Home > apple, internet, iPod, macintosh, network, service, storage > MobileMe 90 day trial – Part 3

MobileMe 90 day trial – Part 3

If you have read the previous two parts of this series you will notice the title had changed from ‘MobileMe 60 day trial’ to ‘MobileMe 90 day trial’. I now have an extra 30 days of trial as an apology from Apple for the initial problems the MobileMe service experienced. If my current experiences of the service are an indication of its quality Apple will need to give me the next year for free.

My initial problem was with deleting a calendar. In version 1 of the iTouch firmware there was no option to add a new event to a specific calendar. I had created an ‘iPod Touch’ calendar so I could move events from this to the correct destination on the Mac after syncing. Firmware 2 now supports adding an event to a chosen calendar so I don’t need the ‘iPod Touch’ calendar. It was deleted from iCal on the hackintosh, but stayed on the iTouch. No amount of syncing would remove it. Next step was to log into the me.com web service and delete it there. Still no change after that, it’s on the iTouch but nowhere else in the cloud. Not a big problem but a bug that needs to be addressed.

Last night I fired up the Macbook to check some emails, and opened iCal to add a new event. Three of my calendars had vanished, and one was duplicated.

Next check was the hackintosh to see if that had suffered the same changes.

Nothing wrong there, all the calendars and events look like they should. The third check was the me.com web interface.

The calendars here are matching the Macbook. Several sync’s on the hackintosh and Macbook had no effect on the disparity between calendars, and restoring the calendar on the hackintosh from a backup wouldn’t propagate to the cloud. The iTouch didn’t seem to want to delete any calendars so it still looked like this.

This was a bit of a puzzle, how do you get the cloud back in sync? I tried setting iTunes on the hackintosh to overwrite the iTouch calendars in the hope this would replace what was in the cloud and get the calendars back in sync.

The calendars iTunes is showing are the ones in the cloud, the incorect group from me.com and the Macbook. This means iTunes and iCal are showing different calendars on the same computer. I went ahead with the iTouch/iTunes sync to see what would happen. Here’s the iTouch’s calenders after the sync.

What? I now have two sets of calendars in the iTouch, and the ‘On My iPod’ set doesn’t match either the Macbook or Hackintosh. This has become a mess and I can’t see how the calendars can be brought back into sync. It’s just as well I’ve been making regular backups from iCal on the hackintosh, or this would have been a disaster.

Before I go any further there’s one other thing that isn’t working. Back To My Mac is a service to remotely access your files on another Mac, and share its screen. This is the preferences screen from the hackintosh.

Looks fine, no problems reported. Here’s the same on the Macbook.

Both the hackintosh and Macbook connect to the same gigabit switch, and go through the same Netgear wireless router and cable modem. One says its working, the other says it’s not. The router has UPnP turned on, and it’s working for other devices. I could understand if the hackintosh had a problem since the network drivers have been replaced, but why doesn’t the Macbook work? It’s bog standard, no fiddling with anything just a 10.5.4 install. Yet another part of the puzzle that is MobileMe.

I intended this series to be a record of my experiences over the 60/90 days of my trial, with a decision at the end on if the service is worth paying for. Even without the much publicised email losses, I have experienced enough problems to stop the trial. MobileMe is coming off my computers, and I’m planning to have another look at alternative services that can offer the same features. If removing MobileMe turns out to be as big a problem as using it there may be a part 4.

  1. Mike
    August 8, 2008 at 12:56 am

    I agree with most of your findings. MobileMe had a lot of potential, but it failed to live up to it…

  2. Scott
    October 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I disagree with your findings, I agree that the initial service did absolutely have more bugs than should be in a release, but apple has done a pretty decent job in fixing them. I know a lot of people that use it, and I myself use it, and it does what i need it to do for my itouch and macbook pro. The Cloud isn’t just 10gb, you can adjust how much you want for mail and how much you want for idisk, and if you don’t have an absurd amount of mail, just set it down to 2gb, and have 18gb disk space. I’ve seen employees in the store demonstrate mobileme by adding a contact on their iphone, signing in on a computer, and watching it appear. And although, it may not happen immediately every single time, i have found it to be relatively consistent. I agree it was released prematurely, but I feel safe that apple is working on it, they gave the extensions on trials, and they will fix the problem to be worth it.

  3. basshead
    October 31, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Apple may have iron out the bugs now but this article was written at the end of July so reflects the state of the service at that time. It wasn’t a MobileMe beta, Apple was charging for a service that was flaky and had a lot of problems. If they had called it beta and not initially charged until the problems were fixed there wouldn’t have been a problem. In this instance they should have followed Google’s example of keeping its services in beta until they are proven.
    I am aware that the ratio of email and storage can be changed, this wasn’t initially obvious as I couldn’t log into the web account (another bug).
    Hopefully Apple has learned an important lesson for the MobileMe launch and will focus their resources on fewer simultaneous product launches.

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