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February Giveaway

Software Compatibility

It’s always a sad and scary thing when a software company goes out of business, as unfortunately happened recently with Bias, Inc. The first response of many users of that company’s software is often panic: “What will I do now? I need that software to do my work!”

First, it helps to keep perspective. In almost every case, your software will continue to work, it won’t just evaporate with the demise of the company. You can continue to use it. (The one exception to this would be software that is authorized using an online check system every time the software is launched — where the software “phones home” when it is launched to check for an authorization — but this is a rarity. If your software uses a hardware dongle, a challenge/response, or an authorization file for copy protection, it should continue to function.)

However, it is likely that at some point an OS update or hardware change in your system will cause problems with software that isn’t being updated to stay current. How long before this happens depends on many factors. It could be a short period of time or it could be years. Therefore, it is wise to begin looking for an “exit strategy.” Start looking at other software packages that can replace your orphaned software. It’s often difficult to find a piece of software that can exactly step in and cover every single feature that was in your old software, but you should have options that will allow you to continue your same workflow.

Next — and this is vitally important to do BEFORE your software stops working — use your old software to hard process whatever audio files you need so that they can be opened by other applications as necessary. For example, if a plug-in you rely on has been orphaned, make sure you have versions of all your audio that was processed with that plug-in stored in a format that you can open in the future with other programs. Do not leave old versions of audio files stored in proprietary formats in your archives, it’s possible you won’t be able to open them in the future.

This is all good practice when archiving files regardless of the status of your software or hardware. Save everything in a generic format, such as WAV, that will be likely to survive into the future. We like to save “raw” and processed/edited versions of files so that we can always go back and access those files as necessary in the future for remixes or as new distribution formats emerge.

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