Filed under: Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets, Desk Cable Organizers, Power and Data Distribution
These 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.
Filed under: Desk Cable Organizers, Power and Data Distribution
You might not think that a box full of power and data outlets embedded into your desktop would be too hot, but let me tell you, they’re getting better-looking all the time. I’ve always thought that the idea of having plug-in points built right into a desk would be super convenient, but a lot of the power/data centers out there just look so… techy. Like whoever designed them was thinking waaaaaaaay more about function than form. Utilitarian, shall we say? But lately, I’ve been seeing some newer models coming out that are definitely going in a more eye-candyish direction, for those of us who don’t like to sacrifice style and decor for electronics. Case in point: the Ellora™ Power and Data Center.
This sleek little beauty has clean lines, a satiny aluminum finish, and mounts more or less dead-flush into your worksurface, so visually speaking, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. Flip the lid open, and you’ll find a neat row of the outlets and ports of your choice: power, data (internet), USB… you can even order one that has an iPod dock in the mix. Nice. It’s work and listening pleasure, all rolled into one and stashed just below the surface of your desk. Sneaky, efficient, aesthetically pleasing – what more could you want?
Lest you walk away from this blog post thinking that the only reason to buy an in-desk PDU is so you don’t have to crawl under your desk to plug in, let me just say: “but that’s not all!” One of my favorite features is that the Ellora™ totally gets rid of cord clutter on and behind your desk, so you don’t have to look at or get tangled up in computer cables. Even better.
Filed under: Desk Cable Organizers, Desks and Workstations
For the past year and a half, I’ve been pretty happy with my IKEA computer desk – it was cheap, looks reasonably good, and accommodates my desktop without eating up too much space. But just last week, satisfaction more or less flew out the window when I took my first gander at BlueLounge’s StudioDesk. Never mind that I don’t currently own a laptop, or that the StudioDesk costs several times what my little IKEA number did – I want one. Why the workstation envy? My avarice is founded on 3 different reasons, namely:
Mahogany. That’s right – this baby may be part white laminate, but I’m happy to say that all the important details are done in real, gorgeous mahogany. Legs, trim, grommet edging – you name it. This could be my ticket out of particle board prison!
The built-in faux leather laptop pad. Yes, it may be fake, but it’s also kind of chic, and does the very important job of keeping your laptop from sliding all over the place. Besides, wouldn’t you rather rest your wrists on a soft surface instead of cold, hard desktop?
The lack of visual cables. This is the part where I tell you that the faux leather laptop pad actually covers a slide-out tray that conceals the most magical part of the desk – a built-in cable management compartment. This secret hideaway has plenty of room to fit power strips, USB hubs, and even excess wiring, so instead of looking at multiple cords traveling around your desktop and stretching to wall outlets, you’ll only get an eyeful of clean lines and beautiful, clutter-free minimalism.
Well, I think you’ll find that my greed is justified. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to shop for a laptop, and possibly a brick-walled downtown loft apartment. I think my future StudioDesk would look outstanding in one of those.
Filed under: Desk Cable Organizers, Power and Data Distribution
BlueLounge® Designs has done it again. They can’t stop making cool products for me to yakk on about. First there was the Sanctuary charging station, and then came the Space Station laptop dock. Finally, this morning, I met the newest addition – the CableBox. But I’m not talking about the the box from your cable company that sends signal to your TV. If you’ve ever read or watched anything Harry Potter, then you’re probably well acquainted with the Cloak of Invisibility – wrap yourself in it, and you’re gone. Well, the CableBox is like an Invisibility Cloak for power strips, and it works almost as fast. You want one already, don’t you?
Design-wise, it’s almost ridiculously simple – in a good way. It’s a sleek, rounded-corner box with cable slots in each end, and a lid that fits on top. Operation is equally simple: you just pick up your standard-size power strip, plugs and all, and drop it into the CableBox. Attached cables can be routed out of the box via one or both slots, and then you just pop the lid on. Power strip? What power strip?
The CableBox is available in black or white, but either color can be repainted to match your walls or floor if you’re looking to achieve an even higher level of power strip stealth. And what’s really nice is that the CableBox has low-profile rubberized feet (pads, really) attached to the bottom, so whether you park it on the floor or along the back of an entertainment center, it won’t slide around on you.
