Parallels' Bad Idea

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by dkp, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    I'll try one more time to state the case, Steve - and I appreciate your interest.

    What I proposed was to isolate the beta activity from the production/purchased product support, and to ensure the beta release information does not get mixed up with production updates as happened with beta 3036 and the corrective beta updates for that release. I also proposed that there be a clear path of updates for the version of Parallels I and others paid for that is focused on completing and correcting brochure claims and discovered software shortcomings. I and others would like our purchased product to be stable and complete in accordance with the published specifications.

    The reason for these proposals can be found by a casual reading of this forum. Because this is a public arena we have an opportunity to help Parallels restructure the interactive element of their product and I think it is in our best interest to do exactly that. It is in their best interest to provide better clarity in the beta program both in their beta product expectations (known bugs, for example - ever see a known bugs report from them :) ) and what they want to see in expected feedback. That is to say, they provide prospective beta testers with a simple contract that defines what is expected in return for being given a beta copy of the product. There is no reason for that forum to be a public forum.

    All these are debatable points and having been raised, should be.

    What I have no patience for are net nannies that try to make me the talking point, or who would attempt to define for the masses what constitutes a valid topic for discussion. If Andrew were to chime in and say "Mr. Peterson, we appreciate your interest and thoughts, but we'd like to take them off line", I would oblige because we are all guests here of Parallels and they are due that respect.

    Neither Don nor Val are empowered to define what is or is not on topic. That they do so is lamentable but not likely correctable. I don't believe there is a single case of net nannies accomplishing anything useful with their self-endowed nannying so learning from history is not working for them. Other than heaping on mounds of demotivation, they have offered no useful contribution to this topic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  2. drval

    drval

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    490
    One of my contributions was the suggestion that you direct those specific comments TO Parallels in the manner the have suggested,

    BTW, I paid for my use of Parallesl as well as you did and, unlike you, have not been ab;e to make use of what I paid for UNTIL the recent 3106 beta. From my perspective that release was neither premature nor inherently "problematic"; rather, it was a very good initial step in making my particular investment worthwhile.
     
  3. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    You didn't pay for the 3106 release and it is not a supported product and it is not intended to be an update for your defective purchased product. It is a work in progress , and experiment, and will result in a fully supported product at some point. What neither of us knows is if that release will be free to those of us who have purchased earlier works, or if we will be expected to pay for the upgrade.

    So - we have a data point. You're happy with 3106 (I am to, btw). Let's turn to the forum at large and see if that is a common characteristic.... Oh damn, no, it's not. It seems a lot of people mistakenly installed it thinking it was an update for some reason when it was in fact a beta drop. This looks like an opportunity for process improvement, Val. What shall we suggest to keep this from repeating?
     
  4. don montalvo

    don montalvo

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    111
    parallels stated it'll be free:

    It will be one more FREE update of the currently available version.

    don
     
  5. betatester

    betatester

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    This is but one well taken point in a series of well-taken points that dkp has made in his posts in this thread. Moreover, he has expressed them with far more humor, hubris, fluency and patience than that of which I would be capable. Bravo, sir.

    My experience mirrors dkp's exactly: I've not had a whit of trouble with any of the releases, beta or otherwise. As an experienced beta tester, I have always backed up, but I've never had occasion to rely upon the backups. Yet it is abundantly clear that this is far from the universal experience. And Parallels should be concerned with this, whether or not they have beta disclaimers.

    Bifurcating a user forum from a beta forum, and issuing beta releases to qualified beta testers, seems eminently sensible. And in the greater world outside of Paralells, this is the rule rather than the exception. This does not make it right in itself. What makes it right is that it makes good sense, and greatly facilititates the development process by making userful data available to the development team.

    Issues of legal liability aside (on which I am not qualified to speak anyway), I do not think it is enough to put a beta disclaimer on a new public release, especially one that contains features that users have been clamoring for--most particularly functional features like USB2--and then tell them it's tough luck if they have problems or trash their systems. If users really are beta testers, there should be debugging code in the software to permit fault diagnosis, easily accessible log files and cores, and a well defined procedure for submitting beta reports to the development team. Ideally there would be a posted list of known bugs, and regular reports indicating when those bugs were addressed. That's a real beta test, and should have its own forum to encourage the technical discussions and suggestions that will no doubt ensue.

    Under present circumstances, the experiences of "beta" users can be of little or no value to the developers because they have no good way to collect the information. The invitation to email problems or questions no doubt generates an enormous number of responses of highly variable quality. Why should the team have to sift through all those reports to find those that provide valuable information?

    Wouldn't it be simpler to adopt dkp's suggestions? Wouldn't everyone benefit? Indeed, I cannot see any downside whatsoever.
     
  6. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    Here is the quote in context, Don:

    "Hello community!

    We are continuing our efforts for bringing you even more feature-full product and we are making our latest Parallels Desktop for Mac Beta Build 3036 early available to you. It will be one more FREE update of the currently available version."

    That is not 3106, the subject of the discussion. Notice too it is called an 'update'. Note also it is called beta. Note finally that it is one or the other but not possibly both. It was an unfortunate mistake of labeling because it had so many regressions not to mention a plethora of new features. It was so bad, in fact, that it has been replaced twice over.
     
