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: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Plugging your laptop in at home or the office is usually a no-brainer, because those are the two places that we’re pretty much guaranteed to have decent surge protectors lying around (Right, people? Please tell me that you’re protecting your electronics!). But on the other hand, what do you do when you’re traveling with a laptop?
As far I can can tell you, no one I know (including myself) has, up to now, been known to pack a nice surge protector for the road. And it’s easy to understand why – most of them aren’t designed with portablity in mind. There’s either the heavy duty brick-style battery backups that lurk under our desks (and we all know that anything brick-like doesn’t pack well), or the power strip variety, which don’t take up much space, per se, but still have those unwieldy, hard-to-coil-into-any-configuration power cords trailing off their ends.
So what’s a techy jet-setter to do? I’ll tell you this much: they (or you – or even me, for that matter) shouldn’t be putting their expensive electronic lifelines at the mercy of strange, unprotected power outlets. Just because you’re visiting a sweet place, that doesn’t mean that a power surge won’t strike. You have to be ready, no matter how deluxe the surroundings. That’s why EZ Gear created the Surge2Go™, a super compact, travel-friendly surge protector that is positively made for purses, computer bags, backpacks, and suitcases. At only a little over 5x2x3 inches in size, it’s pretty darned mini, and here’s something else cool: the cord is only 8 inches long, and is actually made to coil around the surge protector’s outer perimeter for storage – no cable clutter!
Sorry, this product has been discontinued.
Filed under: Electrical, Energy Conservation, Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Today’s main event is sure to be a Favorite Gadget shoo-in for anyone who wants to save energy, walk into a lit house, or would just rather not get off the couch to turn off the outside lights. So, whether you’re environmentally-conscious, safety-minded, or just plain lazy (and who among us isn’t), this one’s for you.
Now, I’m the type of person who doesn’t exactly enjoy stepping into a pitch-black house. I’ll sometimes leave a lamp on just in case, but then I usually end up feeling guilty about burning up lightbulbs and electricity when I’m not even around to benefit from it. What’s an on-the-move girl to do? First thing: stop being wasteful, and secondly, spend around 12 bucks and plug an entryway lamp into a Remote-Controlled Power Outlet.
Why would someone want a remote-controlled outlet? Well, mainly because it comes with a remote, but otherwise, because it lets you turn whatever’s plugged into it On and Off from up to 40 feet away. Just aim and push the button. Move over, The Clapper!
In my opinion, one of the best features of this handy little outlet/remote duo is that it has the ability to work through doors, walls and ceilings/floors, so a little structural obstruction won’t get in the way of accomplishing lights out. This makes it great for dark-house scaredy cats like me, because you can technically keep the remote control in your car, and use it to turn on a lamp just inside the front door, provided that it’s within 40 feet. No more cringing in the dark while groping around for invisible light switches.
In addition to letting you operate electronic devices via remote control, this outlet also gives you the Power of Auto-Off. Granted, it’s not exactly the same as having the ability to set a timer to an exact hour and minute, but it is nice to know that you can set the outlet to turn something off after 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours if you need to.
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: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Charging stations are all kinds of hot right now, and it feels like I blog about them an awful lot. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon, because there’s yet another new one to tell you about. And so, fans of organized charging, meet the GenZ Eco Power Charging Station.
I don’t want to tell you who should like this right off the bat, but I will say that the GenZ Eco has a totally different look than a lot of the other charging stations I’ve written about. Being a girl who likes attractive home and office accessories, to this point I’ve gravitated toward the leather-look and super mod styles, but something tells me that this particular one is going to appeal more to guys – especially ones who are really into gadgets. It’s black, it looks a little like a closed laptop, and it’s overall cool. But take a look at the picture – you’ll see what I mean about it having a techier appeal.
Anyway… in addition to its unique style, the Eco Power Charging Station has a few other really neat features, the first of which is that it has charger connectors already built in. This is really pretty sweet, because it means that you can toss all of those individual charger cords, or at least stash them away until you need to travel. The 13 built-in connections are compatible with thousands of devices, so unless you’re trying to charge a gadget that’s really old or rare, you’re covered.
