Help Save MacOS Server Caching and Why You Should


If You Use MacOS Server’s Caching Feature

Please Consider Sending Feedback to Apple Requesting That They Reinstate the Caching Feature of the Server App!

Important Message to My Readers

I apologize for finding it necessary to completely republish this. Since I already wrote a longer explanation once at the prior page, I won’t repeat it. There’s just one thing to add however. This new and improved version includes a new link as well!

YouTube Video Below:  Day 1 Madeira Island

The European Secret Vacation Destination Americans Don’t Visit

IMPORTANT: Message to my Viewers

I’ve never asked viewers to subscribe to my channel because I never believed having a large number of subscribers was important. NOW IT IS. Google is getting rid of all channels with less than 1000 subscribers by February 20th. I received my notice of termination yesterday.

If you like my videos and want my channel to stay unharmed, please consider subscribing. By doing so, you won’t receive annoying emails, or experience any negative consequences…my channel will just show up in your feed at YouTube if you’re signed into a Google account.

Thank You :-)

Several of our iPads and iPhones


Apple’s iCloud Backups Aggressively Dominate Home Network  Resources | They Offered A Great Solution That They’ve  Now Taken Away…MacOS Server Caching

My title really says it all. Apple gives and they take away! iCloud is an amazing feature which, when it works, works beautifully…but there’s a price to pay for that feature set and it’s a high one. The price is sacrificing all of your network’s    bandwidth.

If you’re wondering what I meant when I said iCloud,works beautifully when it works? I mean that when it doesn’t work…its completely useless. When might that be? There appear to be 2 main scenarios in which Apple iCloud won’t function at all, or if it does function it’s utility is so limited that it’s hardly worth the sacrifices bandwidth price.

The first scenario is if users have very large databases of photos and videos…or even just medium sized ones but the database is primarily made up of very large individual data files. I’m talking about extremely high resolution photos from higher end digital SLR cameras. That is the situation my husband found  himself in when his iCloud just stopped ‘dead in its tracks.’ While I don’t know this to be true from personal experience, logically it should be true…that databases primarily made up of high resolution videos might be  problematic for iCloud functionality too.

The second scenario pertains to if an Apple users owns and actively uses more than 10 Apple devices which backup to iCloud. Apple’s stated literature states that iCloud isn’t guaranteed to function under that circumstance either. By 10 they mean any and all Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, iPods and iPod touches, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac computers too. I can personally attest to the fact that this is true because I was beyond upset when a Genius explained this to me following several phone support calls ina row. One employee even went to great lengths to treat like a criminal because I owned more than 10 devices. He just couldn’t understand it and chose to cross examine me rather than help! You can read more about that in my post ‘Why Apple Doesn’t Want Me to Buy Anymore of the Devices.’

Excluding those 2 scenarios, Apple iCloud functions well and even great for users…sometimes even too great, when it does so at the expense of other network traffic that’s impaired. However, when traffic is high volume iCloud can bog down. Which is where MacOS Server’s Caching Feature can pickup the slack and restore network functionality.

But what will become of to iCloud users who’ve grown to rely upon the assistance of MacOS Server? Because Apple recently eliminated the one feature that has made  OS Server a panacea to so many users.


Ever since ios 8 my family has struggled with network bandwidth problems brought about by Apple’s iCloud backup feature that was introduced that same year. It’s been an ongoing battle for 3 years now. After untold hours of wasted time and utter frustration we finally came up with a solution last summer…the summer of 2017…almost 3 years after our problems began.

That Solution:  MacOS Server

MacOS Server is an incredibly useful tool for improving network bandwidth in home and business situations where there are many Apple mobile devices being used. Using the caching feature of MacOS Server significantly improves bandwidth problems for users who are plagued with overly aggressive Apple iCloud backups which usurp all of their network’s bandwidth. The Server software is sold as a utility app in the Mac App Store. It’s cost is only $20. But it also requires that you run it on a Mac computer. So, in our case we had to buy a Mac Mini too which cost an additional $1700 (including add ons for things like a keyboard and an external hard drive for Time Machine back ups.)

Ultimately then, MacOS Server isn’t really all that inexpensive after all…unless you already have a Mac computer!

But we really needed it! I use iPads all day long to write my blogs and create content for my YouTube channel. Oftentimes it’s those activities alone which take such a huge negative toll in our network’s bandwidth!

An Example of  iCloud Functionality Before MacOS Server

I’m generally either writing or researching topics 24/7. So on any given day I might be researching something that I’m gathering resource information for…things like links and screenshots for example. As I’m reading, I take screenshots of information that might be helpful to keep for my own reference or to use as illustrations. When I take a screenshot, within a few minutes of taking it I generally like to clean it up by cropping it, annotating it, adding a black border which helps me to see the information within it better, and then inserting it into the proper place within my notes. I usually will add it to a subject specific Photo Album as well which is designated as being suitable for possible inclusion in a future article.

I use Markup, Apple’s annotating utility for annotations because then I can annotate directly from within the camera roll, without having to open a separate app. So the actual procedure usually goes something like this. I go to my camera roll and tap on a screenshot that I want to crop and annotate. Even though I just took the screenshot, it no longer resides on my iPad…it’s already been sent to iCloud. So I need to wait for my iPad to access iCloud backups, retrieve the image and download it for me. That may take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. This time may be longer if I’ve just taken multiple screenshots…or much longer if I also shot a video!

Sample of screenshot annotations Above:  An Example of Screenshot Annotations and My Favorite Black Border

This same scenario also may apply to using Apple Notes too. Apple Notes is the app I usually use for my note taking as I’m researching. If I copy some information onto the clipboard to paste into a note I may have to wait 30 seconds to a minute for the Notes app to kick into gear and unfreeze itself long enough for me to paste what I copied. This time will be longer if I’m using an iPad on ios 11. I recently switched from using Evernote for writing purposes to using Apple Notes instead, specifically because Evernote experienced this long lag time. Initially Apple Notes didn’t. But upgrading to ios 11 has introduced this new lag time to retrieve an Apple Note which is pretty awful. It’s even worse than Evernote had been, making Evernote now appear to be speedy in comparison.

