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25.10.14 0521
The W - Internet & Computers - Apple .Mac / MobileMe Mess
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emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 38 days
Last activity: 3 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
Wow, Apple has really screwed up. Apparently they've been doing this conversion from .Mac to MobileMe & have messed it all up royally. For those unaware, .Mac was a set of services, $99/year, including email service; email, addressbook, & calendar sync across multiple devices; centralised disk storage; stuff like that. That's been working for me just fine since I got my Mac a year & a half ago. Occasional mail outage, but pretty much what you see most places.

Well, in conjunction with the new iPhone they *also* decided to convert from .Mac to MobileMe. Not a thing here that interests me -- I'm not even clear what greatness this should be offering me. I was perfectly happy not knowing a thing about this.

Perhaps just a little too overambitious. Or "not quite ready for primetime." There have been problems & outages starting along about July 10. They sent out an apology email on about Thursday. And then things went to hell again on Friday.

I wasn't affected by the first round, but I am now. No email access at all since Friday. The only word from Apple is that "1% of MobileMe users are affected." No estimates, no actual information. And apparently no backout plan.

I suppose new users are seeing this as growing pains. But for those of us not even a tiny bit interested in the new features, & who just use the most basic elements of the service, this is pretty annoying!!!




Now in Day 4. As somebody who's done CO phone switching systems & other "high availability" systems, I can't believe they'd try to roll in a change like this with absolutely no roll-back plan. After all, it isn't that we're complaining about new features not working -- they didn't have a plan in place to be able to switch back to the old system. I just love being a guinea pig.

Dear Steve Jobs -- I'd be glad to come over & help y'all out with this whole concept of high-availability. I guaran-damn-tee you'd be an unhappy camper if the phone switch that handles Cupertino were down for 4 days.




There are rumours that people have had posts censored on the apple message boards. And not because of excessive vitriol. One thread, attempting to survey "Is your MobileMe working?" in an effort to scope the problem, was deleted after several hours. So similar surveys have popped up on other websites. Well now, how could that be construed as a customer-centric good idea?

(edited by emma on 22.7.08 0243)



Welcome to Day 5. I didn't personally see the "5 Days without emal service" thread over on the Apple discussion board (discussions.apple.com), but there are several posts in the "4 Days without..." thread pointing out that it was deleted. Y'know, the attempt at whitewash is almost more concerning than the actual outage. (Note, I said almost.) I suppose it's working though -- while there is some coverage in mainstream media, it's generally pretty soft due to absence of actual data. On the other hand, once Apple disabled the "customer reviews" for MobileMe in AppleStore (store.apple.com), a number of people have taken their frustration over to Amazon (amazon.com). Jury's still out on the wisdom of booting the disenfranchised.

I'm waiting for somebody to start selling "I'm a lucky 1%er" T-shirts.

Naturally I've switched over to a different email address, & told all my friends to use that instead. I'm extra-clever, since the address I usually give out is a forwarding service, so I just had to redirect that. And I didn't happen to be in the middle of travel or online purchasing, or anything else where a multi-day email outage might be really problematic. Lucky me.

Also naturally I went to export my AddressBook contacts to import into my new mail service. Ahh, AddressBook doesn't have an export to an open source format. Nice. I should just use .Mac to sync my address book. Oh, wait. I'm now trying to decide whether to trust one of the free-ware AddressBook exporters.

The fun continues!

(edited by emma on 22.7.08 1253)



It took them 5 days to write this support document (support.apple.com). Oh, I know! They're so busy working on fixing the problem that this is all they could take time to say. Yeah, that's the ticket.

(edited by emma on 22.7.08 1922)


Day 6, & still thumb twiddling. Meanwhile, I've finally seen an approximation of the scope of the problem. There's a New York Times article (nytimes.com) from 7/17/08 citing a claim by Apple of two million MobileMe customers. OK, so 1% of that is 20,000 (if my BS Math serves me correctly). So that's in the order of 20,000 paid users who have been fully outaged for (now) 6 days. Fun factoid.

