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Strange problem with Chowmain license statuses


jfh

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Over the last few days (week?), almost every instance of various Chowmain drivers have reported "FAILURE - RECEIVED UNKNOWN RESPONSE" or reported that the key was invalid or trial expired, even though a valid key was present.   As soon as I cut/paste the same key into the key field and hit set, the driver goes active again.   But who knows how long that state will last.

These have all been working fine for the last few months, so I have no idea what's going on.   If I'm going to have to babysit a dozen instances or so every day - maybe multiple times a day - a lot of key function in my system is going to be worthless.

What can I do to fix this?  Why isn't the license key persistent?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I will contact Houselogix, but I saw no network issues logged in the time window involved.

The bigger issue for me is the logic that is being used here.  It seems that each instance of a driver wants to call home and authenticate periodically (every day?).  

There is no reason this needs to be done for each instance - once per driver is more than enough.  And why validate so often?  I understand the need to handle the time window for a trial license, but once the license is fully paid for why reevaluate it so often (or at all)?  And there doesn't seem to be any retry/recovery logic - once flagged as invalid or expired or having an unknown response returned it stays that way until the key is reset.

I have dozens of Chowmsin drivers/instances.  Having to check every one and re-enter/set about 2/3 of them if there is some glitch is not acceptable.  If there is really a need to do this, give us an unlicensed driver that can programmatically query/set/update license status.   If I have to babysit this, I would like to automate it so that I can get a notice if something goes wrong.

It's very frustration to have my wife ask "why didn't xxx work this morning?" Or "how come I can't see the log?"  She gets really upset when the weather forecast isn't announced when expected.

So - I will contact Houseligix, but it seems all they are going to be able to do is tell me what happened.  I want to prevent it from happening in the first place and since this only happens with Chowmsin drivers, it seems like any such solution is a question for Chowmsin, not Houselogix, to address.

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This happened again this morning.  This really needs to be addressed ... I have valid licenses.    

Hoping that the drivers are actually going to work when they are invoked is not a great plan.  I was not alerted to some critical events this morning because the notification driver suite was flagged as invalid, as were two of my generic switches.

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You're assuming the problem is with the driver(s), not something else. I can tell you I've never seen this and I've got plenty of places out there with Chowmain drivers.

That isn't saying there may not be something with the driver, but this is a scenario where you'd start a ticket with houselogix, or better yet have your dealer on site to talk to houselogix and possibly C4 techsupport to figure out where these flags are coming from.

When it comes to random invalid flags, this is actually more likely to be a project or driver corruption (for whatever cause) than it being an issue with the driver itself.

 

That said, in your scenario, I'd point my finger to the authentication server FIRST - and that would be Houselogix' deal not Chowmain.

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Logically, I don't think it's the drivers and agree it's probably something with the authentication process.  Open Weather Map, Notification suite, Advanced Custom Buttons, Event logging, Generic IR lighting have all been affected and there isn't any obvious pattern.  Some days it's only a few specific instances of one driver, some days it's some instances of multiple drivers, etc.  it's random enough that I have to check the properties page of every instance of every Chowman driver.

The interesting thing is that right before this problem started for a series of days, the auto update driver updated the Open Weather Map suite drivers.  Maybe a coincidence, maybe not.  The first time Alan said there was a problem with the server; this time apparently not.  But each time starting after an auto update of OWM is pretty suspicious ...

 

No non-Chowmain drivers supported by Houselogix have been affected (so far), which suggests the issue is related to Chowmain license authentication.

I've opened up a ticket with Houselogix, but I'm really more interested in why the license for every instance has to be validated every day.  And there's no reason to say "received unknown response" and not report what that response is.  Any why sometimes is it "unknown response" and sometimes "invalid key or expired"?  

 

I dread having to run to run this problem through my official dealer because I did not buy all the licenses from them (and they haven't been very responsive with problems reported to C4).  I'm hoping Houselogix and Chowmain can solve this, because the idea that key automation function can't be reasonably relied on is very unsettling.

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27 minutes ago, jfh said:

because the idea that key automation function can't be reasonably relied on is very unsettling

Seems a bit overstated, though I understand your frustration.

I obviously hope they can figure out what is going on for you, but you're still (so far at least) one system out of ...

 

Now, I'm going to go grab me some lottery tickets as I was just sent a replacement sub-amp under warranty that is DOA on a job-site 3.5hours out....   :angry:

 

On chance in a million still means there's one chance...

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36 minutes ago, jfh said:

 I'm really more interested in why the license for every instance has to be validated every day.  And there's no reason to say "received unknown response" and not report what that response is.  Any why sometimes is it "unknown response" and sometimes "invalid key or expired"?  

 

I don't think its your place to say how often a dev validates his license.  Windows does this all the time too...

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1 hour ago, msgreenf said:

I don't think its your place to say how often a dev validates his license.  Windows does this all the time too...

Fair enough.  But if a check is going to be done that often, give me a way to request validation on demand and/or some trigger so that I can (try to) programmatically react to the situation or at least log it to a dedicated log in the clear (using the event log doesn't help because the log is hidden if the license isn't flagged active).

I'm also interested in understanding the logic - if there happens to be a network glitch or a power outage when authentication runs am I SOL until I reset all the keys?  If so, I may have to use other drivers or methods to accomplish some of what I need to do.

(And I'm pretty sure Windows no longer does validation this often any more ... And they have a phone number you can call where someone will immediately address the issue).

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1 hour ago, Cyknight said:

I obviously hope they can figure out what is going on for you, but you're still (so far at least) one system out of ...

 

... the very small percentage of Contol4/Chowmain customers with HE or Pro that post here?   ;)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Cyknight said:

LOL actually, it's arguably SIMPLER to execute than to log into your system, and trigger an action.

it depends how you look at it - rebooting brings down everything else - but just running drivers actions don't.  true SSH'ing in and typing reboot is pretty simple, but you are down for a few minutes

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8 minutes ago, Cyknight said:

Reboot your controller ;)

 

That didn't work yesterday, at least not for all the affected instances.  But even if it should, I would still need a trigger to tell me authentication failed so I could issue the reboot automatically.

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1 hour ago, msgreenf said:

I don't think its your place to say how often a dev validates his license.  Windows does this all the time too...

Microsoft doesn't just deactivate your software because it couldn't reach the activation server one time. In fact I've never even seen Windows deactivate besides from a piracy check. I under stand the reason for checking (returns, trial license, etc) but there should at least be a few attempts before deactivating the driver.

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Just now, mandiola said:

Microsoft doesn't just deactivate your software because it couldn't reach the activation server one time. In fact I've never even seen Windows deactivate besides from a piracy check. I under stand the reason for checking (returns, trial license, etc) but there should at least be a few attempts before deactivating the driver.

i agree with that - if it fails validation xx times then deactivate.

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Just now, msgreenf said:

i agree with that - if it fails validation xx times then deactivate.

Yes. But fails xx times over some non-trivial period of time ... Hours, days - not seconds, minutes.

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Reboot? Really?! No other software I own needs to be "validated" more then once unless I'm doing something like an update. Once I install and it's running I typically block all further communication which has never been an issue.

I get the difference between these programs and a driver, even then every day seems excessive.

I also think we are seeing this happen with more drivers such as the Synapse Follow-me driver. Kinda uncool to pay for a driver that may work hit or miss depending on server uptime, network issues, etc

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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