Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beta Season

“It’s not possible.” “No, it’s necessary.” - Cooper (Interstellar)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I have been an aggressive beta tester for a long time - my first bigboy beta was in the late 90s when I was using Microsoft Outlook Express aggressively for email and newsgroups and an active participant in Microsoft’s forums on it. MS invited me into their beta program which lead me into betas for Office, Win98, WinNT, and other MS things. At the time those were small private betas and the MS developer teams loved to hate my computer which I had quad-booting between Win98, WinNT, Linux, and OS/2 with a shared HPFS data drive. It was awesome.

These days I’m on the Windows 10 public beta track, but I’m all Apple for the most part so after WWDC each year it’s time to jump onto the beta tracks! I usually put either my iPhone or iPad into the developer beta as soon as it comes out. BAM! Those are non-essential devices, right? Yeah. Totally. If I can’t get any phone calls for a few months, all the better for me. And uh, I was unable to pay the babysitters through Venmo, cause that was crashing, but then started working again on public beta 2.

When the macOS public beta comes out, it’s time to upgrade my work computer and then deal with whatever fallout happens. I’m definitely not going to upgrade my personal computer - that thing is essential! My personal also serves as my temporary backup if my work computer is truly hosed. With basically my entire job being cloud-based, I can use nearly any computer to get work done.
Both this year and last year video conferencing tools had challenges. With High Sierra last year my computer would crash if I launched video conferencing with an external monitor plugged in. Which is rough because I screen share with clients about 50% of my job - so I had to get a good setup with my iPad so I could screen share the computer while, at the same time, Slacking to coworkers.
The problem with the Mojave beta this year is that the audio/video degrade extremely quickly to unusable and the fan starts ramping up. My best guess is that the video conference programs are not using hardware accelerations and the CPU is trying to grind the video and failing. That did not get resolved on public beta 2 - I look forward to when it is. Struggling through the betas keeps me young.