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You know MobileMe is a piece of junk when ... (Updated)

This one reads like a Jeff Foxworthy (of "you know you're a redneck when..." fame) joke. As in, you know MobileMe is a piece of @#$% when even Walter Mossberg, the world's most prominent support of Apple products, can't find anything good to say about it. I look back, smiling, on the weird emails I got a few days ago regarding my "MobileMe tirade" (which was nothing of the sort). But let's not beat around the bush. I expect you guys to email complaints to Walter as well. Go on, you can do it.

In the meantime, we can all enjoy the sight of the reality distortion field crashing down over at the Wall Street Journal. Doesn't the sun just feel nice on your face sometimes?

Apple's MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

After a week of intense testing of the service, I can't recommend Apple's MobileMe, at least not in its current state. It's a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises.

The problems I am citing are systemic.

In my tests, using two Macs, two Dell computers and two iPhones, I ran into problem after problem. One big issue is that while changes made on the Web site or the iPhone are instantly pushed to the computers, changes made on computers are only synced every 15 minutes, at best. Apple has admitted that this is a problem, and says it is working on it.

But there's more. The Web site was sluggish, and occasionally calendar entries wouldn't load at all. Sometimes, you have to manually refresh the Web pages to see changes made on your devices. And when I tried to open my Web-based file-storage page directly from the MobileMe control panel on Windows, I got an error message on both Dells.

My MobileMe calendar, which originated on a Mac, didn't flow into the main Outlook calendar, but appeared as a separate calendar in Outlook, which was visible only by changing settings. My address-book groups on the Mac, which are simply distribution lists, didn't show up as distribution lists in Outlook, but as separate address books, and they also weren't immediately visible.

Other problems abounded.

If Apple does get MobileMe working smoothly, it could be a terrific service. But it's way too ragged now.

I guess that could be said of any product. For example, "if the Ford F150 just got 36 MPG, it would be a fine vehicle for today's world of high gas prices."

And ... "Intense testing"?  :) Come on.

But whatever. There's isn't a bit of Apple praise in this entire review, which has to be a first. (OK, he does note that Apple "patiently" explained why all of these errors were happening. Admitting you have a problem is, after all, the first step.)

So, good job, Mr. Mossberg. And good for you in actually using two Dells, and not the usual three-year-old/barely-working Sony laptop you always cite. Real people use Windows, all the time, really, in the real world. And unlike the "impressive magic" cited in David Pogue's Apple-centric MobileMe review, this one touches on the reality of how bad this thing really is. I'm curious, however, how the broken Photo Gallery Web app wasn't mentioned at all. If anything, that's the worst part of MobileMe. (And trust me, it's hard deciding which of the many broken parts of MobileMe are "worst".)

And speaking of Pogue: I would just point out that he's back to writing about digital cameras again. All I'm saying is, I called it.

UPDATE: He tries to point the finger of blame anywhere but at himself, but now even David Pogue is madly backtracking from his original review of MobileMe. Seriously, this is the right thing to do, but don't pretend it worked fine when you tested it, Mr. Pogue. MobileMe has never worked. But thanks to David for pointing that out. I'd never have seen it otherwise, and for what I hope are obvious reasons.

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