One of the concepts I like most about using Apple products is the unity of information. With the use of Apple products as an almost choice of lifestyle, keeping information in sync is very very simple. I don’t think Apple has an official motto of “It just works” but I find myself thinking that a lot while at both work and home.
When I first converted from Windows XP to OS X Leopard, I had some favorite applications that I had become rather familiar with, such as Mozilla Firefox, Google’s Picassa, among others. I told myself that I was going to try and use the native OS X applications at first… get the full ‘Mac Experience’. Granted, I use Mail at work, but not at home (still with web based Gmail), it was very successful. I started using Safari and found fantastic little things like the Find. I love the UI for Find in Safari, I pick it over Firefox any day. I continued to use Safari until Firefox 3 came out just recently… and now I’m back to Firefox. Really the main reason is that I love the third party downloads for Firefox.
I also started using iPhoto to keep track of my many photos. This has been a bit of a journey. Prior, I had all my photos organized in a neat directory structure, but this didn’t translate to iPhoto completely as I would have liked. However, going on 8 months into my Mac experience, it hasn’t caused enough issues for me to really spend a good bit of time to make it ‘perfect’.
The big success story is in iCal. Prior, I had used Google Calendars for my schedule, but I wasn’t completely happy with the interface, and iCal was exactly what I wanted and needed.
But enough about the specific products, this post isn’t meant to be full of advertisements. What I do want to talk about is the topic I started with, unity of information. When I hooked up my iPhone to my MacBook and synced, my calendar information would be on both devices, perfect. But this involved daily syncing… I guess that’s fine, but not ideal. Also, what do I do about accessing my calendar on a different computer. It wasn’t until I started my Co-Op at Apple that I got a .Mac account. This was great, I was able to keep in sync all my devices. But then something even better just came along… MobileMe!
Now, MobileMe has been getting a lot of heat lately with its less than stellar roll-out (nicknamed, fail-out). This is understandable. Apple doesn’t typically have rough transitions within products, and this one was a bit more than rough, so of course it is going to get the negative coverage. I firmly believe there are people/press that dislike the idea of Apple being a lifestyle, so when anything goes wrong (just like in a presidential campaign…) it gets blown up HUGE. But again… I digress…
All the bad press about MobileMe roll-out is covering up the real success story, MobileMe the product. Pushing information to devices is amazing. When this technology is polished, the world will be a better place. I make an edit to an event on my iPhone and within minutes it is updated on my Mac and the MobileMe website.
But here is the thing… this in sync ‘thing’ isn’t universal. Sure it is universal within Apple… but as much as I would prefer it… there are people who still for some unknown reason don’t use Apple products. Apple is making strides with this, in an enterprise sense now supporting Microsoft Exchange… but there are so many areas. There should be unity in protocol. If I want to send an event invite to a friend on Facebook, they should be able to accept, automatically updating their Google Calendar, or their MobileMe/iCal, or both! I should be able to receive an event invitation from a friend who only uses outlook (poor guy).
This brings up thoughts about a universal identification, which honestly I support. I think it would be a good thing for everyone if the United States started a national identification. We already have social security… but that’s not exactly what I am talking about. If every person in the world didn’t have to be assigned an identification, but it could be generated from their DNA, that would be pretty sweet. But, even thought that is a super interesting topic that I would love to delve into more right now… I could fill an entire blog with posts just about that.
Closing remarks: I love how my information is available in all the areas I would like with ease through Apple products. I wish it were easier to keep my information in sync with other people who don’t use Apple products. I support a universal identification. Let me just say though, I do not support your UID (universal identification) being tracked for web use. I do not support it being mandatory for non-official (non-government) purposes, but I think it should be available to purposes such as that for those that don’t mind their web surfing being tracked. This is just like how I support Bush in his wire tapping craziness… I personally have nothing to hide. If you do, maybe we should be worried about you.