So who won at the Lizzies?

Friday night the sixth Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards, universally known as The Lizzies, took place at Star City. As well as an enormous number of jokes about The Phantom Of The Internet and a theatre sports sketch where Computer Choice editor Ashton Mills made the somewhat unlikely claim “Sometimes we make it up”, prizes were handed out. This year, we didn’t know who the finalists were until the night: categories could have anywhere from two to twenty entrants, but only the highest scorers made the final shortlist.

I maintained my perennial bridesmaid status by getting Highly Commended certificates for Best Consumer Journalist and Best Technical Journalist. Hey, I’m nothing if not versatile. (For the curious, my Best Consumer Journalist entries were all for Exec Tech in Australian IT, looking at broadband, GPS systems and media centre PCs, while my Best Technical Journalist entry articles examined the risks of Internet forums, Skype, Windows Vista sucking and vibrators.)

Here’s a pretty full list of finalists, including winners (in bold), highly commended (HC) and commended (C). The results for the HCs and Cs flashed by pretty fast and my notes are a tad scrawled, so I may have missed one or two. (Now corrected from the official list though!)

Best New Journalist: Elyssa Baxter, Luke Coleman (HC), Mahesh Sharma (HC)

Best New Title: Gamespot.au, News.com.au technology (HC), Official PS Magazine (HC) (and frankly, this category appears to be Best Relaunch)

Best Industry Journalist: Ben Woodhead, Lilia Guam (HC), Simon Grose (HC)

Best Industry Title: Australian Financial Review, The Australian (HC)

Best Multimedia Coverage: Good Game, CIO Australia (HC), Risky Business (HC)

Best Consumer Journalist: Derek Fung, Angus Kidman (HC), Elyssa Baxter (HC)

Best Personal Title: CNET, PC User (HC), Choice Computer (HC)

Best Business Technology Title: MIS Australia, The Australian (HC)

Best Business Journalist: Paul Smith, Renai LeMay (HC), Ben Woodhead (C), Agnes King (C)

Best Communications Journalist: Michael Sainsbury (and no other finalists!)

Best Gaming Journalist: Seamus Byrne, Logan Booker, Marcus Browne

Best Gaming Title: PC Powerplay, Atomic (HC), Good Game (C)

Best Production Team: CNET, CRN (HC), PC Authority (HC)

Best Technical Journalist: Darren Yates, Angus Kidman (HC)

Best Article: JV Douglas, Patrick Gray (HC), Renai LeMay (C), Nick Ross (C)

Best Columnist: David Braue, Michael Sainsbury (C), Simon Sharwood (C), Graeme Philipson (C)

Best Reviewer: Dan Chiappini, Darren Yates (HC), Alex Kidman (C), Nick Ross (C)

Best Media Website: ZDNet, News.com.au (HC)

Best News Journalist: Julian Bajkowski, Ben Woodhead (HC)

Best News Title: The Australian, Australian Financial Review (HC)

Journalist of the Year: Ben Woodhead

Technology Title of the Year: Good Game

Linux is too hard for my mum

Note: I wrote this in response to an idle challenge on a journalist mailing list . . .

Linux is too hard for my mum

Ubuntu is a good product, but don’t try saying that it is a good option on a laptop for my mum. It would work OK for mail and writing and printing. But as soon as it has a crash, command prompt phobia will kick in.

I know that Linux addicts will claim that Ubuntu is crash-proof. No laptop is crash-proof. That is doubly so if my mum is in control. Do not ask if things will go wrong; ask how long you can wait until a call occurs.

Truthfully, I do not know an awful lot about Ubuntu anyway. I could say “Switch it off and try again”. I could wax lyrical about Dolphin. I could launch a distraction by talking about my nupital plans.

But in any pragmatic analysis, I do not know much about command prompts, apart from command prompts in DOS. Knowing DOS is not of much aid on most occasions, and Linux command prompts will show up. My mum thinks command prompts suck ass. So staying away from Ubuntu is a straightforward solution for both of us.

I will say nothing about using a Mac. I want my limbs too much.

Can you spot anything odd about this story?

A brief ethical moment

At the end of this morning’s linux.conf.au keynote, a bunch of prizes from various sponsors were handed out to names randomly drawn from a hat. One of the names was mine. While the organisers were keen to get some prizes handed out — as is always the case, some of the winners weren’t actually present — this wasn’t something I felt I could do.

