Time To Get Your Stuff Out of MobileMe

Imagine your folks are selling the old homestead and downsizing. You’ve been ordered to clear out all the stuff you’ve stored with them over the years. There are cartons in the attic, basement, garage -- all must find another home.

Something sort of  similar is occurring now if you've been a user of Apple’s MobileMe. Our “folks” have warned that come June 30, 2012, they’re tossing out our stuff. So, many of us are scrambling to find suitable storage for all the documents we thought safely tucked away over the years on MobileMe’s iDisk.

Fortunately, by now -- as opposed to when the iDisk was first born --there exist many other storage options. Some offer mega space for those who require acres, and others offer a more modest amount for people like me who don’t have the same giant needs

The Unofficial Apple Website (TUAW) is the place to start if your stuff has a hearty appetite. Remote FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or Amazon S3 servers, none of which I understand, are there for the big boys.

But, if your demand is petite, like mine, David Pogue of the New York Times  speaks our language. He explains, “MobileMe’s most original feature was synchronization: wireless, automatic, seamless auto-updating of data among your gadgets. Your address book, calendars, e-mail, notes, Web bookmarks and other information were always up to date on all your machines ... and always backed up. That’s all part of iCloud now. But when MobileMe dies, three other useful features will die with it: iDisk, iWeb Publishing ... and Gallery.... Apparently, Apple wants to get out of the storage business.”

Pogue offers replacements for “those three orphaned services, that are not quite as slick, clean and well integrated into your Apple gadgets, but ...offer a lot of choice and a lot of power.”

For the former Gallery online photo storage, he picks SmugMug out of competitors like Flickr, Shutterfly, PhotoBucket, Snapfish, 5oopx, dphoto, Fotki, Picasa, PhotoShelter. As for me, I’ve been a Picasa user all along and will just stick with that service.

For the iDisk, which served as an online “hard drive” and sat on the desktop of my iMac, it was a great way to transfer and save files between computers. Pogue suggests Dropbox or SkyDrive.  I’ve been a Dropbox user, along with iDisk, because I’m obsessed with saving documents in the cloud, rather than on thumb drives or CD’s. Thus, I’ll stick with Dropbox.

iWeb Publishing was a simple way to create Web pages. After June 30, you can still use iWeb to design Web pages; you’ll just have to find a new company to host them. Another route is replacement web publishers. Pogue suggests Jimdo and Weebly. But,  I’m already a Google Blogger and website user, and here I shall remain.

This Doc brings buried pages back to life

While I have great admiration for docs in the medical field, the Doc in this title refers to a favored site in technology. Specifically, Google Docs, which I've found to have awesome talents in resuscitating expired pages.
I've told you earlier I already use Google Docs to save (note the medical continuity) all the writing I don't want to lose to a natural or klutzy disaster. I also appreciate the fact that my words are resting comfortably in a cloud, so when I'm away from home, I can still access everything I've got stored on my personal Google Docs page.

And, if I wanted you to have a look-see at any of my documents or to edit something I've written (not bloody likely), I can tell Google my intentions and you would get an e-mail and a password to unlock my page.

But that's not our lesson for today. In 2000, I wrote an essay about my tattoo. Since the mark still elicits curiosity, I'd like to give you a chance to read it today. I could send it as a Word attachment, but because I'd like it viewed by the wider world (a clue!), I need a different solution.

Enter Google Docs. I open my stored Word document, copy (not upload because then I wouldn't be able to edit it) and past it into a new Google document. I click on Share, select Publish as a web page, and violà! So, here's My Tattoo, alive and well, which you can read at your leisure.

The trick also works for blogger writers who want to revive an archived post that no longer is isolated on its own page and thus can't be captured with a Web address. For further reading, travel back to April 10, 2006 when Tom McNamee of the Chicago Sun-Times gave my memoir, "The Division Street Princess" its biggest boost. See? A little CPR; heartbeats.

My beloved Apple uses its MobileMe program to perform similar miracles. But as reported in a earlier post, it costs $99 annually. In my judgment, Google Docs does it better, and for free. But don't settle for my view, if you want a second opinion, just be sure it's covered by your insurance.

Cheating on Steve with Sergey

You know I'm a big (understatement) fan of Steve Jobs, but there's one of his products I recently dumped: MobileMe.

MobileMe, which Apple charges $99 per year to maintain, allows users to sync Mail, Contacts, and Calendars between computers and iPhones. But, I was never successful performing this trick. I did use the iDisk part of MobileMe for on-line storage; but even that was a bit of a hassle. So, sadly, I declined to renew my subscription (although Apple -- in the forum of dire notices -- continues to remind and plead with me to re-up).

I've chosen Google's Gmail to do my syncing between computers and iPhone; and Google Docs (Sergey Brin is Google's Co-Founder and President of Technology)- which is free - to plop all of my documents, notes, e-mail attachments, and other stuff I want to save. Because it's in a "cloud," somewhere in cyberspace, I can access it from either of my two Mac computers, my iPhone, or on computers away from home.

The beauty of cloud computing (iDisk is also a cloud) is that if a fire or other disaster (earthquakes have been popular lately) should befall your computer, your external hard drive, your thumb drive, your CDs, or whatever device you use to back-up your important things (you do backup, don't you?), your output is still safe in the cloud.

As a Jewish mother, worrying about disasters is a birthright; so no use giving me the odds of anything so bleak happening. I'll count on my Russian Sergey (maybe it's our Eastern European roots that are the lure) to protect me.

I only hope Steve forgives me.