Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AeA Report-Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry

The American Electronics Association (AeA) released an interesting report today titled Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry. The report lists for $125 for AeA members and $250 for non-members. You can get the report at www.aeanet.org/cyberstates or by calling 408.987.4200. A press release announcing the report is linked here ~ here's key facts bullet items as quoted from this press release:

  • U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.8 million in 2006.
  • Tech employment was up in 2006 by nearly 147,000 or by 3 percent.
  • This is on top of the growth of 87,000 tech jobs added in 2005.
  • High-tech manufacturing employment rose by 0.4 percent, gaining 5,100 jobs between 2005 and 2006.
  • The semiconductor industry grew significantly in 2006, gaining 10,900 jobs.
  • At the sectoral level, 5 of the 9 tech manufacturing sectors gained jobs in 2006, 4 of the sectors lost.
  • The communications services sector continued to shed jobs in 2006, losing 13,300 compared to a loss of 37,200 in 2005.
  • The software services industry added 88,500 jobs, up for the third year in a row.
  • The engineering and tech services industry added 66,300 jobs in 2006, putting it at an all time high.
  • The unemployment rate for electrical engineers was 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.5 percent for computer and math occupations.
  • The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $75,500 in 2005, 86 percent more than the average private sector wage of $40,500.

We're seeing significant growth in the tech sectors.
President and CEO of AeA, William T. Archey is quoted:

We probably underestimate the size of the industry to a slight degree. Year after year, we have illustrated how critical the high-tech industry is to the nation and to each and every state as it generates economic growth, innovation, and high paying jobs wherever it develops.

While we are encouraged by the pickup in tech employment, we are committed to the long term health of the industry, the economy, and our nation,"

We have some serious challenges ahead. Companies of all sizes continue to have problems recruiting highly qualified and educated individuals to work for them, whether those individuals are foreign or domestic. This was reflected in the 2.5 percent unemployment rate for computer scientists and the below 2 percent unemployment rate for engineers in 2006. This problem is twofold: 1) the lack of American kids enrolling in and graduating from math, science, and engineering programs and 2) a U.S. high-skilled visa system that is broken. This April, within two days of the start of taking applications, the U.S. government received 133,000 applications for 65,000 H-1B visas – those visas reserved for high skilled individuals. And this is for jobs starting in October of 2007.

It's frustrating and upsetting to see excellent academic programs that continue to be under-enrolled in every state in the country while employers are starving for workers. The perceptions and opinions are complex.
I recently had a conversation with the parent of a high school junior and mentioned the incredible opportunities available to graduates of engineering technology and engineering programs. The parent looked at me and told me these subjects were "boring". I thought this was an interesting comment because, based on further conversation, this parent had little idea what an engineering technician or an engineer actually does for a living. I ended up spending the next 45 minutes talking about how un-boring and exciting these careers can be. Did anything sink in? Not sure.

When I said goodbye and was walking away I wondered how many other parents are out there like this - educated, intelligent and extremely engaged in working with their children to select a college, a college major and ultimately a career. It's so important for us to reach out - we need to continue to make everyone aware of the opportunities these kinds of careers can provide. The next time I see this parent I'm starting with the last bullet item above:
The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $75,500 in 2005, 86 percent more than the average private sector wage of $40,500.

Here's how I'll follow up and these are my quotes:

.... Let's see, the average person works full time from 22 to 65 years of age.... that's 43 years.... you have a calculator?
.... If someone starts in an average wage job today that's $40,500/year * 43 years = $1,741,500 in lifetime income based on todays wages.

.... Now if that same person starts in a tech industry job that's $75,500/year * 43 years = $3,246,500 in lifetime income based on todays wages.

.... What's the difference? $3,246,500 - $1,741,500 = $1,505,000

.... What would you do with an extra $35,000 each year (in todays dollars) for the rest of your life?
.... What do you think your child would do with the additional income?

