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NI's New Software Subscription Model


hooovahh

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16 hours ago, hooovahh said:

I understand Rolf's concern, and others should listen.  However of all the NI software I've gotten from non-NI sites, nothing has ever came with anything nefarious.  They typically package the NI software untouched, along with the things that are shady separately.  That shady stuff might be executables that perform activation, DLLs or EXEs that replace functionality after an install, or applications that generate offline activation codes. 

That being said I'd still not encourage anyone from getting NI software, from anywhere other than NI's site.  Policies like this make that pretty difficult.

Yes it is usually the tools that are packed with it to create a fake license or modify the executable to remove the license check, that are at least suspicious or sometimes definitely not just trying to help the person who downloaded it. But I have seen more than once modified installers itself that were not the original one anymore. Why someone would do that other than to modify something inside it to serve a specific purpose definitely escapes me.

And I do know of one person who after installing such a hacked installer, I had the pleasure of rescuing his PC. It was nasty to say the least, but before crypto lockers were a commodity. It mostly was limited to having network and registry redirects that made almost every action impossible as it would open either a series of browser windows to all kind of spam, porn and other nefarious sites, or simply displaying a dialog that the executable could not be started. I managed to get it back to a workable state so the data could be rescued, but reformatted the whole disk anyways afterwards. There was simply no way to trust that all traces of nasties were really removed.

 

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4 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

And I do know of one person who after installing such a hacked installer, I had the pleasure of rescuing his PC. It was nasty to say the least, but before crypto lockers were a commodity...

Oh I have gotten malware from a shady torrent.  Just never anything NI related, seems like it is a pretty niche category.  I do remember once getting photoshop for a friend, and the cracking team added a splash screen on the software startup that was an advertisement for climate change.  You had to sit through a 10 second page telling you about their efforts before the software would start.

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29 minutes ago, hooovahh said:

Oh I have gotten malware from a shady torrent.  Just never anything NI related, seems like it is a pretty niche category.  I do remember once getting photoshop for a friend, and the cracking team added a splash screen on the software startup that was an advertisement for climate change.  You had to sit through a 10 second page telling you about their efforts before the software would start.

Anything you are no sure of, just open in a VM first.

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38 minutes ago, hooovahh said:

Oh I have gotten malware from a shady torrent.  Just never anything NI related, seems like it is a pretty niche category.  I do remember once getting photoshop for a friend, and the cracking team added a splash screen on the software startup that was an advertisement for climate change.  You had to sit through a 10 second page telling you about their efforts before the software would start.

That's harmless 😆. And I think while possibly annoying, at least idealistic. It won't change anyone from driving even one mile less with his car, so likely very ineffective, but everybody needs a cause to live for. 😆 It's effect is also questionable as someone wanting to use cracked software is likely not very much concerned about the state of our earth at that moment, as long as he can start to use his badly anticipated program on his Intel Octium Core monster system with the newest NVidia super duper hardware accelerated graphic card, all of which is only consuming the power that an entire household normally would use. And if that happens in summer, the Airco only has to work a "tiny" little bit harder to get the air temperature to a "comfortable" 19 degree. In winter you even safe some energy as the central heating actually needs to burn less energy. 😎

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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29 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

It's effect is also questionable as someone wanting to use cracked software is likely not very much concerned about the state of our earth at that moment, 

I don't understand the connection.  They were running it on a low power laptop.  They were a student.  They were (and continue to) be concerned with the climate.  They were (and continue) to consider themselves poor.  Not that it matters.

  • Haha 1
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1 hour ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

Already terminated, ahem, I mean expired. ☠️

There's something with your browser/connection/cookies/firewall/etc., because I downloaded both archives right now and nothing interrupted me. Anyway even if the links go dead, you know who to ask about reupping. 😉

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Yes there is. 😆 My Chrome browser is configured to simply not download exe files. The problem is that I wasn't looking for those specific files but rather trying to find something else.

And there is a difference now. A few days ago you could simply browse that entire directory tree and find out what was on there. Now the entire softlib subdirectory and all its contents is not browsable anymore. Someone shut a door somewhere. 😀 They probably couldn't rename the entire tree as then the download page for all the products might not work anymore. But that might be just a question of time too.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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6 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

Now the entire softlib subdirectory and all its contents is not browsable anymore.

Was it ever browsable? As I recall I've never been able to browse softlib directory. Maybe because I often don't login to NI site or don't have a valid SSP, when trying to fetch the server content.

They might introduce a hash system for the files as applied on many file sharing services (to force visitors to watch the ads). Then nobody would be able to browse through their servers. But it'll break many links, which are settled down in the manuals and other papers.

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6 hours ago, dadreamer said:

Was it ever browsable? As I recall I've never been able to browse softlib directory. Maybe because I often don't login to NI site or don't have a valid SSP, when trying to fetch the server content.

They might introduce a hash system for the files as applied on many file sharing services (to force visitors to watch the ads). Then nobody would be able to browse through their servers. But it'll break many links, which are settled down in the manuals and other papers.

Yes, when you posted that link I actually had a bit of a look around and Shaun did apparently the same, seeing his comment that nothing beyond LabVIEW 2018 could be found there.

image.png.11d6206056263c29a3fdc286cc30812d.png

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, FixedWire said:


https://www.motor1.com/news/597376/bmw-heated-seats-subscription/

but let's not let 'em get too many good ideas...madness abounds.

