Apple have recently launched the first Beta of their new long awaited MobileMe service, iCloud.com. iCloud.com is now available for long in if you hold a valid Apple Developer account, which is available from the Apple website for around £99 per year.
Upon account creation you are given access to 5GB of free online storage, with access to more (at a price) In fact a total of 55GB is available, if you are willing to pay the hefty price tag of £50 per year!
iCloud.com features all of the applications/facilitates you’d have expected to find in MobileMe, the first immediate difference is the interface of the apps. They have been designed to look similar to the apps found on Apple’s iPad range.
iCloud.com also features iWork, which is designed to sync all your ‘Pages’ documents on your web connected devices.
The opening of iCloud.com to developer means Apple should be on track for their ‘Fall’ public release, which is rumoured to be around September and at the same time as the iPhone 5.
If you intend to sign up to iCloud.com on it’s release its worth remembering to use it to it’s full potential your iOS devices will need to be running iOS 5 and your Mac’s will need to be running OS X Lion!
Now, as much as I love MobileMe and the sync services it provides, I just can’t bring myself to pay the massive renewal cost for an extra year as a member. The £59 is staying firmly seated in my pocket this time round! However, I am a little addicted to the services MobileMe provides, so I found myself having to track down alternatives for all of the services I am losing. Surprisingly enough, this is not as difficult a task as it actually sounds.
First things first, the email was a good send – it was (as fair as I know) the first to other ‘Push‘ email technology, basically saving having to check for mail every 15 minutes. However, since I signed up to MobileMe, the boffins over at Google have now enabled ‘Push‘ email too. So….Let’s compare:
|Service:||Mobile Me||Google Mail|
|£59 per year||100% Free|
|Storage Space:||20 GB||7 GB|
|Push Mail Support:||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile Device Support:||Yes||Yes|
So, there’s little difference between MobileMe’s email service, apart from the storage space…Now who’s going to need to keep more than 7GB?? If like me you download your mail to your laptop/pc anyway then that’s more than enough!
This brings me to the MobileMe’s contact features. Again, as part of signing up for your Gmail account for FREE you also get access to a contact solution, which is again capable of sync’ing with your mobile device using MobileSync. So that’s that sorted.
Next on the high list is the calendar offering from MobileMe. Again this is part of the free alternative Gmail account and I am yet to find a way that Google calendars doesn’t meet up to/beat MobileMe’s offering.
Then onto the picture storage service. Ok, you don’t get that as part of Gmail, but unless you are completely new to the whole internet world you should have at least heard of services such as flikr! Granted flikr doesn’t have a mobile client, but all that can be solved in the final stage of my investigation…
Cloud based storage is the final feature in the MobileMe package, the best replacement for this is by far, Dropbox. Dropbox has one of the most intelligent desktop clients I have ever seen. Along with a mobile client to boot, it certainly has to be the best in the running as a replacement. With Dropbox you get 2GB of storage for free, with the opportunity to obtain more space by inviting friends along. Alternatively, you could spend some of your £59 on upgrading your account and bagging yourself some more storage space.
For years I have preached to my friends and family about the importance of regular backups, and here I am … Learning to practice what I preach. On wednesday night my hard drive failed in my 14 month old MacBook Pro.
The (to date) reliable 500Gb sata Hitachi hard drive had shown no signs of failing, all of a sudden the mac stopped responding, and then would no longer boot up.
Of course when I checked my backup – it was up to date…. WRONG! More then a month out of date, thanks to me moving house etc.
So because of this, I decided it was time to remove my reliance on my terabyte external hard drive. If I had my way I would run out and bag myself an Apple Time Capsule which is ideal for continues backups. However, weighing in at roughly £200-300 it’s a little out of my price range currently.
There are alternatives to hardwired backup solutions, such as cloud based services. Using services such as Dropbox or MobileMe you can securely store your files on the internet. Perfect solution for off site storage. However, having to pull and push files to cloud based services can be a pain. But don’t write them off just yet, as Apple’s utility ‘MobileMe Backup‘ you can schedule the backup and upload to MobileMe’s storage.
Although all of the solutions have their perks and pitfalls I am going to focus on MobileMe Backup in this particular article.
First things first your going to need to get yourself an MobileMe account, once you have your MobileMe account set up, you will need to configure your mac to connect to it. To do this head over to the system preferences and click on MobileMe. enter your MobileMe’s account credentials and select any/all the items you would like to automatically sync.
Before you sit back and relax, you now need to get your files backing up to your newly found iDisk. To do this, download yourself a copy of MobileMe Backup. Once it’s downloaded and installed open up Backup from your applications folder.
The backup app should then ask what it is you would like to backup, select your files as required. By default the backup app will be set to backup to your mas’s ‘root’. However, you can use the ‘edit’ facility to choose your iDisk as the backup destination.