O'Reilly Mac OS X Innovators Contest
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The Missing Manuals

Mac OS X Innovators Contest Ready for Primetime

by Derrick Story

Last Fall, when I decided that I wanted to do more on Mac DevCenter to help independent developers bring their ideas to market, I got together with our partners and developed a three-part plan. Today, I'm happy to announce the fruition of this plan, including the launch of the Mac OS X Innovators contest.

As anxious as I am to jump right to the contest, I want to give you just a brief overview of the overall plan and how things are going to proceed from here. Then I'll get into the meat of the contest.

Three Facets of the Plan

Job one was to create a section on Mac DevCenter that focused on developer interviews and articles that addressed how to take those late night brainstorms and turn them into real software that others would download and, if appropriate, purchase. I titled that section Developing for Mac OS X, and added it to Mac DevCenter's content box on the upper left side of the home page. So far we've added more than a half dozen pieces to the developer area, and I have lots more good stuff in the works.

The second facet is to upgrade our Mac Open Source Software Directory so that it becomes a vibrant, useful tool for those who want to make their software available to others via these listings. It's also intended to serve as a tool to find out about interesting programs to download. I'm happy to report that we've just made a deal with Steve Mallett to take over the management of this directory.

For those of you who don't know Steve, he's the founder and managing editor of Open Source Directory and a regular weblog contributor to O'Reilly Network. If you've been reading his blogs, you know that Steve has keen interest in Mac OS X; combining this passion with his excellent open source background makes him a terrific choice for taking over the reins of our Mac directory project.

I'll be announcing new developments in this area as they become available. If you have specific suggestions for improving this directory, please send them to me, and I'll make sure your voice is heard.

Now for the crown jewel of this effort: the "Mac OS X Innovators" contest. (My lord, I thought this day would never get here.) As you can imagine, there are lots of details to putting together a contest like this, but everyone now seems happy with its final design. That means it's time for the fun part--you and I get to play.

I'm not going to try to contain my excitement about this. So instead of blathering on about it and using far too many adjectives, here's a list of what I consider to be the highlights of this endeavor:

  • In general terms, this contest is open to just about anyone who has created downloadable software for Mac OS X. If you have a great idea that runs on Mac OS X, you can probably enter it.

  • The prizes are fantastic: A full pass to O'Reilly's Mac OS X Conference and Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Safari Bookshelf membership, developer discounts on Apple hardware, and much more.

  • Fame for your software. We're going to announce the winners at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, have a reception in the Rendezvous Lounge where we'll show off the winning software (and its creators), promote everything on O'Reilly web sites, and more.

  • Fun for the rest of us. Those of us who don't win will actually get to play with this stuff, learn from those who did win, and get ready for the next round of competition.

What's that, did I say the next round of competition? Yes I did. Entries for the first round will be accepted until Friday, March 28, 2003 5 p.m. PST. The winners will be announced at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference on Thursday, April 24th. Then on May 1st, the second round of competition begins, culminating with the winners being announced at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in July in Portland, Oregon. Then the final round begins with awards made at the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference in October. Three rounds in total, with first and second prizes being awarded for each round.

Personally, I think each round will be harder to win than the previous one because developers will have had more time to get their software together and enter. So, if you have something to enter now, I'd do it and try to scoop the competition. You could steal the brass ring.

Those who don't win this first round will be able to enter again in subsequent rounds. This will give you time to refine and polish your entry. The winners from the previous rounds will not be able to enter their winning entries again. But don't let your guard down because prior winners can enter a different piece of software.

The Mac OS X Innovators Site

The place to find the contest rules and entry form, as well as to follow the development of these competitions, is the official Mac OS X Innovators contest site. We'll be posting articles, contest news, judges profiles, and lots more here. So make sure you check it out a couple times a week to stay in the loop.

Let the games begin. Good luck to all of you, and get those entry forms submitted.

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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