Saturday, April 12, 2008


Written 10 April, 2008


I love Dreamfields spaghetti. It tastes like any other pasta, yet has far fewer carbohydrates. I thank Pam Havercamp for telling me about it.

But I DON’T like the spaghetti behind my computer.

OMG, what a mess!

Cables, cables, cables!

There are: Power cords (two computers, two printers, two monitors, APC). Video cables (two). Parallel printer cable. Speaker wires. Keyboard cable. Mouse cable. Network cables. Cable co-axial. Phone lines to the computer and to my telephone. USB connectors (label printer, web cam, game controller, Skype phone, printer, hub. Firewire cables for external hard drives. And then there are those darn annoying power supplies that take up two or three spaces on a power strip: modem, powered speakers, USB hub, microphone, label printer, external hard drives, Skype phone, the cordless phone.

And on top of all that there are orphaned cables that ran to components long retired and which remain a part of the spaghetti.

I’ve tried to untangle the mess, but nothing seems to help. By the time everything is plugged in again, it’s spaghetti, and every single wire is entangled with 30 others. I despair of ever getting it all straightened out.

And I dread having to remove them all from my computer.

A month ago I did that rarest of rare things: I turned off my desktop. A line of thunderstorms had moved through and a tornado had hit downtown Atlanta hard, just nine miles from my home. A second line was moving through. I woke to wind and rain on my roof, watched the news while idling in Second Life, and then powered down the PC.

When I woke again at 9:30 am, the computer wouldn’t start.

And so I did the logical thing. I drove in a panic to Fry’s and used every single penny of the money I had after buying a private island on a dual-core Compaq.

It was a computer which fairly sucked, but at least I was on the grid before noon.

I sorted out the problem with my VAIO (power supply, my first guess), installed it, and took the Compaq back to Fry’s for a refund.

All was well. But I had to face the spaghetti.

I’m only now really getting settled. It took me a couple of days to sort out the sound (complicated, powered speakers and extension cables to carry sound to my headphones, so I won’t have to walk behind my desk every time I plug in). Then there was a problem with the USB. The connectors on the back of the computer quit working. (Fortunately, I remembered a similar problem from a previous computer and was able to uninstall them; they reinstalled themselves and everything was hunky-dory. But it was dicey, I tell you, since I couldn’t find a non-USB mouse. Of course, every time I uninstalled the port that controlled the mouse, the cursor froze and I had to reboot. Grrr! Reminder to self: Buy one of those horrible mice with roller balls and DIN cable, just in case).

Then there was a hum in my speakers. They sound good, but are big and clunky, and I didn’t mind replacing them. I found a nice pair of Altec-Lansings for $29 at Office Depot.

Before I left for work this morning, I rebooted my computer (had to, because of the goddamned automatic updates). When I go home for lunch, I’ll check to be sure all the USB components are working.

And if they are, I’ll cook up some Dreamfields pasta in celebration.

But, you know, the processor fan on the VAIO is making a horrible noise. And it looks like a new video card will be necessary in order to run the new Second Life viewer. Maybe I’ll just hold off on the spaghetti until I’m sure things are really sorted out.


Peter Stindberg said...

Been there. Various times. I now have a large wood panel where all the peripherial devices (DSL modem, router, WLAN station etc) are fixed. It also features a couble of nails where cables could be slung around. The woodboard itself is hung to the wall behind my desk by two hooks.

It's not perfect, and does not solve the spaghetti completel, but it works.

Only yesterday someone recommended a new box to me which would allow me to get rid of the DSL modem, the ISDN box, the router, the WLAN and the DECT base station. It costs almost 300 US$, but it would allow me to save ~120 US$ on electricity per year as well.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

I think I'm just going to pour a jar of Ragu over the wires and forgeddaboutit.

ThePurpleSeal said...

I just thought it may be of some interest to you to know, a while back i came across a british labels company who sold me a batch of plain labels at a really low price. If you are at all interested then it may be worth visiting their website so see if you could save some money on your labels.