My Personal iLok Woes - What Helped And What Didn't

06-16-2013 12:34 PM

I suppose there is always the danger of reading a blog like this and forgetting that those of us who write it are real people living the same kind of lives of the community we serve. This is not like some corporation, political party or religious institution, where we are removed from the lives of those we try to serve.
I write that to underpin that whilst the iLok issues have been hitting some of the community, at least two of the team, myself and Mike have been dealing with the same pain. I lost 209 licences in the migration, but as of 5 minutes ago I have 202 of them back, so I can get on with working and making a living again.
There are some things we are sure about and some things we are not certain regarding the recent issues surrounding the migration of iLok to their new platform. So rather than try and come up with conjecture about the technical, PR and legal issues, Mike and I thought it might help to outline what helped us and what didn’t help.
What Helped?

  • Knowing I wasn’t the only one dealing with this and that I wasn’t mad.
  • Mike’s excellent efforts in trying to communicate ways to solve the problem.
  • The reports from other users and how they solved their issues, there’s some real gems on the DUC, Facebook and other sites around the web. Check the DUC here and here
  • Having the iLok team personally respond to every email I sent, the last reply I got was about an hour ago, which is around 2:00am PST.

What Didn’t Help?

  • Although iLok did try and answer emails at any time of the day, they do have to sleep, so iLok need to figure out how to offer 24/7 manned support email and phone lines. I know Andrew and the team do all they can, but however willing they are to try and do it themselves, it is not a viable business model.
  • Having to try and explain complex issues via email. iLok should also seriously consider a screen sharing support application. Most of my emails contained complex descriptions of my issues - one of them contained 5 screen shots as well as extensive narrative. Not all people are able to convey these issues in writing.
  • People unaffected by the issues deciding the have an opinion in forums or on Facebook threads. To be frank the last thing I need when looking for a solution is to have to wade through endless comments (half of them from people unaffected by this issue) who want to give legal, change management, IT, developer and any other would-be professional opinions, so I can find a real answer. If you are unaffected by this, bored and want to have an opinion, then please go and comment on a dancing cat on YouTube, don’t make this harder than it has to be.

What to do now

  • If you haven’t used the new iLok License Manager think very carefully as to when to do it, especially if you are in or about to enter a busy period. This was the advice we gave over a week ago when this started, it is the same advice we give when a new version of Pro Tools comes out. There will be teething troubles with any new version despite a comprehensive testing programme before release. Remember Apple’s transition from Mobile Me to iCloud…. The real world is very different to the lab. But remember a lot of users have had no problems.
  • If you have used the License Manager and you are still having problems then do follow the instructions from the ilok team that we have posted here. This is resolving most people’s problems, even if it does take several attempts at the Sync/Repair cycle.
  • The Sync/Repair cycle is very sensitive to a dodgy internet connection. If you can do via a wired connection then we recommend this is what you do.
  • If you are still having problems then do get in touch with the iLok team with a Support Ticket via the iLok web site. Use the Continue button to start the Support Ticket process. They will get to you, they are working incredibly hard, but it may not be an instant response.

Once the dust has settled then iLok have a number of questions to answer regarding roll-out, back-up scenarios, ongoing support and what zero downtime really means? For a couple of days I was on Zero Up Time, which was costing me time, money and reputation.
However, now is not the time for blame but for robust and lasting solutions which I would rather iLok spend their energy on, sooner rather than later. Once this has happened and iLok can gather their thoughts then we can begin the autopsy.