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Hardware, not Software, Takes Center Stage

Category: Rants Published on Monday, 16 February 2009

Pickings Slim for 2008 Bermie Awards

Michael L. Berman's Blog
Jan. 3
, 2008

It's time for the (yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn) 2008 Bermie Awards. Forget the fanfare and keep the lights on and curtain down, because the pickings are slim, especially when it comes to new software. In fact, you'll notice only ONE article on new software products posted on this website for 2008.

Alas, hardware (much of it not new or innovative) has taken center stage during the past year.

So, without further ado, here are the Bermies for 2008:

One Shining Light for 2008 Award: The Acer Aspire One Netbook is perfect for students, moms on the go and others seeking true portability. A full-featured notebook computer, this small wonder can fit in a briefcase or large purse and delivers everything you need. It boasts a speedy Atom processor and a full keyboard, but is only half the size of a standard notebook.


Software the Imitates Software Imitating Other Software Award: Password managers seemed to dominate the software scene, which makes me wonder if a majority of computer users are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Symantec includes one with their Security Suite, then there's the new Password Manager from Large Software (the guys that make PC-Tools) and, of course, there's Roboform. The Bermie goes to - - - envelope please - - - Roboform, which is the least intrusive and easiest to use of the three.

GPS Mapping Software Award: Although a majority of Americans probably have built-in or portable GPS units in their cars, there are still a few companies that insist we lug around our notebook computers and have them tell us where to go. Chief among them are Microsoft, with Streets and Trips 2099, and Earthmate from DeLorme, which ships with Street Atlas 2009. Delorme gets the Bermie for increased accuracy and for giving users a choice between getting an Earthmate for a PDA, notebook computer or a Bluetooth version that will work with most digital phones.

Biggest Con ever Pulled on an Unsuspecting Computer User Award: The Bermie here goes to Microsoft for its so-called Mojave Experiment. The company's marketing gurus cornered unsuspecting Windows XP users and asked them to try out a "new" operating system called Mojave, which turned out to be Vista in sheep's clothing!

Innovative, but It's Still a Hard Drive Award: Hammer Storage's new skinnable morespace portable hard drive is this year's winner. On its own, this small 500 GB hard drive is just more storage space. But, wrap it with a photo of your favorite grandkid, etc., and it makes computing personal again.

When's it all Going to End iPod Award: When the iPod first came out, it fascinating to see all of the innovative devices --- from headsets to wireless devices --- that were being produced by third parties. But enough already! It's been a couple of years and companies are rolling out even more stuff to grab bucks from the iPod Generation. The newest incarnations are clock radios from Sony and iLuv that will not only wake you up to your favorite tunes, but can record directly to your iPod from your favorite radio station. They share the Bermie for the Sony HD Radio, which is compatible with the iPod and iPhone, and the iLuv i69 HD Dual-Alarm Radio.

Best Computer Security Software Suite Award: Norton Internet Security 2009 takes top honors for being the least intrusive and most comprehensive computer protection software, although, except for the standard virus protection and SPAM blocking updates, the only really NEW feature is its interface.

Best DVD Authoring Software Award: Nero has perennially won this award for being idiot-proof and comprehensive. But this year Roxio takes top honors for Easy Media Creator 9. It's drag and drop capabilities (which no longer hang up your computer), and intuitive interface make it the clear winner for 2009.

Best Graphics Suite Award: Building upon the awesomeness of the CS3 series of graphics suites, Adobe should be the clear winner with their recently announced CS4 series of products. But, alas, this computer geek has yet to play with the new line of graphics programs (chief among them Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign). Although not as comprehensive, Corel's CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4 is this year's recipient. This is a sweet suite of products that is aimed at everyone from novices to professionals and can handle any project with ease and flair.

Best Online Game Award: Only two of giants of the online gaming community released comprehensive updates for their games. World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion set and the new Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria upgrade bring even more mayhem and great storytelling to the online gaming world. I play with both. I'm addicted to both. Hence both get Bermies.

Most Innovative Board Game Since Monopoly Award:: Pimps and Hos Deluxe Edition from Weaver Games is a ton of fun. In a takeoff of Monopoly, the goal is to rule the streets by defeating up to seven other players. Plus there are several expansion sets available in case you become bored with the original game.

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