When A Mouse Requires An Internet Connection, You're Doing 'Cloud' Wrong

from the so-many-options-for-the-hardware,-so-few-for-the-users dept

In a situation eerily similar to "always-on" DRM schemes, Razer mouse and keyboard purchasers are finding their high-end peripherals bricked by software that requires an internet connection to function.

So, why would a mouse need an internet connection to be usable? Well, it's supposed to be a feature, but it's behaving more like a bug. A forum member at Overclock.net explains the problem with his new ~$80 mouse:
This really took me by surprise. Just bought a new Naga 2012 mouse, installed the software and get greeted by a login screen right after. No option to bypass it to use the software to configure the mouse, set the options, sensitivity, shortcuts, macros etc.

So I go ahead and create an account and try to log in. Nothing. Try several more times, and still nothing. Try to make new accounts with different email addresses and it still wont work.

Finally call Razer who tells me the activation server is down, and I wont be able to use the mouse until it goes back up and will only be able to use it as a standard plug and play mouse til then. I ask about a workaround to use the mouse offline and they say there is none. Supposedly once the mouse is activated on the computer offline mode will work, but it needs to upload my profile and activate my account first and since their server is down its not going to happen. I ask for a supervisor to confirm this is the case and ask again for a workaround to use it offline. He said sorry theres nothing they can do, tells me the call center is closing and hangs up on me.

I'm pretty shocked Razer thought it was a good idea to do this to customers. Nowhere on the box does it say anything about needing an internet connection to "activate" a mouse. If the servers go down in the future, anyone who buys this mouse is out of luck.
The idea behind this unfortunate requirement is to save your gaming preferences for supported mice and keyboards to the cloud so the next time you're at a LAN party (assuming your LAN party lets you "dial out," so to speak), for example, you would just log in and retrieve your settings, rather than start from scratch on a new computer. Unfortunately, the execution is all effed up.

Synapse, the software driving the cloud setup, has both an online and offline mode. Unfortunately, you can't access the offline portion until you've registered your new hardware. This is a problem, especially when the company forcing you to create an account before you can use your mouse can't keep its servers up. Furthermore, if you're away from your own computer (with its offline settings synched) and without an internet connection, your mouse becomes useless again. And it's not just spotty internet connections that cause a problem. It's also other software.
If you work somewhere that has a network behind firewalls, chances are even though you can download the Synapse software, the firewall may also block you from activating and using the software as well.
As for Razer's suggested workaround ("standard plug and play")? No one spends $80 for a "plug and play" mouse (or over $300 with the keyboard -- which also requires a connection and an account). The FAQ for Synapse (required going forward for Razer's products) suggests that once your setup is complete, moving between online and offline modes will be a "seamless experience." The definition of "seamless" seems to vary from person to person.
If your connection drops out for any reason, the Synapse software will make a habit of locking up on you while it transitions to offline mode. During that time your settings may revert or possibly not be saved.
Google disagrees with Razer's definition of "seamless" as well. Searching for "Razer Synapse" autosuggests the following, which hardly inspires confidence.


Reviews of Razer hardware requiring Synapse haven't been too kind either (at least not to the software). Here's what the person shelling out nearly $400 for just a Razer keyboard has in store for them:
As of this writing the Razer Synapse driver software is easy to download and frustrating to use. Conceptually, it's great: download Synapse and create a free Razer account, then customize your peripherals and your settings will be saved to Razer servers automatically, meaning you can take your Razer gear anywhere and simply download Synapse to have access to your custom configuration. In practice, Synapse runs slowly and sports an unintuitive interface.

Most frustrating of all, during testing Synapse had a hard time reliably detecting Razer peripherals; while testing the DeathStalker Ultimate I had to install Razer Synapse three times across three different PCs, and each time I had problems convincing the software that I had in fact connected our review keyboard. I was able to solve the problem on all of our test machines by either rebooting the PC or reinstalling the software, but it was always a headache.
Fun stuff. All this hassle for a "seamless experience." Min-Liang Tan of Razer had this to say in defense of the Synapse software (via a Facebook post):
We invented onboard memory for gaming mice many years ago and called it Synapse to allow gamers to bring their profiles with them on the go. However, we realized that we ran into another issue where we had to keep increasing the amount of memory onboard to provide for more storage and this resulted in higher and higher prices for gamers.

We then invented Synapse 2.0 where we could provide almost limitless amount of storage for profiles, macros, etc in the cloud as opposed to being limited by physical memory.

We wanted to avoid raising prices to gamers for higher memory space onboard (think about it like having to buy bigger and bigger hard drives as opposed to having all your storage on the cloud) and provide a much better service for our users.

Synapse 2.0 is NOT DRM. Our products work perfectly well out of the box without Synapse 2.0. Synapse 2.0 provides ADDITIONAL functionality of almost limitless memory in the cloud as opposed to taking away functionality (which is what DRM is).

We recognize that gamers will want to be able to use their gear without an online connection, and that's why Synapse 2.0 has an OFFLINE mode. Basically you have to register, create an account, save your initial settings and if you so prefer, you can stay in offline mode all the time without going online.

I realize that we have had issues with the activation server, and we're making sure we get that sorted out.
First off, it would appear that Razer's products don't work perfectly well out of the box, seeing as they require activation and a registered account before settings can be tweaked. They make work as well as much, much cheaper plug-and-play peripherals but people don't buy Razer devices with the intention of using them like a $10 Kensington vanilla mouse. Second, claiming additional functionality is a bit rich when the software itself is too flaky to guarantee this additional functionality. "Limitless memory in the cloud" is only as good as the software connecting it to the user and, so far, it looks like Synapse 2.0 isn't getting it done reliably.

Third, while it's true that Synapse has an offline mode, it's completely unusable until everything else has been connected via registration. It would be preferable to have a choice before all the extra steps (register, create account, save settings, etc.), rather than be forced to utilize the online version first. (One helpful user of Overclock.net has helpfully posted a real workaround that allows Razer purchasers to use their peripherals and preferred settings, rather than settling for plug-and-play limitations.)

Last, if internal storage is so expensive, why are competitors able to keep their peripheral prices in line with Razer's while still offering the same options and functions? If the price is an object, why not give users the option to store their settings on something else equally portable, like a USB drive?

And then there's the data harvesting. This post at Overclock.net goes on at great length about Synapse's terms of service even though there's nothing really unusual about them. Razer wants as much data as it can get ahold of, much like any other company or online service. The difference here is that registration is forced, with the device pretty much held hostage until the purchaser jumps through all the hoops, hopefully dropping lots of usable information along the way.

Registration for computer hardware is nothing new, but for the most part, people could just indefinitely delay the process if they so chose, or eliminate it completely. I've installed hard drives, DVD writers, printers, etc., all of which asked me to register and voluntarily hand over personally identifiable information. Whether I did this or not had no effect on my usage of these products. Sure, anyone can fill out a form with a bunch of fake information, but Razer will still collect usage data and specific computer information from every computer it comes in contact with. Bringing your mouse with you to a LAN party and downloading the Synapse to access your settings just gives Razer more data to work with.

While some people are referring to this internet-connection-required aspect as "DRM," it really isn't. What it is though, is a consumer-unfriendly choice. If your customers are going to shell out $300+ for a keyboard, wouldn't you think they deserve more than one badly implemented "option?"

Perhaps its Razer's lack of an online help forum that has shielded it (until now) from the complaints of Synapse users. Sure, it has an email address for technical support, but most people probably consider that a last-ditch option at best and a customer service black hole at worst.

Bottom line: people loathe software that requires internet access to use. Pushing Synapse going forward doesn't necessarily make Razer a bad company, but the insistence that users log in and register first certainly plays right into its desire to collect information on its customers. Compounding this misstep with a party line that basically states "Synapse is great and works great" is a large step in the wrong direction. Razer claims to crafting a better user experience, but perhaps it should actually listen to its users, rather than telling them what they'll like and getting defensive when users express their displeasure.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Miff (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:30am

    The solution is to return the mouse/keyboard and get Logitech instead.

