In January 2000, Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained to the Macworld Expo crowds that he and his team had had a mighty brainstorm: Apple controls both ends of the connection between a Mac and the Apple Web site. As a result, Apple should be able to create some pretty clever Internet-based features as a reward to loyal Mac fans. Later that same day, the Apple Web site offered a suite of free services called iTools.
Then the technology bubble burst.
These days, .Mac subscriptions (as they're now called) cost $100 per year. For a full description, see Figure 19-8.
Open System Preferences and click the .Mac icon. Click Learn More. You now go online, where your Web browser has opened up to the .Mac sign-up screen. Fill in your name and address, make up an account name and password, turn off the checkbox that invites you to get junk mail, and so on.
The final step is to return to the Internet pane of System Preferences. On the .Mac tab, fill in the account name and password you just composed, if necessary. You're ready to use .Mac.
The crown jewel of the .Mac services is iDisk, which creates a 250 MB hard-drive icon on your desktop. (For more money, you can opt for a bigger iDisk. And it's worth noting that if you use your .Mac email account, your mail messages share that 250 megs.) Anything you drag into the folders inside this icon gets copied to Apple's secure servers on the Internet. Meanwhile, on your end, it appears to work just like a hard drive.
Figure 19-8. The ...