Dev Talks: Native Access Startup Journey and Next steps

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  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert

    I must say I don’t like too much all the things I’m reading.

    Surely I was less concerned before, when I didn’t visit this forum so much.

    Sometimes ignorance is a damned good thing…

  • Vocalpoint
    Vocalpoint Member Posts: 908 Guru
    edited April 2023

    LIF

    What is it that you are not liking?

    I am actually enjoying the opportunity with @Hayo_NI and co - it is a rare chance to chat with NI folks at this level.

    VP

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert
    edited April 2023

    I started enjoying it too, and thinking some constructive critiques could help.

    But the more answers I read, the more I understand “we are interested in your points/concerns, but we will be doing as we want anyway”…


    We need NTK Daemon to constantly run because:

    • Subscription products need their statuses as up to date as possible

    —> Subscription is a main focus for NI

    • Product activations are kept up to date in real time, meaning if you were to connect a device, it would activate in the background.

    —> I will not even be able to plug my Maschine without having to need them to activate it

    • End goal of Native Access being able to close after downloads are queued up comfortable

    —>We’ll tell you we close an application…but to do it we keep another open CONSTANTLY

    • Detection of hard drives, whether ours or yours, and being able to activate our products

    —>The ancient days when, once installed, a program just work are gone. Now the first activation isn’t enough anymore

    • Keeping options open for other opportunities it unlocks

    —>Other opportunities…once again means subscriptions

    I’m just guessing how software companies even existed till today, since it seems that it’s impossible to just give a user a program and let him use it without ALL these activations. Strange…they did it until few years ago. They must have been really genius programmers to succeed at it…

    And at least I would hope that if they force me into this “ACTIVATIONS are REQUIRED at every second” thing, the program they use for this is the best one they ever put out. But NA these days is at its lowest level regarding issues with activations, installations, updates (which should be its primary tasks)…


    DIRECT question about if we will have to have internet on JUST to use a program don’t get any DIRECT answer. It gets dribbled by answering about offline installers. Which wasn’t the question


    The only direct answers or release date hints are about things like “light mode”, not the serious questions


    Having access to our programs installers gets answered by “backversioning”. This is not “having your environments locked”. Having my environment locked is: I install the program. I turn off internet. I use it. And if in 5 years I still have this computer and I need to reinstall the program, I don’t have to HOPE they still give the installation files with their “backversioning”


    Questions about privacy concerns get answered with some attempts to reassure, but when answered back, phrases like “we're not obligated to share this information”, “We have a Marketing Consent form” appear


    I know I am seeing everything black and it’s probably me, but I can’t find a light to help me get out of this mood of mine.


    I am happy too that at least they are answering to things. The only problem is that I don’t like the answers 😔

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert
    edited April 2023

    I know, I know…it’s me. All other users are happy with this. Happy to enter fast as lightning, happy to being said their program collections are under insurance control every single second, happy to have such an environment,…

    What must I tell you? I was happy even before, with my programs being there how I left them, with my collection being under My control…

    And once they were bringing something new to the table (new features, new versions,…) I was happy to pay them for their work. And download a new installation file that would have remained with me forever. (This just to anticipate the ones that will say “like this there will be no steps forward/improvements. There WERE even before…just they managed them differently)

    😔

  • Vocalpoint
    Vocalpoint Member Posts: 908 Guru
    edited April 2023

    "I’m just guessing how software companies even existed till today, since it seems that it’s impossible to just give a user a program and let him use it without ALL these activations."

    I am with you - I do not get it either.

    But in fairness to NI - historically their products have been the most hacked of all time - and most of this NA nonsense stems from those that chose not to purchase these excellent tools but steal them.

    It is very clear that NA needs work - a lot of work - to get it where it needs to be and I think that has been made loud and clear to @Hayo_NI and crew.

    As far as subscriptions go - I look at it this way. I have what I believe are standard "perpetual" licenses but because all of them are tied directly to Native Access and none can be used without NA - in effect I am already in a psuedo-subscription mode anyway.

