Forced constant beta update

Tw
Twolane
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Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:27 pm Post

I agree with jje, mostly. Heh. For some reason, my hard-wired brain still prefers the old, sturdy look of v1.9, but given I'm a modern kinda guy, I switched to the Beta at v7 and have no complaints (except I like the look of the old, sturdy-looking v1.9).

But I'm not going back.

So yeah, what jje says.

ts
tswalker
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Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:48 pm Post

Warning: If you are upset when someone else's reality is different from yours-- do not read.

Seriously, I don't get it. After reading some of the posts in this thread, I opened Scrivener, got the pop-up announcing a new beta version, and updated to Beta 36.

Six or seven mouse clicks and just under six minutes to download, install, and open the new version. Is that really such an imposition? Wonder how many updates could be done in the time some users have spent reading and posting here.
TSWalker

pc
pcgeekesq
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Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:57 pm Post

swisspete wrote:We've been in beta for ever..... being forced to update manually every 30 days, or in this case, 10 days is just not..very respectful of our time as users.

But you're not just any user, are you? You're a beta user, and that's different from a regular user.

Beta users are given the opportunity to use pre-release versions of software, in this case for free, in exchange for (it is hoped) feedback on the bugs and features of that pre-release product. They are volunteer product-testers, not paying customers, and as such have a different relationship with the software's authors.

L&L is being perfectly "respectful" in the context of that relationship.
They're holding up there end of the deal.
Are you?

Go
Gothelittle
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Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:45 pm Post

Agreed with many others.

1. Saying "unless you're a 'speshul snowflake'" is rude. Saying "This is the normal beta-testing process" is not rude. Saying "Beta testers have these expectations in the industry; if you cannot accept that, beta-testing may not be for you" is not rude. Keep in mind that programmers (I know the guy accused of rudeness is not on the Scrivener team, but he did identify himself as being part of the software programming world) don't tend to be the same type of people who sell cars, style hair, or manage hotels; the personalities best adapted to the work are honest, straight-forward, direct, but not mean. My own training and much of my work experience has been in the same field, and I have always valued most the professionals who will immediately tell me if my expectations are unrealistic, and what I really need before I can think of 'entering the game'. They are doing me the courtesy of not wasting my time.

2. Though updating every ten days may seem as if you're always updating - if you only write every ten days - it really doesn't seem so long for a daily user. I am trying to put at least 500-2500 words on my novel daily. I take the shortened times as a good omen. When I joined the beta, updates were usually monthly. So I suspect that part of the perception here has to do with whether you are a casual user. This is also not rude; I open Scrivener daily, but I open programs like WinGimp or LibreOffice about once every few months and they often need updating 'with each usage'. Note: Neither of these are actually beta programs.

3. You get what you pay for. I am fully aware that I paid for a fully operational piece of software, Scrivener 1.9, and I got no less than what I paid for. I didn't pay $500 for a piece of buggy software that updates every ten days. I don't pay $10/month for a piece of buggy software that updates every ten days. I paid a reasonable price for a reasonable finished work, and I'm currently benefiting from the 3.0 Beta without having put a red cent into it. Furthermore, given the usefulness of the beta and my deep appreciation for the original software that I purchased, I will be doubly happy to pay once the beta is over, because... and I think this may be something people forget...

These days it seems that it is "industry standard" to issue multiple software patches within the first week of a new piece of software emerging. Some games will take 60GB to download and then, halfway through the first day of its release, when you've finally played the first ten minutes, pick up another required 3GB patch! I accept and appreciate that the reason why we are dealing with 10-day betas now is because the Scrivener Sofware Team is looking at using the beta period for what it's actually intended for, and not taking the cheap and easy way out.

