Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 148 / JANUARY 1993 / PAGE 4

Editorial license. (1992 'Compute' Choice Awards for best computer-related products) (Editorial)
by Clifton Karnes

January is a time for celebration and reflection, and here at COMPUTE we're doing both. We're reflecting on the best hardware and software products of 1992, and we're celebrating the winners with our annual COMPUTE Choice Awards.

If you're new to COMPUTE, here's some background on the awards. Each year, COMPUTE's editors and writers nominate the hardware and software products that they think are the year's best. We study the nominations, and from that list, we choose what we think are the top products.

For this year's awards, we selected 25 categories, everything from Best Word Processor to Best Laptop/Notebook Computer to Best Arcade Game. We took nominations from COMPUTE's editors and writers, and when the smoke cleared, we had a list of 131 products. This list of nominees comprises what we feel are the best products going--a Who's Who of PC software and hardware. And from this group of top contenders, we chose the best of the best.

Choosing the winners is tough every year, but this year it was harder than ever. The reason is simple: Software and hardware products keep getting better and better. Each year they're more sophisticated, more powerful, and easier to use. And in fact, in one instance, Best Desktop Publishing/Graphics Program, we had to go with a tie.

The point I want to make is that almost all these races were photo finishes. I don't want to take anything away from the winners, but I'd like to stress that being nominated is the real honor. To bring this point home, in this year's Choice Awards feature, we're listing the nominees in each category along with a reader service number for each, so you can get more information about them if you're interested. This is something we've never done before, but we've want to recognize the nominees as well as the winners.

We've also added a special technology award this year, and we have two winners: the PCMCIA interface and the VESA local bus. Both of these exciting new technologies are really bus innovations: PCMCIA gives a notebook computer the same expansion options as a desktop, and the VESA local bus offers blinding speed for video. In the future, local bus will make hard disks and almost anything else that normally fits in a slot on your PC lightning fast.

One other aspect of the COMPUTE Choice Awards deserves special mention: our time frame. You may find yourself looking at these products and wondering why something that appeared in December, for example, wasn't nominated. There are several reasons for this. The first is that the January issue actually appears on the newsstand on December 15 and goes to subscribers even earlier. We also need at least one month to evaluate any new products for award consideration. Add to that the time it takes to actually produce COMPUTE, and you have a lead time of a few months. For this reason, we've decided to adopt an award year that runs from September 1 to September 1--roughly the same year the auto industry uses.

It's also worth noting that while we allow editors to nominate software products still in beta (prerelease version of the soon-to-be-shipping software), we made a new ruling for this year's awards that only shipping products could win. This eliminated several superb pieces of software, but they'll have a chance at next year's awards.

The last point I'd like to touch on is the categories we chose. The 25 award categories are based on the types of software and hardware that we feel are important to you, our readers. Where do we get the input on what's important to you? From lots of sources, but the most important is from the readership surveys that we run twice a year. In these surveys you tell us not only what you like about COMPUTE and what you'd like to see changed but what types of software and hardware you're interested in. You can see from this how important these surveys are to us at COMPUTE.

In this issue, you'll find 1993's first readership survey to sound off with. Let us know what kind of hardware you have. The software you're using. What you'd like to read about. And, in the comments section at the end, tell us what you think of the COMPUTE Choice Awards. Your vote counts!