Remember the old days when downloading a large file was a rare occurrence and your modem was the size of a box of Girl Scout Cookies?


About 20 years ago you could dial up a bulletin board and start a download of some software. Come back an hour later to find that somebody tried to make a phone call and lifted the hand-set of the phone line, causing the download to abort. Remember the restartable download protocols like zmodem, xmodem, etc. ?


Because it was hard to download and try large software packages, you had to  buy software off the shelf or through the mail, or even online using a bulletin board. Spending big bucks on software that you had only seen ads for or read about in reviews was risky, so there were mechanisms devised to help.


Remember this?



The date says 7/2/92: just 1 day after the Microsoft Fox “Merger”. There are two Activation keys: one for demo mode, and one for the fully functional product. The Demo mode limited FoxBase+ to 200 records.


You could spend the $800 or whatever it was, get the package, install it on your machine, use the Demo Activation key, try it out. If you didn’t like it, you could return the sealed envelope with the package (with the huge manuals) and get a refund.



I think Fox Software marketing could have used this scheme to give out demo copies (with the on-line DBF style help) for free, with the Demo activation key. If the user liked it, they could call up Perrysburg Ohio, give a credit card number (yes: for you young readers, credit cards have been around longer than Foxpro) and receive the Activation key for the fully functional product.


I recall similar schemes by other software to have different keys for various levels of product activation.


Does anybody remember activation schemes like this?