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Cable Management To Defeat Clutter? 323

igny writes "I have just recently cleaned up my home office, reducing the clutter, but I could not come up with a neat solution to my cable problem. I believe my cable usage is even below average for a slashdotter, but still I have three computers with a bunch of ethernet and power cables, two cellphones, video and photo cables, with several proprietary chargers/AC adapters, printer, two NASes with a couple of external drives, phone, audio system, routers/switches, modem ... Everything requires cables of different kinds. I believe that AC adapters still draw some power even with no device hooked to it. So I organized my power cables by usage with several power strips to turn off adapters which I use less frequently. I am asking for advice from experienced slashdotters. How do you cope with your cable problem? Do you use dedicated tables, shelves, armoire for the cables? I am still looking for a neat, efficient, and safe (I have small kids) solution."
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Cable Management To Defeat Clutter?

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  • by rodrigovr ( 1396497 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:30PM (#28788913)
    You will feel more comfortable if you don't see all those cables
  • idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by anglico ( 1232406 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:30PM (#28788919)
    I used to deliver to a company in santa cruz county that made a lightweight plastic hose with a slit down the middle to insert all the cables into. So instead of a bunch of different cables you just had one big 'hose' running through your room. It was a more organized look, sorry I can't remember the name of the company but you can probably modify something to do the same thing.
    • Re:idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by redphive ( 175243 ) * on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:44PM (#28789099) Homepage

      split loom tubing is what you are talking about. You can buy (albeit more expensive) from automotive supply stores in a variety of colours and sizes, or from telecom suppliers.

      • Re:idea (Score:5, Informative)

        by virtualXTC ( 609488 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:44PM (#28790103) Homepage
        Split loom sucks, especially for ethernet wires, you still need to tie it down to make things look nice and it doesn't deal with extra wire very well. I only use it to protect against rodent chewing (I have pet rabbits) when I have a single wire running to the wall.

        Instead, consider cable raceways [cableorganizer.com]. I find it's the easiest to add or subtract cable to, many come with an adhesive side, and they run in nice straight lines unlike loom.

        Stick to single sided power strips where adapters run perpendicular to the stip and things will stay neat. With respect to adapters, don't worry about their power draw, it's quite negligible. The only things that you should worry about draw, are devices that have a "sleep mode" like TVs, DVD players, and receivers, but they probably should have their own surge protected strip anyway.
        • Re:idea (Score:5, Funny)

          by darkpixel2k ( 623900 ) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:57PM (#28790197) Homepage

          Split loom sucks, especially for ethernet wires, you still need to tie it down to make things look nice and it doesn't deal with extra wire very well. I only use it to protect against rodent chewing (I have pet rabbits) when I have a single wire running to the wall.

          Yeah--they totally suck. That's why I installed Jeffries Tubes around my office. They make cable management a snap--you simply grab some futuristic plug-looking glowing thing and use it to patch around any outage. The down-side is that I often run into unknown mysterious organisms that cause frequent network outages and power problems. But one side benefit is that if you call in some sort of engineer to help solve the problem, you can often solve what appear to be complex personal and professional problems during the idle chit-chat while working in said Jeffries Tubes...

        • Raceways might work in some places but they are a bit expensive. Here's something that works like raceway but is far less expensive. Use plastic rain gutters. The metal ones are likely to damage the cables so stay with plastic. This solution does not look very professional but it works for me.

    • Re:idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by Avidiax ( 827422 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:46PM (#28789123)
      Ikea has something like this called Rabalder (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20097954). I used it for my media center and it looks alot nicer having one thick silver cable going to the Plasma TV on the wall than a mess of smaller cables. The zip ties included are reversible.
      • Re:idea (Score:5, Informative)

        by JuzzFunky ( 796384 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:01PM (#28790227)
        Ikea have a whole section of their catalogue dedicated to Cable Managment [ikea.com]. I have one of their horizontal SIGNUM cable management thingos attached to the under side of my desk. I've used cable ties to keep everything neatly in place. My workstation runs off a single power strip and has wireless network. It also has castor wheels, so on a nice day I roll it outside and work on the back lawn.
    • It's even better, when your hose is slit down in a spiraling fashion. This makes it more flexible and the cable can come out of any side. and you then can stick the end of one part into the branching point of the other, and thereby make them stay together. These things can be bought ready-made at some big computer or electric stores.

