reason I ask, is why not use a KVM?
  10. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Screen Sharing?

    Have you thought about using screen sharing? i.e., just "remotely" log into the MBA right next to you via your Mini (or vice versa) and just do everything you need to it/on it that way?

    I use screen sharing extensively with my Mac's and I use Remote Desktop Connection for my Windoze computers. I have my work Windoze computer set up in a guest room, and I just remotely access it from my Mac at my desk.

    That, in combination with my 10.6 Snow Leopard set up with Spaces, allows me to dedicate a single space to my laptop, while I have various other spaces dedicated to different programs.

    I have looked into KVM's in the past, but was never happy with the connectors and the spaghetti-like cable mess on my desktop. This way, I get to use both (or 3 computers) cleanly, with one main computer as my primary set-up.
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I have a MBA that is set up for corporate use as well... so that is the only computer that I can use for work. I have a pair of landing zone docks... one in my office and the other at home. Simple to move my MBA back and forth.

    At work it connects to an ACD... so the peripherals attach to the landing zone dock. At home, I have an ATD.

    I do use two independent sets of Bluetooth kbd/mouse/trackpad at work and home.. but there is nothing stopping me from using wired peripherals if I had choosed so.

  12. nazedayo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2012
    That's corrrect. And what's a KVM?


    That may be exactly what I need. Do you use screen sharing via the traditional app or via Back to my mac?
  13. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    KVM is a keyboard video and mouse hardware sharing gadget. You can see some here.
  14. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    An alternative to a KVM switch would be a simple USB switch. I used one for sharing a single keyboard/mouse combination with two laptops at my last job. I had two laptops (my company and the client's laptop) but wanted to save space on the desk.

    You could plug your keyboard, mouse and printer (and HDDs) on a single hub, then connect that hub to the USB switch. The USB switch has two type-B USB ports that you then run to each of your computers. Just hit the button for A or B and you're set.

    Still doesn't do anything for your monitor and speakers, but you could get similar switches for audio and HDMI. But at that point, a KVM switch is more elegant.
  15. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    You can share your HDDs in your network, no need to unplug them, they can also be set up as NAS, connected to the router, etc...

    For speakers, get a splitter( I think it would work), those things can be found for a buck, or maybe laying around in your house from the CD Player days.

    or get a non thunderbolt hub for everything else and is just a matter of disconnecting the monitor.
  16. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    This device needs 3 thunderbolt connections. Or 2 thunderbolt and a displayport.

    I have 2 monitors that use displayport. If I wanted one wire from my rMBP to a TB hub, I could not do it as the assumption made by these hub makers is that a TB port is only for TB (i.e. daisy chaining) but that's not how it is implemented on the rMBP.

    All of these hubs are a disappointment.
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    I assume the display is using a thunderbolt to VGA or DVI adapter. If so get an old fashioned KVM switch that does USB, Audio and your display type.

    Then leave both computers plugged in to the switch. Detach the Air when needed. All you have to do is flip the switch to go between them.
  18. Giuly macrumors 68040


    If one of your monitors is 1080p, you could use the HDMI port (with a DVI adapter cable if needed).

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