Caught By A Cookie


While working hard using my favorite software, I clicked a command to open a plug-in and a window popped up to let me know in a helpful fashion that an upgrade was currently available. The message implied that the upgrade was free, I think but I can’t be sure because I can’t resurrect the pop-up. Always eager to be up to date, I downloaded the latest version of the add-in and then the hand-basket to hell arrived at my door.

When requested, I hit “Install” and navigated to a screen asking for my product key. Eventually I unearthed my latest receipt. Please note that I’d purchased the same software three times already due to combinations of computer and software upgrades over the last few years. Armed with the product key, I confidently filled in the form and was told that it was not a valid key.

After going through the usual somersaults, thinking that I’d mistyped or got a download corruption and then doing everything again, again and again, I emailed the support guys.  A few days later the reply arrived. The key was a valid key and I should be careful about my typing and watch out for Oh instead of Zero and all the usual. Being a good customer, I tried again – no joy.

Shrugging my shoulders, I went back to using the old stuff. Horror! A pop-up told me to close the main software, uninstall and start over. Time to reach for the phone for clear instructions. Re-install the main program? Re-install the plug-in? Try removing the plug-in from the main software and plugging it back in or what?

Fortune smiled – I got a person immediately. On my own dime, there being no 800 numbers in sight. Had I tried the 30-day trial? No, I was trying the upgrade and had a product key. I read out the key and a few seconds later I was told it wasn’t valid. Protests and minutes clocking up, of course. I would have to buy the latest version. I explained that wasn’t my problem, I was sticking with my old version that wasn’t working now.

After getting the same message as the last pop-up that I should un-install and re-install, my coherence was less than perfect, but of course, always polite. There was a disbelieving tone in the inquiry that I received “haven’t you ever un-installed software before?” Well, I was now working alone. After digging through the most unlikely files associated with the plug-in, I managed to get everything back on.

Important lessons here. I had got sloppy in not making sure that my cookie jar was empty. Mustn’t do that. We’re all susceptible that that sweet offer when we’re relaxed and don’t have our sales-resist coat on. Another lesson was the reminder that most of us just want to use software with the minimum of effort, but to those with the software as their baby, its complexities are what makes it beautiful and, if we purchase it, we must also see this beauty and want to spend time playing with it, trying this and that to see what it likes best and spending money frequently to make sure it is in the forefront of fashion.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Yeah, I've run into the same problems myself on occasion. I find it helpful to just ignore them and use whatever version I have. Saves money and time

  2. Anonymous says:

    What program was it anyway?

  3. The Mathtype plug-in from Design Science for MS Word. Just got to ignore those pop-ups.

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