USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 – What You Need to Know

You may have heard or already encountered the new USB plug, called USB-C. At the same time, you may be less familiar with the Thunderbolt 3 (T3), a plug that looks exactly the same. Here we will outline the differences between them.

What’s the Situation?

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a standard introduced 20 years ago intended to simplify and improve the connections between computers and accessories. USB-C is the new standard for USB, and more and more devices will feature it. All of Apple’s desktops feature USB-C and the new laptops only have USB-C type connecters. It is currently not as prevalent on PC desktops, but Windows laptops are featuring it more and more.

Three identical cable connectors.
Which one is the real Thunderbolt 3?
(Answer: the middle cable)

At the same time, these new devices may not be Thunderbolt 3 enabled. T3 and USB-C share the same physical connector, so it is easy to be confused. Just because the physical connection looks the same does not mean it will work in the same way; it depends on the device and the data controller at the point of connection. You may get a “device not supported” error message when you plug a T3 into a USB-C. Some manufacturers are good about identifying the connection type, and others not so much.

USB-C vs. Thunderbolt 3

The differences between them are important. Generally speaking, the T3 does everything the USB-C does and more. Specifically, the USB-C connection type can support a number of different features, including:

  • Alternate modes for sending and receiving data, including running video signal;
  • Up to 100 watts of power (that’s up from 2.5 watts on older USB connectors); and,
  • It has a symmetrical connection, so it doesn’t matter which way the plug is facing when you insert it.

Meanwhile, the Thunderbolt 3 uses offers these same features plus a few additional ones:

  • A faster connection, up to 40 Gbs;
  • Support for bi-directional data transfer (rather than alternate modes for sending and receiving data); and
  • This allows you to daisy-chain up to six devices.

What You Need to Know

USB C could reduce cable clutter.

From the perspective of the casual end-user, there are a few key things you need to know. Going forward, you should pay attention to the whether the devices you purchase have USB-C or T3 connectors and be aware of these features and differences. For your existing devices, the good news is that USB-C is backwards compatible, so, as long as you have an adapter for your device, the data connection will be seamless and you will connect error-message free. There is no harm to your computer or accessories if you plug a T3 into a USB-C, as the smart data controller will make sure nothing bad happens. Hopefully, the new USB-C style connector will help reduce the number of different cables you need to keep on hand.

Additional Information

For additional information, we recommend the following sites:

Lightroom CC December 2018 Update

Version 2.1.1 For Mac and PC

Last week we highlighted the updates in Lightroom Classic 8.1. For this post we will cover updates to Lightroom CC 2.1.1. This set of releases for Lightroom CC are mostly incremental. Nevertheless, Adobe shows no signs of slowing down their development of the new platform. In fact, 2.2 is already in process and, while we’re not allowed to say what the actual improvements are, we are excited by what is coming!

This December update brings us to version 2.1.1 and we have 3 relatively minor changes along with the usual updates for camera and lens support.

Set as Target Album

This very functional addition allows you to set a particular Album as a “target” and then, as you roam through your library of photos, you can simply hit the ‘T’ key and add selected photos to the target Album. This makes it much easier to organize your photos and you can add single photos or, select a group of photos to add to your targeted Album.

You can choose any Album as the targeted Album by simply right-clicking (control + click on Mac) on the Album and choosing “set as target.” You can change the target anytime by doing the same on another Album or disable it by unchecking the

Lightroom CC

Album Sharing Updates

Lightroom CC

You can now use the Pick Flag and Star Ratings to filter what images are shown in a Shared Album. Prior to this, any image in a shared Album would be visible. So, if you wanted to not show certain images in an Album you would have to remove them from that Album.

Now, you can choose to show only images that have been flagged or have a certain star rating. This will make it much less of an hassle to share a smaller subset of images from a single Album.

General Performance Improvements

Importing from an SD card or directly from a camera should be faster. There should also be some noticeable speed improvements when working in the People view.

Upgrading the Catalog in Lightroom Classic Version 9

We’ve been getting quite a few questions about this issue. So we thought it would be a good idea to address it in a blog post. Should you update to Lightroom version 9 and upgrade your catalog?  The short answer is: yes!

By all means, upgrading to the latest version and upgrading your catalog is perfectly safe and you should proceed without worry!

If you want more info on what’s new in version 9, the Lightroom Queen has a good summary: What’s New in Lightroom Classic 9.0 (November 2019)?

Why Do I Need to Upgrade My Catalog?

At its heart, Lightroom is a database. The lrcat file stores all the information about your photos, where they are, what develop settings you have applied and much much more. There is a lot of information packed into the lrcat! Occasionally, the underlying structure of the lrcat needs to be upgraded so that new features and performance improvement can be implemented. 

It has been at least since version 7 that we needed to upgrade our catalogs. There have been a lot of process and performance improvements since then so it is natural that an upgrade is needed for version 9.

What Happens When I Upgrade?

The first thing Lightroom will do is ask you which catalog you want to upgrade. Most folks only have one catalog. However, no two photographers work the same way! In some cases it is helpful or necessary to have more than one catalog. You can, if you need, point Lightroom to a different catalog using the “Choose a Different Catalog.”

Upgrade Catalog Lightroom 9 - catalog upgrade dialog box

Once you have selected the catalog you want to upgrade, Lightroom will duplicate your existing catalog so that if anything goes wrong, there is a backup copy of your original! A quick side note, you can easily rollback which version of Lightroom you are using in the Adobe Create Cloud app but, that’s better addressed in different blog post!

After you find the catalog you want to upgrade, simply hit the “Upgrade” button and Lightroom will go to work. You will see a new dialog box with a progress bar.