  • Velcro strips (Score:5, Informative)

    by kmahan ( 80459 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:32PM (#28788943)

    Velcro strips to bundle the cables work quite well (IMHO). The desk furniture I use (ikea) has room between the desk frame and the surface to thread the velcro strips through to hold it close under the desk.

    I've used velcro in racks too -- very convenient when you are constantly changing cabling.

    • by roscivs ( 923777 )
      Ditto to this. I've tried a lot of other cable management solutions, and none of them have worked as consistently well as a bunch of simple velcro strips. (Get lots of them, because once you discover how useful and versatile they are you'll be putting them everywhere.)
    • Re:Velcro strips (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:55PM (#28789241) Homepage

      I use velcro strips in our house, too. Very handy for cable neatness!

      One thing I'll mention here: my wife is an avid gardener, so one day when I ran out of velcro strips (brazenly taken from work years ago, when we retired a bunch of servers) my wife gave me her velcro spool that she uses to tie back the roses.

      It's cheap: only $4 from most garden centers. [4hydroponics.com] Just cut the length you need, depending on the size of the cable bundle, or what you're attaching it to. Compare that $4 for 45 feet [wikipedia.org] of green velcro to buying "custom" pre-cut velcro strips from most PC suppliers, which would run about $20 for the equivalent length.

      Just as Alton Brown [wikipedia.org] often recommends shopping at the hardware store for many cooking supplies, I might recommend stopping by the garden store to get velcro strips.

      • Compare that $4 for 45 feet [wikipedia.org]

        Ok.... but what does the mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap" have to do with using velcro to fasten cables?

    • by Minwee ( 522556 )
      Keep in mind that to children under the age of, oh, I don't know, thirty, velcro strips are some of the most amazing toys ever made. Expect to have them stripped off of your cables and laid out on the floor the moment someone finds out you've got them.
  • Do it yourself! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Steegest ( 1317083 )

    I would recommend you design and build your own desk. Nothing beats being able to locate features fit to your own requirements and workspace. Mmmmm cables and oak.

    • Re:Do it yourself! (Score:5, Informative)

      by SoupGuru ( 723634 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:36PM (#28789003)

      I've always wanted to try the "pegboard under your desk" arrangement. It sounds like a functional solution to keep the clutter under the desk, not on top of it.

      http://lifehacker.com/237789/diy-under+desk-gadget-mount [lifehacker.com]

      Of course, I'd have to get off my lazy ass to give it a shot so I'm not holding out hope of it happening any time soon...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by harrkev ( 623093 )

      For those who do NOT want to build their own desk...

      As far as arranging items, I got a bunch of cheap $3.00 stacking paper trays from my local office supply store. I then cut/drilled/dremmeled holes in the back to run cables. I now have four paper trays that hold: NAS box (biggest, on bottom), small KVM switch, 8-port ethernet hub, 4-port MIDI interface, router, audio mixer, and a cable modem. An extra 5th tray on the top even holds paper. It is a pain to get to the cables if you have to re-arrange some

  • Confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by indre1 ( 1422435 )
    I don't get it - you have all those devices in one room that you're having cable problems?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Even one computer has lots of cables.

      One Computer:
      1. Computer Tower Power Cable
      2. Monitor Power Cable
      3. Monitor VGA Cable
      4. Keyboard Cable
      5. Mouse Cable

      Extras for the computer that I have

      1. Speaker Cable, which splits into 2)
      2. USB Hub Cable (I have 2 usb ports, 1 in front 1 in back)
      3. USB Hub Power Cable
      4. Printer Power Cable
      5. Printer USB cable
      6. Ethernet Cable
      7. External Harddrive USB cable
      8. External Harddrive Power Cable

      Then don't forget the misc. cables.

