Arcol

<p>Sun executives said the CPU-level benchmarks are not good measures of real performance, but have yet to directly respond to some of the systems and application-level claims from Intel.</p>

Actel maintains that flash has been a winner for the company, after some delays caused by manufacturing yield problems. But the company refuses to provide a breakdown of sales across its antifuse and flash-based product lines but East said: We are telling analysts that we are shipping ProAsic in volume and that, in revenue terms, it matters.”

The P15 PC-MIP mezzanine card holds 256 or 512 kbytes of high-performance FRAM. As many as six P15s can be mounted on a 6U PC-MIP carrier card for 3 Mbytes of FRAM memory, and three P15s can be configured on a 3U carrier card to deliver 15 Mbytes of nonvolatile memory.

System design is also simplified, the company said, because the access time for FRAM technology is the same as for standard SRAM memories. In addition, the number of write cycles supported by the FRAM components is practically unlimited, ranging up to 10 billion read/write cycles, according to MEN.

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The P15 mezzanine card can operate in the industrial temperature range of -40 degrees C to 85 degrees C. The card is based on the emerging PC-MIP standard, developed jointly by MEN Mikro Elektronik of Germany and SBS Modular I/O, with support from Motorola Computer Group and Schroff. The standard combines the concept of an industrial front connection from M-Modules, the flexible form factor of Industry Packs and the electrical specification of the PCI bus. The PC MIP specification is administered by the VMEbus Industry Trade Association's Standards Organization and was approved by the American National Standards Institute in January.

Pricing for the P15 starts at $315 apiece for the 256-kbyte version and $428 for the 512-kbyte version.

Call (972) 939-2675 www.men.de

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After a grim 18 months of working down excess inventories, supply chain partners are looking at how they can gain better visibility into inventory levels and forecasting information. They want real-time access to information on what's on order at all points along the chain, including work in process-at the component manufacturer, the electronic manufacturing service (EMS) provider and the distributor.

In many cases, EMS companies are already developing tools and processes that give both their customers and their suppliers better visibility. For many, the real push started well over a year ago, when poor visibility and overly optimistic forecasting caused huge inventory build-ups in the supply chain.

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One EMS company considers itself lucky to have anticipated the shifting business landscape and implemented tools that resulted in stronger partnerships with its customers and suppliers. The result for Jabil Circuit Inc. (St. Petersburg, Fla.) has been better communications with business partners and higher visibility into product planning, inventory levels, order scheduling and forecasting.

The downturn probably exposed many of the hidden rocks that lay in the path of the supply chain and certainly brought more focus to some of these opportunities,” said Mike Ward, vice president of supply chain management, information technology and operational development at Jabil.

Take our cover story. As Associate Editor Lee Hollman writes in his feature, business partners and investors visiting your call center want to keep tabs on your center's performance as much as you do. Electronic displays – readerboards, monitors and soft (PC) displays – can keep them informed of statistics, like average handle times and call queues.

Transparency often translates into profitability. Newark, NJ-based Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), writes Chief Technical Editor Joe Fleischer in his customer support feature, encourages call center agents to convey to callers that the utility's maintenance services are optional. The policy has not only prevented complaints; it has also helped boost the number of customers signing up for PSE&G's WorryFree maintenance contracts.

If you're looking to outsource to an offshore service bureau, be sure to thoroughly vet the candidates. Services Editor Brendan writes in his story that only a handful of India's 100-plus service bureaus are doing quality work. Before signing one up, determine whether the outfit has a history of contracting out to US companies. Also, be sure the company is well financed, has deep management experience and can provide references.

Former President Ronald Reagan once said: Trust, but verify.” Call centers might do well to follow that seemingly paradoxical maxim – and to act on the understanding that customers are doing the same.

The SiberCAM Ultra-18M, a low-power, 18-Mbit content-addressable memory for packet-forwarding and classification coprocessing applications, consumes less than 6 watts and targets OC-48 and OC-192 applications. Featuring variable entry width and an independent table-management port, it can perform up to 66 million searches per second.

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The changes didn't end there. Beginning in January 2001, items from the knowledge base became part of scripts and training materials for new agents.

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