Friday, April 30, 2010

Beta-testing EQ7

Usually, I am not lucky. Someone else always wins the lottery. Someone else always wins the quilt that a local guild raffled off. Someone else always gets the best parking spot. But, this time, I got lucky! I was asked to Beta-test EQ7! How about that!

What exactly is "Beta-testing"? Well, let's say you've created a pattern for a quilt you designed and want to present it to a class or publish it. You'd want to be sure the pattern was accurate as accurate can be. So, you ask some friends if they would check thru the pattern for typographical errors. Spell-checkers do not know the difference between "their" and "there", but people do. Pattern has to be checked for accuracy in the measurements of the pieces to be cut to make the blocks, yardage required for the pattern must be accurate. And it would be best if some of the friends would make the quilt. That's the real, true test for patterns.

So, that's basically "Beta-Testing" -- checking and re-checking that the product is written correctly. In the case of computer programs, every click of every button has to produce the correct results.

How it all started --

At the end of Dec. 2009, I received an email from EQ asking if I'd like to test EQ7. Would I? You betcha! We were asked to keep this hush - hush.  (On April 28, we found out from Ann that we could talk about or even blog about what we did.)

In our next email, we found out that we would be asked to spend 20 hours in EQ7, over a course of 4 weeks. Hey, I could do that.

We received a CD of EQ7 Beta in the postal mail. The note inside said to go ahead and install it and play with it, doing usual things and trying out new things. There were a few instructions on things to try. It also said that EQ6 project files would be created with this version.  So that meant if we were to design, we would have EQ6 files after the testing was over – no need to use EQ6 during the testing period.

It was interesting working in a "beta" program. Things were incomplete. Some of the new features were so new they weren't included on the CD. There were only 3 block libraries in the program and 1 fabric library. The Help files weren't complete. There were notations in the Help files to remind the programmers about things they were yet to do in that area. I was surprised to see that some of the notations they used were the same things I do when re-vamping a webpage. Like putting 3 big X's at the top of the paragraph that needs further info. Can always search for "XXX" and find all the things that need attention.

Another email came and had an attached file that had "Beta Testing Instructions". We were asked to give info about our computers -- the make & model, operating system, screen resolution, etc. There were also tasks that we were asked to perform, covering every aspect of the program. Majority of the tasks involved working with the new features (the new features that were complete).  And printing from the program. We were asked to report any problems we found. I found a few - very minor things. Everything was just working beautifully.

The CD had an expiration date of March 15 and on March 15, the program no longer worked.  I had been using EQ7 for almost 2 months and when I went back into EQ 6, I found I was missing so many of the new features from EQ7.  Drag & drop blocks, grid on the Custom Set Quilt, to name a couple.

I wasn’t expecting it, but near the end of March, another CD came in the postal mail from EQ – EQ7 Upgrade Beta 3.  Wow, I got to play some more!

The note in the packaging asked us to try out the completed new features and test out the Help files which were now pretty much complete.  The problems that the Beta-testers found, they had fixed.  The libraries were still being worked on, so they still weren’t complete. 

Also in the note was the 1st time we found out about the new activation/de-activation program.  On EQ6, you were only allowed so many activations.  EQ7 allows for having 2 activations at one time.  If you get a new computer, you de-activate on the old computer and then you can activate on the new computer.  Much better than a dongle would have been.

On April 10, we received an email with a ZIP file that contained some files to copy over to the program which would give new code to the way the program works.  And some tasks to work through.  Again, asking us to report any problems.  EQ7 is addressing the netbook this time around.  When EQ6 came out, there was no such thing as a netbook.  I did not find any problems in my testing of this version.

I felt honored to have been asked to Beta-test EQ7.  I enjoyed poking around in the program.  And I had an excuse for all the time spent having fun – I was working – I was Beta-testing!  LOL

Electric Quilt announced EQ7 on April 24 and they are running a fantastic pre-order sale price for a new program or an upgrade.  EQ7 will be shipping June 7 (how clever).  And while you’re there, you can read all about the new features.

If you’re going to jump in on the fun of EQ7, might I suggest joining the info-eq list for a while – you will pick up a lot of tips from all the new EQ7 users.  And if you have any questions, that’s the place to get (almost) immediate answers.

What did I think of EQ7?  I loved it and recommend it, but that’s fodder for another blog post.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lists for iPod Touch

Has this ever happened to you – you bring home a book from the library and when you start reading it, you realize you have read it before?  The thought of dragging around a list of “books read” never appealed to me.  Although I did meet a gentleman at the library who had a printed list (of many pages) of books he had read!  It would have to be constantly re-printed, in order to keep it in alphabetical order, or sorted by author.

I do bring an envelope of clippings of articles on books to watch for when I go to the library.  What a mess that is to look through!

So, I thought – how about putting the list on a page on my website and then I could look at the list at the library on my iPod Touch.  Wow!  What a great idea this is!

1490I can update it at any time and don’t have to print anything to have a current list at my finger tips.

I had a head start on a list of books I had read, as I had created one on a spreadsheet, years ago, but I never kept up on it.  I was able to get names of some “books read” from the notes in the envelope.  My list is not complete, but it I had to start somewhere and now was a good time.

I also have a list of books I want to read.  And also a list of my favorite authors.  I can hardly wait to try this out the next time I go to the library!

Then, I thought, why not put up a list of movies we’ve watched so that I can access them on my iPod Touch?  So when someone asks me, “seen any good movies lately?”, I can just whip out my iPod Touch & flick through the list of movies to jog my memory.

It was easy to get up a list of movies, cuz I’ve been keeping track of the movies we’ve watched since we got Netflix in Dec. 2009.

We recently enjoyed “Fracture” with Anthony Hopkins. A good courtroom drama with suspense.

Another thing I have put on my website – for my own use – is a webpage that has a list of all my favorite links.  So, it’s real easy to find all my “private pages” – all I have to do is remember the address of that one page.
I can do that …