1. OCDock Review by Julio Ojeda-Zapata

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    I don’t take a lot of guest posts. That said, when the product is right and it is from Julio Ojeda-Zapata — one of the top tech reporters in the US — well, how could I say no? Take it away Julio…

    I abhor desk clutter and aspire to a radically minimalist workspace.

    I made this point in an August 2010 essay on this site. In the post, titled “At Home in the Cube,” I describe how I drastically simplified my desk at work – as I had already done at home.

    Minimalism is always a work in progress, though, and I now look at the pictures included with the post and cringe at how … sloppy my desks look. There are way too many cords leading to ancillary devices, such as a USB hub and an iPhone dock, for starters. I have been banishing those from sight. My hub is now resting on the floor alongside my cable modem and uninterruptible power supply.

    Dealing with my iPhone docking has been a bigger challenge – What dock doesn’t have an unsightly cord linking it to a computer or hub in full view?

    As it turns out, there’s a dock that integrates with an iMac’s metallic base in such a way that it looks like it is a part of that computer and brings about a nearly miraculous visual simplification that soothes the soul.

    This is the OCDock, a Kickstarter project that, as of this writing, had just met its $49,000 with more than a week to go. That is great news since the creator, OCDesk, looks to be one of the worthier Mac-accessory makers – right up there in quality and ingenuity with the likes of Incase and TwelveSouth.

    I examined an OCDock prototype that has a number of rough edges, so this is not a full review nor my final word on this product.

    Still, the silver OCDock looked visually indistinguishable from my iMac base, permitting it to blend in beautifully. (The dock is also designed in black for those who would prefer that it match the black border around the iMac display.)

    The rear of the OCDock rests atop the iMac base, towards the front edge, with the front of the dock extending a bit outward and downward to rest flush with the desk below.

    The OCDock is one of the first iPhone docks to incorporate Apple’s Lightning connector, which is fab news for iPhone 5 users who have been making do without docks until now.

    The OCDock includes several innovative features, including a super-thin USB cable that snakes beneath the iMac base to connect invisibly in the back; an adhesive bottom that attaches firmly to the iMac base yet can be removed with a firm twist of the dock; and a springy platform surrounding the upright Lightning prong to gently cradle an iPhone in a case of almost any thickness.

    To complete the OCDock kit, OCDesk includes a selection of cushy silicone supports in a variety of thicknesses to cradle the iPhone in the rear regardless of case size.

    Want to party naked? There’s a different version of the OCDock called the OCDock mini for use with a case-less iPhone. Both the OCDock and the OCDock mini are available in a Dock Connector flavor for use with the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as a Lightning version suitable for an iPhone 5. A Dock Connector version is upgradeable to the Lightning one.

    The prototype I examined is of the Lightning variety; I have yet to see a Dock Connector version, but hope to do so soon.

    One OCDock quibble: Since the base on my 2009 iMac is thicker than that of the newer iMac variants, for which the dock is designed, the front of the dock is suspended above my desk, instead of resting flush with it. This is jarring visually – especially since a bit of the white USB cable is rendered visible. I can live with that – but I’d prefer a version of the OCDock tailored to older iMac bases.

    That gripe aside, I like the OCDock and look forward to more OCDesk announcements.

    The OCDock is shipping to its Kickstarter backers in the coming weeks and to the public shortly thereafter.

    The “OCD” in OCDock and OCDesk, by the way, is short for “obsessively clean desk” – but those who have obsessive compulsive disorder will relate given how many such are fanatical about tidiness. In that sense, the OCDock is almost a medical miracle.

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