And another thing...

JOB BASE. After a down year or two, the IT job market is on the rise again. And government hiring, as usual, is one of the tides lifting the boats. The high-tech trade association AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association) recently released its ninth annual Cyberstates study, which measures and analyzes technology employment in the 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Virginia led the nation in high-tech job growth, the report says, adding 9,100 jobs in 2004, the most current data available for the 2006 report. Maryland was third in growth, Florida second. Even the district added 500 jobs. And the report notes that D.C. ranks first in R&D spending per capita and 18th in R&D employment, 'despite having the second-smallest population in the country.' Nationally, the IT job market ticked up by 1 percent, which is significant after decreases in the previous two years. To see the full Cyberstates 2006 report, go to GCN.com and enter 566 in the GCN.com/box.

SHEEPISH ON BUSINESS. Traditional businesses increasingly spend their advertising dollars in cyberspace, via ads on Web sites, e-mail distributions and so forth. So where do cybercompanies do their advertising? On mammals, baby! A Dutch online reservations company, Hotels.nl, is the latest to make a splash with this new old-media (or old new-media) method. The company has put blankets bearing its logo on sheep scattered among flocks throughout the country. In all, it spends about $1.23 (1 euro) per animal per day to blanket 144 sheep. The result? Hotel.nl says its sales and Web site visits are up 15 percent since it started the campaign. But it's not all mint jelly'some town governments are starting to object, reports the International Herald Tribune. One town is fining the company 1,000 euros a day for violating a statute against advertising near highways. The town's mayor lamented, 'If we start with sheep, then next it's the cows and horses!' (And then what? Human beings with sandwich boards!) The company, in fact, plans to expand its advertising herd (farmers get a cut), particularly in areas where there are traffic jams. Around these parts, we don't see many sheep, but traffic jams we got. Maybe we can do something with those road crews standing around. ...

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