.Mac - worth it?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Mike Heenan, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    IS it worth getting a .Mac account? I'd like to build a webpage and/or blog eventually once I get my MBP, and I'm contemplating a .Mac account. It seems like it would be cool to have the 1 click publishing option from Iweb, but I'm wondering if it's just cheaper to register the domain with someone like yahoo, which seems to give you more storage and bandwith than .Mac. But I'm not sure if I really understand what .Mac is, so if anyone who has it can explain it (I checked the website of course but I couldn't find any specifics on bandwith, domain registration, other than they give you 1 gb online storage) here that'd be cool [​IMG]
     
  2. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    .Mac is a weird package full of odds-and-ends. You kind of have to judge whether you'll use enough of them to justify the price.

    1) it makes publishing a website really, really easy. Sure, you can publish to a folder with iWeb and then upload that wherever you like -- certainly a few more steps than just clicking on publish. For me, this is enough by itself -- my updates to the family website used to take me an hour, and now they take minutes, literally. I had the pictures of the new baby online about fifteen minutes after he was born, and it took me around ninety seconds worth of work. http://web.mac.com/aaronreynolds is my .Mac family page.

    2) easy data syncing on multiple computers -- you can use iSync and the iDisk part of .Mac to automate synchronizing calendars, address books, e-mail accounts (and rules and signatures and so on), bookmarks, passwords and the like. Change it on one computer and the change shows up on both.

    3) easy portable data -- imagine having a folder on your desktop all the time that is easily accessible through a web browser from any other computer, even when your computer is offline.

    4) simple automated backup. Tell backup "every day, backup all Microsoft Office documents to my iDisk". And it finds them, and it does.

    5) Garage Band freebies -- about 400 additional loops and instruments in the Download section.

    Yes, there are a lot of ways to accomplish all this stuff easily, possibly cheaper. But the .Mac package is really simple and integrated into the operating system.

    Are you buying your machine from an Apple Store? Because .Mac is usually discounted when you're buying a machine, and discounted further if you're buying the machine and AppleCare.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    .Mac seems to be a rather controversial piece of software.
    Reading the die-hard Mac forums, most members scream about the
    fact that Apple charges $99 a year for the service. Most think it
    should be free.

    Me? The only reason I bought it was because the Apple store gave
    me 10% off when I purchased my Mac Pro desktop. I knew nothing
    about .Mac and decided to buy it blindly.

    I don't use it to store large files. I don't do large backups with it,
    nor did I even know (as Aaron points out) that it has extra Garage
    Band freebies.

    Where it absolutely comes in handy for me is doing a synch between
    my notebook and my desktop. I can keep my address book, iMail,
    iCal, passwords etc. all synched between two Mac computers. You
    simply back up the necessities to their server and download with the
    secondary computer.

    As with everyone else my complaint is you have to pay $99 a year
    for this service. However, for me, it has proved to be useful enough
    that I will pay for it again next year.
     
  4. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Mike, I forgot to address a couple of your specifics --

    Domain registration: your site is at web.mac.com/yourusername, and if you want yourname.com you'll have to pay someone else for that and either redirect to your .Mac page or forgo .Mac and re-upload to your host when you make changes.

    Bandwidth: I don't remember how much you get, but it's a reasonably substantial amount.

    Ron -- have you seen the .Mac Learning Center? Go to Mac.com and check it out for video tutorials on iLife software.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My wife has it and it's worthwhile for her. The email address for her personal business justifies the cost. Online email access away from home is good. And the iWeb / .Mac synergy made it quite easy to create and maintain her new business website.

    I don't have .Mac. I have my own personal email address, domain name, and web hosting for less than $99 / yr. And all the other stuff I don't care about or .Mac costs too much for too little ability.

    A major problem with .Mac websites is that they aren't indexed well by Google. And re-directed domain names that point to a .Mac website are also not indexed by Google, generally. Thus, getting a personal page to show up in a Google search is difficult and long-coming at best.
     
  6. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Hilariously, my old .Mac page used to show up as the number one Google search result for "honeymoon in Prague" (one of the pages was a series of photographs from my honeymoon in Prague) -- I got a lot of weird e-mails thanks to that. That was my first go-round with .Mac, back when it launched as iTools. I used it until 2003, then I went with an alternate set of services that ultimately were a lot more hassle, and .Mac had a series of small but useful improvements and I resubscribed last year. Pleasantly, they kept my old username available for me.

    Dave -- you can use her .Mac account to sync your machines to each other if you'd ever do address book or calendar syncing.
     
