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Seen @ Macworld/iWorld 2013: MacMate hosting and cloud storage

Sections: Conferences, Features, Hands On / First Looks, iDevice Apps, Internet / Websites, Mac Software, Macworld, Mobile Me / .Mac

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Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld/iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld/iWorld 2013.

The MacMate team—apart from having some of the coolest accents on the show floor (all the way from Cornwall, England)—were also showing off their Mac-specific hosting and cloud storage service.

Since Apple discontinued web hosting and non-Photostream photo galleries with iCloud, and killed off iWeb for website creation, Mac users have been a bit short on options for our web hosting needs. Sharing files now requires the use of a third party service, while creation of photo galleries with more than the standard Photostream template requires custom tools. Luckily, MacMate provides an easy, well integrated solution for storing files in the cloud, creating dead simple photo galleries, using custom email/calendars, and hosting your website on your own personal domain.

Store It

MacMate offers three levels of service, starting with a basic $30/year 5GB MacMate:Disk package, and moving all the way up to the $100/year 25GB MacMate:Pro. The Disk bundle includes one email account and shared calendar, and it’s perfect if you’re looking to replace iDisk’s online storage functionality. You can mount your MacMate disk to your Mac’s desktop, open it in a web browser, or use MacMate’s iPhone/iPad app to upload, access, or share files. Unlike iCloud, which forces app developers to include cloud storage in the app, MacMate works just like any other disk/drive on your computer and iDevice, meaning you can store and work with any file types.

You can even share a link to files stored on your MacMate disk, so delivering files is simple; you even get a notice when the file’s been downloaded so you can track whether people receive what you sent them.

Show It

Although Apple is enhancing the capabilities of PhotoStream, it still hasn’t quite caught up to the flexibility of MobileMe’s old Galleries feature which let you manually create albums, choose different themes, and spit out easily accessible HTML pages to your iDisk for the galleries. The MacMate:Classic package ($60/year) is geared specifically for hosting photo galleries, with 10GB of cloud storage space plus all the options included in the Disk package.

Galleries can be created from folders of photos, dragged and dropped from a photo management program, or even uploaded from the MacMate app, giving you the same flexibility as shared PhotoStreams with the power of the old desktop-based iDisk Gallery feature. Best of all, MacMate uploads full-resolution photos rather than just a web-optimized thumbnail, so your photos are backed up in the event of device damage. Images are shown to visitors in a resolution best suited to their viewing device, and you control whether viewers can download thumbnails, native resolution pictures, or nothing at all. If you use the service for professional gallery hosting, like wedding photos, you can create multiple usernames and passwords to restrict access for privacy or sharing control.

Check out the gallery demo here.

Host It

In theory, MobileMe offered the ability to use a personal domain, though success varied and not everything was supported. MacMate’s lineage springs from an ISP, so they offer (pardon the pun) a host of services for their web hosting customers. The service supports multiple domains pointing to your MacMate-hosted site(s) and email accounts, and you can even register a new custom domain from within the MacMate management website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Analytics are automatically built into sites hosted by MacMate, so you can be sure your content shows up in search results and keep track of your visitors. Best of all, you can use whatever tools you want to create and publish your site to MacMate, whether you’re still holding onto iWeb or use another tool like Sandvox or RapidWeaver.

In addition to the bevy of services, MacMate also offers a pretty unique uptime guarantee: 100%. They back that up with a money back guarantee, and deliver it using fully redundant hosting sites in data centers across the globe, including Boston, New York, London, and Bristol, with a new data center scheduled to come online in San Francisco to speed up access in Asia. Businesses typically pay a great deal of money for that kind of redundancy, so MacMate’s $100/year is a solid value if you use the site for business and need guaranteed uptime.

Stay tuned for Appletell’s complete review of the MacMate services, including their custom domain and web hosting!

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