Because I do a lot of work for the military, I have two computers at my desk. One is a MacBook Pro, which is my primary machine and connects to the internet. The other is a Mac Mini that is connected to our secure network, which doesn’t touch the internet. I have copies of all of my software tools installed on both machines. Having just upgraded to Adobe CS6, today I took the time to jump through the hoops required to install it on the Mini.
Adobe does provide offline activation for situations just like mine. When you launch an installed application the first time, it tries to connect to the internet. When it can’t, it provides an option for offline activation. It generates a long activation code made up of numbers and both upper and lowercase letters. You must then enter the code into Adobe’s website along with the serial number. Then, the website provides you with a response code of the same length and makeup that must be entered on the disconnected computer. The code is displayed in a sans serif typeface. The capital “I” and the lowercase “l” look exactly the same. I had one of these characters in the first code and two in the second. I literally had to try each potential combination to figure out what the correct characters were.
Codes such as this should not include capital i’s, lowercase L’s, capital O’s or zeros. That’s advice for the programmer implementing the code generator. Here’s advice for the designer specifying the stylesheet. Serif faces will do a much better job distinguishing between these characters.