Archive for MobileMe

MobileMe Windows Control Panel Updated

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 13, 2009 by itnerd

I missed this as my primary machine isn’t a crappy Windows box. But for those few of you who use MobileMe on Windows, the MobileMe control panel has been updated. According to the documentation on

The MobileMe Control Panel 1.3 update delivers faster syncing of contacts and calendars between MobileMe and Microsoft Outlook.

With this update, contacts and calendars automatically sync whenever a change is made in Outlook, and likewise when a change is made on the web or from another device. A new tray icon also indicates whenever an automatic sync is in progress.

Now that’s something that Windows users who use MobileMe will love.

It’s available through Software Update, or by clicking here.

Apple Drops New iTunes And iPhone 2.2 Firmware On The World [UPDATE]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on November 21, 2008 by itnerd

Apple is getting kind of sneaky these days. Late last night, Apple dropped two new updates for its fanbois users. Let’s start with the fact that iTunes 8.0.2 for Mac And Windows is now available. If you want to grab a copy, visit Software Update or click here. This update addresses the following issues:

• iTunes 8 and iTunes U are now accessible with VoiceOver on your Mac.
• Addresses a quality issue creating MP3s on some computers.
• Fixes a connectivity issue with the iTunes Store when using some Internet proxies with Mac OS X.
•Improves accessibility with VoiceOver.

Next is the updated iPhone 2.2 Firmware. It brings a lenghty list of fixes and enhancements:

•Enhancements to Maps
•Google Street View
•Public transit and walking diretions
•Display address of dropped pins
•Share location via email
•Enhancements to Mail
•Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
•Improved formatting of wide HTML email
•Improved stability and performance of Safari
•Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular)
•Decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
•Improved sound quality of visual voicemail messages
•Pressing the Home button from any Home screen takes you to the first Home screen
•Preferences to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard settings

This version is available via iTunes after you plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC. This update is apparently available for the iPod Touch as well.

If you’ve got feeback about these updates, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: The iPhone/iPod Touch update security changelog can be found here. Note that it fixes the issue where iPhones are not really locked when they’re locked that I told you about. Apple has posted update pages for the iPhone and the iPod Touch as well. Also, a thread on Apple’s discussion board indicates that this update seems to fix that WPA issue that I told you about.

MobileMe Control Panel For Windows Gets An Update That Is Optional… That’s A First

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 3, 2008 by itnerd

If you check Apple’s Software update utility on your Windows box, you’ll see that MobileMe has been updated to version 1.2. Here’s an image of what I am talking about:

The first thing that you’ll notice is that Apple has told you what this update fixes. So if you count iTunes 8.0.1, Apple is two for two in that department. I guess that saying their updates have “bug fixes” is so last month.

The second thing that you’ll notice is the box next to the update is unchecked. So you have to check the box in Software Update to download the update in question. That is a major change from Apple’s tendency of late to “stealth install” updates or have the box “pre-checked” so it just downloads along with whatever you really want to get via Software Update.

Perhaps Apple is learning how to treat their users right?

Oh, just in case you were wondering, you’ll need to have iTunes 8.0.1 installed on your Windows box before this update appears.

Apple Includes MobileMe Uninstaller In iTunes 8….. Thanks For Letting Us Know About That Steve!

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 26, 2008 by itnerd

Frequent visitors of this blog will recall that I was not a happy camper when I discovered that MobileMe was stealth installed with iTunes 7.7. It now seems that Apple has had a change of heart. If you’ve installed iTunes 8.0 and you check you “Add And Remove Programs” within the control panel, you’ll see this:

MobileMe now has an uninstaller for their control panel. That seems remarkably enlightened that they added that feature into iTunes 8. I guess they decided that trying to increase their MobileMe user base by any means wasn’t worth it. Although it would have been nice if Apple said they were going to do that as it might have given some people who were not happy about the fact that the control panel was there the “warm fuzzies.” I only noticed it when I was uninstalling another application, which is not the way to find out about this sort of thing.

Thanks Steve for fixing that. Now never stealth install applications ever again.

A New MobileMe Mess For Apple: User Data Is At Risk

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 22, 2008 by itnerd

Just when you thought it was safe to use MobileMe, comes the news that your data may be at risk from hackers looking to do no good:

“Apple has reportedly made the service, which provides data syncing between a user’s home computer and an iPhone 3G, easy for hackers to harvest subscribers’ e-mail addresses. According to security researchers, this could lead to a lot more spam and phishing scams.

To exploit MobileMe, hackers can use a Web crawler to sniff users’ public file sharing folder called iDisk to harvest the entire MobileMe user name list, the blog TechCrunch reported Thursday. Once the list is in hand, spammers only have to add or to convert a user name to an e-mail address”

If this is true, that’s a really huge oversight. But this is just a minor annoyance compared to this more serious flaw in MobileMe:

“A far more serious threat is a report earlier this week that Apple encrypts MobileMe login information, but not data that it moves for users over the Web, Eckelberry said. Not using Secure Sockets Layer, cryptographic protocols for secure communications on the Internet places subscribers’ personal data at risk”

Well that’s a show stopper for me. If the product isn’t secure, I won’t use it. Period.

