O'Reilly & Associates has announced the winners of the second round in its Mac OS X Innovators Contest at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention today. The contest, sponsored by Apple Developer Connection (ADC), rewards innovative Mac OS X applications, plug-ins, user-interface widgets, or other creative original software. Entries are judged on innovation, ease of use, adherence to the Mac OS X Human Interface Guidelines, and use of Mac OS X technologies.

In the new International category, the CodingMonkeys from Bavaria, Germany won the first place award with Hydra, and Austria's Norbert Heger claimed second place with LaunchBar for Mac OS X . First-place winner in the US category is August Mueller's VooDooPad, and the second place winner is Paul Kafasis's Audio Hijack Pro.

"This round of winners clearly demonstrates the energy we see with application development for the Mac OS X platform," said Derrick Story, Mac DevCenter managing editor. "Programmers all over the world are pushing the envelope, and users are benefiting by having access to an abundance of creative, affordable software to enhance their experiences on the Mac."

Descriptions of the winning applications:

Hydra makes collaborative editing easy and elegant. Using Mac OS X 10.2's Rendezvous, Hydra allows multiple users to create and edit a document in real time by just clicking the share button and typing away. Hydra leverages Apple technologies like Rendezvous, the Core Foundation Network API, the Cocoa framework, ATSUI, Quartz, Address Book, and Apple Help. In addition to its rich networking capabilities, Hydra does everything you'd expect from an advanced text editor.

LaunchBar for Mac OS X uses a powerful, fault-tolerant abbreviation search algorithm and a sophisticated rating system to deliver fast, accurate search results from abbreviations typed on the fly. Intuitive and adaptive, LaunchBar allows a user to enter a range of abbreviations for any term. It analyzes the user's behaviour and adapts rating criteria dynamically, so search results become more accurate as LaunchBar "learns" how to serve the user.

VooDooPad allows the user to create, on the fly, a personal wiki-like page that automatically links handwritten notes, URLs, images, and other data. And this data can be exported as RTF, HTML, and XML. VooDooPad notes can also be exported to an Apple iPod. It's scriptable by design, so users can customize the program.

Audio Hijack Pro is an audio grabber/enhancer featuring MP3 recording, enhanced Timers, and the ability to hijack running applications. It allows the user to pause recordings and create sets of DSP effects called Patches, supports up to 100 VST and/or AudioUnits plugins at a time. With Audio Hijack Pro, users can grab Real streams, enhance DVD audio, and even turn any application into an alarm clock.