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When Steve Jobs/Apple announced iCloud as the successor to MobileMe the questions started circulating about the features that weren't mentioned. In other words, would features like iDisk or iWeb publishing go away? What about web access to email? Apple has posted an FAQ here outliing which features would make the transition and which ones won't. Unfortunately for long time MobileMe (.mac, iTools) users at least 3 features won't make it:

  • iDisk
  • Gallery
  • iWeb Publishing

My goal here today is to provide some alternative suggestions for those who have come to rely on these three features.

Let's start with iDisk

The good news here is that there are some great alternatives already in place. First of all you'll get 5GBs of free space with iCloud. This means that your iCloud aware Apps will be able to store documents in the iCloud. However, if you want more traditional drag, drop & syncing storage, then I highly recommend Dropbox.com. You get 2GBs of space for FREE. You can buy either 50GBs of space or 100GBs of space. The software is very Mac like and you can install it on all your Macs (or PCs) and they even have an iOS App (and Android App) for access to your content on your mobile devices. You can always access your content from any computer that doesn't have the software installed via their web interface. Granted Dropbox has had a couple of security scares recently, but they stayed on top of it, fixed their holes, apologized to their customers and provided great customer support during the breaches. Any company can be hacked (yes it even has happened Apple on more than one ocassion). I can't say enough good things about Dropbox and have been using it for the past year without any problems. I have the 100GB plan and basically treat it like my documents folder. It syncs everything I put in it up to the cloud as well as between all my networked computers at home. I always have access to my photos, documents, etc. even via my iPad or iPhone.

You can sign up for your FREE Dropbox.com account here.

 

Gallery

Gallery is the feature of MobileMe that allows you to easily share your photos and movies from iPhoto. While I do have some photos on my MobileMe Gallery, I already share those same photos in other places. The good news is that even if you are an iPhoto user and you want to keep things simple, iPhoto allows you to share photos via Flickr.com and Facebook.com just as easily as MobileMe. Both Flickr.com and Facebook.com are FREE to use and have much larger communities than MobileMe. With Flickr you can lock down access to individual Photo Sets (Albums) or pictures. Dropbox also has photo sharing support with instant galleries by simply dropping a folder of images in the Photos folder. You can also post short movies. Speaking of Movies, I acutally prefer to post videos to YouTube anyway. With MobileMe visitors were required to have QuickTime installed and that was usually a pain for Windows users. Everyone is already used to YouTube and YouTube videos work on just about everything. The videos play back in Flash OR HTML 5. Also the YouTube player is built into most mobile devices being sold today. You can restrict YouTube videos to be Unlisted or Priviate. Lastly YouTube is FREE.

If you're an iMovie user, iMovie can already upload to YouTube directly and YouTube supports HD video, which MobileMe didn't. If you're an AppleTV user you can view Flickr Albums and YouTube videos just as easily on your TV as you did MobileMe content.

You can signup for Flickr.com here

You can signup for Facebook.com here

You can signup for YouTube.com here

 

iWeb Publishing

This one is probably the hardest to replace from an ease of use standpoint. The handwriting has been on the wall for iWeb for a while now and Apple hasn't updated it. Your options here are not bad though. If you like iWeb you can keep using it as you always have. The only difference is that by June 2012 you'll need to find another hosting service to host your iWeb sites. Most if not all hosting services allow you to upload your websites via FTP and iWeb supports uploading via FTP.  I use GoDaddy and Network Solutions for most of my hosting needs. I don't particularly have any love or hate for either of these companies. They work fine most of the time for me. I don't really have a "perfect" hosting recommendation. Everyone I talk to recommends a different company and there doesn't seem to be one big national hosting company that stands out above all the rest. I would start by looking at pricing and up time. If you're an iWeb user chances are you're not hosting a big commercial website. Therefore you can probably save by going with a smaller local hosting company. You'll want one that's been around for a while and has a good track record for not only their up time, but their customer service. In other words if your site goes down on Friday evening, will it take until Monday before you can talk with someone about it?

