by Kyrah Forbes

From what I hear about (and from) beta testers, I’ll pass. No, thank you! My interests are confined to “omega” testing a.k.a. “final” commercial and shareware releases. A crashed system isn’t my idea of having a good time.

There are enough bad days in my life. I don’t need to deliberately create more of them. Beta: The second letter in the Greek alphabet. Think about it. It speaks volumes.

Beta Testers
Sounds important to most people, that phrase “Beta Tester.” Beta testing is for nerds. I’m jealous only of the nifty new hardware beta testers buy in order to meet or top the basic requirements for an application in beta.

Beta testers download hundreds of megabytes requiring patience and a top-of-the-line modem, or some other expensive way to access the Internet, an Internet provider, and the know-how to use an FTP client. The beta testers I know say they also receive beta via FedEx, UPS, and even snail mail. Big deal!

It doesn’t take a CPA to calculate the cost of being a beta tester. Swap my free time and labor for a final product? I don’t think so!

Intelligence Questioned
Are beta testers masochists? Do they like blue screens? Do they get a thrill from a non-bootable system? Maybe they like root canals, too.

This quote may not be correct, but it’s close enough:

“It takes a special type of person to be a beta tester.”

Sure it does! A beta tester has to possess either an extremely high intelligence quotient or no IQ at all.

Take this info I got from a friend of mine into consideration:

A new beta arrives on the eves of national holidays, religious holidays, or the day you’ve finally tweaked your computer for the highest possible flawless performance. You’ve just started the second chapter of your “Great American Novel.”

The doorbell rings. It’s here! It’s here!

Little Red Hen Syndrome
Let the nerds and the unwitting dummies beta test. Once they can guarantee me they’ve exterminated the pests a.k.a “bugs,” then tell me where I can purchase the final release. In the meantime, this chick will not not install a critter-infested anything. While the beta testers struggle to produce a piece of software I MAY like and MAY buy, I’ll spend my money on Sara Lee and Coca-Cola. I’ll also have a perfectly running computer.

Being one of the little red hens (remember that childhood story?), doing all the work a beta tester does isn’t my “thing.” I’d rather reap the rewards rather than try to plant and harvest. Besides, if life begins at forty, that puts me at least one decade behind doing a lot of living.

Reality Check
Come to think of it, all software is a type of beta. Isn’t it? Otherwise, why must we constantly upgrade and patch it?

The actual, total cost of each of my software programs is astronomical. The folly of labeling beta testers as either nerds or dummies is becoming crystal clear.

Beta testers get free software for systems they’d buy or upgrade anyhow! Boy-Howdy, am I missing the boat, or what? I’ve been PAYING for the privilege of “continued” beta testing under the guises of “final” releases. Yeah, right! Name one piece of software which has never been updated and I’ll show you a piece of software that no one buys.

Conclusion
Being neither a nerd or a dummy, I’m caught in the middle. Isn’t that being only mediocre? Hmmm…. I wonder if Microsoft, Symantec, etc., could use a beta tester with my qualifications: Neither a nerd nor dumb; novice computer user; over forty; willing to change asinine opinions midstream. Beta and Omega, YES!

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