Cable Management

In total there are still quite a few cables that need to be managed.


  • Mouse
  • Printer
  • Wacom
  • iPhone Dock
  • Camera

Of these, the Printer, Wacom, iPhone and mouse are needed whenever my MacBook is plugged in.

The mouse dongle can happily sit in a MacBook usb port, This is where I use and when I remove the laptop it’ll help me remember to take the mouse with me.   That leaves 4 USB Devices, but only 2 remaining USB Ports in the machine.   To solve this issue, I’ll use a USB Hub.

These come in two main flavours, Powered and unpowered.  An unpowered hub will draw power from the usb port in to work, all the devices need to sit together and not draw too much power. If something draws 500mA of power the other devices won’t have enough to work.  In total all the devices plugged into the USB Hub need to draw less that 500mA total.

A Powered hub on the other hand has the advantage that they can pull power from the mains, so each port can supply 500mA to it’s device without issue.  This is more powerful and a better solution, especially when there’s a docked iPhone in the mix – the hub will charge the iPhone while it syncs.

I’ll need at least a 4-port mains powered USB Hub. More ports is better to allow for other devices to be added later.  Also for my overall cable management, having a USB Hub does mean that is only one USB Cable to plug into the MacBook.  Nice and convenient.

To make this worthwhile, I’d opt for a 7 port or maybe even a 13 port usb hub


  • Macbook Pro
  • Printer
  • Wacom
  • Camera (battery charger)
  • USB Hub
  • Spares for other things – Video camera for example.

The mains power will need to be taken into consideration for this project.  I don’t want to have to power every device all the time.  If I’m not printing or scanning, I don’t want power going to the printer, if I’m not printing or scanning.  From the list above I can see that I need 5 sockets, plus I’d like a few spares to allow for temporary things to be added.

So what’s my options for the mains power?

There is a device called an IntelliPanel this is a clever device that turns on the periherals only when the laptop is being used. This is great for the monitor and printer, no so good for plug in chargers, but there is a couple of always on sockets which might suffice for that.   I have one of these for my TV setup, my xBox360, DVD player and VCR all turn on and off when the TV is off.  what’s even better is that the TV does not stay on standby either.     I’m defiantly interested in how this one would work.  Will look into this further.

It’s also worth pointing out that the IntelliPanel has surge protection built in.  Since we are talking about alot of money’s worth of equipment surge protection is a good idea. I’ll not been to worry about phone or network surge protection as the devices will connect wirelessly to my existing home network.

On the downside, the IntelliPanel does require a USB socket in the laptop.

Instead going for the all in one solution of the InteliPanel maybe there is a more traditional solution that can achieve the same thing.

First I’d use a 6-way extension lead with switches and surge protector. I’d plug the laptop into one of the sockets, the second socket would plug into a second extension lead (maybe a 6 way). My printer, USB Hub, Monitor would plug into this second extension.  That would leave a single socket in my peripheral line for something else, and two switched sockets that I can use for chargers or other devices. To make this work best, I will have the extension with the sockets on the desktop for easy access, and the one for the peripherals hidden away.

The reason for using 6 gang extensions instead of 4 which will most likely be the minimum needed, is to allow for the some addition items should I have need to do so.  As the main focus here is to create a good relaxed uncluttered area for work, this will hopefully prove to be sockets that would be used to temporary projects rather than for permenant additions.

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