Taming your cables

Where's there's computer, there's going to be cables which means you're going to be annoyed ...

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motoyen / Flickr

There’s a curious and inexplicable fact about USB cables: No matter which way you insert a plug into a socket, the plug will appear to be the wrong way up. So, you flip it over and try again and it still won’t fit. So you flip it over one more time and, voila! The plug now fits.

You can be as careful as you like on that first attempt but I’d say there’s about an 80 percent, maybe even 90 percent, probability that the plug won’t go in the first time. While this is bad enough with full-sized USB plugs, it’s the micro USB plugs that really confound all attempts to not play the three tries game. But there is an answer …

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WinnerGear's Micflip

The answer is the Micflip from WinnerGear. This cable has a standard, full-sized USB plug on one end and, at the other end of the three-foot long braided nylon cable, a micro USB plug that, wonder of wonders, can be plugged in without even considering whether its the right way up. Oh, and the plug housings are aluminum and the plugs are gold-plated. How much? Ah, there’s the rub: $19.99. On the other hand, if you’re a road warrior or videographer or anyone who travels to far away places where replacement USB cables are rarer than hen’s teeth, these are definitely for you.

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Griffiin reversible standard USB plug

[UPDATE] Now if the device you're connecting to has a Lightning socket, then which way the plug is oriented doesn't matter but you still can wind up playing the three tries game with the standard USB plug on the other end. To avoid that irritation you need either Griffin's Premium Braided Lightning Cable (5 feet) or their Extra-long Premium Braided Lightning Cable (10 feet). The USB connector on these cables have a nifty design that allows connection no matter which way "up" the plug is inserted. The non-kinking wear-resistant braided cable  is color-matched to current iPhone, iPad and iPod touch colors. These cables are priced at $29.99 for the 5 foot version and $39.99 for the 10 foot version.

Now, all we need is a cable with a reversible standard USB plug on one end and a reversible micro USB plug on the other ...

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[Fuse]Chicken's Titan Loop

While I’m on the topic of cables and travel, I just received a curious device for on-the-go charging: The Titan Loop from the wonderfully weirdly named [Fuse]Chicken. Combining a standard USB connector with a Lightning plug at either end of a 9 inch, steel armored cable the Titan Loop is intended to pretty much indestructible. You can slip your key rings onto the cable then lock the loop shut by inserting the Lightning plug into the clip on the side of the USB connector. Again, as with the Micflip, this gadget, at $30, is spend but also darn useful for those people who are out and about.

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Griffin's Hanger

My final cable gadget is from Griffin. If you, like me, have multiple gadgets in your cars then you also have cables lying around so you’re forever trying to reach cables lying on the floor or prying them out from under your passengers’ butts. Griffin’s answer is ridiculously simple: The Hanger, a rubber pad that clips onto a vent fin and has three slots to hold unattached cables out of harms way. At just $4.99; it’s a steal.

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