And now for the “eco” part. Cell phone chargers are notorious “vampire electronics,” because they keep drawing small amounts of power as long as they’re plugged in, whether or not they’re actively charging. And to add insult to injury, when you leave your devices plugged in after they’re fully rejuiced, their batteries actually wear out faster. Hmmmphhh – you can’t win, right? Actually, you can, because the GenZ Eco charger is able to sense when a gadget is fully powered, and as soon as it gets that message, it automatically cuts the flow of electricity to that device. No unnecessary battery wear, no go-nowhere power being wasted, just exactly what you need – nothing more, nothing less.
And did I mention that it can handle several gadgets at once?
Sorry, this product has been discontinued.
Filed under: Network Products, Power and Data Distribution
It seems like the topic of computer and data security keeps popping up in conversation lately, and I just realized that up to now, I’ve tended to look at things from a strictly “computer protection” angle. You know, computer locks, USB port blocks, laptop security screens, lockable CPU cabinets, that kind of thing. It’s pretty obvious that no one wants a thief taking off with their laptop or stealing personal information off a hard drive, but what do you do when you want to secure an actual network infrastructure?
There are always passwords, firewalls and other software-based preventive measures that can be taken, but if you’re running a fairly large facility that receives a lot visitors or is frequently accessed outside of normal business hours, it’s smart to have physical protection in place as well. This is the part where I tell you about Panduit® RJ45 Jack Blockouts.
If you’re worried about viruses and worms being uploaded to your network or sensitive data being stolen from it, then you’ve got to think about limiting network access points. I’m talking about actually controling the number of RJ45 jacks that can be plugged into. Take a walk around your company’s offices, and you’ll probably find a pretty high number of data ports that are just sitting there, unused and not doing a darned thing. Remember that old saying about idle hands being the devil’s playground? Well, in the same way, idle RJ45 jacks can be a network vandal’s playground. Ruin a data thief’s fun by cutting down on the possibility of illicit network access - just snap Panduit’s RJ45 blocking devices into the empty jacks throughout your offices or facility.
Jack blockout devices work just like plugs, except they don’t just pull out when you want them to. In order to be removed, they need to be “unlocked” with a special tool, which can be left in the hands of your IT people for safe keeping. Insertion and removal of the data port block is completely safe for the jack, and won’t wear down its contacts or cause other degradation, even though multiple uses.
Filed under: Power and Data Distribution, Server Racks and Enclosures
There’e nothing like a media cart to get me reminiscing about the good old days at Pembroke Elementary School (go Panthers!). Back at my original alma mater, the sight of a TV and VCR setup rolling through the classroom door was enough to make us pray that the feature presentation would last until end-of-the-day dismissal (in case you didn’t already know, movies instead of Science and Social Studies equals less homework). So it goes without saying that media carts have always held a special place in my homework-loathing heart. But it’s not just me; ask any public school kid – I’m sure they’d say the same.
Only the other day, I was writing an article on how to organize A/V cart cables, and I got to wondering, “why don’t we sell these things?” Turns out that our New Products team was way ahead of me on that one, because the very next day, as if by magic, I received an e-mail stating that we now sell Vutec’s Wide Body Media Cart.
The first thing that I noticed about this cart is that its wider design makes it a lot sturdier than the A/V carts of my past. I don’t know if that’s just because I was a pipsqueak at the time, but the school media carts I remember were usually about 8 feet tall, and always extremely top-heavy. Vutec’s, on the other hand, are quite a bit stockier (in a good way, though), and built to be a heck of a lot sturdier. I really like their shorter height, too – with the TV platform topping out at 48 inches high, it’s a lot easier to view the screen without having to tilt your head back at an uncomfortable angle.
Another nice feature is the locking compartment at the bottom, which gives you a safe place to stow DVDs, remote controls, and anything else you might want to secure. But one of my favorite things is the built-in surge protector, which lets you plug the entire cart into just one receptacle, but gives you 4 protected on-cart power outlets for all of your electronics.
Sooooo… what say we break out the Orville Redenbacher, wheel in the TV, and catch up on some vintage Nat Geo documentaries? C’mon, pleeeeeeeeaaaaase? But they’re educational!
I don’t know where you stand on the subject of Form versus Function, but personally, I love it when the two collide. The way I figure it, every single product out there starts with a plan – that’s a given. So, as long as you’re already investing time into designing something useful, why not make it look good too, all in one shot? In most cases, going the extra aesthetic mile doesn’t take much extra time or money (or any at all), so why not? Seize the opportunity, people! The Italians seem to do a bang-up job with this concept, so why can’t we?
