One of the questions we hear most often in Jocgeekville is "What happened to the 2015 Bermie Awards?"
Truthfully, our panel of experts was too tired and cranky to make their annual selections for the prestigious prize last year (actually I forgot). But this year, we've cleared the decks for the 19th Annual Bermie Awards, which are given to companies or people that have either annoyed or thrilled us during the past year.
So, without fanfare and the usual hullabaloo, here are the recipients of the 2016 Bermies.
The Try, Try Again Award goes to Microsoft for the debut of Windows 10. This new operating system was developed on the heels of a disastrous push for PC users to adopt Windows 8 and its offspring - - - Windows 8.1. In fact, the Boys from Redmond were so embarrassed by Windows 8, they completely skipped version nine, hoping to distance themselves from the older operating system. Although it's a vast improvement over Win 8 - - - and has gone through a much more rigorous beta testing program - - - a buggy initial release and reports of installation problems on older computers haven't helped it gain favor with the usual flock of naysayers that greet every new version of Windows.
The Everything's the Same but Different Award goes to every developer of fitness bands in the universe. The market was flooded with these devices in 2015, all touting they can do the same thing as all of their competitors, but "better." They all track steps, heart rate, sleep and deliver other vital information to constantly remind us we're not getting enough exercise. There are a few of these companies that are breaking out of the mold in 2016, linking to bathroom scales to monitor BMI, etc. and Bluetooth enabled water bottles to track hydration. Unfortunately we expect all of these companies to adapt these new technologies before the year ends.
The Is it IoT or IoE Award is shared by every manufacturer of items that can be remotely controlled via mobile device. Basically a collection of plugs, door locks and thermostats, these doo-dads can turn on lights, lock and unlock doors and control temperatures using a smartphone or other device connected to the Internet. The problem here is - - - as it is with fitness bands - - - every manufacturer's system has the identical modules. And, to complicate matters, there's no set standard, which means users need to connect dedicated hubs to routers to control devices from different manufacturers. Hey folks, let's develop these devices to use either the popular Z-Wave or Zigbee standards and force manufacturers to comply.
The Most Addictive Game Award is a tie between Activision's Guitar Hero Live with GHTV and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Syndicate. The new version of Guitar Hero comes with two "guitars" and a link to Guitar Hero TV, which allows competitors to strum along with music videos. The new version of Assassin's Creed takes us to the streets of jolly old London where we try to dominate gangs that control the city and confront the classic evil-doers of the time, including Jack the Ripper.
The Vaporware Award is bestowed upon the creators of Mass Effect - - - BioWare and Electronic Arts - - - who have been constantly teasing their fans with the promise of a new version of the game. The game is now set to be released sometime in 2016, but Mass Effect addicts have heard this before (specifically in 2014 and 2015).
The Shut Up Already Award goes to Amazon, which is selling the Echo to a multitude of geeks (including me). This device is designed to respond every time it hears the name "Alexa," which is causing a bit of a problem, especially for folks that watch a lot of daytime talk shows. It seems that every one of these programs is promoting the product and, to show it off, asks it questions on the air. This activates the Echo you may have sitting on the shelf within earshot of the TV, causing it to respond. Come on Amazon, at least give us the option to change its name to Hymie or Philomena so we can eliminate the confusion.
Finally, the Most Effective Use of the Alphabet Award goes to television manufacturers. Truthfully is there a number and letter combination that is NOT used in the promotion of TV technology? In the past year consumers have been bombarded with 4K, UHD, Super UHD, MHD and 8K in addition to our old favorites HDMI, MHL and USB.