New Cloud Better than the Old Cloud?

Apple has finally moved into the Cloud in a big way, erasing memories of the half-baked MobileMe implementation (so bad that even Jobs was ashamed of it). If you are a natural born Mac user and only put up with Google apps because there weren't any viable cloud alternatives, here's your chance to switch back. Learn how to move your data from Google Apps to iCloud in this useful Lifehacker article.

Me and Mobile Me

Apple's response to the Cloud, Mobile Me allows users to maintain an online address book that synchonises with the address book on their Mac, and also on their iPhone, iTouch and any other mobile device. Changes to one version are 'pushed' to the linked instances elsewhere. The same applies to the Calendar application. Enter the details of your mail server, and Mobile Me also functions as a webmail portal. Users are also encouraged to upload images into an album application, and a user-nominated portion of the 20Gb standard allocation is available as an online hard disk. As per Apple's usual modus operandi, the interface is simple, clean and allows only limited customisation. After a couple of days use, my initial reactions are as follows: I love the address book feature, which works as advertised. The calendar feature is fine, but not as good as Google Calendar. More research is needed to see if it is possible to synch Google Calendar with MobileMe. The mail service is easy to set up, but has a huge flaw, for my setup at least. Each time it pings the mail server, MobileMe downloads everything on it, even if the same emails have already been downloaded. Ping several times, and you will get several copies of the same email. Given my office Mac will download the emails later, I don't want to set the server to delete an email if downloaded by MobileMe. Surely MobileMe should be able to recognise an email it has already downloaded. My web-based mail browser certainly has no such problem. The disk space supplied by Apple is useful, but in a world of cheap and sometimes free online storage, AUD$119 is not overwhelmingly great. In summary, the service is good, but not revolutionary. It didn't wow me the way DropBox or Google Earth did, but perhaps further enhancements are on the way, and MobileMe will go on to a more fully featured future. If not, my ardent hope is that Google somehow ties all of its online services together into a single integrated service -- the cloud on steroids.
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Mac Voices

Apple Mac users might only make up a small percentage of computer users, but they are a vocal minority. There are websites entirely devoted to guessing at the next device out of Cupertino, others that aim to ease the transition to Macland for lapsed PC users and others that chronicle the far reaches of Mac culture. New users will never lack for tips, tricks and a vast range of resources. Mac-oriented Podcast listeners have access to audio offerings ranging from besotted to the slightly skeptical. Apple Keynotes: The High Church of Apple Love, when Prophet Steve comes down from the Silicon Mount and offers up the next device. Cleverly staged, emotional and deeply weird for the non-Mac listener. Unfortunately, Mr Jobs is ill and while competent, replacement speakers lack his proselytising charm. Apple Quick Tips: shiny young Mac Evangelists present very short and reasonably useful basic tips on aspects of Mac Use, invariably ending their spiel with a chirpy and slightly irritating 'Wanna Learn More?' Mac Tips Daily: Presented with enthusiasm and not completely polished, but ranging further and going deeper than Apple Quick Tips. Mac Cast: Intelligent, amiable and engaging, Mac Cast is a sprawling podcast that packs in Mac news, gossip, new releases and some excellent and informative interviews. The presenter (Adam Christianson) really does his research, and manages to preserve an air of independence and constructive criticism.
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