Review of reviews

The Test Center struts its stuff, and we bid adieu to Jon Udell

It’s coming up on closing time for 2006. All around us, everyone is going into holiday mode. Not to be curmudgeonly contrarians, InfoWorld will be following suit, taking a one-week break before returning on Jan. 1 with our first print issue of the year. (It’s really only a semi-hiatus; will continue to perk over the holidays with a slightly reduced slate of stories.)

In the meantime, those of you who want to see what our Test Center was up to in 2006 can wade into our third annual “Year in Reviews,” highly condensed reviews of every piece of hardware and software we evaluated during the past 12 months.

Eagle-eyed readers of this year’s effort might not recognize all the products reviewed here. That’s because a gaggle of them appeared only in the Test Center Daily blog, which we launched in August. Since then, our editors and analysts have posted more than 30 previews and reviews for a wide range of products, from desktop Linux OSes and durable notebook computers, to search engines and business-intelligence tools. The whole shebang appears here, 228 products in total, in a handy, easy-to-access format.

The year’s end also marks the passing of an era: Jon Udell — our Test Center lead analyst and blogger in chief — is leaving InfoWorld to join Microsoft, where he will pick up the lofty title of “evangelist.” (You can see the details here.)

It’s been a fruitful four years, and Jon has flourished in his role as our “alpha geek.” But his interests have continued to grow, frequently ranging into realms outside the typical focus of InfoWorld’s highly targeted IT readership. Microsoft is offering Jon a pulpit to reach an audience beyond the enterprise. We wish him the best on his new venture and offer thanks for a job well done.