Widget Wrestling: Sharp Outlet Organizers

August 12, 2010

Picture Shiloh Jolie-Pitt with a tail. That’s how upset we are by exquisite gadgets saddled with grotesque cords, crass stands and clunky charging bricks. “A strip was fine when we just had lamps. Now we have all these interestingly shaped plugs,” says Jake Zien, inventor of Quirky.com‘s PivotPower. The tech market teems with similarly clever doohickeys for managing the digital world’s unseemly appendages. Or, says Zien, “twisty ties are absolutely an acceptable solution.”

LEAF EXEC
The delicate, natural beauty of Korean designer Tsunho Wang’s leafy cable ties ($7 for 12) transform even the most offensive wad of wires into a flourishing vine. They can adorn the analog as well; we put one on our scissors. Emerald and olive green are pictured; four other colors are available.

HUG SHOTS
These little peel-and-stick guys embrace cords, making them stay in place AND feel loved. Unlike the majority of tech stuff (we blame Steve Jobs), CableDrops ($10 for 6) come in earth tones as well as the requisite neons.


LONG, COOL
Apple’s self-wrapping laptop chargers are all smug and compact — until you add the extension cord. The Power Curl ($15) neatens it all up nicely.

HIDE & CHIC
If cords are tangled but no one can see them, are they really tangled? That is the mystery of the CableBox. The Mini ($30), houses a four-outlet power strip; a larger version (also $30) can handle extra chaos.

GO BLOOM
Like bridesmaid dresses and subcompact American cars (sneezefordfiestasneeze), USB hubs are almost universally ugly. This one is not. Buy it ($22)!

FLUSH MOUNT
“Avatar” on a 3.5-inch display is awesome! Kidding. But the iPlunge ($6), available Sept. 1, could make it tolerable.

BIG BEND
Jointed at each “knuckle,” the flexible PivotPower ($25) can accommodate a wide variety of absurdly large power bricks with balletic grace. And it’s purty.

WRAP STAR
Your precious baby will slumber comfortably in the caress of the Driinn ($7), a simple, rubbery affair that looks like an inexplicable kitchen tool when not in use. It’s ideal for a one-gadget household.


WI-FI LOUNGE
Give your expensive touch-screen smartphone this beanbag ($10) to chill in, and maybe it will resent you less for smearing your finger grease all over it day in and day out.

NEAT (NOT EAT)
Finally, something for the woefully underserved Italian grandmother market. Nana’s iPod charger makes her molto angry! The Fork and Cream Sauce ($13) uses her pasta-twirling skills — spin the cord around the tines, then plant in the base.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: HOW TO (MAYBE) BUY SOMETHING AWESOME FROM JAPAN
The gadget wrangler we can’t show you was the best one of all — a set of toy soldiers for corralling cords, from a Japanese company that doesn’t sell to the U.S. But there had to be a way! Proving that everything exists on the Web once you wish for it, Googling “service that buys you things in japan and mails them to you” turned up a couple businesses that do just that. (A small item will probably cost at minimum $30 more.) Goody-japan.com had the best English, so we gave it our $22 deposit on July 28 and are still waiting. We’ll keep you updated.

Holly J. Morris is Express' managing editor for features.
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Vicky Hallett · August 12, 2010