Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 20:39:36 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 11 MAY 00 -- P3 PROBLEMS / MR SCHNELL GOES TO
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                TOURBUS Volume 5, Number 91 -- 11 May 2000
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    Intel Pentium III Problems / Mr. Schnell Goes to Washington
TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):,4586,2566782,00.html
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama,
home of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.  (I ran out of things to
say about my hometown, so I figured I'd just start making stuff up).
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On with the show ...
Problems with Pentium IIIs
Okay, folks, this is a little complicated.  Earlier this week, Intel
announced that Pentium III motherboards equipped with something called
a "memory translator hub" (MTH) may be sensitive to system noise,
causing your computer to reboot or crash unexpectedly.  If your
Pentium III computer is affected by this bug, Intel will either issue
you a (I assume partial) refund or replace both your motherboard and
your RAM, replacing your current RAM with 128 Mb of RDRAM (RDRAM is
EXTREMELY expensive RAM).
Whom does this MTH problem affect? [Or is that "who does this affect?"
I keep forgetting the who/whom rule.]  According to Intel, this only
affects people who have Pentium III computers purchased after November
1999.  Our friends at CNET offer a little more detail:
      Only computers containing Intel's 820 chipset, a 133-MHz system
      bus and a Pentium III running at 533 MHz or greater are affected.
      Computers containing Rambus memory do not contain MTHs [and
      therefore are not affected].  PCs with Pentium IIIs running at
      550, 650, 750 or 850 MHz likely do not have MTHs inside [and are
      also not likely to be affected].
Before you breathe a sigh of relief, though, you should know that CNET
is also reporting that "[t]he MTH was incorporated into nearly 1
million Pentium III computers."  Yikes!
How can you find out if your Pentium III is vulnerable?  Easy!  Intel
has created a MTH Reboot Issue Page at .
On this page, click on the "Am I Affected" link down at the bottom.
This takes you to second page where you can download a free utility
that will tell you if your Pentium III has an MTH controller.  If it
does, you'll need to contact the company that sold you your computer
(a.k.a. your "point of purchase") to "evaluate your configuration and
determine a solution for your system."
A good place to turn to learn more about the MTH problem in general is
Melanie Austria Farmer's and Michael Kanellos' recent CNET article
"Intel to replace faulty PC motherboards" at .
By the way, if that link doesn't work, go to and
search for MTH.
You should also check out Michael Kanellos' and Ian Fried's "Potential
Pentium III bug easy to diagnose" article at .
This article is the source of my earlier quotes.
John Spooner at ZDNet News also wrote a wonderful article on the MTH
issue: "Chip noise halts Intel 820 production."  You can find that
article at,4586,2566782,00.html .
Mr. Schnell Goes to Washington
You probably remember that silly urban legend that warns that the US
Congress will very shortly be voting on
      Bill 602P [that] will permit the [US] Federal Govt to charge a 5
      cent surcharge on every email delivered, by billing Internet
      Service Providers at source.  The consumer would then be billed
      in turn by the ISP ...
      One congressman, Tony Schnell (r) has even suggested a "twenty to
      forty dollar per month surcharge on all Internet service" above
      and beyond the government's proposed email charges
Fortunately, there is no Bill 602P, nor is there a Congressman
Schnell.  But that didn't stop hundreds of thousands of angered
netizens from flooding their congressperson's inbox with "say no to
602P" emails.
Now for the surreal part.  In response to of all of these angry
emails, the US House Commerce Committee earlier this week approved
H.R. 1291, the "Internet Access Charge Prohibition Act."  The act
precludes the FCC from imposing on providers of Internet access
service any per-minute charges intended for universal service support.
That's right, folks.  Because of an Internet hoax saying that the US
Congress is considering imposing a 5 cent surcharge on every email,
the US Congress is in now in the process of passing a law that
PROHIBITS such a surcharge in the first place.  Chalk up a victory,
however unintended, for the hoaxsters.  :)
Of course, the speed of US legislative process is, well, glacial.  It
may take months or even years for this act to become law.  Still, it
is a neat story.  And, if you are REALLY bored and are looking for
something to pass the time, you can always follow HR 1291 on its path
through the legislative process by periodically visiting .
To read more about how the Bill 602P hoax spawned a real House
Resolution (and potential federal law), check out Peter Goodman's
recent Washington Post article titled "Congress to Block Imaginary
Internet Tax Bill" at 
I'm guessing, but I think this link will work until May 25th (the
Washington Post archives its stories for free for 14 days).  :)
That's it for this week.  Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll
talk again next week.
    Intel Pentium III Problems / Mr. Schnell Goes to Washington
TODAY'S TOURBUS ADDRESS(ES):,4586,2566782,00.html
POME (noun).  A composition in verse.
Usage: "I done wrote my mama a mother's day pome.  Wanna hear it?"
[Special thanks go to Sharon Fleiming for today's word]
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