I’m an avowed early adopter when it comes to all things Apple and Mac. iPod? I had a 5gig model.
iMac? I watched them take it off the truck. .Mac account? I’m in line with money in hand. My pain threshhold is very high.
I’m not totally sure why I jumped into .Mac in the first place. Maybe it was that cool .Mac email address. Maybe it was that cool iDisk thing (gawd, was that slow…) that had a place to store files.
I dunno, but I jumped. Years later I’m still forking over $99 a year and still waiting for .Mac to mature to something I’m proud of.
Yesterday, Apple took the wraps off .Mac 3.0. I’ll call it 3.0, because it sounds good, but unlike version 4.0 or 4.5, or 5.0.1, it’s not really mature. Yet.
There’s something at a very basic level that needs to be identified and fully understood. Apple is in business to take money away from me. And you. And a few million other folks. It’s the circle of life. That’s the way it is.
The trick, of course, is to take my money and make me feel good about it. The iPod does that. Mac OS X Tiger does that. A PowerBook does that.
How about .Mac? Uh uh. Not yet, despite all the recent changes (there are many). .Mac remains a stepchild, an afterthought, the baby that’s always ‘upstairs’ when the gathering is downstairs.
The latest version of .Mac is loaded with the typical offerings, not the least of which are the two biggies; 1 gigabyte of storage on iDisk, and a new and improved version of Backup, now at 3.0. I like it. It works. Ron, our resident sys admin, and application guru, says it suffers.
.Mac lets you share photos, movies, on an easy-to-setup personal or family home page. You can publish your photos and movies directly from iPhoto and iMovie.
The new version now has 80 home page templates. NO ads, no banners, no pop-ups. Just you and your photos.
Here’s the rub. Google offers a few gigabytes of email storage for free. Yahoo offers a few gigabytes of email storage for free.
Give Apple $99 smackers a year and you get 1 gigabyte. OK, that’s 1,000 megabytes. I feel better already. 1 gig is anemic. One good movie of the puppy pooping and four photos of my SO cleaning it up, and we’re outta space.
iDisk is Mac or PC, it’s drag and drop, and Apple is less than generous with allowing you to download 10 gigabytes of your own stuff a month.
This is not iSync. iSync synchronizes data on your Mac to and from your iPod, cell phone, PDA, etc.
.Mac Sync lets you save remotely your AddressBook, iCal calendar items, your Safari Bookmarks. You can also Sync Mail rules, mailboxes, signatures, and Keychain passwords from OS X Tiger.
That means that crucial information is available with nothing more than a browser and an internet connection. I like that.
Included are five aliases, access to .Mac Mail through Apple’s Mail application in Mac OS X or through a web-based interface. I like that.
There’s a few other goodies, too. Spell checker, Mac or PC access, auto-reply for when you’re gone on vacation.
Is there more for the $99 you fork over each year for being cool and chic? Yes.
.Mac now lets you set up groups so you can communicate, coordinate and stay in touch with family, friends, a soccer team, your company, or a civic organization.
What’s that worth? There’s group email, private web access, photo and movie sharing.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m still looking for someone who shares movies over the web.
Backups are about as easy as they can get. Mostly.
All you’re going to backup is critical data, not your whole frackin’ hard drive. Unless your hard drive is less than i gigabyte.
What’s nice about this version is the scheduled backups actually work. Setup is simple and straightforward. Point and click.
There are, however, too many boxes/pallettes/drop down screens on Backup, but it’s easy to get used to.
Backup remembers what you want backed up, and where you want it backed up, and does it when you want it to.
For more money you get more .Mac.
The Family Pack includes more .Mac accounts, more disk space, and more of everything (but not too much) for you and four other family members.
Each members gets their own web site, their own storage space (though limited), and a free puppy from Apple**.
Worth It or Not?
That’s the $64,000 Question (see how old I am?).
For me, yeah, I’ll ante up for another year for the privilege of being cool and chic and all that. Ron has other ideas and says the whole .Mac thing is wearing thin, especially in the email department, because .Mac email has a few problems (running on Mac OS X mail servers?).
Regardless, I’m upping for another hitch in the .Mac army.