And the Winner is . . .

    Raise the curtain.

    Light the lights.

    Cue the music.

    It’s time for the 24th Annual Bermie Awards!

    Every vote has been tallied and authenticated by our accounting firm, although this process was made much easier since only one vote counted.

    The Update, Update Where’s my GD Update Award goes to Microsoft. The Boys from Redmond didn’t disappoint us with their Windows 10 October Update fiasco, which, I believe, some folks are still waiting for (just a rumor). Apparently the release of this highly-anticipated operating system revision was so buggy it had to be pulled several times to the dismay of the Windows using universe.

    We present the Can you Hear me Now Award to the geniuses at Apple. Apparently a teen-age boy told the folks overseeing the iPhone megaverse – – – a week before the app went mainstream – – – that a bug in FaceTime allows users to hear the dulcet tones of the folks they’re calling BEFORE they answer the call. Apparently several calls to Apple by this teen’s mom were ignored before it was reported to the company’s engineering team.

    The Privacy be Damned Award goes to every social media network in existence. Accepting the award will be representatives of Google and Facebook for sharing user data with advertisers including likes, dislikes, locations and political preferences. This allowed advertisers to target specific users with everything from jewelry to socks.

    The We’re Gonna Git You Sucka Award goes to streaming TV services such as PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now for enticing folks to “cut the cord” to save money over their cable bills. Unfortunately, as a lot of us discovered, adding in the cost of a decent-speed Internet service (probably from the cable company), so-called “premium” movie channels, sports packages, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime could end up costing the unwary subscriber more then the most expensive cable package.

    The You Can’t Buy This Award goes to all the restaurants, delis, retailers and hoteliers that won’t accept cash, believing that having customers pay only with credit cards staves off robberies and burglaries. I struggled with a way to present this without name-calling, but alas, I can’t. It’s downright racist and elitist and discriminates against those of us that can’t – – – for one reason or another – – – get approved for a credit card.

    Finally, we have the I Bought What? Award that goes to every hotel/motel chain that leaked credit card information due to lax security on their servers. Millions of credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers were “stolen” during the past year because these mega innkeepers failed to spend the bucks needed to make sure our credit card information was secure. Accepting the award are the folks from Marriot.

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    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at