I have an external hard drive and other portable devices with lengthy USB cords and I usually un-plug them from the device and leave it in the drawer until I decide to use it. I am always bothered by having deal with the long cords. Griffin makes these short USB Mini Cables and they are exactly what I've been looking for.
These three universally useful USB cable adapters are perfect for your computer in one handy kit: USB to mini-USB (used in cameras, MP3 players and many portable USB devices), USB to micro-USB (used in smartphones and compact USB players), and USB to Apple's 30-pin Universal Dock connector (used in iPod, iPhone, and iPad). Compact and pocketable, this kit is great for laptops, mini-notebooks, and more. Tuck handily into your backpack, handbag, or carry-on.