I’m in the unenviable position of having to defend Apple’s beleaguered .Mac account as a good value.
Gulp. Here it comes. .Mac is a good value… when compared with other similar online services.
Therein lies the problem. Apple’s .Mac is unique. There really isn’t anything quite like it. Of course, you could also state that .Mac is a potpourri of loose ends, an amalgam of weak features, a not-quite-ready-for-prime time service for Mac addicts.
The value comparison started when I checked out the new online photo service from Pomoto. Yes, Pomoto is one of many ways to get your photos on a web site, whether your own, or some kind of service like Flickr, where you can share your photos for free.
Most of us at Mac360 have ragged on Apple for a few years about the languishing .Mac service, but it’s still around and still growing, and Apple still adds features. Our own Ron McElfresh placed a family web site on .Mac. Even I admit that it’s pure point and click ease.
Pomoto took Apple’s old advertising campaign literally and decided to think different. If you use iPhoto to store your camera’s digital images, Pomoto is an attractive alternative to .Mac’s photo gallery feature and costs much less.
Pomoto is focused. It’s an online photo publishing tool which lets you create clean, elegant, attractive photo galleries, then upload them to Pomoto’s web site. In some respects, Pomoto’s ease-of-use is similar to what Apple builds in to iPhoto for .Mac users. It’s point and click publishing.
You start by selecting an Album in iPhoto. Then select a gallery theme, all of which are attractive and professional, though not typical of Apple’s superior gallery designs.
When the gallery is the way you want it, including photo titles and caption comments, then it’s just one click to upload the whole album to Pomoto.
You can have many albums on your Pomoto site, and all are controlled by a simple utility on your Mac. What will impress you right away is how easy it is to use Pomoto. Create albums in iPhoto, select them in the Pomoto utility, then upload. It’s hard to argue with simplicity.
The Pomoto web site has a well done screencast a QuickTime movie which walks you through the whole process of selecting albums in iPhoto, then selecting themes in Pomoto, then uploading. Think of Pomoto as an alternative to .Mac’s web galleries feature for less money.
Simple, clean, attractive, professional. Just the way Mac users like their photos to be displayed, right? Uh, except for a few gotchas. Can you upload as many photos as you want? Yes, but within reason and Pomoto determines how many but doesn’t say how many.
Not all photo gallery themes are compatible with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer version 6.x. Safari, Opera Firefox, Camino and others will be fine. Did I mention that you need a credit card? That’s right. Pomoto’s trial account is good for 50 photos, but the full account is $3.00 a month, or $30 a year.
That’s not a horrible price tag, but it’s not a bargain, either. A .Mac account costs $99 a year, sometimes less, and offers many more features, including the attractive and popular web galleries, which also integrate with iPhoto, and provide one click publishing. .Mac offers web site hosting, email, and many other features not found in Pomoto.
I don’t want to compare Apple’s apples to Pomoto‘s oranges. $30 a year isn’t much money but it might make a .Mac account more attractive. Pomoto’s theme galleries are more professional and attractive than what you’ll find on Flickr, which is free.
Still, Pomoto looks great, works well, is simple to set up even the trial account so you can see what you’re getting without spending money.