Raised Metal Grommet: Sleek and Modern Cable Management that… Hovers?

December 2, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets 

raised-metal-grommetSay the word “hover,” and so many things come to mind. Hovercraft. Hoverboards (that’s right, vintage Michael J. Fox fans). And hover… grommets?

Yeah, I know, grommets are one of the last things that come to mind when you’re talking things that hover. After all, they’re made to fit into things (specifically, cable-routing holes in desks and other furniture), not float above them. But all that is about to change… meet the Raised Metal Grommet.

Okay, so maybe I should clear up one small point. This raised grommet doesn’t actually defy gravity – it just looks like it does. The underlying “plug-in” part of it fits right into desk cutouts that are 2″ or 2.5″ in diameter (it has a “stepped” design, so it fits both sizes), and the rest of it “hovers” above the desk for a really cool, modern effect. The cables that usually pass straight through traditional ring-style grommets travel up through the concealed hole in your desktop or conference, and then emerge from under the hovering top. It’s a winning situation all around – you get a stylish and unique addition to your desktop, and (visually speaking) it completely covers holes, so you have a gap-free work surface.

Another thing that I love about these raised desk grommets is that they depart from the standard black plastic look of the grommets you’re used to, and come in a variety of gorgeous metal finishes instead. You can choose from Satin Nickel, Satin Chrome, Polished Aluminum and Matte Black, so you can really go for any look that you want.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your “hover grommet” to arrive, I recommend digging out that old Marty McFly action figure – he’ll look even cooler balanced on top of your new desk accessory than he did on his hoverboard that time he went Back to the Future.

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Mini Rip-Tie Cable Ties: Yes, Even a Cable Tie Can Be Cute

mini-rip-tieWhat is it about mini stuff that makes it so irresistible? Puppies, fun-size candy bars, tiny bonzai trees, baby clothes… what makes them so much more fascinating and appealing than their grown-up, full-sized alternatives? Guess it just goes to show that cuteness always wins, and now that’s even true in the world of cable ties.

Confession: I have never gazed lovingly at a cable tie and gushed “Awwwwwwwww, look at it!” But this morning, I almost did. Let me explain. I’ve never thought of ordinary cable ties as anything other than utilitarian. They get the job done, but otherwise, they land themselves in the “Blah” category every time. They’re made to be functional, not charming. But it looks like the Mini Rip-Tie is the one that got away.

This little cutie (oh, man, here I go) is a hook-and-loop cable tie that’s made specifically for the type of small cables we’re all constantly accumulating more of: cell phone chargers, short USB cables… earbuds, anyone? You know what I mean – the type of cords that normal-sized cable wraps are way too bulky to hold? You think that you have everything coiled up and wrapped, and then those slippery little wires start sliding around, and things aren’t so pretty anymore.

That doesn’t happen with Mini Rip-Ties. Because they’re perfectly scaled to smaller cables, they don’t turn into big, bulky, never-ending spools of hook-and-loop, and are able to keep a better grip on even the skinniest of cords. And, of course (since I haven’t mentioned this yet), they’re super adorable. Don’t act so tough – you know you want a pack.

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Cable Tie Mounting Bases: No-Hassle Anchoring for Everyday Cables

September 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets 

adhesive-cable-tie-baseI can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to really take notice of adhesive cable tie mounting bases, but it’s finally happened. Driven by desperation to hide the cords that are ruining the view behind a new LCD TV, I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with the right combination of products for my particular predicament. First I was going to stick a piece of raceway down the back of the TV stand, but I needed cables to enter and exit at different points along the way, so that idea was nixed. Then, I thought that stick-on cord clips would make sense, until I realized that, considering how many cables there are, I’d need to use an awful lot of them. Add to that the fact that they’re adhesive-backed, and in the end, I’d just rather not have a whole slew of things glued to the back of my furniture.

And then I came across cable tie bases. I haven’t looked at or even thought about them in a long time, but suddenly, they’re beginning to look like the perfect solution. One pack of these babies and a few black cable ties, and I’ll be ready to rock. I know I said that I was trying to avoid adhesives, but 3 of these (tops) will do the trick, and in the event that I ever decide not to use them anymore, they’re so low-profile that they’ll be practically invisible. That, and they’re super cheap, which will maybe help to offset the… ummmmmmm… flat screen TV purchase.

