As someone who has never been asked to test anything at all (except for my wife's cooking, which is delicious, honey!), I was excited when I was told that Project 500 was a new software which integrates all the social media that you can think, and then some. It is just a beta version of a web based software. We were to test it, give a feedback through surveys (there are two of them) and we can suggest other things which we think can improve Project 500. As Project 500 is the project name, we were even ask to suggest a name for the new software.
Before we go further, let me be frank. There is a reason I was never asked to test any software or even a hardware. My experience in testing some new gadget was when I was quite close to the editor of this one pull-out section of a local newspaper which is about cars. We travelled twice to the north of Malaysia in brand new cars and on one of the occasion, I even got a speeding ticket (he paid for it). The speeding ticket was due to my idea of testing a vehicle is where you need to see how fast can it go. I mean, the speedometer goes up to 300 km/h for a reason right? So, that was my whole history of 'testing' something. And as I said, my wife's cooking (which did I mention is very, very good, right?)
Oh, and my experience of testing the new portable broadband product which was called a Wiggy of all thing. And which is now embroiled in the controversy due to its advertisement using the word "Potong!" or "Cut!" which is a play on that word to suggest you don't need a wire to get good speed on your internet. That test has at least gained me a netbook for quite a good price....
So, what is my understanding of Project 500 from the briefing and the few days I have tried it?
The best way to explain what is the Project 500 is to look at this image :
It shows you an image of one interface to get you connected to all your social media site (the host that day, Hannah Tan, used the acronym SMS or Social Media Siet, which confused me a bit as I have been using SMS as acronym for Short Messaging System for handphone)
The interface for Project 500 is this web based look :
It is supposed to be a beta version, which some of the techies who came that day explained to me as very near release date but can still be tweaked.
What I remembered most about the system, although they say can be accessed with mobile phone, especially when they used this image :
was that, when I tried to access the site using my Blackberry Storm,
IT CRASHED MY BLACKBERRY!!!!
My Blackberry Storm never had any problem before since the first they I took it into my possession. So, the next day, I had to spent nearly 3 hours getting my Blackberry restored. And thanks to my constant back-ups, I managed to return it to its former self.
Still, it was a hassle. And the initial feedback I am reading in twitters and other review like the one done by Niki Cheong, which you can read in his post : Initial thoughts on Project 500, which is a better review than this, are not flattering. Some are even angry as they think they are used as guinea pig. Read the comment section too. There are a lot of other bloggers and testers and invited-testers-but-turned-off-by-the-questionnaires who gave their opinions on it. During the event itself, there were only 170+ of the 500 who came as it was a long weekend and most people were out of town.
As for me, I don't mind that as they did give us a free movie screening (where my opinion on the movie is another matter altogether) and some vouchers. And I got to spend some time with some friends. So, as my friends always point out, I am easy to please.
If you want to join in or get to know what is Project 500, you can join in but you will not be asked to participate in the survey (which is good? bad?). Here is their address :