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Aug 97 - NewsBits

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: Newsbits


by Jessica Courtney

InterLok Pro - a Powerful New Toolset for Creating Trialware and Locked Applications

Next-Generation System from PACE Anti-Piracy Provides "Registration Insurance" for Internet Distribution of Software

PACE Anti-Piracy, the leading developer of software authorization and protection systems for MacOS, is now shipping InterLok Professional Version, the comprehensive toolset for the creation and remote unlocking of trialware and protected software. InterLok Pro completes the transition of PACE's products to the company's fourth-generation technology, and joins InterLok Standard Version, the one-step turnkey trialware creation toolkit introduced in January of this year. The two products are fully technology-compatible, and all features of InterLok Standard Version are supported in InterLok Pro, along with an impressive list of more sophisticated capabilities, making InterLok Pro a complete software authorization, protection, and anti-piracy solution.

InterLok Usage Scenarios

  • Trialware: With a single click, a developer applies InterLok's "trialware envelope" to an application, and can immediately post the product on the Internet. Prospective buyers download the package and can evaluate it for the amount of time or number of launches the developer has specified. When the product is purchased, the developer uses InterLok to provide a key that removes the demonstration limitations and optionally locks the product to a specific machine.
  • Web site integration: A developer uses InterLok to incorporate a registration dialog with a button that, when clicked, launches the customer's web browser and takes them to the developer's web site to complete an electronic purchase and/or registration. Once complete, other tools in the InterLok package can be used to integrate InterLok components with web pages that can automatically dispense unlocking keys to authorized customers.
  • Remote Feature Control: A product with various sets of features or modules can be configured with InterLok to allow those features to be sold separately and remotely enabled or disabled. Using InterLok Pro's encrypted, key-controlled token storage mechanism, a customer can be issued a simple key that will activate newly-purchased components in the software they have already installed and are using.
  • Database Locking: Researchers who spend considerable time and money preparing a database containing specialized or proprietary information can encrypt and bind the database to a specific copy of the database engine. This allows database distribution to be completely controlled, and prevents anyone with just a standard copy of the database "runtime" system from accessing and using the data.

Advantages of the InterLok System

The InterLok system offers the highest level of security for the authorization and protection of software products, while also providing the most user-friendly system. Because the security mechanisms are software-based, users of InterLok-secured software don't have to wrestle with hardware keys or "dongles"; a developer can achieve the same "hardware-protected" type of security by means of an InterLok "key diskette" that is easy for users to understand and use. InterLok incorporates unique characteristics of the user's system in the creation of an "electronic fingerprint" that can be utilized as the software lockpoint. And because software developers have different requirements for the authorization and protection of their products, PACE has designed the InterLok system to cover a broad spectrum of capabilities and options.

Using the InterLok system, a developer can configure a software package to be unlocked with a serial number, a machine-unique "challenge-response" password, a key diskette, or any combination of these. Demonstration versions can be created from full-featured applications, with the demonstration limited by time, number of program launches, and/or the disabling of selected features. At the end of the demonstration cycle, InterLok can be configured to prevent the application from running and display a developer-defined message, or to transition the application to "nagware" that reminds the user that the software needs to be authorized. When the customer is ready to purchase, the demo version can be authorized remotely with a software key. In addition, selected features can be unlocked using different keys, so that a developer can sell progressive feature enhancements as the user requires them without requiring the installation of new software.

The InterLok system also creates new opportunities for participants in electronic software distribution (ESD) channels. Because InterLok can create full-featured, time-limited demos that can be remotely unlocked, and can apply these locking features to finished applications in a turnkey fashion (i.e. without programming), it enables secure electronic software delivery at any level within the distribution chain. In this way, a software developer can give a distribution partner more latitude in the promotion and delivery of software products.

