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DRM and Activation Madness



Warnerc2Ok, it is well known that I think DRM and many activation procedures are plagues on mankind. Sure, I understand the raging fear, paranoia, and in some cases pure greed that lead companies to do what they do to protect their investments. But much of that comes at the cost of penalizing their paying customers to the point of utter frustration.

Last night as Rob and I were preparing to record this week’s GBM Podcast, I couldn’t get Skylook to work. Skylook is an otherwise excellent Outlook add-in we use to record our Skype calls. I checked the settings and tried rebooting. No luck. Just as Rob and I were ready to call it a night and move on, I remembered that I had recently installed a BIOS update from Lenovo and that I had got bitten by iTunes for not de-authorizing the computer before doing so. So I hit the activation button and reactivated Skylook. Voila. Problem solved. Simple you say? Maybe, but not simple enough.

Here’s my message to software developers. We’re in an age of moving targets with new hardware and Vista. Things are changing quite frequently. If you’re going to tie your activation procedures to the BIOS or other system processes that might undergo changes then you need to re-examine your methods. Yeah, sure, I can get on the phone or visit your customer service via emails and forms, but not when I’m getting ready to do a task after updating my machine. Whoever came up with the logic that your software is at the forefront of my mind when I’m doing a BIOS update or installing new software or system patches needs to re-examine that logic.

Give your customers a break.

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