L.A. has long had a second-city complex when it comes to tech slightly resentful of Silicon Valley for keeping all the thunder. According to a recent industry study, L.A. is still the second city, but not by much.

The city's 165,700 tech jobs pay an average of $75,600 per year. That's the second highest number of jobs, and sixth best for pay. Not bad, but not great. San Jose, predictably, came in first with tech jobs paying an average of $127,000.

Los Angeles has the most high tech companies, at 7,800 but Silicon Valley still has more jobs overall about 215,000 jobs, according to AeA, the tech industry trade association. The June study, called California Cybercities 2006, compares the 17 largest metropolitan areas in the state. The study was based upon data from 2004, the most recent available.

L.A. is the leader in some sectors. It's first in defense technology jobs (28,700), telecom services jobs (26,400) and engineering services jobs (18,000).

California has shifted into recovery mode following its tech bust. Jobs are still being lost, but at a much slower rate. In 2004, the state lost 10,600 tech jobs, or one percent, compared to the nearly 68,000 jobs lost the year before.

Between Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California has 418,000 tech workers, compared to 439,000 in Northern California.

Napster Upgrade
Napster Inc. is swinging for the fences again. The subscription-based digital music firm has upgraded its service to an engine developed by its in-house engineers, called PowerSync. The company is breaking away from Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player. "Windows Media is much more general purpose, and we wanted to build the sync engine directly into Napster," said Bill Pence, chief technology officer. The engine is designed for faster transferring and downloading of music from a user's computer to his portable MP3 player. "The goal is to allow you to grab as much content as you want and get it on the device as quick as you can," he added.

Napster is also unveiling its latest branded MP3 player, a one-gigabyte device designed by South Korean manufacturer DnC Tech Inc. The new player will cost $50 with a 12-month subscription to Napster.

Napster also offers a free MP3 player with a 12-month subscription. At just 256 megabytes, however, the player is dwarfed by Apple Computer Inc.'s small iPod Shuffle with 512 megabytes of memory. The leader in the digital music space, iPod models are also available with 20 and 40 gigabytes of memory.

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