Become an Alpha or Beta Tester

Maybe you don't even know an alpha or beta tester is yet, but before I get into that, I want to make sure you know there's a big advantage to becoming one.  I don't want you to move on to another page before you get to that.  When you sign up as either of these, you will be given a code that lets you automatically download the latest alpha or beta version.  But wait, there's more!  I'm sure you were thinking "There had better be more!"  That same code will enable you to purchase Home Domination or any add-on module for 30% off the listed price.  The discount does not apply to any of the USBmicro products or a CD and the offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.  

Another benefit is the joy of knowing that you've helped to find and crush those pesky binary creatures that inhabit so many software programs today.

If you've taken a good look at the download page, you'll notice that beside the current release version of Home Domination, you can also download a beta and an alpha version.  When a version is first made, it is tested internally at StrandControl, LLC and then goes up to the download page as an alpha version.  A group of brave souls called Alpha Testers are then alerted by email, and they download it and let us know if there are any problems.  If they find some, we fix them and put a new version in its place.  If no problems are found at this stage, then the version gets promoted to a Beta version.

Then another larger group of slightly less brave but extremely noble souls are alerted via email, and they download the beta version and put it through its paces.  If something nasty is found, a new version is made and it goes back to alpha.  If nothing is found in a reasonable amount of time, it is promoted to the release version.  Then, the people who are deathly afraid of all creepy crawly things can feel confident about that version.

Not all bugs that are found will cause a version to be sent back to the drawing board.  If the bug is not a new thing and other things were fixed that we really don't want to wait, we'll promote the version anyway and we'll make splattered bug guts out of it on the next version.

Thanks to all the brave men and women out there who have helped to make Home Domination the rock solid program that it is.  We salute you!

Home Domination is really a very solid program, so usually the bugs that are found are quite timid.  Kind of like a gnat that keeps flying around your computer screen as you're trying to type an email.  Annoying, but not really painful.  In fact, usually they are not bugs at all but just things you would like to see changed.  I guess if anything is annoying, we can consider it a bug.  Most other companies will write these things off as being "by design".  They should really call it "by crappy design".  Not everything you find will be fixed right away, but everything will be documented and prioritized in our bug tracking system.

Once in a while, something really out of place can cause some grief.  Usually anything like this is caught long before it even makes it to the alpha version.  If it does get that far though, it likely wouldn't get past our A team of alpha testers.  I don't think there's ever been a bug in Home Domination that has caused someone to have to rebuild their machine.  Occasionally there will be a version that will cause the program to crash, but it won't take everything down with it.  If you're running something earlier than Windows 2000, you're probably used to programs crashing your machine on a regular basis.  If that happens, just reboot and you'll be fine.

Just as a little bit of warning, occasionally changing a control file in a newer version will make it so you can't load it in an earlier version of Home Domination.  So it wouldn't be a bad idea to back this up just in case a new version isn't quite up to spud and you need to run an earlier version. 

How much you do is entirely up to you.  We know people are busy, and we compensate for that by having lots of testers.  So if you're able to test a version, great!!!  If you're not able to test a version, we'll just grumble under our breath and talk about you behind your back.  Just kidding.  Hopefully you'll be able to test the next time.

The only catch is that you need to supply a valid email address, and not whine and complain when I send you the occasional email saying there's a new version ready for downloading. And if you find something that isn't right, you need to email with a detailed explanation of the problem.  Problems that aren't reported are not fixed nearly as quickly as those that are. 

No.  If you like, you can just beta or alpha test until your 30 day trial is up.  If you don't think Home Domination meets your needs, then you don't have to do anything else.  You'll still be sent the emails unless you request to be removed from the list.  If later you discover that the features you were longing for are added and you want another trial period, just email and ask.  As long as you haven't completely worn out that favor, we'll give you another shot at it.  But please buy it, because you'll be the envy of all your friends and neighbors if you do!  You can use your beta tester discount at any time should you decide to purchase.

You're in luck!  There's no physical, no IQ test, and no drug test.  All you have to do is download the program and provide your name and email address and then check the box that says "I would like to become a beta or an alpha tester".  Then click the radio button for which type of tester you would like to be and click Continue.  Voila!  You'll be sent an authorization code later with instructions about how to get your 30% discount.  If you've already signed up once, please don't check the box again on later downloads though or you may end up getting a whole lot of duplicate emails every time a new version comes out.

In case you're confused about the difference between an alpha and a beta tester, an alpha tester is alerted for every change, and a beta tester is only notified when a version is promoted to a beta version.  If you sign up as an alpha tester and later decide you're too nervous to try the alpha versions, it's OK to just test the beta versions.  Just don't let anyone know that you lost your nerve.