Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I hope we can all agree on at least one thing -- That sometimes, ninjas are cooler than pirates.
Please don't get me wrong.
I'm all about the rum, the creative application of ship parts recycled into prosthetic limbs, and of course the smell of a freshly buckled swash in the morning.
What I'm not about is extra work brought about by their modern day antics.
In the course of my day, I work with a lot of applications. Some of the larger ones (like Microsoft's stuff) require an online activation. The smaller, more specialized applications have such tight profit margins that the fear of software piracy causes paranoia bad enough that even I notice it.
While I have no idea why anyone would pirate software that ties into lab equipment and calculates viscosity, I suppose enough people do it to merit extreme measures in license tracking forced down from the vendor onto the paying customers.
Sometimes this is an online activation, which is fine . . . unless the computer hosting the application is purposely blocked from accessing the internet.
Sometimes the vendor makes us install a licensing server specific for their application. The program launches, contacts the license server (which requires us to pay for and maintain separate hardware), and checks for an available license before letting the user log in.
Sometimes the authentication integrates with our own, sometimes it requires a database all for itself.
In the case of one application recently, all these were necessary at once plus a HardLock, which is a hardware device that plugs into the back of the server hosting the application to ensure that it only runs from the place it was originally installed.
Because I'm in a hurry to have this application up and running, I opened the HardLock packaging as soon as it arrived. I expected something like a USB thumb drive.
What I got was a big ugly thing that plugs into the printer port.
As I've tried several times to explain to the vendor, there are no printer ports on the back of current model Dell servers.
Without it, the integrated license server won't even start.
Sadly, we own the software license and can't get past the licensing.


1 comment:

Pamela Moore said...

I had one of these horrible things for our fax broadcast software. At least we bought the computer that required the ugly software hasp back before USB ports were invented.

Sucks to have to deal with this crap.