If your desk makes any concessions for storage or organization, they’re probably outdated. Maybe you’ll get a pull-out drawer with a built-in trough for pens and pencils, or the cabinet off to the side that’s designed to accommodate hanging file folders. But unless you’re a middle-school vice principal, you probably aren’t dealing with hanging file folders on an everyday basis. It’s far less often that you’ll find a desk that pays any mind to the office supply we’re using more than any other these days: our laptops. The Cable Fondler, by designer Jono Chatterton, is a simple piece of bamboo that sticks to your desk and keeps all your laptop cables tidily at the side of your desk where you need them—because no adult should have to suffer the indignity of crawling under their desk to retrieve a lost power cord.
The Cable Fondler is the first product in Chatterton’s new "Open Parachutes" initiative, a line of products that "create simple solutions to everyday problems." And he’s right: It’s hard to think of an everyday problem that is more easily solvable than runaway computer cables.
It’s an issue that manifests itself in one of two undesirable situations. Either you haul enough of your cable up onto your desktop to keep it in place when not in use (convenient cable access; messy desktop) or you let it get yanked down off the desk by the weight of the attached power brick (clean desktop; inconvenient cable access). The Cable Fondler is as simple a solution as there is: It’s a bamboo comb you stick to the side of your desk, keeping up to five cables off your desktop but still at arm’s reach.
In creating the Fondler, Chatteron explored more complex cable management solutions—from elaborate molded plastic with suction cups to folded metal—but wisely settled on the most straightforward. "I realized that it didn’t need to be a huge thing that sat on your desk," he says. "All you needed was a loop to hold the cables in place and prevent them from falling off the desk." Bamboo plywood, he says, was an easy choice for the material: It’s lightweight, strong, and environmentally friendly.
Maybe someday our desks will be designed to fondle our laptop’s cables themselves. As Chatteron’s solution proves, all it takes is a few simple loops to keep everything orderly. Although I’m sure by the time that happens, all our laptops will charge by induction anyway, and we’ll be complaining about the fact that we have to buy third-party power pads instead of having desktops that supply the juice all on their own.