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July 20, 2005

Zip ties to the rescue!

If there's one inevitability in setting up computer equipment (or most electronics), it's that every last one of the cords will be way too long when you're done. You then end up with a most heinous rat's nest of wires and cables dangling gaily about. If you're lucky, you'll never encounter a problem. Or, if you're like most people, at some point you'll get two cables horribly tangled and/or accidentally yank one out, and there goes something. It might be an email you were writing, it might be the season finale of 24, or it might be the Masters thesis you charged through from begin to end in one day without ever stopping to save it. I'm a staunch opponent of using zip ties inside a computer. They end up being nothing but a pain in the ass when you need to replace or add components, and most people pull them so tight it's easy to risk cutting an important wire when trying to remove them. In your computing workspace, though, the more zip ties the merrier! This is obviously not something you should try until you have all your equipment situated in its final position, of course (though you could use velcro cable ties instead if you're feeling randy). Once you've put together that new computer desk and have everything exactly where you want it, though, it's time to go to work with the value pack of zip ties. Bundle excess cable up, leaving a little slack, and zip that thing. Ideally, you want the bundled area to rest on something. If you have an enclosed area on your desk, it would be a lovely place to hide the bundles. If you don't, then get creative. My desk, for example, has a stabilizer and privacy shield. I can't see anything behind it, so I could easily think up some sort of mounting solution so the bundles stay there (dowels and hot glue come to mind). I finally bundled up my own excesses today, and the result is much neater and more usable. Qwest's DSL modems, for example, end up with a total of probably easily 15 feet of power cord. A couple zip ties later, the hanging garden effect has been replaced by two neat bundles that fit easily and inconspicuously on a shelf. Oh, and cutting the unused portion of the zip tie off is always good. Otherwise they like to stab you. Or put an eye out. Zip ties, you see, are made from the bottled-up anger of rabid badgers. Safety first!

Posted by Colin at July 20, 2005 6:31 PM

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