     

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:42am

      Re:

      +1
      Love my Logitech G510 and G500. I was considering trying some Razer other products, but I think I'll just stick with their mousepads (until they need a internet connection too).

       

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      Soundy (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      This was my immediate thought too: no fuss, just return for a refund and get something else. Razer will get the point once they start seeing negative sales.

      Note to Razer: if you really want to be clever about it, give the option to save settings and prefs to a flash drive, or cache them locally and complete the upload later.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re:

        Or include a small flash chip in the device itself to hold the settings. Since these settings are only useful when you're using the device, put the settings there. Storing them in the cloud is just silly & stupid.

         

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          elemecca (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Razer devices do have built-in flash storage, or at least my Mamba 2012 does. Unlike Logitech's products, you don't need the configuration software running all the time in order to customize settings. Synapse is only used to modify the configuration profiles, which are then stored on the device itself and used even when it's acting as a plain USB HID mouse without drivers. It's one of my favorite features, actually.

          It's possible they've stopped including on-board storage and are relying on Synapse 2.0's cloud storage non-feature for new devices. If that's true I'll probably stop buying their products.

           

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re:

        if you really want to be clever about it, give the option to save settings and prefs to a flash drive, or cache them locally and complete the upload later.
        This is actually the bit I had most trouble with that makes their claims sound dubious
        We wanted to avoid raising prices to gamers for higher memory space onboard (think about it like having to buy bigger and bigger hard drives as opposed to having all your storage on the cloud) and provide a much better service for our users.
        I can get a 16Gigabyte memory stick for £4($6) retail. I can get a 1GB for £1... how the hell much "settings" data can there be for one of these things that requires "larger and larger memory that costs more"? Surely as their space requirement goes up so does the amount of flash storage available for the same price that they could happily build into the next production run and keep costs the same?
        Sure, maybe the "cloud" option provides better service... but only if it's an option not the default as you suggest.

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But then they can't gather a bunch of information to sell and make more money.
          Distract some people with the idea we are saving them so much money, and pray they ignore its a smokescreen.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      I swear by Logitech, sure they don't have all the bells and whistles... but I just want something that just freaking works. And work well within expectations... hell I'd say the biggest thing any gamer needs for their gaming setup is one of those extra large laser mouse pads.

       

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        IronM@sk, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:03pm

        Re: Re:

        sure they don't have all the bells and whistles... but I just want something that just freaking works.

        So, obviously, you don't own, nor have ever owned a Rev. 1.0 G15 where:
        1) the "soft plastic" coating breaks over time in warm climate zones and goes all sticky, requiring you to purchase 99% isopropyl alcohol to strip the entire surface back to the base plastic.
        2) Where the paint on the keys rubs off so you can't see the lettering.
        3) Where the back-light flickers for no reason.
        4) Where the fancy LED Game Panel screen develops lines through it and never had enough support, so there were virtually zero functioning apps for it.
        5) Where the software is so bloated it actually required 5 or 6 separate processes to run in the background to support the keyboard and,
        6) where, over time, some of the keys, not being mechanical, just cease to function at all?

        My friend bought a Rev. 2.0 G15 after he saw mine, but before the problems really became inherent. His died well before mine did. So, I don't see how you can laud Logitech and their "no frills" hardware, when the produce some of the crappiest quality stuff with all the supposed "bells & whistles". Maybe your budget $20 Logitech keyboard works, for now, but their "gaming" products leave much to be desired.

        As a side note, all the paint is coming off my G5 Laser mouse, it's "soft plastic" coating degraded jsut like the keyboard, and my Z-5500 5.1 speakers crackle randomly.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 8:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, Logitech pretty much turned me off of their "gaming" products after they discontinued the venerable MX-510 mouse.

          My old rev 2.0 G15 had some of the mushiest, least tactile keys I've ever felt on a keyboard. I'm currently using a cheap Dell keyboard that came with the computer that it's currently attached to and it gives a considerably better typing experience. At least that revision did something about the hilariously dim backlighting of the original G15, but the quality was diminished in every other conceivable way.

          The original G5 was okay, with one notable exception that made it virtually unusable for games: the scroll wheel was a complete pile of crap. When mine was just outside of the return period, it started double and triple triggering, which made selecting weapons in FPS titles incredibly difficult. After a while, it began to trigger at the slightest touch. To make matters worse, the wheel button was so hard to press that half of the time doing a middle-click would cause you to jog the wheel.

          I would put it down to me getting unlucky and getting a bad mouse, but I know two other people who bought a G5 and they had the exact same issues with it.

          That being said, I have been pleased with my Z-2200 speakers. I also have a fairly recent trackball from them that has proven to be a solid performer (and it doesn't have any scroll wheel issues, like every single one of Logitech's gaming mice seem to quickly develop). I also have an old Logitech Elite keyboard that I've beaten the hell out of (after retiring it from normal use I used it as a shop keyboard, so it's been moved a lot and suffered an accidental drop or two) and despite that I haven't had any issues with it. Logitech is great as long as you stay far away from their gaming products.

           

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      Fickelbra (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      I bought the Razer Black Adder mouse on Amazon a couple months back. After discovering I had to make a Razer account just to use their software, and 3 reboot-required updates to update a mouse driver that I JUST downloaded from their site, I promptly boxed the mouse up and returned it. Blasted it on Amazon in my review for all those reasons.

      If it is any consolation, Razer customer support commented on my review and said they were taking my criticisms into consideration. Bottom line, I probably would have bought a keyboard too as I was in the market for that as well. After my experience, I simply avoid their products. And yes, I bought Logitech.

       

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        Designerfx (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re:

        likewise. I was literally on the cusp of ordering one before I had started to read about this stuff multiple weeks ago.

        the long story short is that gaming forums have known how stupid this DRM is and are basically boycotting Razer products. I hope they realize what that means, since gaming represents 90% of their business.

         

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          The eejit (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's worse than that - I'd actually consider Synapse ransomware, given the information available. At least DRM is merely ineffective.

           

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        JackSombra (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re:

        Have a razor naga and while the device hardware works fine it will be last razor product i buy when this ones gets replaced in the next 6 months, which is a pity as really need to replace my battered belkin nostromo and the razor version looks a lot better designed.

        Besides the registration issues (it's not the first time their registration server has been down, remember it being also down first time i used my mouse about a year ago) and until very recently the auto patcher forcing OS reboots on every single patch (what is it? still the age of windows 95?), i just find the whole "settings in the cloud" on hardware devices to be a feature only useful to a tiny fraction of consumers on very limited occasions while having far to many downsides for everyone else

         

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      WaCKO, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:13am

      Re:

      Logitech is not any better, Ever try a Harmony Remote,
      You can't use/program the thing unless you are connected to the internet. Once you set-up you remote while connected to the net, then you can use is, but any change to the remote, needs to be connected to the internet.

       

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        AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re:

        "Logitech is not any better, Ever try a Harmony Remote, "

        Have you?, way to compare apples to oranges. The Harmony remote doesn't phone home or collect usage information to send back to Logitech.

        " but any change to the remote, needs to be connected to the internet."

        Wrong, you any change you make to a device you own(ie. replacing a TV,DVD, etc.)

         

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          Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wrong, you any change you make to a device you own(ie. replacing a TV,DVD, etc.)
          Er.... dunno what model Harmony remote you have, but he's right. I got one as a gift a while back and had exactly this issue... twice. Couldn't set the thing up initially due to "unusually busy servers" at Christmas and then later couldn't change macro settings when my internet was down.
          Again, I understand why they hold the info centrally since it's updated with additional models,command sets etc, but it should be cached locally and it isn't (at least not in a useable form).
          The Harmony remote doesn't phone home or collect usage information to send back to Logitech.
          Are you sure? Since you're connected to their central server when using the software I'd be very suprised if they couldn't at the very least tell what devices you have configured. Perhaps they don't keep it, but they can damn-sure get it on connection if they choose.