Evernote has worked hard to fix this. I’m a beta tester for Evernote where I’ve worked personally with some of their lead developers on this specific problem. But Apple Notes must have changed how they access note data in ios 11, perhaps as a result of using their new file system. They’ve essentially goofed up Apple Notes so much that I’ve decided I’m not going to update my favorite iPad Pros, the ones I primarily use for daily writing tasks, to ios 11 until this note problem is fixed.

The problem is exacerbated when I take several screenshots close together. I can literally cause our entire home computer network to grind to a complete standstill for the period of time required to upload those screenshots to iCloud. The length of time needed to do that seems to vary…so it must have something to do with Apple’s servers. Apple’s iCloud backup procedure is extremely aggressive in this regard and I’ve spent countless hours researching methods to curtail this aggressiveness with no success. The only way to regain our network bandwidth is to find the offending ios Device and place it into airplane mode, which I do often if someone else needs to use our network. Increasing our bandwidth from our isp to 300 Mbps has had little impact on the problem.

Discovering this little airplane mode trick was, I felt, somewhat ingenious and a life savior for our household network which is why I wrote this post about it.

Example of How iCloud Works With MacOS Server Running

Under the exact same scenario, when I go to crop and annotate my screenshots there is virtually no wait time at all. The image(s) are usually available to me instantaneously. While Apple Notes wasn’t as ‘instantaneous,’ the wait time for it wasn’t awful prior to ios 11. So the lag remains at 1/2-1 minute on ios 10 or 1-2 minutes on ios 11. What’s even worse using ios 11 is that some of my iPads never actually come out of this ‘frozen’ state resulting from lag-mode at all. 90% of the time they freeze up completely so that I need to shut down the app and restart it. This problem appears to be model specific. It exists for Apple’s newest iPad 5 and for my older iPad Mini which is not the most current model, but one behind. On my 10.5″ Pros and my new iPhone X it’s more manageable…longer than when running ios 10 but these devices don’t end up becoming completely frozen either.

The Screenshot Below Shows the Kinds of Content That MacOS Server Caching Feature Caches

The Following is an Overview of Our Whole Long, Sad, & Costly Story

What it Takes to Use Apple Mobile Devices & iCloud in Our Home

1st We Had No iCloud Functionality at All

A couple of years ago we were having problems with iCloud data functioning at all in our home. We were told by an Apple genius at our local Apple Store to get a Mac Mini computer. We did that and since we’ve been using the Mini to manage iCloud data things have been a lot better. It was an expensive solution…around $1700…but it did solve our problem for a brief period of time.

After iCloud was Fixed (via buying a Mac Mini) our Bandwidth Problems Began

Then we began having bandwidth problems. From what I could tell our bandwidth was basically being taken over by Apple devices trying to access iCloud data or trying to back up photos and screenshots to iCloud. It made it the network  inaccessible to anybody wanting to use it. Not only that, it also made it very slow on our Apple mobile devices too. So the main problem was basically a network bandwidth one which was being caused by Apple iCloud data.

We Finally Have Better Bandwidth Service Available in our Area

For a period of time we were stuck…we had no solution. But then Time Warner merged with or was taken over by Charter Communications. They’d also recently acquired Bright House. This resulted in the largest cable company merger in the history of the United States, which ironically raises huge antitrust concerns I imO. But the merger did solve one big problem for us.

It provided a solution to our areas’ complete lack of higher bandwidth Internet service alternatives for families and small businesses in our area. That meant were finally able to upgrade from our then current 50 Mbps service to one that provided us with a much faster 300 Mbps service.

The downside of course was that the greatest speeds required us to get all new hardware for our home network, including a new modem, a new firewall appliance, and new hardware for our WiFi mesh network. We did replace all of those components, but we still haven’t worked out all of the kinks yet. Basically we did all that so that we would be able to use iCloud effectively in our home. And iCloud did function better for a little while.

Sidenote:  This may sound like really high bandwidth for a family, but having a hardware firewall takes a huge chunk of bandwidth out of our overall network speed. So we need to have a much higher speed than someone typically would in order to get relatively average speeds on the back-end. This shouldn’t really be the case as much as it seems to be in our environment, because there are methods for determining these aspects. That’s what I mean by ‘working out the kinks.’ It  essentially refers to tweaking things until we achieve the best bandwidth possible under our circumstances. But nothing ever seems easy for us when it comes to networks, and we’ve been told by more than one network consultant that we do place unusually high demands upon our network, which appears to be true!

Homeostasis Existed Briefly

Now we get, on average, about 50 Mbps from our 300 Mbps service after things have been filtered through our firewall. Eliminating the firewall isn’t an option. It protects all of our home devices…even the ever troublesome IoT ones.

If you’re wondering why our safety concerns seem high and probably somewhat skewed, you can read the article about how a Botnet took over our home network, and I think you’ll understand.

1 New Problem Crops Up & the Same Old Bandwidth/iCloud Problem Resurfaces

Ubiquity’s UniFi Mesh Network Has software Incompatibility with ios Devices Which Causes Them to be Dropped from the Network Often

As I mentioned above, the higher bandwidth solution helped us out for a while but things got back to bad relatively quickly…within 2 or 3 months. By bad I mean I’ll be on my iPad seeking a photo that I want to use for something…I’ll tap on it to access it…then it may take 10 minutes for my iPad to actually download the photo so that I can work with it. The same thing will occur if you swap out the word ‘photo’ and replace it with the word ‘note.’

Manage iCloud Caching

Love at First Sight | The Day MacOS Server Entered Our Lives

That’s where MAC OS server comes in. I researched the problem and also talked to the  consulting  group that maintains our firewall hardware. Simultaneously we both arrived at the same solution….Mac OS server…but just the caching  feature. So last summer when our firewall consultant was at our home helping to work on our Wi-Fi mesh network (to figure out why were not experiencing the speed that we should be and why our iPads seem to be dropping the Wi-Fi network all the time,) we installed it. It turns out that the WiFi dropping problem is a Ubiquity Unifi one which has to do with an incompatibility with Apple’s ios devices. This problem we still haven’t solved. The improvement wasn’t immediate because it had to cache things for a while…but an hour or 2 later things began to improve.

