a tale of two macs

one of the things that happened, oh, around 6 weeks ago that i have yet to blog is the fact that i received a mac mini for my birthday. despite having to return my original as a DOA (which is a longer story, and not the point of this post), i'm really fond of the little machine. i'd been longing for a new desktop machine, but it had to be a quiet one. All in all, the mini is an adorable, little-yet-powerful machine (particularly since i do lots of my web development on another box in the closet)- and it's more or less silent.

But, now i use two machines very regularly...

Wait! they're both macs, right? yes, my powerbook and my new mini. so, why not just sign up for .Mac and be done with it? well, that's not my style. i've spent *plenty* of money with apple over the past couple years, that wouldn't help with windows or linux, and besides: i'm a geek

so, here's what i really want/need:

  • My email in both places. check: long ago i switched all my mail to be served via IMAP from my own server.
  • My contacts available everywhere - this sort of works, if you have entered all of your contacts already - because, yes, address book will access your LDAP directory read only.
  • My calendar and (more importantly!) my todos everywhere. here is where the frustration really starts. i really like apple's iCal, and you can very nicely publish and subscribe to calendars not only on your .Mac account, but on any WebDAV server. Or so you would think. wrong you can publish or subscribe. ARGH! are you kidding me? even the alpha-ish mozilla sunbird will 'sync' remote calendars.

Sure, there are other things such as syncing my documents and configuration - but I already use CVS (or svn) for some of that, and don't compose many "documents" per se, so those are lesser issues.

my big complaint is that, i really like the mac tools: but apple (and I know you're listening) why are they crippled? are .Mac sales *that* important to you? why no publish and subscribe for iCal on WebDAV? Why can address book search my LDAP directory, but not edit entries in it? Why doesn't LDAP have any way to store "Instant messaging" contact information ? (and yes, i google'd all around about this supposed "IMHandle" in my apple.schema, but I can't make it work)

i'm even talking about homogenous platforms here... I haven't gotten into cross-platform issues (yet).

i want a world in which my "digital life" is ubiquitous. across any platform, or machine, i need "my stuff" - and yes marc, i'm talkin' Digital Lifestyle Aggregation.

So Apple : I like your apps, and I really like your hardware. You could make me a fan for life if you'd just let people own multiple macs, but use *existing* technologies to let them all work together. You know, something like google talk allowing any jabber client to play.

needless to say, i'm right in tune with the ideas of a googleOS/webOS.

James Walker

James Walker (a.k.a. walkah) is an independent developer and hacker. He is a long time Drupal developer, but these days spends more time in Python, Ruby and Javascript.

You can follow him on twitter or github.

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