yes m8 your about right, most long cables are shielded anyway to overcome signal loss over the distance. i think USB is 10m or 15m
monitors, well i used to sell a 2m extension kit, coverd all cables you would use. inc keyboard and mouse.
after 2m you need shielded on a monitor or it can pick us interference from just about anything over 2m.
IDE spec calls for 18" cables. 24" seems to be okay, haven't really heard of any probs, even with round cables. There are 36" IDE's available.
USB1.1/2 and firewire need hubs or repeaters over a certain length, And I know at least with my monitor, if add "any" extension, the visual quality is unusable and at a 3' extension, there is not enough of a signal for the monitor to turn on.
Keyboards, and mice appear to be able to go fairly far without degredation.
Ep, glad to see you come back and tidy up...did want to ask a one day favor, I want to enhance my resume , was hoping you could make me administrator for a day, if so, take me right off since I won't be here to do anything, and don't know the slightest about the board, but it would be nice putting "served administrator osnn", if can do, THANKS