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Scotland IT skills shortage

Scotsman

By Danny Sullivan

ScotlandIS, the trade body for the Scottish IT sector has been in the news this week as it seeks to drive more students to take up IT-related courses at University. As the Scotsman reports, “Figures showed a 47 per cent drop in UK applications to university courses in IT between 2001 and 2006.”

ScotlandIS’s Polly Purvis said, “I think the perception is that, after the dotcom crash, there are no technology jobs left in Scotland. That is just not true. There is a massive shortage of UK students taking up places on related degree courses.”

Web 2.0 is so passé

By Danny Sullivan

Just as we thought we were starting to get a handle on Web 2.0, the next installment, imaginatively titled “Web 3.0,” is emerging as the next big Internet thing.

I read a couple of articles this week that helped make things a little clearer. First, Yahoo!’s Julien Lecomte wrote Is This the Birth Of Web 3.0? for Jupiter Media, and then I read Ruth Mortimer’s piece on the same topic in Marketing Week. The semantic web, eh? Ooooh, aaaah!

Of course, after realizing that Web 3.0 is clearly well understood and in some ways already here, I just had to take a look around to see what comes next…

Well, you can try your own search for that, but I liked Alain Sherter’s lighthearted observations for The Deal.

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Phone vs. email

By Danny Sullivan

In keeping with the “versus” theme this week, I’ve decided to take a quick look at the challenges faced by technology PR folk when deciding which method of communication to employ when following up with the media on that all important news release. Do you try endlessly for that (ahem) wonderful moment of personal contact when you actually get to speak to your target editor, or do you opt for the less touchy feely but more efficient email?

Of course, if we were talking about general story pitching, then email would win hands down, but the breaking news story is a bit different and often requires a swift response before the story goes cold.

When I put it like that, the phone seems naturally the best option, allowing you to catch the editor or reporter for a moment and help them to understand the real news value behind the email header they were so quick to skip over this morning. Indeed, if you are a skilled technology PR practitioner, you should have no problem handling such a call. But beware those who choose to call a reporter to simply read aloud the opening lines of the news release – not a good idea.

But, despite the fact that a phone call can be an effective contact method, it is becoming more and more difficult to raise busy news editors in this way. It’s understandable – there is a huge amount of technology news breaking every day, and those responsible for identifying and covering the key stories are very often swamped in a deluge of PR. This can sometimes lead to a simple reaction: ignore the phone.

In this case, you might try all day and never reach your desired contact. Increasingly, I am finding that a carefully worded (and brief) follow-up email to key targets can often be a very effective way to generate a quick response. This allows the harassed individual in the newsroom to read your email in a rare moment of downtime and, if you have chosen the right words, it will hopefully strike a chord and result in that ultimate reaction we all seek: interest.

At the end of the day, as you generate relationships with specific media contacts, you’ll get to know what kinds of communications methods work, and which don’t. Both phone and email are great tools in the hands of people who use them effectively.

India breaks into supercomputing elite

Times Online

By Danny Sullivan

Technology industry watchers have long been waiting for India to start competing on a par with the world’s biggest technology nations. And with good reason – the Indian IT market was recently noted to have passed the $50 billion mark, with phenomenal year-on-year growth.

Today’s news that India is now home to the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world is a testament to that growth. As The Times’s Rhys Bailey puts it, “India’s entry into the top flight of high-speed computing comes amid a significant reshuffle among the sector’s elite installations with America’s dominance over the sector coming under challenge.”

How much does a kilogram weigh?

By Danny Sullivan

Since secondary school physics, I have always been intrigued by the idea of Le Grand K, the original prototype cylinder of platinum that accurately represents a mass of 1kg, which is still used. Surely such an item is simply a historical relic and is largely unimportant in the grand scheme of modern science. But it appears that this is not the case…

The BBC reports on the fact that Le Grand K’s mass is actually changing over time and that scientists are searching for a new way to define the kilogram.

Baffling stuff, to be sure, but I’ve always found it a little worrying to think that world science depends so heavily on one little lump of metal.

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