.Mac is for me (or so it seems)

I thought .Mac was not for me, but Apple strongly disagreed. More on this later.

First, after seeing the comments I got from my previous post on the subject, let me precise that I never said that .Mac was useless. My evaluation is strictly personal and tied to my needs. It offers a real service with noticeable quality, in which I particularly appreciate:

  • an email service that is fast, reliable and packed with all modern comfort: SMTP, POP, IMAP and the best webmail site I've ever seen
  • a convenient online disk, transparently integrated in the Finder and accessible from a Windows PC as well. Helped me during a few travels
  • iSync to synchronize my office desktop Mac and my PowerBook
  • Backup, although I always hated that I can't use it with a recent and genuine Apple DVD-Ram on my G4

What I need that .Mac does not provide is the ability to host a MT weblog, do some PHP, have a MySQL database, that sort of hosting which is, for me, fairly "standard". I know that iBlog is free for .Mac users but this is not the tipping point for me. My real expectation with .Mac is that Apple extends the concept of connected applications (something Macromedia dubbed Rich Internet Application) like iTunes is to its Music Store. The missing link is a weblog application as a full member of the iLife suite, with the look & feel of a Mac OS application.

I like Apple, therefore I am demanding. Qui aime bien châtie bien. I will never stop analyzing and criticizing them and their products, because I want them to continuously improve and stay ahead of the IT crowd. Don't confuse critique and rant.

That said, I was really going to let my .Mac account go. I went on my account a week ago, discovered that there was an option set to auto-renew (which I disliked but I can understand that it's probably better to have it on by default rather than discovering that all your files and emails are gone one day). I unchecked that option and submitted the form. What I did not realize, is that due to an incorrect expiration date on my credit card, that single change was not saved. I did not notice the tiny error line on the next page, which showed the box unchecked suggesting that my preference had been saved. So, yesterday, to my surprise, I received a thank-you note from Apple for renewing my .Mac account! With incorrect credit card details! I guess I have to wait until the credit card company acknowledges the transaction to be sure. That's the joy of giving away your credit card information, and I really, really dislike that kind of selling practice.


In my eyes the best feature of .Mac is the unlimited bandwidth it provides. It's perfect for small - medium shareware/media creators, for it lets them buy a fairly cheap yet limited bandwidth webhosting solution that does support PHP and MySQL, and lets them host the big files on .Mac for offsite linking.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that aspect. Although one should dig into their terms of use to make sure it's a valid use of .Mac (sorry, corporate habit ;-).

Actually, .Mac has bandwidth limitations. There's been some evidence of it in the past. Some poor guy mirrored a document (3MB PDF) a year ago and his 'site' was unavailable after a couple of hours.

That's interesting. I know iTools used to have limitations, but I really don't think so anymore.

One example is that SomethingClicker application's web site MUST use tons of bandwidth. He has been linked to by Apple, MacWorld and many other high traffic sites, but I don't think his site ever went down. (SalonClicker? The thing that enabled BlueTooth phones to interact with your computer.)

Anyway, interesting stuff.

I think it just highlights the opacity of .Mac. It's a simple service and that's fine. Things like the bandwidth and spam filtering stuff have an air of mystery around them. In some ways Apple is condescending and smart to avoid the publication of these details -- it empowers decision-making.

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