back to article Apple confesses MobileMe vanishing contact bug

Apple is having yet another issue with its MobileMe service, although this time the problem is mercifully less substantial than having subscribers locked out of their accounts for more than a week. A new glitch has made its presence known on Apple's MobileMe forums. Several users have complained today that various contact …

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Why is this so hard?

I've got a cheapo Korean mobile running WM5, hooked into an Exchange server operated by one of the less smart outsourcing firms in the world. That rather minimal setup manages to keep my contacts, mail and appointments happily in sync.

Why can't Apple manage it?

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Coat

I shall call him ... MobileMe

Ouch! He bites!

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Jobs Halo

@Rich

Do you not think Microsoft also had teething problems when they first launched Exchange?? It also probs didnt have so much media attention as they didnt launch a brand new phone along side. At the moment all eyes are on Apple as lets face it, the iPhone is one of the most hyped gadgets for the second year running and any slip up will be exagerrated by the media who seem to be jealous of Apple's success and try to pick holes where ever they can.

Take the DNS patch for instance, who really uses Mac OS X server for a DNS server? If you were in charge of DNS server you should hopefully have at least some knowledge of getting down and dirty with the system so you'd use Linux/UNIX which already have patches. I believe Mac OS X server is used by web server novices, the ones who use IIS who dont really understand the low level stuff. Although because the media dont really understand the issue, they tend to make stuff up or highlight stuff which isnt really a problem, then when the reader who also may not have experience in the field reads it they think "Oh nooo's, the world is ending!!!! Damn Apple arent supporting us!!!" when really theres nothing at all to be worried about. Have we had any reports of people being directed to hackers websites under this flaw? No. Exactly.

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aL
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re: Anonymous applefanboi

well because exchange is a product ment for large corperations, i highly doubt that is would have gained so much tracktion if microsoft let somethins as critical as dataloss slip by the testing..

also, if you charge 99 bucks for a serivce and also go all snooty and claim that "it just works" it better danm work.. apple is doing a fine job of ruining that reputation.. there hast just been one problem with mobileme. there are also the extremely crippled windows version (and lets get real, most iphone users are windows users)

besides, most features of mobile me arent new at all, they are .mac features.. so the argument that mobileme is new and therefore allowed to have problems like this, isnt valid at all imo

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Paris Hilton

@AC

Actually, considering that Microsoft was pitting Windows Mobile 5 and Exchange ActiveSync directly against BlackBerry and Palm. Nah, no one was watching that at all.

I worked with WM5 and Exchange 2003 right out of the gate. We had almost no issues at all, and the issues we had were related to SSL certificates. I don't know who Microsoft bought it from, but the system has just worked from day one by my experience.

Now, there are the occasional foul-ups. I've seen a few MotoQ's require that the server settings be removed and then re-entered to fix syncing issues. But are the only problems I can think of.

Paris, because no one's watching.

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The Me Software worked for 99 out of 100.....

Where to start. According to Apple one server went down, taking with it 1% of the client base. What happened next is where the issues begin. The software minus data for the 99 other servers is the same as for the 1 failing server. What does it take to reload a server and import the latest data from backup and restart?

One article quotes an Apple representative as saying something about there being more load than expected. Does that translate into a design issue rather than a single server failing?

What ever the issues Apple first was closed mouth and then a bit guarded. I wonder if we are looking at a Tylenol kind of response.

Jim

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Silver badge

What's that ?

So Apple first adopted Microsoft hardware (the Intel platform), and now it has also adopted Microsoft debugging tactics ?

What next, a special iPhone Reset edition with a Ctrl-Alt-Dell button ?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Rich

Sadly it's called live proving - not something Apple normally do. I wonder, given their good run over the last few years, if they're not becoming a little complacent/arrogant?

MobileMe is a big ask but it does seem to have been a lot rougher than usual apple launches.

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Mobileme preferences appeared in Control Panel

Have Apple been up to their old tricks of putting extra things into their software updates as my laptop now shows a mobileme icon in Control Panel and I sure as hell did not go out of my way to install it.

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Coat

Surely Apple could've learnt from Microsoft's mistakes here...

If they'd actually gone through a proper QA process any issues which would've happened would've been minimised but this is typical IT industry bullshit, with management rushing products out the door prematurely, something which Vista is a prime example of. Surely Apple you could've learnt your lessons from watching Microsofts regular three ring circuses??

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actually it's working for me

In fact I've been rather impressed with Apple's ability to correct numerous glitches quickly while keeping millions of users running. New service; new phone OS; huge migration from dot mac service; new software on mac & PC; monster problems pretty much ironed out in days.

You can use a hosted Exchange service with iPhone if you don't like MobileMe. But I'd say MobileMe is turning out OK after a very rocky first week.

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Jobs Horns

Bugs

I can't believe Apple cannot get this right. I got iPhone 3G (for the "unlimited" 3G data transfer, rather than the phone itself - although I am starting to like it) and decided to try out the MobileMe app.

It's the most ridiculous piece of software AND a poor service. I ended up getting a hosted Exchange account and syncing it that way - works *a lot* better. Errr... actually it works the way it's supposed to.

Now I hope they dont charge me after my MMe "trial" ends, because using it was, indeed, a trial. Subscription cancelled.

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Jobs Halo

This is nothing

To be perfectly frank, this is not such a big deal.

Apple have launched a totally new service, a complete re-factor of online mail, contacts, so they've had some teething problems. At least its a good, (and for the most part useable) system.

