I, Robot Beta-tester

Do you have this itch in you to use the latest and greatest software (that’s a good thing) all the time? Do you have to download a 33 mb large setup file just because the version number changed from 4.56.34 to 4.56.35? Well I do.

I am proud to say that apart from Windows XP and Office 2007, all the software on my computer is Beta. Yes, all of it. Here are some of the software I actively beta-test.
WinAmp: One of the first pieces of software I beta tested, WinAmp will always be close to my heart. When it was first released, the media player was reputed for being able to play any file you threw at it. Over time it has become bloatware, complete with useless and resource hungry components. The lite install is still a very good try.

Opera browser: In my opinion, Opera is the greatest browser out there. Even the figures on the Wikipedia browser comparison page say so and I look forward to downloading the latest alpha builds as soon as they release.

TweetDeck: The only application in the Twitter-world that I truly find useful, Ian Dodsworth’s TweetDeck is the best there is. I have been on the mailing-list right from the early alphas, and I truly believe that this application has been revolutionary as against being evolutionary when compared to other Twitter apps.

Firefox: I will be honest, I am not really a Firefox fan. I think its bloatware. Having said that, I like to test out every alpha release to see if there are enough hooks for me to make it my primary browser. It can’t be that bad if so many people are using it! So far, I have been disappointed.

Internet Explorer 8: Inspite of all the hate, I believe Microsoft have made some big strides with Internet Explorer 8. The browser is slick, has some revolutionary features and renders pages faster than earlier versions. The clincher for me however is that the browser breaks tradition to render pages in strict HTML. When this browser is released to the masses, it will go a long way in ensuring that we don’t see any of the crap of websites being incompatible with browsers.

µTorrent: This is another piece of software that I am enthusiastic about. I believe that bittorrent technology will come into its own in 2009. Especially as broadband penetration increases. Get ready to see more desi content on Mininova (its already happening, actually). This will surely heckle the Bollywood industry and it will be interesting to see its fallout.

RescueTime: is a web-based time management and analytics tool for knowledge workers who want to be more productive. It sits on your system tray and tracks what you are doing on the computer. This data is then uploaded to the cloud from where you can analyse how much time you spend on which app or site. RescueTime is most definitely my ultimate GTD tool.

Wow.. now that I have written this post, I realise that most of the software I beta-test is internet related! Not bad 🙂 What is your flavour?

Update: Since I have written this post, I have actively started testing Windows 7, Windows Live Writer and Fennec (in a virtualised environment)

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