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If you've picked up an issue of Macworld over the past year or so, you've surely seen Mac Gems, my monthly column that reviews, well, gems -- standout products that won't break the bank. With the overwhelming number of products that are released on a daily basis for Mac OS X and the Mac platform, Mac Gems has become a popular section among Macworld readers who appreciate our efforts to sift through these products to find the ones we think are worth your consideration.

Because of the popularity of the print version of Mac Gems, we've created the Mac Gems Weblog, of which you're reading the first installment. Like the monthly print column, the goal of the Gems Weblog is to provide users with reviews of those products, generally inexpensive, that we feel stand out from the crowd; however, the Weblog format provides us with a few advantages over the print version:

  • More reviews Whereas space constraints limit me to covering just a few products each month in the print version, the Weblog will allow me to write about products as often as I like.
  • More detail In the print version of Mac Gems, there are times I wish I had the space to cover more of the cool and interesting details of a product; the Weblog will make that possible. (Don't worry; I don't plan on boring you with long, windy reviews -- part of what people like about Mac Gems is that the reviews tell you, in a succinct manner, what sets a product apart from others -- but I do look forward to the freedom to spend more time on a particular product when necessary.)
  • More voices When you read Mac Gems in print, you get what I've chosen to cover. Although I'll be doing the bulk of the writing for the Weblog, you'll also occasionally see reviews from other Macworld staff. I consider this a good thing -- everyone has different needs and preferences, and I'm sure there are many excellent products out there that, for one reason or another, I might never cover but that another Macworld staffer can't live without. The Weblog will give them a chance to tell you about those products.
  • Comparisons Many readers have requested comparisons between competing products in a particular genre; the Weblog provides the opportunity to cover multiple, similar products at once.

I'm looking forward to working on this new project, and I hope you, our readers, will enjoy it, as well. If you have questions or feedback about the Gems Weblog; if you'd like to nominate a specific title to be covered in Mac Gems; or if you're looking for a solution for a particular need, drop me a line.

P.S. In case you're wondering, the Mac Gems column won't disappear from the magazine; on the contrary, we plan to use the Weblog to make the column even better. For example, the print version will include a list of products recently reviewed on the Weblog; readers can then visit the site to read about those products.

About Dan: Dan Frakes is a Senior Writer for Macworld, Products/Reviews Editor for Playlist, and an Editor at MacFixIt. He's the author of Mac OS X Power Tools, Second Edition (Sybex) and a co-author/editor of the Mac Bible, 9th Edition (PeachPit). He has also contributed to a number of other Mac books, including, most recently, Ted Landau's Mac OS X Help Line (PeachPit).

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