Adobe. Fireworks. Activation System. Sigh.

I try hard to keep this blog a gripe-free zone but Adobe has pushed me to the limits. They have a “product activation” system that allows one to use Fireworks on two computers: a main work computer and a laptop or home computer.

My work computer was faulty. I needed to send it back to Apple for a replacement. First I reformatted the hard drive to remove my personal stuff. But Fireworks doesn’t recognise this arrangement. It won’t activate on the replacement computer that Apple sent me. All I get is advice that I should have deactivated Fireworks before reformatting the hard drive. Can you see the difficulty this poses for mortals without time machines? If only I hadn’t sold my flux capacitor to pay for my new iMac.

So I can’t use my fully purchased, legitimate, licensed Fireworks to work on the artwork for the new Poker Copilot Hand Replayer. This is a product licensing system that is too clever by half. It’s hurt me, an honest, paying customer. The help files and FAQ are circular, resulting in no clear solution.

There’s a moral here for us small software companies. Make the licensing system just enough to keep the typical customers honest. Don’t work from an assumption that all your customers are thieving scoundrels. And if the occasional customer installs the product on one computer too many, assume that the reasons are legitimate. If a poor student with lots of time and little money works out how to bypass your licensing system, accept it and move on.