@Orko I understand.

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@Trajectory

You got me curious, so I looked up that employment contract and found that any hold that contract had on me expired two years after my employment ends, which was in 2012, so it hasn't been in effect for almost three years.

With that said, I can answer yes, I was one of the primary developers of SoftwarePassport/Armadillo, though 90% of my work was with Armidillo itself.

SoftwarePassport was just a alternate user interface that Digital River thought was more marketable than Armadillo's rather sparten but functional user interface was. I had to laugh, I'd always thought that one of the goals of marketing was to develop a memorable name. In that regard Digital River failed miserably. People where always calling Software Passport strange names like Software Password!

I started working on Armidillo with it's creator about nine months before Digital River acquired Silicon Realms.

The things DR had us do to Armadillo still make me cringe. To support everything they wanted, the protection engine, which gets attached to every protected program, grew from about 400 KB to something like 2 MB. What a bunch of useless bloatware it was.

Although it more than likely not legal, thankfully I kept copies of the source code for versions both before and after DR got a hold of us. Don't ask me why I kept copies of the source code, especially since I have no plans to do anything with it. But something told me at the time that it might be a good idea.

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Agree the tech support system does seem strangely random. Haven't yet heard anything back from the address David posted. It was Friday afternoon, so hopefully it's just a case of Spain being like Britain in that nothing new gets started on a Friday. See what next week brings. It really shouldn't be this hard to get support for one TTS voice you paid 59 quid for.

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@Orko yeah, I thought it made sense.
I had a license for Armadillo (which I never really used). I remember getting a ticket response from a visually impaired guy when I raised an accessibility related enquiry, and I'm assuming now that it was probably you. Access wise, I found that the Armadillo interface itself was always okay, but if the Software Passport gui was useable with Jaws I never got the hang of it.
Then when the final version came out, I found that more access issues had cropped up. I raised a ticket and got a phone call from someone at Silicon Realms promicing to investigate.
After that I never heard back and I'd imagine it died shortly thereafter.
I thought it was a pretty kool product.

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@Flackers
I'm assuming you bought your Eloquence license from atguys.com?
If so, just contact them and tell them that codefactory isn't responding to you.
They got a positive response for me in less than 24 hours, though now you might have to wait until Monday.

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@Trajectory

It probably was, I've always been visually impaired throughout my whole life, but until 2010 when I started losing my vision, my vision was good enough that my primary form of transportation was my bicycle, and reading mainstream books wasn't an issue.

The first version of the Software Passport user interface was written in Visual Basic 6, In 2011 it was scrapped and a more modern looking Software Passport user interface which was also written in Visual Basic 6 was rolled out. Then in 2012 the whole Visual Basic 6 user interface was scrapped and a whole new user interface was written in C/C++.

Digital River kept Software Passport / Armadillo going for two more years after I left due to contractual obligations, but as soon as those contracts expired Software Passport / Armadillo was killed as a product.

Armadillo's creator tried to reaquire Armadillo back from Digital River, but was turned down with a comment from a director saying, "I'll be damned if I'll sell one of our products to a former employee."

So the story ends. Digital River acquired Silicon Realms thinking they could use Armadillo to lock vendors into one of their ecommerce platforms, but bad marketing, bad decisions, and the mistake of continuing to sell the key generator source code doomed their idea from the very beginning. We tried to convince them of all of that but they knew everything and ignored us.

All they succeded in doing was to take a fine product, destroy it with a bunch of pointless and bloated "marketing enhancements", then kill it.

If that's a typical example of how they operate, it makes me wonder how they manage to stay in business.

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57 (edited by flackers 2017-06-10 21:35:00)

I got my copy direct from codefactoryglobal.com. However you got me thinking and I just checked my original confirmation email, and apparently the payment itself was processed via avangate software who have their own website. The support links in the email were the same codefactoryglobal ones that have been posted here, but if I don't hear anything by Tuesday, I'll be contacting Avangate directly.

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I assume in this case Avangate is probably just a payment processor, and has nothing to do with the actual product, and can't provide support. Of course if something happened like you made a payment and never received anything at all, or what you received was substantially different from what was advertised, they may be able to contact the seller on your behalf, and failing that, issue a refund and possibly stop processing payments for them. In other words, it could well be that contacting Avangate about this issue might be akin to buying a game from VGStorm, paying with PayPal, then contacting PayPal because your hard drive crashed and you lost your registration key.

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It's too bad Digital River won't sell Armadillo, etc. At one point I looked at it, but never seriously considered buying it as I'm not a developer. I just sort of wanted to play with it to see how it worked. I've always been fascinated with copy protection technologies, even though as a user of software I don't like it.

