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You don't know Jack PC? You should

Forget all that nonsense about small form-factor PCs -- get a PC that's so small you could lose it down the back of the sofa

We've seen some funky PC designs in our time, but this has to be the most bizarre and inspiring. It's Chip PC Technologies' Jack PC -- a thin client that's the size of a plug socket.

The device is essentially a stripped-down network PC that relies on a server to carry out most tasks. Most thin clients resemble skinny PCs (hence the name) or fat monitors (made bloaty because of extra internal computing gubbins), so they're a bit pointless for home use.

We wouldn't normally touch them with a bargepole, but the Jack PC got us thinking. It's versatile enough to fit into an ordinary Ethernet port, has a front-facing DVI monitor output, four USB ports and a couple of audio ports, so it could be perfect as a low-power Internet kiosk for the home.

Just imagine: you can surf the Web and perform basic computing wherever there's an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi (via a USB dongle) and a screen -- you can even use your home TV with the Jack PC tucked way out of sight.

The Jack PC doesn't need to be connected to a mains supply -- it can draw all its power from the Ethernet port using Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. As a result, it's very power efficient, so it'll cost you less in electricity bills despite using an 'up to 500MHz' AMD RISC processor, which the company says is equivalent to a more traditional 1.2GHz CPU.

The Jack PC comes with 64MB of flash memory, 128MB of RAM, and runs Windows CE. It'll set you back £209 from Chip PC Technologies. -RR