Free .Mac?

Many of you may be wondering where the Macalope was last week. Every so often the Macalope likes to “sharpen the saw” as Covey would say and go to a conference where he can learn and reenergize!

It’s almost always a mistake.

This time the Macalope decided to go to this big mythical creatures conference at the Sylvan Glen (“Sylvan Glen” sounds like a mythical place but it’s actually a Courtyard by Marriott out on Highway 80). The conference is supposed to be a way for us all to get together and talk about the issues of being mythical.

For example, it’s really hard to build up a line of credit. Imagine being a faerie and having to put your address as “Under the toadstool down by the babbling brook in the Great Green Wood” on a loan application. That doesn’t look good. It’s vague and somehow sounds like you spend most of your day stoned.

Anyway, there’s this big reception at the conference and the Macalope is talking to this magical half-elf with plus five hit points and — as will often happen when you have a head shaped like a Mac — the subject turns to Apple. As it turns out, the magical half-elf with plus five hit points is also a Mac user and has some familiars who provide him insider info on Apple.

So, we’re sipping our white wine and wearing our “HI, I’M the Macalope” and “HI, I’M the magical half-elf with plus five hit points” badges and he starts talking about portable home directories.

Unless you’ve been living under a toadstool down by the babbling brook in the Great Green Wood, you know that Leopard is going to feature some amazing advancements of this technology. But out of nowhere the magical half-elf with plus five hit points says “Of course .Mac will be free again to tie it all together.”

The Macalope did a white wine spit-take which probably surprised him a bit because he immediately started backing off that assertion, saying “Well, some part of it will be free.”

But it does make sense. It’s not like Apple’s making a ton of coin on it anyway and if Leopard is going to highlight the ability to access your home folder anywhere, what better way to make that possible for everyone than .Mac?

Uh, other than something that’s reliable.


  • That’d be fricking cool.


  • I have no idea if Apple’s really considering it, but it would certainly be one way of making Leopard look futuristic without doing too much development on Leopard itself. If all that Leopard will do is feature better access to .mac, then most of the work will be with the .mac service and iLife and iWork.This way Leopard could launch soon without too many features leaking through dev previews.

    You could ask at that point if .mac is really a Leopard feature, but chances are we’d be too busy oohing and ahhing while we sync everything to everything else to answer that.

  • dino:

    Sounds interesting, but I doubt it will happen.

  • That would be neat, or even just a limited free version.

  • bkpr:

    …even just 1MB so I can *finally* sync my Safari bookmarks between my desktop and laptop for free.

  • Matt:

    Welllll. Google offers many features (almost…) as .mac, and it is free to use Google. I do remember reading something about Apple and Google competing with the same companies…

  • John Muir:

    A basic free version would be an excellent move, while a free complete one would be the obvious dream. Signing up for .Mac ranks alongside the registration nuisance for QuickTime Pro* as my last remaining pet peeve when installing OS X, or during those all important unboxing moments of a switcher with their first Mac. It should all be in the box. Mail, new Mac bundled iLife, the usual list of sweet goodies you can expect in OS X are all great. But why make it an incomplete experience? This is the Mac for fairy’s sake! The archetype of completion, the supreme exemplar of computing kind … the apotheosis dare I say it of our technological desires! Nag screens are so “new Dell smell”, for all that wondous free demo self destructing software that Windows machines come with. Let us be with the Zen of our Mac being and give us our .Mac, iLife and iWork for free. It’ll be recouped on the Leopard tag and then some, and show the Vista weary world what a “must have upgrade” really looks like.

    * As in for just playing video full screen without knowing about Nice Player and VLC. There are ways and means of course, but that sort of hassle should be kept away from all but the inquisitive user. No?

  • DaveD:

    Bullshit. Period.

    I just can’t believe any of this.

    Beginning with this reason for taking “last week” off. (It was longer.) Ending with this over-the-top thing that suggests .Mac is suddenly going to be worthwhile.

    Yeah, I know, that last bit makes me sound like I’m being sarcastic. I’m not. You’ve started to be as lame as AppleRecon

    With all due repect, of course.

