An Easy Fix For The Laptop’s Biggest Design Flaw

Ponzi wrote today’s report on an airplane en route from SNA to SEA.

If you’ve ever headed to the airport an hour or two early or had a layover on a coast to coast flight, I’m sure you’ll agree with me on what I’d like to write about.

What is the one worst design flaw of all computers? What’s the most annoying bit of necessity we all hate to handle, yet spend hours each year fiddling with? The power cord. Here’s my take on how we deal with it.

  1. There are the people in denial. They get rid of it altogether and act like it’s not a problem — until they have to deal with it. They put it out of mind and out of sight — pack it in the suitcase. As svelte and cord free as these people are in the airport, secretly they are the ones who frantically throw everything out of their suitcases looking for it when they have a blackout in the taxi on the way to the hotel. (I know — because I’ve done it.)
  2. The people who don’t care. This group just stuffs that whole cord into the backpack or bag and say that’s part of carrying the laptop, deal with it. Then all their crap comes pouring out when its time to use it — thanks! We really wanted to see your half eaten powerbar and pink pouch that holds your Carefree mini maxi.
  3. Last, there are the ones who try to act like they have some control. This would be my crowd for the moment (I tend to bounce between all three). They roll up the cord and use the piece of velcro if they have it (IBM tried to give us a solution) which usually doesn’t fit the whole cord. Personally I use a black twisty tie to corral the rest of it. While I’m doing this I ponder to myself how much of my life has been given to corraling various cords.

I wonder who is going to be the first company to give us retractable cords. Or at least a wrap lock. Let us wind it around the power adaptor neatly and put in a little clamp. Or better yet a small trough around the power base that u’s to hold a winding cord with a clamp cover. (Maybe they could incorporate the use of those horrible hair clips from the ’90s) I promise you (insert huge corporate hardware company with lots of money for R&D) you would have a lot of happy customers. Heck I’d even bet you too Mr./Mrs. Big Corporate Designer would like it if your cords weren’t everywhere. :)

I will say this for Apple — my MacBook has an adaptor that allows me to make my cord long or short and a small little clip to hold the wire to itself. It’s not very efficient but it was an effort toward acknowledging the problem. So kudos to Apple for trying and at least giving me choices. Too bad the clip part doesn’t really hold it strongly and the wire doesn’t wrap smoothly. Yeah — back to the drawing board on that one, please.

Being a woman who travels quite a bit and likes to carry many gadgets, the less cordage I have to tote, the better. If anyone has any devices with smart cord options — please share.

I’m on a flight now writing this post. Here are the contents of my bag.

  1. MacBook (I’m toting this as a new option for my computing needs; still not convinced of its powers though I am mesmerized by its beauty)
  2. ThinkPad (on lap in hand now — not pretty, but still chosen)
  3. Microphone with cord (small zippered bag) (Sennheiser e835)
  4. Recording device (M Audio — microtrack 24/96) — for podcasting
  5. Wallet/checkbook
  6. Lipstick, perfume, lip liner, vitamin E oil, nail polish (all in a quart Ziploc)
  7. Ink pen — Montblanc
  8. iPod — with earbuds from my PSP (still hate corraling these wires, too)
  9. Sunglasses — cheapo Target pair
  10. Phone — Cingular smartphone
  11. Gum
  12. Portable toothbrush
  13. life.doc CD (to do later…)

So no room for the following: Nice Bose earphones, PSP or Game Boy, more makeup, writing pads, or books. If I choose a bigger bag it’s not going to fit under the seat in front of me. I will say I’m glad the uber tiny bags are out and one large bag is in, otherwise I’d never make it with only two hands.

Ladies what do you carry in your bag? Guys, how about you: backpacks or murses (man purses)? And — what do ya’ll do about cords?

Article Written by