|2005 was certainly the year of the iPod. Although it was already popular before, we can say that 2005 was the year that the iPod went from a "cool gadget" to an essential, especially among the teens. Everybody now knows what is an iPod, and all teens have one or want one. It's a fact, though, that Apple didn't rest on its laurels over the last 12 months. It launched several new models of iPod this year, including the iPod Nano and a video iPod.|
|Best Web browser
After so many years battling for a title, Netscape finally picks up its first Powhertz award! The version 8 has brought many innovations, on top of containing almost all functionalities from its rivals (Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari... well, from all of the popular Web browsers, only Internet Explorer does not compete for the functionalities!...). We think, among others, to the list of trusted Web sites and untrusted Web sites represented by two different icons on the tabs, but most of all we think about the union of Firefox' and Internet Explorer's rendering engines under the same roof. MSN's Web pages are curiously displaying better on Internet Explorer than Firefox? So what?! In just two clicks, you switch in IE mode and will remain into it the next time you visit this page. Now that the IE engine is integrated to Netscape (a gift that AOL received from Microsoft in the settlement for an antitrust lawsuit), there just no longer has any reason for an Internet Explorer user not to switch to a better browser. Despite a few minor details that irritated me a bit (for exemple the double-click on the title bar that only works on a part of the title bar in the Windows version), we could probably say that Netscape 8 has set itself ahead of competition like no Netscape navigator has ever did since versions 4.x of Netscape near the end of the '90s (if not more...). Still have to see if that will shake up its market share in consequence. For now, the answer would unfortunately be no...
Many of you will certainly be surprised not to see the name of Firefox or Opera as this prize's winner this year. In the case of Firefox, it has not improved significantly enough this year to really have a serious chance to win. In Opera's case, the version 8 has disapointed me and the famous version 8.5 with no banner ads did not even fix the situation. In fact, despite some very interesting innovations such as a mention in a yellow rectangle, in the address bar, of the name to which the SSL certificate is issued for a secured page (HTTPS), the version 8.0 has a major inconvenient over the 7.x series: when many pages are open simultaneously in different tabs, a site that does not respond will generally prevent all other sites to load. Even if it was almost impossible that Opera did not notice it, the author and administrator of Powhertz has personnally opened 2 tickets at Opera to report the problem. Those tickets remained unanswered and Opera has not even managed to fix the problem for its release 8.5... While other users may be able to live with this annoyance, some like Powhertz just couldn't. As a result, I went back to Opera 7.54 and increased my use of Mozilla (on Linux) and Netscape (on Windows)... There is therefore no real possibility for a Powhertz award to Opera this year...
|Best operating system
|Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)
By far the operating system that had the most people talk about it this year. The only others to have made a little place in the news (at a much lower scale) this year were Ubuntu Linux 5.0 and 5.1, as well as the long-awaited (finally!!) Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 . Although those are excellent choices of operating system, they did not bring any major technological advance and didn't have the shadow of Tiger's importance on the market. That's why Tiger deserves the title.
Among the other releases of 2005: Fedora Core 4, Zeta 1.1 (YellowTab's version of BeOS), FreeBSD 6.0, NetBSD 2.1 and 3.0, OpenBSD 3.8, etc.
|Best Internet utility
|Skype 1.2 & 1.4
Honestly, that's no major technological progress. For those who would believe that Skype has invented Internet telephony, wake up! The author and administrator of Powhertz was using similar software that were 100% free (even for calls to regular phones!) many, many years ago! However, Skype has managed to become a symbol, a leader, and even a covetousness for many companies like eBay which purchased Skype in September, but also Microsoft and Google who both deceided in 2005 to do anything they could to compete with Skype. For all of this, Congratulations!
|Best e-mail client
|Powhertz would have needed the time to make a deep comparison of
Eudora 7 and Thunderbird 1.0.7 in order to give this award. Let's give them a
kind of half-title each!
|Best PC game
may know it, the author and administrator of Powhertz is not a great
"gamer". Nonetheless, the category of best PC game has possibly been
the easiest to settle this year! All gaming Web sites and all critics
are unanimous: Civilization IV is the best game of the year on PC,
maybe even the best of the 4 games in this legendary series! An
absolutely great success, even though we have to admit that there were
many games on consoles that could have made a strong competition, but
that were not released for the PC.
Strong honorable mentions to Battlefield 2, F.E.A.R., Call of Duty 2 and Guild Wars.
|Coup de Coeur|
Although I feel the work is still not fully complete, the most popular free office suite OpenOffice can compete more proudly than ever with its commercial rivals Microsoft Office and WordPerfect Office. The user experience is much more pleasant with version 2.0 than it was with version 1.0, plus the addition of a new database module à la Access and the standardization around a file format (OpenDocument, or OASIS) that could not be more open and standard. Those who still don't own OpenOffice 2.0 (or now 2.0.1) should grab it as soon as possible! This recommendation concerns those who would still not have an office suite, those who would have a pirated office suite (and who are therefore, a little uselessly, in an illegal position that may cost them several hundreds of dollars in fine...), those who are using an old office suite (for example the very popular Microsoft Office 97) and who do not have the motivation to pay for an upgrade, the entreprises that are currently paying a license for a commercial office suite for every workstation they add to their network, well, just anybody who is using a computer (regardless of its operating system) and who has not just paid the big price for an MS Office or WordPerfect Office over the last few months / years. It's 100% free, you have nothing to lose...