I'm so sick of .Mac.

No, don't get me wrong - I've no intention now of dropping the service. It offers an excellent level of integration with my Mac, I enjoy the photo hosting, backup, address book and iCal syncing just as much as the next person on the line - but, let's face it, Apple, .Mac is a dinosaur now.

Let's just take a look at disc space. A measly gigabyte of space - this from a company that used to boast about how its Xserves offered the lowest cost per gigabyte available.

So - the message from the company which says space is cheap is to ensure that space rented from it is expensive. And that's space the company has so deeply integrated within the Mac experience that it could be accused of forcing users to buy it.

Only one million people have bought it so far. That's in a year when Mac sales reach a historical high point. .Mac is clearly just not compelling enough.

I think there's a solution.

The idea of a user's Home identity being carried on a future iPod is gaining some currency, but I don't believe that goes far enough.

I want .Mac to be an online home for my entire user identity. I want to see all my documents, emails, applications, images, movies - all of it - securely hosted online.

It doesn't stop there.

I want to be able to use that user identity from any Mac, simply by logging into it. Equally, when I use my own Mac, I want any changes I make to be automatically uploaded to my online backup service. And I want to be able to choose if changes made when accessing my ID virtually are applied to my Mac, or not.

It's essential, really, and given above adequate security protection, there's no reason I can see this morning for Apple not to make .Mac this kind of service.

How useful would this be? It would mean you had a backup of your data in three places: on your Mac, on your local back up (CD, DVD, a hard drive) and online.

If one level of backup broke, you'd have another. If your Mac breaks down you could borrow one, you'd be able to continue to use a borrowed machine, and would scarcely feel the difference.

The portable nature of such a solution would give a massive boost to business travellers - but reaches beyond even that.

We've all read the reports of laptops being stolen, or of notebooks being found with tons of highly confidential data on board.

With this new and improved .Mac system, users dealing in highly confidential data would be able to set their Mac up so that information would never be saved on the computer - it would all be there, securely protected, on .Mac. Lose a computer? No problem, no lost data, no leaked secrets - just get another Mac, and carry on as normal.

Of course, Apple's .Mac server farm would have to have almost military protection. Perhaps a battalion of battle-hardened veterans, such as this man could keep miscreants at bay.

But I wouldn't resent paying a subscription to a service like this one.

(Oh, and Apple, why not just get the Gmail technology off of Google? .Mac mail isn't great, and Google's spam filters are the best in the business).