Earlier this year I posted a blog titled I feel like a fool (Click Here to see that blog). In fact, this is not an uncommon occurrence if the truth be told, but for the purposes of that blog I had something specific in mind.
I currently have two main computers. The first is a mega-powerful (but cheap because it was a re-furbished machine) Tower System with three 28-inch monitors – I’m using this system as we speak – this big bad boy makes me happy to come into the office in the morning.
The second is my 17” notebook PC, which I typically reserve for home use and for when I’m travelling. I carry this around in something called a Swiss Gear IBEX Computer Backpack, which is capable of holding any notepad up to a 17-inch display. (The data files and emails on my Tower and Notebook computers are automatically kept in sync using Dropbox and Google Apps, respectively. Click Here and Click Here to see my blogs on these solutions.)
The backpack is padded and protected and is really, REALLY well designed and implemented (even the handle on the top has a steel cable running through it). Your computer goes in a specially padded and reinforced area in the middle of the pack, but there are numerous other pockets all over the place to hold papers and power supplies and documents and … all of the stuff you end up carrying around with you when you travel.
Do you tend to misplace things like your iPod cable and your smartphone charger and… I used to spend inordinate amounts of time each day trying to recall where I’d left one or more of these cables. Once I had my new backpack, however, I started keeping them all in one of its pockets.
I also keep my iPad and my Kindle e-Book reader in my backpack (along with their cables). The end result is that I actually take my backpack with me everywhere I go. Even though I rarely need to use my notebook computer in the office, I bring my backpack into work with me each day (and back home again in the evening) because it’s rare for a few hours to go by that I don’t require one or more of its contents.
But we’re wandering off into the weeds. The point of my original I feel like a fool blog was that all of my mouse, iPod, iPad, smartphone, etc. cables used to entwine themselves together inside the backpack. The bottom line was that whenever I needed to use a cable, I ended up spending a couple of minutes untangling everything. This may not seem like a major problem, but it becomes extremely frustrating when you are doing it every day. Also, the time mounts up over the course of several years – life is too short to spend significant portions of it untangling cables.
And then a solution hit me. This is so trivial and obvious that I’m almost ashamed to say it, but I started to keep each cable in a separate quart-size plastic Ziplock bag. In addition to saving oodles of time, this has dramatically minimized my frustration coefficient.
The only thing that makes me feel less stupid is that I received several comments (and quite a few private emails) saying “This is brilliant! I wish I’d thought of it!”
Anyway, my old chum Brian just sent me an email pointing to a video on YouTube for something called a Cord Hog. In many ways this is a really clever idea. It’s a plastic “thing” that is designed in such a way as to facilitate your winding electric cables around it and securing them so they don’t unravel.
You can purchase these little scamps from a company called Cable Ties and More (Click Here for more details). When you think how little these cost to produce, they should be a "nice little earner" for their inventor.
My initial knee-jerk reaction was “That’s cool,” but (and there’s always a but), I just watched the video a second time and I realized that it takes quite a few seconds to wind and unwind a cable – plus having say six of these (I have at least six cables) would occupy quite a lot of room in one’s backpack.
As I noted, in many ways this really is a clever idea. I think this would work well for a lot of folks and for a lot of applications. For myself, however, I think I have to say “Sorry Brian,” but I’m going to stick with my little plastic bags…"
If you found this article to be of interest, visit Programmable Logic Designline where – in addition to my blogs on all sorts of "stuff" – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to programmable logic devices of every flavor and size (FPGAs, CPLDs, CSSPs, PSoCs...).
Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).
I agree with CSA, the plastic bags do conform more readily around my backpack, and reduce the odd shapes of the cables and odd ends competing for the same spot in my back... LoL, do anyone get that feeling of pain on the back when something is not quite right and protrudes to cause a backache?
Even though I don;t think I will use these myself -- I'm certainly impressed with the idea -- this is one of those things where you say to yourself "I wish I'd thought of that"...
Oh to invent something that (a) people want (b) you can make for pennies and (c) you can sell for dollars...