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View Full Version : There has to be a better way



proton32060
01-06-2006, 03:39 PM
I had the same problem some of the other posters had regarding getting the “Discovery Edition” setup as opposed to the real thing.

Fortunately after reading the posts I discovered the Dongle must be present all of the time for the program to function.
I know piracy is an issue but I wonder where all of this is going to wind up?

Recently I bought a game which required online activation to work and they only allowed two activations. Well first I had to do a clean install so there went one activation and then I built a new computer and there went the other one. So I find myself begging Atari to let me use the game I paid for.

The dongle bothers me a little if this idea starts catching on. What are we going to do, have thirty dongles tied to our computers so the programs we bought will work? Or spend time switching dongles every time we load something? What happens if you forget what dongle goes with what program?

Why not just do what Microsoft did with online or phone activation?

It works and I have never read of anyone being able to crack the activation code and create a key generator. Besides, Microsoft now checks serials to make sure they are authentic before they will activate the program.

Unfortunately what this really does is make the honest peoples life miserable while the bad guys steal anyway.

It would be a lot easier to mimic Microsoft in this regard and make it easier on the customers as well. The idea should be to stop piracy without making the people who buy software’s lives miserable in the process.

The only reason I brought this up is the “dongle” idea seems to be catching on from some of the PC magazines I have read. Right now Lightwave is the only “Dongle “ program I own but what is going to happen if Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and a host of others want dongles too? And what kind of conflicts will that create?

There just has to be a better way for companies to protect themselves without driving their customers crazy at the same time.

Now to be clear, the dongle is not driving me crazy but it took a while to discover it had to be plugged in all the time. I just wonder what will happen if everybody wants a dongle with their program.

DMarkwick
01-06-2006, 03:53 PM
Dongle reliant programs are not a new idea. They've been around a long, long time now. Most developers choose not to use them, and use other protective methods. We're not about to be inundated by dongle madness :)

And, for the record, LW is available to pirates dongle-free, so even it is not fool-proof, and also key generators have always been available for Microsoft's protection methods too. In fact, the only anti-piracy method I've ever heard of that remains uncracked is Steam for Half-Life 2.

robewil
01-06-2006, 03:55 PM
First of all, dongle-based protection is hardly new. I remember programs in the 1980's using that scheme. Dongle-based protection has one advantage you are not considering, it allows you to run Lightwave on any number of machines as long as you plug in the dongle. Web-based and phone-based activation does not allow this. As you mention, some companies limit the number of times you can activate so if you are on your third computer, you probably will have to pay for another activation.

lardbros
01-06-2006, 04:56 PM
As robewil very rightly says, a dongle will let you install your LW onto any computer you use, and all you will have to do is take your dongle with you. And it can be attached to a keyring too, so that in my opinion is a HUGE plus point. Also these registration things over the phone and online are a pain. If you reinstall the software you need to phone up for the new activation key. Great, this uses up the companies valuable admin time, and also means you have to wait before you can use the previously registered software again. On top of this, i can imagine that each plugin is tied to the same activation code, so each plugin company will have to be contacted too. Hmmm, i love my dongle (sorry, sounds a bit vulgar) and i am glad newtek work this way.

mattclary
01-06-2006, 05:52 PM
It's been my experience that the only people who seem to have an issue with dongles are people that don't have one. :devil:


I guess you could call it dongle envy.

Mha8649
01-06-2006, 06:13 PM
My dongle's in the mail :) ..
Yeah and my first copy of xp pro was a um well lets just say it wasnt registered. I think the whole dongle thing is cool.I can spare a usb port.

Dodgy
01-06-2006, 06:18 PM
The dongle doesn't have to be in all the time, I've left layout rendering at home through Fprime and taken my dongle to work and carried on there. No problem...

KillMe
01-06-2006, 06:37 PM
i had heard there were even pirate copys of half life 2 doing the rounds too - anyway dispite owning the game and enjoying it i normally play such games afew times but after a reformat i just couldn't bring myself to go through the hassle of installing it again =/

dongle doesn't bother me though might in a little while though - rapidly running out of spaces on my usb hub =/ guess i just have to buy another one but still a pain

LW_jackn
01-06-2006, 07:18 PM
...The dongle bothers me a little if this idea starts catching on. What are we going to do, have thirty dongles tied to our computers so the programs we bought will work?...

