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Friday, 11 July 2008 10:50

.Mac to MobileMe cutover causes angst as servers go down

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Apple's rebranding of its .Mac Internet service to MobileMe is throwing users into disarray as the service has been offline for prolonged periods. Users find that some services still work while others aren't operational at all.

While some features such as iDisk seem to be working normally, others are suffering from hiccups.

Worst of all, the .Mac site has been offline all day, making it impossible for users to check the status of various services, leaving them in the dark about whether any particular problem is caused by Apple or closer to home.

Visitors to the site are merely presented with a message that reads "This service is temporarily unavailable. We are currently performing scheduled maintenance. Normal service will be restored soon." in four languages.

Some users in time zones ahead of the US are feeling aggrieved that the unveiling of MobileMe may be timed to coincide with the iPhone 3G going on sale on the west coast of the US, even though the launch took place hours ago in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

While the .Mac mail servers have apparently been working, as far as responding to mail clients, I have had several instances during the week where messages sent from my .Mac account haven't reached the addressees, and others sent to me haven't arrived.

But if you're travelling and relying on .Mac web mail, tough luck. You can't log into the web site, so you can't access your mail.

What else is happening? More .Mac/MobileMe iSsues (groan) on page 2!


iDisk seems to have been available throughout the week, either from the Finder or via the web. Yet using the .Mac system preference to log in to .Mac (usually necessary for iDisk to appear in the Finder) yields the message "Unknown validation error. Your .Mac member name or password may be invalid. Please enter a different name or password."

This issue also makes it impossible to upload a Web Gallery from iPhoto, or a web page from iWeb.

A software update that replaces the .Mac system preference with a MobileMe equivalent has been provided to Apple's developer community, but has yet to show up in Software Update for normal users.

Apple charges $A119/$US99 for a MobileMe subscription, and apart from the level of integration with Mac OS X and various applications a similar bundle of services can be put together at much lower cost. For example, free email from Google or Yahoo!, low-cost web hosting from any number of providers, and free large-file transfer services such as YouSendIt.

Consequently, customers regard .Mac/MobileMe as a premium service, and expect corresponding service levels.

iTWire approached Apple Australia for a comment on the situation, but so far there has been no response. Since they were probably up most of the night with the iPhone launch, we won't hold that against them.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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