Beta lifestyle

Fri, July 7, 2006, 11:48 AM under Random
How much pre-release software are you using? Loads right? Whether you love it or hate it, that is the result of increased transparency. Companies are not afraid to share very early what they are working on and have put systems in place to gather feedback from customers (while having an open dialog with users about features and quality). I have no problem with that and I think the breed of user that shies away from software that has the "Beta" label on it will become extinct very soon.

Looking back in the past, it used to be that I would have a separate (older) machine for testing anything Beta, then I moved to Virtual PCs, then I started installing stuff on my main laptop only if I knew it would uninstall cleanly. Now (and maybe this is part of my job, I don't know) I just stick anything that is coming down the pipeline on my laptop and couldn't care less about its stability or removability - I just want to play with it. I want it to always be there without having to switch to another (virtual or not) slower box. My current attitude culminates with the expectation that I will repave the box every couple of months (that is only 6 times a year!).

Since it was released, I've been running Office 12 Beta 2 and using Outlook/Word/PowerPoint 2007 every single day with no serious problems (outlook crashed once and was polite enough to offer me the option of starting in safe mode). IE has become my main browser again with IE 7 (now at Beta 3) after Firefox stole me away from it last year. I still haven't gotten round to putting Windows Vista on this laptop mostly because I inherited another laptop with Vista on it already (Feb CTP that I updated to Beta 2). That's next on my list and I might go for 5456 or Beta 2 or hung on a bit for the next one (so compared to some of you, I know am still behind in this game :-).

Do you find it is a bit like an addiction? I mean, when something finally gets released, I just want the next version already; case in point Live Messenger and ActiveSync 4.2

Note how I haven't even mentioned dev stuff such as NetFx3 or NETCF SP1 (out of Beta now) or any Orcas bits... as a developer, I take it as read that those things will land on my machine

Also note how I don't mention any of the Beta web stuff (i.e. thin client, no local bits) since, technically, that is cheating IMO :-)
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