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Adam Lasnik

Adam Lasnik

Bigger than a breadbox. See my Google profile here for more info, links to my photos, blog, etc: http://bit.ly/adamgp :)
Am I Right or Not time: I was thinking about buying a piece of software for $250. Company's policy (and DRM) restricts it to 2 computers (I have 2 desktops + a laptop which I use regularly).
I wrote customer service twice, and was told, sorry, no exceptions... but you can put it on a USB drive to get around the restriction. So my question, before I include this company in a subsequent rant on my blog: am I being unreasonable in my request and my frustration? Related question: is this type of restriction typical? (two concurrent installs, no exceptions) - Adam Lasnik
Yes, that's normal. For instance, with Microsoft Office, you can install it on a desktop system and a laptop, but you can't use it on both places at the same time. - Scoble, Alex Scoble
The dilemma is -- since this is an information retrieval / organizer type product -- I really want/need it on my home, work, and laptop computers. I apparently can't do this unless I pay for two licenses ($500 instead of $250) or use the lame workaround of a USB key, with which I risk losing my data if I don't back it up all the time. To clarify, I don't want to use the software concurrently, I want it *installed* concurrently (e.g., don't want to have to install/uninstall every day). - Adam Lasnik
And torque, that's an interesting question. I think it's the principle even more than the money. I believe they're restricting it to two installs to prevent piracy, prevent people from sharing the software with a buddy and splitting the cost. I resent the lack of trust, especially after I wrote a nice note to customer service. I'm used to the honor system with software purchases, though admittedly, most of my purchases have been in the <$100 range the last years - Adam Lasnik
I've also seen where you have to go through customer service, and if you pass the smell test, they'll give you another license (on the assumption, I guess, that people pirating the software will just bittorrent stuff and won't bother contacting customer support). - Adam Lasnik
Careful with what you install on your work computer. Software companies frequently have different licensing for applications that are being used "for business." - EricaJoy
I was actually thinking of a different but related issue, Erica, which is why I didn't plan on putting work-related stuff in the program... which also means that (in good faith) I'd be still using it for personal stuff. - Adam Lasnik
I dunno, I've bought single licenses that allow for install on a second machine provided it's primarily used only by moi. So your scenario seems like that to me, just with the extra machine. And since you can't, without some really impressive juggling, use all three licenses at once, I don't fully understand why they want to make you buy two. I don't think they'd really be losing money by letting you do what you want. - Jaemi Kehoe
And in the event that you ever had a FOURTH machine, you might be more likely to buy another license if you were pleased with them. - Jaemi Kehoe
torque, I'm glad you like this conversation! I really do respect and appreciate the tough decisions that companies have to make when they've invested so much time and money into making a product that many might simply grab without paying for. In fact, while I'd typically shout "remove the DRM, dammit!", I then get jolted into reality when I read about how jerks have pirated even an amazing $20 game by an indie developer http://bit.ly/VQug :\. - Adam Lasnik
If you do the install on a USB key, why do you have to keep the data on it? You weren't going to put the data on the flash drive if you installed the app on three different hard drives, were you? I would think something happening to the flash drive would lose that installation of the program, not the unique data, itself. Seems to me the solution would be to buy a new USB drive and do a new install. - MiniMage
Ah, very good point, MiniMage! Hadn't thought of that (I planned to keep the data files on Dropbox). Still, though, would be kinda a pain to always carry around the USB stick, not to mention be constantly plugging it in and out, no? - Adam Lasnik
Yes, that would be a pain. Do they license server installs? Do you have a server that could serve apps? - MiniMage
How on earth is a server going to help if the laptop is remote??? And I feel you Adam. - Roberto Bonini
If the licensing isn't differentiated, a server install could serve two computers at work, and the standalone at home could be the second install. Now, if two computers are remote, I suppose it won't help much; it'd probably be slow as molasses via VPN. Of course, I'm speculating about stuff I don't really know about; I'm just a desktop tech. I use server apps; I don't get to install/support them. That privilege is reserved for people other organizations have trained. :( - MiniMage
Licenses for similar software are similarly restrictive. The one for OneNote for example can go on 3 computers if you have the Student Edition, right? Lot of software isn't that upfront either; you find out when you activate that you can't take it with you. Honestly, i was happy to see my $250 got me two licenses: that's just 125/install instead of 250/install... TheBrain is well worth it & they've seen there product stolen already so... - Ruud Hein
It's interesting to ponder how the situation might be different if the software in question were a service (web-based or otherwise). Granted, you'd probably be paying per unit time, but there would be no question of "which" machine it was installed on -- probably just a prohibition on running it simultaneously on a single account. I've never understood why more desktop software vendors don't do that; perhaps just that people are used to paying a single fee for installed software? - Joel Webber