Upgrade Catalog Lightroom 9 - catalog upgrade progress bar

What Do I need to Do After It Has Finished?

Nothing! Once Lightroom has upgraded the lrcat file, Lightroom will launch your catalog and you should be able to proceed as normal.

Upgrade Catalog Lightroom 9 - file names

As mentioned, when Lightroom does the upgrade it will make a duplicate copy before starting. If you look in the folder where your current catalog is located you will see a bunch of files with “-2” at the end. This is normal and you can leave these as is.

However, as an optional step, you can clean these up and store your old safely catalog. First quit Lightroom. Then simply rename your old catalog (the one without a -2). Then, make sure all of the attendant -2 files for the catalog have exactly the same name. The best thing to do is to remove the “-2” from the file name.

Upgrade Catalog Lightroom 9 - [Animated GIF] Renaming the file names of a Lightroom catalog

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Use the contact form or leave us a comment down below!

Welcome to the New Lightroom Guy Website!

New Lightroom Guy Website:
Same Great Content + More!

It has been a long road, but we finally have our new Lightroom Guy website up and running! As many of our regular readers know, we offer a number of professional services relating to digital photography, computers, software and travel. As our tagline indicates, we offer “Expert Support for Digital Photography.”

While our old website was great for putting our blog posts forward, it wasn’t always clear that we operate as a professional services company. Indeed, our website is our primary source for getting in touch with new clients. So, we wanted to make it clear to people visiting the site that we are more than just a blog.

The New Site & The Blog

We will continue to devote a good amount of energy into writing blog posts that focus on practical and informative topics that provide a real value add for our readers. If your primary purpose for visiting our site is to read our blog, we will always keep a direct link from the home page to the blog as well as feature headlines from the last couple of posts. You can also bookmark a link directly to the new Lightroom Guy website blog using this URL:

Our Services

As for our professional services, you can read more about them on the Services page. Not too many folks out there specialize in what we do; no doubt that is why we are always so busy! And while a few talented photographers dabble on the side in teaching and supporting Lightroom, we look at the bigger picture and think about photography from end-to-end.

Lightroom Guy website

From the taking of photos, all the way through to the critical steps of backing up and archiving, we have you covered by providing expert level support.  Sure, we teach tried and true developing processes and provide the support you need for making prints and books. However, at our core, we’ve helped hundreds of photographers by fixing their broken catalogs, removing duplicates and setting up best practices to make working with Lightroom a pleasure, not a task.

We Are Bespoke

While we’re Adobe Certified Experts in Lightroom, we don’t limit ourselves to dealing with only one software solution. We look holistically at the client and their needs and build solutions that work for them. Because no two photographers work the same way our services are bespoke to each person. We tailor our support based on our years of experience as professional photographers as well as the deep knowledge gained by working with thousands of clients over many years.


Kerala India by D.A.Wagner at Lightroom Guy website
Kerala, India ©2019 D.A.Wagner

Part of the philosophy that drives us is the idea that everyone can become a better photographer by learning how to manage and develop their  images. When we take a step back from that, we see that coaching our clients in the actual act of taking photos is a crucial part of that equation. Learning to decide which images are your best photos, guides you to making better decisions when you’re taking them. So, what better way to practice photography than to travel? =)

Serengeti National Park by David Mark Erickson at Lightroom Guy website
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania ©2019 David Mark Erickson

While we both travel a lot, putting together and running photography itineraries is a new part of our business. We are leading off with DA leading a photo trip to Greece in mid 2020 and David is working on a specialized photo safari in Tanzania for early Fall of 2020 … check out the Greece itinerary now and look for the safari itinerary, which will be posted soon, here on the new Lightroom Guy website!

Get In Touch

Lightroom Guy website
Chaing Mai, Thailand ©2019 D.A.Wagner

As always, we are here to support photographers in achieving their goals. We’re active in our local community, through the American Photographic Artists NYC chapter. And, we are always happy to answer questions and tackle your issues … we are just an email away!

Thanks for visiting the new Lightroom Guy website.

Backblaze Update 7.0 Catalina Compatible


Backblaze Update 7.0 Has Just Been Released

It was just announced that the latest Backblaze version 7.0 is Catalina ready and offers new options for extended version history recovery. Instead of the usual 30-days backup that is included with a Backblaze license, you can now choose an option to recover deleted files for a year or forever. This is a major change in Backblaze strategy.

Backblaze is our choice for offline backups that complement our local Hard Drive backups. Up until now, with a standard account, Backblaze deleted missing data after 30-days. Missing data includes deleted files or data from an unconnected external hard drive. This works for the most part and we’ve not had any issues with this feature. But, it could be a problem for those who travel extensively and turn off their home or office computers.

If you’re already a subscriber, you will receive a prompt to the web download of the Backblaze update 7.0. The options to extend your version history will appear in the Backblaze Backup window of your system preferences.

backblaze screenshot

To clarify what version history is: if you delete a file by mistake, or save over a file by accident, you can recover the earlier versions. That would be for either 30-days and now one year or forever with Backblaze 7.0.

Backblaze is a Lifesaver

Backblaze has been our go-to offline backup for years. For my production computer, I’m upgrading to the one year option. It’s saved me more than once on my travel laptop, where I will continue to use the standard Backblaze 30-day backup.

Pricing is very competitive as well. Backblaze is $60 annually for unlimited data backup and 30 days of versions. One terabyte or 20 terabytes is $60. To make that a full year of backed up versions, it’s $24 additional per year. Finally, there’s a “forever” option, that keeps your data online (obviously) forever. That option is about $5 per month per terabyte.

To find out more check out


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