Friday Flashback #52

Back when I was a programmer-writer on the SDK team, I’d never heard of a dongle and I’d never had to deal with any licensing stuff (I just installed the overnight build and it ran). Those were the days.

Then in late 2005 I was moved to the Support team and I found out all about dongles and licensing.

Dongles were always a hassle: getting the OS to recognize the dongle, getting the driver installed, verifying whether or not the dongle was bad/defective,… For awhile my xsibase account sig included the phrase “I hate dongles”.

Dongles often got damaged or lost, for various reasons, including but not limited to:

  • It just stopped working…
  • My sister kicked it
  • The dog got under my desk and broke off the dongle
  • Some student stole it (probably thought it was a USB key)
  • It broke when I tried to chain it to the computer
  • Stopped working when I tried to replace the battery (to which I would reply “that was no battery, that was the iButton itself!!!”)
  • Our building burned down (not funny because it was true…they sent me a photo)

Softimage used various types of dongles over the years, but I really only had experience with the blue iButton dongles.
Here’s some of the other dongles…


Softimage XSI 1.5

Softimage XSI 3.0 and later

6 thoughts on “Friday Flashback #52

  1. In my case it was: it broke when I tried to move it (for the first time and a mere 30 centimetres) from my old to my new computer. πŸ˜‰
    But in principle the dongle offered a little more freedom (or “illusion of freedom” as the case often was) than the current Autodesk way of licensing…

    • And then some people would carry it in a laptop bag for years, traveling to shows and customer sites, and the dongle would keep on working. Crazy1

  2. Is this why dongles are the thing of the past for Autodesk ? Dongles seem silly, it seems more logically to have to install a dongle type device within the computer its self and hook it up to the motherboard in some fashion.

    • I don’t know about Autodesk, they weren’t using dongles when I got here in 2008. At Softimage we moved away from dongles to SLP partly to get rid of the dependency on external hardware, and partly to provide an easier set up and more flexible service.

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