*cache is basically just a fancy word meaning to ‘store’ something.

My family uses Apples MacOS Server software to keep our Apple iCloud data…(whats being stored) accessible and functioning well on our home network.

Once we installed MacOS Server and got it up and running, it was a Godsend!

MacOS Server improved everyone’s use of their Apple devices almost instantaneously. I can’t even think of how many times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that the consulting service we use for our firewall told me about the server software too, right around the same time I first discovered it. And then helped me to install it and set it up.

There’s actually one specific feature of MacOS Server that we use to keep our iCloud functioning well… it’s called the caching service. I don’t know a lot about the caching service. All I do know is that somehow it makes our Mac Mini work as an intermediary for iCloud, and all of our devices utilize our Mac Mini when accessing iCloud data. That means we need to keep our Mac Mini running all of the time.

That was actually a bit of a problem too, because no matter how many different ways I changed the power settings I couldn’t seem to keep it running all the time. But I found some freeware called Amphetamine that I installed and Amphetamine works well to keep our Mac Mini running all of the time.

High Sierra Doesn’t Work With MacOS Server

Apple Recalls Some 6s iPhones for Battery Replacements

We were out-of-town for a long period of time during the holidays. When we got back home High Sierra was available for update on our Mac Mini. But when I went to install the update I received a warning telling me that our MacOS Server would no longer function if I installed High Sierra. Upon researching this problem via Google I failed to find an answer. So at a recent Apple Genius store appointment to have the battery replaced in my 6S iPhone…because it had massive battery problems,and I’d discovered while buying the new iPhone X which I got to replace it, that there was a battery recall by Apple and a replacement solution for 6s’s…so we were at our local Apple Store getting the 6s’s battery replaced…and I happened to remember that I needed to ask the Apple genius helping us about the MacOS server problem that was preventing me from updating to High Sierra. He had no knowledge of it. He suggested that I call Apple support.

I did that today, because our Mac Mini keeps shutting down. I discovered during that phone call that it was the Seagate hard drive that we use to run Time Machine that is causing our Mac Mini to constantly shut down. But I also asked that support person about MacOS Server and the problem of updating to High Sierra. Ultimately I was told that I would need to talk to the Enterprise Department about that.

Prepare for caching in High Sierra
Prepare for caching in High Sierra

After being on hold for a while waiting to talk to the Enterprise Department I finally did and discovered that (theoretically at least,) if I updated to High Sierra, I would then need to update to a newer version of MAC OS Server. But there’s a big problem in doing that! The new version of MacOS server does not include the caching feature any longer!! This was a huge shock!

I asked the gentleman what I should do?

His answer was to keep running our old version of MacOS Server…the one that we’re currently using rather than updating it. That shouldn’t work but he said it does. So it’s a temporary fix.

I asked him if that would work and he was certain it would because that’s what he’s doing at his own home. I asked him why there was no caching feature on the new server software and he told me that  it was because Apple now included the caching feature in High Sierra. But it’s a tethered solution, which means that you would need to plug your iPad into your Mac using a cable in order for it to work. Which means there is basically no solution at all. Because caching will then function only for that one device, and only while that one device is physically plugged into your computer.

High Sierra's tethered caching feature

His 2nd suggestion to me was that he offered to submit an engineering support request on my behalf to Apple Corporation, letting them know that at least one customer really relied upon this feature.

He also suggested that I myself personally send feedback to Apple Corporation by utilizing their online feedback procedure too. Which I did immediately after hanging up with him.

He told me that Apple developers really do read this feedback and that they really rely upon it for future upgrades. So, the more people that send feedback to them requesting that Apple continue their caching feature, the better our chances become to keep, or reinstate, the caching feature for Apple devices.

That’s why I’m writing this post today. To implore anyone who’s using MacOS Server caching feature to send feedback to Apple requesting that they continue their caching service.

Below is the Feedback Request I Submitted to Apple Developers of MacOS Server:

We bought a Mac Mini just to manage our iCloud data. Then I bought MacOS server last summer specifically for the caching service. Without it, using our ios devices was painfully slow. Apple iCloud aggressively usurped all of our bandwidth for photo backups but retrieving them to use was next to impossible. We’d already tried increasing our internet service from 50 Mbps to 300 Mbps…but that didn’t help much. The new server software helps tremendously. Now I discovered that if I update to High Sierra I’ll lose it…so I shouldn’t update. But what about Meltdown and Sceptor bugs? Isn’t it insecure to not update? Please help by reinstating the caching feature of MacOS Server. I’m not sure which version we have…I bought it in June 2017…so that one.

How to Send Apple Feedback for MacOS Server to Reinstate their Caching Service

Visit this link and scroll down the page to the section called macOS Apps.

Tap or click on MacOS Server.

You’ll be taken to this page.

After you submit your feedback you’ll receive this confirmation.

Additional Resources

Below I’m including links to several resources which help to explain various aspects of MacOS Server and it’s caching feature for anyone who’s interested in learning more about it.

Here’s a good MacWorld article that explains more about how the caching feature of MacOS Server works.

Apple’s MacOS Server Overview

MacOS Server Support

Apple Support:  About Content Caching

Apple Support:  Setup Content Caching

Apple Support:  Content Types that Caching Supports

Apple Support:  About Tethered Caching

Apple’s Description of Content Caching in High Sierra


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Help Save MacOS Server Caching

Important Messqge to my Readers

Here’s the link to the new and improved version of ‘Help Save MacOS Server Caching #2’

Posted in Apple, Apple Devices, Apple Products, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Regular People Need to Know About the Newest Computer Vulnerabilities…Meltdown & Spectre

Above Image Credit: The Internet Society

2017 Was an Unprecedented Year for Data Vulnerabilities

Dark Reading, a widely-read cyber security news site wrote in the 3rd quarter of 2017 that “2017 has broken the record for security vulnerabilities.” That was even before the year was completed. In another more recent article, Trend Micro listed all of the major exploits which occurred in 2017. Of those Cloudbleed and the Krack Attack seemed to garner the most widespread publicity in the category of security flaws, whereas the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks made one specific category of virus known as ‘ransomware‘ a household word.

