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Here's a prediction: You'll see lots of stories Thursday about Intel's Pentium III. How do we know? Because Feb. 18 is the day that "Press stories begin," according to an Intel memo detailing the rollout. Intel's goal is "to build excitement and anticipation" for the new chip, Intel VP Sean Maloney explains in the confidential memo to PC makers, distributors and retailers. Intel is a master at controlling product intros, keeping customers and media under tight rein to maximize a launch. This control isn't necessarily bad and may be good: Intel strives to make sure no PC marketer and no publication reviewing or discussing products gets an advantage over rivals. Because Intel pays up to two-thirds the cost of PC ads with "Intel inside" co-op money, it should get some say, right? Still, Intel's control is a remarkable thing. On Feb. 17, the memo says, PC makers and retailers may issue press releases "which state support for" Pentium III. Intel-subsidized teaser ads will appear Feb. 20. The most important date: Feb. 26, when PC makers start selling Pentium III machines. It will be hard to miss the new "Pentium!!!" logo; it's one-quarter inch bigger than the marque of old Pentium II.

Serfs go a surfing while at work

Microsoft defines "mainstream" Web users as a group of 14 million consumers who average 13 hours a week on the Internet. Two-thirds of them do the majority of their personal Webbing on the office PC, largely because network access is typically faster in the office than over the home PC modem, says Marty Taucher, an exec with Microsoft's MSN. So let's do the math: Two-thirds of these mainstream users spend more than 6.5 hours a week, or nearly a full standard work day, doing personal stuff on the office computer. Taucher says consumers are doing this private surfing during lunch breaks or slow times, not when they're supposed to be working. "Access to the Web is almost becoming a [fringe] benefit," and "enlightened employers" do allow worker bees to surf, says Taucher. "I don't think you're going to see a backlash against it" anymore than employers have put the kibosh on reading the paper or making personal phone calls at the office, he says. Maybe "enlightened" employers know that all work and no play makes Jack go postal.

Gyro scopes out the gay market

Gyro, the Philadelphia and L.A. Gen X agency, is opening a gay/lesbian specialty shop in L.A. with such a subtle name: Gyrohomo ADV. The shop will create ads "to the culture, from the culture," says Gyro's Charley McBreaty, who is gay. "I will talk to gays as gays talk to themselves," he says. Gays, of course, often talk to themselves, usually about how fabulous they look.

Wedding story . . .`Monica's Story'

N.W. Ayer/Detroit account dir. Art Kesteloot went all out to pop the question to his girlfriend, a teacher. He arranged for the high school marching band to play a romantic number in uniform, then flash placards of the proposal at his target. Client said yes. Wedding is in September. . . . So Andrew Morton called his new bio, "Monica's Story." Not as sexy as our alternative title: "Me & My Big Mouth."

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo and Jean Halliday.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (323) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (323) 655-8157;

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