Server, connectivity problems add to Apple's MobileMe woes

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
A mail server crash and unexpected fiber-optic line problems are the latest in a long string of hiccups that have soured the launch of Apple's new MobileMe internet service and recently left some subscribers without email access for as many as five straight days.



Apple's support forums are rife with complaints from affected users, many of which are just as frustrated with the company's poor communication over the matter as they are with the service outage itself. Several also doubt an official assessment of the scope of the problem posted to the MobileMe support site, which states that only 1 percent of subscribers have lost access to their email.



"I know at least 10 people with MobileMe and all of them have not had access to MobileMe mail since last Thursday or Friday, including me," one subscriber told AppleInsider. "Now either it's just a coincidence that everyone I know is in the 1 percent, or Apple is flat out lying."



Subscribers aren't the only ones troubled by a lack of information. Apple's support representatives have also found the MobileMe launch to be a burden due to a lack of communication from higher-ups.



"The MobileMe transition has been pretty rough on us as well, mainly because Apple isn't telling us much of anything either," one AppleCare tech support agent explained. The agent added that a rare memo was issued to some AppleCare support teams earlier this morning.



In the memo, Apple reportedly noted two separate issues, only one of which was identified. *That issue, which has since been resolved, is said to have affected "all customers" as a result of an inadvertent fiber-optic cable cut during a previously scheduled maintenance procedure. The other, Apple said, "is affecting less than 1 percent of customers."



Although Apple stopped short of detailing the second issue, some subscribers were successful in receiving an explanation from the company's online support chat before it was overwhelmed with requests and taken offline.



"The server that supplies the mail for your account ran into issues on Friday," a support representative by the name of Lisa told one subscriber. "A repair was attempted but the issue became worse. The engineers are attempting to bring the server back online without losing any of your data."



Another subscriber that has been unable to access her email since Friday was offered a similar response from an Apple representative named Craig in the company's online support chat.



"Unfortunately, after reviewing your account, it looks like your account is part of a small group of customers experiencing a temporary *outage in mail service with MobileMe," he said. "I know it's been a few days and it is frustrating. I'm in the same boat as you, my mail hasn't been up for four days either."



When pressed for more details, Craig would only say that "Apple is working hard and has made this issue their number one priority. [...] We are experiencing a temporary issue with one of our mail servers. I'm sorry that is affecting you as well. I know how frustrating it is to be without mail."



Update: Apple is now confirming a "serious issue with one of" its MobileMe mail servers in a support document.



"This issue is currently affecting approximately 1% of MobileMe members. Affected members are unable to send or receive email at www.me.com or access email using any email client software such as Mail on a Mac or Microsoft Outlook on a PC," the company said. "We understand this is a serious issue and apologize for this service interruption. We are working hard to restore your service."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    In the past few days Mobile Me Status reports 1% of mail users unable to access. I had the problem for a few hours this morning but it was okay after a few hours.



    To be honest, I consider myself one of the lucky ones with all the Mobile Me stuff. And I get 30 days extra.



    On a serious note, I empathise with everyone that has had a rocky period. It is not a good time for those seriously relying on Mobile Me.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    chrisb2chrisb2 Posts: 1member
    Well, perhaps they are exagerating when they say 99% of users are unaffected, since if this person really knows 10 people with MobileMe and they are all having problems that figure seems unlikely. However, I haven't had a single problem at all with my .Mac subscription since the transition. My email has continued to go through to my iphone and Mail program with no problems. So everyone is not affected..
  • Reply 3 of 43
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,614member
    One server goes down and no email? Don't they have a back up procedure of some kind? The outage was probably cause by some technician spilling his coke on the server box under his desk. Or maybe someone tripped over the cable which is taped to the floor with ducktape busting the connector. It takes time to send someone to Best Buy to get a new one, you know! I bet SJ will refer to mobileMe as a hobby next year.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    This is really not good practice. Everyone knows email is how we do business these days, and this affects peoples livelihoods.



    I for one would never trust Apple to be my main mail service because they clearly do not adhere to standard practices like having a duplicate server up and running at all times for ALL mail servers.



    Those of you looking for another provider who actually does this can check out fastmail.fm - this is an IMAP mail service that you can store all your mail on and also have it forwarded to the mac.com address to be pushed to your phone. Then when Apple goes down you will still have your mail...



