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Chronicles of a TeamSpeak 3 Alpha Tester
by Ephraim on Feb 13, 2009
Like many of you I had been eagerly awaiting the release of TeamSpeak 3. Then I learned that TeamSpeak was searching for additional Alpha testers so I decided to apply and take a chance. I read the requirements on becoming an Alpha tester, and my immediate thought was, "I wonder if I will fit the profile?!" Nevertheless, I completed the application and began to wait. Several weeks later I received an invitation to an online interview. I was really excited to have been selected.

On the day of the interview I found myself logged into a TeamSpeak 2 server with several other devs. I was quite nervous. My first thoughts were, "What will they ask me? It's five against one!" :) But the dev team turned out to be less intimidating than I had perceived. In fact, most of the interview was a pleasant conversation. We even talked about WoW and I was suddenly asked the ultimate question, "Horde or Alliance!!??" Luckily I answered correctly. :)

After the interview, another waiting period followed ... and finally, several days before Christmas, I received THE final email acknowledging my acceptance into the Alpha test program! The email included information on obtaining the TeamSpeak 3 client and how to connect to the TeamSpeak 3 test server.

And now, my first impressions can easily be summarized in one sentence:
"TeamSpeak 3 is FREAKING awesome!"

So there you have it. :D

Cool New Features in TeamSpeak 3

Ok, let's talk about some cool new features in TeamSpeak 3. There are plenty to choose from but I think the immediate, and most noticeable one for me is the reduced latency. Another Alpha tester and I did some latency testing, and we both agreed that there is little to no noticeable latency -- and we both have only average DSL connections. Woohooo! :)

Ok, so what else? I think the next "Wooohoo!" feature is that TeamSpeak 3 includes a very easy-to-use file sharing tool. There now exists the possibility to upload or download files on a per channel basis or into a common folder tree, all of which is hosted entirely off the server. So if you have a TeamSpeak 3 Server running, file sharing with your friends is easy. You no longer need to worry about how to setup FTP, or mess with any other complicated file-sharing applications...nor do you need to deal with any firewall issues. You can even insert a clickable link into the TeamSpeak 3 chat pane, so anyone who clicks on the link can instantly download the file. Permissions or access rights to files are just as easily controlled via the permissions settings of the channel.

The current GUI should look familiar to most TeamSpeak 2 users, but for all you GFX lovers TeamSpeak 3 is completely customizable. You can create your own set of icons, styles of controls, and so on. I love styles but since I don't fully understand how to create them on my own I guess I'll have to wait to see what sorts of great styles are developed by the TeamSpeak community when TeamSpeak 3 goes public!!

Last but not least, some of you may relate to the trouble of remembering your registered username and password when you connect to multiple TeamSpeak servers. Well these sorts of issues are now history! :) User management has been completely redesigned. When you first launch the TeamSpeak 3 client a unique identity is created, and when you connect to a server this unique identity is stored and tracked by the server. So, for an admin this eliminates the need to manually register a username and password with the server, and allows the admin to assign a set of permissions to your identity which will automatically be recalled by the server every time you connect. The end result is that your rights can be entirely controlled through your unique identity -- thus strengthening security by eliminating username and password issues, and effectively making the process of administering users far less tedious than ever before.

Life as an Alpha Tester

Being an Alpha tester is not such a difficult job. We really have fun doing it. There are typically 5 to 10 people connected at any given time so there is always collaborative testing or discussions going on. Sometimes we discuss Linux problems while someone else is playing Battlefield on another channel. One interesting fact, however, is that no one seems to play WoW. :) ...regardless, we did recently have a discussion on WoW vs Diablo 2. Guess which side I was fighting for? :)

Why is TeamSpeak 3 not released yet? Are the Devs Lazy?

Well first off, the devs are overall a funny folk and they are in fact working very hard and very fast on getting the bugs fixed which we find -- YES, we do our job. :) What amazes me is how it typically takes no more than 3 days for a new build of the client to be released with bug fixes. Builds are often even released on weekends. So, the TeamSpeak 3 client is in fact evolving quickly with measurable results.

So that's about it. All I can tell you is stay tuned to this site and stay patient! TeamSpeak 3 is well worth the wait. :) Ciao!

- Ephraim
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