           

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            AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Are you sure? Since you're connected to their central server when using the software I'd be very suprised if they couldn't at the very least tell what devices you have configured. Perhaps they don't keep it, but they can damn-sure get it on connection if they choose."

            Don't really care if they know what type of devices or who the manufactures are, just don't want them tracking what I'm using it for or how many times i use said devices. Since its been very long stretch in between connections I highly don't there tracking anything. If they had me connecting every couple weeks for no reason then you might have a point. I agree that they need a backup and cache type of option but it hasn't been a back breaker for me. If another company designed a remote with the same type of style, options and added the backup / cache I would consider purchasing that product at appropriate time.

             

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          JEDIDIAH, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:20am

          Mindless misdirection

          > The Harmony remote doesn't phone home or collect usage information to send back to Logitech.

          That's completely a red herring.

          The underlying problem here is that the problem is USELESS unless you can phone home to the Logitech mother ship. Unlike a normal remote, you can't just configure it yourself.

          You are forever dependent on some server at Logitech Corp somewhere. That is the essence of the cloud. If the cloud goes away so does the usefulness of your device or service.

           

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            AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:57am

            Re: Mindless misdirection

            "The underlying problem here is that the problem is USELESS unless you can phone home to the Logitech mother ship. Unlike a normal remote, you can't just configure it yourself.
            "

            The whole discussion over the Logitech Harmony is red herring within red herring squared. Their solution is not perfect and I don't think they are making it to be one. I'm no expert but i have owned Philips(they also had software for palm) and Marantz learning remotes close to a decade ago and harmony's solution to the issues that plagued those system blew them out of the water. The Philips remotes are the most tragic as you could design your own UI for those remotes. Many made some spectacular UI's for those remotes, that you could freely download and many people tried to maintain device databases but it was an extreme cluster f**k.

             

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        egghead (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:59am

        Re: Re:

        The whole selling point of the Harmony remote is that you will always have the most up-to-date and largest database of commands for practically every device made. You can't really program the remote without an internet connection because you don't have the entire database of products stored on the remote when it is shipped.

        I personally own a One and have purchased a few of the lower tier options for family as extremely well received gifts.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But why should the device itself have to connect to the internet for this? What about allowing the option, but also allowing you to download the most recent database onto a computer or flash drive and use it from there?

           

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            Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What about allowing the option, but also allowing you to download the most recent database onto a computer or flash drive and use it from there?
            This... lots.

            Remote command sets don't really change that much generation to generation and manufactureres tend to use similar sets on later equipment, which is why the old "number code for manufacturer" multi-remotes worked even on later equipment (with maybe some errors for new features. More than that on the remote you can create them manually... except you can't without the internet connection.
            So if Harmony decide to do it another way and stop supporting the server, or if they go bust, or even if their database suddenly becomes incompatible with your model remote due to a schema update demanded by some "improvement" they've made, the next time you change out a piece of equipment your expensive multi-remote turns into an expensive brick when it should be (and in fact is) capable of supporting any command set.

             

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              AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The harmony remotes are still a learning remote, i don't need the internet to make changes. You still have the problem like any device that manufacture's make. They might go under or make changes that render your product useless. This is not an exclusive problem to things that might need an internet connection. The reasons why the Harmony line need an internet connection are valid and save you a lot time in configuring your device to work and they are up front of the requirements needed. It has been months since I needed to connect the remote to the net, and i don't have to worry about them collecting what my usage habits unlike Razor and their software.

               

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                Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:54am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The harmony remotes are still a learning remote, i don't need the internet to make changes.
                Then your model differs from mine - the one I have does not have the learning functions accessible in the remote (i.e. you can't get to the commands to activate them even though it is the remote itself that learns the IR signature). This must be accessed using the software and the software requires internet.

                The rest of what you say is mostly true and there is indeed a valid reason for an internet connection and that it works in this way is a great feature, but the fact remains that it should not be mandatory for basic functionality.

                If manual config worked locally as you suggest I wouldn't have a problem because then the remote would learn and work if I choose to spend the effort teaching it for as long as devices use IR remotes. As it stands however Harmony, and not I, have control of how long I get to use my device for and that is wrong.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Why are people buying a remote with buttons?

                  Buy an IR transceiver from an open source project :)

                  Here is one, there are others.
                  http://www.irdroid.com/

                   

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                    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Good idea and thanks for the link. Historically the answer your question would be: "because the IR transmitter in a phone sucks compared to a purpose-built remote" for this I'd guess at "That's an awful lot of faffing about if you're not technical and it looks ugly too".

                     

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            AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "But why should the device itself have to connect to the internet for this? What about allowing the option, but also allowing you to download the most recent database onto a computer or flash drive and use it from there?"

            1. Once you have setup your remote there's no need to connect again unless your going to be adding a new device or deleting one. The last time i need to connect my remote to the internet was five months ago when i added my WDTV Live.

            2. There's probably ten's of thousand devices on that database and it's easier for them to add,and change entries then create a never ending files for download. One device i bought over two years ago had the wrong info for the control over the device, one phone to the customer support and they made the change to support it and now anyone the got the same device would be getting the new control info.

            My harmony one controls my ac, clock radio, av receiver, tv, cable box, wdtv live, and xbox 360

             

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              Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              1. Once you have setup your remote there's no need to connect again unless your going to be adding a new device or deleting one.
              Perhaps the US version differs, but you can't even run the software without an internet connection never mind change anything... or were you suggesting one does not need to change anything except when you change a device? If so, then think about macro settings, fave channels of PVRs etc. None of it is settable without internet.

               

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                AdamR (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                My last post on this matter, we are both right and wrong on certain things. WaCKO started this by saying that Logitech isn't any better than Razor with it's internet connection for its remotes. It is still comparing apples to oranges, Razor is constantly polling to setup a two way communication process to gather info about your usage(system and internet) and give it to them. You have no real control over this and this process interferes with your everyday usage of their products with or without Internet access. What makes it even worse that they want to sell that info, and there's nothing stating it or the constant need to connect to the net on the packaging.

                You do need an internet connection to setup on configure the Harmony.I have owned the Harmony One since September of 09, since my initial setup and configuration I have only needed to connect my remote to the net six times till now. Those times i have connected have been to add new devices, change channel info(channel numbers & Icons). I'm not a big macro guy and my setup is pretty simple. It sucks that when you tried to connect you had issues, stuff happens but once your setup your basically done, and not required to keep connecting to the Internet like Razor products. I agree there needs to some sort of backup/cache option I just don't see it as critical as others might.

                 

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                  Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  My last post on this bit too.... I agree with almost everything you said. The Harmony remote is basically a good bit of kit and works well once set up and yes you don't really need to change it that often, BUT (and here's where I disagree) the key point is not how intrusive the requirement is, but that it is a requirement at all when it does not have to be.
                  Like the Razer, the Harmony does not work as it should unless you have an internet connection, which makes it a valid conparison. There's no reason for that no matter how you slice it. Like the Harmony it appears that you can't use the Razer "offline" mode (for remote read using the remote once programmed) without an initial internet connection and there's no good reason for that on the Harmony unless you happen to have a device newer than the last production run - operating systems seem to manage just fine for example including "default drivers" for most devices. The remote ships with a CD - how hard would it be to include the latest DB at time of production run on it and update that with the internet connection?

                  Is it as intrusive? No, I agree with you there, but it's the same principle. Bottom line is that I got the remote as a gift and in operation I love it, but if I were spending my own money on it they wouldn't have a customer because of this feature, which was the point of the article.

