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The Missing Manuals

Mac OS X Innovators Contest Update

by Derrick Story

The field for the 2004 Mac OS X Innovators Contest was extremely strong. In part, I think this was because we're only running one round this year, instead of the three rounds we offered in 2003. Plus, I think there's quite of bit of innovation on the platform right now, and this event is one of the barometers for independent development on Mac OS X.

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The entry deadline was at the end of August. Our judges then reviewed and tested the top entries during September. I was on the committee, along with James Duncan Davidson, Daniel Steinberg, and Jason Deraleau. We independently made our top-five lists for both the international and U.S. categories, and then submitted them to the other judges on the committee for review. Interestingly enough, the top four winners appeared on 75 percent of the judges' initial top-five lists. All judges commented that the quality of submissions was high.

At this point, I assigned a ranking number to all of the entrants in this round of judging. The top entry on a judge's list was given five points, the second four points, and so on down the line. I then added up the points for each entry in this round and proposed our winners to the judging committee. After some discussion, we had consensus. The judges approved the point winners I proposed. The winners were notified by email on Friday, October 1.

Each category--U.S. and international--has a first place, second place, and honorable mention winner, for a total of six. Four of those winners will be attending our Meet the Mac OS X Innovators panel discussion, followed by the Apple Developer Connection Reception on Tuesday, October 26, at the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference in Santa Clara, California. The winning entries will be announced earlier in the day at the show, and we'll also publish a press release with information about the software and developers.

Following the activities at the Mac OS X Conference, we'll publish insights from the developers who created these outstanding entries. You'll have a chance to learn more about how they go about creating and marketing applications for the Mac OS X platform.

I think this is an important part of the process. Yes, we want to acknowledge the top independent developers of 2004. But beyond that, we want to help all Mac DevCenter readers bring their ideas to fruition, and in the most efficient way possible.

If you entered the 2004 Innovators Contest, you've taken an important step forward. The process of thinking about your work and writing about its merits is a first step toward marketing your idea to the greater public. Having reviewed all of the descriptions for this year's contest, I can tell you that many of the entries appear to be commercially viable.

I urge all of the entrants who believe they have created a work that others would enjoy using to consider their contest descriptions as a first step in the evolution of their work, and to see how far those ideas can go. The 2004 Innovators Contest, I hope for many, is only the beginning of a rewarding future in software development--either as a hobby or as a full-time endeavor.

So, we'll announce the winners on October 26, then begin the discussion about the software and the people who created it after that. Until then, I say thank you, most sincerely, to everyone who participated in this contest. You made the judges work hard. And you made me proud to be a Mac OS X advocate.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.

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