Saturday, 26 July 2008

MobileMe - the road to nowhere

In a very unusual move for the control freaks at Apple it seems that Steve himself has sanctioned a blog to report on the continuing travails with the newly launched MobileMe.

The first line goes as follows:

"Steve Jobs has asked me to write a posting every other day or so to let everyone know what's happening with MobileMe, and I'm working directly with the MobileMe group to ensure that we keep you really up to date."

And the last:

"We'll post another update later this weekend to report on status..."

I am hoping for some real honesty as I can report the following issues just in my small circle of MM users:

  • My mother-in-law has been unable to access email for more than a week, during which time her account expired and the billing did not auto reactivate (as it was set to). I can now not get the authorisation through to bring her back online.
  • I ordered the Family Pack in order to rationalise 2 accounts for my wife and a third for myself (which we only use for calendar and contact syncing) and after 8 attempts it seems one of them was successful insofar as one of her 2 accounts now shows as Family Member but there is no sign of the Master Family account so I have no idea how to manage this.
  • During that process I received some comical server error pages - my favorite being attached.
I am now at a complete loss when it comes to resolving these issues as support chat is taking days, the phones are useless and there seems to be little acknowledgement that the card payment system is on the fritz.

Therefore, my hope for the blog and the author's comments later this weekend.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Very worried...

Having bought an iPhone 3G today (I dropped the last on a cobbled street - and to be honest I was seriously impressed that the touchscreen still worked) I was interested to see how lilies actually get gilded.

First impressions (and I'll be brief as this has been written about ad nauseam) are that the slippery plastic is actually quite nice - slips into the pocket more easily, seems lighter (I'm not sure if it actually is) and is yet sturdy in the hand.

So, pick to the fore, SIM out of the old, SIM into the new, sync with iTunes. Boot and...

1 bar on the phone. Now, the old phone was giving me 5 as it sat next to my computer. Wave it around a bit. Still 1 bar.

Read some of the (few) posts that I had not previously browsed about the new iPhone... terrible 3G performance, particularly in the UK.

Turn 3G off.

5 bars.

3G on.

1 bar.

Long-running test (5 hours and going) - max reception approached: 3 bars, somewhere near Eight Over Eight on the Kings Road on my cycle home.





Please tell me it's O2's fault as then I just have to wait for new or upgraded cell towers. If it is a hardware issue in the new iPhone then I am very, very disappointed.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The party doesn't seem so bad once you've left

As with many things, life has a rosier outlook after the event is over and so it is with MobileMe. I say this because MobileMe is now pushing my contacts and calendars from Mac (after 15 mins or manual command from the sync menu) and backwards and forwards between iPhone etc.

Now that I have got over the whole disappointment with the address for push mail I am back to my two Google accounts (Google Apps with my corporate domain and regular Gmail) and I have sync'd my MobileMe but turned off the Mail functionality in the iPhone System prefs so it just does my calendars and contacts. Interestingly the very fact that you can individually select which parts of the MobileMe platform to use (Mail, calendars or contacts) suggests perhaps that they knew that it was going to be used for other mail accounts.

And with a combination of Spanning Sync on my Mac sending my multiple Gmail calendars to iCal and backwards I actually get a pretty good Gmail to iPhone sync albeit with the caveat that I have to at least open my computer to get Spanning Sync to activate and do the last leg.

Anyway, this is a lot more convoluted than I had hoped and it isn't "Exchange for the rest of us" as SJ suggested and so I am on the hunt for new and better methods.

So, an old fashioned doff of the cap to the quiet talent of the man who brought you Hardware Growler (still one of the only 5 or 6 apps bundled with every download of the great growl platform) and the flashes of wit and insight on his blog at - the great Diggory. He led me to Nueva and its Exchange solution to push mail, calendars and contacts from Gmail. The article he put me onto is here, care of Beau Giles.

Thanks all. Any other workarounds appreciated.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


MobileMe, beyond having a bad name, is proving to be a cussed & ugly child. It laid claim to Microsoft Exchange's slice of cake at the push-info birthday party (and let's face it MExch is no little orphan Annie - she throws some spectacular hissy fits but she remains the teen-queen in this particular realm) but has so far vomited on arrival, refused to let any of the children play with his toys and been a pain in the arse.

What staggers me is that .mac was always the slightly slow child, who was a bit plain and really didn't make an impact but then Mac-fanboys did love him a little so he never got the boot. 

But MobileMe was sent to replace him, the sexy younger brother shows what those genes could really do... and it was bad.

I have had a contact in my address book for the last three days and have been waiting for it to push to the cloud (all settings, Mac,, iPhone all correct) and has it pushed, puffed even suggested it might move? Has it hell.

On top of the whole push-email fiasco (you mean only addresses push - the rest of your domains go hang?) I am seriously underwhelmed.

This is one big lost-opportunity for the Cupertino team... or are all of our contacts, emails, calendars stuck in the Infinite Loop. Let's leave this party.

Saturday, 5 July 2008


I take a lot of screenshots for various reasons but have always been too pikey to pay for a proper screenshot app like SnapzPro, preferring instead the usual Apple-Shift-4 routine.

But I am often disappointed by the low quality results as they system is converting them to jpg at 60%. 

I realise that with the likes of TinkerTool and Cocktail you could change the screenshot file format and I have found another simple way here.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Apologies for the delay - and somewhat uncharacteristically

Care of Marbury, and interestingly, by Marbury (aka Ian Leslie) - this is well put: