.Mac Improvements you'd like to see

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 04:25 AM

    In the vein of things you’d like to have announced at MWSF next week and in light of the notMac story on TMO

    http://www.macobserver.com/article/2007/01/03.11.shtml

    What changes to .Mac would you like to see announced next week. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that keeps cropping up that .Mac is fine but not worth $99/yr. So what could Apple do to to make it worth subscribing. Obviously Apple is putting some effort into improving the service. Retooling the web interface for Mail is a step in the right direction. But only a first step.

    Personally the 1Gb is enough for the moment. It isn’t enough to do a proper backup of all my pictures and music but I’m doubting that they will bump the space up to 10Gb which is what I’d need to do regular backups. But if they did and integrated it into Time Machine that would be great.

    How about letting you keep your iTunes library out on .Mac and letting you access it from anywhere with any Mac or (hypothetical) wireless iPod. To go way off the deep end, Apple could do a tie in with someone like Sirius Satellite Radio so you could have your own .Mac/iTunes channel in the car anywhere on the planet.

    The software side of .Mac is a great idea that has not been used to its fullest. Maybe a .Mac membership could get you a free copy of iLife/iWork every year. Apple could also negotiate with vendors for free or severely reduced price specials on software available to .Mac members only. Not shareware apps. How about the latest MS Office for Mac. Adobe Creative Suite, or a year of WOW or Second Life at some absurdly low price for .Mac members only.

    Alternatively, .Mac is a great service. I like having the @Mac.com e-mail address and URL. It integrates well with my Macs. I use it to transfer files and my web site is there. I would have no problem if they left the features unchanged…..

    ...and dropped the price to $25/yr.

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 06:57 AM #1

    The ability to attach a domain name to .mac website

    Really, that’s all I need.

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 07:35 AM #2

    I hadn’t thought of that. I could use homepage.mac.com/geoduck but have have Eclipstravelguy.com and canadaforever.com (or whatever) as virtual hosts to the same site.

    I like it!

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 07:58 AM #3

    KitsuneStudios wrote:

    The ability to attach a domain name to .mac website

    What is the benefit of having a domain name? People just type in web(or homepage).mac.com/whatever and they are at your website, if you have your website stored at .mac. Or am I missing something?  smile

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 08:07 AM #4

    For example I travel all over the world to view eclipses. A large subset of my site is related to eclipse travel. Rather than typing in

    http://homepage.mac.com/geoduck/Travel/Travel.html

    if I could just have something like
    http://eclipseguy.com

    go directly to the page it would be easier for the viewers. It would make it easier for me when I direct people to my site. It would also make it easier for me to multiple separate sites out of the one account and have them truly appear to be separate. It also would make the site look more “official” or “professional”. In the same way that http://acme.com looks more professional than http://hosts.aol.com/personalsites/foolishness/mybusiness/index.html .

    (btw the latter two are bogus URLs I just made up)

    EDIT: OK I guess acme.com does go somewhere after all.

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 08:19 AM #5

    KitsuneStudios wrote:

    The ability to attach a domain name to .mac website

    Really, that’s all I need.

    8-)  I STRONGLY second that!!

    ++++++++++++

    :D Thanks geoduck! VERY nice site!!

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 10:09 AM #6

    $25 per year? For what .Mac already offers, $99 per year is a good deal. It comes to about $8.33 per month. If you buy your renewal at a discount from Amazon or some place, it brings the cost down to around $6 or $7 per month. You can’t find much better deals than that at regular ISPs, and on those you have to install and set up your own software. (Even with control-panel driven installs of software packages, you’ll be learning a lot more than clicking to share iPhoto albums takes. Not everyone wants or needs to learn how to run WordPress and enable a photoblog.

    I suppose people think these services just set themselves up and there is no one behind the scenes working diligently who should be paid so they can put some food on the table. smile

    The general public don’t care about domain names, and .Mac isn’t designed to cater to those who do. You can get a domain name pretty cheaply and use a DNS forwarding service—many of which are free—to handle pointing your domain name right to the directory in your .Mac account that you want.

    Are your ideas silly? NO! I hope no one thinks I’m trying to say that or belittle the ideas. They are good. They just aren’t within the purview of .Mac, and I don’t think .Mac needs to expand to cover them. If you outgrow .Mac, then you move on.

    Maybe Apple could provide a second tier/level service for those who want more bells and whistles and actual website hosting services like domain names and all. I just don’t think it’s in Apple’s interest to compete with all the other fine services out there while they can focus on building the best services possible for family and consumer-level users.