Here’s how they work: cable tie mounting bases are basically little, almost-flat plastic squares, with spaces through which you can thread a cable tie. On the back, there’s peel-and-stick adhesive. You just peel off the backing, stick the bases wherever they’re needed, and then thread a cable tie through each one. Then just gather a few cords together, cinch them into the cable tie, and the whole bundle is kept in place. Too easy! These may not look too exciting, but they definitely qualify as Good Stuff.

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Metal-Content Cable Ties: I’ll Take a Bag of Potato Chips, Hold the Plastic

metal-content-cable-tiesWe all get grossed out every time we hear those crazy news stories about how someone was happily chowing down until they looked down and discovered a dead cockroach, rodent droppings or a sharp piece of something in whatever they were eating. As a matter of fact, I think I saw a headline about a purported dead mouse in a carton of milk just last week. Naaaaaaasty!!! Most of us have squeaked by without falling victim to food contamination, but every time you hear another gross-out story, it’s easy to think “How can stuff like this be happening, in this day and age of health codes, lawsuits, and complete paranoia?”

Easy. Everything that we consume is touched by humans and/or machinery, two “breeds” (so to speak) that are infamous for things like error and general malfunction. We screw up. The things we invent screw up. It’s going to happen. Luckily, groups like the FDA and WHO are cracking down more than ever on the conditions in food and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, right down to the kind of cable management used on data cabling and automated machinery.

Yep, even the cable ties. Code usually demands that metal cable ties be used in food and drug manufacturing, so that if they happen to break off of nearby machinery or overhead cables and fall into product, they can be quickly detected by scanners, and then removed. The only thing is that all-metal cable ties can cost a bundle, which can hurt when businesses are trying to save money.

That’s why it’s so nice that HellermannTyton has developed a metal-content cable tie that looks and feels like the regular plastic kind, but has all the detectablility of a metal tie. That’s thanks to tiny metal particles that are distributed throughout the main plastic material – cool, huh? A little thing like metallized plastic is enough to meet code and fit budgets, but is actually far easier to handle than metal, which can be on the sharp and rigid side. And in the event that one ever breaks and drops onto a conveyor belt or into a vat, it can be easily picked up by scanners and removed. Your chances of ever biting into one of these babies is practically nil.

Hmmmmm, I seem to be getting my appetite back…

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Tie-Matic HD: How to Take Twist Ties to a Whole New Level

tie-matic-hdWhat is it about twist ties that makes us love them so much? Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve always come free with purchase of garbage bags (that’s how I’ve always gotten mine). Maybe it’s that they’re the most idiot-proof method on earth for closing anything. Or maybe it’s because they’re always on the good stuff, like bags of bread, popcorn, and cotton candy. I don’t know. It just seems like they’ve always been there, and always will be, because it’s tough to improve on something so thoroughly useful.

This past weekend, my husband and I finally got around to hitting the local farmers’ market, which we’ve planned on visiting for months. We bit the bullet and shirked the dumb grown-up responsibilities (like working out and home maintenance) that have shackled us for the past 8 or so weekends, headed downtown, and dove into stand after stand of deliciousness. And do you know what? Everything came twist-tied. Yep. We picked up a couple of bunches of basil from a group of up-and-coming young chefs who are about to open their own “farm-to-fork” restaurant, and grow their own herbs and produce. Twist ties. And then there was that huge loaf of artisanal multigrain bread from the extremely hip pseudo-Italian bakery in the next town. Twist ties.

Same thing for flower bouquets, bunches of carrots, bags of cookies, blown-glass pendants attached to display cards – you name it. It was like Twist Tie Mania out there. Someone must have had some pretty sore fingers and wrists from twisting all those things. Unless…

They had something like the Tie-Matic HD, an automated twist tie machine that closes bags and bundles cables in a second (literally), but gives your wrist a break from repetitive twisting motions. This, as it turns out, is how food companies turn out bagged products in high volume without paying little elves to sit up through the night, fastening twist ties. You just keep the Tie-Matic HD filled with rolls of ties, hold your bag (or coiled cables) in the allotted space, and let the automated tying machine spring into action. It reduces labor hours, prevents frustration and repetitive-motion injuries, and saves a lot of money in general. Sounds almost as good as farmers’ market baked goods, doesn’t it?

