(Editor's Note: In 1994 one of the big technology news stories was that certain models of the original Pentium processor had a bug that caused it to give incorrect values for certain math functions. This article was submitted to BLANDX in 1995. But BLANDX had gone into hibernation after the 1994 issue and this article was forgotten about when BLANDX came back as a website in 2007. So here it is now ... a previouly unpublished BLANDX classic!)
The Intel-Inside Bleene
French Lick, IN (UPYRS) December 22, 1994
In a surprise move, Intel and Bleene have today announced a joint venture between the two manufacturing giants. Sven Gonzales, Second Vice-President in charge of electron tubes for Bleene (and no relation to Sven Gonzalez), and Jose Gonzales, Third Vice President in charge of throwing away face masks outside of the clean room at Intel (and no relation either Sven) , announced the move today at a press conference held in Bleene's new manufacturing plant.
The venture is designed to manufacture a new digital SW receiver/coffee maker/clock combination with Intel 'Pentium' microprocessors controlling the vital functions of the rig. Tentatively named the 'Intel Inside Bleene' (I.I.Bleene), the receiver is described by Bleene as "addressing the desires and needs of today's DXer, much as the DXmate 10 did over a decade ago." This is Bleene's first attempt at a digital receiver, and Company spokesmen indicated that market trends clearly indicated that digital is "just a flash in the pan gimmick, but that in order to deal with foreign competition, Bleene had to venture into that segment of the market."
Bleene, best known for the "Bleene DXmate 10" communications receiver introduced in 1982, has recently foundered in the face of competition from overseas manufacturers. Bleene's Gonzales said during the press conference that consumers "have come to expect frequency readout to the fifth decimal place" because of the capabilities of foreign equipment. "Despite the fact that everyone knows that consumer grade receivers cannot possibly read out to that degree of accuracy, everyone now expects to see reports in the DX press listing 3-5 numbers after the decimal place. In the heyday of American manufacturers, our DXmate 10 readout, accurate to +/- 100 MHz, was considered among the best, and is far more realistic when considering the vagaries of SW broadcasting. Unfortunately, Bleene has come to realize that it just doesn't cut the mustard in today's SW market. With the new 'Intel Inside' Bleene, our readout should be able to read out to within 1 nanoHertz, with an accuracy of +/- 1 kHz which bests our nearest competition by a factor of (102,436,259/3.141592)*3.141592-102,436,259 !"
When reporters pointed out that that equals zero, Intel's Gonzales interjected quickly and with obvious pride, "Not on the 'Intel Inside Bleene' it doesn't!"
Industry analysts see this as an effort to bring the stolid, but lately faltering Bleene into the cutting edge of today's technology, and at the same time provide a new application for Intel's original Pentium processor (now termed the "Pentium Classic"). Intel's Gonzales said that this move absolutely did not represent dumping of inferior products. He pointed out that "since SW reception is so unreliable in the first place, it makes good sense to use a microprocessor with built in "fuzzy logic" to help overcome nature's unpredictability. We view this as an opportunity for both companies to expand the market share of good ole' American hardware in the SW/Coffee Maker/Clock Radio market." Gonzales was then heard to say something like "Besides, who else but a large American business would accept junk like this?" but thunderous laughter from the assembled journalists made it impossible to understand exactly what he was saying at that point.
Bleene's Gonzales indicated the only remaining technical challenge in integrating the Pentium Classic into the I.I.Bleene was configuring the steam generator used in every Bleene product since the DXmate 10 to produce a regulated 5 VDC output. As an interim solution, Bleene's Gonzales indicated that the initial receivers would ship with 6 volt tractor batteries, but power consumption is on the order of 25 kW/h (largely due to the "body temperature heating coils" in the skin of the receiver) meant that frequent recharging is necessary, and this is a temporary solution at best.
The I.I.Bleene will stand the traditional 5'4" tall, and come standard with blue eyes and a flannel teddy, as did the DXmate 10, but options are available for coloured contacts and silk sleepwear at reasonable prices so listeners can customize their rigs to suit their personal preferences. Company spokesmen indicate that the target date for these new I.I.Bleene receivers to hit the retailers shelves is January 41st.