...The only reason I brought this up is the “dongle” idea seems to be catching on from some of the PC magazines I have read...

I don't know where you have been the last ten years, but there was a time when dongles were more of a problem than they are now... I have owned my copy of Lightwave since version 4.0 Intel. I have the same parallel dongle for all this time.

There was a time when I had a dongle for 3D Studio (old DOS version, not Max), a dongle for Lightwave, a dongle for Video Action NT, a parallel interface for my MP3 player, and of course a parallel printer cable all sticking out the back of my machine as a daisy chain stack. I had to solder and build a 90 degree adapter to go sideways rather than straight back... :D

The advent of USB has solved this issue for a lot of people and is a much cleaner approach. I'm actually glad they use a dongle to protect your investment, even though like some have said here, there will always be the hacked versions running around.

Lastly I would regret the day Newtek does anything that follows in Microsoft's foot steps...

Speaking of which, will we ever see a Linux based version of Lightwave?

*sigh*

lesterfoster
01-06-2006, 07:42 PM
Dose NewTEK have a plan for if a customer loses a dongle?

I can’t tell you how many times that I have gone to work to continue working on a project for my boss, just to realize that I forgot my dongle at home, than returning home to continue working on the same project at home just to realize that I left my dongle at work.

And I am afraid that I might loose my dongle in my travels.

Other than that. I am all for the dongle. :thumbsup:

KillMe
01-06-2006, 09:00 PM
lose it and your in trouble =/ best bet is house insurance or something - since giving you a new dongle is liek giving you another seat - everyone who wanted a second seat of lightwave would jsut say they lost there dongle ( well teh dishonest ones would - but then again suppose the dishonest ones dont have a dongle anyway )

LW_jackn
01-06-2006, 09:06 PM
Are we all talking about Dongle Envy again?

:D

proton32060
01-06-2006, 10:35 PM
Boy,

You guys have some pretty strong feelings about your dongles.

Seems to me I remember something in college psychology that if you take care of your dongle it will take care of you. Did they have dongles in the seventies?

Maybe I am not remembering it exactly right.

Seems there was the Oedipus Complex, Electra Complex, and the Balmer Gatsian Complex.
I think that’s right.

After listening to you guys I think I am going to take my dongle a lot more seriously from now on. And maybe pull out my old Psychology textbook as well. Seems I am in worse shape than I realized denying my dongles value as I have.


Seriously,

What prompted this was last week.
Periodically Windows decides for whatever reason to bite the dust. Corrupted Registry, bad dll’s or a host of other reasons.

But it is a fact of life that clean installs are needed from time to time.

In the past I could reload everything in the time it took me to watch “The Great Escape”.

Now it takes a full day and a lot of that time is spent reactivating software.

Part of it is due to the complexity of software and the other is the anti-piracy schemes. And yes I have had to call Microsoft and Adobe a few times to get something reactivated. Not to mention Symantec and a host of others.

Either Windows needs to be more bullet proof or something is going to have to change. The last culprit was Norton Antivirus which would not completely uninstall to load the new version and in the process corrupted the registry.
The time before that was Matrox Xtools and Adobe Premiere which brought down the system. And you can’t do a system restore on a machine that won’t boot up.

But there is something wrong when it takes 16 hours ( not an exaggeration) to reload and configure a clean install.

If anyone knows of a Backup program that can copy a hard drive with a dual boot configuration I would love to hear of it. I have yet to find one that can backup a drive with that configuration.

Stooch
01-06-2006, 11:58 PM
Two words for you buddy: Norton Ghost.

as far as the dongle, i think its stupid because it doesnt work. you wouldnt believe how easy it is to get a warez version of LW. Obviously its not stopping anything and really only serves as an inconvenience at best.

Sande
01-07-2006, 03:57 AM
It's been my experience that the only people who seem to have an issue with dongles are people that don't have one. :devil:

Quite contrary actually - those who use pirated versions don't have to worry about dongles... Dongle only hurts paying customers.

