Apple's MobileMe migration to iCloud is due to happen on the 30th of June 2012.
You should have received a reminder from Apple, nudging you to upgrade if you haven't done so already.
iCloud adds some new features to the old MobileMe service and kills off a few in the process. It has been announced with all of the usual Apple hyperbole (seamless, integrated, effortless). Apple's page MobileMe transition and iCloud has lots of information on the gory details of what services live & which ones die.
iCloud is great if you have a Mac that can run Mac OS X Lion (10.7). If your Mac isn't supported or Lion just doesn't appeal you will loose access to almost all of iClouds features.
You don't have any choice if you still want to use the same email address (@mac.com or @me.com). You MUST migrate to iCloud. It makes matters worse if you have iTunes purchases or other third party accounts tied to that email address.
Allowing MobileMe to lapse completely isn't a good idea unless you are aware of everything you have ever associated with that account and can afford to lose access to it. This includes all the website logins that send password resets to that email, all the friends/ family/ colleagues who use that email address i.e. newsletters, mailing lists, PayPal, Amazon, Ebay...
Contact Apple via their chat if you need help, or just want someone to complain at :^)
Ironically you can still have iCloud support with Windows Vista from 2009, but the last Mac operating system is not supported.
Apple have been silent about providing any iCloud support for users on any OS below 10.7.2, so for anyone on Snow Leopard (10.6) or below it would be prudent to have a 'get out plan' so that you don't loose data or services that you rely on working. Plan NOW and it should be less painful when Apple cut the cord in June.
“Think of MobileMe as ‘Exchange for the rest of us,
Now users who are not part of an enterprise that runs Exchange can get the same push email, push calendars and push contacts that the big guys get.”
Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, 2008 MobileMe press release
You will still be able to sync data from a Mac to iOS devices by manually using USB, since that is built into iTunes syncing and doesn't rely on iCloud. Look at iTunes for an idea of what will still sync, anything that has options to sync over MobileMe & has a check box for manual syncing should work provided you change from using MobileMe to the old style USB syncing. Basically Address Book, Mail, Calendars and Notes can be synced via USB.
Here's a few suggestions for replacing what Apple plans to take away.
Applications such as Yojimbo, Transmit, Entourage and many others tapped into MobileMe syncing so that data was shared across multiple Macs. This feature is now gone. To replace it look at the developers site (or their help forums) to see if it is possible to use a service like Dropbox instead. You do need to take care because you may make edits on two machines at the same time and Dropbox doesn't resolve the merge the same way as MobileMe.
You may have been using MobileMe to provide an offsite backup of your preferences, keychains, contacts, calendars photos… Now you need to take control of this yourself.
Choose a system that suits you & your data.
Address Book, and iCal on the Mac have 'Export' in the File menu. Use this to get a copy of all the data, and save it to an external disk or copy to an offsite service - remember that these contain sensitive information so your public folder on Dropbox is a bad place to put them.
Do the same with Safari Bookmarks ('File > Export bookmarks').
Keychains are in your home folder/Library/Keychains. They are encrypted, but the encryption is only as strong as the password you have used - by default it is the same as your user account password. Take care when copying offsite.
Mail accounts are difficult to backup with every preference, mailbox and attachment. Use Time Machine and keep track of the mail account setup info. If you ever need to recover you should be able to recreate the account & download all the mail that is on the server. Then use Time Machine to restore any additional local mailboxes.
Preferences, Dock items, Widgets etc should be backed up with Time Machine. I don't think there is much point making a full offsite copy of the preferences folder in your home/Library, Time Machine or a full system clone should be enough for most people.
You may have noticed there is a recurring answer to many of the missing services - Google. They do have a lot to offer, most of the MobileMe features can be replaced either with free services provided by Google, or paid for additions. Google also have good web clients for email and calendars, so you can still use browsers if you prefer. You will need a recent browser & a will to stay 'close to current' to avoid missing newer features they keep adding.
