Volitans Software

Activation Frustration

So I saw this article about not screwing your customers, and it reminded me of an similar experience I had at my day job a few weeks ago. We were having some problems with one of our middle school’s TV studio computer. I had to re-install Windows XP on it.

Now here is where it gets interesting(and frustrating). The studio uses Visual Communicator 2. It used to be made by Serious Magic. They were bought by Adobe in 2006. The newest version is version 3- which costs a lot of money to upgrade. And version 2 was working fine so we didn’t feel the need to upgrade.

Anyway, I install VC2 just fine- but then it needs activating. Ugh- I hate activation and I avoid activation as much as possible. But we already bought this product, so I go ahead and try to activate it over the internet. No luck. I try again. Nope. I just to make sure I have internet connectivity, and I do. But it won’t activate.

Okay, so it gives a number to call to activate over the phone. I was on the phone for over TWO HOURS trying to activate VC2. I kept getting the run around- on hold for 10 minutes, transfer to a different department, wait 10 more minutes, transfer again-BACK TO THE FIRST DEPARTMENT, or get hung up on. Finally, after getting ready to pull my hair out, I finally got someone in tech support that could answer my question. And I was incredulous at the answer.

I told him my quandary and his response- “Oh they shut the servers off, so you can’t activate it.”

“Well can’t you do something?”
“No, I can’t- they shut the servers off”
“Sooo what do I do?”
“Buy a newer version.”
“WHAT!? We spent a ton of money on this? We already paid for it! Why should we have to pay again to use software that was working fine before I had to reimage!”
“Sorry, nothing I can do. Bye”

Wow! What horrible customer service- and he said all of this in a very rude tone! And the biggest reason I hate activation- once they shut the servers off you are screwed. Of course the pirates have no problem cracking the activation and using. Its only us paying CUSTOMERS that have problems.

Luckily, through some Google-Fu I found that the former employees of Serious Magic convinced Adobe to release an activation hack. It was released about a month before I ran into the problem. It would have been nice if the idiot tech on the other end of the phone  told me about this.

I know when we do upgrade our TV Studios (sometime next year) we will stay away from anything made by Adobe.