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July 2011 Meeting Hilights

By Monte Ferguson

The last announcement from the WWDC keynote was that MobileMe is going away. In its place will be a new service called iCloud. With any change there are bound to be plusí and minuses. Our July meeting covered what was cool and what was missing, I.E. features that used to be part of MobileMe, with the new service.

As with any change we discussed that this one is a mixed bag. Previously Mobile Me cost $99 a year. Initially iCloud costs nothing, if you need extra storage it will cost. It does have most of the features of Mobile Me but it is missing: iDisk, Gallery, and iWeb Publishing.

At first we concentrated on iDisk and Gallery. Though nothing will be as integrated as Mobile Me was, there are alternatives for these services. Dropbox does everything iDisk did. But it is faster and more reliable. It also has some features iDisk didnít. Initially iDisk is free, for 2GB of storage. You can pay to have that increased. The Finder integration is the most appealing aspect, which makes it feel like part of the MacOS. Gallery can be replaced by some of the more prominent names in photo sharing, like Flickr or Picasa. Some folks only use Facebook for posting and sharing photos. All of those photo hosting services offer a free version of their service. They offer many of the same advantages that Gallery did.

The hardest thing to replace is the iWeb hosting. Hosting the web pages themselves is not a problem. Any host can do that. The problem is if you used the widgets that iWeb came with. Those were specific to MobileMe and will not work elsewhere. If you avoid the widgets you can publish your web site to a new host using FTP. (Our groups hosting provider, Mac Highway, has instructions for doing just that for instance.) With the demise of MobileMe and the fact that iWeb is in maintenance mode, some folks were looking into alternatives to iWeb itself. Three programs that came to mind, and which have a similar easy to use metaphor, are Rapid Weaver, Freeway, and Sand Vox.

The last thing we covered was how to make your upgrade to Lion as smooth as possible. (Lion was due to go on sale the day after our July meeting. ) The first thing we suggested was to take stock of any PPC apps that you might use. Lion will not run programs that are not written to run on Intel processors. We looked at some alternatives for soon to be orphaned programs. You will also need to make sure you have enough RAM to run Lion. It needs 4GB. Of course you will need enough hard drive space to download it. Lastly, it never hurts to make sure you have an up to date back up before you upgrade.

Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

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