Back in January we introduced the Dontmindme.com Wilhelm Awards, which you can read all about at the Wilhelm Awards Page. Then a few months later, in preparation for next January, we had a batch of nominations for the 2006 Wilhelms. Of course, one round of nominations is hardly enough, here's another batch of nominations for the prestigious and highly sought after Wilhelm Awards.
Best New Web Service: Mapping websites have been around for years. Between MapQuest and Yahoo Maps and others, there really didn't seem to be much need for innovation on the map front. Then Google released Google Maps, which was fast and pretty and had a better interface than the other mapping services, but no one really noticed. At least, not until they included satellite imagery. All of a sudden you could actually see the world (well, just North America at first) as it was. If you lived in an urban area, where the satellite imagery was combined with aerial photography to give high resolution results, you could find your own house. Of course, the satellite imagery was really cool, but it wasn't the easiest thing for actually finding places, since it can be hard to tell one road from another without labels. Google addressed that with a hybrid mode, which overlaid street information on the satellite maps. It goes without saying that Google Maps is a strong contender for the Wilhelm for Best New Web Service.
Most Shameless Plug: The editor-in-chief of this site, as much as he might want to work on this site all day every day, has a full time job, where, among other things, he designs websites. Over the past year he has built a number of websites, but probably the one he is most pleased with is the site for MarineNav. Of course, that being said, it's currently being overhauled and redesigned to be ready for the a 2006 product launch, but still, this is a pretty strong shameless plug.
Best Generic Food Product: All major grocery chains have their own unique store brands. Usually these are a cheaper — yet more profitable for the store — alternative to the major national brands. Sometimes these generic products are very similar in quality to the brand name goods, occasionally even exactly the same products in different packaging. In general, though, store brands are usually perceived as inferior to brand name products. Sometimes, however, the opposite is true, and a generic item is far superior to the brand name equivalent. Our Compliments Lickety Fudge cookies, available at Sobeys supermarkets, is at a glance a knock off of a Nabisco Fudgee-O (basically an Oreo with chocolate cream filling, for those outside of Canada). Now while the Fudgee-O is a much better cookie than the Oreo, the Lickety Fudge cookie is far, far better. It's almost impossibly good for a store bought cookie. It is superior to the Oreo by several orders of magnitude, easily as superior as Sophia Loren is to Courtney Love. It is a strong contender for Best Generic Food Product.
Most Disturbing Technology Trend: Earlier this year I got a new computer. As wonderful as that is for a nerd such as myself, there is also a lot of work involved — the transfer of data files, the installation of major software packages, and configuring everything so it's just right. Then there are the extra items and plugins that you don't think about until you need to use them — items like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Macromedia Flash Player, that sort of thing. Now if you go to download either of those items, low and behold it also installs the Yahoo toolbar unless you specifically select not to. This is becoming increasingly common with a lot of software vendors as the big search companies strive to hold on to as much of their market share as possible. MSN, Yahoo, and Google are all guilty of this to a certain extent. There is an emerging term for this practice — bundleware. A piece of software that you want is bundled with a piece of software that isn't necessarily harmful or dangerous, but is probably unwanted. It might succeed in getting toolbar software on people's computers, but in doing so it damages the reputation of all the companies involved. After all, if a toolbar was good enough, why should it need to be bundled with a popular software package? Bundleware is a strong contender for Most Disturbing Technology Trend.