This is very different for multiple reasons.  But honestly these types of subscriptions don't bother me, because they often are for features you didn't pay for.  This isn't someone paying for seat heaters, and then having them taken away and now you have to pay a monthly fee.  In this case you had the option to pay for the seat heaters up front on a single cost (perpetual), or you now have the option of a monthly fee.  Choice is good.

I don't think the "Full Self Driving" of a Tesla is worth the $12k they are asking.  Especially for a beta feature tied to the car, not the owners account.  Which is why I think it is a nice option that they have subscription option that people can buy into for a month if they have a long trip planned.  I still won't personally get it but I like that there is choice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on the pricing changes.

A Vision Development Module deployment license used to cost $440 ($110 with Academic discount).

The new price appears to be $582. Now, since I am in Academia, the price that I see is different:

image.png.2220bbd8c3f6b7981119286691e35687.png

This was a bit of a shock to me (remember, it used to cost 4 times less), so I tried to look for alternative sources of information. The page for quotes has a a phone number (which I called, more on that below) and an online quote link, which I followed.

Being logged in as a duly registered academic user, the resulting quote specified that an Academic Discount was applied:

image.png.8aca186c85287047b8b0316e1224871d.pngYet the price appears as $582.

Which one is correct?

I called. Long story short, the guy on the other end of the line did not know, then knew it was $582, but then when I mentioned that I had seen $407.40 on one of the page realized it was $407.40 and when I mentioned that the quote I had requested online showed $582, told me that then it would be $582. When I tried to explain that this was at the very least confusing and additionally looked like a rip-off, he simply hanged up.

I am ambitiously engineering my replacement to the small part of the VDM I was using before I complete my migration to Python....

  • Sad 3
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I will grant this to NI: they use real blood and flesh employees, not bots (yet).

The second employee I talked with to get to the bottom of NI's price gouging policy was just as detached from logic and reality as the first one (with the excuse that his kids were causing a ruckus in the background, so that added to the stress of dealing with a frustrated customer).

According to that employee, I should provide a copy of an academic quote from the past to even listen to my claim that the VDM DL academic version used to cost $110 in 2019. Never mind that I felt this was important enough to write down this information on my software release website at the time, emphasizing the differential with the regular price...

Not only that, but (according to this employee) the new policy of NI is to grant academia a systematic discount of 10%. Which does explain the $407.40 vs $582 current price differential...not (I didn't bother to bring up the discrepancy I noticed across two NI webpages, see previous post).

Before that, I had to listen to a discombobulated speech about the new subscription policy and its justification by the included technical support, which has obviously zero bearing on a deployment license, which grants no support right to a user of an executable not developed by NI. Of course, I did not get any answer to my question about the reason why the differential between academic licenses and regular license went from a 1 to 4 ratio to a 1 to 1.4 ratio. Clearly, I should not be expecting a front line employee possibly getting entry level wages to justify why the corporate sharks instructed their minions to raise all prices to milk as much revenue as possible to sustain their own salary and compensation increases and shareholder returns. I wonder whether NI has considered recruiting Martin Shkreli or just decided to follow his business model...

I then asked how I could lodge a complaint and whether I could have a case number to refer to when sending that complaint. Aside from almost having to arm twist the guy to get the customerservice@ni.com email, I learned that, for price quote, there is no information asked from the complaining customer, no case number is opened, and it is up to the employee to send feedback to their management. In other words, NI is not expecting any customer to complain about quotes. I am suspecting they are up for some surprises.

My feeling is that the software division of NI has been granted the status of "business unit" and is tasked to generate revenue to justify its existence. Good luck with that... The "agile" software development jargon is a marketing ploy justifying the release of minor updates as full-fledged versions (e.g. 2022). Not that it is a radical change from previous years as far as the product itself goes, but it certainly is as far as pricing. The head of that strategy? Shelley Gretlein: https://www.ni.com/en-us/about-ni/leadership/gretlein.html

"Shelley Gretlein is focused on empowering NI’s broadest set of customers", which means there is a fringe that is not supposed to be empowered (less power to them!) and that fringe is clearly those who refuse to pay for a periclitating software at inflated price (aka not big corporations).

"She led one of the most successful rebrands in the test and measurement market." That, I am not quite sure what it refers to. The failure of NXG? The move to a subscription scheme? Something else? Of course, this type of sentence does not even need to refer to anything. It just needs to use bombastic qualifiers. I'll leave it to you to read this masterpiece of a corporate double-speak.

My bet for NI's next move? Offer their service to VW to save them from their software development failure: https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/26/from_beetles_to_bugs_vw/

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15 hours ago, X___ said:

"She led one of the most successful rebrands in the test and measurement market." That, I am not quite sure what it refers to.

I think this reveals the answer...

Quote

empowering engineers and enterprises around the globe through the significant differentiation of NI’s tailored, software-connected approach.

NI were concentrating on their systems' solutions like Systemlink,  NI System Configuration and that other obese LabVIEW thing I never used.

 

 

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16 hours ago, X___ said:

"She led one of the most successful rebrands in the test and measurement market." That, I am not quite sure what it refers to. 

I guess this was the extremely ambitiously engineered greening of National Instruments into NI.

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1 hour ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

It's probably my limited command of the English language, but for me this sounds about as intelligible as a dissertation about the n-th dimensional entanglement of virtual particles between different universes.

You know as well as I do that marketing speak isn't supposed to be intelligible. :P It's purpose is to say absolutely nothing in a veneer of condescension.

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