      1. Lamp Power Cable
      2. Telephone Cable Cable
      3. Camera Charger Cable
      4. Camera USB Cable
  • Can you put the cables through the desk, then under the carpet?

    As for your other devices, maybe put a surge protector into a drawer or on a shelf or something to hide them.

    If these solutions don't work for you for whatever reason, try consolidating the cables into a vacuum hose or something similar.
    • You should never run power cables under carpet; easiest way to start a fire!

      The three keys are:

      • Make sure the connections to fixed infrastructure are in the right place. Pay someone or do it yourself, but get an outlet where you need it to avoid stretched cords and tripping hazards.
      • Keep cables off the desk. Get them over the back or drill holes in the top with a grommet close to point of use.
      • Have a place for extra cable to go.
      • My solution is to mount a hard-wired plugstrip to the wall at the side of my des

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by number11 ( 129686 )

      Can you put the cables through the desk, then under the carpet?

      Don't put 110V power cables under the carpet. They do emit heat, and if the heat can't escape, it builds up. I know somebody who set their house on fire that way. If the cable gets damaged by walking on it, that exacerbates the problem. And while it isn't dangerous, I don't think I'd want to be walking on my ethernet/USB/parallel/serial cables, either.

  • The power draw @ 0.10/kWh is not worth worrying about, despite what the green hippies tell you.

    Make some improvements to your home's insulation instead, if you are worried about reducing your energy footprint.

    In the meantime, organize cables how convenient. I have a powered USB hub on a desk I use for charging stuff. I don't unplug it either.

    • Depends on the device. For the most part, I agree with you. However, my desktop's power supply consumes about 3KW when plugged in but with the PS switch on. PS switch effectively kills the power draw though, so that's good.
      • Er, that's kWh not KW. Whoops.
    • ***The power draw @ 0.10/kWh is not worth worrying about, despite what the green hippies tell you.***

      0.10kWh (which probably isn't what you had in mind) would appear to be 100 watts -- which works out to $87.60 a year if you are lucky enough to get your electricity at 10 cents a kW Hour. In a lot of cases, that's more money than you paid for the gadget it's powering.

      There is surely some amount of power drain that really is too small to worry about, but it's not clear that ANY device that plugs into a power

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:38PM (#28789021) Journal

    Power: Get a big power strip (like for a lab bench, with lots of space between outlets -- NewEgg sells some), and attach it to your desk. This lets you keep the cables under the desk and (with wire ties and possibly duct tape) off the floor.

    Ethernet: Same thing; mount your hubs/routers so a wire always has a straight shot without having to go around or through anything, then wrap up excess cable. You'll just have one cable to your wall plate for power and one for networking.

    Cables for portable devices are not as easy to solve but cleaning up power and ethernet makes a big difference.

  • one word (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:38PM (#28789027)
    One word: scissors. Took care of all my unsightly cable runs.
  • by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:39PM (#28789033) Homepage

    One piece of advice that I give to any sysadmin or tech before opening a new office/datacenter: Estimate the amount of cable ties [callcct.com] that you will need -- then triple it. You can never have enough cable ties [callcct.com]. Velcro/hook & loop is very nice because it is reusable, and it won't slice up your arms like cut-off zip ties can (some telcos actually explicitly ban zip-ties for this exact reason - many techs have to use wax string).

    Otherwise, all of the best cable management that I've encountered tends to be made for rack-mounting. Get some hooks from your local hardware store, and then develop a system to coil, bundle, and otherwise tie off your excess cable. Hang the excess coils/bundles from the hooks under your desk or otherwise out of sight. That should keep your desk looking pretty enough. Also, if you have a lot of excess USB cable for small devices, try a USB hub and buy shorter USB cables.

    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:48PM (#28789137)

      Velcro these days is _necessary_. I've seen far too many "skilled technicians" slice open cables when cutting open Ty-Wraps that have been bundled too tightly, and had fiber-optic fail because similar idiots bent it too firmly Ty-Wrapping it down.