Seapine Ships TestTrack 1.5 for Macintosh

TestTrack 1.5 Delivers Cross-Platform Bug Tracking to Macintosh Developers

TestTrack 1.5 is a full-featured bug tracking solution at an affordable price. TestTrack 1.5 adds versions for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. TestTrack offers complete feature parity and a virtually identical user interface across platform versions, so users can work on their platform of choice and retain full database compatibility between Windows and Macintosh systems.

TestTrack 1.5 is a bug tracking tool combining full functionality and a user interface into an affordable package. With cross-platform support, developers no longer have to roll their own database to share bugs between Macintosh and Windows development teams. And, TestTrack sets a new standard for ease of use among bug tracking products. TestTrack users can begin tracking bugs immediately after running the simple installation program. Multi-user and cross-platform setup is a breeze as well. The benefits of a bug tracking program cannot be fully realized until everyone who needs access has access.

Solo Bug - Simplified Technical Support

A new addition to TestTrack 1.5 is Solo Bug, a stand-alone bug reporting program TestTrack users can distribute freely to their customers and beta sites to automate reporting bugs and requesting features. A Solo Bug file contains a customer's bug report, machine configuration, contact information, even a binary file attachment. Seapine Software is working with other companies to create add-ons for 4th Dimension, Visual Basic, Visual C++, and ActiveX-enabled development environments to enable developers to drop Solo Bug bug reporting functionality into their applications.

New Features for Version 1.0 Users

Also new in version 1.5 is an import command that makes it easy to transfer existing bug databases from FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Access, 4th Dimension, and other custom databases into TestTrack. An equivalent export command simplifies exporting TestTrack data for further analysis and reporting. TestTrack now tracks more bug-related fields than ever and adds support for binary file attachments. A new workbook feature helps developers track other project-related tasks along with their assigned bugs and feature requests. A handy release notes command consolidates all of the release notes from a specific product version and generates a text file that can be included with a product release.

Managing duplicate bugs on medium to large projects is always a hassle. Duplicate bugs make it difficult to determine the true project status and skew the quality control statistics. A feature unique to TestTrack is the ability to consolidate multiple reports of a bug or requests for a feature into a single bug report. The information specific to the customer's bug report remains available as a sub-record of the main bug. Since TestTrack tracks how many times a specific bug has been reported or a feature requested, this information is available for prioritizing your work.

Virtually Unlimited Frees Games Developers from PC-Only/PC-First Focus

3D Game Machine offers outstanding real-time 3D and simultaneous cross-platform development.

Providing game and multimedia developers with advanced 3D technology, Virtually Unlimited has released version 2.0 of its award-winning 3D Game Machine framework for MacOS and Windows 95/NT. 3D Game Machine (3DGM) is a specialized game development tool, featuring a highly optimized core with a straightforward C/C++ API, as well as visual tools. Full integration with 3D graphic applications is provided through its 3DGM Factory interactive modeler. This technology delivers impressive software rendering, while direct 3Dfx Voodoo support enables maximum quality.

3DGM allows projects ranging from flight simulators to motor racing games and educational titles to be built with high image quality. This power and flexibility is the result of proprietary technologies developed for true-color software rendering, large dynamic world management and SolidReality polygon-precise collision detection. Creative development teams are taking advantage of the freedom offered by 3D Game Machine to build original titles without the limitations of game-specific engines, and, most of all, without the risks and uncertainties involved in developing their own 3D technology.

3D Game Machine is 100% OS-independent, so client code is absolutely identical for MacOS and Windows 95/NT, even little-big endian issues are transparently handled. 3DGM is optimized for both PowerPC and 68k processors and runs on any color Macintosh, as well as Windows 95/NT systems.

3DGM is compatible with Apple's GameSprockets and its layered architecture allows custom implementation of 3D hardware acceleration interfaces such as QuickDraw3D RAVE. The 3DGM Factory interactive modeler imports files in the standard Quickdraw 3D Metafile format (3DMF), as well as 3D Studio and DXF.


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