Being a programmer is usually a thankless job - nine times out of ten, if a programmer hears from someone, it's because that person has a problem and wants it fixed. Since no news is good news, programmers are often quite happy if no one notices them.
Nonetheless, programmers sometimes need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of day and thanked for their substantial efforts to make our lives (and our computers) more worthwhile. I'm happy to note two current efforts that acknowledge the hard work of Macintosh developers.
Usenet Macintosh Programming Awards -- This is the second year of the Usenet Macintosh Programming Awards (UMPA) - we reported on last year's winners in TidBITS-278. The basic idea is that the online Macintosh programmer community from the comp.sys.mac.programmer.* newsgroups nominates individuals (or teams) in categories for commercial, shareware, and freeware products, as well as for supporting the Mac programming community and being the most helpful net citizen. This year's nominations are almost over, and voting will commence shortly.
Since the Usenet Mac Programming Awards represent recognition from peers, nominations and voting require a correct answer to a Macintosh programming question, but otherwise anyone may vote. Winners receive a plaque, T-shirt, APDA gift certificate, and other items; winners outside the commercial software category also receive copies of Symantec and Metrowerks development tools and utilities, BBEdit, Onyx Technology's QC, and Natural Intelligence's Roaster development environment for Java. Prizes have been donated by their respective vendors, and the awards as a whole are sponsored by Bare Bones Software and Metrowerks.
The Usenet Mac Programming Awards represent the kind of grass-roots organization and recognition that characterize both the Macintosh and the Internet, and also provides much-deserved credit for hard-working developers.
1996 Human Interface Design Awards -- Apple has just announced the 1996 Human Interface Design Excellence Awards (HIDE) a contest to honor the excellent human interfaces available on the Macintosh. Intended to promote commercial products and generate public recognition, Apple will give awards for the most elegant product, the most innovative product, the product with the best look and feel, and the product with the best overall interface. The awards will be presented at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in May, and there's no fee for entering the contest, though entries must be received by 19-Apr-96.
Ironically, Apple's means of entering the contest could use some elegance: entrants must download, print, and mail in a Acrobat PDF application form (that more closely resembles an insurance policy than a contest entry), along with two copies of the software to be entered. A panel of expert judges, under Apple's supervision, will select the winners, who will receive trophies or plaques, but also (and more importantly) the right to use stickers on product packaging indicating they won a human interface award from Apple. I'm pleased to see a contest that rewards design and elegance rather than raw sales figures or marketing muscle, but I'm depressed at Apple's failure to better use the Internet as a way to enter.