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Updating Synergy/DE production licenses to REV11 licensing / Jan. 1 requirement

By Cindy Limburg, Posted on October 28, 2020 at 11:44 am

Cindy Limburg

Last month we announced via email that starting January 1, all new and renewing production subscription licenses will need to use REV11 licensing. (The announcement is also on our website and in our Oct. 1 Synergy-e-News.) We’ve gotten a few questions about this, so I wanted to provide some additional information. This info is also in the FAQ on our website, and we’ll continue to add to that site as new questions come in. This information applies to customers with Synergy/DE 9.3.1 – 10.3.3 on supported Windows and Unix platforms.

What’s the requirement?

After January 1, 2021, when you renew any 9.3.1­­–10.3.3 subscription licenses on currently-supported Windows or Unix systems, those licenses must be on REV11 licensing. You will need to update them to REV11 licensing before their renewal dates. Also, new 9.3.1–10.3.3 licenses will be issued with REV11 licensing on these platforms.

This requirement does not apply to licenses lower than 9.3.1, to licenses on OpenVMS or retired Windows/Unix systems, or to traditional (non-subscription) licenses. See our platforms page for information about supported platforms. If your platform is on the Retired Platforms list (meaning current Synergy/DE versions are not supported on it), REV11 licensing is not available on it. If you’re not sure if a license is subscription, you can run the lmu utility to see if the license has an expiration date. (After each product, it specifies the date the product was licensed and if subscription, the date the subscription expires.) Although REV11 licensing will not be required for traditional (non-subscription) licenses, we do recommend it for those licenses. One benefit there is that when you add users, your keys will be automatically updated.

Why is Synergex requiring this?

REV11 licensing has been out since October 2019. It has been required for DevPartner (development) licenses, and many customers have also updated their production licenses to it. It’s important that we get the rest of the production licenses updated this coming year as it will make managing licenses much easier for you and for Synergex.

What else should I know?

  • REV11 licensing does not change how your application accesses licenses on your license server; it mainly provides a new mechanism for getting and installing product keys. Once your application is set up with REV11 licensing and the keys are downloaded and installed, the licensing on your system works pretty much the same as it did previously. What’s new is that your license server will now communicate with the Synergy License Web Server periodically (once/week initially) to poll for new license data. (If there is ever a problem connecting to the Web Server, that will be logged, and you and Synergex will be notified.)
  • You will be able to check the connectivity between your license server and the Synergy License Web Service before you install REV11 licensing (with our lmcheck utility).
  • When you update to REV11 licensing, you’re not updating to Synergy/DE version 11. We realize that the name “REV11 licensing” makes this a little confusing, but REV11 licensing is just the current revision of Synergy/DE licensing, and it’s for Synergy/DE 9.3.1 and higher versions.
  • If your application has code that processes the Synergy/DE license registration string, you will probably need to update that code because the size of the registration string increased from 12 alpha characters to 31. We’re aware of a very small number of customers who came across this as their applications use the SERIAL routine, which returns the registration string. We’re recommending that all customers search their code for calls to the SERIAL routine. For example, do a case-insensitive search for just SERIAL and look for instances of “xcall SERIAL” (in case there are tabs/spaces/returns between the words). See this topic in the FAQ for more info.
  • If you use the Synergy/DE Licensing Toolkit, be sure to get the latest License Key Generator from Customer Service. And if your code processes the registration string, you’ll probably have to update it to handle the larger string size. See more details for this topic in the FAQ.

Should I be using the Licenses site in the Synergex Resource Center to manage my licenses?

Yes! Make sure you are fully utilizing the features on this site. There you can take care of many of your license tasks, including generating keys and generating REV11 install codes. Doing these tasks yourself instead of contacting Synergex Customer Service is better for you since the site is available whenever you need it, and it’ll free up our Customer Service team to assist customers with tasks that they can’t do themselves.  

If you don’t yet have a Resource Center account, go to the Resource Center and click Create Account in the top right corner. Your company should have at least one Site Admin who can access your licenses and also control access to your Resource Center privileges. If you need to add any Site Admins, contact Customer Service.

How should I prepare for the 2021 REV11 licensing requirement?

  1. Make sure you’re set up to manage your licenses in the Resource Center. (See above.)
  2. Check to see if your application is using the SERIAL routine or the Licensing Toolkit and if so, address those accordingly. (See above.)
  3. Determine which of your licenses will require REV11 licensing and when they renew. You can view your licenses in the Resource Center, show only Subscription licenses, and sort by End Date. It shows which licenses are already using REV11 licensing. You can click on a license to see if it’s a major version (e.g., 9 or 10). For v9 licenses, you can run LMU on your version 9 systems to determine if they are 9.3.1 or higher.
  4. Make plans to update your licenses to REV11 licensing before the month they renew so the keys will be automatically updated when Synergex processes your renewal.
  5. Review the information and instructions on the Synergex REV11 website and in the documentation for Windows or Unix.

Thank you for your efforts to update your licenses. Please let me or your account executive know if you would like any assistance in preparing for your updates.


Improved Visual Studio Developer Tools – Available Now!

By Steve Ives, Posted on April 29, 2020 at 5:29 pm

Steve Ives

We are delighted to announce the immediate availability of a new Synergy DBL Integration for Visual Studio Developer Build and to recommend it for use by all Synergy developers. This new release is versioned 11.1.1c-2714, and it can be downloaded from the Synergy Resource Center now.

For the last few development sprints, we decided to focus on addressing quality issues, some reported by customers, and this new release represents the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of our dedicated developers, testers, and many others.

There are many improvements and enhancements included in this release, but for now, I’ll highlight just two that are of particular importance to customers, and will significantly enhance developer experience and satisfaction overall:

  • We resolved an issue with deep dependency checking that would cause files from built dependencies to not get correctly copied to referencing projects. This mostly impacted .NET.
  • We resolved an issue that was causing debugger “DataTips” for class fields and properties to not show up.

The release includes many more improvements and enhancements, both in the Visual Studio Integration product, as well as both the Traditional Synergy and Synergy .NET compilers that ship with SDI. For complete information I will refer you to the release notes, you will find a link right next to the download link in the resource center.

If you are already using Visual Studio for your Synergy development then upgrade today, and if not, it’s time to give it a try. The developer experience and productivity in the Visual Studio environment really is second-to-none, and remember, you can always use the runtime version targeting features if you need to produce software that will run with older versions of the Synergy runtime on your customer sites.


Who Invited the Dog? Tips for Business Meetings While Sheltering in Place

By Jacklin Garcia, Posted on April 7, 2020 at 10:19 am

Jacklin Garcia

Many of us now find ourselves unexpectedly working from home. Maybe you’ve always worked remotely, like my spouse who has recently lost 50% of his home office space to me. We’re all living in a state of some uncertainty, with conferences postponed and opportunities to connect fewer and farther between—yet work still needs to get done. Are you, like us, now attending or hosting more video calls and webinars? It’s wonderful that we have the technology to help bridge the distance between ourselves and our coworkers or customers while we are all remote. In fact, we’ve found that our meetings start and end on time more often now that they’re all remote! But this new normal comes with its own set of challenges and different etiquette than face-to-face meetings, so here are a few tips to make you a virtual-meeting pro!

Embrace your new co-workers.

What (equipment)

There are so many different brands of virtual-meeting software. In fact, Synergex uses more than one to meet our needs as a company. Most have generally the same features, but if you aren’t familiar with what your company uses, you should take the application(s) for a test drive. At the very least, learn how to properly adjust your webcam and microphone settings and use the mute and screen share options (more on all these later). Pro tip for working from home: Depending on how your network is set up, you will likely want to use this software outside of your company’s VPN!