    A true sub would of course - get me more stuff for probably less money but I would lose it all if the payment became a sticking point.

    I support choice for all users - sub works for some but it won't work for me. But if/when it does come - I am hoping there is a very clear, standalone choice for activating my existing products until I choose not to use them any longer. Like in the case of NI going out of business or Native Access goes away etc.

    That point has been raised a lot in here - the fact that I cannot use an existing product key, download manual installers or get my products going in a manual way without NA is a bit of a sore spot for me as well.

    But these changes, wishes and requests are just potential futures that may or may not come to pass. Right now - as long as I have a working NA and my products are up and running - I can't really ask for much more than that.

    VP

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert
    edited April 2023

    The problem is…they are hacked even NOW…and the hacked versions don’t need no activation. Just they can’t be used in computers with NA. So the result is…that people who “steal” their products will steal them all, cause they can’t mix them. Not a very useful accomplishment…

    And in my opinion, all the resources put into this “activations game” would be better put into developing better anti hack programs. In video games they developed on this, and now some of them aren’t hackable anymore

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 276 mod

    Thanks for the insight. The Installer for Native Access is bundled using Electron's installer bundle. Electron, as mentioned in the last DevTalks, helps us boot up a standalone application that we can use web tech in, which allows for fast bootstrapping, and as such, the installer comes as part of it. That being said, it's an interesting concern, and I'll relay this to the devs and see what could be done. We have been discussing lately about wanting to bundle the NTK Daemon in this installer as well to skip the whole NTK Daemon install step, but we never really thought about the branding of said installer. Fair warning though, probably a low priority effort at this stage, so when work frees up we can take a look. Noted it down!

    Regarding your point on a startup experience to opt out of data tracking, great idea. We're unhappy with the state of popups that appear on first time startup, and we've also had talks about first-time startup experiences, whether you're a new user or a user migrating their setup to another system. I'll reel in opt ins with the overall onboarding topic as well then, great suggestion! At this point though, bear in mind that these toggles exist in the Preferences pane, and you can opt out there.

    Interesting recommendations from the users in this thread about onboarding experience. I'm inspired to build a flow that works!

  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,284 Guru

    Well, I am encouraged very much by the direction of NA2. I have been using music & audio production software since the 80's and I welcome new ways of accessing these tools.

    Old way of versioning a product every few years with features delayed for market timing and new version "attractiveness" is so over for me.

    I want this "living, breathing agent" to ease my system maintenance and let me focus on making music.

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 276 mod

    I hope my communication isn't giving off the idea of "we hear you but we're going to do it our way anyway". We are committing to subscriptions as an additional way to access our products, but by no means does it mean the end of the old ways of owning your products. Native Access will support both, not one or the other. Additionally, I genuinely am loving the suggestions I've gathered here, and I've noted them all down as they are all worth exploring at the very least. If I get asked about these ideas in the future, I'll have an update.

    Regarding release dates, with how our team specifically works, it's tough to set deadlines. Native Access services our other teams as well as our users, so if a team need arises, we need to shift focus temporarily, which could slow us down on our commitments. That was a big lesson I learned last year.

    Everything that you see in the roadmap image that is under "In Progress" are things we're committing to release next. As you can see, we've got a few simultaneous efforts in progress, among other quality of life improvements we do in the background. I can't schedule these releases, since they're done when they're done, and I can't promise which version they appear in, since we're working on these things in parallel, but when the big topics get completed, we release. That's our only commitment in the now. Down the line we'll look at things like light mode and others, which I can already begin preparing/planning for. As of 3.3.0 there should be a direct link to the release notes community page, so I'd suggest keeping an eye on that whenever we release.

    Next DevTalk in the next quarter will go in depth on downloads and installations, and I think more of your concerns and questions will be addressed there.

  • Jojo123
    Jojo123 Member Posts: 231 Advisor

    I am literally scrambling to get this post in before the thread closes. SO much so Ive only skimmed the posts that came in since I was in here.

