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Networking (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

Broken .Mac? 91

An anonymous reader asks: "I paid $50 to convert my iTools account to a .Mac account, yet it seems that I can almost never use the service. The web pages are constantly down and the support for the service tells nothing about to handle the frequent outages. I am not the only person to get these errors. The forums are filled with complaints about the down time. I have e-mail Apple numerous times, but nothing has been done to fix these errors. What options to I have? Is there a way to get my money back for this lousy service? Can I get compensated for the down time? What can I do to show Apple that I am not happy with their service?"
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Broken .Mac?

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  • um.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by DonFinch ( 584056 )
    threaten to go pc?
    • Well, my question is, does this poster actually own a mac? From my experience, .mac has had no unexplained outages in over 5 months, and that was a short time. They blamed the whole thing on the hardware Co. that they got some of their stuff from. Sadly i cannot find the letter, probably junked it, so i cannot post it today. Again, as many people have said already, this is crap! There has to be a problem with either the user, their ISP, or their computer (probably doesn't maintinance at all). Well, it could be that they don't own a mac at all and are just being an OS Lott...

      • They blamed the whole thing on the hardware Co. that they got some of their stuff from. Sadly i cannot find the letter, probably junked it, so i cannot post it today.

        Fortunately (or is it sadly?), I never junk e-mail.
        Dear .Mac Member,


        We hope you haven't been greatly inconvenienced by the two .Mac network outages we've experienced in the past two weeks (including this morning) and we sincerely apologize for any problems you've experienced. The outages were the result of equipment failures, and since the equipment vendor has not been able to persuade us that the problem will not occur again, we've already begun installing new equipment from a different vendor.

        We're completely back up and running now, and no data or mail was lost. We expect the equipment change over to be complete within the next several weeks, and we'll be working hard to ensure that there are no further issues during that time. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience while we make this transition, and if you do experience any difficulties, please go to www.apple.com/support for up-to-the-minute information and status.
        Date of the e-mail? OCTOBER 7, 2002! So it's a little late to be posting this now.

        I have had few problems with .Mac, especially when compared with my ISP and my web hosting company, each of whom get much more of my money per year than Apple does for .Mac.
  • Hmm... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Surely the $50 is far outweighed by the money MS gave you to post this? ;)
  • by grammar nazi ( 197303 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @09:54AM (#4922243) Journal
    I paid $50 for .mac and, except for the 1 week of server upgrades, I haven't noticed any downtime. I check my .mac email periodically throughout the day from work (via webmail.mac.com) and when I'm home, my laptop is constantly checking email.

    Even during the server upgrades, I only noticed two afternoons which webmail was down.

    I actually switched my ISP to forward emails to my .mac account because I perceived .mac to be more reliable than my ISP. I'm going to reevaluate this decision once I read some of the other comments of this Slashdot story.

    All in all, I've been happy with .mac, especially the email/iChat/iPhoto-galleries aspect of .mac.

    I don't work for Apple and I was a Linux guy until I purchased an Apple.
    With linux, my digital camera would be ...like... beep boop beep.
    My name is grammar nazi and I correct people's grammar.

    • Nor have I. I use iDisk, webmail and homepage, and all on a regular basis. The only complaint I have is with webmail, a couple of times I got a 500 error after hitting Send in a compose window. Hit back, and the form is now blank. It's like send and get mad.

      Mebbe dudes issues are with his ISP. One little mistake in BGP4 can toast half the net.

    • "I don't work for Apple and I was a Linux guy until I purchased an Apple. With linux, my digital camera would be ...like... beep boop beep. My name is grammar nazi and I correct people's grammar."

      Wonderful! Did Apple already cast you for a switch ad?

      Alex
    • Seconded. I'm always checking my .Mac account and I have about 300 message flowing through it a day (lots of mailing lists). I've noticed more than one outage, but I'd say four at most and only for a few hours at a time. Backup is hella nice too.
  • BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Microsift ( 223381 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @10:07AM (#4922291)
    It's really irresponsible to post this story. As Grammar Nazi mentions, there was one brief outage of .mac, and since then it's been smooth-sailing. The outage was well covered by the press. The anonymous submitter would have us believe that outages are ongoing, and that the press has stopped covering this story. Certainly Dvorak would have said something...This appears to be classic Apple-bashing, which is fine if you're trying to make sauce, but not if you're running a news site.
    • Re:BS (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, it's irresponsible to post yours. I am anti-MS, but there have been a number of serious snags with .Mac, and if you haven't experienced them, I don't really care. For who are you? People who've paid good money (I paid for three accounts which are essentially worthless) know what the problem is, and talk about Nazis - if someone criticizes Apple, *you* come out of the woodwork. You're the Nazi here, pardner. Watch yourself.
      • Well, let's be clear, I didn't call anyone a Nazi. I alluded to the comments of someone who goes by the name of "Grammar Nazi."