Ruud, I think that that model isn't going to survive. Young people today aren't (IMHO) buying office, buying PersonalBrain. They're doing everything online, where there are monthly fees (use anywhere) or no fees (directly or indirectly advertiser sponsored). I'm 37, and in all my geekiness and all my software/service experiences, I can't recall a single instance of a program that has such strictly limited installs. iTunes/Rhapsody songs are... 3 or 5 computers? Even even that DRM seems on the way out. - Adam Lasnik
I just don't think people, especially young people, can even fathom pay-by-install. And Joel, as for pay-per-use-hour, that's an intriguing idea, but IMHO also doomed to failure. For many products, the more use = the more one sees the value = the more evangelism. Pay-by-hour seems like such a relic of the time when computing power / bandwidth was crazy-expensive. In today's multi-tasking world, it'd also be infuriating (how many of us dedicate 100% of our personal CPUs to one web/software app at a time? :P - Adam Lasnik
Agreed: I think the software-sales model is broke - dot. Subscription is the way to go although in the Evernote forum some discuss how *that* keeps them hostage... I think PB should let me do with the install as I wish -- but failing that I do think they have the right ... and that it's worth it. - Ruud Hein
I can get two hamburgers for $2.50, should I steal a third one? Seriously Adam, it doesn't really matter if the model is broken or not, if software licensing has a future or not, those are just the restrictions that they have. It's how they have built their licensing system (and software costs money to make :-), especially software that is not used by gazillions of people). Going from... more... - John Mueller
John, normally I respect your brilliance, but I gotta heartily disagree with your analogies and reasoning here. 1) Hamburgers cost per item. Software does not. It would not cost the company any more if I used it on 3 computers instead of 2. In fact, their revenue would increase by possibly $250 ;). 2) I wasn't advocating a move from $ to ads. As I noted, I'm quite happy to pay for software and have done so frequently. 3) I see absolutely no relationship between size of a company and licensing model. - Adam Lasnik
Actually, hamburgers cost close to nothing per item; It does however cost quite a bit to be able to sell them to you. The thing is, these companies have built their business on being able to sell you a license for a certain number of computers. You might not like that model, but that's the way they are calculating costs, the way they're paying for overhead and the ability to provide the... more... - John Mueller
I used to run a software company so it's something I spent a lot of time on :-). Changing a licensing model is a lot of work and you can't just say $X/2PCs/user is unfair compared to $Y/user or $Z/year. In the end, the overhead (of creating, distributing & supporting the software) has to be paid for just the same -- how it's split up is (simplified) based on marketing. Marketing changes... more... - John Mueller
To clarify, John, while I have to admit to some temptation to bittorrenting in this case, I wasn't seriously planning (and do not plan) to violate the license agreement. Rather, I plan on not further evaluating the software and simply finding an alternative. And despite your arguments, I still think it's a lousy marketing decision, a lousy way to calculate costs. I mean, they could say "People should pay based upon the sum of the letters in their last name" and I'd see that as only slightly less arbitrary. - Adam Lasnik
This sort of thing makes my head hurt. There was a time, until recently, where My husband and I each had a desktop and a laptop. We like to travel, so we needed some software on our laptops. It was frustrating to run into this situation where we'd have the software on one laptop and one desktop. That meant a lot of switching seats in the office and travel sucked because we'd have to trade off laptop tops to finish our projects. This is one of the reasons we're trending more open source and cloud for our biz - Anika
I agree, Adam, in your case it sucks and to be honest, in your situation I'd think twice about it too. I don't think there is ever a perfect licensing model. When we sold software for $2000/user, we'd get people who say they're only working part-time and couldn't we give them a discount, etc. Sure, if you're working 30% it seems really unfair to pay the same as someone who's working... more... - John Mueller
I just noticed sharing files through dropbox is not working any more. I used to share free version files through dropbox, but recently found that all the links to pages drag-and-dropped into the app won't save the URL as it used to. And it won't even let you copy-paste the link into the Notes – whatever you posted disappears in a matter of seconds if you're adding it on one computer (at work) and forgot to close it leaving home. Their licensing really sucks. - earlyadopter
All of Me - Jon Schmidt (The Official Video) Finally! - http://www.youtube.com/watch...
All of Me - Jon Schmidt (The Official Video) Finally!
Play
Gah. Just realized (thanks, Simone!) that I was still dumping stuff into my feed here, even though I haven't visited FF myself in ages. Just disconnected all my feeds. Should probably actually cancel my account, but... well, why delete all those earlier good conversations? Anyway, Friendfeed and Friendfeeders... it was fun!
So long, and thanks for all the fish! - Adam Lasnik
see you :) - simone righini
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