A few of my favorite things for 2023

As the year winds down I decided to look back over the past year and see what additions to my kit have really helped and been worthwhile. I'm always looking to optimize my kit and generally improve my quality of life on set. Below I share a few of my favorite things from 2023.

MagSafe 3 Adapter

Nearly any USB-C cable can become a MagSafe 3 cable.

I did an entire post about this one which you can read HERE There's a few variations and they are quite affordable. Definitely a good addition to my office and kit. Definitely worth having at least one of these in your kit.

- Crucial X9

Image by Crucial

Since SanDisk destroyed their reputation over the past year (read more about that HERE) it's nice to see new option for drives. The consolidation of the NAND flash markets and HDD makers has made for fewer options out there. We cant put all out eggs in one basket and rely solely on Samsung.
Micron, the brand behind Crucial, has been at it for quite a long time and knows what they are doing. I wrote a bit more about these drives a few months back you can read that HERE. While Samsung T7 Shields are still great it's good to have another option that's readily available. Additionally, the whole SanDisk debacle got me thinking that's it's not have all copies of a job on the exact same model of drive from the same batch. Using drives from multiple brands will add an additional layer of safety to your data.

- Sabrent 4 bay DS-SC4B DAS

The Sabrent DS-SC4B tucked away on shelf under my desk.

I got this to replace an older "toaster" drive dock I use in my office. I wanted a simple JBOD box and that's what I got. The 10gbps USB-C connection is a great upgrade from the previous 5gbps Type B on the toaster. It's just a simple JBOD enclosure that you could use as a software RAID. I use this to dump copies of jobs before sending them over to my server for longer term storage. Also, since it's so easy to pop drives in and out I can use high capacity drives to backup shares from my server to keep in another location. Having a good combination of NAS and DAS helps keep things flexible and safe. This one doesn't break the bank and the ability to turn on/off each bay is a great feature you don't typically see.

- Quick Release Tether Lock

I've been working on this one for quite a long time and I've used it on set for sometime now. But this year it finally made it into production. It's replaced all of the other tether cable locks I've had and made over the years. I've tried them all. This one is, quick, compact and easy to use. There is an optional ARCA compatible top plate coming soon so be sure to follow on Instagram for updates.

 - Microfibers

This might be a weird one but in the past I wrote about cleaning monitors and how it's not a complex as some make it out to be. At that point I also mentioned my preference for microfibers to get the job done. (read that HERE) Well, this year I discovered a new style that sold under various brands but these are my new favorite style. Great for lenses, displays, iPads or whatever. They can absorb oil from fingerprints better than the others. I now keep one in every case.

- USB Continuity Tester

This one might not be for everyone but I think it's worth having around. You can use it to determine the capabilities of a cable. But it can really be useful to determine if a tether cable it intermittent. You can plug both sides and wiggle the cable by around and see if there's a faulty connection or damage to it if the readout changes. One of the easy tests this device can offer is if a USB C to C or C to A is USB 2.0 spec just by the read out.

- USB Boost Converter Cable 

USB Boost cable powering a Hollyland 400

I've had a few of these around for awhile but this year I started using them more. They are kind of the precursor to USB-C trigger cables that I've written about before (read that HERE) Simply put, you plug into a USB-A port and get 9V or 12V DC output. They are limited in amperage (9V 2A, 12V 1.5A) but they can still be quite useful. I stopped using batteries or AC power supply to power a wireless HDMI transmitter or receiver when using them on satellite monitors on set. I now use one of these cables to pull power from a USB port on the monitor. It really helps simplify things and reduce the need to swap/recharge batteries. 9V and 12V DC devices are quite ubiquitous and these allow greater flexibility to power them. They are available under many brand names and some are fixed 9V or 12V others, like the one pictured above allow you to switch the voltage. Just be sure to double check the amp rating as i've seem the 12V versions range from 0.9A to 1.4A.

Storacell battery holders

I've actually used these for years but this year I added more to the kit. I have one packed alongside each device that uses replaceable batteries like keyboards, mice, headlamps. I buy batteries AA and AAA in bulk or use NiMh rechargeables for some items and these little holders are great upgrade from just tossing the retail package in a case. They even have them for CR123.