                  This kind of control strikes me as a general corporate disease of imagined control and my guess is that if wireless/cell networking were a ubiquitous "given", that the Logitec requirement would be just as intrusive as the Razer. The "user convenience" arguments ring hollow when there are easy ways to do it without the always on connection and when "user choice" is removed.

                   

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            IronM@sk, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Are you fucking serious? The Harmony database has config files for over 500,000 different AV devices, and they update that list constantly for both new devices coming to market and older devices submitted by request of its users.

            There's a difference between a few personal settings on a mouse, and 500,000 AV device settings.

            "What about allowing the option, but also allowing you to download"

            Word to the wise, you must be connected to the internet to download stuff. Again, why would you download a 500,000+ entry database just for your half a dozen devices?

            Not that I'm defending Logitech here. I'm an antenna technician and AV installer, and personally, the Logitech Harmony software and install process are a joke. Installing these in the field is painful, since the presets for devices in the Harmony database are sometimes incomplete, so features have to be manually programmed (like the "music" button on a Foxtel/Austar remote. But your argument is simply impractical.

             

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      Jeremy2020 (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      I would also echo "Get Logitech"

      Synapse is awful. The Logitech Gaming software is world's above it.

      Also, I have an epic. In wireless mode, it often freezes up when using that 'additional functionality'.

       

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      identicon
      F!, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:12pm

      Re:

      "The solution is to return the mouse/keyboard and get Logitech instead."
      ...except I ran into this same exact issue with a Logitech mouse about two years ago. My solution? I returned it and bought a generic M$ mouse instead. No fuss no muss.

       

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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    ...for no good reason

    people loathe software that requires internet access to use.
    We don't loathe all software that requires on internet connection, just software that requires one for no good reason.

    In this case, if you buy this mouse to use with one gaming computer that never leaves your house... you still have to register it to get it to work properly. WTF?

    All they needed to do to avoid this problem is to provide an option to store settings locally *or* upload them to the cloud for portability. This is not hard, and the fact they don't offer this capability makes their attempted justifications of the software as being for the benefit of the user self-evidently BS.

     

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      Bengie, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:25am

      Re: ...for no good reason

      Example: Google

      I don't expect Google to install a datacenter in my house so I can access its services when my internet drops.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:02am

        Re: Re: ...for no good reason

        Erm, no you don't since Google's results would be useless to you if you couldn't access the sites they provide search results for. Bad example. A better example would be if you needed Valve to provide a Steam offline mode so you could play the games you bought without an internet connection - which they provide, no major issues for either party.

        The point is, people are OK with internet access if it's logically used and/or necessary and kept to a minimum. One-time activation to receive updates and online support for a product? Fine. Constant internet connection required for a multiplayer-only game? Fine. Activation required for a non-networking peripherals or a single player game that should be playable offline? Bad.

         

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      Kane S., Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:57am

      Re: ...for no good reason

      Or do what Logitech did with the G600 (I own one), onboard memory that allows you to store the profiles both on the desktop and on the mouse.

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:48am

    How does this affect reselling your hardware? Will Razer allow a used mouse/keyboard to be registered a second time, a third time?

    If it does limit resales, it is DRM. If it doesn't, it's just fricken stupid.

     

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      Berenerd (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      if it IS DRM, its still stupid.

       

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      Gordnfreeman, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      There is no DRM on the product, you only need to login to create custom key bindings or macros and to change the settings on the keyboard/mouse. It also saves your settings to the "cloud" for use on multiple computers, there is no restriction on how many accounts you can have and no key is required to sign up.

       

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        Ima Fish (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        So it's not nefarious or greedy, it's just plain fricken stupid. Thanks.

         

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          Gordnfreeman, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah it's more of an oversight than anything but you would have thought somebody would have fixed it by now. You don't need to login to use the basic functionality of the products and even the special keys on the mouse/keyboards work, like the num pad on the Naga mouse work. But you can't use the software to override the keys without logging in.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:52am

    $400 for a gaming keyboard is too much. A Sidewinder X4 costs $50 and has everything you need for gaming (anti-ghosting, macro keys, etc.). I've been using one for over two years, and it's worked great.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    NTS: Cancel razer mouse order

     

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    gorehound (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:00am

    As soon as I saw the price I just laughed !
    DRM Mouse........
    The Mickey Mouse of Mice !

     

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      marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      $80 here in australia, not THAT expensive considering some of the gaming gear ive brought - although after hearing about the drm id definatly expect a discount... say around $70 AUD would seem fitting id think

       

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        IronM@sk, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:34pm

        Re: Re:

        "considering some of the gaming gear ive brought"
        *bought

        Bought = purchased with currency
        Brought = transferred from some place to another on one's person

         

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    Overcast (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:03am

    Unless ths app REQUIRES internet - having it depend on the internet is one good way of keeping me from buying it.

    I got burnt good by 'Square Enix' on a game called Supreme Commander 2 - the box I bought (yes, bought a physical DVD) said NOTHING about it requiring an internet connection to play...

    Normally I have one, but I bought a game BECAUSE my internet was out for a weekend - that REALLY annoyed me. I won't buy a game from them anymore - once I did get internet, it required me to download another Gig of data - the DVD had like 2 GB free - WTF?

    It wasn't a patch - it was content you HAD to download to play the version on the DVD - it really annoyed me bad.

    Last time I get burnt with that - it's just the principle.

    Glad I read this though - my old Razer's about dead - I need a new mouse, guess what I will NOT be buying.

     

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      Matt, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      It says right under minimum system requirements, requires a broadband internet connection

       

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      Austin (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      This is why, even when I buy legit, boxed games, I go find and install a crack anyway. And I buy quite a few. Right now, I have 24 games installed, and I have boxes for 19 of them sitting on the shelf above my desk right this very moment, all legally bought at full price. The other 5 I've had for less than 2 weeks. Unless something changes, I'll be buying two of them (Borderlands 2 and Dishonored) on Saturday after I get my patcheck, and I'll simply delete the other 3 and never see them again. I call this a self-imposed 14 day trial, and to date I've only ever violated this once (and then a friend bought me Minecraft so that corrected that situation.)

      But back to the point, guess how many of those 19 boxes I bought I've ever opened? Zero. None. Notta. For all 19 of those games, I'm still running the copy I pirated. They have no bugs, no DRM, and no steam (yes I know that's repetitive since steam IS DRM, but many people don't see it that way...) I never have a game magically disappear because some dumbass running a cloud server doesn't THINK I bought it. I never get kicked off multiplayer because I have singleplayer cheats enabled (I'm looking at you, ME3 - and yes, I only have cheats enabled that don't effect multiplayer anyway, i.e. all items in stores, etc.) And yet, I still support games and the companies who make them, with my wallet - I just don't support the asshats they outsource their DRM to.

       

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        IronM@sk, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

        Re: Re:

        "(yes I know that's repetitive since steam IS DRM, but many people don't see it that way...)"

        Steam is a service. There's a difference. Sure, Steam pass on 3rd party publisher's DRM, but they are required to or those publishers wouldn't release their games on Steam, and the community would be worse off for it.

        I suppose you could make the argument that you can't play a Valve game without Steam, and that's probably somewhat valid, But Steam is an integral part of Valve's games, and Steam itself, does have an offline mode.

         

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    JamesF (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:05am

    What does this tell you about DRM?

    Dear content industry. You've actually managed to make DRM mean "Anything the manufacturer does that screws the customer over". Are you getting the hint yet?

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:02am

      Re: What does this tell you about DRM?

      I think that's the most concise and to the point comment I've seen on TD for a looonngg time and some of them are pretty good. This deserves "insightful of the week".

       

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    marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Im glad i recently found this:
    http://www.cyborggaming.com/prod/rat7.htm

    instead of razer. I have mates that have razor items and havnt had this issue(thank gawd!) and love the produce, normally im a logitech man myself.

