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 Post subject: Conversion to Internet Activation from V 10
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2022 1:10 pm 
Railroad & Co.

Dear TrainController Friends,


:!: From Version 10, TrainController™ is no longer activated with a USB stick, but always via the Internet. :!:


As before, the activation is only necessary for the computer that controls the model railway. Offline processing of data on a computer without connecting a model railway is still possible in offline demo mode, just as it was possible in previous versions without a USB stick and even recommended so. However, in order to operate TrainController™ 10 with a connected model railway, the model railway PC must be connected to the Internet during operation with the model railway connected.

The process can be described in a very simplified way as follows: For activation, an activation code must be entered once into the program on a computer that is connected to the model railway. After starting the program on this computer, the internet is checked to see whether the program is running on another computer at the same time with the same activation code. The check via the Internet is referred to below as Online License Check (abbreviated to OLC) or also Online Check. You can think of it like an access check for online banking or this forum - so nothing new.

Wherever you see this sign in the future, it is about the online check:



The FAQs in the following section answer further questions.

_________________
Best regards / Mit freundlichem Gruss
Freiwald Software
Railroad & Co.
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 Post subject: Conversion to Internet Activation from V 10
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2022 1:10 pm 
Railroad & Co.



FAQs on the Online License Check (OLC):

:?: What is the background of the switch from activation by USB stick to OLC?
:arrow: Because of the hassle involved, we have stopped selling licenses activated with USB sticks. You can find more background information here.

:?: Can I use my existing USB stick with TrainController™ Version 10?
:arrow: No. TrainController™ Version 10 uses only internet based activation (online check).

:?: With previous USB sticks, there was always a risk that they could get lost or broken. What does the online check look like?
:arrow: That is of course one of the great advantages of the online check. Nothing can be lost here. A time-consuming replacement of the USB stick in the event of a defect is also no longer necessary with the online check.

:?: Are there already users who work with the online check?
:arrow: Yes. For about 3 years now, we have been offering selected users who have sent in their defective stick to us the option of switching to the online check instead of replacing the stick. In the vast majority of cases, this offer was accepted and the conversion was carried out without major problems.

:?: Are products other than TrainController™ also activated via the Internet?
:arrow: No, for the time being this only applies to TrainController™.

:?: If I want to use a license for TrainController™ 10, does my model railway PC then need an internet connection?
:arrow: Yes, the model railway PC must be connected to the Internet during operation with a connected model railway.

:?: Does the internet connection have to have a certain performance or speed?
:arrow: Not really. There is no streaming. Only a few bytes are exchanged during the online check. There is no high data traffic or consumption.

:?: Does the computer have to be permanently connected to the Internet?
:arrow: "Permanently" is an elastic term. But maybe the following example will help. Basically, if TrainController is used on a computer with a connected model railroad on a Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., then the computer must be able to access the Internet uninterruptedly from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. That doesn't mean that the computer will be accessing the internet continuously or constantly or repeatedly during this time, but it has to be able.

:?: What happens if the Internet connection is lost during operation?
:arrow: This has no effect on the current session. Even if the Internet connection is lost for hours, the program and operations on the model railway continue to run undisturbed.

:?: I do have a connection to the Internet in my home, but there is no LAN connection with a network cable between the Internet router and the model railway PC.
:arrow: With the means available today (keywords: WLAN, DLAN), the PC can also be connected to the router in a different way very easily and inexpensively.

:?: I don't operate my model railway at home, but in my club, at exhibitions, demonstrations, etc. There is no internet connection there.
:arrow: In many cases you can help yourself in this situation with a smartphone, which is set up as a WLAN hotspot. As already mentioned above: the amount of data exchanged during the online check is small. The purchased data volume is not heavily burdened by this.

:?: But doesn't the online check also mean that the program can no longer be used if the Internet connection fails?
:arrow: We have taken a number of precautions so that failures of the internet connection in most cases do not affect the use of the program at all. And with the previous USB stick, not everything went smoothly. In most cases, replacing a defective USB stick takes much longer than losing an Internet connection.

:?: I would like to use the program to control different model railways with different computers - of course not at the same time. With the USB stick, this was possible by moving the stick from one computer to another. Is this also possible with the online check?
:arrow: Of course! And unlike with the USB stick, even without your intervention. The online check automatically allows non-simultaneous use of the same activation code on different computers without having to transfer anything from one computer to the other.