      Cable labels are very helpful: 3com makes label dispensers that help, and when you have 3 or 4 network cables on different subnets but all the same color, they're very helpful indeed. They also help sort out old PS/2 cables for mouse or keyboard, number KVM cables, etc.

      Power supplies are a problem. Far too many companies use power bricks that plug directly into the socket, and block everything else. For such foolish designes, one-foot power extenders are very useful. Short extenders also useful for USB devices that are supposed to fit directly into the slot, but block other defices. (Wireless USB devices are particularly bad about this.)

      Other issues include _not_ stringing power strip onto power strip to provide enough outlets: get strips with longer cables, probably of heavier gauge, and be sure to tie them directly to the wall socket to avoid adventures.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by linzeal ( 197905 )
        I return hardware that has zip ties on it and we specifically tell suppliers this before any contracts along with a few dozen other stipulations. To me it is too dangerous to have deployed when I can't trust the damn techs not to take out their 30 dollar Gerber knife and ruin thousands of dollars of equipment by nicking a live wire.
      • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:26PM (#28789535) Journal

        Power supplies are a problem. Far too many companies use power bricks that plug directly into the socket, and block everything else. For such foolish designes, one-foot power extenders are very useful. Short extenders also useful for USB devices that are supposed to fit directly into the slot, but block other devices. (Wireless USB devices are particularly bad about this.)

        I've had good luck with the folks from Amtex [amtex.com.au]. They make a range of modular power supplies. Australian firm, but they can do 100VAC@60 inputs if you need them. If your phone chargers etc. are mostly the same power in / similar power out, a modular power supply with multiple output leads would be safer than a rank of bricks on a power strip. In one contract I worked we experienced some issues with individual power bricks at a large grocery chain. The bricks can be a problem at the retail lane where space is crowded and occupational safety is a concern.

        Oh, and all the grocers use velcro ties at the POS too. They're magic. Use cable ties inside a box when you're manufacturing a consumer gizmo, but velcro if you ever intend to move things around. Spiral nylon cable organisers are good, reusable ways to gather cables in groups too.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        Cable labels are very helpful: 3com makes label dispensers that help

        I use a P-Touch, and just print "CABLENAME CABLENAME" so that I can see it from either side of the cable when it's wrapped.

      • Velcro these days is _necessary_. Agree 100%. Permanent ties make it almost impossible to find out where a cable goes, and that's a far worse problem than any supposed unsightliness.

    • Velcro/hook & loop is very nice because it is reusable, and it won't slice up your arms like cut-off zip ties can (some telcos actually explicitly ban zip-ties for this exact reason - many techs have to use wax string).

      Presumably either they've never heard of a cable-tie gun (which puts a consistent tension on the cable ties and cuts it off so the sharp surface isn't exposed) or they couldn't get the techs to use them.

  • My home office desk has wheels, so it's easy to roll back from the wall, and it has a large solid panel in the back. So I screwed velcro strips in to the backside, labeled my wires on both ends and the middle, coiled them up, and strapped them to the back. The only wires that leave the desk are one coax and two power, so my desk is mobile and nearly self-contained, with few visible wires on the front or top.

    Admittedly, though, it's also enormous.

  • by bertoelcon ( 1557907 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:40PM (#28789045)
    If you didn't have to care much about the overall look breadties and the cableties from the packaging work well.

    But if you want it to look better velcro would look best

    I do not recommend my current method of just having the wires running about, they seem to like getting in knots just sitting there somehow.

  • by jeffstar ( 134407 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:41PM (#28789053) Journal

    I believe that AC adapters still draw some power even with no device hooked to it.

    yes, they draw some. some devices like televisions can even draw an appreciable amount, like 20 watts.

    Your average AC adapter has a transformer to step the voltage down to say 12-18V and then a rectifier to turn it into DC, and probably an inductor after that as a filter to smooth out the left over ripple.