    This is beyond rediculas though, do these people not even think of people who have to travel often(like me!) - yes a gaming mouse isnt always needed when i travel but i like my damn keyboard and mouse, and i WILL bring those buggers with me(honestly ive actually left some items behind FOR my KB/Mouse hookup on my laptop before - yes i know a laptop has a KB, but try coding on one compared to a kb your comforable with haha).

    Razor, in the only way an aussie could honestly say it - dickheads, how about thinking first? It doesnt hurt much after you get useto it, and i promise you in the long run it will actually become usefull!

     

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      Designerfx (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      I can't stand the rat7 layout, plus people have reported they break easily.

       

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      P., Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      I had a RAT7, (or was it 9?) a while back.. the one that was wireless. I disliked it because it was a bit limited in the number of buttons, but was able to make it work, until the thumb-scroll stopped working. I returned it and got a Logitech g700
      http://www.logitech.com/en-us/gaming/mice-keyboard-combos/wireless-gaming-mouse-g700

      It has more buttons, in a easier to use format, uses a standard AA rechargeable battery (and comes with an eneloop battery to boot). Recharges on a micro-USB (and functions as a wire-mouse while charging. Been very satisfied.

       

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      poop, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      "I have mates that have razor items and havnt had this issue(thank gawd!) and love the produce, normally im a logitech man myself. "

      Where do they get their produce, the local supermarket?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:18am

    What is wrong with storing settings in a known file, which the user can copy onto a thumb drive if they want to keep carry their setting to another machine?
    This looks like a means of forcing users to give their data, and I would want to know what else the razer spy ware sends.

     

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      marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      Infact to push that one step further, whats wrong with putting 512k of onboard memory and storing the data internally?

      If you cant store all the user data in 512k, you have more problems than you ever imagined!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:44am

        Re: Re:

        The external file allow for several profiles, for different users.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:25am

        Re: Re:

        That's exactly how Logitech stores settings profiles on their high-end mice, and that method is at least 3 years old. My G9 stores multiple profiles that can be switched by hitting a button on the bottom of the mouse.
        - No internet needed
        - No software/background process needed to switch
        - No need to alt-tab out of yer game

        I suspect this might be a case of a pointy haired boss going "We have to do something in the cloud!"

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          More like a pointy head going force the customers to register.

           

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          DogBreath, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I suspect this might be a case of a pointy haired boss going "We have to do something in the cloud!"

          At the request of his pointy haired boss, Dilbert wrote the "code" to make internet connection a requirement. Dogbert then finds a way to make you pay a "monthly maintenance fee" to the company to "access" your own profile. Leaving Catbert, while twitching his tail in excitement, to pronounce: "Looks like it's going to be a rainy day, in the Cloud."

           

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re:

        If you cant store all the user data in 512k, you have more problems than you ever imagined!
        Yep... and even if you had such problems, just how much memory would you need that would increase costs by any real amount???

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      If it was to help people that wouldn't be a problem but this is not done to help you, it is done to collect data and restrict usage, that is why a file that can be copied to any computer won't do.

       

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    Keii (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    I had made a purchase of the Star Wars Old Republic mouse from Razer and was forced to use this crappy software when it was still technically deemed a beta. My experience with it was absolutely awful. From the software crashing to freezing up, to not detecting my mouse, to losing my settings when it was unplugged (wireless mode), to telling me my serial number wasn't valid.
    I couldn't get any help from support so I returned the mouse. This was my second experience with a Razer mouse. The first one had similar problems with their software (the Synapse 1 software) and it would frequently stop detecting my mouse, revert settings, and take 10-20 seconds to detect after switching modes.
    I'm done with Razer as a company. Logitech has never done me wrong.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Just how much space does the profile data require? A quick search shows that a 4GB USB flash drive costs just €5 which includes more than just the memory chip. I don't know how much the flash memory costs wholesale but I would imagine it is far less than this. It sounds like their cost reson is bollocks and just an excuse to force this restriction on people.

     

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      quawonk, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      This.

      Also, they could have an app pre-installed in the flash memory that runs itself when plugged into another machine. There are such apps out there already.

       

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      Agreed, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 4:48pm

      Re:

      There's just no way the cost can be justified. Especially considering they are still going to shell out for some kind of storage and bandwidth for this cloud nonsense. How much space can a profile possibly consume anyway? That is such a line of BS that I now won't buy razer gear even if they get rid of the nonsense. It's just the principle of them being scumbags.

       

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    JustWrong, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    This is just incorrect

    I have a Naga. The mouse works just fine without an internet connection. What you cant do is register and account without an internet connection and initialize the software that allows advanced configuration. The mouse works just fine without Internet. After youve registered the software, the software works just fine without Internet.

     

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      marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:33am

      Re: This is just incorrect

      Can you adjust the DPI, macro keys etc(im not being snide actually wondering - if you cant there's a problem, if you can, then the story is over-hyped)

       

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      Tim K (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:35am

      Re: This is just incorrect

      Isn't the whole point of spending all that money for the advanced features, Which the other Tim said in the article No one spends $80 for a "plug and play" mouse (or over $300 with the keyboard -- which also requires a connection and an account).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re: This is just incorrect

        No, you spend $80 for a wireless laser mouse with premium parts, ergonomic design, an exceptionally high DPI and 18 buttons. You're spending the money for the parts and performance.

        DPI switching is done via hardware buttons that don't need the internet.

        The software is next to useless even without the internet activation. A third-party macro program like AHK is superior in nearly every instance.

        I agree with the notion that Synapse is terrible, both in concept (internet activation) and execution. But there's not a solid alternative to the Naga (12 thumb buttons plus 6 standard buttons), and it IS a high-quality device.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:34am

          Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

          This:

          I agree with the notion that Synapse is terrible, both in concept (internet activation) and execution


          and this:

          it IS a high-quality device


          cannot both be true.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

            Why? You can use the device as intended without Synapse - that's just software. I had a Naga from 2009 that had no Synapse-like functionality, online or not. The hardware is great. If you buy the best laptop on the market and it comes with Windows ME on it it doesn't mean the laptop is bad, it just means you should install Linux on it instead of trying to work with Windows ME.

            However, there is an argument against my point. I was unaware of this until I did a little research today: Logitech has a mouse with a similar form factor to the Naga. If you can get the same functionality and quality without the bad software then the choice to purchase a Naga despite Synapse gets much less attractive.

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

              You can use the device as intended without Synapse


              No, you can't. You can use the device as if it were a cheap mouse without the software, but that's not using it as intended.

              The hardware is only one component of the complete device. If the hardware is of high quality but the software is not, it is not a high quality device.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

                What are you on about? Have you ever used a Razer mouse? Based on your completely incorrect assertions, I believe you haven't.

                I have (and still do) on a daily basis. I do not use Synapse and never have. Other than "saving my profiles to the cloud" there is zero functionality that Synapse provides that is not also available either through free third-party programs or native Windows functionality.

                I can create macros. I can save profiles. I can remap all the buttons. I can swap DPI. And I have an accurate and responsive device that provides a much better experience than a "cheap mouse without software".

                The ONLY functionality that is not available without Synapse - cloud-storage profiles - necessarily requires an internet connection and an account, rendering the complaint about online activation moot.

                You are just plain wrong. I know it's hard to admit that sometimes, but you are.

                 

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                  Chandler from NYC, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 10:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

                  Are you, by any chance, talking about using the legacy driver? A driver that is frozen in time with no future OS support?

                  If so, then yes, that's the one I use. There's also third party software once can use to interact with the mouse. Either way, I agree with John's assertions. Having to utilize either of the methods I've mentioned negatively affects the perceived quality of a product out-of-the-box.