        I'll stand by my original posting, not because I'm a Mac-zealot(which I am), but because i still believe my points are valid.

        My apologies to all you Anonymous Cowards out there, but there's a reason your comments are initially scored 0, you lack credibility. The AC who submitted this story offered no proof of his/her problems, did not supply a link to any news story supporting his/her claims, did not supply links to the forums that showed other people having the same problem. I still say the story is BS, because I have not been supplied with one shred of proof to the contrary.

        If that makes me a Nazi in your book, than go to the library and get a new one!
    • My experience has been very consistent with the original poster. Using Goliath instead of the Finder WebDav helped some, but I had webdav access only about 70% of the times I tried. I spent months with .Mac webdav, seeing if it would finally work. Performance was dismal compared to other WebDav service providers I've used (mydocsonline for example).

      The web server worked ok, as did email.

      I no longer use .Mac.
  • I never reply to Ask Slashdot's saying they suck. Usually Ask Slashdot is my favorite section of the site... However, this one really fucking sucks. I mean, seriously... This guy can't type for shit, obviously has a problem with .mac, and yet can't figure out how to solve his own silly little problem? Call or email them, you fucking putz. Jesus christ. What's next?

    ASK SLASHDOT: I lost my bus token and now I can't get on the bus. What do I do?

    ASK SLASHDOT: When I hold my breath I tend to pass out. Is there any recourse I can take against my lungs?
  • best solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by tongue ( 30814 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @10:22AM (#4922386) Homepage
  • > What can I do to show Apple that I am not happy

    Ummm, post to /. ?
  • Works for me. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pathwalker ( 103 ) <hotgrits@yourpants.net> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @10:30AM (#4922434) Homepage Journal
    I haven't had any problems.

    I send about 70 megs to my idisk via backup every day, and I haven't run into any issues.
    Are you sure it isn't a problem on your end?
  • There was one time a few months ago when the site was down but since then I have not experienced any problems. I don't know why you are getting so many problems.

    S.r.
  • Ugh I think they know youre unhappy now. =P
  • plug the thing that looks like a telephone cord into the thing that looks like a telephone jack on the thing that looks like a computer . . .

    aww, shucks, who are u kidding? probably some jerk-off m$ publicity house post, what, looking for more switchers? your stock photo gallery revoked your membership for using it like a twit?

    have used my .mac account for three years now as primary outside email (have 10 domains) and its a champ.

  • constantly. and this is all I use it for anyways. No way I'll cough up a hundred bucks next time around. no way.
  • Come on now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @11:46AM (#4922959)
    I really hate to rag on the editors like the trend seems to be sometimes, but is there any way to give a (-1, Editor should have read about this, duh)? While I don't have .Mac myself (being a college student that $50 has been appropriated for food and/or beer), I know many people who do and not once have I heard them complain about it being down or unavailable. In fact, the most I usually hear is about how iDisk is a lot faster than before it was a pay service.

    To the cowardly anonymous poster of this article, if you are really unhappy, discontinue your service and send them a nasty letter/email. If you don't want to do this, I would recommend plugging in your phone cord or ethernet cord before you try to go online next time. This usually is a big help in avoiding "downtime."
    • I would recommend plugging in your phone cord or ethernet cord before you try to go online next time. This usually is a big help in avoiding "downtime."

      well, they did post their question. so since we all know that PCs are "unusable" to mac users due to their "impossible" interface, the questioner must've used a mac to ask their question. how do you suppose that they asked it without connecting to the internet?
  • I have used .mac for 2 years. In that two years I have experienced two temporary email outages, once that I could not access my iTools, and once that I could not access my web site. Not stellar, but not bad either. I use .mac as my primary email account. And as such, check it from my home and office, from my Ericsson t68m (T-Mobile say it must be POP, but yet it still works), and have accessed it from a M$ PC kiosk in Ireland a few weeks ago. I also maintain Road Runner account for my home, in the same 2 years, I have had 15 major outages (really), twice I've had email out for a day or more, and numerous issues with my personal web page hung of their server. Not to mention going through DOCSIS Modem's as if I were changing socks. So in comparison .mac has been a champ. I only wish Apple would spend the dough to put in a real live call center for .mac, the email routine is lame.
  • I'm a .mac member and I can testify that there's been lots of problems. And I'm not the only one -- their support boards show many people having problems (of course, that's what support boards are for).

    There's been repeated email downtimes. I had an entire email folder disappear (with some very important information) for several days before it magically re-appeared. iDisk at times is very, very slow. Apple themselves even admitted they'd had problems, blaming it on a hardware vendor. The problems have been less frequent recently, but in order for me to renew they need to pretty much eliminate the problems or go until next September without any new ones (that's about when most folks will be up for renewal).

