Going digital: How to take your music, movies, and books with you

A big problem for every minimalist, down-sizer, or digital nomad is how do I cope with the mass of books, music, movies and other entertainment I have bought over the years?


Rene Ritchie at iMore gives his approach at iMore.com:

Going digital: How to turn your music, movie, and book atoms into bits! | iMore:

How do you replace all your old physical media — your music, newspapers and magazines, books and comics, movies and TV shows, with shiny, new, space-saving bits? More easily than you might think!

In the case of using online sources such as iTunes, Google Play and Netflix, a good internet connection is essential.

For me, this is often not an option. If I am in a remote area, or a country or location with bad or no internet, streaming services are useless.

I have made more of an effort to save or convert much of the digital. Heritage I have collected, including ripping my music CDs and Video DVDs. The problem with my approach is that I meed to keep the physical disks as a defence against accusations that I have pirated the music and movies, so storage is required.

In that case, the storage needs to be local.

What have you done with your media?

A Rugged, Lightweight Folding Bluetooth Keyboard.

I often use my mobile phone or tablet as a notebook during lectures and seminars. A Bluetooth keyboard is a must-have for long periods of typing.

This lightweight, 250mm long keyboard is ideal for traveling with the minimum equipment, and being able to take notes on a phone or tablet.

My search for the perfect pocketable keyboard has lead me into a few dead-ends. Most folding keyboards are in two halves and shift keys around. Often splitting the spacebar into two keys. The central hinge results in nothing being in the quite the right place.

The tri-fold keyboard I have found is the perfect compromise. The actual keyboard is 235mm or 9.25” long, so touch typists may have problems. They layout, however is excellent. It is a robust metal tri-fold design. The left and right ends fold over to cover the middle of the keyboard. It is spring loaded, and stays open or shut. Opening it locks the ends down with a click and switches the keyboard on, initiating the Bluetooth connection. My 8” tablet, once paired, now connects instantly, with no user intervention. I can switch from the on-screen keyboard to the folding keyboard in two or three seconds. The keyboard powers on as it is opened.

Bluetooth 4I carry a small rectangular piece of Coreflute with may as an almost weightless lap desk. The aluminium case slides around, so I have added 4 small plastic feet to the back. This keep the keyboard stable and stops it moving.

It is available under several brand names. I purchased a white keyboard, but most suppliers only have the black version.

The documentation is less than perfect, but basic functions are obvious. There are some options to configure it for iOS, Android or Windows.

This keyboard is here on Amazon.

There is also a full sized version here:


The mbeat M-Droplet USB Docking Station

Need more ports on your Laptop? Read on…

After two days of USB hub hell, I have found a hero. The Mbeat M-Droplet USB hub.

I have just gone through two days of USB hub and device hell, trying to get a couple of high capacity USB 3.0 drives in sync.

Attempting to copy between the devices in Windows, things were less than perfect. I would start a big file copy, and after a few minutes, one device would disappear, and the file copy would stop. Sometimes the entire system would freeze, requiring a re-boot.

I have been using a cheap, generic powered four port USB 3.0 hub. It worked, pretty much, but the speeds I was getting were depressingly slow.

At one point I connected everything to an unpowered, 5 dollar USB 2.0 hub, and the speeds were almost the same.This morning, I went shopping.In Officeworks Launceston, I hit paydirt. I found the M-Droplet USB Hub Docking Station.It is a tear-drop shaped tube that functions as a laptop stand and hub for USB 3 powered laptops, Ultrabooks and Apple MacBooks. It uses the laptop USB 3.0 port for input, and connects to a host of devices.

NOTE: If you are using a later MacBook Pro with no USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-c to USB-A cable should work just as well.

It has 3 USB 3.0 and 1  USB 2.0 ports, as well as an SD and a Micro-SD reader and a RJ45 10/100 Mbps LAN port.

mbeat M-Droplet USB Hub
mbeat M-Droplet USB Hub

I am writing this on a 2015 MacBook Air. The M-Droplet is connected, copying files between two USB 3.0 ports at almost three times the speed of the cheap hub I was using. The Eternet port is working, and a 64 Gb SD card is visible, so I will assume the Micro-SD slot will work as well.

UPDATE: I have now been using this device for some time, and it has never let me down. The hub is light, compact, and makes a perfect riser to lift the back of a laptop to raise the screen.

I have tested it with a Windows 10 Ultrabook, a McBook Pro, MacBook Air and two Chromebooks. Everything seems to work perfectly. It also functions as a fast charger. The power supply can charge multiple devices, a phone, tablet, and other devices USB 3.0 charging rates.

It is currently topping up a USB power bank.

I highly recommend the mBeat M-Droplet hub.

Note: I am getting between 70 & 100 MBps copies from one USB 3.0 drive to another USB 3.0 drive on the M-Droplet. This is far in excess of the best I could get on a generic USB 3.0 hub, or from port to port on the computer. The computer has been tied up doing file transfers between ports for more that 24 hours. After connecting the M-Droplet docking station, I have accomlished similar transfers within a couple of hours. And I still have ports free.

Because the M-Droplet can also charge USB devices, I can remove the USB charger from my power board. I am constantly charging a phone, tablet, Bluetooth headphones or a power bank. Now I can charge from the docking station, it provides 2.4 Amps from each USB 3.0 port. The USB charging ports work even when there is no computer connected, so this is a pretty good USB charger as a stand-alone device.