Beta Software and Nerds.

Second post, maybe I will keep up with this.

Beta software, something I use an above average amount of. In fact most applications I directly use on a regular basis are in alpha, beta, or release candidate state.

Why you may ask? I like to be on the cutting edge, talk to my friends about how cool this new feature or having that bug fix really makes things better, and the speed, you wouldn’t believe the speed of the new version!

What I don’t tell you is the 10 bugs in the new feature, the 3 resulting bugs from the bug fix, and how despite the runtime speed, it crashes so much it is the same, if not slower.

Nerds tolerate a lot more problems with their software and hardware than the average person, if we find a bug we post something into the bug tracker, and/or we just deal with it, a small portion will look to see if they can fix the bug and maybe submit a patch, but an even smaller portion will actually be able to, and even then, the bug doesn’t typically get fixed until the developer fixes it.

Whereas your standard computer user will do one of three things should they encounter a problem with a piece of software. First is just give up and abandon the project, second would be to try to work around the problem and probably call their IT friend to see if they can help, or finally they just go find a different piece of software to use. This isn’t the wrong way to go about things, but it certainly isn’t the nerd way.

Funny thing is, like the indie movement where a band is only cool until you tell someone about it, using beta software is cool because we are an exclusive group that gets to see all the cool new features before you mundane stable version users do, but that doesn’t stop us from insisting you should use the beta version, which is just sabotaging ourselves, since more will be using it and we will have to provide tech support on it.

It reminds me of the The REAL reason we use Linux especially number 2.

It has taken me years to understand that most people don’t share my love of technology. They may embrace the fact that they have to use it but they aren’t interested in using things that may break, or digging deep into why it works. Even in workplaces with lots of computer nerds (like when I was programming or doing QA) I was still a minority, most of them used their computers as a tool to get a job done, not caring about the intricacies. It sucks at times, because when I discover something I think is really neat, I have almost no one to share with.

Not sure if any of you guys have hobbies that you feel you can’t share with your friends, but that is unfortunately the place a lot of us nerds get pushed into. We dive deeper into different technologies, have a great time doing it, then when one of our friends ask what we did last night, we simplify it down to Played on my computer, or maybe for those friends who are a little more tech savvy, I was programming (and maybe even share the project name). They may be kind and ask how that project is going, and you will again simplify greatly and say Well or There are a few problems.

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