So I yelled out “I’m here, but I couldn’t possibly accept a prize.” Someone up the front — probably another journalist — yelled “Ethics!” Well, yes, but it’s a bit more complex than that. I wouldn’t turn down a prize offered in a lucky draw at a press conference (I know some journalists and employers who would argue that you should). But at a professional conference where I’m just an observer (and didn’t pay to get in, even though I funded my own trip to the conference), I don’t think it’s fair on the other participants for me to win anything.

Slithering to success at the Lizzies

At last year’s Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards, I was so drunk I don’t remember anything after 7:30pm. This year, I took a vow of sobriety, which means not only did I not cause major headaches for the organisers and my brother, I also remember who won.

The most pleasing result of the night for me was BRAN winning a Highly Commended in the Best Multimedia Coverage category, against some extremely stiff competition. Yay BRAN! In the Best New Title category, we were beaten by the Gadget Guy, but I’m more than happy to lose to a nice bloke like Peter and his team.

As I predicted some time ago, I didn’t win the Helen Dancer Best Consumer Technology Journalist Award. Seamus Byrne, the well-deserved victor, made a great speech in which he noted that all his competitors were people whose work he used to read. I feel both flattered and old.

Lots of other titles I contribute to did well, including ZDNet (Winner of Best Technology Media Website), the Australian (Technology News Title of the Year and Best Technology Industry Title), and iTWire (Highly Commended in Best New Technology Title).

Since the Media Connect team obviously still all have hangovers, here’s the full list of winners:

Technology Title of the Year
MIS

Technology Journalist of the Year
Julian Bajkowski

Best Technology Article
David Braue, Asher Moses (tie)

Technology News Title of the Year
The Australian

The Cass Warneminde Best Technology News Journalist
Michael Sainsbury

Best Technology Media Website
ZDNet HIGHLY COMMENDED CNet

Best Multimedia Coverage
Cyber Shack HIGHLY COMMENDED BRAN

Best New Technology Title
GadgetGuy.com.au HIGHLY COMMENDED iTwire, Australian SmartHome Ideas

The Alicia Camphuisen Best New Technology Journalist
Craig Simms HIGHLY COMMENDED Chris Duckett

Best Business Technology Title
MIS

The John Costello Best Business Technology Journalist
Julian Bajkowski HIGHLY COMMENDED Simon Sharwood

Best Technology Industry Title
IT Today (The Australian) HIGHLY COMMENDED CRN

Best Technology Industry Journalist
Brad Howarth

Best Personal Technology Title
PC Authority

Best Technical Journalist
Darren Yates HIGHLY COMMENDED Tim Dean, Dan Chiappini

The Helen Dancer Best Consumer Technology Journalist
Seamus Byrne HIGHLY COMMENDED Dan Warne, Tim Dean

Best Gaming Title
Atomic HIGHLY COMMENDED Hyper

Best Gaming Journalist
Jason Hill HIGHLY COMMENDED Cam Shea

Best Production Team
MIS, Atomic (tie)

Best Technology Columnist
Munir Kotadia HIGHLY COMMENDED Graeme Philipson

Best Communications Journalist
Michael Sainsbury HIGHLY COMMENDED David Braue

Best Technology Reviewer
Dan Warne HIGHLY COMMENDED Alex Kidman, Nick Ross

Looking to the Lizzies

The most prominent media awards for technology writers in Australia are the Media Connect Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards, generally referred to with the more friendly nickname The Lizzies. I’ve involved with a nice swag of nominations this year, having scored a finalist berth for The Helen Dancer Best Consumer Technology Journalist category, while BRAN is a finalist in two categories: Best New Technology Title and Best Multimedia Coverage. Given the calibre of my rivals in the consumer category (my BRAN cohost Roulla Yiacoumi, sometime BRAN participant and APC news editor Dan Warne, freelancers Seamus Byrne and Nicole Manktelow and former freelancer Tim Dean), I don’t personally have any expectations of winning at all, but it’s possible BRAN might be in with a shot. The awards are announced on April 27, and the entire BRAN team will be attending the presentation at Sydney’s Star City Casino.

Calm down there, people

Apple’s planned for a phone and iPod combination has predictably excited lots of hyperbole, with bloggers and reporters competing to see who can make the most gushing remarks about a product that is, at this stage, still effectively a concept. Despite the fact that the US commercial release is six months away, people are acting as if the phone has already taken over the market. This just appeared on the breaking news section of the Wall Street Journal, a normally sober publication:

Cisco is suing Apple for trademark infringement over its use of the “iPhone” brand, a day after Apple released its new cellphone.

Since when did announcing something constitute releasing it? Very sloppy (the error was removed when the full story was posted, but it’s still lazy and misleading). The trademark news isn’t in itself surprising, though one imagines Apple will eventually have to cough up a large sum to make the problem go away.