January 31, 2005
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor

by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

I spoke with Jon Isaac, Director of Market Development for Mentor's System Design Division. He described the scenarios where this technology could be of significant benefit.

Simultaneous layout by multiple designers on large complex designs. The designers could be in the same room or geographically dispersed. This capability would also support Follow-the-Sun work strategy and outsourcing to third parties.

Simultaneous layout by technical specialists (analog, digital, RF) on mixed technology designs. Working in parallel rather than in sequence.

Xtreme PCB leads to cycle time reduction and increased resource flexibility.

XtremePCB is an optional add-on to Board Station RE or Expedition. Pricing starts at $50,000 for the Xtreme Session server and pricing for each XtremePCB client seat starts at $15,000 per license


Last November I authored a report on Webconferencing that is a form of collaboration. Oridus is a firm that offers webconferencing but in addition it offers some specific applications for the global electronics industry.

Oridus, a firm founded in 1977, has focused on applying internet real time technologies in assisting semiconductor and electronics design companies to handle complicated collaboration tasks. In the summer Synopsys acquired 19.9% of the company. A twenty percent share is a trigger for certain SEC regulations. Among Oridus' offerings are

SpaceCruiser Web Conferencing is a real time collaboration solution that enables users across different geographical locations conduct online presentation, desktop sharing and remote access with audio (VoIP) and video capabilities. Each collaboration session can be recorded and played back later.

Remote Access is a scaleable server side application publishing framework that makes UNIX (Solaris and Linux) desktop sharing securely managed. Corporate clients gain access to UNIX desktop applications through browsers or SpaceCruiser client.

GDSCruiser allows remote access to the physical database of the mask layout design and facilitates engineering collaboration cross multi-site design teams. GDSCruiser has major navigation and browsing features, reads the industry-standard mask layout interchange format GDS II and supports hierarchical mask design viewing.

MebesCruiser provides major navigation and browsing features and reads the industry-standard Mebes and Jobdeck format database. It can serve as a single user Mebes viewer or conference mode viewer

Oridus has licensed its products to the big three silicon foundries UMC, SMIC, TSMC.

Top 25 Innovations

It's that time of year. CNN recently broadcast a show on the Top 25 Innovations over the last 25 years as judged by a panel of technology leaders assembled by the Lemelson-MIT Program. In creating the list, the group hoped to single out "25 non-medically related technological innovations that have become widely used since 1980, are readily recognizable by most Americans, have had a direct and perceptible impact on our everyday lives, and/or could dramatically affect our lives in the future.”

The ordered list follows.
1. The Internet

2. Cell phone

3. Personal computers

4. Fiber optics

5. E-mail

6. Commercialized GPS

7. Portable computers

8. Memory storage discs

9. Consumer level digital camera

10. Radio frequency ID tags

11. MEMS

12. DNA fingerprinting

13. Air bags

14. ATM

15. Advanced batteries: nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries

16. Hybrid car

17. OLEDs

18. Display panels

19. HDTV

20. Space shuttle

21. Nanotechnology

22. Flash memory

23. Voice mail

24. Modern hearing aids

25. Short Range, High Frequency Radio

As with any such list one can certainly quarrel with the order. Perhaps one of your favorites missed the list. One might consider challenging a date. For example, fiber optics goes back more than 25 years. The panel may have meant some level of fiber optic networking. It would also be interesting to see how much the list would change if we were to go back 30 years, 40 years or 50 years. At some point communication satellites and the lasers would appear.

What is more interesting is the rate at which these innovations have become widely adopted. Many of these technologies have spread throughout society at far faster rates than the automobile, television and telephone did in earlier times. Several of these innovations originated in government or military. In order for some of these innovations to spread, sufficient infrastructure had to be developed just as roads, highways and bridges and gas stations were needed for the automobile.

By the mere fact that you are reading this commentary you are demonstrating that you own or have access to many of these innovations. I am old enough (won't say how old) to remember life without TV (and TV dinners much less microwave) and party lines and rotary dial phones, secretaries that took dictation and typed letters and so on. Today most households have multiple TVs, cell phones, Internet access and so forth.

The table below shows the top 22 countries with the highest percentage of population using the Internet according to Internet World Stats.

According to WebsiteOptimization.com: as of February 2004, most household users in the US connect to the Internet using dial-up modems of 56Kbps or less. 44.4% use 56Kbps modems, 7.6% use 28/33.3Kbps, and 2.9% use 14.4Kbps modems. In total, 54.85% of home users in the US connect to the Internet at 56Kbps or less. Access to broadband connection is more prevalent in the workplace.

This spread of technology has had considerable impact on how we live our lives both personal and professional. We can communicate with family, friends, associates, the office, customers and prospects 24/7 regardless of where we are.

One can argue that technology is ethical neutral. It is how you use it that counts. As the NRA would say “Guns don't kill, people do.” There are obvious great benefits from technology for society and individuals. The Internet represents the most important educational advanced since the printing press. The ability to quickly access information far beyond the capabilities of any city library is invaluable The Internet supports formal learning at distance whether from an academic institution, from a vendor or from an employer. The Internet also supports all aspect of e-commerce (search, buy, sell, track, return, customer service). Thanks to the Internet many people are now
able to
work at home rather than spending time and money commuting to an office.

Unfortunately, there is a negative side to new technology. Some people have become addicted to the Internet, spending hours every day. In children this behavior can stunt social development. In older surfers this behavior can disrupt relationships with family and friends. We are bombarded by spam. We are vulnerable to viruses. There is increased possibility of identity theft. The possibility of outsourcing jobs like software engineering, customer service, medical transcription, radiology and so forth to places like India and China has increased. The industry that has reaped the most profit from the Internet appears to be pornography. Pedophiles stalk chat rooms. It is more
to reach a real live person when computerized customer service is insufficient. There is a loss of privacy. Interaction with fellow employees is minimized by telecommuting. We have all been annoyed by having to listen to one half of a cell phone conversation by someone on the other side of a restaurant or store. People don't seem to realize that the cell phone is quite sensitive. Remember the ad with the pin dropping. Having determined that cell phone use on airplanes is safe the Federal Communications Commission is going to have a period of public comment about using cell phones on airplanes.

Whether one views the advance of technology as good or bad depends upon one's unique situation. Those who feel in some way “victims” of technology will obviously have one perspective. When viewed by decades rather than years the answer for society may be easier to determine.

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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.

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