    Having an internet-accessible iDisk is pretty handy, so is their web-based email, but they need to be 99.999% reliable. It really sucks to put a file on your iDisk at home, go to retrieve it at work and not be able to reach it.

    • Of course if you're running Mac OS X (or unix) on your home and work boxen you can just "scp" your files back and forth. iDisk is cute, but for the most part I find it fairly useless.
  • The .Mac servers that I need to contact have better availability than my own ISPs. I'll frequently have trouble with Roadrunner's SMTP and POP servers being unavailable (I couldn't use either last night). I've only have a few instances of Apple's SMTP and IMAP servers being unavailable in over a year of use.


  • I've been using it for over 6 month now (as a free try out at the beginning) and I never had any trouble. I got this email about the week down time, I didn't even realise there was any downtime. I'm not a "power" user though, I check my mail twice a day and back things up every week...

    -- kTag
  • by grue23 ( 158136 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @12:53PM (#4923556)
    My girlfriend upgraded her iTools to .Mac and she has had myriad problems. In particular the disk part of it seems very flaky; it doesn't seem to handle uploads and downloads very well at all, sometimes. We tried it from her place and from my place and it was very flaky both places. We both have different DSL providers, too.

    I also know she's complained about her site being down a couple times. She hasn't been using .Mac nearly as much in the last couple of months so I can't speak to how it's been behaving more recently.

    All the people who keep claiming that it's perfect and has only gone down once should recognize that it's possible some people have had a worse experience than others, instead of claiming that people who are complaining are cowardly, or Microsoft's dupes, or whatever. The bad experiences may have something to do with the way .Mac interacts with some firewalls, or some ISPs, but some people have had problems and in fact have better things to do with their time than lie about having problems.

    Also - posting to public forums like this is part of a solution if one has repeatedly complained to Apple and still has bad service. It makes the problems more visible, and gives them more of an incentive to correct them.
  • I've been using .mac the entire time, I haven't experienced a single problem. Course, seeing as I have a free account, I guess i wouldn't get that upset when it were to go down. /adam
  • by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:29PM (#4923860) Homepage Journal
    I converted my iTools account ot a .Mac account as well, and, except for the one time the e-mail was acting up, I've noticed none of the outages that people continually complain about.

    Working at a help desk always makes me wonder if the complaintants are diagnosing their problems correctly. Have you tried it in different ways, instead of just dealing with one configuration? Don't always assume that the problem is with "them" when it may turn out to be something a little closer to home.

    I am not, by far, saying that Apple is perfect. However, when regular .Mac users, both here and on other boards, post that they've had no issues, then I suggest that configuation may be to blame, not the service itself.

  • Hey,
    I use .mac every day, and have only once had problems logging in. Usually a great service.

    I don't work for Apple either, and I was a Redhat guy until I purchased a PowerBook with OS X.

    With Linux it's always, like, X Windows/startx/incompatible video refresh rate/ blah blah, woof woof...

    My name is Ocelot Wreak, and I live in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean [360bermuda.com]...

  • I couldn't use Backup, I couldn't connect reliably to iDisk, I wasn't able to upload iPhoto images to print, and what was even more annoying, I couldn't post any more than a few sentences to Discussion Boards! Nor could I use the Feedback Form.

    I spent A LOT of time troubleshooting. I have an Earthlink DSL connection to the 'net, accessed via Airport. When I connected to the DSL modem directly via ethernet cable, all was well, curiously. Hence, Airport was somehow the problem. After a lot of fussing, I eventually discovered that if I disabled NAT and stopped sharing a single IP to access the 'net, suddenly everything worked.

    Needless to say I posted my solution all over .Mac.

    I hope it helped some folks, but I didn't get the sense that the Apple moderators were rushing to spread the news, or to confirm the solution. I think the problems started when I upgraded to Jaguar... but in any case, it's clearly a software fix that needs to happen on their end.

    There are a lot of very unhappy people on the Discussion Boards at .Mac (yes, of course it's a self-selecting group, but it's a BIG self-selecting group!).

    It's for sure that for a lot of folks, the vaunted Apple ease-of-use has been more talk than substance. And that's a damned shame. As an Apple user since 1984, and a shareholder, I'd like to see Apple improve its service ~ and especially its communication ~ to its most loyal customers. If I don't see that improvement, I'm very unlikely to re-up at .Mac, especially for $100.

  • I agree with the poster to a point. The service is not perfect. I mainly use email, and about once a week or so my computer, which is set on automatic email retrieval, cannot log in the .Mac servers. This condition lasts for several minutes to a couple hours. I do not often use webmail, but when I do, it is reliable. The web hosting is adequate. The way I use .mac, it is reliable enough. My main complaint is that the virus update is poorly implemented.

