Sunday, May 20, 2007

NXP eyes Indian e-passports order

The world's leading microchips maker NXP Semiconductors is pitching for a multi-million dollar order from the Indian government to supply chips for electronic passports (e-passport), according to official sources.

"With the government of India deciding to go for e-passports soon, we are looking forward to provide our chips and contactless identification technology to the passport offices across the country," NXP India sales and marketing director Ashok Chandak told IANS here Friday.

The government will undertake a pilot programme this year-end to study the pros and cons of issuing e-passports with security features, including bio-metrics in place of the existing passports in book format.

"An electronic passport, which will be similar to the regular passport, will have an IC (integrated circuit) chip embedded in the back cover.

The chip will securely store the same data displayed on the photo page of the passport and will include a digital photograph of the holder for biometric comparison," Chandak pointed out.

About 40 million passports are in use currently and around 10-12 million are issued every year by the regional passport offices. As the country gets integrated globally and more Indians travel abroad for various reasons, the number of passports is set to multiply manifold.

"We command market leadership in supplying ICs for e-passports. Around 85 per cent of the developed countries adopting the electronic format are using NXP chips and identification systems," Chandak said.

Among the notable countries using NXP chips for e-passports are Austria, France, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and the US.

NXP Semiconductors was founded and hived off by Royal Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands.

The Indian subsidiary of the 5-billion euros NXP (Next Experience) is already supplying its contactless smart cards to Delhi's metro service for fare payment by commuters.

"The burgeoning transport sector offers huge opportunities for an extensive use of our RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. Over a million commuters are using our smart cards for fare payment to access the metro service," NXP president and CEO Frans van Houten said at a media briefing earlier here.

Intel India builds Centrino mobile platform

Intel India Development Centre (IIDC) of the world's largest chipmaker, Intel Inc, has played a major role in designing, developing, testing and validating the Centrino mobile platform for the consumer and enterprise markets worldwide.

"The mobility group of the IIDC was involved in the development of the Centrino mobile platform, contributing about 70-80 per cent of the new processor.

Our development centres in Israel and the US chipped in to fabricate the chipsets for OEMs and ODMs," Intel India mobility group director Sandeep Shah told reporters here Thursday.

Formerly code-named Santa Rosa, the next-generation Centrino processor technology incorporates a robust central processing unit (CPU) with Intel core 2 duo processor, graphics memory controller hub (code-named Crestline), I/O controller hub (ICH8), 802.11n wireless technology, turbo memory and an active management technology for security and manageability.

"In addition to the four vectors - seamless wireless connectivity, new form factors, longer battery life and higher performance, we have introduced the fifth vector (security and manageability) to the mobile platform on the feedback received from our enterprise clients," Shah said at a preview of the fourth-generation processor.

As one of the leading business units, the mobility group has several teams working in tandem with Intel's global teams to provide post-launch support to playing a critical role in launching new products.

Of the 3,000-odd total tech workforce at the IIDC, about one-third of it work for the mobility group.

In the IT domain, the Bangalore facility, set up and expanded with a cumulative investment of $1.7 billion, has evolved into a primary competency centre for Intel's supply chain applications.

Microsoft buys ad-firm Aquantive for $6 bn

Seattle: Microsoft has acquired digital marketing firm Aquantive for $6 billion in a bid to prevent Google's total domination of the online advertising market, the company said Friday.

The Seattle-based agency is Microsoft's largest-ever purchase and came at a high cost to the software giant - a 66.50 dollar per share offer that is 85 per cent higher than Aquantive's closing price on Thursday.

"This deal takes our advertising business to a new level," said Kevin Johnson, head of Microsoft's platforms and services division. "We are committed to earn a bigger slice of the 40-billion-dollar pie that's growing."

The purchase consolidates Microsoft's position in display ads that use sound and video, an area where the company still ranks ahead of Google, which dominates the market for ads linked to search terms.

The deal came just weeks after Google announced its purchase of online ad giant DoubleClick for 3.1 billion dollars, while Yahoo snapped up the 80 percent of Right Media Exchange it did not already own for $680 million.

"Because this space is so profitable and so important, we're seeing Microsoft make these type of investments," analyst Michael Gartenberg told Bloomberg News.

Programatically create a SharePoint site based on a site definition

Here is a peice of code that I know you will find useful one day. Basically, you supply it with an existing site definition, say "STS#1", and this will then create a site for you, based on the supplied site definition, at the URL you asked for.

