AutoMatters & More: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach postponed due to Coronavirus, plus Thunderbolt 3 docks

Alexander Rossi in his IndyCar - 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
(Jan Wagner)

Next month the streets of Long Beach, Calif. were to have come alive with the thrilling sights and sounds of racecars in a multitude of race series, a days-long party at the beach and more. Until earlier today, according to the event’s official website and despite the widening coronavirus pandemic, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was still a go, with “no changes planned to the regular operation of our event this April 17 – 19,” but that precautions will be taken “to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our attendees which is our top priority.” I had already written a preview of that event – with photos, and had submitted an “AutoMatters & More” column to several publications. One such version is already printed in a newspaper.

Now, at best, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach might be rescheduled for later this year. Fortunately, in that newspaper version I had written about the threat that the virus posed.

Official Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach postponment announcement

This postponement does not come as a surprise. Major events – some of which I had been planning to cover – are being canceled or postponed across the country, and around the world. NASCAR recently announced that they would be racing without fans (we’ll see if they even do that). Today I received official notification that WonderCon Anaheim “will be postponed until a later date.” Their statement went on to say that “No decision has been made regarding the rescheduling of (San Diego) Comic-Con slated to take place this summer.” The Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood just announced that they will be closing on March 14. The list goes on and on, yet closures, cancellations and postponements pale in comparison to the extent of the crisis that is taking place in Italy right now. Hopefully it will get better there soon, and it will not get that bad here, too.

The unprecedented loss of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach represents a major blow to motorsports, and it will have a huge economic impact in terms of money already spent or committed, and in terms of lost revenue that will not be recovered, unless the situation with coronavirus miraculously improves in time to reschedule. Several weeks ago, the enormous annual process of transforming the streets of Long Beach into a racetrack had begun. Now what will happen with what was already done is uncertain.

Speaking for myself, I was planning to cover this event, but at age 66 and thus particularly vulnerable to coronavirus-related complications if I catch it, I do not know if I would have done so. Now that difficult decision has been taken out of my hands.

For more information, and to enquire about ticket refunds, visit

Thunderbolt 3 Docks from OWC

To write this column and edit its photos every week, I depend on reliable, high-speed computer equipment, including high-end Mac computers, enterprise-class external hard drives and more. I am ever on the lookout for superior computer gear. Since I do not have an IT department to turn to for help, I also depend on companies for excellent, by-telephone technical support.

With that in mind, while at CES 2020, I visited the hospitality suite for Other World Computing (OWC). Like Apple, they too have a long reputation for high quality computer products and a high level of technical support.

I was very impressed with their products, product knowledge and especially their can-do attitude. As a result, I asked them to send me some products for review.

The latest products that they have shipped to me for review are a pair of versatile, high-speed Thunderbolt 3 docks.

Typical mess created by small plastic hubs
(Jan Wagner)

Docks can connect your peripherals to your computer. Prior to receiving these from OWC, I had been using an accumulation small, old, plastic hubs and camera memory card readers – most of which had their own bulky power supply. Since these hubs were so light, and the cords plugged into them so springy, they were often falling from my desk and getting in the way.

Thunderbolt 3 is, as OWC says, “the most advanced and versatile interface available … to provide the highest speed and most connection options.” According to Apple, Thunderbolt 3 “combines data transfer, video output, and charging capabilities in a single, compact connector. It offers speeds “up to 40 Gbps with a Thunderbolt 3-compatible cable,” supports “USB 3.1 Gen connectivity at up to 10 Gbps, and can supply 15 W of power per port to external devices.”

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
(Jan Wagner)

OWC sent me review samples of their Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, for Mac and Windows computers with Thunderbolt 3 capability. Attractively encased in metal, they visually complement high-end computers and are just heavy enough to stay put and tame those springy cables.

Each dock includes a few ports that the other does not have, so I’ve installed both of them, daisy-chained to each other, and to my Mac via a single Thunderbolt 3 connection. Everything worked perfectly the first time, permanently replacing my hodgepodge of small plastic hubs.

Up front, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock is optimized for portable devices, with microSD Card and SD Card readers, combo in/out audio jack, and high-powered USB 3.1 Gen 1 (to charge your devices) and high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. Ports around back are USB 3.1 Gen 1 (four, one high-power), S/PDIF Digital Audio (output), Thunderbolt 3 (two) and Mini DisplayPort.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock
(Jan Wagner)

The Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock enables “high-bandwidth and flexibility for demanding hi-res workflow needs.” You’ll find 10Gb Ethernet, CFast and SD Card readers, Thunderbolt 3 (2), USB 3.1 (3), eSATA and DisplayPort, plus a fan switch and security slot.

For more information, and to order these and other OWC products, visit

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Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #633r5