Beware of Betas

Fri, 23 Apr 1999 07:54:26 -0400

>Internet Tip of the Day:
> The word "beta" is fairly common in the computer world.
>Not long ago, before the official release, some people had a
>beta version of Windows 98.
> If you go to Microsoft's website right now, you can
>download a beta version of Internet Explorer 5.0.
> So what is a beta or beta version? It's nothing more than
>a pre-release version of a product. As we mentioned above,
>Microsoft is currently allowing people to use a beta version of
>Internet Explorer 5.0. Because it's a beta version, it may have
>some incorrect programming in it (what us computer types
>would call "a bug"). The program may not operate correctly and
>it may not be complete.
> Why would anyone want to run an early version of a program
>that may not operate properly? Because people are curious and
>always want the latest, greatest product.
> Why would companies release a product before they are sure
>that it operates properly? Because they want people to find the
>errors (bugs) and other problems for them. This allows the
>company to correct as many problems as possible with the
>product before they officially release it to the public.
> In a way, it's kind of a trade-out for the company. They
>allow people to see the newest version of their software in
>exchange for feedback and help finding hidden problems.
> We named this tip "Beware of Betas". We did this because
>people sometimes forget that a beta version is an incomplete
>version. Beta versions of software have been known to have
>many errors in them, and in some cases have caused data on
>hard drives to be permanently destroyed.
> We don't want to scare you away from beta software, but
>you should know that there is a chance that it could cause
>problems. It's like the old money investment line that says
>"Never invest more than you can afford to lose". If we were to
>rewrite that line for our situation it might be "Only run beta
>software if you're willing to lose everything on your computer."
> This doesn't mean you shouldn't run beta software and it doesn't
>mean that you will lose everything on your computer. We've
>purposely given you the worst case scenerio so you will be
>aware of the potential problems.
>Web Site of the Day:
>There are many companies looking for beta testers. If you
>would like to give it a shot, Try using the following words in
>your favorite search engine:
>beta tester
>Today's Sponsor:
>Mountain Stitchery makes the most beautiful handmade quilts
>you're ever likely to see. Visit their online store at:
>(c) 1998 Terragon Media.
>To join, quit, or submit a tip suggestion to the Internet
>Tips mailing list, please visit our website at:


InterNet Access Network
18 McDaniel Street
Dayton, OH 45405-4816
Voice: Fax: