The Two Cable Desktop

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BNK0CtLCMAAP2L1.jpg:large

It's not pretty yet, but it's functionally complete.

For a long time it has pissed me off the number of things I have to plug into my notebook when I use it on my desktop. After putting some thought into it, I have reduced it to two cables to plug everything I want.

How is it setup?

Cable 1: USB Hub

Yes, you need a large one. I got a 7-port Belkin powered USB Hub, because the ASUS Zenbook has only two USB ports.

Cable 2: Power

I got two power adapters, one is permanently on the desktop, so that I can throw the cable down the back and not have it cross in front. The other lives in my backpack, so I don't have to crawl under the desk to plug/unplug it.

Audio

A 2.1 speaker set. These speakers have a volume wheel, which is nice, and they are rather loud, even if I know they are not all that good, they are good enough for me.

To avoid plugging them into the notebook, they are plugged into a bluetooth audio adapter (the white dongle in the USB Hub) which I got out of dx.com for cheap.

I also have a Bluetooth headset (charging in the image), which I can use for phonecalls, hangouts, etc without being tied to the computer.

Keyboard/Mouse

The combined keyboard/trackpad shown, by Logitech, works with a tiny dongle that's plugged in the hub, so when I plug the hub it "just works", no pairing needed.

It's not really all that much better than the Zenbook's keyboard, but:

  • Having the pad on the right means I don't brush it while typing
  • Having it in the shelf with the Zenbook on the table makes for better ergonomics.

Network

This is actually a wired network. There is a USB/Ethernet adapter plugged in the hub. That lets me use the high priority port in my router. Plus I don't lose the adapter.

Device Charging

I can charge up to 4 devices. The headset has a weird cable, so it's plugged to the hub. When not charging, it drops behind the table.

The red extensible cables, I got from dx.com (they are, very cheap) and they are awesome.

  • They retract, so when not in use they don't tangle.
  • They are both mini and micro USB cables, because the head has both connectors. They were also 30-pin old iPhone cables, but I didn't need that, so I removed the connectors.

Since the hub is powered, I can charge all the devices even when the notebook is not there.

Random Devices

I still have the right-side USB port free, so I can plug random things there, like the golden 200x USB microscope shown in the image, or a USB plasma ball.

Conclusion

Nothing very strange, but I think I achieved a very clean setup, where I can plug my notebook into all the peripherals in 10 seconds and turn it into a "desktop" with a minimum of annoyance.

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