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The Missing Manuals

Judging Update for the Second Mac OS X Innovators Contest

by Derrick Story

Like developers themselves, no two contests are alike. This is also true for the second Mac OS X Innovators event. Round one had a great deal of pre-deadline conversation, questions, opinions, and a raft of early entries. Round two has just rolled along like it's been around forever, that is, until the week before deadline when a flurry of entries rushed in the door.

As I've looked over the 85 submissions, the first thing that jumps out at me is the International category. Lots of amazing stuff there that I've enjoyed reading about, and those entries definitely caught the fancy of our judges as they made their initial selections. In fact, the first cut had more International selections than did the U.S. And there was plenty of conversation about those entries.

And the Judges Are...

Speaking of judging, I should take a moment to introduce you to our panel for the second contest. In addition to myself, here are the people hard at work behind the scenes:

James Duncan Davidson has a nose for clever ideas. And just as important, he understands both Cocoa and Java programming. He's an O'Reilly book author and a perennial speaker at our conferences. Not only can he distinguish how well an application works, he can tell us what's going on beneath the GUI.

Rael Dornfest is the program chair for both the O'Reilly Emerging Technology and the Mac OS X conferences. He's been one of the driving forces behind our wildly successful Hacks series of books, and is a software innovator himself. I just got off the phone with Rael, and the thing that jumped out at me was his sense of what is truly new and fresh, as opposed to new wrapping on an old idea.

Daniel Steinberg brings a mathematician's mind to this process. His analytical approach gives me confidence that he won't approve something just because it's "cool." Daniel's background in Java programming also gives him an excellent feel for quality coding. Plus, he has an undying sense of fairness (which is an excellent quality in a judge). Daniel is now the managing editor for the new java.net site you may have heard about.

Nat Torkington is the O'Reilly program chair for the Open Source Convention coming to Portland, Oregon this summer. He's been very active in this round of judging because the winners will be presented at OSCON in July. Nat is a Perl programmer and an extremely well-versed open source guy. He definitely has the big picture when it comes to this family of technologies. I like having Nat on this panel because his finger is on the pulse of innovation in the open source community, and that's an important perspective for a Mac OS X contest.

What's Next?

Looks like we should have our winners selected in both categories by June 26. I'll contact the winners by email (some of them will probably be at WWDC). Then, the week of June 30 I'll post a notice on the Mac OS X Innovators site that the winners have been notified. We'll announce them officially at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in July.

I can't wait to introduce this round of winners to our audience and the developer community at large. I like every one of the entries that have made the cut so far. And I know some of them, even if they don't place first or second, will be Honorable Mentions in the fall at our Mac OS X Conference.

So for now, we're going to get back to work. I'll keep you posted as things happen.

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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