Wanted: USB-C dock that doesn’t suck


I have ethernet drops in every room of my house. I have a Samsung T5 USB SSD. I have a 12-inch MacBook, which has only a single USB-C port for charging and expansion.

This means I have to use some sort of dock to connect ethernet, external drives, and power. Every portable dock I’ve tried at home or at work can do two of the three reliably, but will spontaneously reset the USB hub component if I try to use all three at once (like, say, backing up the SSD contents over ethernet to my Synology NAS).

Doesn’t matter what brand; even reputable ones like Anker do this. Doesn’t matter what power supply; Apple 30-watt, Apple 87-watt, Anker 60-watt, etc. Doesn’t even matter if I deliberately throttle the rsync copy; it lasts longer at very restricted bandwidths, but still eventually resets.

Plug the SSD directly into my 2012 Mac Mini, and I can copy its data to the NAS at full speed, every time. Plug it into a Thunderbolt port on the 15-inch MacBook Pro I had to give back when I was laid off, ditto; it works great.

Right now, the only way I can successfully use both network and USB SSD at the same time on the MacBook is to run on battery and copy data wirelessly.

So, is there a good USB-C dock with ethernet and at least three USB3 ports that works with a 12-inch MacBook? I don’t even care if it’s portable at this point, and I don’t care if it has HDMI or a memory-card reader. Portable would be nice, for travel, but honestly, at the rate things are going, I won’t be traveling until at least November. And I have my fingers crossed that there isn’t another outbreak of virulent stupidity in the fall.

Random Apple WTF

A few years back, Apple made the -i option (display inode data) to df the default, “to conform to Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification”. Trouble is, Apple’s new file system doesn’t really have inodes, so the number of “free inodes” is 2^63 minus the number of files and directories, which makes the output basically unreadable.

The manpage recommends using the -P option to disable this, which I long ago embedded in a shell alias so it’s always on. Except I haven’t made that change in the dotfiles on my Mini, so when I went to copy the SSD, I ran into the default behavior, and tried manually adding -P to the command, like so: df -h -P /Volumes/Marippe.

This reported disk usage in 512-byte blocks instead of the human-readable format I requested with -h. Why? Because that’s the official behavior of -P, and the fact that it suppresses inode output is apparently just a documented side effect. Which means that the output of df -h -P is not the same as df -P -h.

This feels like a metaphor for Apple’s current UI design principles.


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