    But FOUR psts in 2 weeks….

    (1) Simply spoke of laying low.

    (2) Spoke about “news” from months ago.

    (3) Was total fluff, reeking of being an “insider” who somehow knows how it sucks to work for Microsoft.

    (4) And then there’s THIS. .Mac? Oh. My. Freaking. God.


  • At $100 a year for services that Google offers for free, I have a feeling Apple’s profit margin is quite a bit more with .mac than many of it’s hardware offerings (and those are margins are already quite large). Seeing as how Apple has as much cash in the bank as Dell and there are over a million subscribers to .mac; if I were Apple I wouldn’t say no to free money.

    What I would like to see is .mac’s stable of features strengthened.

  • I have .Mac and I hate it. Unfortuantely people I work with use it to transfer files (half of the time) and I use it begrudgingly.

    This is the biggest Mac whine of them all… the dotMac service is horrid for uploading files.

  • typhoon:

    John Muir : There is a “Show movie in full screen” Applescript you can download, if you don’t already have it.

    I use VLC the most, but this is occasionally handy.

  • The Macalope has just three hexadecimal ASCII characters for you, Dave, and they’re all the same:

    3F 3F 3F

  • photon poet:

    Typhoon: There are ways around, of course there are. But John’s point is valid. It’s a sour note in an otherwise sweet experience (especially for a switcher.

    It’s like scooping up a big mouthful of chocolate fudge ice-cream sundae and finding a piece of gravel in the middle of it. There are ways around it and in the scheme of things it doesn’t amount to much, but it’s so pointless and unnecessary.

    I want it only for sync and for that $0 sounds about right.

  • fondomatic:

    So… Wireless G, Portable Home Directories, and NetBoot. Hmm. So, when my mother-in-law starts having system problems, she can log out, I can log in as her on my machine, & fix it. Fascinatin’.

  • fondomatic:

    Er, make that wireless N. *blushes*

  • I use both Google services and .Mac. Other than hating the name “.Mac” I appreciate it’s service.

    They really are very different things. In fact, the only services I think of that overlap both .Mac and Google are Mail, Calendars, and web site.

    Here’s .Mac:
    1 GB of storage. web site e-mail address
    Sync services
    Backup software
    “Free” Mac software
    All of which is tightly integrated into OS X

    Here’s Google:
    blogger web site e-mail address
    Mapping software
    Office software

    These two services don’t really compete so much as they complement each other.

  • Bergamot:

    Took me a minute, and an ASCII character chart, but I finally got the joke.

  • Skizzy Skirmac:

    Skizzy was hoping the Macalope was at Earl’s Favicon Farm attempting to adopt.

  • Gnosduh:

    Dave… it’s not as if Macalope, whoever he is, gets payed by anyone for this. He might glean some money of advertising, but he probably does it out of his own enjoyment.

  • here’s what i’d like: iWork (with a spreadsheet) online as a service. and i can still have iwork locally for those awkward moments of nonconnectivity. everytime i save a file, i want it in the background to back its own bad self up on a low-cost .mac — maybe 20 bucks a year.

    it’s still too hard to back up stuff at home — my husband thus never does it, i have to nag him to burn a cd sometimes. and i want calendar integration for the whole family so my husband’s ical and mine auto collate on .mac. that way i can figure out what’s going on in real time, you know?

    as the geekette in da house i want all those net features so i can do tech support for my husband remotely no matter where either of us may be at that moment.

    as a blogger, i want s better service than, which is troubled, and i want a address, you bet. owning software is probably the past, so i don’t mind that, and i’m willing to pay — but storage is becoming a coomodity, you know? so its the experience (steve’s strength) the support and the services that will distinguish here.

  • fudo:

    Dave, dude. Go outside and get some air, ok? You look really pale. It’s alright, really, we’ll manage here until you feel better.

  • blip:

    I think dave took a bite out of that toadstool…

  • Dennis Savage:

    Check out a Japanese movie called The Great Yokai War — you may have relatives in it.

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