Kathy & I have been using .mac for a while now — it’s been really amazingly easy for her to take a ton of pictures with her Digital Rebel, import them into iPhoto, select which ones to post, and automatically put them up on .mac to share with the family. (Here’s a great one of our nephew Andrew’s first soccer game. As you can see by the numbering in the URL, this is the 120th album that she’s posted in the past couple of years. 1 a week or so. She’s also used .mac as a place to get her e-mail forwarded to — with some grief (the interaction between .mac and mail.app went through some rough spots, in our experience).
The yearly renewal is coming up — it’s something like $99/year for 100MB of disk space.
And we’re thinking about it. Not sure what to do.
What’s happening on the net is interesting. With GMail supporting POP and giving me 2.6 GB of storage space, not to mention being a *great* & innovative mail client and awesome example of how good a web-based AJAX application can be, there’s no reason in my mind to use any other web-based mail application.
With flickr, slide, picasa, typepad & others, there are getting to be way more powerful ways to store & share pictures online, and cheaper to boot. Readers on this blog will notice that mostly for Sam we’re using typepad photo albums instead of .mac based photo albums (really enabled by someone who wrote an iPhoto plug-in that makes it easier to automatically export from iPhoto).
So it’s the same old story: the vertical integration of Apple/MacOS/iLife/.mac is amazingly good — easy to use, generally works great — but is more expensive (by a bunch, really — Typepad is $149/yr to store 1GB and support blogs; .mac is $99/year for 100MB and no blogs, but some other features like the above-mentioned e-mail that are marginal value to us). On the other hand, there’s a ton of innovative stuff on the web (www.slide.com) that’s evolving very quickly into more cool stuff, it’s cheaper (often free or minimal cost), but it just doesn’t integrate as well, especially with OS X, but generally with everything.
So. I don’t know. I’m betting we end up paying for .mac again this year in addition to our Typepad account. But I don’t think it’ll be very compelling by this time a year from now.