Andy Zeigler is the Program Manager for Reliability and Privacy on the Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 team. Now there's a job and a half, it has to be said.
Writing on the official IEBlog he says "For Internet Explorer, reliability means that the browser should always start quickly, perform well, connect to the Internet, and show Web sites without crashing or hanging. Most users want their browser to work, recover smoothly after a crash, and display the Web correctly. Users are not as concerned with what causes the problem, whether that be a poorly functioning add-on or poorly performing website. As part of our ongoing commitment to improve reliability, we have done a great deal of work in IE8 to make the browser more robust in all of these areas: performance, recovery and display."
Which is why Beta testing is so important. For the most part, users who download the Beta versions of something like IE8 don't really get to do much other than play with some new software which might not be totally stable. There is precious little real and direct interaction with the development team, unless you are part of the Microsoft Connect Beta programme team that is.
But now, in an unusual move it has to be said, Allison Burnett, another Program Manager on the IE8 team, has posted a request for great people to become great Beta testers by filing great bug reports. Great!
"Beta 2 is right around the corner and we are expanding our reach!" she says "If you wish to be a part of making IE better by contributing great bug reports then please email us at IESO@microsoft.com and tell us a little about yourself including why you’d be a great beta tester."