The Power of Mac

iWhining About Jaguar, .mac Fees

Eric Schwarz - 2002.07.24

The best part about writing for Low End Mac is that people can (and do) email you what their thoughts are on your article. Rather than having "user comments" on the bottom of the article, as some sites do, they can send you an email and tell you what they think. You can respond to them personally, and all is well. One reader coined the term "iWhining" regarding everyone's complaints about MWNY. After receiving numerous comments about my previous article, I'd like to clarify some thoughts.

Jaguar

Jaguar still seems like a worthwhile upgrade, especially in the business sense. I think that it is a nice piece of software to continue the OS X transition for everyone. I'll tell you what I'm excited about: the little things. I like what Apple is improving with OS X - the small icon in the corner of a minimized window, the return of spring-loaded folders, the cleaning up of some options, the translucent Stickies, etc.

To me, iChat is useless. I use Adium, and it fits my IM needs just fine. I rarely email the people I sent instant messages to, and the ones I email don't use instant messaging. However - and I stress this - users who do a lot of emailing and instant messaging will be excited about the integration of the two. Nobody has been able to achieve this yet, and Apple deserves a pat on the back for this one.

iCal and iSync are also fine add-ons. These will help Apple get into the corporate world, as someone commented that "Microsoft's Outlook solution is nowhere near as good as this."

Of course, Outlook isn't just a calendar and a contact list, it's also email, which brings us to my next point.

.mac

Do I want free email from Apple? Sure.

Would I mind paying a reasonable fee? No.

If Apple charged for just a limited email/iDisk membership, I'd fork over the dough in an instant. Virus checking on the Mac is redundant, and online backup is only worthwhile if you have broadband.

The main thing that I'm upset about was that Apple gave us quite a short notice, compared to Yahoo when they switched from free POP3 to pay. Also, my other problem is that Apple should remove the .mac/iTools stuff from the OS unless the user wants it (make it an extra Preference Pane that can be uninstalled).

That said, it is obvious that Microsoft and Apple are not truly alike in that respect. True, they both are big corporations, and maybe the Mac Web needed to realize that. Apple is not some small mom-and-pop operation that wants you to be happy. No, they need to make money. Of course, their users would like to be treated somewhat better, and Apple could lose loyal users, so everyone loses.

I admit it, we have a PC here, and I cannot begin tell you how Microsoft nickels and dimes us for every little thing and how they nickel and dime the Windows world for things as well, but this is Low End Mac, so back on topic.

Paying is Fine, But...

Personally, I feel that Apple should offer a cheaper upgrade to Jaguar for certain users (lower than the school and government prices). My iBook is about 4 months old, and Jaguar was being talked about before then. For me, and I've had some readers agree (but you may be different), Jaguar's "improvements" aren't worth it. I know I have a consumer portable that can't do Quartz Extreme, and it doesn't need to.

Also, I would be more than happy to pay Apple for an update when OS X reaches all the functionality of OS 9. We're still waiting on certain things like tabbed folders, but at least they're making progress.

Someone commented that I am using the Toyota Tercel of Macs (even though that's more like the G3 iMac), and I act like I should be treated like I own a Lexus. Well, let me share something with you - people with the Lexus of Macs, the TiBook, are being treated like I am - our upgrade coupons are worthless, and we're all going to have to pay the big bucks for the upgrade.

I don't believe Jaguar or .mac should be free. Apple has to make money to stay afloat, and to pay the people who do this stuff. I just think that Apple is becoming sour in many of their user's opinions, because of their policies.

So what?

Since I don't have $100 a year just to pay for .mac, nor will I use it to its full extent, I've looked for a few alternatives (besides the POP3 services listed by Charles W. Moore):

First of all, head over to JMUG.org - they're a Mac user group on the Internet, and they offer various types of memberships. Their paid membership offers all kinds of goodies.

Also check with your ISP. With a dialup account, they usually give you a few email addresses and web space.

To conclude, let me stress that I don't think that Apple should be giving a free ride to Mac users. I do think Apple should rethink their strategies and, as someone pointed out, realize that "Even though [the] Switch [ad campaign] is successful, Apple will have users switching away from the Mac if they're not careful." LEM

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