Saying Goodbye to MobileMe

I’ve been a .Mac/MobileMe customer for 6 years… all the way back when Homepage was the most bad-ass thing I’d ever used. In fact, Homepage is what brought me into the .Mac fold. Since then, a lot has changed with the service –  what I need out of it. For years, I used Homepage and Backup – that was it. The online portion – email and contacts – was nice to have, but I didn’t rely on it. In addition, I was a one-Mac man: my trusty old Titanium PowerBook was my only machine.

But things changed. These days, I use an aluminum iMac at home, and have a MacBook Pro that work lent me, not to mention my iPhone and my HP Mini 1000 running Ubuntu. I move from one machine to another several times throughout a normal day, and need my core data (email, contacts, calendars and “common” files) on each of them. 

MobileMe got the job done. Even with the disastrous start, it worked. But I wanted to move to a solution that:

1. Had a cleaner, faster web interface 

  1. Better up-time
  2. Better integration and usage in Ubuntu
  3. Cheaper

I’ve had a Gmail account since the service was by invite only and liked the interface, but I thought I was stuck. Since the iPhone can’t sync over USB when there’s an Exchange account, or sync two exchange accounts, I was stuck using MobileMe along side my work’s Exchange server.

This week, I discovered that our company’s mail server could dole out messages via IMAP, which freed my one Exchange setup on my iPhone, as long as I incorporated my work contacts and calendars with my personal stuff. Which I wasn’t thrilled about, but could tolerate.

So after two days of setting things up, this is how my contacts and calendars get around:

Spanning Sync allows me to sync iCal and Address Book with Google Contacts and Calendars. While it doesn’t do push syncing, it will sync every ten minutes, which is good enough for me. It’s $25 per Google account per year (so I can use the same license on two machines legally) – $75 cheaper a year than MobileMe.

So that gets my stuff up to my Google account. But what about the iPhone? Well, I stumbled across a free (!!) service called NuevaSync that will push (over the air using SSL) Google contacts and calendars to a variety of mobile devices, including the iPhone. 

So, in a nutshell, I can use the native apps on my Macs and iPhone, but use the web if I’m on my Ubuntu machine or on a random computer that doesn’t belong to me.

But what about the other features of MobileMe – such as iDisk, which allows file syncing between multiple computers and the web? Dropbox fills this void (again, free, but only up to 2GB) and even works in Ubuntu and on the iPhone via MobileSafari:

The only thing I’ve lost in this transition is my cool email address and bookmark syncing. I’ll survive. [Update: I can still sync bookmarks via USB with my iMac.]