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software de/activation issues

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Yesterday (Sunday) an incident occurred where Telestream's ScreenFlow (screencast capture / editing software) stopped working for all users. The symptom was that on launch, your copy of ScreenFlow had deregistered itself, and so if you tried to export video you got a watermark, as if your copy of ScreenFlow was a demo, even though in fact you had paid for ScreenFlow. This went on for several hours and there was no clear channel of communication for letting Telestream know there was an issue.

The cause was probably a glitch in Telestream's servers, but that's hardly the point. The point is that it turns out this software apparently needs to phone home and get confirmation from the server every time it launches! If something goes wrong with that communication, you're hosed. This in my view is a totally unacceptable architecture.
 


I had a frustrating experience with NetSpot Pro. Depending on what I do to my main Mac, I will refresh the image, wipe the machine and place a clean image on it perhaps a couple of times a year.

NetSpot Pro requires online activation and since the last time I needed to do a refresh, they eliminated their online web page to self-deactivate the software. Well, like clockwork, I needed the software and had no way to deactivate it to reactivate it on the newly imaged system. It also took them a few days to finally email me to let me know they were able to deactivate the old install - much later than what was the immediate need at the time.

Needless to say, I didn't bother reinstalling or reactivating it and am now looking for an alternative that doesn't require jumping through hoops to re-install when need be.
 



… this software apparently needs to phone home and get confirmation from the server every time it launches! If something goes wrong with that communication, you're hosed. This in my view is a totally unacceptable architecture.
My experience: I am able to start up and use ScreenFlow 8.1 without an active internet connection. My license remains active, confirmed by exporting and by viewing it in Prefs > Licenses.

I do see a lot of 'phoning home' in Little Snitch when starting up ScreenFlow when there is a connection, but I haven't seen any hobbling when there is none.
 


You are exactly right. I am not a fan of the subscription model that Adobe and Microsoft have moved to. Just let me buy the software and move on from there.
The accounting software that I use can be purchased outright with 50% off upgrades, or by subscription, and either way is about the same price, if you pay annually.

I usually buy it every other year, since I don't need the tax tables and was due to buy an upgrade this year. Since Mojave was popping up a 32-bit warning, I figured that I would wait until the 64-bit version is released, which won't be until 2020, so I save a year's payment.

As for Microsoft Office, a 5-device subscription is cheaper than individual copies for the family, but unlike Adobe, it still works even if you let your subscription lapse.
 


People outside the US should avoid buying services from any US company if they can.
People in the US should also avoid buying services, specifically "software as a service" from developers, especially like Adobe.

I had been a past user of Audition, even after getting burned twice by their joke of a Mac audio editor called SoundBooth. I recently purchased perpetually licensed DAW software from iZotope and PreSonus and won't look back.

If more people voted with their collective wallets, companies like Adobe would have to bring back perpetual licensing. As long as people keep feeding the beast, they have little incentive to change their ways!
 


People in the US should also avoid buying services, specifically "software as a service" from developers, especially like Adobe.
I couldn't agree more. Companies drop support for products all the time for a variety of reasons. When this hits your subscription, you're in trouble.

This time around, it was due to government sanctions, but could also happen due to a product reaching its end of life. For example, when Microsoft shut down its PlaysForSure DRM servers, everybody who had bought music from the MSN Music or Zune stores were left with files that can no longer be transferred to new computers or music players and remain playable.

Or just carelessness. Like when Apple's macOS signing certificates expired, making people's OS installer archives unusable.

Or sometimes something as simple as a network interruption can be enough to brick a product when it fails to phone home.

In general, if your product depends on a third-party server to operate, for any reason, then it is a de-facto rental and there is always the possibility that it will stop working without notice. You may find the risk acceptable, but the risk is always going to be there.
 


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