Mac OS X

Move MobileMe to iCloud

iCloud IconAfter upgrading my desktop Mac to Lion 10.7.2 and my iPhone and iPad to iOS 5 it was time to convert my MobileMe account to iCloud and see what all the excitement was about. I don’t use most of the MobileMe features and in fact the features I did use weren’t moved to iCloud so I had to make other arrangements, But once I was ready these were the steps to move to iCloud. I did have problems getting the iCloud move to work, but eventually had success.

Start iCloud from System Preferences


The 10.7.2 install will automatically bring up the iCloud preferences pane. But since I skipped it then I started it through preferences.

Start the Move


Start the move by clicking the “Move to iCloud” button. This will switch you to a browser page.

Start Again – This Time in the Browser


Click the “Get Started” button (you may need to logon with your MobileMe account).

Calendar and Email Will Be Moved


The first screen notifies about the e-mail and Calendar move.

Gallery, iDisk and iWeb Will Stay On MobileMe for Awhile


I don’t use any of these three apps but they’ll go away on Jun 30, 2012.

Not Everything Will Be Available


I don’t sync any of these items so their loss is not a concern to me.

Is Everything Ready?


I’ve already upgraded my desktop Mac and MacBook Air to Lion 10.7.2. My iPhone and iPad are on iOS 5, so I’m ready to upgrade. I check the confimation box then click Nect.

Confirm At Least Once Device Is Up To Date


I don’t sync bookmarks through MobileMe but my contacts are up to date on both Macs that use MobileMe.

Confirm There’s a Backup


I did a backup before beginning so I’m ready to go.

Agree to the Legal term


Oops – Apple Is Busy


This was a frequent message throughout the first day. I start from the beginning each time. Finally I had…



The messages popped up on my computers, iPhone and iPad so I acknowledged it and verified the iCloud settings in preferences. I didn’t have to change anything,

Once everything is moved performance seems fine, although I sync very little with iCloud and I’m hesitant to enable more just yet.

Mac OS X

iOS 5 and iCloud – Day 1

Try Again Message from iCloudI’ve had iOS 5 on my iPhone and iPad 2 for just about a day now. Along with these I’ve had two Macs on Lion 10.7.2 ready to see what iCloud is all about. I did have a couple issues with the iOS 5 upgrades and I still have an older iPad 1 that hasn’t been able to upgrade yet. I’m not overly anxious with that last iPad upgrade so I give it a try every few hours or so if I’m by my desk. But I’ve been completely unable to move my MobileMe account to iCloud, with the message in that earlier image being the end result when I run through the move wizard. If I actually needed MobileMe/iCloud I’d give up trying to do the move since this would probably be just the beginning of the problems.

Likes, Dislikes and Frustrations With iOS 5

By far my biggest like with iOS 5 is wireless syncing. I had read that the iPhone (or iPad) had to be plugged in to power which would be a hassle and the iPhone screen themselves imply this. Except the word “Automatically” is key. It requires power to sync automatically but can be synced manually anytime. I do have a dock for each on the night stand so do expect the morning sync to be slightly easier, saving a trip to the desk. I’ve found the wireless sync to be fast enough (I have 802.11N wireless). At this point there hasn’t been a backup done over wireless but I’m assuming it’s because the time for the next backup hasn’t rolled around yet as the last one was less than 24 hours ago.

One frustration was the re-organization of my app icons on the devices. Some of this may have been due to the Reminders and Newstand apps being added to the home screen, which was already full for me, I’ve read that others have had apps or folders removed completely but I didn’t experience any of that. (Or the app was used so infrequently that I didn’t notice). It was easy enough to fix, but still annoying.

Related to the moved icons I found that using iTunes to rearrange icons using the wireless connection was painfully slow and I gave up. As was scrolling through the app list to check and uncheck ones to install. I ended up doing this on the device itself, although connecting to USB would have been fine I’m sure.

I like the new notification drop down so I may actually turn notifications on for more apps. It’s taken from Android but it’s one of the features I missed from my Android days so I’ve no complaints.

It’s probably a frustration caused by iTunes and not iOS 5, but several of my smart playlists contain names of podcasts long deleted. They matched at the time but they don’t exist either on disk or in the podcast section. The main problem here is dead links in the playlists and sync errors since the files aren’t found. I had to delete the playlists.

On the other hand, one podcast related frustration was turned into a like with iOS 5. Previously the iPad did not sync playlists where the contents are podcasts. The playlists were there and the podcasts were there, but the playlists were empty.

One dislike is that the playlist display on the iPad shows album covers. In my case at least, the album covers provide little visual clue as the the playlist contents so I’d prefer the list names only, sorted alphabetically. I’ve yet to find a way to change this.

Frustration with iCloud and Apple Servers

Passed on Apple’s track record with “the cloud” I feared the worst. So I consider it a positive that they didn’t seem to break MobileMe.I don’t give Apple any slack for “unexpected demand” or launch bugs. This is the third cloud service I’ve used from Apple and all have had problems. I had no problem downloading the iOS 5 upgrade files themselves from Apple. It was only when the upgrade tried to communicate back to the mothership that I had problems. This is all before a couple million new iPhones hit the streets. It’ll be a long time before I trust Apple with any sort of cloud service. I’ll use it for convenience, but I’ll avoid having to rely on it always being there. Once they get this sorted out they’ll still have to prove they can do upgrades and enhancements without bringing the system down.

It may be a cute marketing ploy, but bringing down the Apple store every time there’s an update could be viewed as a inability to handle updating a live web service. Hopefully iCloud will prove this wrong, but it’s not looking good so far.

