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Author Topic: How do you limit data usage?  (Read 1044 times)

richardhufford

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How do you limit data usage?
« on: August 11, 2016, 10:51:04 PM »
I am trying to picture the computer setup we are going to have someday in our RV.  Personally, I think a satellite connection would make the most sense, but from what I've read, it will probably be easier to set up an access point off of a cell phone.  Either way, we need to limit the amount of data we send across the internet connection.  What bothers me is that I feel like my computer sends and receives a lot of data behind my back.  Microsoft updates software, Facebook streams little videos, websites are always displaying ads that turn out to be videos or sound.  And I'm sure there are other things being sent off behind my back!  I find this very frustrating, because I'm a computer programmer and I'm supposed to understand this stuff!  Is there any way to get control over our data usage?
San Jose, AZ
1991 Thor Establishment M275
1959 Willys Station Wagon

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2016, 03:50:50 AM »
Hello Richard,

In the grand tradition of "real programmers' jokes" I must say that " real programmers don't use Windows"  ;D

Seriously now, I run Linux in my laptop (actually in all my machines) with  Windows in VMs for those must-have programs that don't have a Linux equivalent yet), and it's not hard to keep tabs on my data usage; basically:

- I keep an eye on data traffic (using a custom script, but you could as well use a standard indicator like the GNOME panel system monitor).

- If it goes up without reason, I use iptraf and netstat to fish out the program responsible for the uptick, and deal with it from there (either stopping the issue in the program itself, or by terminating/suspending it, or by writing packet-filtering/traffic-control rules to keep in within bounds).

There may be some form of doing the above in  Windows, but I wouldn't know...

I hope that helps (at least in getting you motivated to move away from Windows ;-) )

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 04:06:32 AM by VallAndMo »

Cant Wait

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Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 06:16:29 AM »
If you use your cell phone as a WiFi point all you have to do is turn the WiFi off when not in use, and set your computer to only down load updates when you want them and at that time go to McDonalds etc. with free WiFi. maybe.
2012 Winnebago "Our Incredible Journey"  40U
2008 Dakota Sport 4x4
2004 Subaru Baja - DW's
2005 Honda Shadow Aero - TOAD for now
Home - Western NY

cymro

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  • Posts: 44
Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 06:33:12 AM »
If you are using Windows, you can set your device to function as a "metered connection"so that it will not run automatic updates etc while you are connected to the internet via your phone's hotspot, Verizon Jetpack etc. Once set up your device will remember this connection.

Lou Schneider

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Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2016, 08:36:39 AM »
For blocking ads, streaming videos and other background tasks, I've found loading a Hosts File gets rid of about 90% of them.

In the early days of the Internet before DNS servers, domain names and their associated IP addresses were stored on the local machine in a text file named Hosts.  Windows still carries this forward, when you enter a domain name it checks the local Hosts file before asking a DNS server for the address.

If your Hosts file contains the names of sites that supply the stuff you don't want along with an IP address pointing back to your machine, your PC won't send requests for them out to the Internet and they won't load.

There are several groups that compile these lists, the one I use is at http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

The only drawbacks are using a large Hosts file may slow down the browser a bit, but this is more than made up by the time it doesn't spend downloading the unwanted crud.  And it may interfere with stuff you do want to view on a few sites, if so just restore the original empty Hosts file for that session
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 08:53:14 AM by Lou Schneider »

johnhicks

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Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2016, 11:14:20 AM »
  Turn off all automatic updates, turn off all videos when possible, block Flash, run Adblock Plus, run a browser with build-in ad blocking such as Opera and stay off Facebook. You'll have very little data leakage. And if you're using a phone as a hot spot do the same on the phone.

Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 11:48:16 AM »
I run Firefox with NoScript, which allows me to select when/if java script runs. Js is often used to load/run videos, some kinds of ads and much more. I also run Privacy Badger and Adblock, which generally keeps at least the animated ads away. I still see lots of ads, including those here (which are not particularly intrusive -- they're the good kind).
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
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Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
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richardhufford

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Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2016, 12:38:20 PM »
I would love to move over to Linux.  I do my fun work on an obsolete version of Ubuntu Linux.  However, my customers use Windows and my wife, Linda, has a few Amazon Kindle Fires.  I can't really limit myself to one operating system, and I have to figure out how to control the data usage without being overly controlling of Linda.
  I think I have figured out that when the camping gets boring, I can spend my time analyzing our internet usage! 
  Thank you for all your suggestions, and I'll start looking into the applications that were suggested.  My next question will be about cell service and hot spots, but I guess I'll put that on another thread.
San Jose, AZ
1991 Thor Establishment M275
1959 Willys Station Wagon

richardhufford

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Re: How do you limit data usage?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2016, 12:43:52 PM »
Vall (or anyone else), would it be reasonable to set up a Raspberry Pi between the cell phone and the local network and use it as both a firewall and a way to collect internet usage statistics?
San Jose, AZ
1991 Thor Establishment M275
1959 Willys Station Wagon

 

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