    I sympathize with those of you who are having problems, but if its been 4 days, I expect you might not see your data again.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    bubba451bubba451 Posts: 19member
    So is this what they mean when they say "Exchange for the rest of us?"
  • Reply 6 of 43
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    I appreciate that Apple is working hard on this stuff, but the constant lying is really starting to get to me.



    This is also a really good example of how Apple's long-held policy of not telling anyone anything and not commenting much on their problems simply doesn't scale to the size of operation they are now running. In the 90's when there were only a few thousand people likely to be affected by a given issue maybe... but now... not so much. Even 1% (and that is a total lie) of Apple's users is a big big number nowadays.



    Back to My Mac stopped working for me about two weeks before the launch, and is still broken. MobileMe is completely unusable (when it's up) and various bits and pieces of it have gone down, and up, and back down again for me since the very first day. It's pretty much a 100% failure for me and for everyone I have talked to in person who uses it. That's only a sample size of about ten to twelve people, but *all* of them are still having major problems with the service. I can only suspect that the outages are based on geography, and not accounts.



    The really really scary part about MobileMe IMO is that even when it's up ... the email component in particular is unusable due to how incredibly slow it is. I am on a high-speed connection in a major urban area and can access my Zimbra based web-services (the closest open-source analogue to MobileMe using some of the exact same technology) with normal speed and everything works fine. if I then switch to MobileMe on the exact same connection, the email slows to a crawl.



    If, when I click on an email it literally takes two or three seconds to show up, and worse, if I *delete* an email, and the result takes 5 to 8 seconds to occur, that simply is *not* usable. I have deleted quite a few emails by mistake already by clicking on the delete button too many times, thinking it was not working and I'm a tech. With everything occurring out of sync with the mouse movements, it's just not possible to safely and sanely navigate your email. Certainly the average consumer would always be deleting the wrong thing etc.



    My greatest fear is that Apple will find a way to solve the *major* (data loss) problems and get it all up and running and then just say "ta-da!" (or whatever) and leave it at that.



    Also, until Apple fixes the "push" for the Macs only taking place every 15 minutes, then your iPod or your iPhone will *always* be up to 15 minutes out of sync with the rest of the system. How is that even useful? Let alone usable?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
    While I had no MobileMe problems myself (except for the buggy Web interface, which is still not 100% reliable), I do not really think the glitches themselves are the worst part of the story here; they simply do happen. What alerts me is Apple's now proven inability to handle the matter professionally and transparently. If they intend to attract more businesses with 10.6, they should prove that they are a professional provider and maintain good communication with clients, especially when there are problems.



    It is nice to receive 30 days for free after a hick-up, but for people using this email address for business purposes, having a 99 USD/yr service with outages of multiple days might be unacceptable. For this amount of money one would 1) expect a service that has sufficient redundancies built-in and 2) expect an instant notification to the alternate email address stored in the user profile if there is an outage - some Webhosts charging 99 ct/m provide that.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    When creating a new email at www.me.com, does the TO: field autopopulate for anyone? Does the contacts icon work for anyone? Cause it sure doesn't for me u sing FF3.0



    I mean I can get over the AJAX not working correctly to autopopulate my TO: field as I type in an address....but to have the Contacts icon not even work so you can't even select an email address is just stupid.
  • Reply 9 of 43
    tmedia1tmedia1 Posts: 104member
    For anyone who switched their primary email to mobile me in first 30 days of its existence, well, all I can say is "what were you thinking?!" I'm seriously considering mobile me, but not until its out of it beta stage and fully operational...
  • Reply 10 of 43
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Callaway7 View Post


    When creating a new email at www.me.com, does the TO: field autopopulate for anyone? Does the contacts icon work for anyone? Cause it sure doesn't for me u sing FF3.0



    I mean I can get over the AJAX not working correctly to autopopulate my TO: field as I type in an address....but to have the Contacts icon not even work so you can't even select an email address is just stupid.