If you can, make sure you have a decent camera and microphone. A good headset seems to be the preferred way for many webinar pros to mic up, but a lot of us are just making do with what’s built into our loaner laptops for now, and that’s OK too! Pro tip for working from home: Sometimes using a phone line or the software’s mobile app to dial into the meeting might be a better option for your audio.

Where (setting up the meeting space)

In an office setting, you might have a choice of meeting rooms that are already equipped with the technology you’ll need. At home, you may not have that luxury. Find a space with the fewest distractions for you and in your background. I think we are all getting used to seeing a cat or dog (or even a small toddler in my case) walk by in the background of a meeting by now, but to whatever extent possible, try to minimize this for the duration of your meeting. This may be tough if your workspace is in a common area. Pro tip for working from home: Try setting expectations with your partners, kids, or roommates about when you will be in meetings so they know to make themselves scarce during those times.

Steve Ives shows off his setup.
Oliver Chu uses a simple setup

How 

Share your camera. Communication is more than 50% non-verbal, so being able to see those you are meeting with or enabling them to see you while you’re making a point is hugely important. Try to check out what your camera will pick up before sharing with the audience. You can usually do this through the meeting software itself, but some computers also have a built-in camera app that you can use to do the same. If possible, make sure your camera is at about eye level. Pro tip for working from home: It’s ok if you don’t have a pretty way to raise your laptop to get the camera to eye level. We won’t see the pile of books propping it up. Another working from home pro tip: Network issues seem to come up more at home where we don’t have an IT department to manage them. Go ahead and turn off the cameras if anyone in the meeting is experiencing audio/video delays or choppiness. We’ve found that seems to stop most issues.

Not all of us have ideal backdrops in our makeshift home offices. I know I can’t be the only one with a pile of clean laundry lurking just out of view, but these things can be distracting to our audience. If you can’t physically hide the distractions, try changing the angle of the camera slightly. Pro tip for working from home: It’s totally acceptable to use the blur or background image options to hide distractions digitally.

If you want to go above and beyond, you can set up a greenscreen like Marty and pretend you are back at the office. 

While meeting from your computer can have its perks, it can also be fraught with distractions. Close any email, chat, or other unnecessary applications that have notifications. Many of these applications have both auditory and visual cues that can be disruptive to the meeting, especially if you’re sharing your screen. Pro tip for working from home: Many of us are using personal computers, so be even more vigilant about tidying your desktop so nothing shows that you may not want to share with others if you need to share your screen.

Use the mute button when appropriate. I was in a meeting a few days ago, and I could clearly hear a lawn mower in the background. Life happens and we can’t control everything around us, but if you have ambient noise and you aren’t currently leading the meeting, it’s OK to use mute until your turn to speak.

Have an agenda. This should be true for all meetings, but it’s especially important for remote ones.

Bonus tips: Remote presentations

If you were planning on making a presentation in person but are now trying to translate it to the digital realm, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

You need to engage with your audience in a different way than if you were meeting in person. Experts suggest that you engage the audience every four minutes! That’s at least seven times in a 30-minute presentation. How do you fit all of that in such a short time period? Throw out calls to action for the audience and use whatever tools are available to you, such as polls, hand raising, chat, or a question box.

Use more slides with fewer words than you would for an in-person presentation. The audience can read what is on the screen quickly. They don’t want you to read it to them. If you do, they will likely put your presentation in the background and start to browse email. So, keep the slides light on content and keep them moving to ensure your audience stays attentive. 

Staying connected

While many in-person gatherings have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, Synergex is still here for you! We’re offering several webinars throughout this year on topics ranging from web services to unit testing to debugging. We’ll also continue to host our regular OpenVMS remote customer meetup and our Harmony Core office hours.  Keep an eye on your inbox for upcoming invitations.

We invite you to comment on this post to share any additional tips you may have for remote meetings and presentations. You can also join in on the conversation about general working from home tips in Community.

We hope to see many of you in person in Sacramento in May 2021 for the DevPartner conference, but in the meantime stay home and stay healthy!


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