Beta Testers

Colleagues of mine have been bending over backwards to get their hands on pre-release copies of Windows 7, which is due to be released on October 22. Is this just another last-minute attempt by the software giant to get some more beta testing in?

Here are some alternative names for beta testers:

  • Guinea Pigs
  • Unpaid QA Staff
  • Stress Junkies
  • Suckers

Of course, I have to confess being a beta tester for MS myself once, evaluating Excel during the early 90s, having spent time using the original version on the Mac. But back then we were a small team of volunteers who had to fill in forms and send back reports every week. We had test sequences and task-oriented surveys. We could make suggestions, and we got replies! For some of the more intensive tests we could even be paid! By contrast, these days it seems that anyone can be a beta tester, and the companies who offer their beta products seem happy to let the users spend plenty of time risking damage to their data, systems and security. (Have you ever read the get-out-of-jail-free legal mumbo-jumbo that comes with beta software??)

Well, to all you modern-day beta testers, guinea pigs or whatever, thanks. My next upgrade will be a little less painful because of your willingness to risk everything.

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