    When your AC adapter is plugged in with nothing plugged into the DC side, the transformer will still draw a bit of magnetizing current, but it is fuck all.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer#Equivalent_circuit [wikipedia.org]

    I think magnetizing current might be 1% tops, so for your 60W laptop power pack you are talking .6 watts.

    Even adding up all your power packs you are talking tens of watts.

    at $0.30 a for 1000 watts for an hour, those power packs being plugged in is costing you next to zero.

    The mess is one thing, but don't worry about the power.

    • An inductor after converting it to DC? You sure about that?

      • An inductor after converting it to DC? You sure about that?

        You can be sure that no AC-DC converter does the job perfectly. This isn't a physics problem where it says "assume DC current" and you can say "Oh the voltage is constant". :)

      • by unitron ( 5733 )

        An inductor after converting it to DC? You sure about that?

        The poster to whom you replied probably is referring to a capacitor, although a better quality post-rectification filter could well have an inductor in series in the hot line with an electrolytic capacitor connected between ground and each of the inductor's terminals.

        The chances of the average wall-wart having that much filter are slim to none, although sometimes the device to be powered by it will have some filtering on its power input.

        • The poster to whom you replied probably is referring to a capacitor, although a better quality post-rectification filter could well have an inductor in series in the hot line with an electrolytic capacitor connected between ground and each of the inductor's terminals

          I have a nice one with diode bridge, inductor, capacitors, and an NTC resistor to reduce inrush current. But a lot of wall warts nowadays are actually switchers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      Well. From my experience, they still get hot. And the low-power connector still can "electrocute your floor" (or cat). Not big, but both things it can draw power.

      Also, I don't know why, but on some adapters, there is a warning, that prolonged use without the device connected, could damage the adapter.

  • by chappel ( 1069900 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:44PM (#28789095) Homepage

    They occasionally post clutter-busting suggestions over at www.lifehacker.com. The original links from this one no longer seem to work, but I thought it was brilliant:
    http://lifehacker.com/237789/diy-under+desk-gadget-mount [lifehacker.com]
    Basically, mount a peg board on hinged stand-offs with hasps to lock it in the 'up' position, and then mount all the small peripherals and cabling to the bottom of the desk. May not be completely child proof, depending on the size of your children and the extent of the cable fasteners you use.

  • EM fields. (Score:4, Informative)

    by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:50PM (#28789159)

    Power running through a wire creates a EM field. Run power and signal cables separïately.
    Someone once told me of a car audio installer who kept running the cables in parallel next to each other. He kept wondering why every time he would rev the engine his speakers would make noise.
    Cross power and signal cables at right angles and put some distance between them if you're running in parallel.

    Besides that I find grouping the cables with electrical tape every couple of feet works well. Electrical tape has no electrical significance I just like using it.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      In car audio, getting feedback in the speakers like that is the sign of a failing alternator. Not running the cables, it's the brushes in the alternator causing feedback. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Give up (Score:5, Funny)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:51PM (#28789169) Homepage Journal

    Give up, and embrace the Electric Spaghetti.

  • by caffiend666 ( 598633 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:53PM (#28789203) Homepage

    What are you trying to accomplish? If you want neat and pretty, that needs one type of thing. If you are trying to organize the cables behind the computer, that needs another type of thing. If you are only trying to neaten the cables between computers, that needs another. You building a rack-room or want something professional? My only concern was getting in-between device cables off of the floor and above doors. Went to home depot, bought 1.5 inch PVC Pipe mounting clasps (used to hold pipes to walls), and suspended them 8 inches from the ceiling. Then ran the cables through the clasp. To manage power-cables behind desk, I strap-tied the power cables to the desk, leaving other ethernet/keyboard cables which will move around loose. If you want something to impress girls, don't think having neat cables counts. Most women that have seen the cables dangling from my walls are more than a little worried.... Keep meaning to string LED lights along them to make them look less disturbing.