Wrapping Up

I’ve yet to be able to try iCloud and the trouble getting going doesn’t inspire confidence. So far my one liner is “lot’s of promise, little delivered”. No doubt iCloud will grow and get better I just hope it won’t be too painful. Anyone else using iCloud yet? What’s your favorite iOS feature?

OS Quest Trail Log

OS Quest Trail Log #64: Vacation Edition

Picture of palm trees on an islandAs October begins so does my two week break from my day job. Long before the word “stay-cation” became popular, my idea of a perfect vacation was one with no plans or clocks. That’s what my vacation will be this year. If the weathers good I’ll get out and about, otherwise I should get some quality time with computers and gadgets.  The last trail log was only a couple weeks ago but, I’m hoping to get back to the monthly frequency with this one.

Kindle Fire

Of all the recent gadget news and rumors, the Kindle Fire is the one I’m more interested in. So interested I already placed my pre-order. There’s still some who are comparing Amazon’s tablet to other low cost tablets based on the specs. The specs are irrelevant for it’s success. Most competitors try to come up with specs that match the iPad when placed on a checklist. Amazon buries the tech specs and leads with what the Kindle can be used for:

a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199

Unlike other tablet manufacturers they built the content first and then built the tablet. Whether they planned it that way or stumbled into it doesn’t really matter. It appears that most (all?) of that content will be coming from Amazon. The more technically inclined may root the device or seek out web based content but for most people it will be what Kindle provides out of the box. The Kindle is the first non-iPad tablet that has an answer to the question “why should I buy this instead of an iPad?”.

As for me, I’m already part of the Amazon ecosystem so this is a natural extension. I have to give it to Amazon, they make it easy to buy from them and they make me pay for the privilege.  I pay for a yearly Amazon Prime subscription for free shipping (the video is a relatively new addition) and now I’ll pay for a tablet to consume content and then buy more.

While $200 isn’t small change, it was low enough to get me on board. I’ve been spending more time in Amazon Video and it can’t be played on my iPad so this will help. I am concerned this is a rush to market for the holiday season along with being a Gen 1 device. I suspect Kindle Fire 2 will be significantly different even if the rumors of Amazon trying to buy WebOS aren’t true. (Or are true and don’t lead to a deal. Although I would be surprised if Amazon moved off Android since they already have the apps.

SpiderOak – Syncing Is Hard

I’ve been using, and liking, SpiderOak for my backups. I use it on my Windows Home Server 2011 and on my Mac & Windows PCs. I had been using it to sync files, mainly between some WHS folders and my Macbook Air so that files would be with me on the road. It wasn’t long before I had my first significant problem with it.

I’d been using it to sync my Bento database. I made significant changes the other night on my Macbook Air and when I went back to it the next morning all the changes were gone. Best I could tell the sync had overwritten the files from another machine, basically rolling back the file. Since I hadn’t used Bento on any other machine I knew it wasn’t a file with old data getting updated. Luckily I never really trust any sync, having been burned numerous times, so I had backed up the database after all the changes and could just restore it.

So SpiderOak is out as my sync solution. I’m using ChronoSync but that does require me to make sure the latest file is on my laptop before I go mobile. I’m still liking SpiderOak as a backup solution.

Software Updates

While there have been plenty of software updates, only one seems worth mentioning.

VMWare Fusion was upgraded to version 4. Since I recently purchased Fusion 3 it was a free upgrade for me. I try to avoid running Windows programs on my Macs so I’ve never been interested in features such as Unity or even game performance. Based simply on the time the VM runs, my primary usage is to run a virtual machine so that I can VM into work and keep everything work related separate from personal stuff.  Add a second VM for Windows 7 testing and another as a test web server and that’s about all I use. The point being, my needs are minimal and to keep that in mind when I say I like Fusion and it performs well for me.

The competition between VMware and Parallels (along with VirtualBox) seems good for us as the crown of “best” seems to switch between Parallels and VMware on a regular basis and prices stay relatively low. I’m on VMware because that was the least expensive choice at the time (VirtualBox on the Mac was causing be problems.)

Website Changes?

I was recently able to register the domain when it dropped. It makes things a little easier to drop the “the” and not have to tell people to include it when I mention the name. I’m still deciding exactly how I want to implement it. Swapping the URL is a pain (having to switch internal links and do redirections) with little gain. It would be easier to just redirect the new URL to the old one. On the other hand this may be a good opportunity for a major redesign since I can move stuff to the new URL when ready. This may be a good vacation project.

Project List

Prior to my vacation I put together a list of things I wanted to work on. Even with the days off I don’t expect to get through everything on list list but I’ll list it all here just to see how bad I do. So in no particular order…

  • The previously mentioned website redesign. Off-hand I’m guessing this won’t see much progress during my vacation, at least not enough to go public with.
  • pfSense router – I’m happy with Untangle as both a router and UTM but I’m still interested in pfSense as a router. If nothing else it has more bells and whistles on the router side. I hadn’t used it because it didn’t work with my DSL. I no longer have that DSL line (it was a backup and to handle traffic when I went over my Comcast quota). Plus, there’s a new version of pfSense out.
  • Ubuntu Home Server – I’m happy with Windows Home Server 2011 but I’d like to get a Ubuntu server running as a home server too. I don’t think it will replace the WHS, but it may be fun to experiment with.

I’ll see how much progress I make on these. Between other shiny things catching my attention and vacation I’ll have to pick a choose. We’ll see how much progress there’s been with the next trail log.