                   

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            Chris Forsyth, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

            Actually, it can--the *hardware* is quite good. But the *software* division could be improved by replacing them with decapitated monkeys.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: This is just incorrect

          Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse is a great alternative to the naga.

           

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      obvious, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

      Re: This is just incorrect

      THAT IS THE ENTIRE ISSUE.


      Reading comprehension ftw.

      He is mad because his expensive mouse operates as a regular pnp mouse WITHOUT the advanced features that make use of the hardware he bought.

      Are you trying to make this sound like a good thing? What's wrong with you?

       

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      Chandler from NYC, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 10:37am

      Re: This is just incorrect

      Not quite. Perhaps you haven't used their legacy driver in contrast with their Synapse 2.0. I have an, let me tell you, it's night and day with performance. You can still download the legacy driver for most of their mice. And it starts up so much faster you'll be shocked. Synapse takes a while to start and in the meantime, my Razer mouse's settings were completely screwed up (vanilla?) until it Synapse loaded, then downloaded something (I know this because my hardware Firewall is telling me it is), then the mouse would respond normally with my settings. However that during that time of loading when Windows is free to use, my mice would respond very strangely.

      Needless to say I went back to the legacy drivers for all three of the Razer mice my family uses. I've been a customer since the Razer Bloomslang and if they don't get rid of this cloud nonsense and restore offline always reliability to their drivers, I'm switching companies for me and my family. It really is that simple. I can't believe I even have to take the time and write a post about a mouse.

       

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    fb39ca4, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Razer, so you say gamers demand more and
    more on board memory in their hardware? Well, what do you need to store in a mouse? DPI settings and key bindings for all the extra buttons seems to be just about it. These should take up a couple hundred bytes if you are doing it right. Even if you wanted profiles for 100 games, that should fit on a 1 MB flash chip, and flash chips of that capacity are as cheap as well. chips.

     

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      marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      Infact lets get this straight, using napkin-figures.

      What possible settings do you have? lets say, 18 pre-sets(i know more than it has but hey work with me here), plus DPI, scroll rate - can anyone think of more.

      so 18 key pre-sets, 2 key combinations, each key is what , worstcase scenario 1kb(this is amazingly over what its required btw).

      so were looking at 18KB plus DPI/Scroll, lets be REALLY generous and say there's another 2kb there. 20KB

      20KB.

      ill let this sink in once more

      20KB.

      im sorry i have to ONCE MORE

      20KB. I honestly think i could program this for under 500 bytes - but i havnt worked with that sort of storage for a long time.

      Are they "honestly" trying to say that onboard storage is that expensive that they are required to use an always on connection to support their mouse settings?

      You could multiply my own base calculations by 100 and still burst the data upstream in bugger all time, definatly NOT requiring an always on connection.

      My next question would be... what are they transmitting to their servers???

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re:

        "... what are they transmitting to their servers?"
        Hmm. Ordinary keyloggers only capture keystrokes but not mouse clicks. It sounds like this hardware could potentially capture both. Perhaps those who have Razer equipment need to scrutinize that EULA and see exactly what is being agreed to - when interpreted in the broadest manner possible.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Note that if non-gaming activity from their mouse and keyboard did happen to be recorded remotely there wouldn't be any evidence stored on your machine..... Perfect.

           

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    Berenerd (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    Honestly?

    How much space do they freakin need for mouse settings? I have 1200 batch files and about the same amount of text files and some anti virus tools stored on a 1 GB thumb drive that I got at PAX East one year for Demoing and finding a bug in a game. If your config file is more than a gig in size, you are doing something else wrong as well.

     

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      marak (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:49am

      Re: Honestly?

      Lol if your config file is more than a MB in size you need to start looking closely at what your saving!

      (yes yes i know there are some very rare circumstances that it can be bigger, but trying to give this story some reason to have a laugh!)

       

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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Used to have one

    I bought the Razer Black Adder mouse on Amazon a couple months back. After discovering I had to make a Razer account just to use their software, and 3 reboot updates to update a mouse driver I just downloaded from their site, I promptly boxed the mouse up and returned it. Blasted it on Amazon in my review for all those reasons.

    If it is any consolation, Razer customer support commented on my review and said they were taking my criticisms into consideration. Bottom line, I probably would have bought a keyboard too as I was in the market for that as well. After my experience, I simply avoid their product. Logitech G500 is fine by me.

     

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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Used to have one

    I bought the Razer Black Adder mouse on Amazon a couple months back. After discovering I had to make a Razer account just to use their software, and 3 reboot updates to update a mouse driver I just downloaded from their site, I promptly boxed the mouse up and returned it. Blasted it on Amazon in my review for all those reasons.

    If it is any consolation, Razer customer support commented on my review and said they were taking my criticisms into consideration. Bottom line, I probably would have bought a keyboard too as I was in the market for that as well. After my experience, I simply avoid their product. Logitech G500 is fine by me.

     

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    Digitari, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    I've had a couple razor mice in the past they last about as long as the warranty. I always blow out the fire buttons on mice, now I have two logitech mice (one is a tarckball,the other is a performance MX) both are wireless and I can switch midgame

    I will Never buy razor again, the older ones were awesome, the new ones, not so much

     

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    Lord Binky, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    Could be worse, you could prefer a trackball mouse.

    SteelSeries Kai FTW! Multiple Profiles/settings saved on the hardware itself, swapping profiles and making changes to them can be done on the mouse itself without software, so my mouse works great whether I use it on my PC, aptop, Xim3, or games that have funkay controls that deserve specific settings. And it's lasted so long the only thing I've had to do is replace the feet a couple times.

     

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    Nathan F (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:10am

    I use a Razer Naga and have been quite happy with my purchase. I did not run into any issues registering an account with them to set things up and the only information I can recall I gave them was a username and password. I haven't any idea what kind of information they are storing in the cloud that couldn't get stored on a small internal flash chip, even a long macro string on each key can't be that big given that it is all parsed text.

    While I think people are making a mountain out of a mole hill in this case I do hope that Razer resolves the issue by recoding their software to not require registration on the cloud to use some of the advanced features.

     

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    Anonymous Cowherd, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Excuses, excuses

    I was particularly amused by the excuse that onboard memory "resulted in higher and higher prices." Because, at $1 per gigabyte, memory space for storing settings is clearly a great increase to a $80 device.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Dude - I know we're all nerds here, but seriously? A couple of paragraphs would have done the job.

    Is it just me, or is Techdirt getting a bit tl;dr recently?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Wouldn't it make more sense to include a little bit of memory on the mouse and/or keyboard, then store and retrieve the setting from the actual device?

    Last time I checked my USB stick never needed no special software to store stuff on it.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      You obviously never used a Sony-branded USB drive.

       

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re:

        You obviously never used a Sony-branded USB drive.
        Not unless held at gunpoint and forced to. In fact, the pointless "exactly the same as everyone else but slightly tweaked so it's proprietary" (or in marketing-speak "enhanced functionality) nature of most Sony products means I avoid them all whenever possible.

         

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      F!, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:32pm

      Re:

      First thing you *always* do with a new USB stick is reformat the sucker - and make sure to delete any possible hidden partitions. Of course you need to have autoplay/autorun disabled on your machine first. Otherwise they all install their proprietary (and utterly unnecessary) drivers and the gods only know what other crapware onto every single machine they get plugged into.

       

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    relghuar, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Google disagrees....

    Ooooh, beautiful screenshot :-D
    I can already hear yet another company crying out very loudly against Google's autocomplete feature...

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    The increasing amount of memory needed was raising the prices for the mice and keyboards? What kind of bullshit is that?! The price for memory is dropping rapidly. It shouldn't increase for them!. I mean, I can now get a decent microSD card of 32GB for roughly 20 euro, those things would have cost me closer to 50-60 euro just a year ago.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      Well, I bought a 16GB microSD card for under £10 for my e-book reader, so I honestly have no clue why they can't just add a MicroSD reader to the mouse and call it quits.

