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Hot Linking Can Be Fun

Copy, Cut, Paste — Egg on Face.

March 25th, 2015 | Technology | , | Comments: 0

The Internet. The World Wide Wow. It’s a digital jungle out there, kids. But it sometimes brings fortune.

My first personal experience with hot linking ended with some free stuff and a funny story. Read all about it via the updates at the bottom of my article called iLok “The session you were using is no longer valid.”

Happy reading! And be safe out there! 😉

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iLok “The session you were using is no longer valid.”

or… How to release a new version of your product/service and bring an entire industry to a screeching halt.

picture of old and new iLoks

Shown: original iLok on top, iLok 2 on bottom

PACE has changed how their customers interface with their infamous iLok. The iLok is a DRM dongle, that many software manufacturers use to manage licensing. Formerly, all licenses were managed (mostly just fine) through the ilok.com website, which is now an insufferable “support” site. The new, prematurely launched system PACE requires users to install the iLok License Manager application on their computer.

Ok, no big deal, right?

I recently purchased several plugins to use in my audio production. I’d love to use these great new plugins, but I can’t because the PACE application is horrible.

In order to use the plugins, I need an iLok 2, which has to have the licenses on it, which must be loaded onto the iLok only by using the iLok License Manager, which won’t even allow me to sign in. This is the error I get.

error dialog box

The session you were using is no longer valid. Press OK to establish a new session.

Pressing OK makes the error go away, but it comes right back when I click “Sign In.” The iLok support site doesn’t list this problem as a issue I can submit a support ticket for. So that’s it. I can’t sign in.

Maybe it is just as well. Even if I could sign in, the advice on the the “street” is don’t try to sync your licenses, ’cause you might lose them.

PACE has acknowledged there are issues, but has been otherwise silent.

If this were a football game, PACE fumbled at kickoff, bungled the whole first half, refuse to answer any questions at half time, and amazingly the fumbled ball is still loose in the second half.

I think this screen grab from the iLok.com website says perfectly what many digital audio workers are thinking.

"iLok How does it work and why do I need it?"

UPDATE: 2015-02-26

A funny thing happened with some of the content on this page. I can’t tell the story just yet, but I bet it’s going to be a good laugh when it’s all over. Interweb lulz.

UPDATE: 2015-03-25

As promised…a funny story. After poking around my site stats and hits, I discovered someone was hot linking me.

If you’re not familiar with hot linking, it’s like stealing cable TV from a neighbor, except it hurts the neighbor instead of the cable company. I had a bandwidth leech!

Anyway, a very popular, well-respected pro audio plug-in development company (who will remain unnamed, because it ended well) was using an image from my site on their support page. It was the photograph I took of two iLoks, which is featured at the top of this very blog post.

I knew I could do something funny with the hot link and maybe get a free plug-in out of it. So I created this new image to replace the one they were linking to on my server.

The names of people and plug-ins are blurred out to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

The names of people and plug-ins are blurred out to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

This meant that the above image would now show up on their site. Zing!

I had formatted it to look nearly identical to their artist endorsements in hopes that it might ride under the radar, remaining visible on their support page for as long as possible. For a short while this unofficial endorsement was live on their site.

Long story short…I uploaded the image and went to bed.

Surprisingly, less than 12 hours later I received an email from one of the company’s developers. He basically said, “well played,” thanked me for not goatse-ing them (If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it.), and let me pick out a free plug-in. Woohoo!

Moral of the story: Hot linking costs everyone something.

Side note: The very same iLok 2 that’s in the picture featured in this debacle must have a desire to make me famous/infamous. It is the very same iLok I photographed to use in the satirical movie poster THE SNOWDEN ULTIMATUM, which was featured in Forbes and lots of other places. There’s something strange about that iLok.

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