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Monday, April 10, 2017


Posted by Author R. Ann Siracusa

Ahh, the ties that bind us. There are so many quotes, most with a spiritual overtones, and so many ties connecting us to others, to ideals, to beliefs, and to things.
Hmm! This blog also addresses dealing with the cords that bind us, but the romantic kind but the other kind that are more than annoying but totally unimportant in the scheme of the universe.


When I visit other countries, many of the tourists I travel with are overwhelmed and horrified when they see, in many cities, masses of electric cords above the streets.
Well, okay. After all, these cities are very crowded and poverty is prevalent. The country doesn't have the money to invest in undergrounding the wires. Plus, with such low incomes, it's not surprising people tap into the city's electricity. But we don't have to look that far to see the same thing.
Sometime during my twenty-five years of foreign travel, I had an epiphany. I don't think I could pinpoint it, or even remember which trip it was, but when I came home and tried to catch up on the cleaning that hadn't been done while I'm away … bam! There it was.

The communication ties of daily living -- phone, TV, computer, tablets, speakers, coffee pot, cell phone, and the cords that power them – have become a scourge. A mass of unsafe cords and electrical connections. And I'm guessing my household isn't the only one.
Do you have plug extensions in your house? 
Do you have masses of wires and cords behind your computer desk, some of them from older setups not even connected to anything?
Obviously, during the past twenty-plus years the number of outlets needed by the average household has multiplied until it would now be a long exercise to list everything in your house you plug in with a power cord. And another fact of life is that most houses, even recently-built ones, don't have enough outlets for the average needs. The scant number of those provided are not located in the most functional locations and are not installed at the correct height.
Solving a Two Pronged Problem

Considering all the innovative electronics and the accessories we have to be plugged into an electrical socket, including cars, you'd think someone would have come up with an effective and reasonable way to manage the deluge of power cords. When I say reasonable, I mean inexpensive enough to be within reach of most people who have this problem, easy to clean around, and easy enough for an fat old lady with severe arthritis in her hands to actually use.There are a numerous products on the market … whether they are reasonable or not I can't say about most. Our best inventors are hard at work.
● Increasing the number of outlets
During the mid- to late-twentieth century the common solutions were devices plugged into the current outlet, expanding two service receptacle into four or six, and extension cords.
Toward the end of the century, we had evolved into surge protectors and other more sophisticated devices, but they still plugged into an ordinary wall outlet. The need for more outlets was obvious.
Then along came those huge box-like black plugs – I associate them with computers and accessories – that use up the space for two or three of the outlets in the surge protector. So we need more than one surge protector.

The Shark Tank inventiveness of today's engineers and inventors has produced new and more compact ways to increase the number of outlets available, while improving the safety of such devices. 

Of course, the best way would be to require builder to install a larger number of appropriately placed outlets in houses. I suppose that's too simple for the twenty-first century.

Managing the many cords
Managing the many cords of our lives depends on several approaches. The first is bundling them, binding them together, and then covering them up.
I've tried a few of these, in particular the Tidy Tube style. It took forever to get the cords inside the tube. Then, a few weeks later, I had to take them all out to get at one cord. By the way, they have the sidewinder in black, but I love the one below that resembles a snake.
The Tidy Tube

Cords bound in manufacturing                       Sidewinders snap together

with several rotating plugs.


● Making the solutions more aesthetic
I have to say, aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder. These first four products are samples of humorous or cute ways to keep individual cord separate and untangled. The second four are samples to making the cords look better or at least less detectable. Three of my favorites are the "Cordie", "Great Balls of Wires", and  "The Kitty Cord Holder". 

These two are not going to win prizes for aesthetics or safety. They are both accidents waiting to happen.
● Reducing the number of required Outlets needed
One way of accomplishing this is to have a charger the uses one plug but can charge multiple devices, sometimes at the same time. This approach is viable and useful. I found the one I had, just a flat surface, required a lot of fiddling around to find the correct position for the device in order to charge. It got to be a hassle, and I quit using it. Hopefully, other brands work.
Again, the most logical solution is to find a way to make most devices and appliances cordless. Too bad we don't live in a perfect world.
Okay, I've vented. I'm getting off my soap box right now.


jean hart stewart said...

Couldn't agree more....hate those ugly extensions but have to have them,I guess. Sometimes I look around my work space and all I see is wires!

Melissa Keir said...

It is dangerous! Too many plugs in an outlet can overwhelm it and start a fire. I like the new wireless charging for my phone. :)

Judy Baker said...

I looked around my house and you're right...not enough outlets and way too many cords and extension cords. You should see my house at Christmas!

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