Cloudbleed, in February of last year, was significant because it was identified early on as potentially being as extensive as 2014’s Heart Bleed. But the main company involved, Cloud Flare, responded in an exemplary manner with almost immediate intervention and patching. Their quick actions kept Cloudbleed in check.

Krack Attack, which occurred much more recently in November, was also very successfully mitigated because major hardware vendors like Microsoft and Apple came out with hardware specific patches very early in the process too.

Krack Attack was unique for most of us because it was the first time we learned about how major vulnerabilities followed a specific protocol in terms of how and when they are first announced to the public. We learned that oftentimes serious vulnerabilities are only publicly announced after any vendors which are impacted have been notified first, and given the opportunity to develop solutions prior to the vulnerability’s first public announcement.

One could only hope that in 2017 we’d seen the worst of it.

Sadly, 2018 has barely begun, and already the 2 biggest vulnerabilities ever discovered to date were just announced a few days ago.

Meltdown and Spectre

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

Meltdown and Spectre are 2 new massively extensive vulnerabilities that were first leaked to the press around January 3, 2018. The reason they are so massive is because these 2 security risks impact virtually every kind of computing device being used today. Everything from small IoT devices, to cellphones and tablets, on up to computers and very large servers are vulnerable. It’s not just a matter of if they are vulnerable either….because they all are vulnerable…without a doubt. Essentially anything that has an operating system and can access the Internet is affected by these 2 new vulnerabilities.

How Could A Vulnerability Be So Extensive?

The names given to these 2 security flaws provide just an inkling of the devastation they could entail. That these are the most significant set of vulnerabilities discovered to date is without question. Wired describes the public’s reaction as ‘a critical mass of confusion’ resulting in pandemonium.

One aspect that has an even more confounding impact is the fact that these vulnerabilities have actually been in existence for about 20 years.

Some have likened them to very old skeletons in the architectural closets of systems’ frameworks.

Simply understanding what the exact risks are is challenging. Multiply that by 2 and it gets more confusing still. A quick description is that the most highly protected data that’s managed by devices, things like passwords and encrypted data, has been found to have previously unrecognized avenues of unauthorized accessibility. That means that unauthorized users could gain ready access to the data you guard most closely. This recent TechCrunch article does the best job I’ve found explaining what these vulnerabilities are and what they mean to everyday users like you and me.

Graz University of Technology based in Australia, was instrumental in detecting the Meltdown security vulnerability. They’ve published an informative website which provides users with lots of great information about both flaws.

After reading TechCrunch’s article you should have a fairly good appreciation for the extent and seriousness of the problem. One thing to note is that it was the press, a UK publication, the Register, who revealed these vulnerabilities to us long before they should have or would have, had the protocol we learned about during the Krack Attack been in effect.


Another really interesting aspect of both security flaws is how they were discovered. Both flaws have existed for a very long time…since the early 1990’s generally. But 4 separate discoveries of them were made almost simultaneously, in the few months leading up to this public announcement. Wired wrote a fascinating retrospective on how this happened yesterday (Sunday 1/7/18) entitled ‘Triple Meltdown: How So Many Researchers Found a 20-Year-Old Chip Flaw at the Same Time.’

Was this earlier than planned announcement good or bad?

Probably a little bit of both. It’s good that we know about it asap…but bad that many hardware vendors haven’t yet had an opportunity to write and release their patches.

What can users do now?

Since every kind of hardware is affected, and hardware patches will be the only true fix, you can only wait for your hardware vendor to supply the patches and then make sure to install them. The TechCrunch article also notes that some of these patches will, more than likely, have some unforeseen negative consequences for users. Hardware processing speeds will more than likely decrease and other software incompatibilities may arise as a result of the patches.

But even those negatives don’t warrant not installing the patches when they are available. And as you’ll see below, Intel believes that their patches won’t have any negative speed implications for users. The fact that patches can even be used to address the situation is a huge plus since it was believed by many industry experts when the news first broke that nothing short of complete replacement of all offending hardware would mitigate the problem!

If you’re an Apple user, an Ars Technica article that was just published today states that Apple has already released patches. ios 11.2.2 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 both include patches for both security problems.

Is there anything else users can do right now?

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to be proactive when it comes to safeguarding your personal data. Use password managers and consider protecting all of your devices with firewalls. And always make sure you keep your operating systems as up to date as possible.

Find Out More Information About Your Specific Hardware

Gizmodo has put together a really helpful website which gives more information about the status of patches for various types of hardware. It appears that they are updating this site whenever new information becomes available. Consider the Gizmodo site as the best  ‘one stop shop’ if you’re inclined to only want to check out one additional source of information.


Learn More About What Firewalls Are and How They Can Help You

If there can be any good aspects of these 2 new vulnerabilities one may be that it doesn’t appear they can be leveraged remotely. But that isn’t set in stone nor does it mean that remote threats can be discounted. Probably the most significant threats to average users come from remote sources.

The good news here is that there is something you can use to arm yourself with significantly greater protection. That extra protection can come from hardware Firewalls.

Firewalls, which are designed to keep intruders away from every single type of Internet capable device in your home, might possibly be the best way to protect yourself and your family’s personal data from remote intervention. So, while in this instance, Firewalls won’t really help you out…they certainly won’t hurt anything. Yet in the vast majority of circumstances which threaten homeowners…Firewalls can go a very long way towards providing protection which is light years beyond what most users have currently.

Even better though is the fact that these types of devices are just making their entrance into the home market. Previously, hardware firewalls would have been cost prohibitive for homeowners. But several vendors recently began introducing models which are specifically designed for home use…and they’re priced very reasonably too! We’re talking a few hundred dollars here instead of thousands of dollars…which was the case even a year ago!

I’ve been working on a series of articles which introduces Firewalls to new users. But I still have several parts I need to write. So far, I’ve only written the first 2 parts, which are:

Part 1 | What Hackers Don’t Want You to Know About Firewalls

Part 2 | Beginner’s Guide to Firewalls for Small Networks | Network Design

New Information Shows That Intel & Much of The Related Computing Industry Learned About Both Vulnerabilities in June 2017

The earliest consequences have just begun filtering in over the last few days. On Friday (1/5/2018) Ars Technica reported that 3 class action law suits have been filed against Intel. Because Intel provides more CPU chips than any other processor vendor in the for desktops and laptops. Apparently Intel was first notified about these vulnerabilities in June of 2017. According to Intel, they’ve already begun releasing patches and dire performance predictions are very overblown. They don’t anticipate that most users will even notice performance decreases at all.

