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About .Mac

.Mac isn't just a single application or Web site. It's a suite of Internet services that's meant to help Mac users get more from their Macs. I'll quickly walk through each of the .Mac services now before going into greater detail on how to use each one later in the book.

  • .Mac Mail— At the center of your .Mac membership is a full e-mail account ending in “@mac.com.” This e-mail account can be used to send and receive e-mail on any computer that has a POP or IMAP client available, and that's pretty much every one out there. In addition, your .Mac account comes with a Web-based e-mail interface that lets you send and receive e-mail from any Web browser.

  • iDisk— All .Mac accounts come with 250 MB of online storage in the form of an iDisk. Support for iDisk is built into Mac OS X, and using it is a lot like using any other network server—or even a hard drive, for that matter. iDisk serves as the backbone for publishing Web pages and synchronizing information between Macs.

    In Case You Don't Have a .Mac Account

    If you've bought this book, we're assuming that you've taken the plunge and signed up for a .Mac account. Congratulations! It'll change your life.

    If you're browsing this book, however, and you're contemplating a purchase, you might not yet have a .Mac account. Getting one is easy; all you need is a credit card, an Internet connection, and a Web browser.

    To sign up as a .Mac member, visit www.mac.com and click the Join Now button on the front page. You'll be asked to provide a credit card number, preferred member name, billing address, password, and the like. Signing up is painless and takes only a few minutes. So what are you waiting for?

  • HomePage— Your .Mac membership includes HomePage, a handy piece of software that allows you to quickly build Web pages, such as photo albums, movie theaters, and file download pages. HomePage uses files that you upload to your iDisk. HomePage is also integrated with iPhoto, making it incredibly easy to share your pictures.

  • Backup— Each .Mac membership comes with a copy of Backup, a free utility designed to automate data backups to your .Mac account as well as to CDs, DVDs, and other volumes. Making sure your important files get backed up doesn't sound very sexy, but when you're facing a corrupt hard drive and you don't have a backup, a free backup utility starts looking pretty good.

  • Address Book— Your .Mac account lets you synchronize your Address Book data so that it's available to you anywhere you have access to a Web browser. And with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, you can share your Address Book with others.

  • iCards— With a .Mac account, you can create and send e-mail greeting cards, either drawing from Apple's professionally designed assortment, or choosing from your own custom creations.

  • .Mac Sync— With Mac OS X 10.4, you can synchronize important information, such as Keychain passwords, Mail's Smart Mailboxes, Safari bookmarks, and other data to your .Mac account—which lets you keep that information in sync with another Mac and provides you with a backup copy. Even those running Mac OS X 10.3 can use iSync to keep their information synchronized across Macs.



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