  • Go to your local Home Depot (or whatever) and get some plant ties. Work every bit as good as velcro "Cable Ties" (maybe because they're the same thing) but they're dirt cheap because they're marketed for plants rather than computers. 50 feet or so runs about $4.
  • by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @06:58PM (#28789273)

    1. http://cableorganizer.com/ [cableorganizer.com] This site is good for hours of fun.

    2. Velcro cable ties are great.

    3. Build your own custom-length Ethernet cables.

    4. Label all your cables and transformers. See http://www.brother-usa.com/Ptouch/Ptouch_HandHeld/ [brother-usa.com]

  • During the remodel I ran cat-5e from the designated computer room to several other sites around that room and at least one run to every other room (including garage) in the house, plus satellite TV cable, an extra cat-5e loop for phones, and two 20A circuits (combinable for 240V) in each bedroom/potential office. (In hindsight the cat-5e should have been conduit, to future-proof by providing a path to pull whatever the next technologies turn out to be. Also: The DSL phone line might have done better in t

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Also: The DSL phone line might have done better in the single run of the thicker phone-company's cat-3(?) to reduce high-frequency attenuation.)

      Why? the DSL modem can live 6 inches from where the phone line enters the home. Screw cat-3 run cat 5 everywhere and put the modem just inside the house where the Phone line enters.

  • Carabiner clips (Score:3, Informative)

    by hoosbane ( 643500 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:04PM (#28789305)
    Put some eyehooks into the back edge of your desk, and hang carabiner clips from them. Run the wires through those. It's even easier to get the wires into and out of than velcro, and holds up well.
  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:07PM (#28789333) Journal
    Ive found there is no real solution in a home environment for me. My office is too much of a lab to be able to contain the cable beast, and my desk configuration is in a constant state of flux. Working on others computers, working new components into the A/V rack, dragging old consoles out, all kinds of stuff. I COULD get a nice test bench/desk with cable routing etc., but its expensive and not really 'home-like'. Besides that it took me years to wire it up the way it is now, and EVERY TIME i introduce cable ties into the works, I have to later remove it. I have put a lot of thought into this over time and realized that any solution I came up with would have more drawbacks then I would like. ANy 'design' would be hard pressed to be cost-efficient, neat and flexible. Its a 'choose only two' type situation.
  • I put up one of those cubicle bookshelf, (like this one [flickr.com]), that has a lid that comes down. I stuck a couple of Micro ATX machines, cables, and switch in it, and I'm done. Since they're low-power machines (one is a Via C3, the other is a low-power Athlon X2), I can run it closed up just fine.

  • The problem is that there are too many cables, right?
    So you want N cables to become 1 cable?

    Well, why not take a generic bus system?
    But the connectors are mostly different?

    So you either have to use devices who all have that generic bus connector, which is not realistic.
    Or you find something that lets you combine all the cables into one bus, right at the device.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of such a system. At least not one that could really combine most of the cables.

    So my only suggestion left, is to use cab

  • To keep computer cables managed, I'd suggest you simply bundle them together, and where possible, get shorter cords or wrap them up. the monitor, box, and printer cables can generally be consolidated fairly easily, and that's just a start. You can also get away with bundling data-carrying cables with each other (yes, I know, RFI, but you'll get more RFI from power cables).

    Three computers and their connecting cables: go with wifi internet where practical (G or N, you're not actually hosting anything, are

  • Dinosaur Duct ftw! (Score:3, Informative)

    by igloonaut ( 1376833 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:19PM (#28789467)
    I've replaced 90% of my zip ties, mounting bases, velcro, etc. with Dinosaur Duct [iboco.com].
    It's available in shorter seqments from Markertek [markertek.com].
  • Wax string (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nethead ( 1563 ) <joe@nethead.com> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:25PM (#28789519) Homepage Journal

    Do it the old school way.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_lacing [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Wax string (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:20PM (#28789975) Homepage

      I did that when I worked at comcast, well actually in my last 2 weeks of employment as a present to my replacement. All the server room looked fabulous.

      I still get hate emails from the guys there from that.

      "I had to replace the backup SQL server, spent 30 minutes cutting your DAMNED waxed string."

