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Nisus Terminology

Jim Bates from Nisus Technical Support wrote to tell us that they prefer to use the term "hardware enabling" when talking about the ADB-based hardware copy protection device, colloquially called a "dongle." Jim also mentioned that he had read somewhere that "dongle" stems from the name of the man who invented it, Don Gill. No idea as to the truth of that bit.

The Nisus dongle is actually called the PETlock, in part because it’s a cool name and in part because it is based on "Paragon Enabling Technology." One reason Nisus prefers the more politically correct term "hardware enabler" is that Nisus doesn’t cease to work without the dongle. Instead, Nisus acts like the demo version, with saving disabled and "Nisus Demo" plastered over all printed pages. I appreciate that because I think most people could do basic word processing for a short time in that mode in case of a dongle failure, pasting new text into a TeachText document for saving, for instance. Nonetheless, I hope that Nisus would ship a new dongle as fast as FedEx would allow to anyone whose dongle failed. I’d go nuts if I lost the use of Nisus for a few days, and I even have other word processors to use.

Despite the "enabling" that goes on, I think Nisus should use the more-obnoxious term "copy protection" instead, if only to bring attention to the fact that the point of this device is to reduce piracy. Nisus has stated publicly that they don’t like using the dongle any more than anyone else, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to raise awareness of the piracy problem in various parts of the world. Only when people know about the problems piracy causes will they stand up for elimination of both piracy and obnoxious copy protection.

Failing that, how about if Nisus got together with Global Village and put the guts of a TelePort ADB modem into the dongle? At least then you’d have something useful hanging off your ADB port.

As an aside, I now have Nisus 3.4L, and although I like it a lot, I immediately hit a bug that Nisus knows about and is fixing. If you spell check a word longer than 32 characters (such as a Unix directory path), the checker helpfully reports a "Spelling checker error." Until Nisus has a fix ready, if you receive the error message, simply move the cursor below the too-long word (command-click in the main document to do this without sending the Check Spelling window to the back – a slick touch), and start the check again. It will fail again at the long word, but you’ll know that everything in between was checked. Using the Ignore Spelling style doesn’t work, sorry. Nisus said they’d send me an updated version as soon as they had it fixed, but you do have to call if you want the fix since it’s not something that most people will ever notice.

Nisus Writer Upgrade — Mel Martinez writes:

You should also point out that despite the nominal charges for upgrading to Nisus 3.4L ($20) or 3.4C ($120), those Nisus users who ordered the Nisus XS upgrade before 09-Jun-92 are entitled to receive that upgrade free when it ships, hopefully in a few months. Also, Nisus XS has been renamed Nisus Writer. This, I guess, brings the name in sync with the popular Japanese version of Nisus which is called SoloWriter.

I am glad to see Nisus continue to remember their early supporters by offering the next major upgrade to them free. However, I would be even happier to see it ship.

[I think the name change may also have been a marketing move to improve Nisus’s name recognition. If you don’t know that Nisus is a word processor, the name "Nisus" won’t clue you in. "Nisus Writer" implies that the program is a word processor. I approve of this move a great deal – in part because Tonya and I came up with the same name independently when talking about reasons why Nisus had name recognition troubles. Naming is important, and it certainly hasn’t helped the almost-unknown word processor Taste, which could be a recipe database for all you can tell from the name. -Adam]

Information from:
Jim Bates, Nisus Tech Support — [email protected]
Mel Martinez — [email protected]

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