Thoughts on MobileMe and Apple

As I’ve spent the past 24 hours wiping my Macbook Pro and trying to get back up to speed, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on MobileMe, Apple Mail and Push/Cloud technology.

This is relatively raw as I am much more focused on getting back to work than I am “getting things right” as they say in the journalism business. I’m a user. I’m a tech guy. I’m a Unix guy. I’m an Apple guy. Those are the lenses I see this world through.

MobileMe Saved My Preference Life

MobileMe saved my life in terms of preferences, contacts and calendar. It was absolutely beautiful to watch everything sync beautifully back into place on a fresh install of Leopard.

Apple Mail no Longer Handles TLS/SSL Authentication

Apple Mail no longer wishes to communicate with my mail server running Zimbra. Mind you, the exact same setting exist between a parallel install of Thunderbird, but Apple Mail will not authenticate against a TLS based server. It was mildly flakey before, but it worked. Now it simply will not work no matter what combination of settings I try.

Standardize around Protocols, not Products

If I have to use Thunderbird, it would be nice if I could connect to MobileMe to sync my address book. Others, apparently, feel the same way. Why is MobileMe contacts and calendars not running on a WebDAV server that any client can develop communication prototypes against? If I have to use Thunderbird as opposed to Apple Mail, I lose the selling point of MobileMe.

Likewise, Apple is building for the software on the Windows side with people complaining that you can only use MobileMe with Outlook. What about Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc?

What about Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail?

Bad software development always starts with developing against the symptom instead of the root problem. A better concept for MobileMe would be to develop around standard protocols: POP/IMAP/Exchange for Mail, CalDAV for iCal, WebDAV/LDAP for contacts.

Just some thoughts for the Apple Team. There’s probably more I can’t address at this time. What advice would you give the Apple product teams around their products, particularly their productivity products?

Bonus: Why is the Mozilla team not supporting native Mac datastores (Address Book) on their Mac products”?