Here goes -

public static bool CreateSite(
string parentSiteURL, string siteURLRequested,
string siteTitle, string siteTemplateName)
bool returnCondition = false; // Assume failure.

const Int32 LOCALE_ID_ENGLISH = 1033;

using (SPSite siteCollection = new SPSite(parentSiteURL))
SPWeb parentWeb = siteCollection.OpenWeb();
SPWebTemplateCollection Templates =
SPWebTemplate siteTemplate = Templates[siteTemplateName];
if (parentWeb.Webs[siteURLRequested].Exists)

false, false);

// All is good?
returnCondition =

return returnCondition;

Microsoft ASP.NET Futures

The Microsoft ASP.NET Futures May 2007 (“Futures”) release contains an early developer preview of features providing a wide range of new functionality for both ASP.NET and Silverlight. The Futures release includes early experimental versions of features currently being considered for future versions of ASP.NET and the .NET Framework. The Futures releases assume prior knowledge of the core features of ASP.NET including the previous ASP.NET AJAX Futures January CTP.

Download the ASP.NET Futures (May 2007) Release


What’s in the Futures Release?

ASP.NET Futures includes a number of new, innovative solutions that help developers become more productive and enables them to create better user experiences for their customers. Features include:


The new release includes support for managing browser history (Back button support), selecting elements by CSS selectors or classes, and information on accessing “Astoria” Web data services.

Silverlight Controls for ASP.NET

You can integrate the rich behavior of Microsoft® Silverlight™ into your Web application by using two new ASP.NET server controls: a Media server control that enables you to easily integrate media sources such as audio (WMA) and video (WMV) into your Web application, and a XAML server control that enables you to reference your own XAML and associated JavaScript files.

Dynamic Data Controls for ASP.NET

Dynamic data controls are a set of ASP.NET server controls that obtain database schema information at run time, provide default display formats according to common user expectations, and enable you to easily customize those formats. Watch a video showing how to build a task list application using the Dynamic Data Controls from the ASP.NET Futures Release.

ASP.NET Application Services

New services for ASP.NET enable you to add search to your ASP.NET Web applications, using a commercial search engine’s API (such as Windows Live Search) and custom search providers. You can also publish custom and dynamic sitemaps that are configured to assist search engine crawlers. A new service lets you capture JavaScript errors and report them to server-based ASP.NET code.

Dynamic Languages Support in ASP.NET

In ths release, support for dynamic languages in ASP.NET expands on the earlier support for IronPython for ASP.NET. Support for dynamic languages in ASP.NET is built on the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), a new platform currently under development at Microsoft. The DLR simplifies hosting dynamic languages on the Common Language Runtime.

Two dynamic languages are now hosted on the DLR: IronPython and Managed JScript.


Cool tool: IE InlineSearch

Inline Search is an extremely useful free add-on for Internet Explorer that mimics Firefox's search behavior. It turns searching inside a web page into a non modal research experience coupled with a find as you type facility. Think about IE Search on steroid.

Another reason to use the AJAX Control Toolkit

Apart from the long list of great, free controls in the AJAX Control toolkit, there are numerous other reasons to use the toolkit. One of which is the great support functions that come with the toolkit.

One I had to use recently allowed me to figure out the width of an elements border and easily deduce the content size within the element for some tricky positioning. While not a big deal, these things are incredibly fiddly and not very straightforward in the wonderful world of browser "standards".

In the AJAX Control Toolkit project, there is a Common folder, which contains a "common.js" file with a large set of handy little script functions in there. Far too many to list here, but the ones I used on this occassion were:

var box = CommonToolkitScripts.getBorderBox(domElement);


var box = CommonToolkitScripts.getPaddingBox(domElement);

Each one returns a 'box' object that has the following properties:

.top : top most PaddingSize/BorderWidth
.bottom : bottom most PaddingSize/BorderWidth
.left : left side PaddingSize/BorderWidth
.right : right side PaddingSize/BorderWidth
.horizontal : total horizontal PaddingSize/BorderWidth
(right + left)
.vertical : total vertical PaddingSize/BorderWidth
(top + bottom)

And thats it. No worrying about different methods for different browsers.

Again, there are only two functions that exist in this library. There are many more. Additionally, there is also a script file called 'Blocking.js' in the 'Compat' directory which contains gems like:

Sys.UI.DomElement.setVisible(element, true/false);


var booleanFlag = Sys.UI.DomElement.getVisible(element);

which you may recall existed in the prior Atlas CTP builds, but have since been removed. The AJAX Control toolkit has retained this because they are quite handy to use.