Oh, brother. As we all know so well, the office can be a draining place. But devices such as these could make even the most burnt-out middle manager excited to clock in. The USB PC Prankster looks like a stock flash drive, but as you can clearly see above, a few toggle switches enable it to become quite the headache. Once plugged in, the unlucky PC that it's attached to will have its Caps Lock enabled and disabled at random, see garbled text splattered about quarterly reports and be victim to uncontrollable, erratic cursor movements. Thankfully, the drive will never activate the Enter key nor close or save documents, so you can rest assured that it's all in good fun. Turning your office up on its head costs just £19.99 ($33), but you'll have to wait a tick 'til it comes back in stock.
Uruguay's been a huge fan of the One Laptop Per Child initiative for quite some time, and while we're still unsure if it's the entity's biggest customer, the aforesaid nation is certainly doing some serious business with Nicholas Negroponte and Company. After the first swath of youngsters received their green and white XOs back in May of 2007, the final smattering of kids have now joined the proud group of laptop-toting tots in the country's circuit of primary schools. You heard right -- every last pupil in Uruguay's primary school system now has a laptop and a growing love for Linux, and we're told that the whole thing cost the country less than five percent of its entire education budget. So, who's next?
Keeping those dreams alive by scrubbing dishes at your least favorite eatery? Best put those aspirations on the front burner, as Panasonic's got a mighty fine robot swooping in to take your place -- and for a whole lot less cash, to boot. At Panny's robotics laboratory in Osaka, the company recently showcased its latest gaggle of prototype robots designed to help humans take it easy more often. Among the usual suspects were a porter robot designed to help with heavy lifting, while the star of the show was undoubtedly the dish washing bot that wasn't afraid to get its metallic digits wet and soapy. As expected, an array of integrated sensors kept it from grabbing a wine glass too tightly, and its four fingers enabled it to do most everything a human washer could (sans the kvetching). Have a peek at these guys in action just past the break.
Questionably christened the world's first 1TB portable hardware-encrypted hard drive, Origin Storage's extra-capacious Data Locker Secure Drive is certainly the one to get if you're paranoid about whatever it is you'd keep on such a large platter. Also available in 750GB, 500GB and 320GB models, the drives are secured by AES hardware encryption and a 6 to 18 digit PIN number which must be entered directly onto the device itself before the contents become accessible. Think James Bond, but for real. The USB-powered unit also packs rubber shoulders in case things get a little crazy between you and Mr. Data Thief, though we wouldn't try running this thing through the rain forest if at all possible. The 1TB edition will be available soon for £399 ($652), while the others are priced at £299 ($488), £239 ($390) and £180 ($294) from largest to smallest.
AMD's never been much for keeping to the roadmap, and it looks like the curious launch of its Congo platform is evidence of that very fact. If you'll recall, we actually saw a Congo-based netbook launch way back in June, and it was expected that a flood of other ultrathin machines would follow shortly thereafter. According to DigiTimes, the demand in the market just wasn't there (thanks, recession!), so everything was pushed back until November. Lo and behold, our Gregorian calendar has that very month on deck for next, and according to mythical sources at laptop makers, the platform should make its super-duper official debut within a matter of weeks. The dual-core Turion Neo X2 L625, Athlon Neo X2 L335/L325 and / or single-core Athlon Neo MV-40 should be front and center, and AMD is apt to announce progress on its Nile and Brazos platforms -- both of which should help carry the chip maker through the next two years. Look out Atom, you've got some delayed competition coming your way.
Details are scarce, since the official launch won't happen until January 7 at CES next year, but Plastic Logic is looking to crash into the "pro" segment of the e-reader market (currently mostly occupied by the Kindle DX) with its upcoming QUE proReader. The unit uses E Ink Vizplex tech in a shatterproof display the size of a regular piece of paper at 8.5 x 11-inches, and has 3G wireless capabilities courtesy of AT&T and a business-centric ebook store at QUEreader.com which will be powered by Barnes & Noble. There's also a touchscreen interface, but it's unclear if that covers the entire display, or is something more akin to the leaked photos we've seen of the Barnes & Noble reader. The device is "less than 1/3-inch thick," and can handle PDF, Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, including tools for "interacting with and managing the content," which sounds beyond the scope of most e-readers on the market currently. We'll have to wait and see how useful the interface really is, and how much damage (if any) that touchscreen sensor does to readability, but a bit of diversification in the ebook space sounds like a good thing on paper. Full PR is after the break.