Also, I actually had a post on an apple message board deleted last night. More accurately, the whole thread was deleted, so I'm not taking it too personally. Whole lotta spin control goin' on.

(edited by emma on 23.7.08 1453)


Later, on Day 6: Something has changed! No clue whether it's a step forward or a step backward, but now we Lucky 1%ers are getting email password rejections. What this means is that if you have your mail app running, it bounces up & down in the toolbar. Well, at least it's something different.

(edited by emma on 23.7.08 2157)


Day 8, & ... absolutely no change whatsoever. The furor has slowed on the Apple message boards, I suspect, 'cause people have just gotten bored with expecting something to happen & wandered off to gmal or elsewhere.

It's been interesting to watch the Kubler-Ross model (en.wikipedia.org) play out, while Apple has whitewashed the message boards, no-comment-ed the media, & kept customer service / tech support in the dark, thus keeping irate users at bay. My initial thinking was that this is no way for Apple to behave. I still think it's appalling behaviour. But from their standpoint, maybe it does work out better in the long run to stonewall the problem. Even at the risk of losing the whole 1%, if it means maximising the growth on the iPhone side. Interesting strategy. I wonder why it feels so Microsoftian to me.

(edited by emma on 25.7.08 1335)


Word from Apple!!!! (apple.com) Finally! They have made some visible progress, & they've made me (at least) feel considerably better about the overall situation. It's an amazon thing, how much difference a little communication can make.

Indeed, I can use their web interface to see mail that's arrived during the outage. I definitely have some things missing, but overall it's a significant improvement over ... the deafening silence that we'd had.

Apparently they've also updated the basic "trouble ticket" (support.apple.com), with some additional information/instructions for us 1%ers who are still pending restoration.

Thanks for the update, Apple. Keep us posted.


(edited by emma on 26.7.08 1930)
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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.19
Geez, you edited this a lot. People who only read posts when they're new will have NO IDEA unless I say something right here. (Also, you can now post a brand new reply!)



emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 38 days
Last activity: 3 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
Thank you, Zed!

Only fitting to report that, finally, the mail has come back to my MacBook! Word on the Apple message boards is that all of us lucky 1%ers are now finally restored. Indeed, they did manage to recover most of my incoming mail from the outage interval. And I seem to be fully sync'd between MobileMe & my laptop.

Thank you, Apple, for finally communicating with us, & for eventually getting us back up & running. Here's hoping that things really stay up & stabilize.
rinberg
Boudin rouge








Since: 30.1.02
From: South Georgia

Since last post: 1019 days
Last activity: 1 day
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
It seems that Steve Jobs was not pleased with how MobileMe came out of the gate, either. Linkify! (arstechnica.com)
    Originally posted by Ars Technica
    In an internal e-mail sent to Apple employees this evening, Steve Jobs admitted that MobileMe was launched too early and "not up to Apple's standards." The e-mail, seen by Ars Technica, acknowledges MobileMe's flaws and what could have been done to better handle the launch. In addition to needing more time and testing, Jobs believes that Apple should have rolled MobileMe's services out slowly instead of launching it "as a monolithic service." For example, over-the-air iPhone syncing could have gone up initially, then web apps one by one (Mail, Calendar, etc.).




One of the Thirty-two (or maybe Thirty-four....)!

kaynart. Get yours at flagrantdisregard.com/flickr
emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 38 days
Last activity: 3 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
I hadn't seen that -- thanks.

Good to know that Steve realises that this didn't all need to be such a debacle, & that there was a more sane rollout plan for the feature set. Equally pathetic that somebody with any amount of authority thought otherwise.

I will say that since the mess has been shovelled up, I haven't had any more problems. And the talk on the message board is back to a more normal level of problems. No excuse for the problem happening, & no excuse for the lack of information to the outaged users, but at least once it was "all resolved", it really seems to be resolved satisfactorily.
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