Whether it resides in the living room or the office, we've all seen a rat's nest of wires, cords and cables, accumulated after months of buying, tinkering, playing, and working. As much as we may want to, we don't live in a completely wireless world, yet. Make the best of it by learning a few tricks to keep your data and power cords organized and pleasant to look at. You'll make your own life easier, and calm the frustrations of your family. This year, let's get cable management right. Not all of the products here will work for you, but one of them might
Every once in a while, a gadget will ship with a retractable USB cable. Why doesn't every manufacturer think of that? Bluelounge's Cableyoyo creates a snappy retractable cord mechanism from any electronics cord, even those unnecessarily long 6-ft ones . It comes in black, silver, and white, to match old Macs, new Macs, and most PCs, and can adhere to your computer (or any other space where you'd like to stick a cord). Eliminating the extra length of a charger or USB cord goes a long way towards freeing up space and ruling out tangles.
This item might only exist conceptually, for now, but we're sure that if enough people like the look of it, it will enter mass production. The Wirepod looks like a bunch of curled rubbery ribbon, but its really a pretty power strip. The three-pronged tip plugs into the wall, and branches out into three sockets, each on its own flexible extension. You can lay the extensions out any way you like and arrange them artfully. The philosophy here is: If you can't hide the power strip, at least make it attractive.
Doh! A deer: The perfect solution to charger cables littered all over the floor. This Japanese company has created the rubberized outlet cover SocketDeer to protect chargers in its elevated antlers. The phone can sit in the antler cradle, while the charger plugs into the outlet. The cable can wrap over the antlers, too, so it doesn't drag on the ground in a messy pile.
Belkin Mini Surge
An excellent cord-wrangling solution for travel, Belkin's Mini Surge let's you carry one USB power adapter instead of several while you're on the road. Yes, this product also buys you additional power outlets and surge protection for your hotel room or even an airport lounge. There are three power outlets and two powered USB ports included. The Mini Surge can rotate against a wall outlet so that you don't block the other plug ports.
The price on this plastic pup is out of control, but if you're in need of cutesy cord control, you might be interested in Woofy. This 19-inch wide doggy stores cables in his belly, and let's them out through his back foot.
The Wireless Office
The October 9 episode of Web video program DL.TV featured pictures from an anonymous viewer in Seattle who wanted to show off the unthinkable: a wireless office. Click here to watch the video. All of his cables are routed through PVC piping that create the structure of his desk and bring the wires to the power outlet. Above and under the desk, there are no wires showing. An intense do-it-yourself project.
The Cable Box
This 15.6-inch plastic box serves the exact same function as Woofy, but this one is only $29.50. Sure, its not as cute as the $250 plastic puppy, but you can place your entire power strip, along with all the lose cables, inside this box and hide it from view.