       

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    PlagueSD (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    The idea behind this unfortunate requirement is to save your gaming preferences for supported mice and keyboards to the cloud so the next time you're at a LAN party (assuming your LAN party lets you "dial out," so to speak), for example, you would just log in and retrieve your settings, rather than start from scratch on a new computer. Unfortunately, the execution is all effed up.


    Normally, you bring your OWN computer to a LAN party. (At least the ones I participated in during the 90's.) The idea behind a LAN party wasn't to just have a frag-fest with all your buddies in the same room, but to also show off your modded case and brag about your computer specs.

    I guess I purchased my last razer mouse. Logitec, here I come...

     

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    Drizzt, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    I think the EC for consumer affairs is going to love this... unless of course, Razor doesn't sell these within the EU.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Yet another example

    This is yet another example of why I only very rarely purchase things that require any kind of online activation. It's a non-starter.

     

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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Dumbest...

    Wow. That has to be the dumbest thing I've read all year. If there was an joint award for the dumbest application of DRM and dumbest use of 'the cloud', Razer completely owns that category.

     

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    Rob, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Well, this is just another reason not to purchase Razer equipment. Like someone said. Stick to Logitech.

     

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    Argonel (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    When it comes to the parts of the computer that I will have my hands on constantly. (Mouse, keyboard, joystick) I will swear by (and occasionaly at) Microsoft and Logitech. Most of their kit fits my hands nicely and is quite durable. It took me about 5 years you wear out the left mouse buttion on my Logitech trackman wheel.

     

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    artp (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    It's just a syntax error

    Replace every occurence of "cloud" with "Borg" Then it parses out just fine.

    I don't use cloud if I can help it.

    Another gripe around this:

    Home broadband routers/firewalls that require an Internet connection to configure them. This is SO brain-dead that I think someone should get an award from the Internet security version of the Darwin Awards.

    I used to configure network equipment BEFORE installing it. Through the handy little serial port connection that isn't being provided any more. Avoids all the pain and stress associated with a router that INSISTS on being at IP 192.168.0.1 regardless of what subnet it is sitting on. I remember some equipment that used to let you set its address with hardware selectors. Why, yes, thank you, I would like to reconfigure at least one node on my network to accomodate your skinflint marketing department's wishes.

    Thanks for the rant. That felt good!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    I like to game but I avoid those requiring internet connection to do anything. My gaming computer does not connect to the internet...period. It's not going to phone home, it's not going to communicate with servers, and if it requires internet connection then I'm not going to get it.

    I agree this is like ransomware. No mention of internet connection required til it's out of the box. If I had bought one, it would have been taken right back without hook up once it was discovered that online was required.

     

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    Roman, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Too complicated

    The application requires the .NET framework, which isn't particularly fun to install if you don't already have it - there's an installation, then a service pack, then updates, and updates to those updates, etc.

    I see this sort of thing sometimes, some piece of hardware that makes me have to either waste all this time or have the skills to hack into the Pentagon just to install the stupid thing. I won't be buying that sort of crap anymore.

     

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    Joe, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    Really? Interesting, yet dumb move razer....

    I've had nothing but troubles with Razer ever since the version of their keyboard(Lycosa I think?) that if you leaned on it too hard it shorted it out, rendering it un-usable until you disconnected it and plugged it back in. They ignored the issue when it was all over Google. The solution was to open the keyboard and fix the connection that was shorting it self out with some type of solder solution.

    In the past 5 years, they've gone downhill and I've since moved over to Logitech. Super happy with the g700. its more than I need out of a mouse. I was just lying to myself when i thought I needed Razer gear, although I don't game as much anymore...That's a whole nother story :P

     

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    Alex McQuown, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Sue them for violations of MM Warranty Act

    This would seem to be clearly within the anti-tying provisions of the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act and anyone that bought a mouse should sue Razer right into the ground.

    Remember though, no class-action. That pays lawyers more than hurts a company or gets customer satisfaction. Take them to small claims for maximum damages, you stand a much better chance at getting proper and just compensation, especially since most lawyers are not allowed in small claims court in most jurisdictions.

     

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      Sasha, Jun 30th, 2013 @ 5:39pm

      Re: Sue them for violations of MM Warranty Act

      Why sue them into the ground? Return the mouse if you don't like it and let Razor know you don't approve of their practices. But if you like the mouse and everything that goes with it and you are just upset you were unaware of the connection being needed

      well this sounds like something a company like Razor would like to know about and would fix down the road.

      Dont tie up the courts over your tiny little mouse

       

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    Quinn Wilde, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Why not just store the profile settings in the mouse itself? Built in non powered USB hub with storage would do it, surely?

     

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    Jim, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Resale...

    So, if Razor goes out of business and no one picks up there server obligation you could never sell this hardware, or give it to someone to use. I'm sure there will be a work around written eventually.

     

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    ECA (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:53am

    RAM cost

    WOW, and you can get a 16gig MiroSD card for how much??

    This thing is saving HOW MUCH data for Key controls??, something is wrong here.

     

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    pbfy0, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Really?

    The amount of data it stores cant be over a kilobyte.
    That much storage costs about 5¢.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Diplomatic Pressure

    I suspect the Obama Administration's direct involvement. Not content with just a lack of due process, they're now shutting down websites before there's even an alleged infringement.

    So it's four more years of undemocratic behind-the-scenes dealings. I hope you're all happy.

     

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    Chris Forsyth, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Honest view? While the hardware designers at Razer do rather good work, their software people would, if combined, perhaps have half the brainpower of a rock.
    This whole fiasco doesn't surprise me that much--being a lefty, I bought their Lefthanded Deathadder a while back. The mouse itself is great for a low-end gaming mouse..but the driver has a rather critical problem in it. For some reason, (at least for me, anyway) it craps itself if you try to take the simple measure of swapping the functions of the LMB and RMB. (I'm weird, I guess--I'm a southpaw, but have used right-handed and ambi mice so long that I'd rather use the 'standard' LMB/left-click, RMB/right-click setup than the supposedly 'lefty' reversed setup). This might not be a problem, except that half the games I own bother to check the Windows setting for reversing the buttons, and the other half apparenty go straight to the mouse driver--and it's highly annoying trying to rememeber which game does which. Support response was BS on what's pretty obviously a driver bug--at one point they were insisting I needed to send the entire mouse back...*on my own dime*.

    Frankly--I'd just about beg Logitech to make a lefty gaming mouse, so I'd be able to wash my hands of Razer entirely--I have Logitech gamepads for PC and console, and more than a few of the ambi mice I've had to use were Logitech, so I know their stuff *works*. But I want something designed for the hand I use to game with, not just some ambi..

     

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      Chris Forsyth, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      ...Annnnnd, I just checked the Razer website to see if they ever bothered to update the driver further, and it turns out that the Lefty Deathadder (along with the rest of the 3500 Deathadder line) is on the Synapse (ironic name, for a department that seems to be lacking a few) bandwagon. Looks like if I want to fix my button-swap problem, I'll have to do it the olllld-fashioned way...presuming I can remember where the blazes my soldering iron went to.

       

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        DogBreath, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh No! Modding your hardware without approval from the Razer Mouse Consortium? You'll likely get your mouse serial number banned for sure because... piracy! Yea, that's the ticket.

        If you do modify your mouse, just don't ever connect it to the internet... which might allow you get the updated drivers to not have to rewire your mouse in the first place... yea, buy two. One for online use and the other for offline use because... piracy!

        Oh well, at least your mouse won't get the red ring of death... yet.

         

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    alldone, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Logitech had this beat years ago with...

    The G9 and on family with *gasp* onboard memory that saves your settings!

    But, but, but, but....how do we make cross-licensing deals using overbloated software ala Packard-Bell era deployment strategy?

    You don't, you become as irrelevant as you should be based on poor decision making.

