Why can’t I convince my wife to be a BETA tester?

Now that Windows Vista RC1 is out I should expect more and more of the machines that I come in contact with to be running the new Microsoft platform. My D820 is already running the RC1 build and I plan to try the T4210 with the RC1 bits over the course of the next few weeks (maybe I’ll do it during the week).

While I am pretty easy going when it comes to running slightly flakey builds of new operating systems, my wife adopts a much more steady pace for adoption – and while I have no doubt that she will upgrade when Vista finally hits RTM, there is probably a level of nervousness there.

I’d be interested to know how other folks in the industry convince their better halves to ride the bleeding edge like we do? And be honest, how often has the fact that “the family computer” is running a ((n+1)-1) operating system saved you in the past twelve months?

Maybe Nicola is just very wise?


13 thoughts on “Why can’t I convince my wife to be a BETA tester?

  1. john magner

    I still laugh when I think about the face you pulled at the last geek dinner when I said that I had uninstalled the IE7 beta cause I didn’t like it – it was a look of utter disbelief.

    It may come as a shock Mitch, but not all IT people live on the bleeding edge…

  2. Geoff Appleby

    We’ve only got one computer in the house at the moment (changing this week – the readify laptop should arrive today, and i’m buying a second desktop). So if I want to play with the bleeding edge stuff, everyone else in the house has to put up with it!

    When I installed B2 of Vista, I wanted to give it a fair go for a while. I made sure that I made logins for my wife and my daughter, showed them both what they needed to know (in one case, how to start IE, in the other, how to start the games) and left them with it. The only complaints i heard were beta bugs.

    End result: both quite liked it, and happy to go RC1 the moment I can get my hands on it. Same for IE7 – the mrs doesn’t like IE6 anymore 🙂

  3. Martin Woodward

    My wife got very sick and tierd of me messing with the “home computer” many years ago and now has here own that I am banned from touching except when requested to fix something or other or when I change the network configuration of the house for the millionth time this month.

    She got used to the fact that the case for the machine never seemed to be attached and she had to poke her finger into an open box containing lot s of electrical equiment attached to the mains, but the thing that really swung it was during one of the many times I tried to switch to Linux as my main desktop OS and I came home to find her in tears because she really needed to get something done and the machine looked awfully different to when she last switched it on.

    That said, she often reacts a lot better to new versions of Windows and Office than I expect. When Windows XP first came out I remember saying to her that we would need to sit down and go over it together – I’d had such a hard time adjusting to the new layout of everything. Anyway she just switched it on and barely noticed it had changed – just that tended to be were she expected them to be in the first place rather than in some other stupid location.

    I expect she take to Vista in the same way, for the first few days she’ll be ahead of me in using it.

    I use my wife as my benchmark of a “normal person”. While she can’t be that normal if she married me – she’s the closest example of such a thing I have and I always try to aim software at her. Like most “normal people”, she’ll not upgrade to Vista herself, but one day she will decide to get a new PC because the old one dies or (more likely) she gets a laptop because she is sick of not being able to get me out of the office in which her computer currently lives. Anyway, when this new machine arrives it will come with a shiney new operating system with drivers that work for her machine and she’ll be fine with it.

    One of the things I have noticed now that I have been banned from her machine is that they tend to last a lot longer…

  4. Mitch Denny

    Hi Geoff and Martin,

    If I only had one machine at home I would never get on it 🙂 In the rare times when I haven’t had a working laptop over the last seven or so years its been a bit rough, especially when I was going through my Linux phase 🙂

  5. Andrew Parsons

    I’m with Martin (including the wife’s tears scenario). My wife is a great example of the kind of consumer that I believe we’ll find a hard sell for Vista.

    This is the person who:
    1. Still uses Microsoft Money 97 for our personal finances, because it works and she doesn’t want to learn a new version. (We use QuickBooks for our company finances and I only upgrade when she isn’t looking.)
    2. Only figured out how to use rules in Outlook about 12 months ago. Before this she couldn’t understand why I would even want to USE rules let alone learn how to use them herself.
    3. Asks me to burn CDs for her because she’s not sure how (even though I’ve walked her through the process multiple times).
    4. Refuses flat out in letting me install new software, including Windows or Office. I successfully installed both (XP and 2003) one weekend while she was away and it took her some time to get used to it.
    5. Wouldn’t let me install Firefox even though she liked how it did tabbed browsing (again, the change was too much).

    The closest I ever get her to beta testing is to watch me from afar and ask her opinion.

  6. Mark Cohen


    A long time ago in a distant galaxy, when Windows 2000 was in beta I decided to install it at home on the home PC. My wife used to do typing for extra money, and when the upgrade caused some sort of hard drive problems converting from fat to ntfs all her typing got lost. For the first ten minutes she thought I was joking. Anyway to cut a long story short, it cost me big time. All these years later I am still too scared to install anything at home 🙂


  7. Stephen Price

    For the most part I just upgrade stuff on my PC. My wife uses my PC during the day while i’m at work and usually I don’t hear anything about stuff… guess she just deals with it.

    Except for one time. I installed the new beta stuff for Live hotmail, which makes hotmail look very similar to outlook. Man did she squark about it. She didnt realise that i had upgraded it (for myslelf) and for her thinking it would be good (I thought it was pretty good as i use Outlook). She was cursing microsoft for upgrading her hotmail without asking her. I finally fessed up and removed it back to the old interface via the options. hehe. All is quiet now on the home front again. 🙂

  8. Chris Burrows

    Try introducing a Meida Centre into the equation. then watch your stress levels increase when after an upgrade it doesn’t play the wiggles and you have your two kids screaming at you that they want the Wiggles,

    My wife and kids have now demanded an SLA for the media centre. I’m an now only allow to play with it after 10pm at night or between the hours of 1pm & 3pm while the girls are asleep. However, if it isn’t up and running by 4pm or the next morning then I’m relegated to the dog house.

    That being said, my wife whilst she hasn’t upgrade to Vista is running Office 2007 beta 2 🙂 Now if I can just get on her machine to upgrade her, I’ll wonder if she’ll notice the dfference ….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s