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martienne
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:10 am Post

Amcmo wrote:
Please set expiration date of upcoming Betas so that we can skip 1-2 updates and do it quarterly, or at some more reasonable frequency


1. L&L are up front about the beta and the process. Regardless of any claimed failings .... ETC ETCE


If you don't work for Literature and Latte, I really don't get why you would argue FOR unreasonably frequent expiry dates for the Beta versions. Why would you argue against fellow users who are trying to get a company to respect their time? I cannot think of any motivation whatsoever unless you have some undeclared link to the company or fishing for freebies.. Nobody likes cumbersome software updates! Nobody is attacking the company, so you do not need to defend it. We are just politely asking for a little bit of respect for our time, and to not be treated like software pirates or kids who can't be trusted to run a beta for a couple of months . Comparing this company to Apple is like comparing apples with... latte. Plus, whoever said we actually like Apple or Microsoft and chose to pay for their products, like we do for this product? (I used to like L&L, but the longer this drags on, the more fed up I'm getting). Either way, comparing a one-solution operation with Apple is not a like-for-like comparison... This seemingly never-ending Beta with several false starts for go-live and forced monthly updates is getting on everybody's nerves. Why on earth would anyone other than an employee of the company try to argue that it's a good thing?

@Dev Team, Literature and Latte

The version I'm using is perfectly stable and good enough for me, for another few months, or until the official release. I would do a state of the art bug report of any bug I actually find, IF I'm left alone to get on with writing instead of constantly being told the version has expired, searching for this forum, downloading and running updates seemingly every time I have a bit of time to spare on my writing project. As you know, there are ways around this type of expiry and when I'm treated like a software pirate, that certainly awakens some ideas with an old programmer like me.. Please let's not go that way. Let the real die-hards with plenty of time on their hands participate in the monthly or bi-weekly updates and let the rest of us have a break now. As you can see - the frustration is building up and this is not generating customer goodwill. Either make the expiry date longer, or make the updates automatic. I wouldn't even be here complaining, if I wasn't forced to go to this site all the time, to fetch the latest version.
Last edited by martienne on Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Am
Amcmo

Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:26 am Post

martienne wrote:If you don't work for Literature and Latte, I really don't get why you would argue for UNREASONABLY FREQUENT expiry dates for the Beta versions. Why would you argue against fellow users who are trying to get a company to respect their time? I cannot think of any motivation whatsoever unless you have some undeclared link to the company or fishing for freebies.. Nobody is attacking the company, so you do not need to defend it. We are just asking for a little bit of respect for our time, and to not be treated like software pirates or kids who can't be trusted to run a beta for a couple of months . And comparing this company to Apple is like comparing apples with... latte. Not a like for like comparison... This seemingly endless Beta with several missed go live dates and monthly updates is getting on everybody's nerve. Why on earth would anyone other than an employee of the company try to deny it?


I do not, and have never worked for L&L and I take offense at the suggestion I'm fishing for freebies or any other nefarious purpose. (L&L feel free to confirm you would not have a grumpy old sod like me on your team :D )

If I were lucky enough to work for such an esteemed company (how's that for a suck-up?), my comments would be no less valid. They simply point out the reality of joining a beta program.

I do however work (until my forthcoming 'retirement') for a major company, and am regularly involved in their internal beta programs and have an in depth understanding of beta programs over many years with many companies.

I am a user attempting in some small way to assist in the Beta process and appreciating the opportunity offered (it's not a right..) along with understanding the risks to be in that process.

I find the frequent 'forced' updates great because I can track the progress towards release and see the bugs being squashed. Logically, why would anyone want to continue to use a version for a quarter when subsequent versions have many bugs corrected?

The comparison to Apple and others is very valid. The beta process is very similar regardless of size.

I've seen zero evidence that frequent updates are getting on 'everyones's nerves'. Apart from a very small number who seem (IMHO) to not understand the beta process for any unreleased software, everyone appears happy, enjoying seeing the progress and contributing.

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devinganger
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:58 am Post

martienne wrote:If you don't work for Literature and Latte, I really don't get why you would argue FOR unreasonably frequent expiry dates for the Beta versions. Why would you argue against fellow users who are trying to get a company to respect their time?


Because we understand that the whole reason L&L is making the beta open (as opposed to closed, invite-only betas) is to get as much feedback as possible to get the program to a release state (where they can make money on it) as quickly as possible, not to get free writing software for ourselves?

