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Someone in Kaskus forum sold Microsoft software products much cheaper than normal retail prices. Because the seller has good reputation, I managed to buy Microsoft Visio 2010 Professional Edition because I knew where to resell it. (It was almost 70% off!!!) But that’s just too good to be true.

Had the software was not a counterfeit, I would have gained money.  Fortunately, I was still conscious about possibility of being deceived by the seller so I used a third party service mediating the payment process called Rekening Bersama. I got my money back.

These are photos comparing the counterfeit Visio with my authentic Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, both from Microsoft. Some photos, without being compared, straightforwardly tell that it is a counterfeit. Click on each photo to see it larger.

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The fake one.

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The Registered ® sign next to the words “Microsoft”, “Visio”, and “SharePoint” should be placed as a superscript rather than subscript. Also notice some misspells from the above photo on the right ( . . . even if they don’thave Visio.) and photos below.

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( . . . can now be unified in one dingram . . . .)

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(Som examples are fictitious.)

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It’s not properly cut. Product Key sticker’s not aligned.

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Poor print quality of Product Key (left). Compare with mine (right).

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Horrible package. It was broken too.

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Visio Pro 2010 32-bit/x64 English Intl DVD. Shouldn’t it be like Visio Pro 2010 32-bit/64-bit English Intl DVD or Visio Pro 2010 x86/x64 English Intl DVD?

Also notice the so called Port-Hole™.  A Port-Hole™ is a transparent hole on a COA (Certificate of Authenticity), generally shaped like an oval or a flying window, with individual paper fibers visible around the inside edge. Port-Hole™ is the latest security measure Microsoft has taken to minimize duplication and further reduce the potential for label transfer from one unit to another. Authentic COA should not have a clean cut of Port-Hole™, but somewhat like a tempered hole. Below is an example of authentic COA from Microsoft website.

The DVD-ROM was not flawless too.

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The middle part of Visio DVD-ROM had some discoloration, if you can see it from the photo above. Compare those two hologram area too. You could see the difference easily.

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In the security patch, the word “Microsoft” should change to “GENUINE” when the disc is tilted, so each word would appears alternately. But both words always appear at the same time on the fake Visio. (I tried to photograph my Vista DVD-ROM in an angle where both words appeared together.)

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Both are photos of my Vista DVD-ROM on the reverse side. There are two holographic captions of “Microsoft” which should change to “SECURE” when the disc is tilted. Compare with two photos of the fake Visio below.

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Above are photos of the fake Visio. Somehow it always shows a word “MECURft”.

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Mine has slightly embossed print. The counterfeit was a simple printout.

Those are all the evidence I could gather when the DVD-ROM was in my hand. Obviously, it is a counterfeit. The seller said that he got it from his supplier that way so he didn’t know about the authenticity of the products.

Well, recently many computer shops sell Windows 7 at an unbelievable price. They are made in USA, though. As far as I know, Microsoft software products marketed in Indonesia are made in Singapore, and they have an activation restriction (i.e. they have to be activated on selected countries, South East Asian countries to be specific). However, the US Windows 7 do not have activation restriction. I tend to believe that they are authentic, but I have no idea whether the distribution is legal. This was actually another reason why I wanted to buy the Visio. I thought the Visio was the same as the US Windows 7 being sold in Indonesia.

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Megapixels Hype

The most popular cameras on the market today are about 12 Megapixels. Many people still think Megapixels indicates the image quality. That’s somewhat true if you compare 8R print size (8 x 10 in. or 20 cm × 25 cm) photograph from a 1.3 Megapixels camera to an 8R photograph from a 3.2 Megapixels camera. The last one will appear a lot of sharper while the first will be terrible.

How if we compare to an 8R size from an 8 Megapixels? Would the image be even better? That just might not be the case.

Pixels and Printing Size

In short, a Megapixels means one million of microscopic light sensors (pixels) in your camera. (The real thing is not as simple as they appear, though.) So your photograph actually contains of tiny colored dots each recorded by the pixels. It seems logical, however, that more Megapixels means a sharper image. But for the most part, more Megapixels count also means smaller pixels which are noisy, especially in low-light situations. The reason is smaller pixels receive less light so the image processor of your camera try to increase the quality of image captured by some sort of image processing algorithm. And when it does, image noise is also increased. It become worse in compact digital cameras because the sensor size is small; very small indeed.

The picture above shows relative sizes of typical sensors. The biggest two are used in digital SLR cameras while the rest reside on compact ones. In order to fit the same number of pixels onto each sensor, the pixels themselves obviously have to be made much smaller on compact camera sensor. As a consequence, you get noise increased due to crowded population of pixels in a very small area.

Besides, more Megapixels also means more memory. You need to provide a lot of spaces on your hard drive and a long time to transfer images from your flash cards.

All you need is enough Megapixels. A 4R snapshot from a 2 Megapixels camera will look just as good from some higher resolution cameras. You might be surprised seeing this 13 x 16 in. prints of Jen Bekman made by 6 Megapixels Nikon D70.

Here is a printing guidance for you.

One Exception

However there is a reason for you to pick up the one with more Megapixels other than printing for a large size, that is if you want to do lot of cropping. My suggestion is that you double your resolution to give you some flexibility in cropping image.

Conclusion

Image quality is not correlated to Megapixels count, but quality of the sensor and other factors such as lens, image processor and algorithm; not to mention your photographic skills of composition, lighting, camera controls, and so on.

You are better off saving your money instead of opting for the most Megapixels or using it to get more enhancements for the camera such as lens, flash, tripod, etc. The smart advice is to read the in-depth reviews before you buy because the more educated you are the less likely you are to get ripped off. Sites such as dpreview.com, dcresource.com, can be valuable sources for you to make decision on buying a camera.

So, do you think you need 40 Megapixels Pentax 645D worth $9,400 to get your best shot? Think again!

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You usually browse WAP sites using your mobile phone. WAP sites are WML-based so here is the easiest way: use Mozilla Firefox browser and then install  “WML Browser” add-on.

Enjoy!

PS: This is the current link: wmlbrowser 0.7.20.

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  1. Go to Windows Live Essential download page.
  2. Click the Download button, and then you will be prompted to execute a small binary file, about 1.1 MB. Cancel the download.
  3. On the page appears after you are prompted, click Try Again.

The Story:

Last week I installed Windows 7 Professional in my notebook so that every programs I already installed in the previous Windows Vista was gone. I got some problems when I was installing Windows Live programs.

Usually you go to Windows Live Essential download page, click the Download button, and then prompted to execute a small binary file, about 1.1 MB. This small installer obviously is not a standalone installer. Instead, it is like a download manager for Windows Live programs installers.

The problem occurred when this download manager tried to download some components of the programs, such as Windows Live Communications Platform, Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime, or Microsoft Sync Framework Services. These components could not be downloaded. There was an error code generated by this download manager. It said that Windows need to be updated first. So I tried to update the fresh installed Windows, and then run the download manager, but the problem still existed.

I thought about getting a standalone installer of Windows Live programs because the problem I faced was in download process, not in installation.

Because I always reluctant in using any installer outside the publisher’s official source (exception for this great useful site of FileHippo.com!), I tried to search the standalone installer in Microsoft’s Download Center site, but did not find one. This forced me to searched any standalone installer outside Microsoft official source, ie. Softpedia. Someone has uploaded the installer in Windows Installer form (MSI file). It did install successfully, but the programs installed could not sign in. There were some error reports.

While I searched for another standalone installer, I found a source–which  now I forget the location of it, about getting the standalone installer from Windows Live website.

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