My quest for a cleaner desk continues. Not long ago, this was the setup:
One screen, connected via HDMI to the receiver which in turn was connected to speakers, the Playstation 4, random USB stuff and an extra HDMI cable for visiting laptops. A Mac mini (in the bookcase just to the right of the desk) was connected via Displayport directly to the screen (because HDMI had various quirks over time while Displayport remained solid) and served as my main home computer by virtue of being connected to the large screen (and clicky keyboard).
Now, I have brought myself down to this:
My first step was realizing that the screen had enough ports to connect my devices directly. I did so, then ran a cable from audio out on the screen and into the receiver to get volume control.
The next step was the inevitable realization that the receiver took up an awful lot of space for no other gain than a nice big volume knob. I also admitted to myself just how rarely I actually used the speakers, and that I can get some smaller speaker solution to easily fill my needs. Thus, the receiver (and speakers) went out, replaced by one small on-cable volume control (which I want to upgrade to something a bit more solid as soon as I figure out what I actually want and need).
Things were starting to look nicer on the desk, but the main cause of cables remained: the Mac mini and the stuff I had connected to it. The Mini does perform a few server-type tasks which motivates it staying in my home, but it by no means needs to be the computer I type and browse on all the time. The Macbook is, after all, the computer I really enjoy using, and my inability to decide on an adapter is the main thing preventing me from connecting to the screen. I have one on its way, but impatient as I am I brought home the one I use at work. Once the Macbook was connected and humming along nicely, I started disconnecting and putting away all the Mini stuff I will no longer need day to day.
So much nicer. I did keep the Mini connected to the screen. I will be using it at least a few times per week, and switching screen input and bringing out a wireless keyboard and mouse is still a lot nicer than connecting using VNC, remote desktop or something similar. So that cable stays.
If this works out, I will have made myself a one-computer person again. I still have a silly number of other devices around, but it is a step in the right direction.