does .mac cost money

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jman's picture
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I was wondering if .mac costed money apple
does not say

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Vellos's picture
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At first it didn't, back when

At first it didn't, back when it was known as iTools for a time, then switched to .Mac awhile later and now is on a subscription fee. Apple's site should say, let me locate it...

http://www.apple.com/dotmac/features.html

Notice the "Join now, for only US$99.95 per year." part.

There is a 60 day free trial available, but that's just a trial of course.

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gobabushka's picture
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Yep

You can get a free 60 day trial, but yes it does cost money.

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it seems a bit expensive for

it seems a bit expensive for what it is

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It is a bit expencive, but ha

It is a bit expencive, but having had it since its inception, I wouldn't, now, give it up. I'm even considering getting the family plan for another $50.

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iantm's picture
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Considering ...

that connectivity and server space cost money, I can't imagine .mac being something that is 100% pure profit for Apple. Being as there are no ads for third parties (ala Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.), .mac is paid for by the membership fees and internal funding. That said, .mac is awesome, and I love it.

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Vellos's picture
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I personally feel that I cann

I personally feel that I cannot justify the price. For less than that, I could rebuild an old AMD K6-2 box for about an inital investment of 40 dollars or so, cover a cable modem (which I would have either way), and host my own things on a dedicated server with effectively endless bandwidth and space limits.

That, and I'm paranoid about leaving my data's well-being in the hands of others. Perhaps it varies on your level of knowlege and how comfortable you are with the offered technologies they give you, but I personally feel that for a hundred bucks a month, I could do better myself.

Compared to other hosting sites, what you pay for seems to completely unbastardized in comparison to many free hosting sites. Although I do not know of any other hosters that will charge money for hosting with better features, but perhaps someone can offer input on such things.

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dvsjr's picture
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It may seem like a lot at first

but considering how easy it makes posting photos to the web for people to see, having your data and information handy no matter what computer/OS/place you are. If you dont have the $$, building a server yadda yadda isnt the same thing as having all that .Mac gives(tons of free software, tutorials for learning Apple products, not to mention little time savers like built in iphoto integration (never mind the small costs that are getting much more expensive for hosting your own server, just look at your electricity bill having a pentium running all day hosting files, or the costs of a decent speed connection, they add up to more than $100 a year Im sure)
If you look on amazon, they often offer discounted .Mac accounts, as does ebay, bringing it down a little. But like someone else said, once I bought mine, I cant live without it.

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cwsmith's picture
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Re: I personally feel that I cann

Vellos wrote:

... I personally feel that for a hundred bucks a month, I could do better myself.

For a hundred bucks a month, it would be no bargain at all.

For the actual price of $100 a YEAR, or $8.33 a month, it's a pretty good deal. I think Yahoo still charges $5.99 a month just for their "premium" spam-magnet email.

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Not a Pentium, or an Intel pr

Not a Pentium, or an Intel product at all. An AMD K6-2, which are rather low-volatage and low wattage CPUs (low heat!). It may only be a bit over 400Mhz, but it draws only about about 70W (old tech rocks, the PSU is about 100W, but it's almost always idle), less than my iMac DV 600 (150W), which is notoriously low energy, but the server wins over since it has no monitor and doesn't drive any energy robbing video circuitry other than it's built in IGP.

The tutorials to me are something meaningless. Apple's way with straightforward and clean UIs makes learning many of their products leaves the barrier to entry extremely low, and without need for such things. While this may be aimed towards those who are less tech-savvy than the rest, they offer me nothing than some mastering of obscure features.

The simplicity of some of the things Apple offers with .Mac is attractive, such as a database system which will take in your photos, generate thumbnails on demand, and allow a small commenting system is slick, but there are free open-source alternative such as gallery which allow you more control over how it looks, and again, more control over everything in general. Their implementation is much more streamlined, but the UI just seems... standardized. My tastes may differ from other, but this is a little thing I can't help but nitpick at.

