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Jumpin' 2-duh Cloud

Jumpin' 2-duh Cloud
by Gary Woods

The last thing Steve Jobs left us as he shuffled into eternity was iCloud which is a collection of services that promised to synchronize our contacts, calendars, documents, pictures, music and pretty much everything in our life. That little tantalizing come up was left dangling out there to appear sometime in the fall. The service was going to build on the questionable past of .me and MobileMe, but was going to be infinitely cooler. As Steve said, "it would just work."

Okay, I was ready to buy in. After a shaky start with MobileMe I'd had it working on 4 Macs, 2 PCS and 4 iOS devices synchronizing all our contacts and calendars. So what's to worry about? I started planning the route to the cloud right away. As soon as Lion, OSX 10.7 was released I updated the 4 Macs that day which is definitely not like me. I'm a wait and see kind of guy. Then, when iOS 5 arrived there I was again, updating everything the first day. Miraculously all those updates went very smoothly with nary a hiccup anywhere in the process.

I also updated iTunes and on October 12th I sat ready to flip the switch when I discovered that iCloud didn't work with Windows XP. The posts were out there all over the net that iCloud wouldn't work with XP but I didn't realize it until release day.

Alright, it was time to re-group. As it turns out, iCloud will only work with 32 bit Vista or 32 bit Windows 7 so I put Parallels 7 on my Mac and trotted down to Staples and got 32 bit Windows 7 Professional. Also, as long as I was updating, I got Office 2010 Home & Business even though iCloud would have worked with my copy of Office 2007.

With all my machines updated to the nth degree I decided the future was now and started getting ready to jump from MobileMe to iCloud. First, you should definitely back up your contacts and calendars. On the Mac you can do this by opening iCal and clicking on File then on Export. I recommend exporting the data to your desktop so you can find it if you need it. Then, open Address Book and again go to File and Export and put that data also on your desktop.

On your iOS devices if you have MobileMe running, put your device in Airplane Mode then go to Mail, Contacts, Calendars and your MobileMe account. Switch off Calendars, Contacts and when it asks you whether you want the data to remain on your device say YES. Also, switch off Mail, Notes and anything else you've got checked.

It's now movin' time!!! Go to your computer and log into to your MobileMe account at Click on the link to start the conversion and you'll be told to update all your computers and devices as well as iTunes. Then, it will take you to a screen that will upload your contacts and calendars to iCloud. This was interesting to me because I thought it would convert the data that was stored in the cloud but it takes it locally.

After the conversion is over on one machine a message comes up that says check your other machines. As I went around to all the other Macs there was a little message asking if I'd like to finish the conversion? When I clicked on Yes everything completed. I then went to the iCloud control panel and switched on Contacts, Calendars, Photo Stream, Documents and Notes and everything popped up. After that I started up Parallels and when Windows 7 showed up it also asked if I wanted to finish the conversion. After throwing all the switches in the iCloud Control Panel all my data was now in Outlook.

Finally, I went around to all the iOS devices and turned Airplane Mode off and logged into iCloud with my old MobileMe login. Again, I went around and switched everything on and low and behold I'm in the cloud.

I'm still getting used to Documents and Photo Stream but everything else seems to be working just swimmingly. My only HUGE ADVICE is to backup everything that you would miss if it got trashed in the conversion then dive on in.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc