Alpha Testing, Testing, (1-)2
(or how Steve crushes his stress)
A birthday (25 today 😉 ) is always a good day for me to reflect on the past year and this one has been most interesting to me, as I can imagine it has been for most of us. And today I am going to switch things up a little between my Primary article and the ‘Spotlight’ one. If you’re not able to notice the difference, maybe you should just make sure you get it right and read ’em both this time lol.
As mentioned, Steve and I met each other in The Hague, both working for a Christian organization. We got married on the 17th of August 1990 and yes, this means we will be married for 30 years in about a week and a half.
People always ask what our secret is and if we have any advice…. Well… We absolutely could not have done this without our faith in God. When we got married, this was the bible verse that we chose for on our wedding invitation.
I think the text speaks for itself, it sure works for us.
Obviously there are a lot of people who manage to stay married without any faith. I would just say; with God it can be difficult at times, I wouldn’t know how to manage without Him. Then people would say: ‘so you’re saying you’re weak and in need of help’. Well yes, that’s exactly what I am saying and I am not ashamed of it either.
You just have to look around to know, that to have a lasting relationship nowadays, we can use all the help we can get, unfortunately… And people who know us, already discovered, Steve and I differ like day and night. We are a work in progress. Keeps us on our toes.
Anyways… We are still together and still have a lot of fun too… Maybe we never really grew up, but hey… I could not survive without a daily dose of humor.
Steve is a man of many talents and you all know I am not biased in the least 😉 It took me a real long time to find out all he is able to manage. He had so many different jobs way before we even met, so I had no clue really. I picked one thing for today and that is his IT talent.
When the kids were still really young, he started to work on the first PC ever in our home. He basically learned everything himself from the inside out – hardware – software – networking and everything else I cannot name.
One thing became clear pretty fast – since I did not know he already was interested before our marriage in the gaming world: Steve loved gaming. We bought our first Xbox and our son and daughter enjoyed it just as much.
Me… Not at all… I tried to play a couple of times, but my hand- eye coordination totally sucks, so there’s that. Not sure if this is due to the fact I once was left-handed… Anyway, not my cup of tea. I never had any issues with his gaming. I would just pick up a book and read..I can get just as lost there.
Through the years Steve kept learning and developing himself and yeah, he’s quite a fast learner and still very eager too. Anything technical finds his interest and he finally convinced me to give it a try too, which you can read about in ‘Make that Move’.
He has been sharing all his IT stories with me through the years and I cannot deny, when I started my IT job, a lot of what he has been saying started to finally made sense to me too. I still do not consider myself a technician, but hey, I manage 😉
Since gaming is one thing I would not know the first thing about, this week I interviewed my hubby, since there is no interview for my Spotlight. There are so many more sides to Steve and I will do my best to pick several in the future to highlight. He might even write his own stories…
For him, next to the technical interest, gaming is a way to release stress. When the chance to start testing came along, he was in gaming heaven haha. So for all you geeks, here goes! Hope you enjoy and understand what he’s talking about, I sure don’t.
BIG Thank You Steve! I have no idea what the below is all about, but hey… what’s new 😉
You’ve been a gamer for quite some time. Can you tell a little about when you started, what was the first game you ever played?
‘Pffft, that was a long time ago. It was on the Atari 600XL‘
‘I’ve programmed my first Game, it was a Lady Bug you needed to move around. I’ve actually found the YouTube movie of that Game, which is similar to Pac-Man. Pac-Man is also from Atari and came after this one’.
What is it about gaming that appeals to you?
‘I was becoming a Graphic Designer and made a lot of drawings. I like the graphical aspects of a game or animation movie. That’s what I like about games, they have been setting new boundaries for animation and movies’.
‘This of course, stemmed from computer science, the Graphical Interface cards. Nowadays called the GPU Graphical Processing Unit. Which is capable of handling this Graphical revolution. When you look at Movies like ‘Jungle Book & Lion King’ they are created in the way games are created’.
(How) does the gaming world affect your daily life?
‘The contact what I have with people around the world. I’m playing games with people all around the world and it’s amazing, what internet can do. It basically stems from the fact I really enjoy offering support to the end-users’.
It’s only ever been X-BOX for you, why?
‘That’s a good question, when I bought my first Xbox Original, it had a lot of options. I’ve build my own Home Media set with it. Microsoft released the Xbox 360 and Sony released the Sony PlayStation 3 around the same time’.
‘I did a comparison, I wanted to have a device that had the same capabilities as the Xbox Original that I’d modded into an Media System. Capable of Playing Music, Movies and which had an HDD where I could save some Audio/Video files and Games. I heard Microsoft and Toshiba where working on the HD-Drive, the counter part of Blue Ray by Sony’.
‘The Xbox 360 had everything I wanted, because it had more options / possibilities, than the Play Station. I loved the graphics of ‘Flight Simulator’ by Microsoft and knew they would enhance the Graphical Engine even more. Basically, gaming initiated my interest in the whole ICT world and caused me to actually start to work in it. I have been an ICT Professional for many years now’.
Can you tell a little bit about how you became an Alpha tester?
‘In those days when Microsoft released Updates for OS or Xbox, they needed to be tested by the Community of End Users. We only had 2 Testing Rings at that time: Alpha – and Beta Tester’.
‘I became an Xbox Beta Tester, when I was already a Microsoft Beta Tester. I was testing Windows OS, Server OS and Office. It was an easy step, becoming a Beta Tester for Xbox. They also asked me to become an Xbox ambassador, which is a ‘Gamer’s-helping-Gamer’s’ Community, with issues and questions’.
‘It moved to Xbox ONE, but everything changed with the New Console. They renamed the whole Beta Testing Program, the Insider Program. Which Microsoft created for the PC, Mobiles and also for the Xbox. At that time, I also had a Windows Phone and the testing expanded, from my Mobile Device to PC and Xbox ONE’.
‘I then started in the first group, which they called the Omega Group. There are 4 Groups which together are called the Inner Rings. After a Year I moved up to Delta ring and for the other 2 or actually 3, they need to ask you, but I did not know that. Because there needs to be room available for you in those 2/3 Rings’.
‘After 1 1/2 year they asked me for the Beta Ring and I was really kind of proud to receive that honor. I was not thinking of the Alpha Ring because that lay way beyond my expectations. You need to test a lot and you need to be excelling for Microsoft, however in 2019 they asked me for the ‘Alpha Skip Ahead Ring’. I thought, ‘well did not make it to the Alpha Ring, but I got the Alpha Skip Ahead Ring instead’, I was proud again, to have received that level’.
‘And at last, this year they asked me to become Alpha Tester which made me more proud than I’ve ever been. When I tried to activate that, Microsoft mentioned; ‘uh, do you want to decline your Membership with Alpha Skip Ahead?’
‘I then heard the question: ‘why would you do that?’ So I asked: ‘what is the difference?’ The answer was: ‘The group you are in now is the highest group you can achieve with us’. Well my answer was obvious: ‘I stay where I am 😂 if that’s ok’.
‘Alpha Skip Ahead is where you test the first releases of the OS and when they got a newer version you will be skipped towards that one and on and on. Then it goes to the Alpha Ring for testing and then to the other Rings before it’s been released to everyone else’.