Shamus has a familiar lament, the tangled nest of power cables, USB, and other assorted cables lurking beneath the average GeekDesk. He names it the Snarl, an apt name indeed. However, I recently managed to defeat the Snarl. I am now Snarl-free – behold:
I haven’t solved the miracle of wireless electricity. The secret to beating the Snarl is simple: cable management. Here’s a peek beneath the “hood”:
That’s the SIGNUM cable guide from Ikea that was designed to work with my JERKER model desk. Even if you don’t have that specific combo, you can achieve much the same thing with generic cable guides available from Radio Shack or Fry’s, or roll your own solution. I got the idea from Lifehacker, though I dispensed with the zip ties. It’s worked like a charm.
Of course there are people who take this sort of thing to another level entirely. But my ambition is far less; for my next act I’ll settle for adding a 4ft power strip to simplify things a bit more (inspiration from Gina). I’ve also got two more Snarls lurking behind the file cabinet on the left to tackle, but for now, out of sight, out of mind…
It’s worth noting that the Snarl is bad enough with a desktop environment, but it can only get worse with flex computing (ie, using a laptop as your main PC and externalizing everything). As the number of peripherals multiplies, the Snarl will become more powerful. However, in addition to physical cable management there are also technological solutions, like Bluetooth and Wireless USB that you can leverage.
A closeup and my gadget inventory below the fold:
- Thinkpad T42
- External hard disk
- External DVD burner
- Digital camera
- camera battery recharger
- multi-card reader
- Powered speakers
- desk lamp
- cordless phone