    What would I like to see? A theme builder/helper for iWeb to better personalize .Mac websites. More clear delineation of sites in iWeb and how they interoperate and are accessible BEFORE I push the publish button. There are a couple similar programs to iWeb which I could move to, but they have their own idiosyncrasies. Basically: just improve iWeb—which was pretty cool for a 1.0 program.

    iMovie’s themes can be tricky to use, particularly the transitions (those page turning ones; not transitions in editing). I’d like to see a bit more guidance on how to use and implement those in using them or in the Help file. Sometimes the previews before applying an effect or transition are still off, so I’d like to see that improved.

    Integration of all the products is coming along fine. Syncing works well among my Macs.

    I’d like to see iCal and AddressBook get Windows versions so my addresses and calendars can sync or be published/viewed on PCs. The combo could make a sweet little calendar setup for a small office, I think, and push people to really see how integration can just work.

    Great thread. Looking forward to reading all the ideas, even if I disagree with some. smile

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    Dean Lewis
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    "Now that you’re dead, your usefulness to me
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    —The Lightning Bug, J-Men Forever (1978)

         
  • Posted: 04 January 2007 10:31 AM #7

    .Mac members should get more discounts on software

    I think discounts on Apple software would be a great idea and make it more worth the $99 a year. iLife would be the most obvious choice for a discount since it interfaces with .Mac in many ways. Originally I believe they advertised .Mac as having discounts on software. I also wouldn’t mind seeing more in depth training. Some of there training is good but only for newbie’s. iDisk space could be raised to 5 gig as there are other sites that offer this for free right now like Xdrive. More abilities in iWeb or the ability to use other programs to make websites on .Mac like Dreamweaver would be nice.
    Free discounts on iTunes if you buy .Mac. That I’m sure would be very popular. Of course any new application added to .Mac service would also help.

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 11:30 AM #8

    Geoduck nails it. smile

    But more than that, I’ve had Domain name web hosting since before .mac came out. Domain name hosting not only means that I don’t have to worry about not changing my e-mail address each time I move, but I don’t have to worry about a web provider going kablooey. I’ve lost several web hosts to mergers, buyouts, restructuring and bankruptcy. But as long as I own the domain name, no-one has to worry about not being able to contact me.

    Similarly, if my needs change, I get to keep the addresses when I move. (i.e. I’d like to sell stuff on my website, I’ve starting a game guild in need of a forum and calendar, I’d like to use a CGI script or two, I’ve outgrown the bandwith requirements… etc.). So if I ever outgrow .mac, I’d either have to pay extra to keep my e-mail and duplicate many of the features I’d get with superior hosting elsewhere, or switch my e-mail address again.

    For what you actually get, .mac seems like a pretty good deal. But without a domain name computability, I’m not willing to switch over and lose a more permanent e-mail address.

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    -Jon Roth

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  • Posted: 04 January 2007 12:08 PM #9

    I agree with Dean Lewis. I think the .Mac suite is overall a decent package.

    Like anyone else, I’d like to see a discount on the price. I’d also appreciate some deal sweeteners on a more frequent basis.

    If there is one technical aspect I would change it’sthe URL naming convention.

    Giving out an address such as

    http://web.mac.com/coaten4vi/iWeb/The iWeb paradigm/Wii way.html

    is just silly.  Some streamlining would be welcome.

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    Posted: 04 January 2007 01:09 PM #10

    [quote author=“Dean Lewis”]

    What would I like to see? A theme builder/helper for iWeb to better personalize .Mac websites. ...

    iMovie’s themes can be tricky to use, particularly the transitions (those page turning ones; not transitions in editing). ...

    I’d like to see iCal and AddressBook get Windows versions so my addresses and calendars can sync or be published/viewed on PCs. ...

    Uh, not one of those is a .Mac product. They’re either part of iLife or come with the Mac OS.

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 01:37 PM #11

    [quote author=“gslusher”]

    Uh, not one of those is a .Mac product. They’re either part of iLife or come with the Mac OS.

    AddressBook and iCal sync with .Mac and provide access to the addresses and calendar through the web and your .Mac account. iWeb is specifically designed to integrate with a .Mac account (with an option to save files otherwise). I don’t see any problem with including them here—unless you’re saying syncing is not part of .Mac. smile

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    Dean Lewis
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    "Now that you’re dead, your usefulness to me
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    —The Lightning Bug, J-Men Forever (1978)

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 03:26 PM #12

    [quote author=“Dean Lewis”]

    AddressBook and iCal sync with .Mac and provide access to the addresses and calendar through the web and your .Mac account. iWeb is specifically designed to integrate with a .Mac account (with an option to save files otherwise). I don’t see any problem with including them here—unless you’re saying syncing is not part of .Mac. smile

    Sounds like an ad hoc rationale. The improvements you mentioned for iWeb, iMovie, iCal, and Address Book, as desirable as they are, have little or nothing to do with .Mac features. One might also like to have improved image editing in iPhoto. Since one can make photocasts with iPhoto and .Mac, does that mean that any part of iPhoto is, perforce, a feature of .Mac?

