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Beta Programs


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#1 MGBY

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 01:32 PM

How safe are Beta programs? Do you advice against/for using Beta programs? Why or why not? What are the pros and cons of using Beta programs?? Thank you. YOYO. :thumbsup:

Edited by MGBY, 20 October 2006 - 01:33 PM.


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#2 jgweed

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 04:53 PM

It depends on who creates the Beta applications. Generally, Google's "Beta" releases are bug-free, but sometimes with very basic functinality in the initial phases; they will keep adding features to the basic design, and many applications remain in Beta for quite some time.
For more than you really want to know about Beta's you might want to read my blog here about Beta Releases and Project Management:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/blogs/jgwe...p?showentry=449

I think you should always keep in mind two important things about Beta applications:
1. These are generally published so that many people can test them. The more fingers using it, the greater the chances that problems (minor or major) will be found. Some of these Betas work quite well, but on the other hand, some still have poor interfaces, incomplete parts, and downright bugs. Unless you are prepared for spending some time troubleshooting problems, and are somewhat knowledgeable about computers and software, you are safest to wait until the application is released in a stable version.
To get an idea about the status of each staged Beta Release, always carefully read the "release notes." Most of the time, you can also find tester's (or public) discussions of the beta release; these can quickly tell you if the application is useable and somewhat reliable, or still needs a lot of work.
2. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use ANY Beta Release (even if Beta 75) for any "mission critical" uses. Betas are simply no substitute for applications that you can absolutely (well 99.9 percent absolutely) rely upon. Don't, for example, do your income tax on a Beta spreadsheet!

I hope this helps you to understand Beta releases.
Cheers,
John
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#3 usasma

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 05:29 PM

Betas are great!!! BUT...They're also experimental. So don't use them if you're concerned about your data!

There's ways to minimize the risk:
1) Point all of your data storage to another separate physical drive
2) Image your hard drive prior to installing the beta. This way, should the beta crash - you can be back up and running in about 20 minutes (and, if you followed step 1, the image will contain the pointers to the data on the other drive).

The benefits are that you're at the cutting edge of technology and can do some amazing things with it (FWIW - the folks who develop the software for my wife's office haven't even heard about Vista). You also (generally) get free access to support and may even get a free copy of the final release (Acronis does this).

The drawback is that it's untested software - and you're the one that they're experimenting on! So if your system crashes - so sad for you!

Finally, there's no real "standard" for what's beta and what's not. I run some pretty buggy betas - and trash them right away (the AVG Internet Security app was one of these). But others show promise, so I continue to use them (mainly Acronis and Vista).

I'd suggest that you look at what interests you - then post here for feedback on it. Properly doing beta testing also involves submitting reports - and it's those reports that get you asked back for further beta testing.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#4 MGBY

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 01:26 AM

John and USASMA Sir : What both of you has intimated are most appreciated. It has broadened my horizon and understanding about Beta programs. I am not the experimental type when comes to the health of my computer. Generally, I prefer to be safe and stay with programs in its gold official release. On utilizing Google Earth and Sketch, I had made the exception as I understand Google Beta softwares' inherent integrity is widely acclaimed. It is good to hear from you that Google Beta releases are bug free. This adds to my trust in google and affirms my confidence in Google softwares. These two Betas , I have been using it for awhile and hasn't experienced any issues or precipitated any obstacle. These two appears to be very credible indeed. What do you think? And, what do you think of using Yahoo Beta Mail/ offered by my ISP??? Are there Betas that you would advice to absolutely stay away from???? I will read up more on the facilitated link(thanks ), I am sure it will add to my understanding and enable me to make a correct decision based on facts as to whether to use a given Beta software or not. THANK YOU GUYS!! you have been great. Regards. YOYO. :thumbsup:

Edited by MGBY, 07 November 2006 - 01:30 AM.


#5 jgweed

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 11:14 AM

While no Beta programme is absolutely bug free, Google's are very well tested both internally and by end-users before they are even released, almost to the point that calling them Betas in the accepted sense is not applicable. It seems, for Google, that Betas are so named because they may or may not receive further development, or that they are basic applications that once can expect to be refined from time to time (Gmail, Google Spreadsheet).
Yahoo mail Beta, at least the one offered to the general public, seems to function very well, and I think you could use it without worry. It looks to be "only" GUI enhancements to the original programme. It might, however, be different in nature if a part of your ISP's service.

This leads me to make a distinction, and I think a rather important one, between WEB BASED Beta applications, and those that are installed on your computer. In the former, the concern is about functionality. Will the E-mail service not eat up my E-mails, will it work correctly with my browser and POP E-mail application? Nothing touches your operating system, and you can easily back out of the offending page, as it were, without causing any instability in your system.

In the later,in addition to the question of reliability and functionality, the question of interfacing with the operating system and other installed applications becomes just as important to answer. Here the problem of a malfunction in the BETA becomes bothersome, because it can effect Windows,causing it to crash, or make other applications upon which you rely perform abnormally if at all.

Regards,
John
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#6 usasma

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 04:19 PM

The problem with using good beta's is it doesn't prepare you for the bugs that inevitably come.

Alpha's, Beta's, and Release Candidates are artificial terms used to describe the state of the software.

Alpha software is very unstable and can be expected to cause problems.
Beta software has most of the major bugs worked out of it and can generally be used safely.
Release Candidate software is where the software company is just about ready to release it, but just want's to be sure that it'll still work without problems.

But, who's to say what a major versus a minor bug is? Who's to say when it's ready for release?

In general, you'll get more consistent standards from the beta's released by the bigger, more established companies. But even the public release of the beta for Windows Vista was plagued with issues - so it's basically a "crap shoot".

Preparation is the key. Prepare yourself for the worst by backing up your system with an image (using a program like Acronis True Image). That way, if the beta crashes your system you'll have a copy of it just before the beta and can have it back up and running within 20 minutes.

Oh, and if you're a beta tester - the best thing to do is to submit any and all bugs that you find. This will get you invited for other beta tests and may even get you some free software when the beta goes final (Acronis does this with their beta testers).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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