Like said earlier, dongle protections are not a new invention, back in the day several applications relied on them. And there is a good reason why almost all of them have switched to something better...

lardbros
01-07-2006, 05:53 AM
And there is a good reason why almost all of them have switched to something better...

See, people say this... BUT i still don't understand how the others are better in any way what so ever. Please explain.

Captain Obvious
01-07-2006, 08:20 AM
Unfortunately what this really does is make the honest peoples life miserable while the bad guys steal anyway.
I don't want to add any comments regarding morality, or whether dongles are a good idea or not, but I would like to add one thing to the debate: cracking dongle protection isn't harder than cracking key protection, and both are easy as pie for an experienced cracker. The idea that having a dongle prevents piracy is downright preposterous. It would take the average teenager with computer habit maybe fifteen minutes to get a patch for Lightwave, or even the more draconic Maya and 3DSM, to pirate it. Add another hour or two to download the entire application, and they're good to go.

And an addendum: NewTek, don't let the ease of piracy scare you! One of the reasons Adobe's Photoshop is so dominant is that it's bloody easy to pirate. Same thing for 3DSM. The software pirates of the 90s are the young professionals of the current CG market. You don't think every single Photoshop wizard who started using it in the early teens actually paid for it, do you? A good 80% of all software pirates are either a) the kind that wouldn't pay for the application regardless, and are thusly not lost business (a pirated copy of Lightwave doesn't cost NewTek money unless the person would've bought it if he couldn't pirate), or b) the kind that pirates because they can't afford the full version, and the free version is too limited, and then end up buying it when they grow up and get a job. The remaining 20% or so (yes, the numbers are made up, but definitely plausible, judging from the software pirates I've talked to) are horrible people, but they are a minority.

In conclusion: use whatever copy protection you want, just don't be too draconic about it. You CANNOT prevent software piracy entirely, not with the current state of technology, and you shouldn't worry so much about it that it starts annoying the legitimate customers. Requiring a customer to contact you for a new key every time they stick a new hard drive in their workstations is in my opinion horrible behaviour.

LW_jackn
01-07-2006, 09:23 AM
...
Periodically Windows decides for whatever reason to bite the dust. Corrupted Registry, bad dll’s or a host of other reasons.

But it is a fact of life that clean installs are needed from time to time...

Either Windows needs to be more bullet proof or something is going to have to change...

But there is something wrong when it takes 16 hours ( not an exaggeration) to reload and configure a clean install.

If anyone knows of a Backup program that can copy a hard drive with a dual boot configuration I would love to hear of it. I have yet to find one that can backup a drive with that configuration.

Now there's a suprise...

Seriously, as already said above... the next 16 hour session you have, immediately Ghost (or some other such utility) that mutha!

Then it becomes the time it takes to mirror the image onto the drive, not all the miserable re-installs of everything under the sun...

;)

Lottmedia
01-07-2006, 09:25 AM
Agree with everyone so far. Dongles are ancient and (hopefully) on they're way out. LW is the only app I still use with a dongle. Aside from all the piracy issues and such (and those poor guys whou couldn't use 8.3 for a week or so after it came out days cause the dongle drivers wern't 64 bit) The bloody thing is annoying. I work on a laptop when I'm away from my workstation (on planes and such) I have now completely stopped using LW on the laptop because it's annoying to have a 300-500$ (heard it was 350 to replace? not sure) piece of hardware sticking out two inches from my computer. It's annoying that it's big, but it's annoying that it's small too. Can you imagin dropping that on a plane? I've got enough expensive hardware to worry about without that.

Just my two cents. No one even mentioned those issues so i thought I would jump in. Hopefully NT will drop the dongles soon (but quite frankly I would like them to worry more about meeting deadlines at present, again)

J-Rod

Wonderpup
01-07-2006, 11:43 AM
I know of people who have perfectly good, but pirated, DVDs, who will still go and buy the movie when it comes out 'officialy', because they want the 'proper' box and packaging.

So maybe the best way to counter software piracy is not technology but psychology- make buying the software less of a consumer purchase thing and more of a 'membership' thing- ship it in big boxes with lots of cheap goodies inside. Sure it will cost more, but it may tempt pirate users to come in from cold and pay for the privilage of membership- if they see it's benefits.

proton32060
01-07-2006, 01:00 PM
Someone finally said something earlier that alluded to what I was thinking but was reluctant to say.

