08 August 2006

There's a Reason They Call It Beta

(Warning: This post is full of IT, geeky stuff. Consider yourself warned.)

The IT world was recently set abuzz with the public availability of Office 2007 Beta 2. It seemed that almost anyone who uses Windows downloaded and installed it, much to my horror. I of course steered clear, not because I'm not curious how a no-menu program will look like, but because I can't risk Beta software crashing my laptop before Viva.

But many of my friends bravely set forth into unchartered waters, and after seeing it, I'm in no rush to change. Yes, it's quite stable but it's such a performance sucker. A quick check with the Task Manager reveals that Word 2007 takes up 68MB of RAM while good ole' Word 2003 stayed cool with just 16.

But that's not the main reason why I'm not using 2007 yet. I realized the #1 reason a couple of weeks ago - compatibility. Or rather, the lack of it. Word 2007 documents cannot be opened at all in older versions, probably due to its use of XML. This means it is not ready for real-life, day to day work.

Unfortunately the general public are oblivious to its dangers. Jay passed me several documents for our group project about a month back, but I didn't check it (in good faith). Then, as I was about to compile the report to be submitted the next day, I was shocked to see that his documents have the .docx extension. Uh-oh.

Another friend, Alvin, installed Office 2007 Beta 2 without Office 2003 as backup. The other day, he brought his laptop to class as he rushed his thesis report. As I observed him work in Office 2007, I noticed he struggled with finding certain functions in "the Ribbon". I thought to myself, "Wow, poor Alvin! He should have installed Office 2003 as well. He definitely doesn't have the time to be learning new software now."

Of course, this post is not meant to flame Jay and Alvin (both close friends of mine), but generally directed at any computer users who rely on Beta software for their important work. Probably the only exception to this rule is Google, since their products are always in perpetual Beta testing. But then again, Google software gains critical mass in very short time so that could be a reason why they are frequently used as the primary source.


Moses da gr8 said...

Hey Zemien,

You know why I keep coming to your blog? its because you always have an updates, even when it is about some computer geeky stuff. Its good to see there's something going on in your head every now and than to keep you accupied from chasing girls (or boys) ;p keep updating man.. happy blogging!

ZemieN said...

Wow Moses I'm flattered! So I guess it's true that quantity is more important than quality... haha!

My readers are who I write for, and I thank you! :)