Filed under: Cable and Wire Storage, Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets
Congratulations all – we’ve made it through another week, and it’s time to celebrate our soon-to-start 3 day Memorial Day weekend with some cinematic fun. Personally, I’m eyeing Men in Black 3, but before heading to the megaplex to escape the 90+ degree heat, there are a few other pre-summer blockbusters to talk about: a couple of our newest product demo videos on YouTube. Roll ‘em!
Brush Grommets: Video Production Dude Fernando is back in front of the camera this week, talking about a few of our stylish and practical brush grommets. Here’s why you should watch: lots of us have grommets in our desktops to control cables and give them a safe pass-through point, but brush grommets take things to the next level. If you’ve ever had a disconnected cable slip back through a grommet and land under or behind your desk, you know how annoying it can be to retrieve it. Brush grommets solve that problem because their cable openings are lined with flexible bristles that conform to cables and don’t give connectors empty space to fall through. That, and these particular grommets look really nice, too.
How to Store Cables with the Reel-A-Pail®: Check out Tiffani’s video demonstration of how to store extension cords and other cables with the Reel-A-Pail® Quickwinder™ – it may look like just a bucket, but it’s so much more. The Quickwinder stashes a cord reel neatly inside a covered heavy duty bucket, so that you can coil up cables on the job and keep them neat and protected while you’re not using them. You’ll even find out how to fasten it to truck beds and other structures for really tough use.
There’s something about the word “custom” that always seems to make my heart beat a little faster, but then again, who doesn’t drool at the thought of something being made just for them? For example, I love both books and creative architectural details, and there’s this house in a historic neighborhood not far from where I live, which I’ve affectionately come to refer to as “bookshelf house” in honor of the gorgeous custom built-in bookcases (they’re even lit, mind you) that are visible to passers-by when the house is lit up at night. You’re just driving along, glancing casually at the passing homes, and then suddenly you get an eyeful of perfectly painted crimson walls set off by semi-ornate white bookshelves almost artistically loaded with a small library’s worth of reading material. I can never resist giving that sight a longing, head-turning glance, and it’s almost always inevitably followed by me returning home, walking into my guest room, and staring with disgust at the twin particleboard deals holding a hodgepodge of paperbacks and dust. I like to think that the owners of Bookshelf House must feel pretty darn smug.
While this particular example of custom lust is probably a little too old-school and tech-free for a blog that deals primarily with gadgets and cables, here’s something that’s not: Field-terminable HDMI cable from BTX Technologies. Whether you’re fed up with home theater cables that are always longer than you need them to be or are just Jonesing for something made with only you and your sweet A/V setup in mind, you’ll definitely want to take notice.
BTX’s field-terminable cables are rated to HDMI 1.3 standards, and come in either round or ribbon styles, depending on whether you’re planning on bundling them with neighboring cords (choose round), or routing them flat along the wall (that would be ribbon). The bulk cables are simply measured to the exact length you need (no more paying for or cable-managing a bunch of useless slack) and terminated with specially designed crimp-on connectors that achieve an even stronger connection than soldering.
Both the round and ribbon-style home theater cables are made to be ultra flexible, so they can take most tight bends and curves without risking breakage or attenuation. Durability is further enhanced by the connectors’ additional extended plastic boot and strain relief, which gives your HDMI cables extra support just where they need it most.
Custom is now better than ever.
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.
When you think of things associated with the word “scoop,” they tend to be classified as “the good stuff”… as in useful information, ice cream, and Woody Allen movies starring Hugh Jackman (don’t worry, boys, Scarlett Johansson’s in it, too). And it’s the same with cable management, hence Arlington Industries® dubbing their super awesome (and more importantly, easy to use) cable plate the Scoop™.
We’ve talked about the Scoop cable entry plate before, but there’s a new version of it that I can’t help showing off: the Scoop with Slotted Cover. While the original scoop has a (you guessed it) scoop-shaped design that helps to neatly transition home theater cables into and out of walls, the new Scoop with a slotted cover makes for an even neater finish, thanks to flexible wedge-shaped flaps that surround penetrating cables to hold them in place and fill in extra gaps around the edges.
In case you’re not familiar with them, cable entry plates like the Scoop are the perfect way to run in-wall low voltage cable without having to hire a professional or go through the hassle of terminating A/V faceplates yourself. That means you can enjoy a great-looking home theater setup without the distraction or clutter of exposed cable by doing nothing more than cutting a couple of strategic holes in your drywall (one where the cables need to start, and another where they need to end), fish your cables through the wall from Point A to Point B, and pop in a couple of entry/exit plates.
