Overview

Subscription services allow you to purchase access to the advanced services offered by CSIRO eToolbox. The services are accessed via downloadable Windows applications, providing a rich, sophisticated and convenient user interface.

In order to use subscription services, you first need to request an account with CSIRO eToolbox. If your request is approved, you will then be able to download the applications provided by CSIRO eToolbox.

No payment is required to open an account. Furthermore, if your account request is approved, you will usually be given a period of free trial access to your application of interest (this will vary depending on the application).

Upon the expiry of the trial period, you may be able to purchase continued access. For some applications, unlimited access is currently provided free of charge to approved clients.

CSIRO eToolbox Applications

When you start a CSIRO eToolbox application, you will be prompted to enter your login e-mail address and password for your CSIRO eToolbox account.

Every time you try to use a billable feature in a CSIRO eToolbox application, the application will communicate with the server to verify access and debit your credit points account balance if necessary.

Billing

Overview

CSIRO eToolbox offers two billing models: credit points and time-based application subscription. You can choose either billing model depending on your usage level and requirements. Some applications may be available for use only with credit points or only with time-based subscriptions.

Credit Points

Under the credit points model, you pay for the use of the different features of a CSIRO eToolbox application. Some features may be provided for free while others designated as billable. These billable features are also known as billable operations.

Each billable operation costs a certain amount of CSIRO eToolbox credit points. When you use a billable operation, the cost of the operation (in credit points) is debited from your account balance.

You must have sufficient points in your account in order to perform a billable operation. You can purchase credit points in the client-only area of the web site (click here for pricing).

NB: Your account balance is shared by all CSIRO eToolbox applications that you use; there are no per-application account balances. This is different from time-based subscriptions (below) which are issued on a per-application basis.

Billable Jobs

It may often be the case that a particular action in an application will involve multiple billable features. For example, a photo-editing application could have an Enhance Photo feature that performs both contrast-adjustment and scratch removal, both of which may be billable operations.

For this reason, billable operations are grouped into jobs. A job is a collection of one or more billable operations to be performed in a single action. The cost of the job is simply the sum of the costs of the constituent billable operations.

The charging in CSIRO eToolbox is based on jobs, with one charge being debited from your account for each job performed.

NB: The application will display the Charge Confirmation prompt showing the total cost of the job in points before charging your account. You can suppress this prompt by specifying a Confirmation Threshold. The prompt is not presented for charge amounts that do not exceed the threshold or if you have a time-based subscription for the application (below).

Job Refunds

Because the billable job is charged to your account before the billable operations are physically performed, it may sometimes happen that an operation will fail after being charged for (eg if there is not enough disk space to save the result of the operation). Where a billable operation fails, the entire job charge may be refunded in some circumstances.

Cost Calculation

Each billable operation has a per-operation cost and a per-file cost in credit points. The total cost of the operation is equal to:

   Per-operation cost  +  ( Per-file cost × Number of files )

Time-based subscription

The second billing model supported by CSIRO eToolbox is time-based subscriptions. A subscription to an application entitles you to unlimited use of that application during the currency of your subscription.

When you are using an application that you have a current subscription for, you are not presented with the Charge Confirmation prompt and your account is not debited for the use of billable operations.

NB: While your credit point account balance is not tied to any application, a subscription is issued for a specific application. For example, you may be using three CSIRO eToolbox applications – X, Y and Z. If you have a current subscription for X, you are entitled to unlimited use of X and you are not charged any credit points for such use. However, you will be charged for the use of billable operations in applications Y and Z.

Multiple computers and concurrent use

To prevent possible abuse, CSIRO eToolbox has two types of locking that limit the use of an account to a particular computer or vice versa.

Subscription locking

When you log into to a CSIRO eToolbox application for which you have a subscription, your account becomes temporarily locked to the computer you have logged in from.

The subscription lock limits the use of your account to a particular computer and prevents the account from being used from any other computer.

NB: The locking restrictions apply only to accessing the account via a CSIRO eToolbox application. Logging in via the web site (eg, to make payments, edit account details, etc) is not restricted.

The subscription lock period is 10 minutes and the lock is renewed every time the CSIRO eToolbox application communicates with the server (eg every time a billable operation is performed).

NB: The subscription lock applies to the entire account and restricts the use of all CSIRO eToolbox applications to the computer that the account is locked to.

Trial Account Locking

When you use a CSIRO eToolbox application to login to a trial account for the first time on a particular computer, the computer you have logged in from becomes locked to that trial account.

  • The trial account can be used from any computer
  • The locked computer can be used to access any non-trial account
  • The locked computer cannot be used to access any other trial account apart from the one trial account it is locked to

Concurrent Use

If you do not have a subscription and you are using points, you can log in and use the application from multiple computers simultaneously.

How it works

  • At start-up, the CSIRO eToolbox application prompts the user for their CSIRO eToolbox login credentials (e-mail address and password).
  • Once the credentials have been entered, the application communicates with the CSIRO eToolbox server to authenticate the credentials. If successful, the application presents its normal user interface.
  • When a client attempts to perform an action that involves a billable operation, she is presented with a Charge Confirmation prompt. If the client has a subscription, the prompt is not presented.
    NB: The prompt can also be suppressed through the Confirmation Threshold.
  • If the client chooses to proceed with the operation (or if the prompt was suppressed), the application communicates with the server to authorise the job and charge the client’s account. No charge is debited if the client has a subscription but the communication with the server still takes place.
  • If the job authorisation is successful, the application performs the requested actions.
  • If one of the operations fails then, in some circumstances, the application may communicate with the CSIRO eToolbox server to refund the charge.