Tulsa Dealer Gets JFK Jr. Plane

Article excerpt

CALDWELL, N.J. (AP) -- Tulsa used-car dealer Jonathan Knoerdel received a bargain, by analysts' standards, in winning the auction for the first airplane owned by John F. Kennedy Jr. The tragedies that have befallen the Kennedy family may have helped keep down bids, officials said.

Auctioneers on Saturday opened bidding for the 1977 Cessna 182Q Skylane at $300,000, but the plane eventually sold for only $120,000, plus $18,000 to the auction firm, The New York Times reported Monday.

The auctioneer said one bidder told him that his wife didn't want him to buy it because of the Kennedy family history.

Kennedy died last year when his single-engine plane crashed off Martha's Vineyard with his wife and sister-in-law on board. The auctioned plane was owned by Kennedy from April 1998 to May 1999.

Setting the sharpness on HDTV

NEW YORK (NYT) -- After 10 months of debate, shifting alliances and back-door lobbying, the nation's major television manufacturers have finally agreed on a series of revised definitions for digital television sets. And the agreement requires two companies -- Hitachi and Toshiba -- to notify potential buyers that some of the television sets the makers have been advertising as high-definition TV's provide lower-resolution pictures than HDTV's sold by some other manufacturers.

In 1998, the consumer electronics industry agreed on a rule specifying that for a set to be called an HDTV, the screen must provide 1,080 lines of resolution (compared with the 480 lines on conventional sets). In addition, the set must achieve that resolution on a wide, or "letterbox" shaped, screen.

Last year, Hitachi and Toshiba began selling digital sets with conventional nearly square screens and calling them HDTV's. When high-definition signals were displayed full screen, the sets showed them with 1,080 lines of resolution. But when the image was flattened down to a letterbox format, only 810 lines were displayed.

In December, the video board of the Consumer Electronics Association passed a new rule that would force Hitachi and Toshiba to cease labeling these sets as HDTV's. But complaints and lobbying by the two companies eventually persuaded two other manufacturers, Zenith and Sharp, to change their votes, overturning the rule. It was probably no coincidence that Zenith and Sharp buy some equipment from Hitachi and sell it under their own names.

The industry has been debating the issue since then, and finally this month the association approved a new rule. Hitachi and Toshiba can call their sets HDTV's. But they must also prominently disclose that when high-definition signals are shown in a letterbox format, only 810 lines of resolution are being displayed.

Under the new rule, manufacturers are no longer allowed to call any sets "HDTV-ready." They are to be called high-definition sets -- if they come with a digital receiver -- or high-definition monitors, if a buyer must buy the digital receiver separately, as is usually the case.

Helped by its persecution

NEW YORK (AP) -- Despite the uncertain legality of the Napster online music-sharing service, the number of people using it more than quadrupled in just five months, Media Metrix said Monday. That made Napster the fastest-growing software application ever recorded by the Internet research company.

From 1.1 million home users in the United States in February, the first month Media Metrix tracked the application, Napster use rocketed to 4.9 million users in July. That represents 6 percent of U.S. home PC users who have modems, said Media Metrix, which pays people to install monitoring software on their computers. It estimates total usage from a panel of about 50,000 people in the United States. Napster was also used at work by 887,000 people in July, Media Metrix said.

Napster has been sued by the recording industry for allegedly enabling copyright infringement. …