Home > apple, hackintosh, internet, iPod, macintosh, phone, storage > MobileMe 60 day trial – part 2

MobileMe 60 day trial – part 2

Part 1 detailed the initial setup of a MobileMe 60 day trial, and the issues I encountered with logging into the web account. The update at the end of part 1 explained that syncing had become more consistent with contacts, calendar items and bookmarks syncing across my hackintosh, macbook and iTouch. The problem with speed delays has now been explained, with several sites detailing Apple support document TS1155, ‘MobileMe Push: About automatic syncing’. From the article:

Selecting Automatic in Mac OS X allows your computer to immediately sync and update when there are any changes on the MobileMe servers.  Those changes can come from your iPhone, iPod touch, the MobileMe website, or another computer.  Changes made on your computer will be synced to the MobileMe “cloud” once every 15 minutes (or every hour in Mac OS X 10.4.11).

Windows users are in the same situation, where automatic means every 15 minutes. For a service aimed at home users (remembering business users will likely use Microsoft Exchange) this isn’t a big problem. I think my dissapointment with the lack of Mac and Windows ‘Push’ syncing is because it wasn’t made clear when MobileMe was demonstrated, not due to it being an issue. I don’t know about any technical limitations of Tiger and Leopard that prevent push syncing, but it seems a bit behind the rest of the service.

The next problem that’s now been resolved is logging into the Me.com web services. MacRumors user Cinder detailed a fix in the forums that did the trick. It appears that the iForgot feature for resetting your password isn’t working, and you need to log into myinfo.apple.com using USERNAME@me.com and the password. It’s then possible to change the password and this will stick. The new password was required to log into the System Preferences MobileMe panel on both the hackintosh and Macbook. Logging into the Me.com web services was a first time success. The strangest thing was that changing the password back to the original one in the Me.com preferences worked fine, so I’m now using my first password. Looks like more teething problems for the new service. I am disapointed that I haven’t had a reply yet to my support email, especially since a reply was promised in 24 hours. Maybe the problems have swamped the support staff.

That’s the initial problems are resolved, so next is a first look at the web services. Logging into the account took me straight to the email section, as shown below. It’s a very Mac like design with clear colour iDevice style icons (unlike the plain Leopard ones).

I haven’t started using me.com mail yet, so there’s not much to see. Next in the row of icons is the contacts page. Nothing unusual here, the contacts are clear and it’s easy to select a different group on the left.

Next icon is the calendar, and this is where I encountered another problem. The screenshot below is the MobileMe calendar for this month.

Notice the empty week in the middle of the calendar? The ‘Early Shift’ entries from this week have ended up in the following week, and Friday’s entry is on Thursday. Here’s the same calendar in iCal on the hackintosh.

The entries are where they should be on the hackintosh, so why were they wrong in the MobileMe web access? A search through the preferences revealed the Time Zone was set to GMT-8.

How this happened is a mystery. The MobileMe signup screen asks what Country you are in and I had selected United Kingdom, so how did it end up as Cupertino? Fortunately this wasn’t a difficult problem to fix. I changed the Time Zone to GMT in the MobileMe web preferences, then forced a sync from my hackintosh. A dialogue popped up asking if I wanted to merge or replace data, so I selected the Mac to replace the MobileMe web data. The calendar apointments were replaced with correct ones and have stayed as they should be. Neither the Macbook or iTouch were effected by the incorrect Time Zone in the ‘cloud’ as Apple calls it.

The next two icons are photo’s and iDisk which I haven’t played with yet, so details of these services will be covered later.

Bookmarks, calendars and contacts now seem to be working fine across all four platforms (hackintosh, Macbook, iTouch and Me.com) so I’ll finish this instalment with some screenshots of the preferences section of Me.com. ‘Personal Info’ was shown above so here are the rest with notes where necessary.

Two things of note here on the Account Options screen. The price per year is shown as £48.76 which isn’t the UK price of £59 minus 17.5% VAT, so where does it come from? Also shown is the Cancel Account button which should be the one to terminate the trial. It looks easy to do so that’s a plus point, better than hiding the option or making it as difficult as possible to find.

Justin pointed out in the Part 1 comments that it was possible to change the amount of Mail and iDisk storage, which I hadn’t been able to see due to the login problem I had. Here’s the screen showing the setting for Mail usage, dropped to 5Gb so iDisk has 15Gb. This should mean that additional storage space you buy is controlled the in the same way.

In Part 3 I will look at some of the other sync services available.

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