Instead of the cables being terminated to faceplates with the appropriate A/V connectors, they just come back through the wall and connect directly to your devices, so it’s essentially the same as running any other home theater cables from one spot to another, except that you happen to be hiding them behind your wall along the way.
A professional-looking finish for cheap – you’ve gotta love it.
Lesser-Known Fact: Cable labeling is a lot more fun when the wire markers remind you of the Spokey-Dokes you used to snap onto your bike wheels back in elementary school.
Yes, I went there. I just compared a very interesting new form of wire marker to the ’80s bike accessory that left baskets and handlebar streamers in the dust as they went zooming down the street to the neighbor kid’s house with an unmistakable “slide-clack-slide-clack-slide-clack-slide-clack” and blur of neon colors. Meet the next wave of cable-labeling awesomeness: Clip-Tags Plastic Wire Markers from HellermannTyton®.
Clip-Tags are so simple, yet so functional. They have a tube-shaped design that’s open along one side, so they can be easily slipped onto cables and wires, even if the cables are preterminated with larger connectors, or are already in use and can’t be unplugged to have, say, a heat-shrink sleeve label slipped over the end. That’s the “Spokey-ness” of them – a small, plastic, bead-like object that’s designed to snap around another object in any configuration you choose.
Clip-Tags are available in single digits ranging from 1 to 9, so you’re free to apply multiples in different combinations to create any number or code you need. They’re easy to apply, too – Clip-Tags come packaged on a unique flared applicator that lines up right against the cable you’re labeling so that you can simply slide a number into place, wherever you need it to be. There’s no need to wrestle around with these things – they’re very straightforward.
Another cool feature is that because Clip-Tags are only one digit long and have the ability to move a little bit, they still allow the labeled area of a network cable to flex and bend, unlike other wraparound labels that tend to add a degree of rigidity. So if your cables need a little wiggle room, these are perfect.
Plus, they’re just like Spokeys… did I mention that?
Okay, before I start, a quick disclaimer: what I’m about to say isn’t a fat joke, I’m just trying to illustrate a point. Now that I’ve put that out there, how many times have you seen a movie (or been in a real life situation) in which someone of robust physical stature, who is generally lacking in physical speed and agility, says in a humorously menacing way to a smaller person whom they’re trying to prevent from leaving or doing something undesirable: “(Fill in the blank, blah blah blah)… or I could just sit on you.” At which point the smaller person gets a comically horrified look on their face and promptly complies.
I’m not saying this is acceptable behavior, but it’s definitely a means to an end (ie, keeping something lightweight and prone to running away or misbehaving) in one place with the strategic application of extra poundage. Like weighing down the edges of an outdoor tablecloth so it doesn’t flap up and catapult your picnic spread onto the patio pavers. Or spreading out your flip-flops and other beachside effects to keep your towel on the sand, where in belongs, and where you’ll need it to be when you get fed up with rogue seaweed brushing your leg like a giant squid tentacle and decide to trudge back to shore.
Or like when you have a sumo wrestler plunk down on your disconnected computer cables so they stay ready for action at the edge of your desk, instead of tumbling over the side and onto the floor. Okay, maybe that one’s a little far-fetched, but that’s basically what BlueLounge® had in mind when they came up with the Sumo™ Desktop Cable Manager.
The Sumo is basically a sleek, weighted block with two cord channels carved out of its underside, and it’s designed to hold disconnected cables against a tabletop while still allowing them a little wiggle/breathing room. The cord channels are wide enough to let the cables move freely back and forth, but are narrow enough to prevent connectors from slipping through and causing their respective cables to fall to the floor. After all, it’s infinitely better to be able to just reach out and plug in instead of crawling around on the ground, looking for the right cable.
The Sumo Cable Manager has super cool gripping abilities, thanks to the micro-suction pads lining its underside. As you might guess from its name, micro-suction technology involves the equivalent of thousands of tiny (and indistinguishable to the eye) suction cups, which have the ability to grab onto, but easily release from, smooth surfaces, much like Spider Man (awesome). That means it stays in place without hardware or sticky double-sided adhesive, so you don’t have to worry about taking a bottle of Goo-Gone® to your work surface if you ever decide to move the Sumo to another location.