Filed under: Desk Cable Organizers, Power and Data Distribution
Once upon a time, I used to like to throw myself down on the couch, put up my feet, and kick back with my laptop on my (and here’s where it got its name) lap. A comfortable and relaxing way to surf the Web, no doubt, but there was just one little issue – the hot air that came billowing out of the thing, and had a way of slow-cooking both me and the computer. If you keep that up, you not only get a tad sweaty, but you also guarantee that that laptop is going to start deteriorating from the high temps and bite the dust waaaaaaay earlier than it’s supposed to. Luckily, we as humans have instincts and mobility that allow us to move ourselves away from heat and into better situations. Notebook computers, on the other hand, do not. If you’ve got a laptop that you want sticking around for quite some time, one of the best ways you can extend its life is to step in and take temperature control into your own hands.
When it comes to electronics, the most important part of heat dissipation is proper air circulation. If air can’t move relatively freely around devices, heat builds up and temperatures climb. This explains why you’ve probably seen a number of “laptop lift” products out there. In theory, they’re a great idea, but I’m not really crazy about the concept of balancing a piece of expensive techology on several different pieces of plastic. Too much room for error – and klutzes. That’s why I was pretty taken with the BlueLounge Space Station the first time I saw it – there’s no balancing act involved.
More than just a laptop lift, the one-piece Space Station desk organizer not only raises the rear of your notebook to allow plenty of air circulate, but also tips the keyboard forward at a pleasantly ergonomic angle, so your wrists and fingers are saved from any unnecessary fatigue or discomfort. Add to that the fact that this docking station has a 4 port USB hub for really convenient connectivity, built-in cable management, cell phone and PDA holders and even an accessory bar to hold business cards, and you have a desk accessory that’s truly worthy of a name like Space Station.
Filed under: Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets, Desk Cable Organizers
Thanks 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.
It seems to be one of the Laws of the Universe that if you leave a disconnected cable lying on your desktop, it will pretty much stay put until you reach for it. At that point, it will start to slip away, eluding your outstretched hand by only an inch or so. That is, until it reaches the very edge of your desk, at which point it will plunge into oblivion just a fraction of a second before your fingers can grab it. Sigh.
Then comes retrieval. Crawling beneath your workstation isn’t at the top of most people’s “to-do” lists in the first place, but it becomes even more of a chore if the area under your desk has the typical pile of computer and peripheral cords mixed with the occasional dustball. Now, you get to sort through the mess and find the right cable, maneuver it back up to your desktop, and then plug it in fast before you risk having to go through the whole ridiculous slapstick routine all over again.
If you can think of better ways to use your time than chasing after loose cable ends, then you may want to make friends with the Cable Caddy, a cool little desktop cord organizer that hides behind your computer to neatly route USB and other peripheral cables while they’re plugged in, and holds them securely in place when they’re unplugged.
The Cable Caddy comes with adhesive strips and a desk clamp, which let you affix it to your desk so it doesn’t jump overboard with your cables. Wondering how it keeps a grip on cords? The Cable Caddy has 5 narrow channels that are big enough to let cables move freely through them, but still narrow enough to catch onto connectors and keep them from sliding away. You’ll never have to grope around for MP3, cell phone charger or printer cables ever again.
Filed under: Cable Wraps, Desk Cable Organizers, Raceway, Duct and Conduit
Yes, I know I’ve covered office and desk cable management several times already, but considering that so many of us spend most of our waking hours at a computer, I think it’s an important thing to focus on. A little bit of organization can make a huge difference in your sanity level and rate of productivity, especially when you’re dealing with computer cords. And that’s why I’d like to introduce you to the Cable-Safe™.
The Cable-Safe™ is a completely unique cord organizer, in that it doesn’t only lift your computer cables off the floor and out of the way, but your power strip as well. I don’t know about you, but I find it a little annoying that power strips never seem to lay flat on the floor – it’s like they just twist around and end up in going in whatever direction their power cords want them to. But I digress. Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make is that with the Cable-Safe™, you’ll no longer be accidentally kicking your power strip around beneath your desk, and you’ll also be able to affix it any way you’d like on the cable manager and know that it will stay that way.
Now, down to the nitty-gritty: how it works. The Cable-Safe™ is actually suspended from the underside of your desktop, thanks to an adjustable clamp that can either hang from an existing grommet hole, or attach to the desktop itself. It’s equipped with a variety of hooks that can both hold coiled cables and act as shelves for mounting hubs and small power devices. The Cable-Safe™ comes with hook and loop cable ties to keep your cords neatly wound, mini bungee-type straps that can hold hubs in place, and even fun color coded stick-on labels that help you keep track of which cables are which. It’s a very complete and well thought out kit.
Cable-Safes are available individually, or, you can treat your whole office to some under-desk cable management with the Professional Installer Kit, which has everything you need to organize anywhere from 10-15 workstations.