However, the fact that Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, sold millions of dollars worth of Intel stock upon learning about the vulnerabilities has many speculating about the deeper, more nefarious intentions of Intel.


In what is perhaps the most enlightening article I’ve read regarding timing of these vulnerabilities discoveries, Bloomberg Technology’s new article pictured above ‘It Can’t Be True…‘ lays out, in great detail, what was discovered by who, when, and when it was communicated to Intel and the larger computing hardware industry. I was surprised to discover that both vulnerabilities were discovered last June, and both were reported to Intel within days of their discovery.

Final Note is reporting that some of Microsoft’s Meltdown and Spectre patches are bricking some AMD PCs.

Using the combined resources of the above Bloomberg article and Wired’s ‘How So Many Researchers Made the Same Discovery‘ article mentioned earlier, we now know that Google has already patched most everything they need to because it was a young Google security employee who was one of the first to discover both flaws and inform Intel about them. It’s also now evident that many more patches have already been released and have been in operation for quite some time. However, an equally large and important sector of the industry was kept in the dark until the Register made their public disclosure on January 2nd. Their actions in fact led Intel to make a their own public disclosure on January 3rd.

Given the newness of the information to such large sectors of the population this will undoubtedly mean there will be more patches released that will have unintended consequences like Microsoft’s. What’s more troubling still is that it appears to many as if these 2 discoveries may just be the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ It seems to worry a significant number of industry experts that more flaws may be forthcoming. That fact coupled with the disclosure that the NSA doesn’t always see fit to disclose security flaws that they uncover, but rather chooses to exploit them first for their own gain, casts a distinct cloud of darkness over what the future may hold for the larger data and cyber security world.


Please feel free to leave me and my readers any comments by scrolling further down the page until you see the small Comments box.

Posted in Computer & network security, Digital security, Firewalls | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Distinctive iPhone X Cases

iPhone X

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My iPhone X finally arrived! I decided despite the learning curve that it’s pretty great and I kept it. (I’d returned the 8+ due to the lack of a personal ‘wow’ factor after testing it out for a few days.) If you’d asked me my intentions about keeping it a few weeks ago however, I don’t know that my answer would have been so affirmative. Why I didn’t anticipate the learning curve of ‘no home button’ is beyond me. But you know what they say…time heals all wounds…and I am rapidly forgetting those awful first days.

So I’ve been scoping out some possible new cases for it. This was actually a resumption of a more extensive search begun before Thanksgiving. My kids would tell you that I’m obsessed with iPhone cases. While I don’t think that’s true, I do have a tendency to get more cases than most people, and I have no compunction about abandoning one in favor of another. Usually because I don’t generally buy ultra expensive cases. Which means if I don’t end up loving one I don’t feel guilty about ditching it. One might think I’m hard to please, but after reading hundreds if not thousands of reviews in the last few weeks as I wrote this, I really don’t believe that I’m very different from the rest of the world. An iPhone case has to meet a lot of high expectations because it accompanies you for an intense, if not brief portion of your journey through life…much more so than almost any other possession you might own.

I’ve always had a strong sense of design…perhaps the result of being surrounded by an artistic family? Whatever the reason, I usually seek out less popular cases that I’ve stumbled across randomly, that tend to bring something new to case design or sometimes I just go with what I believe to be is the ‘best in class’ for a specific function. But I’ve grown cheaper as I age…frivolous, outrageous spending patterns are definitely a thing of the past for me. Thus one reason for my heavy reliance upon Amazon!

With all that said, the premium feel of the new iPhone X seems to me to warrant more careful consideration than ever. So I’ve been working on this off and on for the better part of a month. But really I began it in earnest before our 12 day Thanksgiving Day trek out west to visit family. My fluctuating needs have definitely played a role too since Apple hasn’t made my life easy in my most recent acquisition of the iPhone X. After several failed attempts at online ordering…failed due to my desire to join the upgrade program this year which is another long story. I finally ended up surprising everyone by finding the exact model I wanted available on Black Friday in an Apple Store in Dallas TX.

Below:  My (returned) iPhone 8+

This post has grown overtime as I keep remembering and adding more cool resources that I’d forgotten about. So it may not be truly finished yet and I may add more as I remember them. As it stands right now…it includes my favorites from my recent research along with some notes about pluses and minuses of various alternatives when available. While this may seem fairly long, remember its mostly a lot of pictures combined with much less text on what I know about each case designer’s background. Because for some reason this has always been important to me, so I decided to include it in case any one else likes that kind of information too.

Without further adieu, here’s my list of iPhone case designers and some other accessory resources too. If you’re interested in what I ended up getting…scroll to the very end of this post and you’ll see my new iPhone case in all its glory!

My Case is Made by WFWood

The Case I Finally Chose is Made by WFWood…More information is at the end of this post.


Stone. follows. function.

Roxxlyn from Berlin

Roxxlyn is a German company whose home is in the Berlin Mitte district, tucked away between old factory buildings and modern coffee shops. A small team of dedicated artisans and engineers are there to devote themselves to create outstanding and unique products with minimalist athletics and high quality materials.

The inspiration behind Roxxlyn is million-year-old stone. Founder Andreas Plassmann and a team of uniquely gifted artisans employ technology they painstakingly developed over many years which allows them to extract incredibly thin and flexible micro-slabs of ancient precious stone formations from the quarries of Antolini in Verona Italy. Using a combination of hand finishing and precision tooling to further refine each thin layer, the final outcome is a case which is custom-made when an order is placed.

These incredibly unique cases which meld a dramatic contrast of modern material with stunning rustic stone each represent a unique work of art. Whenever you are considering getting something from a company abroad, you need to do a little due diligence to make sure you aren’t taking too much of a risk. I’ve tried to do some of that for my readers. I found that Roxxlyn has a Facebook page. A visit to Roxxlyn’s Facebook page shows me that the company actively maintains it and has good customer service.