Google do constantly change and update the appearance & functionality which can be frustrating if you like things to remain the same. Google is similar to Apple, or probably worse at creating new services that get killed off after a few years (Buzz, Gears, Wave, Notebook…). Google are combining services too, e.g. one login for Email, Google+, YouTube, Android Marketplace, they have a habit of promoting new services to users. Choose to move to them if you are happy with Google knowing everything & remember their business is selling adverts. Chances are you already have the ability to add these features to any existing Google account, login to Google's dashboard to see what services are active for your account.
It does appear that Apple is at war with Google, Apple want us to put all our data in the cloud, accessed from Macs & iOS (current OS only). Google 'is the cloud' to an extent, and is treading on Apples toes with it's Android OS. It may not be a good idea to get caught in the crossfire with your data. Set up services that do what you need & hopefully it will cost less than MobileMe. Being your own IT support is the price of using older Apple hardware.
Add comments if you want to let us know your plan, the mailing list is a good place to get help.
Photos from the MMUG meeting at Stratford on Avon Gliding Club.
Photos taken by Lindsay Newton, thanks to the gliding club & the MMUG team for an enjoyable evening.
More info on the club is at their site, stratfordgliding.co.uk
These scripts make changes to your loginwindow preference file. If the file doesn't exist it will be created.
This preference is set for the computer (all users) as it effects the login window we all see when we log in. The preferences are stored in a plist file /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist
You could use terminal commands to add these things yourself - the scripts just add a confirmation dialog box and make it easier for novice users.
For the picture script the image needs to be a jpeg and needs to be stored in a public folder as the system needs access to the file before a user logs in.
The picture will be squished or stretched to fit on the screen.
I've made these mini apps in Automator and I've included the workflow files in case you want to edit them.
Once the automator workflow checks it is OK to run the the users is asked for input, the results of this are passed to some shell scripts.
for the loginwindow text
/usr/bin/defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowText "New loginwindow text"
and for the desktop picture
/usr/bin/defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow DesktopPicture "PathToFile/pictute.jpg"
I'm often asked by teachers, IT folks and mac switchers "How can the screen be locked on a mac?"
BACKUP! The first thing to do before messing around with user folders is to back up.
Make sure you have a good current working backup before doing the following. You're not actually going to delete anything, but you are going to use the command line which doesn't have an undo so be careful.
In this example we are changing the Account Name from jonny to bobby.
1. In the Accounts pane of System Preferences make a new user by clicking on
Call them whatever you want, but make them an admin user.
2. Log out as you and log in as the new admin user.
3. In the Accounts part of System Preferences select the user to rename and press as if you are deleting them. When asked what you want to do with the users data choose "Don't change the home folder" This will rename the folder by adding (Deleted) to the name.
4. Open Terminal and type
sudo mv /Users/jonny\ \(Deleted\) /Users/bobby
Obviously replacing the names with the correct ones - spaces and slashes in the above are important. Make sure the new name is all standard characters (a-z 0-9) with no spaces
The sudo bit runs the command as the root user so you will be asked to enter a password, any Admin users password will do. As you type the characters won't appear on the screen, its a security thing.
You should now have a folder in the Users folder with the right name. Check the name is correct before you carry on. If you mistyped it then use the mv command again.
6. In the Accounts part of System Preferences make a new user by clicking on
7. Enter the details for the new user making sure the Account name is exactly the same as the folder name you just used for the new user name.
8. When you click OK the computer will see that a folder already exists for the user and will ask if you want to use that folder for the home. Click OK - if you don't get this window then you've got the name wrong, you'll need to delete the users you've created and try again.
9. You can now log in as the renamed user.
When you log in a dialog box will appear saying the the system was unable to unlock your login keychain. The keychain stores passwords and other information, when you log in it will need to have its password updated to work with the new account.
Click the button that says Update Keychain Password and enter the old account password. The keychain will be updated and will now use the new account password to unlock.
It is also worth running Disk Utility and clicking the Repair Disk Permissions button as some folder permissions especially your public and sites folders might not be correct.
That's pretty much it… good luck!