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> Have To Vent Some Air Here (and Vent Rhymes With Rant!), rant about the industry
CS_TBL2
post Jan 19 2011, 01:04 AM
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Dunno what happened to my other account, probably forgot the password, and the email points to my old - now dead - email address.. anyway.. CS_TBL2 == CS_TBL, if a mod could merge these accounts, fine (just use the email+pw settings of this new account), if not, also fine.

In the past month I spent about 1000 euro on libraries I use the most (or actually, on the only libs I actually use), and I'll be honest: they are libs which I already had "in another form".. laugh.gif nuff said, you get the point.

So, I would say: the relevant industry can be happy they have me as a customer after all - better late than never -, and I could be happy for having these shiny boxes on my shelves and brag with it to the outside world. I made some dimes in 2010 from TV royalties, so I was actually able to buy some. Anyway..

I had to spend another few tenners on an USB key, and another few tenners on a dual DVD writer (I only had a 4GB one, which couldn't read the 8GB discs both libs featured), so all-in I've spent some money here.

So, today, after installing the new DVD writer, I unpacked the two libraries and the USB Key.




The USB key prompts me with an error upon insertion, and both libraries require such a USB key.



*sigh*



That's the shortest yet most complete paragraph I've ever written.

And you know what I'm going to do? Uninstall the whole shebang, put it back into the box, put 'em on the shelves, and continue with my 'other version'. I paid for it, I even have a USB key, hence I consider it legal to use it, the samples are identical, the only difference is the source.

So, what's the sad part of this story? I can imagine that, anno 2011, companies want to offer their products protected in solid concrete. But, be honest, hit a torrent website... do their protection schemes work? The answer is 'no'. It doesn't work, as a matter o' fact, it only annoys people. So, with their dongle, the industry have created a product that does nothing useful, it only annoys.. what kind of industry does this, other than the war industry?

And you know, maybe I could fix the problem somehow.. dunno, contact somebody.. whatever. Maybe I could even fix this problem easily. The problem is that I don't even want to dive into all that anymore. I don't think I should fix problems for stuff I bought, instead the whole concept of dongles should go the way of the dodo. There's a fundamental clash of principles between them and me in this case. Because there's always some reason why they don't work, whether it's an OS change, or maybe you loose 'em, or - oh heavens .. you bought a second PC to unload the memory/CPU of your first one and you need another dongle! Whenever I buy a product I expect it to work out of the box, directly (give or take an online registration) and always, no questions asked. If it doesn't, I never buy anything again from them. It's stupid enough I need to buy such a dongle separately, in my case this involved buying at another shop, located in another country, because the shop that sold me the libs doesn't sell those dongles!

So, what's the consequence of all this? It's simple: This marks the first and last time I've bought something with dongle protection, the very last time, no matter how badly I want it, no matter how much I have on my bank account. This is all such a sad reward for being honest. Or perhaps 'loyal' would be a better term, because the libs I bought are actually older libs, I could've gone for something more recent - ironically, one such recent lib that I had my eyes on for a while has no dongle protection, just the usual NI online registration like in FM8 - a registration procedure which works like a breeze.

There's something fundamentally wrong here with the industry, while the industry propagates that there's something fundamentally wrong with 'pirates'. The discussion isn't new of course, I opened one of my old computer magazines a week ago (and this one was from 1986!), where there was a similar discussion going on about pirated games. Readers sent in their letters about the subject and one such published letter has been firmly rooted in my mind ever since: "rather than whining about pirating, the industry should encourage the audience to buy something". This may sound like an empty shell, but it has some fundamental truth in it. Why did I buy those two libraries? Because they have quality content. It will be hard for those companies to accept, but it will get pirated. It's how things work for as long as I can remember, in the 80's it was the same with games. Nowadays game sales flourish, people want to have the originals.
Anyway, back to that published letter. If the industry sees a pirate in everyone, and goes every extra mile to protect their products beyond being practical, then there's something wrong. It's far more encouraging for an audience to buy something if this audience gets the impression that the people behind the product treat them well and listen to them (for instance when dealing with feature requests, bug reports and such). A one-man enterprise where the coder/creator manages his forum and does great communication earns much more of my respect than big name companies that don't have the creativity to approach customers in a different way than by requiring a dongle and more extreme protection schemes - that won't work and never will.

I can even remember something I read a long long time ago, when Sonic Foundry was still doing early versions of Acid. In their manual there was something like: "yadayada, we have no complex protection scheme, instead we trust our audience yadayada" That line - and it was probably 1997/1998 - made so much impression to me that I still remember it. Why? Because it was good, and it was actually what I was stating in the previous paragraph, that line gave the impression that the creators were with you, instead of above or against you. I didn't buy it simply because I didn't really need it (and I didn't have the cash anyway), but I still remember that line.

People will pirate things. They do. No matter what protection scheme. The industry can try forever to prevent that, but it won't work. The art of selling software anno 2011 should not be: "how to apply annoying scheme xyz to protect our goods", but: "how to convert pirates into customers". Because the potential is there! I was just doing that, during the past month, and by doing so, I hit a brick wall. Way to go industry, you've just lost another customer! Proud?

Let me repeat that line:

The art of selling software anno 2011 should not be: "how to apply annoying scheme xyz to protect our goods", but: "how to convert pirates into customers".

I would say that something like that would be the next phase in software marketing, dongles are from a long gone era.
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