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Bernardo
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Bernardo
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PostSat Sep 05, 2015 8:35 pm 
Maybe Jack Mileski did get the ball rolling, but beta-testing apparently stems from IBM in the 1960s. At IBM in those days there were preliminary alpha tests followed by more substantial beta tests. Acquiring data from beta trials would have been a known concept in the 1980s and this probably would have helped the term gain popularity among climbers and hikers who understood the computer industry meaning but didn't have any knowledge of Mileski's allusion to video tapes. The term made sense to me when I first learned it as a derivation of the computer industry term. In any case, it's a great neologism because it has a distinctive and clear meaning, and it makes intuitive sense to most people as soon as they hear it even if they aren't sure why.

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Josh Journey
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Josh Journey
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PostSat Sep 05, 2015 10:54 pm 
Can the term be used for more than climbing? Is it used for trail information? Many of us know it has other implications in the non outdoor sense.

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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 7:40 am 
It originaly was used in the Betamax sense. Magazines would have a series of photos that would show every hold on a sport climb, often with a written detailed description. It was quite controversial at the time as it removed the exploring and discovery from climbing. It was a way of establishing new difficult routes on already climbed crags. Use declined somewhat with the rise of indoor gyms.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Slugman
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 8:49 am 
It doesn't just mean "information". When someone asks for beta on a hike or route, they are not asking for general information, they want the specific things they might really need to know that would only be known by another experienced person. It implies to me the second level of knowledge beyond knowing things like how to get to the trailhead, or how long the hike is, or knowing how to hike/climb/scramble in the first place.

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jared_j
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 9:42 am 
Beta is really useful, especially in splitter weather.

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ScottP
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 10:41 am 
jared_j wrote:
Beta is really useful, especially in splitter weather.
Or on a dead ball problem.

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hikermike
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 11:31 am 
I would support the concept that the use of "beta" is related almost exclusively to climbing as I hear it in no other endeavor. Our family is heavily into computers as all of my children are employed in various aspects and my wife is learning database analysis and they nor their friends never use the term for information. They use it as in "an early adaptor"...."he's a beta tester" or "I just got the new beta version of War Machine!"

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Badger
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 12:18 pm 
touron wrote:
I am not a climber or software tester, but I always thought it came from the test world, a test done prior to product launch
Correct. In the world of IT a product (application) is put into beta stage for testing prior to being released to for the publics use. Testing can include folks outside the company who sign up to test the product and write up an analysis of their findings. They are usually compensated with free SW/HW depending on what is being tested. Congrats! you win a free pine cone! clown.gif

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ScottP
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PostSun Sep 06, 2015 2:08 pm 
From Dawn "Tradgirl" Alguard's now defunct Climbing FAQ website: "Where did the word "beta" originate from? From: George Bell Here is Steve Tyler's response, voted "most likely to be correct" or at least "most interesting": I had heard, that the term "beta" was coined by Jack Mileski (SP?), a deceased Gunks Climber who was referring to a video tape of a route (Betamax) used to gain pre-climb information for an attempted climb of a route. This cite is unsubstantiated and any other theories are welcome. From: John Baker No, other theories are NOT welcome. Especially those trying to relate the term to software. Talk about revisionist history... The Jack Mileski story is exactly right. I remember when the term came out in the early 80s. "Beta" comes from BetaMax, as in watching someone act out the moves as though you were seeing a video (although that format is now defunct). IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SOFTWARE RELEASES ! From: Steven Cherry IN addition, this version has been canonized in the obituary done by either Climbing or R&I in their obituary of Mileski. (Nor was "beta" the only climbing lingo attributed to Jackhammer Jack.) From: Dingus Milktoast If climbers used the word "beta" they way most software houses do, we'd all be dead. From: Reed Bartlett For a completely different answer: I remember in the mid-80's a few articles about Bachar. In one of them it explained that he had been persuaded by a group of Japanese climbers to climb Midnight Lightning with them video-taping it. Since they had a beta-max camera it was later referenced as "having the beta." I also remember the old R&I article that talked about Jack Mileski and Betamax. Great article and super funny too. Still, I'll stick to the story about Bachar being video taped. "

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touron
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PostMon Sep 07, 2015 6:29 pm 
Badger wrote:
touron wrote:
I am not a climber or software tester, but I always thought it came from the test world, a test done prior to product launch
Correct. In the world of IT a product (application) is put into beta stage for testing prior to being released to for the publics use. Testing can include folks outside the company who sign up to test the product and write up an analysis of their findings. They are usually compensated with free SW/HW depending on what is being tested. Congrats! you win a free pine cone! clown.gif
uhh.gif Could I possibly request a beta prize? Unless of course it is a redwood pinecone in which case I could start my own redwood forest.

Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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Pyrites
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PostMon Sep 07, 2015 7:06 pm 
Equivalent to previous generation's the straight scoop, the dope on...

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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Conrad
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Conrad
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PostMon Sep 07, 2015 7:54 pm 
... poop, the skinny ... Good point. "Information" seems to generate slang aliases almost as fast as "copulate", "feces", or "badly behaved person".

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Josh Journey
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Josh Journey
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PostFri Jan 06, 2023 1:58 pm 
I want my betamax. cool.gif Or should I say max beta.

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HitTheTrail
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PostFri Jan 06, 2023 3:56 pm 
So the term got "ripped off" from computer slang?

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