Given this news, and everything else that has gone on with MobileMe, I will not be recommending it to people who ask me about it. It’s now clear to all that Apple cannot get this product to work properly and make it secure. Which is too bad for Apple as the idea is a great one, but the execution quite frankly sucks.

Apple Gives MobileMe Users 60 Days Free To Keep Them At Bay

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 19, 2008 by itnerd

Given the monumental mess that has been MobileMe, I’m not surprised that Apple has decided to throw MobileMe users a bone by giving them 60 days free:

“The transition from .Mac to MobileMe was rockier than we had hoped.  While we are making a lot of improvements, the MobileMe service is still not up to our standards. We are extending subscriptions 60-days free of charge to express appreciation for our members’ patience as we continue to improve the service.”

That may be enough to keep the fanbois happy, but this will only work if the service is reliable over the long term. Given that it has only been up 96% of the time, it has a fair amount of room to improve.

MobileMe Was Down Again….. Sigh [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 12, 2008 by itnerd

From the “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” category comes the news that Apple’s unreliable MobileMe service had issues again yesterday. These postings appeared on the MobileMe system status recent history page yesterday:

* 8/11/2008, 14:30-17:15 PDT * MobileMe members were intermittently unable to access MobileMe Mail using a desktop email application, iPhone or iPod touch. Access to was unaffected. Normal service has been restored.

* 8/11/2008, 12:45-14:30 PDT * MobileMe members were unable to access MobileMe Mail. Normal service has been restored. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Of interest is the fact that there hasn’t been an update to the MobileMe Status Blog since July 29. The blog was placed there on the orders of “The Steve” to specifically to address any known issues with the service. For now, most of the angry Apple Fanbois have been venting their spleens on Apple’s support discussions with dozens of threads from users frustrated by the lack of communication from Apple.

Given the recent history of MobileMe, I would say a better name for it is EpicFailMe.

UPDATE: has calculated the uptime of MobileMe and came to the conclusion that it has a uptime of 96% since launch. That sounds decent until you consider that most people who have “cloud” environments such as Google shoot for 99.999% uptime (AKA: “Five Nines” or High Availablilty) as that works out to 31 seconds of unlplanned downtime per year. 95% uptime means that the environment has 18.25 days of unplanned downtime a year (both figures come from this Wikipedia article). So 96% uptime is nothing to brag about.

“The Steve” Admits That MobileMe Rollout Went Pear Shaped…. You Think? [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 5, 2008 by itnerd

ARS Technica has leaked the contents of an intenal e-mail from Steve Jobs To Apple employees world wide. In it, he admits that Apple dropped the ball when it came to the MobileMe rollout:

“It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store,” he says. “We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”

Other than to say that this report mentions that Eddie Cue (Apple’s frontman for iTunes as evidenced by this Google search) will now have the entire MobileMe team report to him (which may mean someone got walked because of this circus), I’ll let you read the rest of this report. I do have one comment though. Apple got its collective a** handed to it because of the way it handled this rollout. Hopefully they will learn a lesson from this and improve going forward. Because it’s a safe bet that there will be no second chance if they screw up on this scale again.

UPDATE: ARS Technica has decided to release the full e-mail.

Angry MobileMe User Sets Up Protest Website…. The Fanbois Are Clearly Not Happy

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 31, 2008 by itnerd

I was just directed to this website that pokes some fun (but also expresses some frustration) at the issues that Apple’s MobileMe service has been having. Although this is a little late, I was beginning to wonder when something like this might happen seeing as Apple’s #1 and #2 fanbois boosters have given the thumbs down to MobileMe and users are not happy campers at the moment.

Apple now more than ever needs to get in front of this issue so that they can get on with business. Right now they seem to be stuck on the defensive which is not the place to be as they are just getting hammered.

Apple Says MobileMe Is Up….. But Is The Damage Done? [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 30, 2008 by itnerd

I just saw this on the MobileMe Status page a few minutes ago:

“We have completed restoring Mail service, including historical messages, to all of the 1% of affected members. Thank you all for your extreme patience during this trying time. If you have been affected by this issue and are still having problems we have established a dedicated chat line to reach a MobileMe Mail specialist for help. Please use this dedicated chat line for Mail issues only. By completing this restoration of Mail services, we hope we have put the vast majority of MobileMe Mail problems behind us and can now focus on improving other aspects of this new ambitious service.”

This will hopefully mark the end of the circus that has surrounded the MobileMe rollout which resulted in a high profile mail outage, sync issues, stealth installs of software on Windows machines, and less than favorable reviews from Apple fanbois, among other issues. But the question is, can Apple recover from this in the long term and will MobileMe users forgive Apple for all of this?

UPDATE: According to this article from Wired, users are claiming that the issues with MobileMe are not fixed and they are not receiving help from Apple via the chat line that they were told to use if they were still having problems. A thread on Apple’s discussion board as well as the AppleInsider message board seems to echo this.