Desk modifications

The way I used to have my desk setup, the cable from my headphones would drape across the desk to the audio interface sat on top of the desk, right at the back. Annoyingly, it would also drape across the keyboard. If I wanted to move my hand to or from the keyboard and I was listening to music at the time, to reach either my mouse or trackpad, I’d have to draw my arm back towards my body to clear the headphone cable and then move it left or right. I forgot and snagged my hand on the wire so many times that I started researching Bluetooth headphones.

I also use Yubikeys extensively to protect access to various things I have and use. Guess where the USB hub that holds them is? Yes, you guessed it, up near where the audio interface was. What if I could bring both the audio interface and the Yubikeys down to the front of the desk somehow, so that my headphone wire wouldn’t be in the way and the Yubikeys were easier to reach?

I thought about ways to get the hub and audio interface mounted underneath the desk, from fabricated metal hangers and adhesive hooks, to invasive things that need me to drill holes or taps into the desk. Then I remembered that I’d bought a headphone hanger recently and it came with a 3M adhesive pad for attaching it to the surface you wanted.

3M sell a wide range of different double-sided adhesive tapes for bonding various things to each other, mostly under the VHB (very high bond) moniker. The variant on my headphone hanger, whatever it is, does a great job, so sticking with what I knew worked well, but the tapes aren’t branded on the film you remove so I didn’t have any way of telling what variant was used with my headphone hanger. I settled on RP45 based on the materials the documentation says its useful for (I needed wood, plastic and metal), bought from Amazon (if you click that link and buy it, my company gets a referral bonus).

Then it was just a matter of checking cable lengths to make sure everything would reach if placed in a new home. The USB hub is on a really short cable, so I picked up a USB 3.0 extension cable (same deal with the referral!) and got to work.

The end result is exactly what I wanted.

A post shared by Rys (@ryszu) on

I’ve since also added a discrete USB switch, to let me move my keyboard from my iMac to my PC at the press of a button, a bit like reaching under a shop counter to activate a silent alarm. That’s to the left of the audio interface in the picture, between it and the headphone hanger.

The USB ports are on the right hand side of the desk at the front, with the cables routed through the collecting mesh on the underside of the desk, used to hold the power supply and controlling cable for the sit-stand functionality.

Anyway, one less set of constant frustrations as I work.