Stuff I Use is a series on Tech & Coffee that highlights products that the author personally uses and finds to be nothing short of awesome. Just click the product link below to be taken to an Amazon product page.
Griffin Mini USB Kit
My occupation requires me to be be fairly flexible and mobile when it comes to the tech I use. Over the past two years, I've worked to downsize the amount of items that I carry in my bag (and the size of the bag itself) to just those things that are necessary to get the job done while working remotely. I've read blog posts from various sites that highlight the items in their bags, and this particular item was highlighted in several. I realized that I was carrying three types of USB cables to interact with other items in the bag. All were between 4 and 6 feet in length, and I had wrapped up each using the 'bull horn' method of cable management and stuck them into a inner compartment.
After seeing this product, I realized that there were very few times that I had ever needed the 4 to 6 feet of cable when using these connections remotely. The mini-USB cable is for hooking up an external hard drive, which is always in very close proximity to my laptop itself. The 30-pin iPod connector is obvious, and again, never needed to be very far away from the laptop as I was using it to either sync or charge the Apple device in my bag. The micro-USB cable is actually the most used out of the 3 cables, because I have a few gadgets that use this connection. The decision I made in the end is that there was no need to have a long cable for any of these 3 connection types in my bag, and so I picked up a set of the Griffin Mini Cables. They sit very nicely in the inside upper pocket (which is tiny), and take up relatively no space in my bag, but provide all the functionality that their much longer predecessors did.
After using these cables for well over a year, I can state that they are extremely durable. The connections "stay put" when in my devices, which is a very important factor for any mobile cable selection. The only drawback of the cables that I can cite is that when you lend one out, you may have to hunt down the borrower to give it back. Seriously though, the only minor thing I'd like to see integrated into this product would be a color indicator near the non-standard USB tip. When light is low, I sometimes have trouble telling the difference between the mini and micro-USB variants. If you are trying to reduce your mobile tech into a more compact set of tools, these cables are an awesome start.