Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9: Goodbye MobileMe, Hello Google

Tony: It might be time to get rid of MobileMe. I don't really use it anymore since I've switched to Gmail, Flickr, and SugarSync.

Megan: I'm glad you're not paying $99 per year on that anymore, but is it actually cheaper to have Flickr Pro and SugarSync? This isn't really a green issue, but I'll support the reduction in spending for online services.


My MobileMe account expired on January 7th. I had been a loyal customer (and Mac evangelist) since December 2000, back when this service (then called iTools) was free. When it changed to .Mac in 2002, I started shelling out my $99 gladly each year and used (or tried to use) most of the features. Unfortunately, these services got slower and buggier over time, driving me to find alternatives.

PHOTOS: I have been using iPhoto to sort my photos for years and created pages on homepage.mac.com (and then web.mac.com). When I first saw a friend using Flickr, I thought it was a bit gauche. The ads and the page design were so...ugly. Still, the simplicity of uploading photos rather than creating pages appealed to me. Apple added this feature and I tried it for awhile but ultimately was wooed to Flickr as a means to share my photos with a Creative Commons license. I really liked the idea of giving something back to the "open source/freeware/sharing" community. I was surprised that people would actually use my stuff, but they did. Some commercial sites, a few education sites, but mostly blogger after blogger after blogger after blogger. While Flickr is free, to show more than 200 pictures at a time, you need a Flickr Pro account for $24. I'd prefer free, but for unlimited photo storage, $24 is pretty good.

MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDAR: I have long wanted to have a single repository for all of my mail, contacts that wouldn't keep mysteriously changing, and a web calendar that I could collaborate on with other people. I love Apple's interface for these and did not want to give up Mail.app, iCal.app, or Address Book.app. Now, all of the products can sync easily with Google online services. I was worried about my iPhone, but it syncs very well using the Microsoft Exchange protocol on the iPhone.

ONLINE DISK: This was the most aggravating part of my iDisk/.Mac/MobileMe experience. After a decade, I assumed slow servers were a given for any online disk like this. Then I discovered Dropbox and SugarSync. Both offer 2 Gb of free storage and more space for more cash. I opted for the 30 Gb for $50 per year option with SugarSync. I chose it over Dropbox since it is a bit more flexible in terms of controlling what folders get synced. I only had 20 Gb with MobileMe but didn't even use that since it was so slow and tended to freeze my machine.

The bottom line is that I'm spending $74 per year instead of $174 per year. Even if Apple made its services comparable in speed and capacity as Flickr and SugarSync to lure users like me back, the $99 cost would still be more than the $74 I am currently spending.

so far...
Pocket: 2, Planet: 1, Win-Win: 6

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