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Brush Grommet Panels

middle-atlantic-brush-grommet-panelI’m one of those people who’d really rather not fish around behind desks looking for computer cables. It’s annoying to have to crawl around on rough carpet, there are almost always dustballs involved, and I’m perpetually terrified that my rear pants-waistband will creep down well below where it’s decently supposed to be – and I do not want to come down with a case of Plumber’s Butt… ever.

With these neuroses in mind, I’ve become a big fan of products that keep unplugged computer and peripheral cables at seated arm’s reach, right along the back edge of your desktop. This solves the problems experienced by me, Ms. Crack is Whack, but what about all the IT guys out there who have to worry about keeping cables just so in a server enclosure?

Now, I’m pretty sure that locating stray cables in a server enclosure is free from the public exposure issues that I always run from, but still, it’s got to be super frustrating. Trying to grope around for a cable or two in what is essentially a dark metal box full of electronics pumping out hot air can only be unpleasant at best. And that’s before you even think about the tens or hundred of patch cords that already live in there. It’s kind of a hellish “Where’s Waldo?” scenario.

Luckily, it seems that some genius out there decided to apply their mental powers to server rack accessory design, because Middle Atlantic happens to offer the perfect solution to this needle-in-a-haystack-type predicament. I give you the Brush Grommet Panel. It may not look or sound too exciting, but this thing works, and in more than one way.

First of all, it’s designed like a brush, which means bristles. Said bristles gang up together, and united, they’re gentle enough to let cables move on through when they need to, but strong enough that they hold the cables in place, without letting them slip backward into oblivion (aka “the cabinet”). Secondly, even though the look like they completely block cable access openings, all of those bristles we just talked about still actually allow for airflow, helping to keep interior components cool. And lastly, while the bristles let air through, they’re not so easy on dust, which we all know is riff-raff and needs to be kept out and away from fussy server equipment.

So, IT/Network Admin dudes… why don’t you have one of these yet?

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Wrap N Strap Adjustable Cord Organizers

wrap-n-strapI’ve been catching up with some of the newer cable tie-like products that have recently made it into our inventory, and there’s one in particular that’s especially versatile: the Wrap N Strap®. Oddly enough, it first caught my eye because I thought it looked like a hospital bracelet. Hmmmmmm.Yes, I know that that’s probably a bizarre association to make, but don’t let that weird you out. I’ll admit that I’m a consummate white-coat phobic, but the colors that these cable straps come in are so fun and cheery that they pretty much killed any negative medical-related vibes right off the bat. Probably took that a little too far… suffice it to say that these look kind of like hospital ID bracelets, but not in a bad way.

That said and done with, Wrap N Strap cord organizers do fasten like a hospital bracelet… you know, with a little round plastic fastener that pops through one of a series of holes? But unlike a patient ID bracelet, these can actually be removed without scissors. This easy removability factor is great for two reasons. First, when it comes to unbundling cables from standard zip ties, it can be a little iffy to introduce a sharp pair of scissors into the mix: it may be your intent to only snip through the cable tie, but if you’re not careful, you can nick or cut through a cable as well. And secondly, the fact that Wrap N Straps can be removed without being destroyed means that you can reuse them – always a smart choice for those looking to save a little money or cut down on waste in general.

I’m sure that by now you’ve caught my drift that Wrap N Straps® work great on cables, but they also play nicely with rope, bungee cord, chain, Christmas lights… pretty much anything in strand form that you’d want to neatly bundle up and store. And remember those fun colors I mentioned earlier? They make these perfect for color-coding.

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MHO Conference Table Grommet

mho-grommet_installedThese days, it’s pretty common to see grommets built into peoples’ desktops, so that they can run phone and computer cables through their work surfaces instead of across them. But what about conference tables? It’s 2010, and just about every conference room out there is wired to the hilt, so that their occupants can run everything from laptops and projectors to phone lines and A/V equipment. All of the cables associated with those electronics can make for a major mess come presentation time, so that begs the question: why don’t conference tables get grommets, too?