Having free access to an open beta is for L&L's convenience, not ours. The end result is better quality software as quickly as possible for everyone, so it's a small short-term sacrifice in exchange for a better long-term result. There have been times during this beta where the updates came maybe once a month, or even once every 45 days. The fact that they're coming an average of once a week now means we're in the home stretch.
--
Devin L. Ganger
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Life has a way of moving you past wants and hopes -- Kevin Flynn

Ji
JimRac
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:15 am Post

martienne wrote:Either make the expiry date longer, or make the updates automatic. I wouldn't even be here complaining, if I wasn't forced to go to this site all the time, to fetch the latest version.
Hi martienne,

In case you're not aware, you can change Scriv prefs to alert you when an update is available. F12 > General > Startup > Automatically check for updates.

Based on what others have posted here, I *believe* you can then have Scriv download the update and do an update in place. So no need to visit this site and search for the latest update.

But I haven't tried tried this myself, so can't confirm it from personal experience. (I always uninstall, then reinstall.)

Best,
Jim
I’m just a customer.

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narrsd
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:41 am Post

Hmm. Whether one is in der Schweiz, where I lived quite a while, or in some Martian (!) quadrant of Finland, where there have been very interesting times, there's a temptation to add something here, so long as it can be a little wise.

Software is hard, very often a lot harder than first imagined. A construction like Scrivener is especially so, with all the differing writerly intentions it is designed to be adjusted to, and thus deliver the full measure of its help.

So, it;'s no surprise that it 'takes a little longer', while at the same time the pace of improvements on surfaces now gives pretty good indication that the long effort to get the foundation right, first, has been a very sensible one.

It does take patience to allow this to happen. As others have indicated, it isn't as if other software is delivered any more rapidly in its completion, and there are reasons all around for that. There is complication: a _lot_ more complication than there used to be. There are customs: the habits of millenial construction with ópen'' software packages are far more taxing in their continuous change and re-issue. Scrivener isn't as strongly affected by this second element, but to some extent, as anyone could find looking into the packages it uses.

The complexity aspect means it is nearly impossible for a team, large or small, to 'get everything right' in what used to be considered a complete software delivery. As others have mentioned, you get creep from the very beginning of loose deliveries -- or, you either wait out or participate in Beta programs, contributing your patience and reporting for the value of early use of the software.

The team here is small, and I think you would not like the result of it having been a large one, with a 'managerial approach to its quality and ethics.

What we get instead is thoughtful craftsmanship, mirrored in a stability of practical function which has so carefully not been interrupted, so that we have in fact been able to use Scrivener 3 successfully for many months, seeing only stages of improvement.

I could give you contemporary tales of actually fine software by highly capable person which quite differ, so we are rather fortunate here. And that other software is taking just about the same numdber of months, interestingly enough, while asking a great deal more out of those who are enthusiastic and very dedicated in their intent to use it.

I don't think we can have it any better than we do, that's what judgment born of experience must say.

There isn't anything in the world that actually performs as Apple for example keeps promising to do...and then visibly sinking itself beneath enough waves.

One can understand the formation of attitudes where it might seem there could be an ideal where it's different; that's the task if we want to explain -- and also a big subject.

But I think we have to go with the balances that have been described through the answers from the original posting: that it takes the time as you see to do this; that no, dealing with multiple versions of updates is not practical; that a patient mind will have you finding that there's no sense of real interruption at all, in taking a moment once every few weeks to update your software.

It's a privilege, isn't it? And once again, we're now getting pretty near what everyone desires.

pc
pcgeekesq
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:49 am Post

JimRac wrote:In case you're not aware, you can change Scriv prefs to alert you when an update is available. F12 > General > Startup > Automatically check for updates.
Based on what others have posted here, I *believe* you can then have Scriv download the update and do an update in place. So no need to visit this site and search for the latest update.

The Beta gives me a reminder of the expiration date when I start Scrivener. When that date approaches, I use the "Check for updates" entry in the "Help" menu, and if there is an update, I click and let it update Scrivener. Easy peasy, no need to visit the website, doesn't take long enough to get coffee from the kitchen (I have a Gaggia Anima super-automatic espresso machine, like every coffee-loving author should :)).

