Walt Mossberg

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What To Do After MobileMe Goes Away?

Q:

When Apple’s MobileMe service goes away in June 2012, what happens to the stuff I have stored on iDisk? Will Apple still store my material someplace else remotely on one of its servers that I can access via my laptop? Will I still have some sort of .Mac mail system that I can access when on the road and using a computer other than my own?

A:

Apple says it won’t continue to have the equivalent of the iDisk online storage system, accessible directly from the cloud, after MobileMe gives way to its new iCloud service. It advises iDisk users to copy their online files to their Macs or PCs before next June. However, it says the new service will still support mac.com and me.com email accounts, and they will still be accessible via the Web. It promises details later, but has in the meantime published a document answering common questions about the transition at apple.com/mobileme/transition.html.

Q:

Is there a good program that will allow me to capture a Web video, especially a YouTube video, and convert it into an MP4 format file so I can play it on my Android-based Iconia tablet while offline on an airplane?

A:

There are numerous programs that claim to capture Web videos and convert them to formats such as MP4, which is a common and universal video file type. The ones I know about run on PCs or Macs, not directly on the tablets themselves, so you’d then have to connect your tablet to the computer and drag the files over. I can’t recommend one, as I haven’t tested any in years, but you can experiment by searching for “capture Web videos” or “convert Web videos.”

However, there’s a major caveat, a legal one. By my reading, YouTube’s Terms of Service generally bar such capturing, and other websites may do the same. I don’t advise grabbing Web videos unless their owners permit it. The YouTube rules say, in part: “You shall not download any content unless you see a ‘download’ or similar link displayed by YouTube on the service for that content.”

Q:

What is a simple way to gather, edit and label a small collection of the pictures for an album (that might later be published in a photo book)?

A:

If you own a Mac, you can do this easily by importing your photos into the iPhoto program that Apple includes on every new computer, and which includes a feature that produces printed books you can buy. There are similar programs on Windows PCs, such as Picasa, which allows you to create albums and then, if you like, send them off to a variety of vendors to be made into a book. Or, from any computer, you can upload your photos directly to an online service like Shutterfly, at shutterfly.com, which will organize them and optionally turn them into a printed book you can order.

Email mossberg@wsj.com.


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