This will now become a piece of my pitch!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Google to Offer Online Presenter

On Tuesday afternoons I teach a class to Verizon employees as part of the Verizon NextStep Program. This program is a collaborative academic program put together by Verizon, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union. The innovative program provides select Verizon employees the opportunity to attend a local community college (there are 26 community colleges involved in New England and New York) one day a week for four years. After four years of course completions students granduate with an Associates Degree in Telecommunications.
NCTT has been deeply involved in the program since inception and it has provided me a unique opportunity to spend half a day a week each semester with a great group of technicians. I think I learn just as much as they do in these courses and look forward to meeting each week.
At the end of each course students are required to do technical presentations and today we got into a discussion about some of the options to Microsoft Office. We looked at Open Office, Think Free and Google Docs and Spreadsheets. We had some good discussion about the different products and students were asking why Google did not offer a presentation application - this was at approx 2 PM EST (11 AM PT).
A little while later (at 1:34 PM PT) my aggregator picked up an RSS feed from ZDNet titled Google treads on PowerPoint turf.
The article describes the keynote presentation Google CEO Eric Schmidt had just given at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. With a little research we learned that Google had purchased Tonic Systems, s startup company that, according to their website:
..... is a San Francisco-based company that provides Java presentation automation products and solutions for document management - Tonic Systems Builder, Tonic Systems Filter, Tonic Systems Transformer, Tonic Systems Viewer, and JarJar Links. Features of their products included text extraction for indexing documents, presentation creation capabilities and document conversion tools.
There is no indication when Google will go live with the the presentation software but you can probably make a pretty good bet it will be soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Apple Sells 100 Million iPods

In a press release yesterday, Apple announced that they have sold their 100 millionth iPod. According to TGDaily, this calculates out to one iPod sold every 1.7 seconds since the product was launched in 2001. In this 5.5 year period there have been 10 different versions of the player. What is amazing to me is sales have continued to accelerate with Apple announcing the 90 million sale mark in March. 10 million in one month? Incredible!

In the same announcement Apple says there have been 2.5 billion tracks downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. The iTunes Store was launched in April of 2003. Let's see, April 2003 was 4 years ago..... let's do some math....

(4 years)*(365 days/year) = 1,460 days

(2.5x109 tracks)/(1460 days) = 1,712,329 tracks per day

(1,712,329 tracks per day)/(24 hours/day) = 71,347 tracks per hour

(71,347 tracks per hour)/(60 minutes per hour) = 1,189 tracks per minute

(1,189 tracks per minute)/(60 seconds per minute) = 19.8 tracks per second

You may also recall Apple announced in January of this year they had hit the 2 billion track mark with iTunes. So...... they've served half a billion tracks in 3 months! I'll skip the math for the last 4 months - you can do it if you want!

I keep reminding myself we are living in in a significantly historical period of time. The rate of change in the way we work, communicate, entertain and (most importantly for us as educators) learn is mind boggling. It does not appear to be slowing down.

I look back and wonder what used to do without my iPod...... I'm sure our students do too.

Friday, April 6, 2007

XXX Top Level Domain Rejected

Last week ICM Registry of Jupiter, Fla. was rejected by ICANN is its request to establish a .xxx (dot triple X) top-level Internet domain. This is not ICM’s first rejection having the same results on a similar request made six years ago. According to the ICM website:

The .xxx Top Level Domain (TLD) has been proposed for responsible members of the online adult entertainment industry and those that supply products and/or services to it (the Online Adult Community). Only Members of the Community will be eligible to register .xxx domains that resolve (that is a name that Internet users can type in and have their computer display a Web site). ICM Regis-try (ICM) will offer individuals and entities that are not Members of the Community, an opportunity to register non-resolving domains if such registrants are concerned about potentially abusive registration.

The proposal is to place adult content in it’s own section of the Internet. It sounds like a good idea at first – for example - it would be simple to block anything with a triple-x extension from your children.

ICANN controls the domain name servers that resolve registered names to IP addresses for applications like web browsers and without ICANN approval the triple x domain will not happen.

The opposition has come from a number of sides with many not wanting to create (what we used to call in Boston) a “combat zone” on the web.

Several organizations were concerned about having to register their non-pornographic sites to protect themselves. Imagine www.microsoft.xxx or even www.nctt.xxx!

Others expressed concerns about the definition of what constitutes a triple-x rating. For example, a triple-x rating in the United States may be different from a triple-x rating in China.

ICM Registry: http://www.icmregistry.com/

LA Times: Request for dot-xxx adult domain is rejected

Technology News: Internet: ICANN Axes .XXX Domain