Roxxlyn's Facebook Page

“We are constantly seeking new ways to use the world’s exclusive stone materials. After years of research, we harnessed the incredible powers of slate stone to create a feel like no other.”

This video shows several options of their popular Mineral Case…

But it doesn’t show my favorite Mineral Case which is below.

The Mineral Case Silver Grey  $87.89  (shown below)

Roxxlyn's silver Grey Mineral Case

Below is the full lineup of Roxxlyn iPhone X Cases

Roxxlyn's Full iPhone X Case Lineup

Here’s one more video which introduces Roxxlyn’s Marble Case


Ringke cases are made by Rearth, which is an interesting company that aims to win customers with their high-end designs and quality products. I really love their Flex S Advanced Series for its unique combination of retro-modern styling, and it was an early front-runner for me in either brown, silver or rose pink.

They offer 3 leather looks.

Flex S Advanced Series Leather

Ringke Leather Colors

And 3 metallic looks.

Flex S Advanced Series Metallic

Ringke Metallic Colors

The case appears to be quite solid, and offer protective construction.

Ringke features

Some of the construction details include:

Ringke Flex S Pro equips the Apple iPhone X in an advanced resilient and elite look with durable TPU protection crafted in a modern metallic or retro leather design with either a premium glossy finish or a tactile leather aesthetic. In both cases:

  • The tough and flexible sleek dual material construction is specially layered and designed to cushion and provide better protection against accidental drops, slips, bumps, and scratches.
  • Advanced ergonomic grip securely lets you carry the Apple iPhone X with confidence and comfort in newly metallic color design with reliable drop protection to refine the size and hold without compromising the natural shape of your device.
  • Improved usability with precise laser cutouts provide easy access to all Ports, Buttons, Features, Speakers, Dual Cameras in a tailored protective fit.
  • Superior tactile slim hold and exact fit featuring responsive buttons with Active Touch Technology allowing for a natural feel when pushing the power, and volume buttons

These range in price from $10.99 to $12.99 depending on the color and finish chosen.

My iPhone X

My iPhone X

Apple’s Classic Leather Cases

Apple makes a leather case for iPhones that they are also offering for the iPhone X too. It comes in a wide variety of colors ranging from taupe, to black with almost every neutral shade in between. My favorite is the Dark Aubergine or Saddle Brown. It’s also available in their Product (RED) color in which Apple makes a donation to Aids research for every purchase.I’ve put together a little summary of the colors, features and user reviews in the screen shot below.

Apple's Classic Leather Case

While Apple’s case appears to be of nice quality, I discovered in reading many user reviews that they don’t appear to stand behind them, which, coupled with their high price and how poorly users report this case holds up with usage, makes me feel it’s simply not worth the premium price Apple charges for it.

Apple's iPhone X Leather Case

The second case Apple sells for iPhone X is their Leather Folio case. This case is $100 (really $99.) But once again I have to admit…I’m not wowed! The price is awful, the colors aren’t inspired (it comes in 4 of the main Leather Case’s shades including Berry, Cosmos Blue – a slightly teal shade, Charcoal grey and Black.) I usually love taupe shades but the exact shade Apple chose (pictured below) makes me think of my old Texas Instruments business calculator from college every time I see it. While I loved my calculator and it served me well through 7 years of undergraduate and graduate programs…I always thought the case color was somewhat repugnant.

Cases When Money Is No Object

I’m including this next line of cases purely for their entertainment value!

9 to 5 Mac’s Toy’s division recently wrote about an extravagant line of new iPhone cases by BRIKK. The company, based out of Los Angeles is taking preorders for their LUX Line of iPhone X Cases which begin t around $7995 for their simple but elegantly designed glass and precious metal cases, like the white one shown here:

BRIKK cases continue going up in price until you reach their truly opulent ones in the Haute Collection like this $49,995 model shown below, which is fabricated in 24 K gold and includes diamond encrustations:

Below:  BRIKK is the brainchild of CEO Cyrus Blacksmith, a former computer designer with a penchant for pushing the limits of design. You can visit his LinkedIn profile here.

If Your Interested in a Protective Extremely Thin & Stylish Case You Can’t Go Wrong with a Spigen

This is the next case I’m seriously considering.

QNMP Compaitble

It’s an amazingly thin Spigen case which already gets great reviews on Amazon from several people who’ve bought it…their reports are exceedingly good. Spigen is known world-wide for their combination of sleek minimalist designs which offer unparalleled protection. The Thin Fit Case I love is QNMP Compatible, even with an optional metal disk that’s inserted between the case and the phone to be used with Spigen’s magnetic air vent mount in your car.

Here are the full details for the Spigen minimalist case I’m considering:

Spigen Thin Fit iPhone X Case | Matte Finish Coating | QNMP Compatible | $10.99 for Black | All other colors are $12.99 |

Part of my problem with this Spigen case is deciding which color to get because each one looks amazing and uniquely different from all the others…and I love them all! I got the Space Grey (really black) model iPhone X which is shown with all these colors…and it looks good with all of them too. While the matte black case costs the least, my current iPhone 6+ case is almost identical…so a different color would be nice. I’m including individual photos of each color because each color has its own unique look.

Matte Black $10.99


Blush Gold $12.99


Champagne Gold $12.99


Jet White $12.99


Metallic Red $12.99


Satin Silver $12.99


Here’s some more information about the Spigen iPhone X Thin Fit case’s construction.

  • Solid, reliable protection for the minimalist
  • Lightweight but durable PC material perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle
  • Form-fitting and pocket-friendly shape achieve optimal slimness
  • Precise cutouts and tactile buttons ensure quick access and feedback

Other Spigen Accessories

2 Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protectors $7.99

An advantage of the Ringke case I covered first is that it’s bulkier overall. This extra bulkiness tends to protect the glass screen better…by protruding out beyond it. When getting a minimalist case I always get a tempered glass screen protector too, which does bring the price up but 2 are usually included as is the case here.