Using Linux ensures that I can use any standard I want, and allows me to make sure everything is compatible with every OS I wish to use. Linux, when enabled, has support for MacOS filesystems, and even the native ext2 and ext3 filesystems preserve older Classif-style Mac metadata (resource forks). This allows transmitting things like .sea's from the server directly to a Mac ensure the file gets over with *all the data intact*. This is not possible with a Windows-based architecture, NTFS and FAT will disembowel any older Mac applications, effectively ruin them (huzzah for binhexing, but that brings upon it's own problems).

There are also the plain flexibilities that running one's own server offers. I can run a VNC server for remote access and administration. It hosts my own encrypted proxy, so that while I may be on the University's line, I have a line to the server that is secure, if say I wish to do online banking, that's rather confidential stuff, and with the University using hubs, the broadcast domain is huge. Anyone with a packet sniffer can track down packets, both unencrypted and SSL'ed. Some of my banks DON'T encrypt, which is why this is an attractive solution.

The OS is free. In the three years I've used this server, I spent 40 bucks for the box, and fixed it up, spending an extra 40. This is an inital spending of 80 dollars. But over the years, it has run with no problems. Electricity usage is minimal, I shall demonstrate:

70W * 24 hours a day * 30 days a month = 50.4kWh
50.4kWh * $0.06 (the price of one kWh) = $3.03 a month
$3.03 * 12 months = $36.29 a year in electricity.

So let's work that out for the three years I've used my server.

Initial $80 bucks + 3*36.29 = $188.87 for 3 years.
Roughly $100 a year * 3 years = $300.00 for 3 years.

EDIT: I need to check the bill this month, because I seem to remember it stated 0.06 for a kWh, I will verify later, but this is what I remember.

As you can see, it's also very economical to run my own server as well compared to having Apple host it. But you might be right if it were a *Pentium* based box, and a more modern one at that. I use older tech, it's cheaper, it's more reliable, and it's lower power. :]

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Vellos's picture
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Re: I personally feel that I cann

cwsmith wrote:
Vellos wrote:

... I personally feel that for a hundred bucks a month, I could do better myself.

For a hundred bucks a month, it would be no bargain at all.

For the actual price of $100 a YEAR, or $8.33 a month, it's a pretty good deal. I think Yahoo still charges $5.99 a month just for their "premium" spam-magnet email.

Sorry about that, that was a mistype. I do understand it's 100 bucks a year, however.

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dvsjr's picture
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Re: Not a Pentium, or an Intel pr

You also have to factor in your time, which, once applied to an hourly rate, yields a hefty dollar cost. (configuring linux on a PC is not a half hour) uptime, updates, firewall config. now you are over $100 with time you could have spent outside.
Bleh. I pay my $68 bucks and I'm done. See: http://tinyurl.com/94wyl

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Vellos's picture
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The time factor wasn't that m

The time factor wasn't that much, really. The time I spent that first year on it I spent mostly learning Linux, some database apps like MySQL, a lot of Java, and network administration. There are very useful skills that give me an advantage that I've noticed many other CS students lack, having no experience with Linux, while nearly all the machines on campus use some form of it (WVU did something right there).

On a day to day basis, I do nearly no work on the server. I've set it up to be self-monitoring for services that need to run, and also if it's randomly shut down and brought back up, all the services come back up, and it checks it's self for consistancy (Linux generally does this anyays if a volume is unmounted in a dirty manner). The most time I've put into the server to keep it going was a few months ago, when I did a major backup and overhaul. I spent a weekend building a Gentoo install accelerated for it's K6-2, and restoring files onto the server. Since then, all the time I spend working with it is the time one would spend with .Mac, creating content and uploading files for others to view.

Umm. By the way, your offer has expired. While that's a decent price (still more than those 36 bucks a year), it's a more difficult offer to obtain, and I'm not sure about legalities. Still, that's 32 bucks off, which is always nice to save.

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dvsjr's picture
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Thats the trouble...

With old threads.

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