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A Chat on the Wonders of iTools

by Rael Dornfest and Derrick Story
03/12/2002

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

Related Reading

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual
By David Pogue

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: indeed.

raelitybytes: what other components do you find yourself using?

Comment on this articleI'm really interested in hearing your iTools comments, experiences, and questions.
Post your comments

Also in Writers' Talk:

A Chat with "The Joy of Tech" Creators

Writers' Talk With Corey Marion of the Iconfactory

Writers' Talk With Guest Wil Shipley

Talking About Life With Mac OS X

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: iDisk?

OReillyMac: yup

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

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