If you want to move away from iWeb completely, then I would strongly recommend looking at one of the blogging services such as WordPress.com or Google's Blogger. Even if you have NO DESIRE TO BLOG, you can set up a "regular looking" website using these services. They're web based and allow you to easily update your site's look with literally hundreds if not thousands of free templates and of course you can post photos and embed videos too. Don't forget that for many inviduals they've given up the notion of having a "personal website" in favor of social networking sites like Facebook and Tumblr. 

Here's a document explaining how to move your iWeb site from MobileMe to a different hosting provider.

All of these services are FREE:

You can get a WordPress Blog (website) here

You can get a Blogger blog (website) here

You can get a Facebook page here

You can get a Tumblr page here

 

The Bottom Line

Remember that you don't have to make any of these decision today. You technically have full use of MobileMe until June 2012. However, it's probably best to start thinking about your transition plan now as opposed to waiting until the last minute and having to find places to put your content.

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  • Mike

    Interesting article, but I two things bothered me.

    First, I’m not sure how I feel about you posting your Dropbox referral link in an editorial. It cheapens the article and makes it look like you’re just trying to get free storage space.

    Secondly, I had used Godaddy for years, ignoring Bob Parson’s tasteless and sexist advertising, but his killing an elephant, then bragging and posturing about it was too much ego for me to stomach. Google “godaddy elephant” to read more about it. I switched to namecheap.com and love their service.

    • Um, I’m already paying for the Dropbox’s top tier. So why would I need free space?
      As far as Godaddy is concerned. I don’t use a service because of what the CEO did or didn’t do. Like I said I have no love or hate for GoDaddy. The service I receive has been OK. If you have a personal dislike (and I’m not condoning the Elephant thing at all), then I totally understand. If I were you I’d go with another provider for sure.

  • GC

    Terry, you missed the fact that sync services are seeing major cutbacks as well.

    According to the FAQ, “Syncing of Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences will not be part of iCloud.” Now, to be honest because of differences between the Macs that I use, I can do without syncing of Dashboard widgets, Dock items, and System Preferences, as I like to set those separately on each individual Mac but Keychain syncing is essential.

    The Keychain stores all kinds of info that is used across systems like, account names and passwords, certificates, and in my case many secure notes. Having to sync these manually across the systems that I use daily will become very tedious and I can see myself over-writing Keychain files incorrectly and losing data. And, to be honest, even if a third party were to introduce the functionality I wouldn’t trust them with that secure data.

    I would like to encourage everyone who owns more than one Mac and uses the Keychain to send feedback to Apple and encourage them to retain that one piece of functionality. They already have the code to do it that just need people to let them know that it will be greatly missed if it does not make the transition to iCloud.

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/mobileme.html

  • Just plain IRRITATED at losing iDisk.
    OK, rant over.

    • What irritates you about losing it? What unique feature does it offer you?

      • • The total inconvenience of all involved with relocating all my stuff.

        • WebDav
        Uploading PDF Shared Reviews for my clients to work with.
        Yes, I know I can do this on Acrobat.com, but liked having all my stuff in one location.

        • Web sites that house my class materials and video tutorials.

        • Almost 100 web sites that have to be moved (and re-captioned) elsewhere.

        • Not dealing with someone else’s banner and incessant ads on my sites; claiming to own or have free use of whatever I upload.

  • Richard Vallon Jr.

    Apple WAS the computer company that was supposed to make computing easier,
    Killing iPhoto Galleries is a major step backward for Apple users…
    iPhoto allowed you to see which galleries you had up on Mobile Me, and
    you could also choose to password protect or even send full resolution images
    up to the gallery. So Apple gives us these capabilities- and then pulls the rug out
    from under us. Pooh on you Apple- its time for a little uprising of Apple users, an Apple Spring!

  • Pingback: iCloud and All the Trappings | Sinatra Network()

  • Koen Hoogstoel

    Dropbox is not an option for me. As it is widely used, it is blocked at my office’s network – as also other alternatives. The iDrive was not, as it was a payed alternative and not well known by Windows users.
    About the gallery: I am missing this one too, as the lay-out and friendlyness of copying really is smooth. Something you cannot say from flickr… and I do not want to put all my holiday-albums on facebook…

    Regards