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You probably already know that unplugging your electronics is a good way to shave costs. Regardless of having a gadget turned on, just being plugged in sucks power and runs your bill.

This is becoming fairly common knowledge, thus, you’d expect no less than for someone to come up with a better way to do it. Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but just throwing cords on the floor isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world. Depending on just how clumsy your household is, it could also be dangerous, as well.

Minor annoyance, meet simple solution. Paulo Oh designed an outlet that will hold onto unplugged cords for you. The appropriately named Hang On Outlet is equipped with an extra shelf that is notched to secure plugs. Unplug ’em, slip ’em in, save. This is an easy way to be energy-smart while keeping your area neat.

Of course, if you’re looking to save trouble, this won’t get you there. You’ll still have to bend down and physically unplug things when you aren’t using them. Also, I don’t know about you guys, but every outlet I’ve ever had is vertical. This horizontal setup wouldn’t work out too well for me. I mean sure, you could just rotate it (in theory), but then you’re facing cords bent at sharp and awkward angles. It’s just something I’m anal about, as it’s bad for the wiring.

The Hang On Outlet is still a concept at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a release of something along these lines in the near future. [Yanko Design]

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For whatever the reason, AT&T’s site breifly announced that iPhone users would now be able to utilize free Wi-Fi.

“AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi even hotter, which is why we are proud to offer iPhone customers free access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi hot-spot network with more than 17,000 hot spots, including Starbucks. Now users can relax and access music, e-mail, and Web browsing services with their favorite blend in hand from the comfort of their favorite location.”

Of course, shortly after several bloggers had time to announce the news, AT&T took down the notice. The really amusing part is, this is actually the second time this has happened. And not only the second time, but the second time in the last six months. Bravo.

“We have not made any announcement regarding free Wi-Fi and iPhone,” said Wes Warnock, AT&T spokesperson. “The Web page was posted in error and is being removed.”

Right. Yes, we gathered that it was an error. Still, when asked why this false information had been published twice, he had no comment. I can’t beat them up too much, but at the same time, you just have to imagine AT&T sitting there going, “Man, can you BELIEVE they fell for that old trick TWICE?”

Sore-nosed users are no doubt starting to get the idea that there is not, in fact, any stain on their shirts; and by “stain” I mean “free Wi-Fi”, by “shirts” I mean “mobile devices”. Time to stop looking down. [CNET]

No matter how much of an organized minimalist I consider myself to be, I must admit I’ve been living in a workspace hell where cords reign supreme. Between the chargers, USBs, surround sound (yeah, that’s on my desk), power supplies, and computer devices, it was a nightmare.

Notice I say “was”. I did get it done, but it took me an eternity to finally say, “Hey, I’m doing this today.” I’ve been putting off the solution for months and months, knowing how much time and effort it would take to maybe solve my problem. I was well aware of the lingering chance that whatever I tried might not work, leaving me with less time in my day and a still disastrously messy space.

My other issue was money. Sure I have money, but I just couldn’t justify spending a nice wad of cash on velcro ties and wrapping mechanisms when I knew there had to be some way to accomplish it myself. They’re just cords. They’re strings, running all over my desk.

Many motivational speeches [to myself] later, I set to work. I began at 8:00 in the morning, and after about six hours of labor, my work was complete. The kind-of-cordless workspace was mine. Looking back, I can basically hash up my success to five methods.

1. Wrap. Chances are great that excess cord-age was my biggest issue; the cords I had were way too long and unwrapped. They were plugged in and thrown behind the desk; multiply by 5 and you’ve got a situation. Learn how to properly wrap cords, do so, and then secure them.

2. Rig. This is the step that plays a large role in creating that “cordless” look, while keeping a safe and organized space as well. Say your problem area is a desk (it probably is, anyway). You’ve completed step one; now, attach those cords to your space. You can purchase items solely for this purpose, or you can get creative. Personally, I secured my cords with velcro stips (cut from rolls of velcro) and attached those strips to patches of velcro on the back of my desk. They are out of the way and they aren’t being tossed into a jumbled pile.

3. Binder clips. It’s really obnoxious when cords fall off of the back of your desk; this particularly tends to happen where chargers are kept, when they aren’t plugged in. The answer is simple: binder clips. Detach one of the clip’s silver prongs, insert your cord, reattach the prong, and mount the clip to your desk or charging station. The clip will act as a catcher.

4. Label. This is another problem I used to have all the time. I possess more than enough cords to add a fire hazard to my house, and I often couldn’t tell which cord went to what; most commonly, in the power strip and on the back of my CPU. Label the ends of these cords clearly (I used a label maker), at both ends if necessary. This will save you so much hassle and grief, it’s ridiculous.

5. Use what you have. Though some materials may be necessary, try not to be lured into “cord management solution” ploys. Think rationally and be aware of what you don’t need; remember, all you’re trying to do is organize a bunch of lines. I was fortunate enough to have a sister who sews and crafts frequently, so velcro and elastic ties were readily available. Household items can be used in all sorts of ways to help your cause.

Keep these tips in mind and take my advice: Do it now. Stop making excuses, find what you need, and dive in. This can be a very enjoyable and rewarding weekend project. Good luck to you, and enjoy your sexy new workspaces.

Results

Take a look at some pictures I snapped, both for inspiration and clarification on the tips. You’ll see (in order from top to bottom):

Before and after shot of the area behind my desk

Before and after shot of the area between my desk and entertainment station (AKA power strip land)

Before and after shot of the area behind my CPU

Random shots of the fixes.

Phew!