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Whether it's comment on a recent story, a slightly irreverent look at the latest news or an expression of complete disbelief, New Electronics' editorial team brings you its views on the latest from the electronics industry, putting these developments into context.

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Closing the skills gap

The skills gap has been the subject of many commentaries over the recent past. The problem of an aging engineering population, combined with a decrease in the number of people looking to follow engineering as a career, means there's a shortfall. EngineeringUK summed up the problem in its report published at the end of 2009. According to its research, the UK needs to create 580,000 engineers in the next few years – replacing those who are close to retirement and to fill new jobs. This can only be done by attracting new entrants to the profession or by upskilling those from other sectors. That's a significant number of people and a figure that's not going to be attained overnight.

Nanotechnology - EU:1 UK:0

London South Bank University will be encouraged by EU funding of £1.5million for its environmental design projects – including major research into the practical uses of nanotechnology in manufacturing and industry.

Que vadis?

The furious pace at which innovations are brought to market is inevitable in an industry that thrives on competition.

Too much inventory?

Distribution has experienced more than its fair share of pain during the last couple of years. Business plummeted accross the board at the first signs of recession and the sector has been inching its way back since.

Will VCs ever come back to electronics?

The demise of Tier Logic is a fairly sad indictment of the current state of the venture capital market when it comes to electronics. How times change. You don't have to go back too many years to find a completely different state of affairs. At the end of the 1990s, venture capitalists (VCs) were fighting to put money into dot com companies and those targeting web based communications. All manner of crazy ideas were being pitched to the VC community, which responded by writing large cheques without too much 'due diligence'.

Nanotechnology - 'sub-critical'?

Science Minister, David Willetts' announcement that the UK's 24 nanotech centres are 'most unlikely' to survive the next 18 months has no doubt raised a few industry eyebrows.

Let’s end the economic madness

After four quarters of growth, the industry now finds itself in the full flood of a classic market boom. Order books are full, customers are building stocks, double ordering is rife, capacity is strained, lead times increasing and deliveries are stretched.

Will cuts harm the electronics industry's future?

While financial experts continue to pore over the finer details of last week's emergency budget, there appear to be some business friendly items. Trade association Intellect says plus points include capital allowances, R&D tax credits and the 10% capital gains tax rate for entrepreneurs.

Ultra's flat battery

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing's 'bitter disappointment' in June 1970 was understandable as early Sonobuoys were fraught with problems

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

I apologise – my web updates always seem to be late and I feel I am letting you down! The reality is that with a team hell bent on achievement, Bloodhound moves at a massive pace and we find ourselves working all hours.

DSP specialist tries to silence vuvuzelas

In response to unprecedented complaints from FIFA World Cup tv viewers and broadcasters, digital signal processing specialist Waves Audio has announced a solution which it claims dramatically reduces the continuous noise of the vuvuzela horn.

Are we heading for over capacity again?

The semiconductor industry is probably the one sector that defies conventional economics by continually failing – or at least being unable – to match supply with demand. The consequence is a long history of boom, followed by bust. Are we set for another round?

Time for a fresh look at manufacture

The double whammy of the global financial crisis (GFC) and subsequent financial melt down in Europe has challenged the very core of how we do business, both locally and on a world scale.

Heroes or zeroes?

The 'noughties' – the first decade of the Millennium – has been called a lost decade for the semiconductor industry, with effectively zero growth. But things are about to change, if you subscribe to the bullish outlook of Future Horizon's chairman Malcolm Penn. Here are his predictions for semiconductor revenue growth in the next few years.

What on earth is going on at Foxconn?

As bad publicity goes, Chinese contract manufacturer Foxconn has had its fair share in the last few months. Since January, the Shenzhen based contract manufacturer – whose customers include Apple, Dell and HP – has had to contend with no less than nine employees jumping to their deaths from the factory roof.

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