Happy Surprise with an OS Update – iOS 10.3

Many times when you do an OS update, you get a bad surprise. You may find out that some of your apps are incompatible, or the new OS slows down your device, or it takes up valuable storage space on your hard drive.

When I upgraded to iOS 10.3 I had a surprise, but it was a good surprise — I gained storage space. When upgraded my 16 GB iPhone 6, I went from about 1 GB of free space to over 3 GB free.  When I upgraded my iPad, I freed up over 2.5 GB of storage space. What was it that gave me the extra space?

Say Hello to APFS

With iOS 10.3, Apple introduced a new file system. Gone was HFS+, a file system that has been around since 1998. In its place is APFS, the Apple File System. The file system is the organizing principle behind placing data on your hard drive. Apple has jury-rigged HFS+ over the years to adapt to Macs, iPods,  iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Apple created the new system from the ground up. It includes many improvements beyond the more efficient use of drive space. If you want to find out more, here’s a Cult of Mac article with more details.

The new file system comes automatically with the iOS 10.3 update. This improvement, as well as other features in the new OS, make it a desirable update. For some reasons you may not want to do the update, see the GottaBeMobile website for an article that has eight reasons to install the update (the storage improvement is one), and four reasons you may want to hold off.

WordPress Patches Security Bugs in 4.7.3

Running a WordPress site (like this site)?  Make sure you update to WordPress 4.7.3 (like this site.) According to WordPress, the update fixes six important security bugs, including three cross-site scripting bugs that could allow hostile code to run on your WordPress site. The update also includes  39 regular maintenance releases. If you have automatic updates enabled (like this site) then you have probably been updated. If not, you want to go to your dashboard and do a manual update.

Find Out More

See the WordPress support bulletin for more details on the bugs, and credit to the people who reported them.

Fourth Quarter GDP Growth was 1.9%

The BEA says that fourth quarter GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate. That estimate is the same as the advance report for fourth quarter GDP.  That’s down from thirds quarter growth but otherwise the highest since the third quarter of 2015.

GDP Growth by Quarter
GDP Growth by Quarter – (Source: BEA)


The major drags on growth, according to the BEA, were declining exports, increasing imports, and declines in federal government spending. Other components (
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending) were up.

Notable Deaths – Michael Novak and Hans Rosling

I’m a little bit late, but there were two notable deaths last week, Michael Novak and Hans Rosling.

Novak on Morality and Capitalism

The author Michael Novak, who wrote The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism among many other books, gradually moved from an academic liberalism to defending the moral basis of capitalism. He tried to stake a Catholic claim to match Max Weber’s much earlier The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  It has been many years since I read the book, but this will be a good time to re-read it.

Master of Data Visualizations

The Grim Reaper also took Hans Rosling, who gave some of my favorite TED Talks.  He used innovative data visualizations to show the progress of human health over the years. You may want to start with this talk, but there are others you can get to from this page.


Cell-phone Only Households the Majority

According to the GfK MRI Fall 2016 Survey of the American Consumer®, cell-phone only households make up 52% of households. Its even up to 23% for people aged 65+, which is the age group most likely to still have a land-line. Among the Millennials, cell-phone only households are up to 71%. This means that any phone survey is going to have to include cell phones, or it is probably not a valid sample.

The survey is based on 24,000 interviews of adults 18+. More background on the survey is here, while you can find some news coverage here.

What bugs get fixed in the iOS 10.2.1 Update?

There are quite a few security bugs fixed in the iOS 10.2.1 update that Apple released on January 23. iPad and iPhone users should install this right away to patch a number of security holes. These include a bug that allowed malicious content to be loaded via a bad Contacts card, a couple of bugs in the kernel that would allow bad code to be run, and a number of fixes to the WebKit. You can read Apple’s list of bug details at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207482, According to Wired Magazine, “iOS 10.2.1, though, protects against a wide range of potentially devastating attacks.”  This is a bug fix release, it doesn’t add any new features to iOS.

Apple Updates Safari To Fix Security Bugs

Apple released an update for Safari on 12/13/16. This update, which brings Safari up to 10.0.2, patches a number of bugs that may allow malicious websites to run code that corrupts your computer’s memory. Once that happens, it may be possible to plant malware on your computer. Once that happens, all kinds of bad things may result. See the long list of specific bugs fixed, and who gets credit for finding them, at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207421. Get the update itself at the App Store.

There was an earlier Safari update, released on 11/25, which had kicked the release up to 10.0.1. So if you are running behind on your patching, this will take care of a 2 for 1.

Router Flaw Leaves Big Hole in Cyber Defenses

According to this article at Ars Technica, routers supplied by a number of European Internet providers leave an open port that would allow outside access. The reason for the open port was probably so that the ISPs could perform maintenance and upgrades. An unintended consequence is that attackers could exploit this open port to do bad things. Attacks on “Internet of Things” is one exploit that seems to be happening.

The port in question is 7547. If you manage your own router, you may want to check if this port has been left open or not. Router manufacturers such as Linksys, D-Link and Netgear are not mentioned (Zyxel and Speedport are mentioned) but it wouldn’t hurt. At the very least, I hope you aren’t still using the default manufacturers password for your router. Given the large number of routers out there (and not wanting to specify which one I use) the only advice is to “Read your manual”.


Shop for Routers

About 1/5 of iOS Users Limit Ad Tracking

According to this story in Advertising Age, about one fifth of Apple iOS users have taken advantage of the Limit Ad Tracking setting, which opts them out of targeted advertising on their mobile devices.  “About 18 million iPhone and iPad users in the U.S., roughly 20% of the total, have used LAT to explicitly opt out of targeted advertising, according to a report released Wednesday by app marketing platform Adjust.”  It doesn’t turn off advertising, it just means you are more likely to see some random ad instead of one based on your past behavior.

How to do it

Ad Tracking privacy Settings
Settings > Privacy > Advertising

The article doesn’t show the readers how to find this option – which is understandable in a publication devoted to advertising. But if you would just as soon not to be tracked by advertising networks (you’ll still probably be tracked by the government), go to

Settings >Privacy> Advertising

and either turn on the option to “Limit Ad Tracking” or reset your advertising identifier, to start the tracking over again. (I guess if you’ve just been searching for something for which you don’t want to be seeing ads.)

The Podcast Audience is Growing

According to the Pew Research Center’s State of the Media Report for 2016, 21% of respondents said they had listened to a podcast in the past month. That’s up from 17% in 2015, and was only 12% in 2013. Listening is also moving over towards mobile – they say 65% of those who listen to podcasts say they most often do it on a mobile device. (Makes sense – almost all of my listening is during walks or while driving.) Only about half of the respondents were familiar with the term “podcast” so there is still lots of room for audience growth.

The amount of time listening to podcasts make up only 2% of the time spent consuming audio – compared to 54% of the time spent listening to AM/FM radio.

There are more details at http://www.journalism.org/2016/06/15/podcasting-fact-sheet/.