A Chat on the Wonders of iToolsby Rael Dornfest and Derrick Story
Recently, Rael Dornfest and I were chatting on AIM when he mentioned that he liked my mac.com site. I told Rael that I had really become hooked on iTools, and that I was impressed with the improvements Apple had made with them. Rael responded, "We ought to discuss them on Writer's Talk." So here we are.
If, like Rael, you haven't looked at iTools for a while, then I think you're in for a pleasant surprise. As you know, iTools is Apple's suite of online goodies, available to all Mac users. Most people are familiar with iCards and the free email, but the entire HomePage suite has evolved to a terrific set of tools that enable you to build a full-blown Web site. In this Writer's Talk, we discuss our favorite aspects of iTools, and cover webDAV and a few other goodies.
raelitybytes: Howdy, O'ReillyMac
OReillyMac: Hi Rael!
raelitybytes: So I took several ganders at some of the great ways you've been using iTools (especially homepage.mac.com) ...
raelitybytes: the vast majority of mac users (myself included) utterly ignore (or don't ever notice) the iTools that come "in the box" with every mac
OReillyMac: Yes, I can't believe how they've become part of my life
OReillyMac: Started out using them just for fun
OReillyMac: but Apple has really been working on the project
OReillyMac: and adding lots of goodies
OReillyMac: Now I'm using them weekly
OReillyMac: even for business
raelitybytes: why is it you think that most people utterly ignore them
raelitybytes: even though they provide much more than most get out of their ISPs
OReillyMac: Funny thing
OReillyMac: I think we've all seen really bad implementations
OReillyMac: of "home page" sites
OReillyMac: and I think folks thought that this was just another piece of online junk
OReillyMac: but that's not the case
raelitybytes: what is there besides "Welcome to my homepage, this is a pic of my cat?"
OReillyMac: Well, Apple has allowed you to build an entire site
OReillyMac: so you can start thinking bigger
OReillyMac: way beyond pictures of the pets
OReillyMac: you do have a pictures page
OReillyMac: but you also have
OReillyMac: a movie page, a downloads page, resume templates, invites, and a host of other tools
OReillyMac: plus you can link to your other sites
OReillyMac: so that this site becomes part of your personal network
OReillyMac: and I have to say, it's a pretty part to boot!
raelitybytes: what other components do you find yourself using?
I'm really interested in hearing your iTools comments, experiences, and questions.
Also in Writers' Talk:
OReillyMac: Well, first I have to say that I do tweak things in BBEdit, even though I don't really have to.
raelitybytes: I just have an @mac.com email account I use occasionally and iDisk every so often for making things available for download
raelitybytes: I guess I've only ever gone through the Web interface to homepage
OReillyMac: It's a good starting point, the interface ...
raelitybytes: You'd mentioned tweaks and DAV to me before... care to elaborate?
OReillyMac: but a while back Apple opened up the directories
OReillyMac: you can see them when you mount your iTools disk
OReillyMac: (hang on, let me launch)
OReillyMac: for one thing, if you look at the directory structure for iTools, it's very similar to that of Mac OS X
OReillyMac: you have Documents, Music, Pictures, Movies, Public, and Sites directories
OReillyMac: just like your favorite OS
raelitybytes: (let me launch too.... how do you mount your iTools disk?)
OReillyMac: The pages for your homepage are stored in the Sites directory
OReillyMac: Easy to launch ...
OReillyMac: Use the "Go" command
OReillyMac: at the top of Mac OS X
OReillyMac: takes you right there
raelitybytes: ah, I've done that before. I thought iTools was some diff location
OReillyMac: They used to be harder to get to ... had to launch a Web browser and go to the iTools page and log in. Now in OS X, if you have your prefs set up right, just hit "Go" and you're there.
OReillyMac: and for Mac OS 9 users, I think you still have to go to the Web page, but I'm not sure 'cause it's been so long ;-)
raelitybytes: I'm with ya