Category Archives: Computers

Endless Wire

With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot.

Recently, I notice there was a cable under my desk that didn’t appear to be connected to anything. After tracing it back, I started going through all the cables. I found four that weren’t in use. At all. Two of them, I’m not even sure what they are.  I figured this was probably a sign that I needed to do something about the mess.

The view from the front, after the errant cables had been removed. In addition to the computer, there is an external hard drive, power box, cable modem, Vonage adapter, and a powered USB hub in amongst that mess.  Plus AC adapters for several of them. My headphones have been tossed nonchalantly on top of the pile, just for effect.

And this is the view behind the desk. Screwed or velcro-ed to the modesty panel are a power strip, wireless router, and AC adapter for the printer.  I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think any of this mess was grounded.

The goal was to get all the wires off the floor, get all the little boxes out of the alcove where the actual computer lives, and make everything accessible should I need to change anything. So I got a piece of pegboard, some hooks, a whole bunch of wire ties – both Velcro and plastic – and spend a delightful two and half hours listening to New Wave, sipping coffee, and wondering why I had even started to do this.

I guess this is why. No more cables, no more boxes. The computer partly visible on the right is the media server, which I now have the option of putting next to the main computer and getting rid of the rack that it’s on.  I’d put the hook for my headphones there when I got the desk. This is the first time I’ve been able to use it.

Because the colored ones were cheaper, that's why.

And this is behind the upright. There’s pegboard hung from hooks here and also along the modesty panel. Having hooks means the pieces can be swung out to access behind them, should something need to be moved.

The various items that were in a jumbled pile are all easily accessible. This also cuts down on the potential for thermal issues; I’d noticed it occasionally seemed a little toasty under there.

The components were all placed first, then the power strips, then the wires were run. At that point, I had enough presence of mind to actually turn everything on, to make sure everything was connected properly.

Next, I bundled all the excess cords, and finally anchored the bundles and the cables themselves so nothing flops around.  I can pull the desk out easily to get behind it. There is only the main power cable and the Ethernet cable to the server to worry about.

All in all, I think I spent about $18 on the pegboard and wire ties. Totally worth it, even if at one point I would’ve been happy to junk it all and just use my nice neat wireless netbook from now on. Isn’t everything supposed to be wireless by now?!?