Can you imagine what would have happened if MS had attempted this?

It would have been 2 years too late, ugly as sin, understandable and usable only to genius developers and overbloated with useless details.

Oh, and it wouldn't just be a month of teething troubles - it'd be YEARS of constant change.

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Flame

@Anonymous Coward

Oi! Fanboi! Stop spaffing all over Jobs and come back to the real world for a minute. Sites like El Reg have given Microsoft a torrid time over the years on their poor security record, so why shouldn't they do the same to Apple? It's not just this DNS bug, Apple's security patching regime is utter crap, and they need to learn the same lesson Microsoft learnt a few years ago (and they need to learn it quickly).

And before you ask, I am an Apple user (MBP and new iPhone) at home - but I still have Vista installed under BootCamp for all the things OS X can't do.

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Boffin

Moral high ground actually lower than predicted

Makes me laugh my ass off at all these Apple fanboyrs going on about mac this and iPhone that.

Apple are just as incompetent as any other software vendor and not infallible as you never tire of trying to make the world believe they are and will even try to rob you under the guise of providing a free trial.

The Geek because any real IT professional is laughing their ass off at you too right now.

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@AC Fanboy

You post in defence of Apple, and decided to AC for what reason? Because the best defence you could manage was pretty damn poor? or some other reason?

I'm looking at getting a new iPhone 3G (having never bought anything made by Apple). Because despite a couple of stupid flaws (No Voice Dialling!?) it does a lot of things very well and is enjoyable to use.

The same attention that is making the iPhones flaws news, is the attention that makes the iPhone news. Only an Apple fan boy would seriously suggest that 'fair' news coverage would be to talk about all the good things and ignore any flaws (and then talk about how fantastic Apples new features are when they add things that the fan boys have been saying aren't needed for years, mighty mouse anyone).

Hell, one of the biggest reasons why I haven't bought any Apple products, is exactly because of a desire not to appear similiar to the portion of Apple users who'd gulp down anything Steve decides to throw them as though it's the nectar of the gods.

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Jobs Horns

Nothing to see here ... not

"Do you not think Microsoft also had teething problems when they first launched Exchange??"

Exchange is a piece of corporate software. Corporations rolling it out had IT departments who were expected to provide end-user email service. The IT departments would have managed that even if Exchange had problems.

Mobile Me is an end-user service in its own right. Oddly enough, end-users have the same high expectations of MobileMe as they would have of their own corporate IT department. If it says it provides a service, it damned well had better provide that service.

"Have we had any reports of people being directed to hackers websites under this flaw? No. Exactly."

No just reports of people paying their hard-earned money for a service and the service not being provided.

If you don't see how that damages the Apple brand you must be wearing those blinkers that have a corner "eaten" out of them.

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@ AC

I must need my head examined getting involved in an Apple zealots ant, but here goes.

Managing the contact details on a mobile device is the most basic functionality that we should expect from a mobile interface - Other manufacturers have been doing it since the 90's for goodness sake, so when Apple manage to screw it up no wonder people point and ask "WTF?"

As for the DNS issue, I agree that no real admin would expect run their website on OSX, but then again you'd expect your bank to understand 2 factor authentication would be more than asking 2 questions. As for lack of real world exploits, try this report from Friday - http://tiny.cc/7LBdJ

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Coat

@ AC

I'll save time with my normal witty comments, in answer to your comments.

1. Yes M$ have fecked up a bit with every Exchange release, but even M$ wasn't foolish enough to release it as a service to paying end users, they left it to us in the 'job' to massage exchange into submission so it was usable, which happens before releasing any service to the end users. Comparing anything to a M$ product isn't going to win any arguments, we all know M$ is pants.

2. We use a Mac OSX for one of our DNS, well, one of our DNS's anyway, you see professionals like to go multi vendor on important stuff. As this is the only DNS platform which hasn't been fixed it is now switched off, leaving our Linux boxes(centos, ubuntu, debian) to answer the 2,000,000+ daily dns queries.

You seem to think this article is just another attack on Apple, well I would like to think ElReg would write up a similar article on any tech organisation who provide a PAID FOR service which appears to have not been fully tested/maintained. Oh, hang on a minute they have, for example:--

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/05/27/paypal_glitch_weighs_on_merchants/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/22/securesuite_ecommerce_glitch/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/14/oyster_computer_problems/

Now, I'm going to bed with the safe knowledge that my non-Apple/M$ service platforms are ticking over nicely thank you.

My one is the hi-viz trench coat with the paranoid appreciation society badge on the left lapel.

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Flame

@AC(1)

"Take the DNS patch for instance, who really uses Mac OS X server for a DNS server?"

Anyone with a deployment of OSX clients talking to an OSX server running OpenDirectory?

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Law
Black Helicopters

@ Paul

"Have Apple been up to their old tricks of putting extra things into their software updates as my laptop now shows a mobileme icon in Control Panel and I sure as hell did not go out of my way to install it."

Yeah - I noticed one day after a required update that some brand new preference option for mobileme had been added - took me by surprise and I needed to check the net to find out what it was!! They could have just had a pop up to tell us it was replacing .Mac and would we like to update now or later - but they didn't.

I think I picked the worse time to cross over to the mac-side.....

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Happy

@everyone

The only other website that I've seen so far that's comaprable to this in how hilarious the comments are is the Edinburgh Evening News. It's no wonder Mobile Me and Vista don't work if all the so-called serious users spend their time writing inane comments on here...

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