      Makes me smile every month or two :-) What's better is that before I left one of the suits saw it and mentioned "that's how a server room should look!"

      Ahh the perfect evil prank to pull before you leave :)

      • by Nethead ( 1563 )

        I did a 100 racks of servers, switches, and routers in Seattle like that. I just got tired of getting my arms all chewed-up fishing cables in the tray and didn't allow any wire-ties in my NOC. Got lots of complements. At a job a few years later in Alaska I was talking to one of the engineers at the local ISP and he remembered that install. Same response you got, "That was you? That's how a server room should look!"

  • learn to love clutter. I used to be a neat freak, then I embrced my own messiness, and life is so much simpler now.
  • by parlancex ( 1322105 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:31PM (#28789589)

    and safe (I have small kids) solution.

    Well there goes all my ideas!

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @07:59PM (#28789795) Homepage

    Quit vacuuming and pretty soon all your cables will be nicely concealed.

  • Simple solution, while still allowing you to retain some semblance of space utilization:

    Put the surge bars under 5-sided boxes made of wood. Just the thinner plywood would do. Then drill holes in the boxes for the device-mating side and set the devices on top of the box while charging or in use (or to the side, depending on the device, etc. Cable manage all the cables under the box, and unplug the unused power strip(s).

    There's also the "put everything on a shelf" option, which works well. Put your surge bar

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      I should note that it is a LOT easier to keep things neat if you keep them off the floor. Aside from things getting twisted and tangled, there's the fire danger of having it on carpet (if you've got carpet) and the dust/dirt buildup issue of having a ratfuck nest for it to gather in. It can get pretty gross.

      I know a guy who got one of those "yard tool holders" from a hardware store for holding mops, rakes, shovels and the like with little rubber tension grommets, which he puts on the wall to keep each 'coll

  • You have three different problems: your stereo, charging, and data transfer.

    The stereo fix is to buy a stereo with a single daisy-chanable optical interconnect. It's probably too later to tell you that, though. I'm going to concentrate on the other issues, and leave the stereo as "a problem for the student" (but see the URL at the end).

    If you can't go back in time and have better taste in connectors for the devices you buy in the first place, there are several companies that sell dongles with a proprietar

  • I don't understand why do you want to tidy and organise your geek 'den'? Would you rather prospective girlfriends found you a creative geek genius or a pedantic nerd that must cable-tie everything in the constant war against entropy?

    Perhaps I don't have nerdy mpulses to make sure everything is organised but my geek 'den' is a complete mess and there is no real disadvantage to this. Mess is good, great infact, embrace it. The problems with a mess is only when you try to tidy it up. The only people who com
  • Cables are a pain, but the real eyesore is cables going off in all different directions. Add the tripping hazard for your feet and accidentally unplugging something while you are working... or your kid does that while playing hide and seek under your desk... I have a simple solution: Zip Ties

    That's right. Zip Ties.

    Not velcro. Kids can undo velcro far too easily. Use zip ties to bundle your cables together every foot or so and secure them to table legs or what-not. Takes care of routing, tripping hazards and

  • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) * <clipper377@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:17PM (#28790331) Homepage

    Anyone who suggests zipties should be shot, kicked, beaten, stabbed, sodomoized, then forced to install vista over ME on an Acer PC with a cyrix processor.

    You can't tell what you're going to do with those cables in a year, or what cable will mysteriously go bad. Velcro straps > pretty much anything else.

  • by Douglas Goodall ( 992917 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:44PM (#28791295) Homepage
    While I was learning electronics from my father, he went through a major learning experience. He built a project for his employer with neat bundles of wires tied every few inches, and neatly done so it looked very nice. Of course the system didn't work. The fact the wires were bundled in such close proximity caused crosstalk between wires. In order to fix the system, he cut the cable ties and ruffled the wires into a chaotic rats nest of wires. The system came right up and worked perfectly. As a Virgo, I like neat, and what I just described is distasteful, but this is a true story. For what it's worth.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.