:?: I have already received a USB stick for activating an earlier version of TrainController™ and would like to purchase an upgrade to version 10. How does this work?
:arrow: After the purchase, you will receive an activation code by e-mail that matches the existing USB stick. Enter this code into the software with the stick plugged in. From now on, activation will take place via the Internet.
After ordering an upgrade, you must keep the stick in any case until you have received and entered the new activation code.
In the further course of the process, your USB stick has to be invalidated.

:?: How is the USB stick invalidated?
:arrow: After entering the new activation code for version 10, the program will prompt you to invalidate the stick. If you follow this request, you will be directed to a website on which the further procedure is described comprehensively.

:?: After upgrading my current version to TrainController™ 10, can I still unlock the version I'm currently using?
:arrow: Yes, if your current version is version 9. However, you have to install a version from version 9.0 C1, since activation via the Internet only works from this version onwards.
No, if your current version is version 7 or 8, because when you upgrade to version 10 the activation is switched to the Internet and this is not supported by version 7 or 8.

:?: I am using a version earlier than version 10 and would also like to switch the existing activation from USB to Internet. Is this possible?
:arrow: Currently this is only possible by purchasing an upgrade to version 10.
However, at a later point in time we may offer users of version 9 the option to switch to the internet as an additional service.

:?: I have already received a USB stick for activating an earlier version of TrainController™ and would like to stay with this earlier version. Am I also affected by activation via the Internet?
:arrow: No. As long as you don't upgrade to TrainController™ 10, you can still activate your older version of TrainController™ with your USB stick and without an internet connection.

:?: I don't like the switch to online activation. Can't everything stay in Version 10 the way it was?
:arrow: Unfortunately, leaving everything as it was is just unrealistic wishful thinking. Please also read this background information again . This change is still much better than simply closing our company. Don't you think so?

_________________
Best regards / Mit freundlichem Gruss
Freiwald Software
Railroad & Co.
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 Post subject: Re: Conversion to Internet Activation from V 10
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2022 9:51 am 
Railroad & Co.

Background information from a personal point of view:

When there have been disputes with users in the past, these almost exclusively revolved around the USB stick. In a number of cases, such disputes culminated in verbal abuse, insults or threats.

:!: That's the end of it! I'm not willing to put up with it any longer :!:

One way to avoid such trouble would be to close the business. But that's not going to happen for the time being. However, since September 15, licenses whose activation is linked to the USB stick have definitely no longer been sold. The activation of TrainController 10 has been switched to the Internet. This at least offers a perspective to those users who have no problems with it.

It is very clear to me that there are users who would like to stay with the USB stick even with TrainController 10. Complaints about this are understandable and regrettable, but unfortunately come to nothing in the end. I'm not willing to go through the hassle of USB sticks anymore.


The activation via the Internet that has been introduced in the meantime now runs without any problems for over 99% of users from a purely technical point of view. And we want and will get the last percent under control.

But the processing of the upgrade from an earlier version to TrainController 10 was initially designed in such a way that the existing USB stick had to be invalidated or sent back. 9 out of 10 users do this without any problems and without comment. But others have trouble with it. In one case or another, this ends with insults or abuses. If, after the stick has been invalidated, there is a reversal - for whatever reason - a USB stick for version 9 must be issued again in order to restore the status before the upgrade.

:!: That too must finally come to an end. I'm not willing to put myself through this trouble any longer than absolutely necessary. :!:

One way to avoid this hassle is to no longer offer an upgrade for TrainController 10 at all. Then TrainController 10 would basically only exist as a full version; at a correspondingly higher price than the upgrade, of course. When selling a full version, the license of a previous version and thus the USB stick are irrelevant and there would be no trouble with it.

The change announced in this article is a compromise. As with the sale of a full version, when upgrading from an earlier version to TrainController 10, the stick will no longer have to be invalidated or returned. On the other hand, the price for the various upgrades will in part be significantly increased towards the price of the full version.


If you want to be prepared for the future in the long term, this is most likely only possible with the current version (currently version 10).

If we should go out of business at some point in many years, it may well be that we will switch off the Internet check in the last update released. Existing activation codes for the then current version will then work without checking via the Internet and therefore also without us.

But: such an update will most likely only be available for the program version that is current at that time (i.e. version 10 or a successor of it) and only for its users. For versions 7, 8 and 9, it is already becoming apparent that, at least from us, there will be no such activation without the Internet (and without a stick).

_________________
Best regards / Mit freundlichem Gruss
Freiwald Software
Railroad & Co.
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