Updated: Mar 20, 2021
One of the benefits of working at Apple for 22 years was that I was on the forefront of all new technologies. I was required to try out new software and hardware while it was still in the process of being developed. Sometimes I would have to install a new operating system every day, very often one fraught with issues. There was a great satisfaction when products became good enough to release to customers. I, too, would finally get to use something that worked well.
I was at Apple when they developed mac.com. Until then, we were not allowed to use our work computer for personal mail. Our business email was apple.com (which Apple still uses). But when mac.com came out, we were assigned addresses using our apple email user name. Then we were told to use the mac accounts for friends and families. I was assigned firstname.lastname@example.org. Later, when MobileMe (which turned out to be a disaster) was released, my email became email@example.com, and then when iCloud came out, I ended up with firstname.lastname@example.org. Now I have three email addresses that all lead to the same inbox; two are aliases.
Most of my friends will say "but your email address is bunnyladen AT mac DOT com." At one point Apple allowed me to take that longer user name (which is what I would have done in the beginning had they asked), but they consider it to be like an alias. It's not quite because the bunnyaden email comes to its own inbox, but the account is inextricably bound to the laden address.
For the past month or so, Apple has been locking me out of my account several times a day. I have to go through a reset procedure that takes several minutes, only to have to do the same thing later on in the day. My computer has become an annoyance because these reset prompts will pop-up even then I am doing something else. Other people have reported the same problem. Apple, as is typical, has remained silent on the issue. One theory is that people who have short user names are more prone to security issues. (Apple, not me, chose the name for me.)
Those of us who have Apple email from the early days cannot shake the iCloud/Mac/Me email addresses. Even if I provide a non-Apple email to use as an Apple ID, Apple will never disassociate the trio of email addresses from my account. There is no technological reason for this. It is sheer technological laziness. The only way for me to crawl out from this mess and get my computer to be usable once again is to start over with a non-Apple email and ditch iCloud altogether.
After researching email providers, I found mailbox.org. It is a German company whose servers reside in Germany (you’d be surprised where various email providers keep their servers). That’s good, because the data privacy laws are far stricter there than here. Further, they encrypt email and provide a great suite of cloud-based apps. The encryption means that no entity can scan my messages and use the data for targeted adds. (That’s what Gmail and other “free” providers do.) The cost is $15 a year (1 EUR a month). I think it might also mean that law enforcement can't get my email messages. I never do anything nefarious, so that doesn't concern me.
Although it took me several hours to get myself disentangled from Apple mail and iCloud, I couldn’t see living the rest of my life with reset messages popping up everyday. The reset issue could be a bug that will get fixed in the future, but my time is too precious to sit around passively hoping that something will happen.