  7. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    Those are the same people that used the old iTools service years ago that are still embittered that Apple had the audacity to change it to a paid service (with a lot of new features thrown in, of course) [​IMG]

    I just can't justify the $99 because a lot of what .Mac offers would be redundant for me. Comcast is already scalping me $55/month for Internet access and I get multiple e-mail accounts and online storage through them. I do local backups on my computers. Third party network backups aren't really an option for me as I have a lot of confidential work data on my machines. I've never been sold on .Mac's sync features...I know a few colleagues that would up with duplicate entries on one machine or the other or wound up have data overwritten on one machine or the other. Plus Apple is not immune to network downtime. In fact, the .Mac support page has a status window that shows when mail, backup or other services are affected. Usually it's only 1 or 2% which doesn't seem bad unless you are part of the 1 or 2% that can't get or send mail for several hours.
     
  8. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    Thanks for the help guys... I think I'll skip .Mac then, it doesn't sound like I really need it.
     
  9. Craig S

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    There's a notice on .Mac that it will be down tomorrow from 10 AM to Noon, fueling speculation that there will be a .Mac-related announcement during tomorrow's Apple press event. During Walt Mossberg's D event several weeks back Jobs admitted .Mac had been neglected and promised changes "soon". Could be interesting.
     
  10. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Should be interesting to see if they reduce price to keep the service alive. As more apps come along to make web hosting easy, the .Mac ease of use is less compelling. 20-40 a month will get you way more space than Apple offers, but then it's just space - not a connect the dots type of place like .Mac.

    I've been on a Pair account for years at 6.00 per month with plenty of space for a site.

    Tomorrow's big deal is the new iMac
     
  11. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    The one thing I like about the .mac service is the photocasting through iphoto.
     
  12. Craig S

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    The thing that .Mac does well is tie in with the various Mac desktop apps. The sync capability works well for me also. Where they've fallen behind is perceived value for the service.

    I think the new .Mac (assuming there is one and it's coming tomorrow) will leverage Apple's partnership with Google. I would expect Google to provide the basic infrastructure (after all, anyone can get a free GMail account with 3 Gb of space; why wouldn't Apple take advantage of that??), and Apple will layer value-add services on top - perhaps with a tiered-pricing system. Maybe something like every Mac purchaser gets a free .Mac mail account (based on GMail but with IMAP like .Mac mail has now to give it a little boost over standard GMail) with basic calendar/to-do sync between Macs. For a little more (say $30-$40 / yr) , you get more advanced sync, basic web & photo hosting, and a bit more space/bandwidth. The current $99/year gets you the full package, with complete sync (including third-party apps) & backup, advanced hosting (with major improvements over what's there now), and even more space/bandwidth.

    I would also expect that there wil be new features announced that will require Leopard (or the Leopard versions of iLife/iWork apps) to take advantage of. I'd bet a fair amount of money that one of these will be an online Time Machine respository, to replace the current .Mac Backup app.
     
  13. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Well with the new iPhoto/photo album features (like third party e-mail based contribution, full rez downloads) and 10GB storage, I'd give it a resounding yes.

    Now if I can only upgrade the pathetic 128Kbps up-speed on my DSL -- where is the !#@$%*&^^ is FIOS in Manhattan?!?
     
  14. Craig S

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    Yeah, it's not quite the redesign I hoped for, but increasing the amount of storage 10x makes the yearly fee a lot more palatable. And the new online photo features look fantastic.

    Also, .Mac now supports using your own domain name, which a lot of folks have been asking for. [​IMG]
     
  15. Craig S

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    TUAW is reporting that all .Mac users will have their storage automatically upped no later than the 14th (although some users are already seeing the increase). Also, the monthly bandwidth limit has been increased from 25GB to 100GB.

    Here a sample of a new .Mac photo/video gallery (which require iLife 08 on the client):

    http://gallery.mac.com/emily_parker#gallery

    Pretty cool.
     
  16. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    The new online gallery looks cool, but there's a problem with the way they're doing the pictures. Here's an example of when you're view a picture - http://gallery.mac.com/emily_parker#...&bgcolor=black - notice all the jagged edges? They're resizing instead of resampling the pic. If you click the button for photo information, you can see the original resolution and filesize. Then, if you right-click (yes, I'm using a PC) the image itself and look at properties, you'll notice a smaller resolution but the same file size. In firefox, if you right-click and choose to view image, it will show in full resolution without the jaggies.
     
  17. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    Definitely looks like a promising update, I'll have to read more about it though before committing.
     
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    One more upgrade to .Mac happened yesterday that I just now read about - they added server-side spam filtering to .Mac mail. Previously you had to check for spam on the client. This combined with IMAP makes .Mac mail a very attractive option.
     
  19. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Can you post a screenshot of what you're seeing? I'm seeing a nice, smooth image over here in both Camino and Safari.
     
  20. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]
    this is what I'm seeing on windows.
     

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