More Junkmail from Bob!

Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Important Stuff.

This IS the web version.

Intel PIII

This Junkmail is being written on a brand new 733 mhz Pentium III processor. 733 mhz is 733 million cycles per second. That is very fast.

It cost $243, which is cheaper than most Pentium CPUs I've bought. This one came in the new fcpga package, which is smaller than the Slot 1 type. What does that mean? It's about $20 cheaper because there's not a lot of extra plastic around it. It also means you can see the actual chip that does the processing. Here's a picture of it:


The small blue square to the right of the penny is where all the computing takes places. The penny was not included with the processor, which helped contribute to the low price. It produces a lot of heat, so a big aluminum heat sink with a fan sits on top of it. That's unless you ascribe to the cold-sucking theory of physics, in which case there is no such thing as heat and the Pentium processor is a very efficient cold-sucker.

The opposite side is where all the data gets transferred to and from the memory and other stuff:


When you bend some of those pins, the computer stops computing.

If I had shelled out big bucks for the 1.13 ghz (1,130 megahertz) Pentium, it would stop computing without bending the pins. Intel is recalling them all because under certain combinations of temperature, voltage, etc., they stop working. It will be a couple of months before they get it fixed. Oops.,1367,38492,00.html

As I was installing my new motherboard, Windows decided to reinstall drivers for just about everything I have, including the microwave down in the kitchen. I think this must be because I went from the Intel 820 chip set to the Via chip set. In the process, I got this message more than once:

        "Please wait while windows builds a driver information database."

This is a worthless message. If it was really building a database with driver information, it would be so small it would be almost instant. Then it would be saved so it wouldn't have to keep on building it whenever a new driver is installed. I think it must be scanning all the drivers and collecting some information to see what ports or interrupts are available.

I guess "building a driver information database" sounds better than saying, "We are now reading a bunch of files we installed, trying to figure out how the heck we configured your computer, because we were too stupid to save this information when we configured it in the first place."


I fairly regularly get letters and email from people in Nigeria promising me several million dollars if I let them use my bank account to transfer some "leftover" money from government contracts out of the country. This is a two-part scam. First, they sell the bank account information and try to use it for things like getting credit cards, etc.

Second, and more interesting, is what happens if you're particularly gullible. They may talk you into sending them a few thousand dollars in operating money. But the big part is when they ask you to go to Nigeria to sign some papers. Then they kidnap you. How? They take you somewhere, explain how you have broken the law, and require that you pay a lot of money in fines and bribes before they let you go home. It's a fairly common scam for Nigeria.

Let's see.... Bill Clinton was in Nigeria last week, wasn't he?

Here are some warnings from the U.S. State Department about travel to Nigeria. I probably won't go there right away.

Cold, Soft, Cash

"Soft money" for political campaigns used to be strictly restricted for issue advertising, and the candidates were not allowed to have anything to do with it. That's been gradually changing over the years, and last week Bush had someone cancel an ad against Gore that he considered in bad taste. That would have been unheard of 8 or 12 years ago, but now the rules have been bent long enough that nobody cares.

It's kind of funny how Bush and Gore shout about how we need campaign finance reform, but when it comes down to it neither will pass a significant campaign finance reform law. The Democrats and Republicans make too much money from the unlimited contributions, even though they don't have direct control over the money. Well, in theory they don't.

Oh well, it beats Nigeria. I wonder why they wouldn't kidnap Clinton?

Forest fires are burning in the west, funguses are killing oak trees on the Pacific coast, army worms are killing the grass in Oklahoma, and the Democratic National Convention is over. Coincidence? Maybe.

You Can Believe Everything You Read on the Internet

Companies send out press releases when they have news to release. You can pay the Associated Press a few hundred dollars and have your press release sent out to lots of newspapers. The ones who like it will print it. For financial news, there is Business Wire and PR Newswire. Public companies send out financial press releases to these services, and the news gets distributed to the major financial news services, like CNNFN, CNBC or MSNBC, and to lots of small companies and individuals.

There's a new financial news wire called Internet Wire. On Friday morning at 9:30 they distributed a press release they received about Emulex, a company that makes fiber optic communication equipment. It said that their recent financial statements had to be revised to show a big loss instead of a big profit due to an SEC investigation, and that the CEO had resigned. There was a problem, though. The press release was a fake.

Within 15 minutes the news had hit the internet message boards. At 10:00 CNBC had news about the Emulex stock's "free fall."  At 10:13, Bloomberg ran a headline about the SEC investigation and the CEO's resignation.

From there the word spread everywhere. By 10:29 a.m. the stock had dropped to $45 down 60% from the day before. That's when Nasdaq stopped the trading. They started again at 1:30, and the stock was back up to $120.

Word travels fast online, even when it's not true. The FBI, SEC, NASDAQ, and a lot of other initials are investigating. I think some people made and lost a lot of money on this fiasco.

Stupid Pilot Tricks

Last Tuesday a Northwest Airlink plane was parked in front of a maintenance hangar at Memphis. Then it wasn't. It rolled away because someone apparently forgot to block the wheels. Oops! It ended up in a 14-foot deep concrete drainage ditch. (Yeah, I realize there wasn't a pilot involved in this one.)

Two days later in Newark, a Continental Express turboprop landed and spun around in a circle, blowing 4 tires in the process. Nobody was hurt, and no passengers were charged extra for the ride.

And finally, the Goodyear Blimp hit its mooring pole the week before last. It's a good thing they use helium instead of hydrogen now...

Pictures of Today

The pictures of today are bugs!

This is a needle fly I think. Most of them are blue, but this one is brown.


This dragonfly has a lot thicker body.


I thought this was an assassin bug, but when I checked it out I decided it must be a wheel bug.

       wheelbug1.jpg     wheelbug2.jpg

This is a black bug. They come out at night.


This is a nocturnal black grasshopper named Gemini.


This is a green grasshopper named Katy.


This is an orb weaver. They come in different colors. They fold up into something that looks like a piece of a leave or bark when they're resting. They usually build webs across a path I'm walking along.




They're pretty small and they don't bite. At least they've never bitten me.


We're building an airplane!

Hope it flies.

(@) 2000, All rights conserved. No unauthorized copying or duplication, electronic or otherwise, of this fine collection of datums is a violation of United States Copyright laws, and as such none will be prosecuted under the penalty of interest.

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Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!