On applications like this I wonder how big of a deal piracy really is in the first place?
Who is actually going to steal this thing and put it in their shop to make money with? Not many I would imagine.
I Practice medicine but bought this program to manipulate files I paid to have created for my wifes Real Estate company.

When I got it two things struck me pretty quickly.
First, this is not what you would call an intuitive program. The average person would have a pretty steep learning curve before they could even start using it.

The second thing was this is pretty high end stuff. I have Medical Programs running in my office and I paid thousands for them. Now maybe I could have ripped a cracked version off somewhere but who in their right mind would do that?

I use that stuff to make a living and I make a lot more in income than the programs cost. So why run a pirated copy that could crash and cost me a lot more than the real program? Plus I would never get any of the Patches or updates with a pirated copy. So in the end the pirated copy would cost me a lot more in time and trouble than the legitimate version ever would.

The other thing I noticed was all the other material that came with the program. I have manuals, samples, tutorials and a whole lot more. You may be able to steal the program but you won’t get all the other stuff that goes with it.

The point is that learning the program takes a much bigger investment than actually buying it. And you would need all the other stuff that goes with it to get that done.

I just can’t see how anyone stealing a copy off the internet could ever do much with it. It is way too complex and involved for someone to put it to any practical use without a large investment in both time and training materials. And anyone serious enough to do that would not take the chance with a pirated copy.

It still comes down to the same thing I said earlier and another poster confirmed. The more involved the antipiracy schemes become, the more grief the companies put their good customers through.

If the dongle scheme has already been cracked and is readily available then how is this stopping people from stealing the program?

Apparently it isn’t.

I still think the most effective weapon the companies have is allowing only registered users to have access to patches and upgrades. Anyone who is really using the program will want and need those updates and will be willing to buy the real thing in order to get them.

If the dongle serves any real purpose at all it is probably to keep legitimate users from loading it on a bunch of different machines. Beyond that, I can’t see how it is stopping piracy.

StereoMike
01-07-2006, 06:33 PM
I work on a laptop when I'm away from my workstation I have now completely stopped using LW on the laptop because it's annoying to have a 300-500$ piece of hardware sticking out two inches from my computer.


So you rather want to buy another seat, than taking care of the dongle while your anyway carrying a much more expensive laptop with you?


And -funny coincidence- that is exactly what everyone with a laptop/desktop or home/work combination has to do, if NT should use anything other than dongles:
Buying new seats for every pc or mac you want to work with.
One for the office, one for the laptop, one for your home...

No, I like it as it is. Can't understand, why one should give up all these benefits for -in my eyes- nothing. :stumped:

StereoMike
01-07-2006, 06:48 PM
regarding proton*insert number* post:

I think you might wonder how freaking much people started with a pirated copy of LW. As a teenager with enough sparetime or as a student or whatever.
Thing is, LW was (is?) rather widespread in the coder or demoscene for it's open fileformats. ppl could write own engines for the scenes and the like. I've seen one written by a guy I met on a LAN party five years ago, and I've seen one actual engine that is in development at the moment (there are severall out there).
The whole antipiracy issue is more or less a token gesture, everything gets cracked, also Steam. And I prefer the dongle solution over such sophisticated and painful things like steam.
Starforce3 btw seems to be a very cool (cause working) solution.

Lottmedia
01-07-2006, 07:18 PM
You're not even making sense there. Adobe and just about all other makers allow multiple installs within reason. Adobe allows instillation on 2 machines (laptop and desktop, for instance) And adobe has a lot more to worry about with piracy than NT. The simple fact is that the dongle is a pain and archaric. Comparing a professional application to a game is apples and oranges. Steam delivers games and I don't know any suppliers considering that method for anything but games

StereoMike
01-08-2006, 03:20 AM
Uh, I would be interested in the Adobe products you're thinking of. Cause I think you mean the multi-seat site licenses. Adobe themselves state, that standard PS or CS2 allows for a singel install:

http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/331261.html

Why should a company give you 2 seats, when you only pay 1? You don't need a dongle, disc inserted or any other hardware lock to run PS, so an install on two machines equals two seats...

