Filed under: Desk Cable Organizers, Power and Data Distribution
I think I’ve mentioned this before in another blog post, but Fridays get me thinking about movies, to the point that I usually have to quickly scour through the latest reviews to see what looks good. Well, this week, a fun little twist has been added to my Friday movie review routine: now I’m not just reading them, I’m writing them!
We’re putting a little more time and effort into our product demo videos these days, so I want to make sure that no one misses out. Today, we’re going to start with the first trio of videos produced, directed, professionally-lit and edited by the amazing Fernando of CableOrganizer.com Web Design fame, which also star our multi-talented New Products guru Tiffani, who, in my humble opinion, is giving Beyonce a run for her money with that hair and makeup. But back to the product prowess: Tiffani is the person to listen to, because she has an incredibly thorough knowledge of all of the products that appear on our site – so rest assured, the lady knows what she’s talking about.
On to the videos:
Powertap Grommet Desk Outlet: Tiffani demonstrates how the Powertap desk outlet installs into your worksurface and acts as a very convenient middleman between your desktop devices and wall outlet, thereby letting you experience the joy of plugging and unplugging without bending over, crawling under your desk, and possibly (inadvertently) mooning your coworkers. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how this type of product works, definitely check out the video – it’s much easier to understand than just reading a product description.
Under-Desk Wire Tray: This is a pretty simple and straightforward product that I wouldn’t have though needed an actual demonstration video, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m glad they made one. Tiffani shows a few tips and tricks for installing it correctly and customizing it to fit your individual desk size and cable management needs – total home run.
Cable Corral: If you’re the kind of person who wants to cable-manage the space under your desk without spending hours juggling cable ties, wire loom, cord clips and a label printer, you’ll appreciate the Cable Corral video. This product is the equivalent of throwing all of your loose clutter into the hall closet right before company arrives, except that the end result won’t leave you with regrets and even more clean-up later on. Tiffani demonstrates how to make the most of the Cable Corral to accommodate not just cables, but a power strip as well.
What is it about hook and loop cable ties that we’re all so crazy about? Standard-size hook and loop wraps have been one of our hottest sellers for years, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find one lurking on the laptop cord of almost anyone you know. Then we got the mini version, which, considering the fact that it’s scaled down for use with iPod earbuds and iPhone charger cords, is even cooler. No matter what the size or brand, they’re just great in general: you can reuse them hundreds of times, they don’t crush cables, and they’re known to come in more than a few cool colors.
But what happens when your love for the rippy stuff grows so much that you want to start using hook and loop wraps for even bigger jobs? Maybe you want to circumvent an entire cable tray, or keep a coiled-up garden hose bundled? Maybe you have a rolled-up drop cloth or camping tarp that you’d like to neatly store or transport in proper Yodel-like formation. Good luck getting that done with an average-sized hook and loop wrap. At very best, you could link a few ties together, but that would be for extreme situations requiring MacGyver-like improvisation.
If I were you, I’d just buy some extra-long hook and loop cable ties to begin with.
As their name so strongly implies, Economical Long Hook and Loop Ties are cost-effective, longer than usual (to the tune of 12″-24″), and made of the beloved Velcro-like hook and loop material. Given their size and capabilities, they can really be classified more as bundling straps than garden-variety cable ties – as a matter of fact, they can hold up to 18 lbs during use. Not too shabby. In addition to the cable, hose and tarp-related uses I mentioned above, these would also be perfect for managing sports equipment, keeping beach umbrellas furled (or making carrying handles for them), and lashing things together in general.
I 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.
When it comes to cable management, cable ties (aka “zip ties”) are one of the simplest solutions out there for bundling up cords and wires. They’re cheap, they’re easy to use, and they work fast. There’s just one problem: they’re only good for a single use. As soon as you need to cut them off to reconfigure your cables, they’re useless – you have to start over from scratch. This is all thanks to the locking-head that most standard cable ties have; while it’s great for keeping things in place, it also makes it impossible to remove or adjust a cable tie once the tie has been applied. There’s no turning back.
And talk about the waste. In addition to the fact that you have to throw cable ties away after just a single use, there’s also the issue of all those good-for-nothing clippings that come from trimming the “tails” of cable ties flush after installation. That’s a lot of wasted plastic, and don’t forget that you paid for it. But that’s not all: cable ties are also subject to over-tightening, which can damage cable insulation and compress conductors so much that data signals are interrupted or completely cut off.
Wow! Is it me, or did I just go on (and on) about the drawbacks of zip ties? Don’t get me wrong, they’re actually a great product, it’s just that those are a few points that you have to consider if you’re going to be using them on a large scale or in conjunction with especially sensitive cables. This all leads up to me introducing you to Mille-Ties, a revolutionary new breed of cable ties that are kinder, gentler, and yes, reusable.
Instead of being composed of a solid plastic strap with a molded-on locking head, the Mille-Tie is built like a chain, made up of many individual links or cells. It stretches, flexes, and bends to conform to cable bundles without putting stress on them, and is virtually impossible to overtighten. Mille-Ties ratchet snugly around cable bundles, but their design causes them to automatically stop tightening as soon as they’ve reached their tensioning limit, so you don’t have to worry about damaged or malfunctioning cables.
MIlle-Ties also greatly reduce waste because after you complete a tie and trim the tail off, you can actually use the excess to make another tie. The Mille-Tie is designed so that all of the larger cells (that’s every other cell) act as locking heads, so as long as the cut-off tail is long enough to make it around your cable bundle, you can use it just as you would a full-sized Mille-Tie. Pretty cool, huh?
And finally, I’ll go into that whole removable/resuable thing I mentioned earlier. While they won’t let go until you purposely remove them, Mille-Ties don’t lock permanently, so it’s incredibly easy to reuse them. Once you have a Mille-Tie tightened around your cable bundle, all you have to do is thread the end back through the same cell, leaving just a tiny loop behind. This leaves you with a little release-tab to pull on to release the cables while leaving you with an intact cable tie that’s ready to use again.