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60 (edited by flackers 2017-06-11 12:20:35)

Yeah you're right on their website it says they're a payment handler and only offer payment support. But it might still be worth contacting them because I just want a response from CF. That's where a company like paypal would be useful. I wish I'd paid via PP because they'd sort this out for sure. I've had companies ignore emails before over faulty goods, and they soon respond after you start a paypal dispute. And the goods I bought from CF are faulty and they're not responding. Remains to be seen though whether Avangate will give a shit or just shrug and say not our problem.

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@flackers

Depending on how they are set up they, Avangate, might also provide activation services. Digital River provided an entire suite of ecommerce services from the online store to the shopping cart to payment processing to activation services. Or they are like PayPal in that all they provide is payment processing. Either way, contacting where the money comes from is always a good way to get a dispute settled. Nobody likes having anyone else mess with their purse strings!

@jaybird

I used to keep an archive of all the various versions of Armadillo, if you are still interested in playing with a copy I could look to see if I still have the archive on one of my external hard drives. I may have even kept a copy of the key generator I wrote for our internal use. I won't give anyone that, but if I still have it I can generate a key for you, though for just playing around you don't need it. Trial versions, except for some advanced features, were fully functional, the only thing you couldn't do was  distribute anything you protected with it because everytime you ran a program protected with a trial version of Armadillo, you get a pop up telling you just that. Not something a vendor would want their customers to see.

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oralux, the people who sell an Eloquence TTS for Linux responds quite quickly. The old way of selling  AT where you have to constantly contact your vendor instead of the obvious choice, the people who made the thing... is really the issue here +restrictive copyright protections. I mean if you want high support loads go ahead and implement a scheme like this. At least Freedom Scientific commit to stand for their schemes, and try to respond to people's activation requests quickly. You don't have to go through your dealer. I respect them for having that much responsibility compared to these people.

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Hi.
Please give me Armadilo because I am interested.

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64 (edited by Orko 2017-06-12 02:24:38)

For anyone that wants to play around with it, here are both the 32 and 64 bit versions of the classic Armadillo version 8.60. This is the last version before the classic user interface was disabled in favor of the new Software Passport user interface written in C/C++.

Note that these are what we called public builds, which means some advanced features, like nanomites, are missing. Those were only compiled into private builds which were only given to customers that paid for a license as opposed to using a trial or getting one of the free versions DR was giving out.

Also, no registration keys, as I said in a previous message, for just playing around to learn more about it, you don't need a registered version.

Which version? Whether you get the 32 or 64 bit version depends on what you are protecting.

The 32 bit version and executables protected with it will run on both 32 and 64 bit systems, but will only protect 32 bit executables.

The 64 bit version and executables protected with it will only run on 64 bit systems, and it will only protect 64 bit executables.

These are install packages that contain everything you'll need to learn and experiment with it including a full help file.

Armadillo v8.60 32 bit
Armadillo v8.60 64 bit

Beyond providing these files, you are on your own.

Have fun!

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Hi.
I got a problem with loading page in firefox.

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For some reason, you can't just click on those links, you have to copy each one to the clipboard and paste it into the Open Location edit box.

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My apologies, I coded the link description and the url backwards, so you were seeing the actual address and trying to go to the description. It's fixed now.

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68 (edited by jack 2017-06-12 04:58:45)

Just fiddled around with it, and functionality wise it's pretty powerful yet easy to use. One problem, though. Wondering if the trial version was actually supposed to do this to prevent people from distributing executables. Set a certificate to expire after 15 days, as well as timed run and nuke after x minutes. It displays the evaluation message for Armadillo itself when running the program, then display the evaluation message, then exits. I know this because I set a custom closing message to appear after exit of the program. Even when I enter the registration key that I generated, the program then exits after showing the Armadillo evaluation screen. Was the evaluation version supposed to stop people from actually running the program, or would a full version produce any different results? Didn't see anything in the manual about that, and at first I thought it may be an issue with running both a days and minutes certificate, but the same sudden exit happens when the registration code is entered. Then again, as you said you don't really need a registration key to play around with it, so it's supposed to work.

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Tried removing the time limitation from the certificate. Same results. Program self exits after the programmed trial nag screen, safe for an after-exit evaluation dialogue. Entered the registration code, same results. Armadillo must be acting up.

