Confessions of a former data hog

Chip Oglesby bio photo By Chip Oglesby

Data usage after one month on VerizonIn my last Geekof post, I mused about my decision to buy the Samsung Galaxy Nexus over the Galaxy SIII. I still dont’ understand why Samsung would bury such a great phone and not promote it more.

So this week I passed my first month using Verizon’s new 4G LTE service. I didn’t think I would ever come back to “Big Red” but after one month of using their service, I have to say that I’m impressed.

The download and upload speeds on 4G LTE are blazing fast, something that makes this former data hog very happy with!

The downside? When I left AT&T I lost my unlimited data plan and was given a 2 gig/month package with Verizon. I was not a happy camper. When I was on AT&T it was nothing for me to use 5 gigabytes per month on average.

After a long come to Jesus meeting, I was able to pony up and decided that I could do it. I would not go over 2 gigs this month, but how?

For this plan to work, I had to use a lot of creative thinking on my part. I also had to be very judicious about how I used my data. I couldn’t just stream Spotify all day, which I love to do!

The first step was to make sure I had access to every wifi hotspot as much as possible. I made sure my home, work, friends and families wifi’s were all programmed into my phone. Check!

Next, I used a set of NFC chips that I purchased from Amazon to make sure that I could automate things as much as possible. For example, when I leave home, I swipe my chip and wifi is enabled, bluetooth and mobile data are both disabled.

This setting works because my phone won’t be transmitting data unless it’s connected to a wifi hotspot.

I also used Tasker to automatically launch OpenVPN and connect anytime my phone connected to an unsecured wifi network, ensuring that prying eyes couldn’t see my data.

On the rare occasion that I did need to use my phone on the go, I could swipe my NFC keychain that would disable auto-sync and enable mobile data, letting me check emails without every other service being pinged at the same time.

When I get home, I swipe the NFC chip and the phone resets itself, disabling mobile data, enabling wifi and bluetooth.

It might not be the best, or most elegant solution, but it always gets the job done.

This past month, I used 950 megabytes worth of data on my mobile plan. It’s too bad Verizon only gives you two options at this level: 200 mb or 2 gigabytes. Seems like a pretty steep step up for data.

Below are some screenshots of of the data usage on my phone while using mobile data. You’ll notice a spike towards the beginning of last week. That’s when I went on vacation and couldn’t program wifi access points as easily and had to be in contact, resulting in me using more data.

I’d be interested to see what others are doing with simliar setups and how they handle data when traveling on the road.

Leave your ideas in the comment section below.