    It does not work anywhere - it has been deactivated some days ago. I know it might be good once it works, but so far I really miss the old Webmail interface. It was more responsive, had better keyboard shortcuts, direct links for emptying trash and junk and mass move/deletion worked more reliably). I cannot remotely believe that this thing was tested before release.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    Callaway7,



    My autopopulate just started working for me this morning since the transition took place on 7/11. I can access my address book through Contacts, but cannot access my contacts in the 'new mail' pane. That has also been the case since 7/11.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    ponduspondus Posts: 3member
    Mobile me maybe new technology, but managing a huge server-farm 24/7 shure isn't. They have done it themselves with Itunes for years - and if thast not enough, they could always ask Eric Schmidt for help, seems Goggle knows how to do this pretty smoothly.

    And maybe apple should start creating a customercentric aproach alongside theire well-proven user-centric one.

    But that ofcourase all requires that stubborn-Steve for admits that once in a while, even he make a wrong move - and that this was one of them
  • Reply 13 of 43
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post


    For anyone who switched their primary email to mobile me in first 30 days of its existence, well, all I can say is "what were you thinking?!" I'm seriously considering mobile me, but not until its out of it beta stage and fully operational...



    Have you not considered that a lot of MobileMe customers are preexisting .Mac customers that were cross-graded? I hesitate to say upgrade because extra features at a cost of overall reliability really isn't an upgrade to me.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bubba451 View Post


    So is this what they mean when they say "Exchange for the rest of us?"



    Well put.



    Yeah, the corporate double-speak followed by complete radio silence is tedious and bureaucratic. I don't like to see Apple following that path.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pondus View Post


    Mobile me maybe new technology, but managing a huge server-farm 24/7 shure isn't. They have done it themselves with Itunes for years - and if thast not enough, they could always ask Eric Schmidt for help, seems Goggle knows how to do this pretty smoothly.

    And maybe apple should start creating a customercentric aproach alongside theire well-proven user-centric one.

    But that ofcourase all requires that stubborn-Steve for admits that once in a while, even he make a wrong move - and that this was one of them



    I think the idea is sound, but the execution was just poor. It does seem like Apple could have done much better, it seems as if they tried too hard to get by with too few resources.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    Virgil, my MM has been dog slow as well. I've simply given up accessing it and now rely on Mail. I also have a problem were MM refuses to push sync contacts.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by You think so? View Post


    My autopopulate just started working for me this morning since the transition took place on 7/11. I can access my address book through Contacts, but cannot access my contacts in the 'new mail' pane. That has also been the case since 7/11.



    I'm glad to read it's working for someone but I still cannot get over how you can provide someone with email capabilities but not provide them with a way to select a recipient from your address book (Contacts) when creating a new email. Where is the logic in that?



    Least I'm on the trial right now. I really feel for those who were existing .MAC subscribers and used your .mac address as your primary email. You're getting hosed.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    jcw5002jcw5002 Posts: 37member
    I was so stoked for MobileMe when I first heard about the service. I was fully prepared to drop the cash for the service as advertised. Luckily, they offered the trial period and I was able to see what it's all about. Sadly to say, if things continue the way they are going, I will not be purchasing after my trial period is up. I haven't had any problems accessing my stuff since the first few days, but I fail to see where the value is. Sure, it's great having my contacts and calendar sync, but it's not THAT big a deal. I consider the email aspect virtually worthless until they build in some support for linking in emails from GMAIL and other IMAP sources. I don't want to use the MobileMe email account for anything serious, and don't want to forward all my mail through MobileMe.



    So, I can't justify spending the money simply to sync calendars and contacts on the fly. Hopefully Apple is able to fix these scalability and reliability problems soon as well as add some more compelling features to make those of us on the trials want to purchase.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    I at least have not had service outages other than associated with the three or four days around the launch, but the service is slow and there have been weird glitches with the syncing (disappearing calendar information being the most disturbing) and it just generally is not up to par.



    When I signed up for dotmac with a new computer back in early June knowing there was about to be a relaunch, I figured the relaunch would be sort of a version 3.0 kind of thing where all the wrinkles were at last gone. However, I did not migrate primary email because I figured they would screw up the go-live. What I did not expect was to see them still falling over their shoelaces two weeks later. So the migration is still waiting, and it may not be to MobileMe at all, but rather to GMail/Google Docs, who at least seem to know a thing or two about programming, security, redundancy, speed and reliability.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bubba451 View Post


    So is this what they mean when they say "Exchange for the rest of us?"



    Perhaps they meant "Vista for the rest of us".
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