  7. Fredric

    Fredric

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    from Betatester: ......"Wouldn't it be simpler to adopt dkp's suggestions? Wouldn't everyone benefit? Indeed, I cannot see any downside whatsoever."

    One "downside" that I can see at the moment, has to do with who is judged "qualified" to be admitted to the elite ranks of Beta Testers. I know that I would not have purchased 1970 if I did not also have access to subsequent Betas, because it did not meet my needs.
     
  8. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    Thank you - I maintain my humor and composure between posts by listening to the exquisitely calming dulcet tones of Internet Radio Hawaii (http://irh.com/) from Kailua, O`ahu, Hawaii. Actually, I stream their hi-speed audio feed from right here in Washington state, and with all the rain we've had those notes may be a bit rusty, but are calming none the less. Nobody is upset when Na Leo Pilimehana are singing. </end shameless plug for Hawaiian music and culture>

    I appreciate that you understand well the workings and benefits of a properly run beta program and the cacophany an unskilled, unorganized, but well meaning group can create. And I in no way mean to demean the good efforts of the many well intentioned users out here that are trying their best to make this product work. I know that of the 2000+ readers of this thread there's just a few detractors with no point to make, and that the message is getting out, regardless. I too think a bit of restructure will be a tremendous help and possibly prevent the self-inflicted damage some are doing to their systems.
     
  9. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    I don't think qualified means what you think. Or at leastnot what I think you mean. Certainly they need not be considered elitist at all. In fact that is the last thing I'd think of. It's a lot of work to be in proper beta tests and to fill out the reports, gather all the data and logs, and send them in. I used to work for Microsoft a long long time ago and got paid $50.00 per bug. Some nights I'd make $1000 or more. Those days are gone - now we do it for free and for some of us it is quite enjoyable. But it is still hard work.

    To me a qualified tester (different from competent) is a tester who has stated they will perform certain tests in a certain time frame and return bug reports, performance reports, and what ever logs have been gathered. I don't even believe one has to accept the conditions of beta testing to receive a beta version of the code so long as they click a button that says they acknowledge the beta product is an experimental release that can and in all likelyhood will trash their system. Such users should also acknowledge they will receive no support for the beta product as that is entirely outside the scope of beta software. It is known to be broken and so unsupportable if the unexpected occurs.

    Is something like that inclusive enough? I don't pretend to speak for Parallels, but these are not unusual conditions.
     
  10. betatester

    betatester

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    15
    I think that would be adequate; it does place a burden upon Parallels to provide the tools for the beta testers to use and the forum for discussion, but the "return on investment" would be substantial.

    It's interesting to note that Frederic says he wouldn't have purchased 1970 without access to the betas because it wasn't sufficient for his needs. This underlines your point that the run of "betas" that have followed 1970 are regarded by users as "upgrades" or updates, rather than experimental versions, another ambiguity that would be addressed by the bifurcation strategy you propose.

    Moreover, it would make clear that the development team cannot, and will not, provide support for beta versions. But this, in turn, would imply that they would provide support for released versions--something that has proven somewhat elusive, at least for some users. But that is part of the operational rationalization you propose, and with which I concur. Beta testers should be able to do without support, but paying users should not have to.
     
  11. drval

    drval

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    490
    FWIW -- have either of you actually submitted these ideas DIRECTLY to Parallels via the "Contact Us" option that I mentioned in a prior thread?

    If you haven't -- then please do so.

    If you have -- then please let us know what kind of response you have (or have NOT) received from Parallels.
     
  12. paco.blasco

    paco.blasco

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    Or you can wait for one stable product

    Hi all:

    I'm betwee both positions. I belive that DKP has the reason, becouse I believe that a product must become stable without bugs, and you must have the posibility to work with a BETA version to probe the new features.
    With parallels, I must have two Mac computers if I want to probe new beta versions, becouse I can not have at the same time both.
    This is an error, whtn features like USB 2.0 are necessary for most of the people that has PAID for the software.
    By the other side, a BETA is a BETA, and we are taking some risk to use as a "normal" version.

    I will use the version that fits my requirements. They can be the BETA version (I'm using it with A LOT OF KEYBOARD PROBLEMS), the stable version, or you can change to VMware Fusion.
    I will work with the product tyhat allow me to work in the right way.

    Paco.

    PD: I'm using Parallels since its first beta. And I'm using in a production environment. I suppose I'm not too much smart.
     
  13. don montalvo

    don montalvo

    Messages:
    111
    wrong. parallels has already stated 2.5 (what we're beta testing now) will be a free release. version 3 will not.

    don
     
  14. paco.blasco

    paco.blasco

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    What are you tell me? Are we silly?

    Are ou tell me that I had buy Parallels For Mac 6 months ago and I'm going to have less that one year support?
    And are we testing their versions???
     
  15. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    I don't doubt you - I just haven't seen it anywhere.
     
  16. MarkHolbrook

    MarkHolbrook

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    350
    Absolutely we are testing their versions! This is a common practice with smaller software companies.