    While Logitech isn't a perfect company either, and I myself have encountered some rather funny excuses from them...nothing this dumb has rolled down their pike to date.

     

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    Gary, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Return the mouse

    The only way these companies will get the message is if they lose money. Please, don't buy stuff that requires "activation."

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    There goes any desire I had to buy a Razer gaming mouse.

    Hey Razer, get a clue.

    - The user may not want to install the synch software on his system. Don't force it. Install the drivers and the local software only. Or have the software be in a local-only mode, your choice.
    - If the synch software isn't there (or is disabled), save locally.
    - If the user doesn't have an account, pretend he's not connected and save locally.
    - If the user has an account but isn't online, save locally.
    - Save locally FIRST. THEN check to see if he's enabled the synch, is online, and has an account. If all are true, THEN synchronize.

    The online synch should be a feature ADDED TO your peripheral software, not the other way around. If you can't learn that, you need to not be in business.

    Please note: I was actually interested in buying a Razer mouse until I read this. (Oh, and I just received a bit of extra disposable income.) Now? Not. (I'm sure I'll find something else to spend it on. When you get down to it, I'm actually pretty happy with my $25 Logitech wireless.)

     

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    Tom, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    Memory? Expensive? Are they mental?

    Unless I'm missing something, there is no way in hell internal memory has ANYTHING significant to do with the pricing of the unit.

    What will a few profiles for a peripheral take? A couple of kilobytes, if that??

    So, what, chips which can store at least a few kilobytes are a significant part of the BOM now?

    You find more storage than that in a novelty electronic toy from McDonalds, or one of those joke birthday cards which sings/plays music when you open it.

    We'll just gloss over the fact that USB sticks, with hundreds of thousands of times more storage than this, are basically free in capacities of 2GB and under, shall we?

     

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    Ida Blake, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    $85 an hour! Seriously I don't know why more people haven't tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Heres where I went check home profit system to get started ace19.com

     

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    crinkles, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    This is sad really. Not only is their crap over priced but you have to create an account and register it in order to use this overpriced crap?

    I've used logitech ever since I was able to afford my own stuff and its never failed me. Always very ergonomic and well priced.

     

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    Just Another Limey (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    They're not alone...

    Coms managers cannot patch CISCO kit without Cloud accounts.

    Madness beyond belief.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:54pm

    gay

     

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    Alex, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    I have a Razer Mamba 2012 and the cord on it recently started dying (yeah, not the mouse or the wireless base, the USB cord). I have been trying to get a new one for a month to no avail. They don't sell the cord separately so I can't bypass their tech support. After hearing this I think I'm done with Razer. They clearly have so very bad managers running things and making decisions.

    I really don't understand this with a Mouse, I don't think their software engineers get the use for these type of systems. It isn't necessary with hardware...

     

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    hallomoto, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    switched to zowie for mouse and filco for keyboard havent looked back

     

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    Alan, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    New Razor software

    I thought I found some really cool stuff when I started using Razor keyboards & mice a couple of years ago.

    Rest assured neither I nor my coworkers will be using their stuff if they insist on mining our data to use a mouse.

    You would think their business model would work well enough selling the most expensive peripherals available without abusing their customers privacy...

     

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    Twirrim, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

    Go for the easier option?

    Maybe I'm dense but it could be so much easier. It could use a local drive for the profiles and sync it a la DropBox and similar services, making sure the most up to date version is replicated around. If the cloud service isn't available it just waits until it is, maybe polling every 5 minutes or something. It's only a keyboard/mouse profile, not something critical.

    Users then end up with a mouse/keyboard that doesn't need to wait to transition to offline, and yet end up with profiles they can carry with them between machines.

     

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    Maz, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 5:52pm

    This is fixable

    The software is all written in .Net and can be decompiled and fixed. I'm working on a DLL patch that removes the need for an online account at all.

     

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    Guy With Razer Mouse, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

    Can Be Helpful

    I know that it is a pain when the servers go down, especially for people who use the mouse with one computer exclusively but I do appreciate the software when I'm constantly changing between my laptop and desktop. I don't need to reconfigure the mouse at all it's just there...

     

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    keith, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

    if it's already so expensive...

    why wouldn't they just throw a micro SC card into the mouse and keyboard to save all your settings then anywhere your hardware goes, so to go your settings. clouds are only good when it's cloudy.

     

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    underflow, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 8:10pm

    Legacy driver

    http://www.razersupport.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=viewdownload&downloaditemid=744

    It doesn't have the connection requirement. Works on my Naga just fine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 12:49am

    ROFL WTF It's not like you can download and pirate the fucking thing. Unless you have a 3d printer? lol..

     

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    Wade Brown (profile), Nov 8th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Mamba 2012

    Just purchased a mamba mouse last week and got caught up in this idiotic "benefit" of having to register online and install Synapse 2.0 to install a mouse driver. Seriously? I can't believe this is being touted as a Service and of benefit to me. I see it as yet another way for a vendor to over use "the cloud" to get closer to their customer's machines and usage habits. It's product marketing gone bad. Way to go Razer!

     

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    George Hampton, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Flash memory

    I had an idea about a decade ago for a little bit of flash memory inside a mouse which would store the mouse's settings. That way, if you moved the mouse to a different system, it would still retain your settings. You could configure the mouse's settings though a settings screen on the computer which would write the settings out to the flash memory within the mouse itself.

    I tried to get a patent for this through the company I worked for at the time, but they said it was not worthy of a patent. However, after reading this article, that would solve the problems of having to "activate" the mouse and of storing the settings "in the cloud". But then the mouse company would not get to play Big Brother with its customers, either.

     

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    CJ, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    As someone who's just bought a Logitech G27 and found it one of the most well-designed and easy-to-setup peripherals I've ever used, this debacle makes me laugh.

    Also, Corsair peripherals FTW. I didn't even bother installing the software for my M60 for about two months, because I rarely use many key bindings and the hardware DPI adjustment/Sniper mode worked perfectly straight out of the box. When I did install, it took five minutes.

    Razer, you fail it. Go back to designing overpriced gaming laptops with pointless extra features, everybody loved those... oh wait, you need Synapse 2.0 to use all the features on the Blade UI too... :D

     

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    Bean Tin, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:56pm

    Bad choice

    Razer have kicked themselves in the ass with this idea. Serious gamers like a serious mouse but the problem happens when gamers also take security seriously. There is no excuse for a mouse having access to the internet. Sorry guys but Razer gets no more of my money.

     

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    Sheoogorath (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:41pm

    An Alternative Method

    What Razer obviously doesn't seem to realise is that it's possible to buy a mouse from Logitech, for example, configure and save the settings, then upload those settings to Google Drive or whatever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    icon
    Sheoogorath (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:41pm

    An Alternative Method

    What Razer obviously doesn't seem to realise is that it's possible to buy a mouse from Logitech, for example, configure and save the settings, then upload those settings to Google Drive or whatever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    joe, Feb 13th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    you know you can still use it without internet

     

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      Sufjan, Apr 1st, 2013 @ 10:41am

      Response to: joe on Feb 13th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

      @Joe Not with the full functioning macro editing, dpi switching, illumination functions completely disabled. So you spend 80 bucks on a mouse. 300 on their keyboard and with out synapse 2.0 you lose part of what makes that expensive hardware distinctive from generic mice and keyboards. Unacceptable.

       

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    Joe, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    deathadder

    so i bought a razer keyboard to try installed synapse then it made me update my deathadders. so now I cannot use the old drivers and the onboard memory profiles that i have had for years on my deathadder. I cant roll back the firmware etc. i called and called nothing. i used to be able to switch 5 profiles on my mouse and never .. never worry about anything else period done. they screwed me bad and i am pissed, not to mention I am fighting for every last MB of memory on the older gaming pc's where i use these without internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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