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Kevin Smith

Tools of the Trade - Mar 1, 2001

1 March 2001

Mentor Graphics Corp. Makes Agreement with Texas Instruments
Mentor Graphics Corp. has worked with Texas Instruments Inc. to develop what Mentor calls processor support packages (PSPs) that will help verify TI digital signal processors with Mentor's Seamless co-verification environment. Mentor is now offering its first PSP for the ARM925 microcontroller core.

Mentor said it is the first hardware/software co-verification provider to reach such an agreement, and cited its potential significance given the widespread use of TI DSPs. The Seamless environment is intended to verify hardware/software interfaces before silicon production.

PSPs for the C6202 and C6416 will be available in the second quarter, with others to follow later.

The TI PSP listsfor $30,000.

Sun Makes Breakthrough in Technical Computing
Claiming a price/performance breakthrough in technical computing, Sun Microsystems Inc. rolled out the Sun Blade 100, a 64-bit workstation with a starting price of $995. Although EDA is a target market, most EDA users will need to spend far more than $995 to get the size of memory they need.

Along with the Sun Blade 100, Sun is announcing the Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator board, with a starting price that is also below $1,000. And the recently announced SunPCi II coprocessor card works with the Sun Blade 100, allowing users to run Windows and Solaris applications simultaneously at native speeds.

The new workstation is targeted at such markets as EDA, software development, finance and mechanical CAD. EDA vendors have recently started offering 64-bit software, especially for IC physical design, and 64-bit software is needed because of the huge amounts of memory required for complex system-on-chip design.

IBM Unveils PowerPC
IBM Corp's Microelectronics Division has unveiled the 750CXe family PowerPC microprocessors geared to embedded networking and imaging applications.

The family includes high-speed, low-power versions of the 750CX processors that IBM began to ship last June, and provides an upgrade path for networking communications customers who have adopted IBM's earlier 750-based PowerPCs.

The 750CXe marks IBM's ongoing effort to push the PowerPC architecture originally designed for desktop and portable PCs further into high-end embedded applications. IBM has thus tailored the new family for networking apps, removing die area that had been committed to legacy PC functions and incorporating 256 Kbytes of high-speed L2 cache to enhance performance, reduce bottlenecks and decrease the number of on-board components.

Free E-Mail Service Offers New Network today introduced the Mailshell Subscription Network, which the company calls the most advanced marketplace for low cost, long-term online subscribers.

Mailshell allows marketers and Web service providers to name their own user acquisition price, and currently drives long-term subscribers to more than 1,300 companies via its network of more than 1,000 affiliates. is a free email management service for subscribing safely to more than 100,000 Web services without risk of receiving junk email or spam.

BEA Changes WebLogic
Changes made to BEA Systems' WebLogic business platform make it possible for access to and interaction between business functions over the Internet, reports Line56, allowing participating B2B companies to engage in collaboration. WebLogic users can access quotes, inventories and orders using standards that permit Internet collaboration to create multi-vendor products. Those standards include Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI), Business Transaction Protocol (BTP), and electronic business eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML).

BEA CEO Bill Coleman explained, "E-businesses must continue to specialize themselves, focusing on their core value-add, and as a result must grow increasingly interdependent on other e-businesses that offer complementary value. To date, the Web has mainly been about human users and Web browsers, but Web Services will extend the Web platform with standards that enable business applications to directly and automatically interact with other business applications across the Internet."

HeyAnita Expands Application Suite
HeyAnita Inc., a voice technology software company, announced its newest voice application - Address V-Book - a voice enabled personal address book application that helps end users and corporations keep names, phone numbers and addresses up-to-date and organized. Businesses can license the Address V-Book application so their users can do a host of activities. The software has voice navigation, can retrieve and manage personal contact information such as phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses and email addresses from any phone, anywhere at anytime.

Users can also have one-stop access to personal information via the phone, including the option of retrieving and sending email through the HeyAnita Email Reader application with the program.

A fully functional, working demo of this application can be accessed on the HeyAnita technology showcase by calling 1-800-44-ANITA.

NetSeers Expands Site
NetSeers Internet International Corporation announced its corporate update of their online divisions and projects. is an online community pioneering a new Internet model that combines the Internet's most valuable rewards and loyalty programs with a person-to-person customer acquisition and service model.

The fully operating site was launched February 1, 2001 as scheduled. Over the past two months, during construction of the site, over 400 members have joined, each paying US $99 to register and US $25 per month to hosting their home-based "online business center," a website designed and powered by

Netseers Internet Corporation expects membership to steadily increase with the site in full operation. This turnkey package has members in 8 provinces, 31 U.S. States, and 34 foreign countries.

More than 150,000 people worldwide join a Network Marketing company each week.

NEC Begins Production of Device for GameCube
NEC Corp. has begun volume production of the system-on-a-chip device it is making for GameCube, Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s next-generation gaming console, which is scheduled to hit the Japanese market in July and the U.S. market in October.

NEC said the new facility, featuring an 8,300-square-meter clean room and located at NEC's facilities on Kyushu, has a capacity to produce ten thousand 8-inch wafers a month. Nintendo's decision to have a third party produce the chip — which integrates a graphics engine, sound generator and one-transistor embedded SRAM — contrasts with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s decision to rely on internal production of the graphics processor for its Playstation 2 gaming system. Sony's difficulty in producing the graphics chip caused it to miss production goals for the Playstation 2.

NEC built the new facility based on its expectation that the total supply of the SoC, called Flipper, would amount to 300 billion yen (about $2.6 billion) for the life of GameCube.

Tools of the Trade - Mar 1, 2001 is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith