The beta version of the latest Skyrim patch is now on Steam, though Bethesda have warned, in tones dripping with sulphur and doom, that "Apply the update at your own risk." Anything could happen! The Earth might split asunder! Vampires might eat your fingers! Sickly cats might become weirdly fixated upon you! Or, more likely, you'll hit a load of bugs and/or your savegames will go all squiffy.
Full patch notes are below, and if none of the fixes mentioned in them is relevant to your Skyperience you're probably better off waiting for the final 1.4. That said, the beta patch should bring a first taste of the official mod adding/removing/rating 'store' that's probably got the good folk behind Skyrim Nexus shaking their fists at the sky, so you might want a sneaky-peek at that. To apply the update, you need to check your Steam settings then opt-in to the Skyrim beta listed there. Bethesda recommend backing up your savegames first, in case of DOOOOOOOOOOOOM.
Exact details on how to apply the update are here, and below is the full list of fixes'n'that. No mention of giving Lydia some alternative item-trading dialogue, sadly.
Skyrim launcher support for Steam Workshop (PC)
General optimizations for memory and performance
Fixed occasional issue with armor and clothing not displaying properly when placed on mannequin’s in player’s house. (PS3)
Improved compiler optimization settings (PC)
Long term play optimizations for memory and performance (PS3)
Memory optimizations related to scripting
Fixed crashes related to pathing and AI
Fixed crash in Haemar’s Shame if player had already completed “A Daedra’s Best Friend”
Fixed rare crash with loading saved games
Fixed issue with accented characters not displaying properly at the end of a line
Master Criminal achievement/trophy unlocks properly in French, German, Spanish and Italian
Fixed issue where dragon priest masks would not render correctly
Fixed issue where quests would incorrectly progress after reloading a save
Fixed issues with placing and removing books from bookshelves in the player’s home
Fixed issue where weapon racks and plaques would not work correctly in player’s house if player immediately visits their house before purchasing any furnishing.
Fixed issue where the player house in Windhelm would not clean up properly
Fixed crash related to giant attacks and absorb spells
Fixed issue with ash piles not cleaning up properly
Fixed occasional issue where overwriting an existing save would fail
Fixed memory crash with container menu
Fixed infinite loop with bookshelves
Fixed issue where traps in Shalidor’s Maze would not work properly in French, German, Spanish and Italian versions
Fixed issue where transforming back to human from werewolf would occasionally not fail
Bows and daggers will display properly when placed on weapon racks
The Unusual Gem inside the Thalmor Embassy is now accessible after finishing “Diplomatic Immunity”
In “Breaching Security”, the quest token is no longer required to receive a fortune reading from Olava the Feeble
Fixed issue where Galmar would not complete Joining the Stormcloaks properly if “Season Unending” was an active quest
Fixed issue where starting “Season Unending” after finishing “Joining the Stormcloaks” would prevent “The Jagged Crown” from starting properly.
Fixed issue progressing through “Message to Whiterun” while “Season Unending” was still open would block progression for both quests.
In “Arniel’s Endeavor”, fixed issue where a quest journal would trigger multiple times
In “Forbidden Legend”, the amulet fragment can no longer disappear after player leaves a dungeon without taking it
Fixed rare issue in “Forbidden Legend” where killing Mikrul Gauldurson while sneaking would make his corpse unaccessible
In “The White Phial”, the phial can no longer disappear if player leaves dungeon without taking it
“The White Phial” will now start properly if player already has a briar heart in their inventory
Player can no longer get stuck in Misty Grove after completing “A Night to Remember”
Fixed issue where leaving Riften during “A Chance Arrangement” would prevent quest from progressing
In “Darkness Returns”, a door in Twilight Sepulcher will properly open if the player leaves the dungeon for an extended period of time before completing the quest
In “Revealing the Unseen”, if the player leaves the Oculory for an extended period of time after placing the focusing crystal and returns, the quest will proceed correctly
“Onmund’s Request” will now start properly if player has already found Enthir’s staff before receiving this quest
Fixed instance where Tonilia would stop buying stolen items and also would not give Guild Leader Armor
“Repairing the Phial” will start properly if player already has unmelting snow or mammoth tusk in their inventory
Finding Pantea’s Flute before speaking with Pantea no longer prevents her quest from updating
In “The Coming of the Dawn”, fixed rare instance where a quest object would spawn incorrectly on the Katariah during Hail Sithis
Fixed rare issue in “The Mind of Madness” where player is unable to equip the Wabbajack
Fixed issue in “Pieces of the Past” where Mehrunes Dagon’s Razor will not trigger properly if player leaves the cell for extended period of time before activating it
“Blood’s Honor” will start properly if you visited and completed Driftshade and an extended period of time passes before starting the quest.
Fixed rare issue where “Dampened Spirits” would not start properly
Fixed issue where player would be unable to become Thane of Riften if they purchased a home first
Fixed issue where killing guards in Cidhna Mine would block progression for “No One Escapes Cidhna Mine”
Fixed numerous issues with “Blood on the Ice” not triggering properly
In “Blood on the Ice”, Calixto can now be killed if player owns a house in Windhelm
In “The Cure for Madness”, killing Cicero then resurrecting him no longer impedes quest progress
Fixed rare issue in “To Kill an Empire” where an NPC would fail to die properly
Clearing Knifepoint Ridge before starting “Boethiah’s Champion” no longer prevents quest from starting.
Phew! If you made it this far through the post, here is your reward.