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Thread: Are we now living in a world where internet "activation" is acceptable?

  1. #11
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    ... my example with the Delcam dongles was slightly "biased" - the 3-months-activation was for developers ... AFAIK, customers got a 1-year-expiration time and got the new license code per email.

    With another company, I'm partnering with, they too give 1-year licenses per email for specific program options/modules (e.g. CNC-capability for 3/4/5/6/8 axes) - my "special" developer license is not limited in axes (up to 32) or time ... have only to ask for a new license with new major program versions ...

    Viktor
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  2. #12
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    AHA, does DelCam have a user base of 100,000?

    I'd bet that shop operators are more careful with their equipment than DJs and lasearists...

    The thing I don't like about dongles is that it's just too easy to leave them "home", then you're out on a site somewhere and... then what? Call Pangolin and hope we can issue some kind of code over the phone (like we kind of do now)?

    Plus dongles have well-known attack vectors. Our present licensing scheme itself has never been cracked. There is some piracy of the software itself and -- surprisingly, the FB3 hardware, but not our license bitmap scheme. The reason is because our scheme actually has 7 separate layers of information, plus it's unusual. We're the only one in the world who employs this approach, so there are know well-known attack vectors or hackers with tribal knowledge who know where to start poking around to defeat it.

    And finally, some would say that our hardware is, itself, a dongle. But it's not likely that you'll leave it at home because it's also the thing that controls the laser!


    Bill

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pangolin View Post
    Our present licensing scheme itself has never been cracked.
    Everything can be cracked.
    - There is no such word as "can't" -
    - 60% of the time it works every time -

  4. #14
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    Sure it can. I didn't say it can't. Just that it hasn't!

    Hacking is a matter of time spent and reward gained. For dongles, a single hacker could figure out the attack vector, then, once found crack dozens or even hundreds of programs. They can also sell the services of offering substitute dongles or simply software that pretends to be a dongle. If you poke around on Google you will find plenty of such services.

    Then, on the other hand, there is our software. It uses a pretty weird and unusual technique, that someone would have to first figure out, then peel apart. I guarantee it will take a long time to do, due to the "7-layers of data" approach we took. Once they've got that, they can only really get a single program to work, because the bitmap is different for every single program we make... After they've done all of that, how much money can really be made?

    Anyone capable of hacking and cracking like that would surely make more money attacking software other than ours.


    Bill

  5. #15
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    I am assuming this would really only be affecting Beyond, Correct? I can't see a need to apply any of this security to QS.

  6. #16
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    I am a total newbie at lasers (purchased a ClubMAX FB4 from Pangolin in December and still waiting on it to ship), but I have been using QuickShow with an FB3 to develop our first show. I do write software for industrial controls that goes all over the country. I have done time based activations and password based ones. I have never done dongles.

    We now handle it kind of backwards from what is traditionally done. We NEVER force the software to check if it is still authorized. But rather if the controller goes on the web it checks to see if it has been blacklisted. That way it can't shut down while in operation.

    I know this can allow some machines to run forever if they are never online, but this has been the least troublesome method for us. And our machines are mission critical so they cannot decide to shut themselves down while running.

    I don't know enough about Beyond (probably will purchase next year as this year's budget is shot) to know if any of this is useful to you, but at least it is another idea.

    Tim

  7. #17
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    Not sure how I posted twice

    Tim

  8. #18
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    I vote NO!!!!
    not all gig locations have access to Internet, i say if the user loses a dac with the license, so be it , and let the insurance company pay retail for replacement.
    i don’t need any more possible issues to worry about when i do my gigs.

    And BTW, I have been a victim of theft on a dac with licensing attached, Pangolin helped me out with a police report as proof, but if you’re asking, I still say NO on this idea.

    just my .02

    carlos
    RGB laser projectors
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  9. #19
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    Online activation seems fine. There are some cases where it will be a hassle but with some planning it can be avoided almost all of the time. Would be nice to have an automated phone or SMS activation method as a backup for those cases. All of the large concerts I have gone to recently have had free WIFI, actually, and it worked fine.

  10. #20
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is offline Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
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    Not only NO, but HELL NO...
    I've been to too many venue sites where WIFI and cell was not extant.
    Some of my venues lately have been the tops of tall buildings where cell transmitters from other carriers jammed my cell.
    ~
    In one case, Bozeman, Montana... The local carrier was not my carrier and there was NO roaming arrangement for both the cell and cell modem I take with me on gigs..
    ~
    The gig on the bank building in NYC was a case in point, no net access, wifi useless, two cell sites at 500 watts each on adjacent corners of the roof jamming my cell, and most VHF/UHF two way radio channels useless (Had 18 channels in my radios, had to manually hop frequencies to avoid Spanish speaking taxicab dispatch while talking to our other site on an adjacent building) ... Not to mention bank security breathing down our necks over ANY digital device on our person.
    ~
    I like Tammar's "Reverse Activation" solution, well, sort of. I'd rather have a "one time pad" style keygen like Paypal used to issue where it has a LCD on the side with a pseudorandom sequence generated number based on an internal clock. ie
    RSA SecurID
    only put the clock on the FB4 etc..
    ~

    BTW, USB Dongles are bad in one respect, DJ's often swipe them on stage, thinking they are getting your music "set".
    ~
    People are biblically evil. There is no easy way, but I'd like my account to stay active for a minimum of sixty days. Don't get me started on Windows Updates delaying visitor presentations to large groups at the day job. (yes, I know there is a 30 day delay if you know where to look)
    ~
    I can tell you cases of being in highly secure sites too, where remote activation or even a laptop for diagnostics for "day job" tools was nearly impossible or banned. Not everyplace has the NET.
    ~

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 01-31-2019 at 13:25.
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