Akvis and Windows: a Sadist’s View of a Good Time

by James R. Stoup Jul 25, 2006

Has anyone been keeping up with the WGA insanity? I don’t know which is more amusing, the fact that so many users are complaining about being flagged as pirates, or that WGA secretly phones home to report on your system. As Mac users have you stopped to appreciate how nice it is to be free of that hassle?

Have you? Really? I suppose you can’t really get the full effect of the nightmare that is Windows until you try and install a copy of Windows from the restore disks that came with your computer. It can be a very tiring and frustrating process if you can’t remember where your license code is. And of course with WGA things just get more and more fun. Has anyone installed OS X recently? You put in the disk, click a few buttons and leave. When you come back, all you have to do is restart. No codes, no licenses, no “PC phone home,” nothing. It’s so simple even a PC user could do it.

I bring up this fact because I recently had quite a bit of pain associated with activating a piece of software I purchased from Akvis Software. This particular company makes plug-ins for Photoshop that help you enhance your images. The plug-ins actually work quite well and are a joy to use. Getting them to work, however, is a real pain in the ass. (Hence the comparison to Windows.) Here is what I had to go through to make this work.

First, to buy the software I had to use an email address that I actually paid for. Now, this wasn’t a deal-breaker of a problem, but it was a hassle. I use Gmail and Yahoo primarily. I also have a couple of other email addresses from various providers, however they are all free. I almost didn’t purchase the software until I remembered the email address that I got with my ISP. Since the ISP’s email service is quite bad, I don’t use it, and it took me a little while before I remembered my login name and password. Thus, even though I was eventually able to buy the Akvis plug-in, I wasn’t really in that great a mood anymore.

Next I installed the plug-in on my machine and fired up Photoshop. When I attempted to use my newly purchased software I was prompted to enter my license number and user ID. Ok, not a problem, I entered my info and chose how to register with Akvis. My choices were: to directly connect to the Akvis server or use email. Since I was in a hurry I decide to directly connect. Photoshop then crashed.

F*%#

I opened up Photoshop and did it again.

And it crashed again.

Now I was more than a bit annoyed. So I emailed an Akvis support person and this is what I had to do. Go download an older copy of the software (their latest revision doesn’t work to well on Macs apparently), send them my license code and the ID number off my computer. Then they emailed me a file which I then had to place into a protected folder in my library.

Finally, after all of that, I fired up Photoshop and was able to use my software. Guess what? I will NEVER buy anything from Akvis again. Never. If it is the only company who makes the plug-in I desperately need then I guess I am just SOL, because I don’t plan on going through any of this again. When I legally buy something and get a license for it I expect to be able to use that product without mounting frustration that culminates in a few emails with tech support.

Furthermore, the idea that Akvis requires that I submit my registration to them to confirm I am not pirating its software is rather insulting. Now, I realize that the company is just trying to protect its product, and that is fine, more power to them. Just so long as they understand that I don’t really care for their practices and as a result will happily look elsewhere for my software needs.

I love my Mac, I really do. And I love OS X. However it would not sit well with me if Apple ever started implementing such ridiculous procedures. That, I think, is the one thing they could do that would actually force me to consider using Linux permanently. Now, I think we are safe for a while because Apple generally doesn’t copy Microsoft’s less-than-inspired ideas, but I wouldn’t put it past them in the long run. This might become a bigger issue as its market share climbs. But for now, I plan on enjoying the freedom Apple has given us.

Comments

  • The honor system that is Mac OSX is THE “Genuine Advantage” for Apple and others that follow this customer-oriented relationship system.

    This is perhaps I come to notice and much appreciate when I reinstall OSX for a friend or customer. NO HASSLES unlike JRS’ Akvis example. Less headache - More work done. That can’t be hard to explain to the likes of M$ or Adobe right?

    Serial number management systems has gone overboard toward delusion (way beyond paranoia) that us customers that give them their very blood are no longer trusted and treated as thieves.

    If I get treated this way no matter what, then I have no choice but to act like one. Do you hear that M$? You Adobe??? Totally ridiculous!