    @Hayo_NI forgive me if you've addressed this (please) but I didn't see it skimming thru so I want to say it again. It was my first paragraph.

    • My biggest issue and fear is if you are going to require an internet connection in order for your products to work. To be clear, that is, a continual internet connection? This would be a total deal breaker for me. It would be the biggest regret that I ever bought into your products.

    I want to work in the privacy of my own space without something like NA breathing down my neck not to mention wasting resources doing who knows what..

    I want to only fireup NA when I want to update something which isn't very often and like I do now. I want to be in control of that.

  • Jojo123
    Jojo123 Member Posts: 231 Advisor

    So no, my first question again wasnt addressed. Much of what LIF and VP are saying I agree with.

    Im not only concerned about initial install of NA but what it does afterwards.

    Even for those who do subs, why the need to perpetually check licenses, which indeed translates into a perpetual internet connection? Thats about as hideously privacy invasive as it gets, not to mention other cans of worms it brings up.. If this is purely an anti-hacking measure, then there must be other ways of dealing with this, but whatever the reasons it leaves me very uncomfortable. Why penalize legitimate users. Theres many applications for needing privacy. People want confidentiality working with clients is just one. As it stands now, I unhook my personal devices when I do updates and I want to keep it that way.

    I'm cautiously optimistic that NI has plainly stated they are having

    both models (Subscription and perpetual) licenses. I only hope the intro

    of subs is not that "camels nose in the door" scenario.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert
    edited April 2023

    As someone else used to say, “I want to believe”. So I’ll take your words.

    Thank you anyway for trying to make me see that “light to help me get out of this mood of mine.”

    And I must admit my mistake: you are the developer for Native Access, and I’m searching from you answers about other topics…

    BUT:

    My concern is: seeing pages of threads about NA, installation problems, locating problems and so on and really few “this NI program has an issue” threads means that once (and IF) NI programs get installed, they work quite well (or when they are not working, e.g. because libraries are not accessible, I end up discovering it is still an NA installation problem).

    So…sorry to tell it… but the weak link of the NI chain is Native Access. I know what you think/wrote about the NECESSITY of it, but before, when we installed programs in other ways, this forum would have been quite dead calm. So, as I said before, if you want to force us into this way of installing and constantly checking our products, at least make it damn good.

    Last thing: I see sometimes you try to come in some discussions to make the point about all the troubles NA is having now, so I think you’ve seen how critic the situation is right now with the latest updates you putted out. The forum literally became a “NA does this’, “NA doesn’t do that” place, with dozens of new threads every day by people who can’t install their products, have the products installed wrongly, can’t activate or don’t know what to do when facing these problems.

    Have you thought of having a member of the team detach from work momentarily to stay here and solve those problems created by the failure of last updates? At the moment I’m doing this with other forum users, but…you know…I’m not a NI employee (even if someone accused me of this 😂😂😂)

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,261 Expert
    edited April 2023

    @Hayo_NI You say (and I believe you) that With NA you want to give users the best and most fluent experience in managing their products. Evidently something isn’t working as you planned

  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,284 Guru

    What excites me about a robust "active access agent" is how it can enable very attractive qualities of a subscription design.

    Consider a subscription design that is flexible in what happens when a user pauses the service. Imagine that music you created with these software tools continues to allow playback without edits. You do not have to render audio, instead the plugins continue to run in an uneditable state. When you are ready to dive back into creative activity, you can restart a monthly subscription and edit parameters and change midi data.

    Such a subscription design was being developed at iZotope pre-Soundwide. It requires a complex access infrastructure, but the payoff for BOTH developers and users is tremendous.

    Developers will have much better metrics on how content is being used. This data can then provide excellent incentives/rewards for a vibrant catalog.

    win/win for developers and users.

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 276 mod

    For downloading products you'll need an internet connection. We're looking to move away from installers to speed up the download and update processes. We haven't taken a look at offline usage, but at some point we'll visit this work environment. I'll check to see what the experience is like at the moment.

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