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DotMac Enabler

My final pick for top .Mac shareware tools is DotMac Enabler. DotMac Enabler is designed to enable users in restricted computing environments to configure access to their .Mac account and iDisk. Access to .Mac can be intentionally or inadvertently prevented in network environments through two major methods: the use of a password-protected proxy server and by limiting user access to various System Preferences as a part of client management in a Mac OS X Server environment.

Proxy servers are often used to secure networks by limiting which Internet resources users can access and to enhance performance of commonly accessed sites and other resources. In many situations, a proxy server might require password authentication to access. This requires that users enter proxy server and authentication information in the Network pane of System Preferences—which administrators will typically not allow users to access because they could misconfigure a computer.

Users must also have access to the .Mac pane System Preferences to configure access to their .Mac account. Although many administrators may not disallow access to this particular pane, they may disallow all access to System Preferences, which blocks access to it. DotMac Enabler provides an easy-to-use application that allows users to enter their .Mac account information and, if needed, proxy server and password without having to access System Preferences.

This may sound like a controversial choice because it does bypass administrator-defined restrictions on the computer. Therefore, before using it, I strongly suggest asking your company’s IT department for permission. However, for IT staff, DotMac Enable can be a good thing because it enables users to configure .Mac access for themselves without risking any problems that might arise from allowing access to Network preferences (or System Preferences as a whole).

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