I'm just going to ignore the whole flame war, and offer some constructive advice on how to simplify and/or make this setup easier to manage.
1. Exceeding the 16-foot USB length limit using Active USB 2.0 extension cables
. These are in fact cables with a single-port USB 2.0 hub built into the end of the cable.
According to the USB specifications, you can daisy-chain up to 4 hubs in a row between devices, which allows you to have the PC 64 feet away from you and still have your local USB devices work properly.
2. New USB laptop docks
integrate all major communications ports into a single USB 2.0 connection, and you don't need a laptop for this to work.
This particular dock (which is just the first one I saw) includes the following local ports:
- DB-9 serial port
- DB-27 parallel port
- 10/100 Ethernet jack
- PS/2 keyboard port
- PS/2 mouse port
- 2 USB 2.0 hub ports
So rather than stringing your keyboard, mouse, parallel printer cable, Palm dock serial cable, scanner cable, and other various stuff back to your distant PC, you really only need this dock and one USB 2.0 cable to pass it all back to the distant PC.
(Since this dock is itself a hub, you'd only be able to use 3 of the active extenders, and only get 48 feet away from the PC.)
3. For VGA cable extensions, basically the cheap stuff is unshielded and unpaired. If the cables are short, you will not notice the effects of this crappy design, but the image quality will rapidly degrade as the cable length increases.
It's the same with network cables. You could probably run gigabit ethernet over two 4-foot chunks of straight-wire phone cord but the signaling would begin to fail with longer lengths due to the signal leakage, crosstalk, external noise, etc.
For best performance, the three Red/Green/Blue signal lines need to be isolated from each other in separate coaxial cables, with grounded shields. Usually the heavier the shielding on the coaxials, the bigger and stiffer the outer cable will be.
This "Pro series high integrity" 75-ft Belkin VGA extension cable
is interesting in addition to the 3 RGB coaxials, they also use twisted pairs for the sync and other wires, which helps keep those signal lines clean.
Really, the best place to put the PC is on a shelf somewhere in the laundry room. That droning noise will fit right in next to the washer and dryer...