.Mac's best new feature

Let me begin by saying that I’m not a .Mac subscriber. I have my own domain and pay DreamHost $10 a month to host it and provide me with all the goodies I need. But as a Mac user, I do have to deal with .Mac HomePages on a regular basis—for example, friends use .Mac accounts to host pictures and videos, and small software developers use .Mac as a cost-effective way to distribute their latest downloads.

Because of that, it’s great news that the newest version of .Mac offers a four-fold increase in total e-mail and iDisk storage space to 1GB ( Yahoo and Google offer 1GB and 2.5+GB of free e-mail storage, respectively, but the $100 yearly fee for .Mac does offer Web space, online storage, and more) but for some people there’s something even more important: Bandwidth.

If you’ve ever unsuccessfully tried to access a proud parent’s video of a baby’s first steps or download a piece of software from a VersionTracker link, the problem may have been that the .Mac account holder had used up his or her bandwidth.

You see, Apple (like other companies who host data for you) gives .Mac users a set amount of bandwidth for the transfer of data from an account per month. Hit the limit, and your data transfer is done until the next month. The problems here are that Apple isn’t clear about the amount of bandwidth each account is allowed per month (currently 183GB for my domain), doesn’t tell you how much bandwidth you have remaining (easy for me to track via a Web panel), and doesn’t let you pay extra if you go over to keep your site up and running ($1 per GB with my DreamHost plan). Or maybe Apple does provide this information somewhere—I haven’t find anything on Apple’s Web site or in the press release.

But several messages from posters on our forums and on Apple’s Discussions area posited that this update to .Mac brought with it an increase in bandwidth, so I decided to fire off an e-mail to Apple PR. Soon, I got confirmation that individual .Mac accounts now offer 10GB of data transfer—up from 3GB previously. And for those who purchase an additional 1GB of storage space from Apple for $50 a year, the total bandwidth is 25GB. With these greater limits, I think few .Mac users will have problems with bandwidth from now on. And for that, I say good job.

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