HELP! My desk is a mess of wires and cables!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kgmessier, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. kgmessier macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2005
    I have a PowerBook G4 and have accumulated a number of devices that connect to this via USB, FireWire or Ethernet. As a result, whenever I take my PB someplace I first have to unplug everything. What do I have to unplug? Here's a list:

    - Power cord
    - External hard drive (USB)
    - PC Card w/ two USB and two FireWire ports
    - Ethernet network cable
    - Receiver for cordless mouse (USB)
    - iPod docking station (FireWire)
    - Printer (USB)
    - M-Audio audio interface (FireWire)
    - More stuff in the future, I'm sure

    It's time-consuming, unsightly and a real fright to my anal-retentive/OCD sensibilities.

    I've read about USB and FireWire hubs. Is this the answer? Are there any combination hubs? What about port emulators/docking stations: Are there any good ones out there?

    How do y'all keep your desktops clear of this kind of mess?

    - Keith
  2. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    The more external devices you have, the more cables you're going to have to deal with, it's that simple. You could get a hub, but those introduce their own problems, like a single USB1 device on the bus will slow all the USB2 devices down to USB1 speed. I have a PowerBook as well and I tried the hub thing and decided that it just adds MORE clutter. My suggestion would be to learn to live with your cable clutter, see a psychiatrist about your OCD, and remind yourself periodically that at least you're not a starving African covered with flies and dying of malaria.

    Edit: try cable ties too.
  3. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Wow, that really bites. I always wondered how people could live with such cluttered desks. Right now I have one Cable going to my PB, the power cable.
    I would recommend, an Airport Express, so you can hook up you speakers, printer, and ethernet to that. Thats 3 cables gone right there. Perhaps a bluetooth mouse. Thats 4.

    It would be a start.
  4. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    I cut holes in my desk and bought some 90mm dia cable covers to plug them. I run all the cables underneath, held in place with cable ties. Also underneath are the power supplies, an iMic and a little usb hub, again all cable-tied in place. I usually leave my iBook power supply at home, but its the only thing I haven't tied in place as I sometimes need to take it with me.
    No iBook at the moment as its had to go to hospital:( :mad: :(

    Attached Files:

  5. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    You mean we're supposed to keep it tidy? :p

    I hate dealing with wires, but I've also learned to ignore them and pretend it doesn't exist. Here's a pic of my desktop in this originally posted thread.
  6. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Even with my iMac I still have cables from my tablet, KB, scanner and external dvd burner. To keep it to a min. I bought heavy duty velcro and put everything on the bottom side of the top of my desk. This saved space and cable clutter but the down side is my power bricks have velcro on them and it's not that easy to remove it either.
  7. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Get a blue tooth tablet. That takes away one cable and the Mouse.
  8. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    Which is why the one in the picture is a BT model - it still needs charging though. And I still use a mouse as well - one of the few advantages of being sort of left-handed is that I write (and therefore use a graphics tablet) with my left hand, but have to use a mouse with my right.
  9. macOSX-tastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2005
    At the Airport. UK
    cable ties work well, but the answer would be to get a hub with a large number of ports (eg the 7 port usb dome hub by kensington). then you can shov all your wires down behind your desk and forget about them. you can do the same with firewire, but with only 2 devices i dont really see the point. i have solved my speaker problem using the rocketFM from griffin and use my radio for the can plug speakers into the headphone redio port if desired. basicall my setup stems thus:

    firewire HD, Belkin USB 2 hub
    (to the hub) ipod dock, rocketFM, Hp printer, mighty mouse via extension cable.

    this means i have 1 free USB port on my powerbook for things like cameras and USB memory, easy access. i also use my airclick from that port, which i would have connected to the hub, but all the ports are used.

    obviously, a hub with a larger number of connecions would be more useful that the 4 port one i have at the moment, but i wouldnt have anywhere to put the wires as my desk is annoyingly fixed to the wall.......a channel of 3 wires goes to and from my powrbook and "hub area" but ive made these tidy, and hidden the thin profile hub behind my maxtor hard drive.

    its my way of coping with my lack of wires OCD. :D
  10. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    First of all I have a Pismo which means all of the cable connections are in the back. I prefer that over the new PowerBooks which have the cable connections on the side. With the Pismo the connections are out of sight.

    Secondly I leave a gap between my desk and the wall and then a shelf back there for things to sit on that I don't want to be looking at, cables, surge supressor, etc. This keeps my desk neater.

    My desk is still a mess but it has nothing to do with cables or computers. :)
  11. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    You've got a catch-22 because you have conflicting requirements. You can minimize your connect/reconnect hassle to one power, one Ethernet, one USB, and one FireWire by getting a USB/FireWire hub (they are readily available). But then you are adding more cables plus the hub to your cluttered desktop -- unless you duct-tape them underneath like some of these clever folks are doing.

    If you plug all your peripherals into your PC Card device, then you could just eject that, unplug the one extra USB device, and go.

    If your PowerBook has built-in Bluetooth, you can replace your USB wireless mouse with a Bluetooth one. Unfortunately Bluetooth mice are not yet mainstream so there isn't a big selection and they are all more expensive than the proprietary wireless types. The Kensington Pilotmouse Bluetooth looks promising, but I haven't justified replacing a $12 wired mouse with a $60 Bluetooth one yet.


  12. jeffzoom macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2004
    buy a desktop dude, i am in the same position you are, and i just can do it anymore, i need a desktop. Get a few hubs, and ditch the pcmcia card, or plug the hub(s) into that (PCMCIA) and only have to unplug power and remove pcmcia card. Also get a wireless router so you can get rid of the ethernet cable. I don't remember if you said sound, but i have an external sound card over usb for my laptop for when i use it at a desk, try an m-audio sonica for that. Try to everything over usb or firefire and use that pcmcia card with many hubs and find a place to hid them, or cable out and make it so only you wishes to use yer pooter':D

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