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Apple's Homepage iTools Makes Web Sites In Seconds
May 2nd, 2000

Randy: Hey, man. Where have you been?

Gary: Well, that's a long story, my friend. Do you want the full story or the quick version?

Randy: Please! The short version.

Gary: All right, pull up a sofa and listen, to this…

Randy: Hey, what do I need a sofa for if this is the short version?

Gary: If I were telling you the long version, I would have told you to pull up a dialysis machine.

Randy: Wow! That's pretty long. Sofa it is!

Gary: Well it all started back in the forest where I was born.

Randy: Fast forward to today, please!

Gary: Okay, man. I'm just trying to set the flavor here. Allow me to use the visual aids then.

Randy: What, you have empty beverage cans to show me?

Gary: No, pictures. But they are on my iDisk at apple.com. I'll need to download them.

Randy: Screw that. Just use Apple's super easy Homepage iTools to whip up a web site and show them to me right off the web.

Gary: Man, for a guy that hangs out with me, you are friggin' brilliant.

Randy: I have my moments.

Gary: Well I'm glad that one's past. So speak more of this "easy" way to slam these picts up on the web.

Randy: Well, using Apple's Mac-only iTools, you can nab 20 MB of high speed server space, start up a free e-mail account and create a web site all with nothing more than a web browser. In fact, you are already halfway there if you have set up your free account at Apple's web site.

Gary: That WAS easy. I just went to apple.com and clicked on the iTools tab and followed the "Free Sign-up" buttons. I chose a username and password and, poof, I was an apple.comrad.

I did have to download the tiny iTools installer but that was less than 200k. And after I ran the installer it launched my web browser and brought me right back to Apple's iTool page to finish my sign-up. Very elegant.

Randy: Once you have your account setup, you can open your super cool new iDisk right in your web browser at the iTools web site.

Gary: In fact your friends can also open up your iDisk too, if you let them know your username. Well actually they only open up your Public folder on your iDisk. That's where you can keep stuff you want to share with other people.

Randy: In your iDisk you'll find four other folders too. A pictures folder where you can upload images for your web site. A movies folder for all your nifty iMovies and QuickTime clips. A documents folder for your, well your, documents. And a Sites folder where all your web documents you create with the Homepage iTools are stored.

Gary: Hey you made it to four without any mistakes.

Randy: Shut your iHole.

Gary: Good one!

Randy: Ooooh, that was nice. iHole. I'm sure I'll have that ripped-off from me soon.

Gary: Yeah, when people say things like, "That Bill Gates is such an iHole"

Randy: No, he's an AhOL.

Gary: Weeeeeee, it's hard to believe we still laugh at stuff like this and we are over thirty.

Randy: Sad, isn't it? But anyway, we had signed up for an iTools account and we checked out the folders in our iDisk.

Gary: Right, next I just dragged the pictures from my desktop to the Pictures folder in my iDisk. I didn't need any FTP software like Fetch to transfer the pictures. They uploaded without a hitch.

Randy: Man, that's cool. Apple sure has made it easy.

Gary: And the Mac OS (gotta be OS 9) sees the iDisk just like a real hard drive. After you have mounted it once you will find a shortcut to it in your Apple Menu under Recent Servers.


Randy: You can also mount your iDisk with the Chooser or the Network Browser. Just choose the Connect to server choice in the Network Browser. Or in the Chooser select AppleShare and then click the Connect to server button. In either case just type in "idisk.mac.com" in the blank. Then enter your iTools username and password when you are asked for them and poof your iDisk is back on your desktop.

Gary: So where is all the web page stuff?

Randy: Well, after you have uploaded some pictures or movies to your iDisk go to Apple's iTools and click on the Homepage choice. You can start creating web pages right in your web browser. Just select a category you want for your web site. You can choose an iMovie Theater, a Personal Page, invites, a Baby Announcement, a Resume, or in your case, a Photo Album.

From the looks of Homepage category area there is a lot of blank area here for Apple to add some more styles in the future. Each category has several themes to choose from too.

Gary: Cool. The Photo Album page lets me choose from the pictures I have in my iDisk. And it automatically makes a thumbnail of the picture and builds a link to a page with the image in it's full size. That was fast.

Randy: And it's just as cool with QuickTime movies too. Since your iDisk is actually living on Apple's high-speed servers you get the extra bonus of having your content streamed across the Akamai media network. And people can check out your master works without running you up a whopping bill from your ISP for all that throughput.

Gary: People who use their free 3MB or 5MB web space with their AhOL or Earthlink account can use iDisk to break beyond that tiny space limit.

Randy: In fact it's easy to link media files on your iDisk to your existing web site too. When you want to link a picture or movie from your iDisk to your outside web site just use this address. "http://homepage.mac.com/yourusername/.Pictures/yourfile.jpg" ; for pictures, or "http://homepage.mac.com/yourusername/.Movies/yourfile.mov"

Gary: Be sure you plug in your username and your file name into that address. But what about more accomplished web spinners? I can see me outgrowing the templates pretty quickly.

Randy: Just like those pants.

Gary: Nice. But can I get away from the templates and stash my home spun pages on my iDisk?

Randy: You know it, my man. Just upload your HTML documents from your desktop to the Sites folder in your iDisk. But to get to it with a browser the link will look like this: http://homepage.mac.com/yourusernamehere/yourfilenamehere.html.

Gary: Awesome! Truly awesome. Thanks Apple for the free streaming media server, free e-mail, free Internet file sharing and web space. It was worth every penny I paid.

Randy: But it's free.

Gary: Man, can I shop!

Randy: So have you finished your photo album web site at iTools?

Gary: Just putting the finishing captions on the pictures and…there! All done.

Randy: Hey, nice web site. But what are these images of?

Gary: That's me filling my pants with live lobsters.

Randy: Oh, lord! But why?

Gary: Duh, to go with the cocktail sauce that crane is about to dip me into. Haven't you ever had seafood before.

Randy: No, I mean why the crane? Why the lobsters?

Gary: Apparently you are going to need the long version of this story.

After my unorthodox upbringing in the untamed wilds by a family of starfish... that's Johnny and Jimmy Five Hands in that picture there...I was rudely ripped from my quiet but loving family by an angry dogcatcher who thought I was Big Foot's baby brother.

Randy: Oh, no. What have I begun?

Gary: After five years in the local pound, selling my back hair on the black market to make Taiwanese pot holders…

Randy: Run folks, save yourself now. We'll see you next week.

Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.

The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.

You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .


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