    RealBasic does the exact same thing. They have a formal release version but anyone can sign up for the "beta" and have at it. They do ask that you submit reports on problems you encounter.

    Parallels is doing the same thing. I found it very clear in both 3036 and 3106 that these were "beta" and NOT to be used in critical situations. I think that means CLEARLY that you use it at your own risk.

    No one here is arguing that Parallels could do a MUCH better job with their support. Sometimes it seems like there is one guy, Andrew, who does ANY support at all. Submitting support requests is a joke.

    But surprisingly if you stay in the "norm" Parallels seems to work just fine. The people here that seem to have problems are those that are either a) not careful with now they update. IE they don't backup prior, they update while a thousand other programs are running and they have not rebooted in a century, or b) those that feel a need to push the limits of what the product was designed for. IMHO this is the abiliity to use Parallels on a Bootcamp partition.

    Guys like me that are careful, backup regularly (not just the VM but my entire MBP) and only do a Parallels "update" when I've not got a critical path to follow and I usually do it on another machine first to check it out. I've not had any problems. 3106 works great except for some desktop redraw issues in coherence mode.

    I can see the desire to use Parallels with Bootcamp partitiions. You've put time into loading stuff on your partition and it would be nice to make use of it. To me it was going to be a bumpy road no matter what. I fully expected the Windows registration issues. I've known for a long time that Windows XP sort fo takes a HW snap shot and computes some numbers that represent that hardware. When those change it means to M$ that you are installing on another machine.

    WinXP also tried to get smart so that if you installed it on machine A then moved your hard disk to machine B it could detect that and give you a hassle about registering again. This was put in to keep people from cloning a billion HD copies of WinXP.

    So to me the ability to run Parallels on a previously installed BC partition was asking for trouble and from what I've read a number of you have had it. Had I been in charge of the process I think I would have forced a re-creation of the partition through Parallels to avoid all the registration problems. But then that would make it difficult for those of you that are out of registrations. M$ allows 2. After that they ask a zillion questions and sometimes will deny you a new code. Kinda chincy if you ask me. And it seems like there is no recourse either. You can't go somewhere and show your little halogram and get everything oked. What good is the stupid halogram then?

    Perhaps the next version of WinXP should require computers to have a camera. For registration you have to hold up your halogram next to your face. It takes a digital image of you and your halogram and does some facial and pattern recognition. To reregister if you can get the same halogram and your face is the same you are good to go. But then everyone would worry about M$ having your picture on file.

    Anyway that is off topic. In my opinion Parallels was very clear about what 3036 and 3106 were. Beta. Perhaps the term "beta" was used wrong. Perhaps they should have said "unstable test version. Install at your own risk!!!" Even still there are those of you that would have hosed yourself by installing prior to a critical meeting where you needed XP and others that would have screwed up BC and so on. It is the nature of numbers. It is bound to happen.

    Lastly I think Parallels has provided me a great amount of value for the $49 per copy I spent. Easily worth double that when I compare it to stuff like Microsoft office and even the cost of WinXP.

    When the next major upgrade comes and they want a few more $$ I'll gladly fork it over. The only thing I would ask that Parallels do is to make support really exist. They should have a two support systems. One free... This forum where a Parallels technician might eventually answer your question. The other is paid. You open a support ticket, give a visa card, and for $19.95 you get tech attention within a day via email and the support ticket system.

    That way those of us that have a critical need can get some hand holding. Parallels would also do well to make use of members on this forum. Much like Borland did with their "team B" members years ago.

    A "Team B" member was given a free copy of the product and free updates for their community service in helping to solve others problems on the bulletin board. It would be a cheap way for Parallels to grow their support staff. Periodically Parallels should distribute a list of common fixes to these people to keep them up to date.

    What do you think Parallels? I'd volunteer to help.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2007
  17. dkp

    dkp

    Messages:
    1,367
    Val - if there is sufficient interest in this and can be demonstrated by a strong showing in this thread, then a well crafted note can be put together and offered as a proposal. If the interest is not here then there is no reason to trouble them with a suggestion that has no merit. So in addition to being a topic for discussion this thread is also a bit of a poll. So far I don't see it swinging one way or the other but there have been nuisance distractions and bickering that have dampened even my enthusiasm for the project. If that settles down it may be possible to have a thoughtful dialog.

    I would also add that historically the Parallels group has been pretty mum regards queries made by the forum members. In fact I wouldn't expect a response, but one is always welcome.
     
  18. paco.blasco

    paco.blasco

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    24
    I For me it is funny to check BETA versions.... BUT I WANT TO MAINTAIN MY STABLE RELEASE.
    Has anyone do it with parallels?

    Thx in advance.
     
  19. dkp

    dkp

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    1,367
    You cannot run both at the same time. But there is nothing to stop you from uninstalling and reinstalling the version you want, but that can be a lot of work. It is probably also a good idea to maintain separate VM's for each version of Parallels as there is no assurance the VM's are compatible with all versions of Parallels.
     
  20. Stevamundo

    Stevamundo

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    407
    Exactly right Don, the final build whatever it is the version of 2.5 will be FREE to the Parallels customers.
     

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