As it turns out, they do, and you’ll be happy to know that they’re not the standard-issue round plastic ones that you usually see in desks. You have to step it up a notch for a conference room, right? You bring visitors in there! But I digress. I’ll just tell you about the MHO® conference table grommet.

Conference tables are bigger than desks, so it just goes to reason that grommets made for them should be a little more substantial, right? The MHO® grommet is rectangular in shape, and distinctly bigger in size, measuring approximately 8″x4″. It’s also refreshingly free of flat black plastic, instead made out of very sleek and modern-looking anodized aluminum. The MHO® further differs from your run-of-the-mill grommet in that it doesn’t spend all it’s time as a gaping hole in your tabletop – it actually has a flip-open lid that closes flush with your table when not in use, so you have the benefit of a solid, flat, continuous workspace.

But the really great thing about the MHO® grommet is that it matches the extremely popular MHO® desktop power and data center. If you’ve already installed an MHO® power/data unit, you can still opt for a grommet, too, without worrying about what your conference table will look like with an unharmonious mix of extras installed – everything will look clean and uniform.

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Office Storage Grommets

office-storage-grommetThanks to an article I just finished writing, I’ve been pretty zoned in on desk grommets lately, and I have to say that for something with so simple a purpose (protecting computer cables and phone wires as they pass through the routing hole in your desktop), there are a ton of choices out there. I’m serious – you’d really be surprised. Now, I don’t know what you look for in a grommet, but as for my favorite, I’d have to say that, for the moment at least, I’m most partial to the Office Storage variety.

This decisive personal grommet ranking came about only this morning, after I arrived at the office and promptly unloaded my cell phone, its charger, breakfast, a bottle of water, my computer glasses and spare change for a possible afternoon pick-me-up soda onto the piles of trade publications, mail, and scribbled notes that I left behind on my desk during last evening’s hasty departure. Sigh. Add to that the fact that I’ve already rolled my desk chair (with me in it) over my poor charger cord twice this morning, and you’ll probably understand why right now, I wouldn’t exactly mind having an organizational desk grommet at my service.

I’m not so optimistic to actually believe that any Office Storage Grommet could make the all-consuming paper pile holding court on my desk disappear, but it would help out with the sticky page flags, post-it pads and scads of felt-tip pens that litter my desk from 9 to 5. And my cell phone charger cord probably wouldn’t be feeling quite so bruised at the moment if I had been able to route it directly through my work surface instead of letting it languish dangerously close to my office chair wheels as it took the long way from the under-desk PDU to my desktop.

Alas, my desk is made of glass that’s free from ready-made grommet holes, so I’ll have to wait on this one. But rest assured that if I could install an office storage grommet, I would – in a heartbeat. Until the day comes when I’m in a situation where I can use one myself, I’ll just have to live vicariously through the happy reviews that I continue to read from people who think this is the best five-spot they’ve ever spent.

This product has been discontinued.

Pink Products for Breast Cancer Awareness

cable-turtle-pinkNo matter who you are, where you live, or how big or small your circle of family and friends is, chances are very good that you know someone whose life has been changed because of breast cancer. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one to it. Maybe you’ve watched someone close to you battle though it and emerge a survivor. Maybe you’re living with it yourself. But one thing’s for sure – once you have a brush with the disease, you never forget it.

Since yesterday, October 1st, you’ve probably begun seeing a lot pink ribbons and references to Breast Cancer online and in the media. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, 2009, CableOrganizer.com has decided to jump in and do something to support this admirable, and universal, cause.

And so, today, I’m not going to focus on one cool product, but 9 very worthwhile ones that are not only fun and useful, but whose purchase goes toward supporting breast cancer research, as well as meeting the needs of women who are fighting the disease. If you or someone you know is a fan of the color pink, please visit our Breast Cancer Pink Page, which is full of rosy-hued products that have been chosen to help raise funds in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From now through October 31, 2009, we’re donating $1 from each purchase of these products to The Donna Foundation, a Florida-based non-profit organization dedicated to furthering breast cancer research and providing assistance to breast cancer patients.

So if you’re already looking into accessorizing your iPod or organizing some cables around the house, please be sure to check out the items on our Pink Page first – by purchasing one of these products, you’ll not only be getting something you need, but will also be helping to prevent and cure breast cancer in the process.

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