Spigen Kuel A210 Metal Plates for Magnetic Car Mount Phone Holder | QNMP Compatible | 4 Pack – 2 Round, 2 Rectangle

A feature weighing in Spigen’s favor is this unique car mount system they’ve developed which works well with the Thin Fit Case I’m interested in.

Kuel A210 Metal Plate

Spigen’s Kuel A210 Metal Plate comes in 4 colors…Black $6.99, Gold $7.99, Rose Gold $7.99 and Silver $7.99.

Spigen’s Magnetic Car Mount Kuel QS11 is a cell phone magnetic mount that attaches to the air vents in your car and gets great user reviews on Amazon.



A Few Other Unique and Cool Looking Cases from Amazon I Found

Since I’ll probably get my case from Amazon I spent a long time analyzing all of their options. Here are some of the most interesting cases I found on Amazon.

This next grouping includes several wood or wood-look cases because I have a wooden (or wood-look…I forget which and it’s impossible to tell) case on my iPhone 6s that I got from Hong Kong.  I love the case and it has served me really well in terms of both protection and style.

CaseYard makes more than wooden cases


Information About The CaseYard Company

Based in Orange County, California. CaseYard is founded and operated by a collective group of creative and passionate people with deep roots in the retail and design industries. In a sea of tech accessories. CaseYard strives to differentiate itself by offering unique designs and innovative products. We endlessly scour the fashion world for inspiration, sketching and compiling mood boards for our next line, ensuring that our customers have the very latest fashion on their cell phones. Our designs are original, artist illustrated and truly unique. Each case is made by us in our studio in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

CaseYard makes more than wooden cases…buts it’s their intricately designed wooden ones that I love. What’s somewhat a concern for me is no user reviews on Amazon. But I found some glowing ones on Etsy.

CaseYards Black Wind Flowers [Wood Series] SlimFit Hybrid Case for Apple iPhone X Lightweight Premium Made in California (iPhone X) (Black) Wind Flowers $29.99

Case Goods Black Flowers

CaseYard’s White American Flag  [Wood Series] SlimFit Hybrid Case for Apple iPhone X  Lightweight Premium Made in California $29.99

Case goods white American Flag

Above & Below:  A few other designs that I like from CaseYard.


Below:  A screenshot of some of the customer reviews at Etsy

Image 898


INNOSUB is also a West Coast company. They manufacture sublimation products of the highest quality and consider themselves to be the best sublimation wholesaler and manufacturer on the West Coast. They’ve been in the sublimation printing industry since 2009 and have won many awards for the products that they create. They pride themselves on the excellent customer service that they provide to each and every client.

Features: Their cases are made from the highest grade materials available and are both durable and lightweight. Most cases will protect all four corners and the sides of your phone from scratches and general wear and tear. They also offer a custom design product in which you can print anything you like on a case.

Material: They use European metal with double layer of coating, which gets very high quality results after pressing. Each case has an insert made of aluminum plate with a very durable adhesive film on the outside.

Image 905

There are 2 main styles I like a lot and am seriously considering. The first is their minimalist, Ultra-slim, Lightweight cases which are form-fitting and made from either hard plastic or soft rubber. These run $11.50 regardless of the material or design. Their second alternative is the Flip Wallet case which is $13.50 and includes the following features:

  •  Features adjustable viewing angles to watch videos or read e-book
  •  Comes with 3 credit card holders
  •  Vivid Graphics and Colors
  •  Drop and Shock Resistance
  •  Easy, Snap-On Design
  •  Unrestricted access to front and rear cameras, volume buttons, and your charging port.

All Innosub products are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. The following 2 models are my favorites right now.

Baroque Black and White Pattern on Soft Rubber or Hard Plastic  $11.50

Baroque Black & White Pattern

Custom iPhone X Case (Wood Chevron on Color) Edge-to-Edge Plastic White Cover with Shock and Scratch Protection | Lightweight, Ultra-Slim | Includes Stylus Pen by INNOSUB $9.95

Custom iPhone X Case (Retro Wood) Edge-to-Edge Rubber Black Cover with Shock and Scratch Protection | Lightweight, Ultra-Slim | Includes Stylus Pen by INNOSUB $9.95

Wallet and Folio Cases

In addition to many of the slim cases I’ve always used in the last I’m also considering a wallet or folio type of case. I narrowed my search down to the three that follow.


iPulse Leather Wallet Case  $34.99

iPulse Wallet Case

Available colors are cognac, vintage black, vintage brown, black with red & green stripe, and wine red.

iPulse makes their Journal Series of Wallet Cases which are crafted from Italian full grain leather and are each handmade. This is the one I love in cognac with a magnetic closure. iPulse is a relatively new company based in Texas. Their cases are made from an ultra premium leather that’s so smooth a reviewer criticized it as being fake. But the company owners wrote back in several comments pointing out ways the reviewer could prove it was in fact real leather. Many reviewers praised the kickstand feature and the amazing magnetic closure. Others liked the small holes that allow the phone’s microphone to function well.

The cases are made in China but the company claims they hand inspect each one before sending them out and their diligence in answering concerns by reviewers seems to back that up. In several instances they offered customers a full refund without returning the case as well as a new case at no cost…that’s customer service!

My only problem with the case is the fact that the volume buttons are covered by the TPU inner case that holds the phone in place….making them difficult to press. The owners said they chose that design detail on purpose because the iPhone X volume buttons are too easily accidentally pressed. They say that they will get easier with use, but I don’t have great finger strength and I know this would be a problem for me.

iPulse Features

Features Praised
The double magnetic closure, kickstand, wireless charging, great sound from microphone holes and exquisite leather quality.

The only problem appears to be the volume keys are covered by the TPU lining phone holder. Some reviewers felt that their iPhones might not be protected well but the company refuted those concerns and even offered full refunds without requiring a return to a few who questioned that aspect.


ProCase Vintage Wallet & Folding Flip Case with Kickstand in brown.  $27.99

Available colors are red, black and brown.

ProCase Vintage Wallet & Folding Flip Case


Magnetic Closure
The magnetic closure secures your phone and other personal belongings in the case using a folio book case design. Simply close the cover to guard the screen against scratches and drops.

Precise Cutouts
Precision design allows full access to all buttons, ports, camera and speakers; you can use all functions easily without removing the case.

