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The VS2010 crash is a known issue when you install into an existing Oracle home. What is happening is that OCI.DLL is locked during the install and it is old and not in synch with the rest of the DLLs, hence the crashes.
Uninstall the ODAC beta and then reinstall it into a completely new Oracle home and you should be ok. If you have to install into the same Oracle home, it is more complicated.
Thanks, that fixed it! I was able to both create a connection in the Server Explorer and successfully open a connection in my code.
Thanks a lot! It worked for me too! ;)