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I've also played around with it, and it does seem very powerful for being as simple as it is. I haven't had any problems with my protected program exiting. The only mild annoyance I've had is that the message boxes E.G. "Please register this product because I want money!" "Sorry, your trial has expired, register or else!" "Whew, thanks for registering, now I can actually afford to buy this thing, oh wait they don't sell it any more!" "How dare you try to slip an invalid registration key past me!" etc. aren't actually read automatically by Jaws. It's really too bad they discontinued this program, I could see it being useful not only for making trialware, but also for private betas which can't run after a specific date, etc.

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71 (edited by jack 2017-06-12 13:26:43)

Even more so because I don't think BGT ever had trialware functionality built in, just limitations you could implement. Now, as much as I am a little against try=and=die methods for games, I can see why some devs would want it. I e, there just isn't enough to restrict in a game, it's not that long, to make it worth trying to make limitations and try for as long as you like without giving much of the full game away. Plus, it takes all of the key generation out of your hands as well as BGT's. As for private betas, I think that's where the trial reset after upgrading to a new build of the program can really come in handy. As for the dialogue boxes not being read out automatically, yeah, I had to get used to that too. The trick is to press up arrow to get to the static box containing the message text. That's ok for you and me since we actually are dealing with the drm program and are aware of that quirk. If you were to distribute a software protected under a full version of Armadillo, for example, you'd have to put in either the manual or an faq, oh btw, you're gonna have to press the up arrow to read the trial and registration dialogue. Better still, it's not that bad. It's still very accessible otherwise, and it doesn't mess with your program's actual code on bit.

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Oh, and talking about the sudden termination bug, I should probably pointed out what executable I was using. IT was a random game executable that was free in the first place so had no protection to interfere with Armadillo. That said, the unprotected executable was backed up. But since the drm is, according to Armadillo, independent from the code of the executable, shouldn't just any 32bit executable work? After all, they did use windows calculator in the tutorial later on.

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I'm wondering if we shouldn't ask one of the moderators to move all these messages about Armadillo to it's own thread so we can let the Eloquence thread go back on topic.

Consider that Armadillo was never written with any kind of assistive technology in mind. So if your screen reader doesn't automatically read the text in dialog boxes, that could be why. If we had known we had visually impaired customers using a screen reader and they had told us about some of these problems, I myself would have made it a point to find out what we need to do with our user interface to make Armadillo more screen reader friendly.

Jack, what you are experiencing isn't normal. It sounds like something in your system or the program you are protecting looks like it might be a hacking attempt to the engine, so in defense of the protected program it exits.

Back in it's day I would have asked for a copy of your arm file, which contains all the settings you used, if I didn't see anything there to suggest what to try to resolve the issue I'd have sent you what we called a debugging build, it's just a copy of Armadillo with detailed logging turned on, I'd then ask you to try protecting your program with it and then try running your program, then finally sending me a copy of the debug log which in most cases would have told me what was causing the silent crash.

Depending on what program you tried this on and how it was written, some of the setting can also cause silent crashes. I'm especially thinking of games written in BGT, they will need some special handling to get the protection working with them.

In regards to Armadillo being useful to put sunsets into betas and trials, I agree, and if you don't get carried away with it by creating online checks and other things to make it an inconvenience to the customer, it could be used to try and limit unauthorized distribution and use of your program, especially if you are selling it. We had some customers that I could tell by who they were that what they were using Armadillo for was to keep in house written software in house.

That was one of the reasons Armadillo's creator tried to reacquire it back from Digital River when they announced that they were going to stop selling and supporting it as a product. He felt that there was still a lot of potential in it and wanted the chance to try to keep it going.

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If you were trying to protect a BGT application, I do remember that you had to enable a setting called "fake original data location" or something like that.
Otherwise it just dies. I guess because BGT just glues it's data (like the compiled script byte code and pack file) to the end of the program, if Armadillo is permitted to obscure that then it confuses BGT.
I actually did buy a license for Armadillo back in 2010 or so.
@Orko, accessibility was actually quite alright up until that UI rewrite, after which it became unuseable.

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That's why I was thinking of BGT. There are other development tools that do the same thing, most will work only if you tell Armadillo to leave any data after the program alone, some will still work if you only use minimal protection of the data after the program, but I've never encountered a system that allowed you to use the strongest data after the program protection level.

Sometimes you'd get an error from the runtime about not being able to find the program data, making it obvious what you need to do to fix the problem, other times you'd get nothing.

That's why I always told customers to start with all the setting set to minimal protection, then if that worked, start increasing the protect one step at a time to find the strongest protection your program will tolerate.

There's no hard fast science to this, giving your program the best protection involves a lot of trial and error to find what works and what doesn't.

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