    My real suspicion about this article is that there are no links. Often when one has a long email conversation with customer support, that conversation is posted for others to peruse. One wonder why there is no such link. Also, if this topic is burning up the forums, why not a link to those archives. Certainly is this story was a comment on /., the lack of supportive documentation would certainly make it moderated as a troll.

    It occurs to me that this anonymous reader might be trying to use ,Mac to run a business. This would be a mistake. Like any consumer level ISP or hosting package, .Mac has no uptime guarantees or customer service standards. It is developed for the casual user who needs as very simple email, web hosting, and backup solution. I would encourage anyone who needs to run a business to spend the $15 to register a domain and then rent an appropriate level of web hosting. .Mac is actually a good deal for what it is, but is it certainly not suitable for anything but the most casual business use.

    On the other hand, the poster may be just some pissed off teenage Windows user. In that case, grow up and get a real OS.

  • I'm a .Mac user (Score:3, Informative)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @04:56PM (#4925459)
    I have had no trouble with email or webspace but there is a constant nagging problem well documented on their support forums in regards the the backup software. It's basically been dead in the water for 90% of the users for the last 2 months. You can still backup to cd's dvd's etc but backing up to iDisk fails with an "iDisk is unreachable" error.

    It's gotten really annoying, Apple has even stated it's fixed but the complaints keep rolling in. It worked fine for me until about 2 weeks ago, then it just stopped altogether.

    The backup software sucks in general but seeing as how I paud 100$ for my .Mac I do expect everything to work. The 2 weeks I have been down from backup is unacceptable to me and 2 months + for others is also quite bad.

    I'm also disappointed that Apple hasn't delivered on the promise of new features it made when launching .Mac. We were told we would see constant updates and improvements but there hasn't been so much as an added template for the homepage creation wizard.

    All in all i think .Mac is a failure. They aren't handling it professionally. Very poor support i.e. no phone number to call for help. No added features. The sign up rate has been slow, I'm the only person I know personally with an account.

    I think Apple is going to learn this one the hard way. They just aren't listening to what customers want. You really don't get what you pay for with this service. I could get the same thing for 10 bucks a month from a webhost with added php and cgi support.

    I doubt I'll renew my reg next year. They just haven't made due on the hype.
  • Amazing how if something works perfectly for you (or fails perfectly for you), anyone else who experiences anything different must be a bleedin' nitwit.

    My .Mac service goes out regularly every afternoon. Mail has fits trying to retrieve my email. Was in the SoHo store one day and one of the salesfolk there helping me out couldn't connect, and just blew it off acknowledging that things get a bit backed up in the middle of the day.

    Then again, living and working in Manhattan, I know the traffic patterns and I know when to stay off the bridges and out of the tunnels if I don't want to be chewing exhaust for an hour or two. And I don't check my .Mac email at 1pm. It might work fine in Podunk, Idaho at 1pm, but not from where I'm sitting.

    (...but my Roadrunner service is up all the time =^P )
  • .Mac : I use it, it seems to work fine, I have heard once or twice that someone sent me mail that I never got, and have also heard from the developers of a somewhat popular mail client for Macs that their mail service has a track record of being buggy (but that was back in June 2002)... but overall I have no real complaints with .Mac. It seems to work quite well, and is convenient if you use a Mac often.

  • I don't know what this poster is talking about. There has been one upgrade that I know about. I am always able to get my mail. I retrieve my mail from my G4 using mail and while I am at work I get it via the web browser. I have nothing but good things to say about Apple and their .Mac account. All of my family and friends have .Mac accounts and also have no trouble.
  • People, please read the article!

    For those not having problems, FINE. That's good. That's part of what I wanted to hear when I posted this story, and the other part was to see who was having problems and to hopefully offer solutions. However, what dissapoints me the most is those of you who have no problems with the service calling those who do "stupid" or "morons". That is rude, and I would advise those who have to step back and realize that not everyone who uses the .MAC service might have your skills with it.

    I have had problems with .MAC, myself. Nothing really serious and I'm not a user, but it has certainly crashed my PowerBook [slashdot.org] with a repeatable error, and this was part of the impetus behind my posting (especially since, as one poster mentioned, the submission didn't include any links or other information to bring his point across). Maybe I should have posted a link to my comment in the article, but I just didn't think about it at the time.

    So, to clarify: NO, this article is not a troll. This article is a call for help to see if anyone has experience the problem. If things work fine for you, please say so. If you are aware of some of the issues, please post links (Note to those who think that Slashdot Editors read all the comments on Slashdot: No. I don't. I have a lifelet, as pathetic as that may be which precludes me from engaging in such a brain-numbing excercise) Many of you have done this and I offer my heartfelt thanks, but this "This story is a troll, it works for me!" bullshit is unnecessary. "It works for me!" is all anyone really needs.

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