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Don’t think you’ll see it, ever. Reason is Apple is more about the hardware than the OS. And there license for thier OS is admirably the best out there. While it’s licensed to you, if you upgrade you can then sell it or reuse it on another machine (THANK YOU APPLE!) which makes the Software, even used, worth something if anything! Now Windows on the other hand once you register or more to the point activate it it’s done and now worthless. So if you upgrade your PC’s motherboard and CPU (used to be a common thing but because of this it’s not) you have to either purchase a new copy or call and convince the MS rep in India that your still using it on your PC but upgraded or replaced components. I know this because I work in a windows world most of the time and 3 months ago we had a client loose 12 PC’s to lightning that struck the building damaging the PC’s both internally and physically. Talk about a hassle, took 3 days to get those 12 pcs up, 2 days on the phone with the MS rep which by the way you have to call in seperately for each machine so the call can be logged to the specific COA ID#... Which is why I leave my 8 page “Switch” report for my clients after I fix MS based issues…

    xwiredtva had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 172
  • I hate to be a pain, but shouldn’t that be a /masochist’s/ view of a good time?

    eiscir had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 23
  • The Quark one is the worst.

    1. The activation code is f******g HUGE!

    2. Each serial is tied to a particular version; i.e. you can’t use a 6.0 disk with a 6.1 serial. Not good when you have as many installs as me.

    3. You must register your copy to be able to activate it. If you don’t activation just fails.

    4. At activation, the installation is tied to the hardware configuration of the system. If you change the config, by replacing or upgrading, the activation is cancelled and you have to ring Quark for a new code.

    5. There is no way to cancel an activation (at least Adobe let you do this). So if you migrate to a new machine, you have to ring Quark for a new code.

    I have to ring Quark at least once a month, as our layout guys’ Macs are constantly being upgraded and theirs passed down the company.

    Dan Ebeck had this to say on Jul 26, 2006 Posts: 23
  • WGA secretly phones home to report on your system. As Mac users have you stopped to appreciate how nice it is to be free of that hassle?

    Of course, Apple phones home too.  I’m not sure how phoning home could be described as a “hassle” unless you just don’t like that sort of thing.  And in James’s case, Apple doing it automatically means it isn’t a hassle, but rather totally acceptible and justified in every way.

    I suppose you can’t really get the full effect of the nightmare that is Windows until you try and install a copy of Windows from the restore disks that came with your computer. It can be a very tiring and frustrating process if you can’t remember where your license code is.

    Can you imagine the flood of sympathy I’d get if I complained what a “nightmare” Final Cut Pro was to install BECAUSE I LOST MY LICENSE CODE?  And can you imagine the shitstorm if I actually tried to blame APPLE for this?

    In fact, I’ve recently re-installed BOTH Windows on my laptop and OS X on my Mac Mini, so I can actually compare the experiences.  Both went smoothly and without any problems at all (I know where I keep my codes).  And while I will absolutely give Apple credit in terms of features, particularly if migrating from one system to another, it wasn’t significantly easier and I’d rather avoid having to do it at all, whether a Mac or PC.

    Finally, after all of that, I fired up Photoshop and was able to use my software. Guess what? I will NEVER buy anything from Akvis again.

    While I understand the frustration, I again wonder about a one-time hassle of installing software causing a lifetime boycott.  If I did that every time I had a problem (again, Mac or PC) I’d probably be down to about 3 apps. 

    I recently had to replace an installation of FCP with a different one, and the joy of that process, given Apple’s notorious lack of an Uninstall feature, could have sworn me off of them for good.  But the app is too good, and once its installed it’s good to go for a long time.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jul 26, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • The argument against WGA (and other software companies using the exact same method of piracy “prevention”) always amuses me….

    Apple does not need to go this route YET, b/c of the sheer numbers.  Fact is, more people use Windows.  Until Apple gets about 10-20% higher in userbase, and is OS X is installable on anything, APple and its users won’t realize what a necessary evil “phoning home” really is.

    whodisbe had this to say on Jul 27, 2006 Posts: 6
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