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Taming the power pack sprawl: photo contest highlights mess under desktops

Start-up Green Plug sponsors a contest to highlight the need to clean up the cable and power pack mess caused by consumer electronics.

Here's one that many CNET readers can enjoy: snap a photo of that dusty rat's nest of wires under your desk. Best-case scenario, you win lunch in Beverly Hills and maybe influence green-tech policy.

Green Plug's mission is to create a universal hub to power consumer electronics. Green Plug

The contest is called "What's Under your Desk" and it's put on by Green Plug, a company that launched at Demo last year. Here's a video review from Michelle Thatcher at CNET and write-up from's Erica Ogg on Webware.

The idea is to send in photos of those tangled messes caused by consumer electronics to make the point that something seriously wrong with our cable and plug system. There's also a link to sign a petition for the U.S. to set a green plug standard.

Green Plug's mission is to sign up electronics manufacturers to use its chip that would go into power supplies. With the chip, consumers would be able to plug any device into a hub to power multiple devices. Software, which the company intends to make available for free, will be able to read exactly how much power a device needs.

Sure, the contest is self-serving. But you have to admit that the Green Plug people are onto something.

A universal, or at the very least more energy-efficient, plug system could clean up your electronic lives at home and make traveling a heck of a lot lighter, since you wouldn't need a separate charger for every device you carry.

Environmentally, those power packs are inefficient and wasteful. Most of them draw energy from the wall socket even when they are done charging your laptop or cell phone. Notice how hot they feel when you touch them?

There are already some beauties on the Green Plug contest page; take a look. Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.

Hat tip to Earth2Tech.