[TenTec] FW: 565 Orion v2.0 firmware released to beta testers

Dick Green WC1M wc1m at msn.com
Thu Aug 25 13:57:19 EDT 2005

I think Bob put it better than I could. I don't need a written agreement,
either. Ask to join the beta test group if you feel you can contribute. 

Perhaps chaos was too strong a word. Different users have different
priorities on what should be fixed, enhanced, etc. Judging from past traffic
on this reflector, I can imagine a lot of crabbing about someone's personal
bugaboo not getting fixed or implemented. The contentious tone of your posts
on this subject is exactly what I would expect, multiplied by dozens, if
Orion betas or their contents were to be made generally available.

As I mentioned before, the engineers may try something new on an
experimental basis, but decide to remove it for the final release. Trouble
is, people will develop expectations about what will or will not be in the
release, and tend not to respond well when their expectations aren't met. In
other words, it's not a good idea to jerk large numbers of people around
during a rapidly changing process like beta testing.

I'm not familiar with AOL's beta testing procedures, but different companies
have different meanings for the phrase "beta test", ranging from "hot off
the press" to "almost fully tested". The "public" beta tests I've seen from
other companies tend to be software that has been vigorously alpha tested by
large teams of QA testers, and then perhaps pre-beta tested by key
customers. What gets to the public is usually very well debugged and the
manufacturer is trying to flush out the obscure stuff.

Obviously, TT doesn't have the resources to fund a big QA team (wanna pay a
lot more for your radio?) Further, it would be difficult and expensive for
an internal QA team to test every variation of Orion hardware (there have
been engineering changes over time.) Also, I would contend that beta testing
an Orion requires considerably more technical expertise than testing a
release of AOL's software. How many Orion owners out there have spectrum
analyzers, oscilloscopes, frequency counters, etc., and know how to use
them? How would the average Orion owner react to significant problems with a
beta test version? IMHO, not well.

I just don't think it's a good idea to make Orion betas generally available
or pre-disclose what will be in the final release. This requires owners to
be more patient and trusting, but is to their advantage in the long run.
Note that TT has consistently improved the Orion firmware ever since the
initial release. How many times have you gotten an update for your Yaesu,
Icom or Kenwood radio?

It's not my place to defend the practice, but I agree with it. 'Nuff said.

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Randy K7RAN [mailto:k7randy at gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2005 11:00 AM
> To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
> Cc: wc1m at msn.com
> Subject: Re: [TenTec] 565 Orion v2.0 firmware released to beta testers
> Well, if there's no NDA, then there's no secret. I don't subscribe to 
> Dick's notion that vigorous reflector discussions necessarily provide 
> "distractions" for engineers.
> In fact, most engineers are familiar with far more malevolent 
> distractions (like those in the executive suites with power who issue 
> impossible fatwas) than anything generated by a public affinity group. 
> In answer to Dick's "you can imagine the chaos" comment, the fact is 
> that I cannot imagine the chaos he suggests; these kinds of statements 
> reflect more of patriarchal propaganda than any empirical fact, which 
> I will offer
> here: America Online (and many other companies, for that
> matter) routinely conducts public beta tests where literally millions 
> of people can opt in and participate in vigorous discussions, and the 
> "imagined chaos" does not automatically follow. I am certainly open to 
> a better defense of this exclusive process than what Dick Green 
> attempted to provide.
> Randy, K7RAN
> On Aug 24, 2005, at 10:34 AM, Dick Green WC1M wrote:
> > There's no written NDA, but the beta testers have agreed to keep 
> > information about beta releases and related discussions
> private. This
> > is necessary in order to provide an environment in which
> the testers
> > and engineers can do their job efficiently with minimal
> distractions. 
> > It also allows for a certain level of experimentation with new 
> > features that may never see the light of day. You can imagine the 
> > chaos that would reign if every pre-release bug/feature
> became grist
> > for the public mill.
> > Discussions among
> > the beta test group are vigorous enough as it is.
> >
> > The Orion beta test group is pretty large and includes very
> qualified
> > participants with a wide range of operating interests and technical 
> > skills.
> > IMHO, they've done an excellent job advocating for the interests of 
> > the Orion user community, and TT has done an excellent job
> responding
> > to problem reports and suggestions. In fact, every issue
> discussed on
> > the public reflectors has been the subject of in-depth discussions 
> > between the beta testers and engineers before public
> release of each
> > firmware version.
> >
> > 73, Dick WC1M
> >
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Don Rasmussen [mailto:wb8yqj at yahoo.com]
> >> Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 11:59 AM
> >> To: tentec at contesting.com
> >> Subject: [TenTec] 565 Orion v2.0 firmware released to beta testers
> >>
> >> Any ver 1.x owners here to suggest the specific concerns that v2.0 
> >> should address?
> >>
> >> I expect that receiver lockups should become a thing of the past, 
> >> whether the sweep is engaged or not.
> >>
> >> What are the other "must" fixes?
> >>
> >> Can anyone here using v2.0 report if any specific issue has been 
> >> corrected, or are early adopters bound by a non-disclosure
> agreement
> >> for the beta test?
> >>
> >> -----------------------------------------------
> >> To:  Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
> >> Subject:  Re: [TenTec] 565 Orion v2.0 firmware released to beta 
> >> testers
> >>
> >> Great news, Scott.  I wish you few if any bugs.
> >> Thanks,
> >> Scott K4VWK
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> > _______________________________________________
> > TenTec mailing list
> > TenTec at contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/tentec
> >

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