.Mac

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.Mac was a suite of Internet essentials designed for the Mac OS X user. It was originally launched as iTools, a free e-mail and online disk storage service. It was replaced by MobileMe in 2008. Apple started charging for .Mac in 2002, when the name was changed to .Mac and bundled software, services, and storage were increased.

The base .Mac subscription currently costs US$99/year and includes 10 GB of online storage standard (a total of 20 GB in the family pack). This can be split in many ratios between online mail storage and iDisk storage. It also includes full use of Apple's Backup software. Add-ons include additional storage, the .Mac Family Pack, and additional e-mail only accounts.

Discounts and rebates can often be found to reduce the yearly subscription price. .Mac subscribers can also earn discounts through referrals.

Contents

Features of .Mac

Backup

(current version: 3.0)

This simple utility assists users in making archives of their data and settings to disks, optical media and to iDisk.It offers scheduled automatic backups, one click iLife backups, customized plans, flexible schedules, multiple destinations, incremental backups, and easy restore options. The software can be used even after the .mac subscription has expired, though the iDisk feature will not be available then.

Groups

As Apple puts it: "Communicate, coordinate, and stay in sync with your club, team, or organization." Groups include a private web page with password protected access for Group images, a message board, announcements, a group calendar, a member list and the possibility to insert offsite links. It further includes a group's own email address with automatic spam filtering, the easy possibility to share photos and movies on the web site and a the group's own iDisk, which is available in every member's iDisk folder. You can create any number of groups though be advised that each one takes away 100MB from your iDisk space.

Homepage

Files placed inside the iDisk Sites folder are available on the Web as http://homepage.mac.com/username/file.name. Only static Web pages are supported; that is, there is no support for CGI, PHP, SSI and so on. Flash and Javascript, as long as no server-side dependencies exist, do work as expected. Hompage allows you to easily share photos, movies and more. You can publish directly from iMovie, iPhoto, QuickTime and many other 3rd party applications. There are over different 80 templates to choose from and you can maintain multiple sites — each one with a different security setting if you wish - and all of them ad-free. Now you can also use your own web domain (such as http://your-domain.com/) with .Mac's webspace, however you cannot recieve email through the domain.

iDisk

iDisk is networked disk storage that uses the WebDAV protocol. The folder organization mimics that of your Home folder. Files are normally private, but public directories (optionally protected with a password) are also supported. A Sites folder is provided for adding files to one's .Mac homepage. A read-only Software folder is also available, containing .Mac-related software and, at at times, other programs and files offered free of charge to .Mac subscribers.

Introduced in Panther, a .Mac user can keep a local copy of his or her iDisk on the computer at all times, accessible even when the computer is not connected to the Internet. This is configured through the .Mac System Preference pane. When you turn on local iDisk access, OS X creates a disk image on your hard drive that is a mirror of your online iDisk. All files are copied locally, except those in the Backup, Groups, Library, and Software folders — those become aliases to the corresponding folders online. Syncing between the local and online iDisk can happen manually or automatically whenever a file is added or changed. iDisk syncing can keep a set of files on two or more Macs always synced up.

You may also want to disable iDisk syncing and mount it as a WebDAV volume instead, you will not be able to access it without a network connection, but as a bonus, it won't use any space on your local drive. To do this go to System Preferences>.Mac>iDisk>Stop iDisk Syncing. Now go to the Finder and go to Go>Connect to Server and type in http://idisk.mac.com/yourusername and hit the Plus button to add it as a favorite. Now go to your Computer (in the Finder, Go>Computer) and if you want, drag the iDisk to your sidebar if you want to be able to just click it in the sidebar to access it (it will mount automatically when you do). If you want it to auto-mount when you login, go to System Preferences>Accounts>Youraccount>Login Items and hit the plus button and select your iDisk in the file dialog that pops up.

Mail

Included is a mac.com email address, which is independent of your internet provider. Furthermore if offers five additional email aliases to separate your work from your private life for example or to protect yourself against unwanted spam You can use any e-mail client on any platform, POP or IMAP. A Web-based client is also offered. It shares it capacity with the iDisk and you can assign anything from nothing to your entire 1GB storage to mail. Also includes an online spell-checker, text and photo signatures, and auto-reply setting to reply to incoming email even when you’re not able to respond yourself.

Sync

In Panther, .Mac syncing was handled through iSync; in Tiger, it is handled through the .Mac System Preference pane. .Mac syncing allows a user to sync data on your local computer to your online iDisk, including Safari bookmarks, iCal calendars, Address Book contacts, Keychains and settings, and various Mail settings. This is useful if you use more than one Mac and for backup purposes, and it also allows you to access your bookmarks and contacts through the .Mac Web site.

Web Gallery

Web Gallery works with iPhoto '08 to display your movies and photos on the web so your friends and family can see them, they can also optionally download high-quality versions of your photos and albums.

Family Pack

In addition to the regular .Mac membership you can purchase the Family Pack, which sports separate .Mac accounts, including private email accounts, individual web sites, iDisk, and .Mac Syncing. You also have the possibility to share files via a "family iDisk folder".

The pack includes a main account, which includes 10 GB of storage, and four sub-accounts, each one including 2.5 GB of storage shared between Mail and iDisk which amounts to a total of 20 GB for the five accounts.

Known Issues

.Mac has had occasional stability problems over the years.

On November 4 2007 the servers went down and anyone who attempted to sync their bookmarks resulted in duplicated data.

On October 19 2007 .Mac added Sync support for Mac OS X 10.5, and dropped Sync support for Mac OS X 10.3.x and earlier. The minimum OS required to sync bookmark (and possibly contact) data is now Mac OS X 10.4.10 and data cannot be synced between machines running Mac OS X 10.3.x and Mac OS X 10.4.10/10.5.

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