I find Windows' inability to scale each of my 5 monitors properly more annoying than the Scrivener update process. My own fault, I guess, since the 24" QHD monitors have a slightly different dot pitch than the 32" 4K one.

Am
Amcmo

Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:37 am Post

pcgeekesq wrote:The Beta gives me a reminder of the expiration date when I start Scrivener. When that date approaches, I use the "Check for updates" entry in the "Help" menu, and if there is an update, I click and let it update Scrivener. Easy peasy, no need to visit the website, doesn't take long enough to get coffee from the kitchen (I have a Gaggia Anima super-automatic espresso machine, like every coffee-loving author should :)).


And that's my process, pretty much. Being a lazy sod, I have a Nespresso and wander out for my coffee when it's at work with the update. Always ready for me when I return to the desk. - Oh the disruption and effort... :lol: :lol:

wo
wordjoy
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:04 am Post

Opinion: I find updates annoying.
Fact: There have been many updates this month.
Insult: Your software process is a personal insult to me and you hate your customers.

People learn to communicate like adults!
Yes, there are a lot of updated, no one has ever FORCED you to use the beta. There is no cost etc.

Maybe it should be a closed beta where you take a test to prove you know what a beta is and how to write a proper bug report.

I am betting all the people who act like they are entitled to complain about free-to-use beta software would FAIL that and end our misery..

Another set of options:
1) The program offers you an update and you take it.
2) you miss it and clidk on the link and it installs in a few seconds
3) You in public, disclose your lack of adult perspective.

It's all about choices..
Let's try FACTS, maybe an Opinion plus 1&2 and skip insults and #3 from now on. OR go use the free version of Word.

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martienne
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:05 am Post

I stand by every word I said, as a customer and somebody who has participated in this Beta test for two (2!!!) years.
None of this would have been a problem if it had been going on for 6 months, or up to a year --- a normal duration for a generous beta testing period, by a major software house.

When I jumped on, the Beta has already been in progress for many months, if not a year. I would have been happy to put up with bugs, forced updates etc, for a reasonable duration - like another 6 months from the start of my participation. I could have bit my lip for another 6 months. But we are talking about YEARS now. In plural.

Also, there is no technical justification for why the Beta would need to expire. Many big companies do Beta testing without having versions expire and inconveniencing people.

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narrsd
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:26 am Post

Martienne, I think we all do better just to be gentle here -- as you noted in past postings yourself, the Scrivener team is not a large software house, just a very good and dedicated small one.

I don't know if I can understand why it is upsetting that they take the necessary time to work out and complete everything properly as they are doing in this quite major upgrade (Make a Windows program act entirely like it was on a Mac??), but I must see that it is, yes, for some.

My advice then is the gentle point of view, once again, and that will help us all understand and be calm.

I have to say, your name and spacesuit made me think of Kim Stanley Robinson's novels full of journey and discovery, in building something new of humanity on Mars. It takes a little getting used to his way of writing, but when you realize he is exploring what we could be able to make in societies no matter where they are, then it is pretty interesting. I could maybe recommend Green Mars, if you want to jump in and have the most readable story. Red Mars is the place to start if you're up for it, though you could go back. Blue Mars I think is for the very patient who have become convinced, or are older :)

And then I think of a very interesting conversation that kind of 'landed on me' in Tampere, one late evening coming in from travel, and being sent to a certain pub for something to eat...on another speculative writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, from whom I could recommend just about anything...

Take care, and I had better get some sleep before the morning comes here,
Clive

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martienne
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Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:44 am Post

Here are SEVERAL technically feasible and commonly used techniques for solving this and regaining the goodwill of those of us who are now fed up:

Make a statement to thank Beta testers for participating and for their patience, and explain why the project ended up taking so much longer than originally communicated. Say that you understand that many people moved to Beta in the belief that it would run for a limited time only, after which we could move on to the first RC. Then offer some options that show you aren't just going to steam roll your most loyal and keen users. Perhaps:

1) Stay on the current beta until the new version is available for purchase, at which time the Beta expires.
2) Voluntary opt-in for monthly / bi-weekly new versions,
3) Give each beta version a 3 month life span, regardless of whether there has been a new release, or not,