btw I mentioned steam as an example for heavy, customer-unfriendly copyprotection, which can also be cracked like any other protection-method. Even starforce 3 can be cracked, but it takes veeery much time. And for games this makes sense, cause the protection has saved the biggest part of the assets of the company during the selling peak at release.
If an LW protection would work similar, then every point-release could be a possibility to update the copy protection. So user of pirated copies would be forced at least to use an "outdated" version till the cracked version comes out. But then comes the next point-release and so on.

lardbros
01-08-2006, 03:31 AM
Uh, I would be interested in the Adobe products you're thinking of. Cause I think you mean the multi-seat site licenses. Adobe themselves state, that standard PS or CS2 allows for a singel install:

http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/331261.html

Why should a company give you 2 seats, when you only pay 1? You don't need a dongle, disc inserted or any other hardware lock to run PS, so an install on two machines equals two seats...

Yep, i was just about to ask since when have Adobe done this?
If you pay for it then you'll get it, but they won't offer 2 for 1.

It just makes me all the more glad of the way Newtek does it.

"oh no but i might lose my dongle while travelling with my £1000 laptop." A replacement dongle is around £60 i thought i heard from somewhere, so no biggy. I would rather lose my dongle than my USB keyring drive with all my vital files on it. Why don't the USB drive manufacturers have hundreds of people complaining that people may lose theirs on a train?

Lottmedia
01-08-2006, 09:59 AM
Sorry, but you're wrong again. Adobe allows fair use installs on up to two machines (laptop and desktop ot home and work) not a site license or anything. Even Photoshop and Premiere with the online activation allows two machines to be running it as long as it's one user (not at the same time) It's nothing to do with seats or anything. The document you posted has nothing to do with that, it's about silent installs, a completely different animal.

StereoMike
01-08-2006, 02:12 PM
yes, silent installs, but if you read the first paragraph, they clearly describe the terms I refer to. Standard installation contrary to multi seat site license.

Anyway, on Adobe.com I found the terms you refer to:
http://www.adobe.com/activation/faq.html#Anchor-How-11481

fifth paragraph. Installation on two machines allowed.
I say sorry.
:bowdown:

Mike :)

BeeVee
01-09-2006, 02:51 AM
It's worth noting the protection that the dongle offers to third parties too...


B (he who really doesn't know why he's bothering to reply to yet another discussion on the dongle...)

Captain Obvious
01-09-2006, 05:08 AM
It's worth noting the protection that the dongle offers to third parties too...
That's actually a really good point. Third parties can develop commercial plugins and not have to spend time developing (or money buying) protection schemes, they can just tie it to the dongle instead. It probably makes it a LOT easier for people like Worley.

DMarkwick
01-09-2006, 06:26 AM
Yep that is a good point. One protection system instead of multitudes... that has to be good for the user.

Stooch
01-10-2006, 12:51 AM
Hmm, a really small usb key might be a better all around solution. a design that doesnt lend itself to damage while plugged into the computer/notebook, allowing the user to keep it in the port without the fear of snagging on anything and it falling out.

Im such a loser that i even made a quick model:

http://www.stooch.net/gallery/d/1419-1/Dongle.jpg

BeeVee
01-10-2006, 02:10 AM
Or alternatively, using something that exists already, how about a little USB extension cable (they are usually about 15 cm/6" long)? Whenever I'm using LightWave on a laptop I always use my dongle plugged into one of those.

B

colkai
01-10-2006, 02:57 AM
Or a little USB hub - very handy and don't cost much. I have an extension cable at work and a hub at home, 'cause I can't easily get round the back of the PC. (Normally due to the nose of a big black labrador :p )

Captain Obvious
01-10-2006, 03:15 AM
Or alternatively, using something that exists already, how about a little USB extension cable (they are usually about 15 cm/6" long)? Whenever I'm using LightWave on a laptop I always use my dongle plugged into one of those.

B
This also makes it even harder to lose the computer. Stick the dongle in your deepest pocket, with the USB extension cord attached, and you've got yourself a not-very-resilient chain between you and your precious machine. It may not be able to resist anything, but if you forget it at your seat, at least the tugging will make you notice that you did so. ;)