Build-in Kickstand
The adjustable kickstand supports multiple horizontal positions, helping you find the most comfortable angle for reading or streaming.

All-Around Protection
The form-fitting inner hard shell case securely grasps your phone in place and offers durable, shock resistant protection especially for corners and edges which protect from shocks and bumps.

ProCase Cases are handmade

Handmade Craftsmanship
Exquisite craftmanship using premium genuine vintage leather which offers a soft nature feel.

Wallet Design
Has 3 card slots for your credit cards and IDs and also features a cash money pocket.

No wireless charging, muffled sound and magnetic closure doesn’t work well when several credit cards and money is being held within their designated slots.


dreem | Make. Life. Beautiful

Dreem Wallet Case with Detachable SlimCase  $34.99


Dreams’ Fibonacci Line of 2 Part Wallet iPhone Cases in Premium Vegan Leather…a consciously chosen faux leather with their really beautiful corporate loge embossment.

Dreem is a socially conscious young company based in Oregon. Their website is refreshing and inspiring. Instead of being engulfed in product offers you’re instead met with some fascinating science and research studies having little to do with cellphones. In fact you’d be hard pressed to actually find any of their products on their website other than the opening page which displays this:

Dreem's Blog with free gift

About Dreem iPhone Cases

The success of their 2 part wallet case appears to rely greatly upon the use of very strong magnets which both keep the iPhone attached to its outer case as well as keep the wallet closed using a 2nd magnet for the clasp. The main magnet is so strong that the case can easily attach to a magnetic car mount with no additional hardware needed!

Dreem offers their Wallet Case with Detachable SlimCase as part of their Fibonacci Luxury Series. The case comes in a lot of beautiful colors and seems to cover all the major bases in terms of features. Because this case is actually 2 cases in one it has the only multi-directional kickstand that I was able to find. Upon examining their Amazon page in great detail I’m impressed with their 2 part system. The only negative seems to be that their case isn’t currently compatible  with wireless charging…but it’s something they are working on adding soon.

In terms of customer service, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee like iPulse does as well as a one year warranty in general. Their customer service appears to be as exemplary as iPulses too. While I didn’t find as many incidents of their offering reviewers credits with no returns and free replacement cases…that was partially due to the fact that there just aren’t very many negative reviews of this case. Because almost all their 5300+ Amazon reviewers seemed to have fallen in love with their Dreem cases.

Dreem's Fibonacci Line


  • RFID theft protection in three pockets
  • Easy-Open Clasp – simply open and close your wallet in a snap, no need to touch the clasp
  • Horizontal + Vertical stand, fully adjustable for hands-free video calls, reading, or movies anywhere. Sounds were versatile and they call it a 4 in 1 hybrid due to the flexibility of this kickstand.
  • Comfortably carry 3-6 cards plus 5-10 bills
  • Faux Leather aka Premium Vegan Leather is made from polyurethane instead of cowhide)
  • No wireless charging
  • Works great with most/all magnetic (car) mounts.
  • Reinforced clasp with elegant stitching around the magnet, will not tear, come apart or interfere with NFC or Apple Pay.

Conclusion |  The Case I Finally Chose

After thoroughly examining the entire field of iPhone X cases over several days, I’ve finally decided which one I thought I’d really order. I’ve always purchased very form-fitting, slim cases previously but was really intrigued by the wallet styles. Yet each one had at least one negative too. I’d finally decided to try out the Dreem case because the only negative is the lack of wireless charging…which wouldn’t have been be a great loss for me since I’ve never had it to begin with. Also, I liked that their design is basically 2 cases in one…so I could still have my slim case too.

But then I happened upon this last case made by YFWood.

My new YFWood Case

I couldn’t seem to find out much about the company. One thing I ran across online was that their cases are made using a patented design that’s shockproof and heavy duty…but I couldn’t find that again to reference here. What I could find was what was listed on Amazon as features:

1. A premium actual texture of soft wood, it is easy to grip and touch comfortable.

2. Rubber and Real wood reinforcement Bumper covers all 4 corners and includes raised edges and thicker lip offers perfectly protection for the screen and camera.

3. The Heavy Duty Drop Protection case inner is integrally formed soft interior silicone layer; Easily to install and remove, without damaging or scratching the phone body.

4. Pronounced buttons are easy to feel and press, while large cutouts fit most cables.

5. Made with natural wood so it was healthy and had no weird chemical smells.

6. Heavy duty drop protection box can offer best resistance possible against drops in your device dropped.

And…all the reviewers on Amazon seemed to love YFWood’s cases…as well as TechRadar. Clearly the seller isn’t an English native speaker and these are probably made in China…but it just so happens that we took a family vacation to China a few years back and I was extremely impressed with a lot of their merchandise…so that’s not a negative for me. I decided to take a chance (although not much of one at $13.99.) Probably my biggest risk was that we were leaving in a few days for another international trip and I would have to bring my old phone just in case I happened to hate the case. But that didn’t happen. I got it the day before we left and it was super easy to put on.

More importantly though…I really, really love it! It’s thin enough to feel nice in my hand yet thick enough to really feel protective. While it doesn’t protect the screen…what case does really? I’ve always relied on a screen protector for that…although from what I’ve read and seen on YouTube the iPhone X is surprisingly durable! The edges are rubber with extra reinforced corners. The phone’s buttons are covered with rubber. I usually hate covered buttons and even have been known to meticulously cut out the openings with a razor blade. But in this instant these button covers are really well made. They’re the first button covers I can tolerate because the buttons still really work! My only complaint would be that they aren’t pronounced enough for me to easily feel the button without actually looking to see that my finger is placed on the right one. In general however, there is nothing not to love about this case!

I’ve used my phone constantly for about week and I’ve even dropped it a few times too. The case looks like the day it arrived which you can see for yourself in my photo above (taken on the couch cushion of our hotel room in Lisbon.) I’ve had to take the case on and off a few times to switch SIMS and it’s super easy to get off too. This may be my most favorite case ever!

Just in case anyone is interested, YFWood has several other designs which I picture below.

Image 994

Since my own photo isn’t great here’s another one of the design I purchased from Amazon…it’s really a beautiful case!



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