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I found one more disaster recovery issue with the loss of my hard drive.

Today is administrative day here at White Light. Every Monday morning I cut expense checks, process invoices, do a little marketing, correspond with a couple of prospects, send monthly reports to the accountant, etc. It is a way to get all the stuff I least enjoy about my job done before I have fun for the next 80 hours or so.

I ran my bank reconciliation report after balancing my checkbook. All the reports I generate out of Quickbooks get printed to Acrobat 7.0 so I have a permanent electronic version (naturally backed up for offsite storage). The report displayed in the viewer like it always does, but today I was prompted by a “your system has changed, please activate or this product will no longer work” message. Fortunately I was connected to the Internet and all went well with the activation.

But what would have happened if I was not connected? What if I was testing some reports in my applications while I was sitting on the beach at my in-laws cottage? What if I was at a client’s office and running some reporting scenarios, or they asked me to print an invoice while I was visiting? Would I have been hosed? I think so. Sort of reminds me of the stories where someone is on a plan about to use one of the Microsoft Office apps and it prompts them with a surprise activation sequence. Don’t have your CD or DVD with you? Bummer.

So the question begs: what does Adobe know about me and my machine?

Looks like another case where the pirates have won. I understand the need for activation, but in the long term it really only hurts those of us who are honestly licensing our software. The pirates know all the hacks and where to go to get the ones they have not used.

2 Responses to “Surprise Adobe Acrobat Activation”

  1. Anonymous
    August 14th, 2006 at 17:04 | #1


    Yes, copy protection always makes me think about using something else. This is one reason I want my employers to consider dropping the copy protection we have on our software. We also license by user count on our web app.

    The problem is, if we don’t do it, people will take advantage (says upper management). But, my take on this is, if a company with 15 people is only willing to pay for 3 uers that doesn’t change if we have copy protection or not. Plus, the overhead of managing the license files and the support calls I bet offset and possible additional revenue.

    Do you copy protect the software you publish?

    Anyway, check out CutePDF. It is totally free, so no activation needed.

    Bob Archer

  2. August 14th, 2006 at 18:05 | #2

    Never had the need to copy protect my apps. I have hated the schemes ever since the days of the Lotus 123 key disk. Today’s activation processes are fairly simple compared to the old days of dongles and key disks.

    You are correct about the overhead of licensing is a hassle. The value is obviously impacted by the possibility for theft. My apps are very custom for specific companies and has the company name every where so users who have lifted the apps might die of embarassment if they are using the app illegally. (I know, I dount it too {g})

    I suspect if I had to manage a vertical market application I would need something. Until then I will continue in my simple world.

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