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 05:19 PM #13

    I definitely support the idea of domain name hosting. I have some professional society pages I post through .Mac for convenience, and it woud be great to be able to use a simple domain name rather than let the world know it’s through my personal .Mac account.

    Early in the days of .Mac, we used to get a fair number of software discounts and freebies, but those have really trailed off. At one point we even got free Wingnuts! Similar types of promos would be really nice.

    $99 per year is a bit steep, but then again, the convenience of .Mac is spectacular. The parts of .Mac I really use are e-mail, iDisk, and Homepage, and IMHO the integration between Homepage and iDisk is what makes .Mac worth the price of admission.

         
  • Posted: 04 January 2007 07:40 PM #14

    Domain Name Hosting

    I use .Mac to host my production company’s web-site but the link i give everyone is hubtechproductions.com which i registered through GoDaddy for something around $8 for the year (I also have 15thStreet.tv go to a certain part of my site).

    Yes, it would be nice to not have to pay for this secoundary service but it is nice to know that if I ever choose to host my site elsewhere than .Mac then all i’ll have to do is change a preference at GoDaddy rather than negotionate with apple to keep the domain name.  If apple let me register the domain name with them but also keep all rights to that domain name including moving it elsewhere then that’s a feature I’d like to see in .Mac.

    Here’s my wish list which is based around what little we know about Leopard and the “iPhone”

    • Intigrate Homepage and iWeb ... they are the same service ... I understand Apple had to keep Homepage open for legacy stuff but what they should do ...

    • Ability to edit iWeb pages remotely (great combination of iWeb and Homepage) ... I don’t mean being able to completely overhaul your site but at least be able to blog on the fly from wherever you are

    • Sync iWeb content amonst computers (it is too damn hard to even move it from computer to computer) I would love to be able to edit my page on my tower at home then have the changes reflected on my portable on the go and vice versa

    • Syncable Home Folder ... from what i’ve seen they are adding the ability to sync preferences but i feel they should add this to the user’s entire home folder ... i mean everything movies, music, documents, photos ... i guess it becomes more of a back-up but it would be nice to be able to sit down at a new computer and log into my user account over .Mac and have all my prefs and docs available to me ... they toyed around with having this work on iPods awhile back (which i still think would be a great idea) but this would be a one upper

    • Add a web-front to Address Book and Calendar (right now you can see them on the web but not easily edit them) ... I’m talking something similar to what they’ve done with Mail which is basically make the application a web-application

    • Better integration with Google (and other search engins) so that I can get my web-pages chaced and searachable even faster

    • Better integration with with YouTube/Google Video so that I could host my video content there but easily embed it my iWeb pages

    • Apple should buy RealMac Software and integrate RapidWeaver into iWeb (yeah, i know, iWeb doesn’t bring much to the game other than .Mac support) but then they would have themselves a web development package that’s feature rich but also easy to use

    • This one’s for addressbook: I use it for many things but the best part is it is integrated into iChat, Mail, my future iPhone… etc. the point is that sometimes I use different names for different purposes… for instance John and Jane Smith ... in address book I want it to show up as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (as this is the proper way to address letters) but I also want John Smith and Jane Smith to pop up seperatly when they log on to iChat.  In mail, i want mails from John’s work account to say John Smith (Big Name Company) but mails from his personal account to just say John Smith and mails from his wife to say Jane Smith.  But ontop of that I want him to show up as JohhnyBoy on my phone (it’s a nick name i have for him) ... the point is: this should all be in one addressbook contact and synced to all applications and devices through .Mac

    • Finally, I’d like the .Mac interface to match whatever interface they decide to go with in Leopard

         
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    Posted: 04 January 2007 10:33 PM #15

    Time,time,time

    The problem is the time it takes to figure out how all this stuff works.  I have a registered web-site with nothing on it and a .mac website but how do I get the dot mac stuff to my web-site?
    I also was dismayed to find that “back-up” only works if you have a .mac account.  My plan was to back-up everything to an external hard drive using “back-up”.  There are other ways to do this on an automated basis, but I really do not have time to learn how to use apple script.
    I have spent the last 6 months learning some of the ins and outs of OSx and now I am out of time and must do some actual work!

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    Bob