MobileMe Expires

Today I received an e-mail telling me my MobileMe subscription finally expired. No more extensions, no more apologies. After my MobileMe troubles I’d already moved off of it so when the expiration e-mail came it was no big deal. I’d already turned off everything MobileMe related so I didn’t even have to clean up. I also couldn’t tell you if MobileMe still has problems since I gave up trying to get it to work long ago.

While I didn’t use every piece of MobileMe here’s what I use now to replace the parts of MobileMe I did use.

Foxmarks is a Firefox add-in that syncs bookmarks between computers (Mac and PC) and also makes them accessible via the web. Technically it doesn’t replace Safari bookmark syncing but when Firefox 3 came out I moved off of Safari.

Dropbox is my replacement for iDisk. There’s 2GB of disk space with the free account which is considerably less than iDisk but enough for me. As a bonus it’s also cross-platform (Mac/Windows/Linux) and there’s web access to the files. There’s a lot of other choices in this category and I used Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk, Microsoft Mesh and Microsoft Foldershare. The Jungle Disk/Amazon S3 combination is the most secure as I can add my own encryption key. It’s also the only choice without a free option. Microsoft’s Mesh and Live Folders support both Windows and Macs. Mesh is still a tech preview and too buggy for my tastes, but an intriguing service I’ll keep revisiting. If Mesh and Foldershare weren’t enough from Microsoft they also have Skydrive if you need more free space, although it doesn’t have a desktop client. Dropbox just seemed to be the one that fit into my workflow better than the others.

Evernote has replaced Yojimbo as my information manager. Yojimbo didn’t require MobileMe but used it (actually .Mac – I never got MobileMe working with it) to sync data between Macs. Like the previous replacements Evernote is cross-platform and has a web component. While it doesn’t support encryption of the entire entry or database it does allow encryption of specific text within a note. Due to the limited encryption support (it requires me to remember to encrypt what I want encrypted) and web component I don’t use it for everything I had kept in Yojimbo (like passwords and bank account information) but it’s also easier to add clippings to Evernote.

1Password replaces Yojimbo for the password and financial information. It’s Mac only but there’s is a web interface in beta. It integrates well with Safari and Firefox which makes life easy. The data file is encrypted and synced between Macs using Dropbox. (Earlier version did require .Mac for syncing since it used a OS X keychain file) The web component makes me uncomfortable so I haven’t synced to the web. The downside is that it’s a $40 app.

Those changes covered everything I used MobileMe for. I didn’t use the other features so I’m happy. Of course, I already left .Mac once and went back so I’m not saying I’ll never go back.

So Long MobileMe

MobileMe box graphicJust before the .Mac to MobileMe conversion I received an e-mail that my .Mac account was up for renewal in August. I’ve already gone in and set it to not renew. MobileMe still doesn’t work reliably for me on either of my Macs. Apples inability to service existing customers during the planned conversion has soured me on the service. .Mac had been going well and if it wasn’t for the MobileMe fiasco I probably would have renewed as  the path of least resistance. Instead it’s time to make sure I have replacements for everything I use on .Mac (now MobileMe).

I use iDisk to share files between my Macs and provide an adhoc backup. I have iDisk set to sync to the local hard drive. My disk usage is currently 1.7GB. SugarSync seems like a good replacement and works the same way I use iDisk but has added features. I just signed up for the 45 day trial. A 10GB plan which would handle my past iDisk usage is $2.50/mth ($25/yr). There are higher priced plans of course.

I use Yojimbo as an information manager and use .Mac to sync the data between my PCs. Even before the MobileMe fiasco I was looking at Evernote as a replacement for Yojimbo. For me, it’s proving to be a good replacement for Yojimbo with the added benefit of multi-platform support and web access. There’s a free version but I just went ahead and upgraded to the premium plan so with or without MobileMe Yojimbo was heading for retirement.

The lack of keychain syncing will also be a loss to me because I use 1Password to manage passwords and it uses keychain syncing to keep things in sync across my Macs. While I could copy the 1Password keychain file between Macs (or place it in a shared location) this wouldn’t be ideal since both Macs may have 1Password open at the sme time. So I figure I’ll lose 1Password sync.

I have a couple other apps that use .Mac to sync – TextExpander and Transmit. TextExpander is a typing shortcut utility and the lack of syncing will be a minor annoyance but not so much I’d look for an alternative. Transmit is FTP client and the syncing is used to sync favorites, not something I’ll miss.

I like the Safari bookmarks syncing and Safari was my Mac browser of choice until Firefox 3 came out. Now Firefox 3 is my default browser so the lack of Safari bookmark syncing isn’t a problem.

Calendar sync is nice but I mostly use the calendar on my iMac anyway. Same with the address book. I do like syncing preferences although there have been times that’s been a problem. I’ll just have to get used to having to configure apps on each mac again.

I don’t use Mail, .Mac Websites or the .Mac galleries so there’s no need for me to find replacements for those.

While I still have time (27 days) to change my mind, today I abandon MobileMe and spend my time getting it’s replacements going rather than continuing to fight with the service.