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Windows 7: What does it mean to be a Microsoft beta tester any more?

04 Feb 2011   #1
JMH

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit. SP1.
 
 
What does it mean to be a Microsoft beta tester any more?

Quote:

There’s a lot of unrest in the Windows Home Server ‘Vail’ community right now, with a number of enthusiasts and testers wondering aloud whether their feedback means anything any more.
The Vail testers — who are angry about Microsoft’s decision to pull what many of them consider a compelling feature very late in the test cycle — aren’t alone in their questioning. I’ve heard/read the same lately from Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), Windows testers, Windows Live testers, Office testers and others. Corporate decisions to de-emphasize or cut programs like the the Windows Clubhouse or Windows Test Pilots — all the while talking up how much “telemetry” data Microsoft takes into account when building its products — has even some long-term Microsoft loyalists wondering why bother.
What does it mean to be a Microsoft beta tester any more? | ZDNet


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04 Feb 2011   #2
Jacee
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1
 
 

There's always those who say, "why bother". I saw a lot of that while beta testing Windows 7.
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04 Feb 2011   #3
Zardoc

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1
 
 

That's why a lot of SP1 testers deserted the ship early.

Testers are getting more and more frustrated because known repro'ed bugs get closed without any comments which leads the tester to wonder what's the use if I don't know if my bug is valid or if it's fixed or why it isn't fixed.

All MS wants, is for the tester to report the bug and they decide what, where, when, and if they will do anything about it.

I remember the rage about Winmail, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker being dumped. There was never any feedback given.

RCs would pop up on Torrent sites that would never show up in beta. That also got a few users peeved.
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05 Feb 2011   #4
Lee

Win 7 Pro x64, VM Win XP, Win7 Pro Sandbox, Kubuntu 11
 
 

Not to put down the testers (I am one of them), but when it comes to the final product it is Microsoft who must answer to the other 2.8 billion users as why they decided to what they did. We the testers still help to ensure a good product gets out the door regardless of how we feel at times.

During the testing phase of MS Office 2011 I recommended that for the purpose of editing large documents (books, periodicals, etc.) that certain editing methods that could be added in would make for an easier job for editors. None of the recommendations were used. Did that bother me, no. It again is MS's responsibility in the final analysis as to what they want in the final product.
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05 Feb 2011   #5
Zen00

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As far as I can tell, "beta testing" these days is just a way to get early access to new stuff. There's nothing important that's really going on that you even half care about anymore. I also remember when beta testing was free, now all sorts of companies are getting in on the "beta test if you pre-order" or "beta test for $5" or whatever gag. It's stupider than sin.
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05 Feb 2011   #6
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

From what I have seen, Not Much......I just get the feeling that Microsoft can't be bothered to care what we think about the products anymore.
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05 Feb 2011   #7
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post
I just get the feeling that Microsoft can't be bothered to care what we think about the products anymore.
With the Vail beta, I would tend to agree with you 100%. Going back a way to Windows 7's testing, Microsoft listened to communities quite a bit.
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05 Feb 2011   #8
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post
I just get the feeling that Microsoft can't be bothered to care what we think about the products anymore.
With the Vail beta, I would tend to agree with you 100%. Going back a way to Windows 7's testing, Microsoft listened to communities quite a bit.
I Agree with you.

The real problem as I see it is the lack of vision at the highest levels. I get the impression that they are throwing everything at the wall (customers) and seeing what sticks. This tactic is doomed to failure as fewer and fewer products continue to succeed, a self fulfilling prophecy.

The last few years Microsoft has had a tendency to release products, wait to see if enough people buy into it, and if the sales are not good enough then the customers are left hanging......just in the last 4 years we have: Vista, Microsoft Money, Microsoft Music service, Zune player, Kin, Windows mobile 6.5 (still being sold on new phones with no upgrade path), and now WHS. I'm sure that people could add other products to this list but the real point is that the list of failures is growing faster and faster while the stable of successes is shrinking (Windows 7 is a glaring exception to this trend and very successful).

I don't think we saw that much touted Windows 8 tablet that was guaranteed to make an appearance at CES. It's just getting harder and harder to defend this kind of behavior, as much as I like Microsoft products I'm tired of working to get things stable just to have the carpet pulled out from under me. I just can't bring myself to recommend the products anymore.

I have been pushing WHS to friends, family and other home users that I help with support and now.......oh well. There is zero chance that I am going to upgrade to WHS v2 as it lives in its present form and I am very skeptical that there will ever be a WHS v3.
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05 Feb 2011   #9
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

WHS 1.0 isn't going anywhere, and it Vail ends up flopping, third-party plug-ins will still be created and supported. I'll still be setting up a few WHS boxes for family and friends, but they will all be 1.0 for now.

I agree with your list, except for Vista. Vista's biggest failure early on was not with Microsoft, but with OEM brands failing to be prepared for the release. They had ample time as well. Once the drivers matured, and some minor OS issues were patched, Vista was actually a good product. Microsoft listened to the feedback, looked at what the issues were, and really pushed OEMs to be ready for Windows 7. What we saw was a polished, stable OS upon its release with great industry support as well.

What I haven't seen with Vail is a good, honest answer as to why DE was pulled. I've seen some blog posts that stated it was too troublesome in WHS 1.0, but I didn't believe that. It has worked great for me, and has a huge following in the community. 1.0 was a huge hit. If you are going to pull what might very well be the top feature....you better be prepared to explain it...and I haven't seen those explanations so far.
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05 Feb 2011   #10
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I totally agree with you and I am also staying on WHS v1. I am even thinking about buying a couple more OEM copies just to have around. My V1 is currently chugging along and getting the job done day in and day out. WHS was really one of Microsofts better idea's.
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 What does it mean to be a Microsoft beta tester any more?




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