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that soap box moment out of my system, down to business. As I was saying, the combination of Form and Function is a beautiful thing (literally), and one of the most recent instances of it that I’ve come across is the Glenbeigh™ Traditional Desk Outlet. I’m a big fan of desktop power and data centers in general, but unfortunately, many of them fall into the category of Robot Decor. That’s great if you dig straight lines and lots of powder-coated metal, but what if you have more delicate design sensibilities?
Say that you’ve got an antique desk, or maybe a Pottery Barn knockoff of one – something with sweet cabriole legs and sleek painted finish. Just because you want to bring the functionality of an old-style desk up to date, you shouldn’t have to sacrificing the overall look of the thing. There was a day when you either had to compromise the look of your furniture or just go without, but luckily, those times have passed – thanks to my new pal Glenbeigh™, that is.
Just like any other desk outlet, the Glenbeigh™ is available in all power or power/data versions, but the things that set it apart are its curved lines (which are reminiscent of traditional decorative molding) and choice of beautiful finishes (parchment white, midnight, silver metallic, satin nickel, antique brass, and dark bronze). With options like these, you can choose a finish that complements your desk’s hardware or all-over paint color. And of course, the receptacles and data ports recess into the flush-mounted unit when they’re not in use, so you’ll never have to sacrifice work space.
Filed under: Electrical, Power and Data Distribution, Workplace Safety
I spend an awful lot of time researching different products, and when it comes to those oriented toward workplace safety, I oftentimes end up reading excerpts from OSHA reports that go into all the gruesome details of on-the-job electricity-related deaths. It always seems that at the root of each tragedy was some simple and ridiculous oversight, and that the fatality could have easily prevented if only the victims had been a little more aware of their surroundings. More than a few of these cases involved power tools or electrical appliances that came into contact with water while they were being operated. It makes you wonder: would these people still be alive if the tools that they were using had been plugged into a GFCI?
One could feasibly argue that GFCI receptacles may not be available at all jobsites, and that work must continue with or without them. But throwing your safety at the mercy of chance is never a good idea, especially when you can bring your own portable GFCI along, wherever the job takes you. A portable GFCI, you ask? Why, yes – meet ReelCraft’s GFCI Outlet Box Reel.
This GFCI-on-a-reel is a lot like a standard reeled industrial-grade extension cord, but with an added bonus: the GFCI-equipped outlet box that happens to be wired onto it. Just plug the extension cord into a wall outlet, and then plug your power tools or appliances into the outlet box’s GFCI receptacles. In addition to providing a safe power source, this reel also eliminates the problem of annoying (and potentially dangerous) cord slack – you don’t have to unroll more extension cord than you need, so there’s much less chance of tripping over it.
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Electrical, Power and Data Distribution
In my book, it can’t get much better than fun stuff that’s actually useful, too. Take, for example, the Coilex™ Polar/Solar® coiled extension cord from Coleman Cable. Part Slinky, part power extension, and totally sweet. Actually, it looks a lot like spiral-wound cord that used to hang from your old kitchen phone, except that it does more than give you something to twirl your fingers through while you gossip about the shenanigans that went down in Study Hall. This thing is good. As a matter of fact, it just might be the world’s most space-efficient extension cord yet.
As anyone with curly hair knows, when things are coiled up, there can be a lot more there than meets the eye. Pull on the end of a two-inch long curly lock, and it suddenly turns to six inches. That’s the power of the spiral. Luckily, someone got the bright idea to apply the same concept to extension cords, so now, instead of tripping through foot-grabbing piles of extension cord slack, you can just, well… get down to business. Polar/Solar® coiled cables stretch to exactly the length you need, and no further, so you won’t have the extra cable cluttering up your floor or workbench. Ahhhhh… it’s always nice to be able to tackle a project without constantly batting power cords out of the way.
Unlike the Slinky, phone cord and curly hair that I mentioned before, the Polar/Solar® extension cord is designed to never tangle or bend – a feature that protects the inner electrical conductor to preserve the cord’s integrity. And it’s tough, too - the outer jacket is resistant to flame, water, oil and abrasion, so this is one item that you won’t have to baby.