In my last blog article I suggested getting Mobile Me from the free 60 day trial offered by Apple. There are a lot of different features with Mobile Me and in this section I will discuss some of the basics: Calendar, Contacts, Gallery and Mail.
The biggest advantage about the calendar feature of Mobile Me is the online ability to sync all of your devices together. You almost need to look at them as if you have one calendar and you view it with your PC, MAC, iPhone or iPod Touch. In reality each device has it's own calendar and they simply sync wirelessly. No messy docking required. Unless you have another calendar system that you are comfortable with, this is worth looking at. My one caution would be for any out of country syncing. The data roaming could become expensive.
Similarly to the calendar feature, Mobile Me lets you keep your contacts all synced together. There were initially a number of bad reviews about email addresses being dropped completely or entered multiple times. This isn't a strong point for the system but rather a convenience if you don't already have something you use. Again, if traveling abroad, a likely time when you would need to enter new contacts, keep in mind the data charges.
This feature of Mobile Me I really like. You can add photos from your computer, or taken with your iPhone, and place them in an online album that you can view privately or share with family and friends. Your invited guests can even contribute to the album. The slideshow feature is very well done. One downside is that you choose to make each album private or public, not each picture. So you may have to do a little juggling of pictures into different albums if you don't want to share them all. From an expensive program, I think this is kind of messy! Another option might be Flickr, which does this very well!
There isn't anything too dramatic about the mail feature of Mobile Me but it does push to your iPhone which is nice. You are allowed 5 email aliases and you get 20GB of storage, which is something your grandkids will enjoy reading to their grandkids. It's plenty. I have difficulty suggesting this over what you can already get elsewhere for free. For instance Gmail gives you 7GB (still plenty) and offers up to 5 external POP accounts, whereas Mobile Me mail is a single external POP. I like being able to read email from my multiple addresses and reply or send from the email address of my choice!
As I said at the beginning, I consider these to be the basics of what Mobile Me offers. There isn't anything here that you can't already get for free. This just comes in a nice little package. If you were new to computers or starting over, I might suggest going this route!