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Archive for Monday, April 19, 2004

Briefly

April 19, 2004

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New York

Two in five 'Net users have broadband at home

Two in five Internet users in the United States now have high-speed access at home as telephone companies slash prices to better compete with cable broadband services.

In a report Sunday, the Pew Internet and American Life Project placed the adult residential broadband population at 48 million, or one-quarter of all adult Americans.

Among college-educated adults age 35 and younger, penetration has reached 52 percent.

Most of the growth has been since November from connections over souped-up phone lines called DSL, which now make up 42 percent of the home broadband market, up from 28 percent in March 2003. Cable modems still have the lead, with a market share of 54 percent, but they no longer enjoy a 2-to-1 edge.

Michigan

Ford upset by ad depicting cat's death

Ford Motor Co. is upset by the release of an Internet advertisement that depicts the decapitation of a computer-animated cat by a power moonroof hatch, saying it didn't authorize the clip.

The ad for the Sportka, a hatchback sold in Europe, shows the realistic-looking orange cat climbing on top of the car and poking its head into the open moonroof, The Detroit News reported Sunday. The hatch slides closed, the cat struggles briefly and its headless body slides to the ground.

Ford says the clip was conceived without its approval by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather as part of a "viral marketing" campaign for the Sportka. "Viral marketing," a type of e-mail marketing, is the electronic version of word of mouth, usually inviting recipients to forward an e-mail to others.

Los Angeles

Robot plane drops bomb in successful test

A robotic plane deliberately dropped a bomb near a truck at Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday, marking another step forward for technology the U.S. military hopes will one day replace human pilots on dangerous combat missions.

Under human supervision but without human piloting, a prototype of the Boeing Co.'s X-45 took off from the desert base, opened its bomb bay doors, dropped a 250-pound Small Smart Bomb and then landed.

The inert bomb struck within inches of the truck it was supposed to hit, Boeing said, adding that had the bomb contained explosives, the target would have been destroyed.

"It's absolutely a huge step forward for us. It shows the capability of an unmanned airplane to carry weapons," said Rob Horton, Boeing's chief operator for the mission.

Florida

Participants injured in air show accidents

The pilot of a motorized parachute was injured Sunday when he fell about 50 feet to the ground at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, the scene of several serious accidents in recent years.

Also Sunday, a small plane flipped over on the runway at the event, but no one was seriously hurt.

Chad M. Teachout, 31, of Lyons, Mich., was in the motorized parachute when it deflated on one side and crashed, said Jack Gillen, spokesman for Lakeland police. He was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, but his condition was not released.

A motorized parachute looks like a go-cart dangling from an oversized patio umbrella and flies relatively low, up to 200 feet off the ground.

About an hour before the parachute accident, a Glasair III plane was attempting to land when it flipped and slid on the runway, coming to rest on its roof, Gillen said.

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