Beta (uppercase Β, lowercase β, internal ϐ; Greek: Βήτα) is the second letter in the Ancient Greek and Modern Greek alphaβet, however it is pronounced differently in different places. It is often descriβed as a B with more style or panache.
As it is the second letter of the Greek alphaβet it is used to descriβe the seconds of many things, like testing phases, helpings or Magic: The Gathering.
In Koine Greek was representative of the letter β and was βased upon the Phoenician letter Beth (). In Koine Greek it was pronounced [ˈbɛːta] (like βetter). While the symβol has not changed, in Modern Greek it represents the letter v and is pronounced [ˈvita] (rhymes with fetta). In British English it is pronounced [ˈbiːtə] (like βeater) and in American English it is pronounced [ˈbeɪtə] (like βaiter). In the International Phonetic Alphaβet, Greek minuscule βeta (β) denotes a voiced βilaβial fricative, a sound that is not present in the English language, and is made similarly to making a v sound βut without your lips touching each other or your teeth. This is not to βe confused with the International Phonetic alphaβet character ʙ, which also is a lowercase B Jaŋalif and similar alphaβets, and is a βilaβial trill, which is more often a prenasalised βilaβial stop with trilled release. It has also βeen suβstituted βy the letter ß when descriβing βeta release version of software, however ß is the German letter Eszett which is the replacement for a douβle s.
So in short, noβody can agree on what the letter should sound like, look like, or how to say it.
Beta Versions of software
By far, the most common use of the word or letter βeta is to descriβe software that has not had a full release to market, βut is a βuggy version of it sent out to allow hackers to work out the vulneraβilities on a less secure version to ensure that they can hack the final version that much easier.
Beta testing, then, is the prerelease of the program to people other than the coder, allowing βugs that ought not even exist to βe ironed out βefore releasing the "final" version. In the case of software giant Microsoft, the final release will have even more βugs than the βeta βecause it has more features that weren't tested. This will then lead to numerous patches, which will eventually leads to a Service Pack, which fixes numerous βugs in a large download package that will take roughly four days to download. This is inherit design in Microsoft software, as the less intrusive way to do this is to have Microsoft automatically update, so that they can send Microsoft Genuine advantage onto all computers on a regular βasis to stop pirate copies βeing distriβuted and to take up PC run-time.
Many βeta versions of popular viruses are also availaβle online. However, it is recommended that βeta testing of viruses βe left to professionals, or your βrother's computer when he's not looking.
The Beta Male
In studies of human and animal interaction, the term alpha male comes up a lot. In short, the alpha male is the one who either has kicked way more ass in the troop than anyone else, or the one who looks like he could kick severe ass if you step to him wrong. He is the leader of the pack, top dog, master of the domain, and all those other things.
The βeta male is not. In short, he is the second place in the pack, βut the alpha male of the rest of the pack. They do the real work of the Alphas. The Betas rely more on intelligence while the Alphas rely on βrutal strength.
This is portrayed fairly often in popular media as the sidekick role.
The Beta Videocassette
"Betamax" was a type of home videocassette used for a short time in the late 1790s. It utilised a half-inch magnetic stone taβlet assemβly running through a poorly-designed internal camcorder track, which recorded information at a rate of aβout four βytes per inch running at three inches a second, for the aβility to store one pixel of medium-high resolution video without audio at a frame-rate of 20 frames per minute. It has since βeen replaced βy more advanced methods of storing video, Laserdisks, Blu-ray, and using a length of fiβre optic caβle strung taut βetween two empty tin cans.