Friday, 11 July 2014

How to limit your data usage on your Android phone

Are you not making it to the end of the month with your data?  Are you not sure why all your data is used in just a few days? If you want to know how to limit / control / change / get a warning when your data usage reaches a certain level then you've come to the right place.  (I'm using Android 4.2.1)

The nice thing about Android is that it is built into the settings of the OS and you don't have to download any other additional programs that run in the background, draining your battery, giving you inaccurate stats (not that these stats are perfect).

In the settings I am about to show you, you will be able to change when Android warns you about your mobile data usage, set it to stop all mobile data usage, to set your mobile data usage threshold and to limit the background mobile data usage of specific appilcations.

So, on with it.
Basically go to Settings

Click on Data Usage
If you want to stop your phone from using your mobile data rather than just give you a warning. Then you just need to tap the box next to "Set mobile data limit" and you'll get the warning here below
Now you'll see two lines across the chart.  One is the Warning Line and the other is the Limit Line

As you know in South Africa our mobile data usage is hectically expensive (or is it our salaries that are too low?).  So we need to change these numbers.  If you tap on the 5.0GB you should be presented with this screen.  You can swipe up and down to increase or decrease your limit.
Alternatively just tap on the number (5120 in my example) and they keyboard will come up for you to type in your own limit.  Don't worry about getting the 2GB translated in MB, when I typed in 2 and pressed enter it automatically assumed I meant 2GB.

So I've now set my data usage limit to 2GB.  To change the data warning level I want to use another method. If you tap on the lines you they get thicker on the right hand side.  You can then drag the whole line up and down. You can see in the second picture below that I have move the Data Limit up to 2.1GB and the Data Warning down to 1.6GB

And basically that is how you limit your data usage from inside Android.  Of course it is nice to get a warning that you are getting close and that level can also be changed to your preference.  I like it quite close so I would probably set it to 1.9GB.

Also the best way to find out your most offending app is to drag the white horizontal lines to the left and right.  This way you can find out what app is using the most data over a certain period of time.  For example if it only used all its data over one day then you know it must be because you did something on that day, but if it is consistently using all your data then you know you need to do something about it. 
To analyse this you can drag the white lines to the left and right and Android will then order the apps below in terms of their data usage.  The app with the highest data usage will be listed first.  In the example below I have widened out the selection to include most of the month.  I haven't used the mobile data on it for a while so it is not showing any usage, but I've included a shot of my wifi usage so that you will get the picture.

I hope that helps!  Please leave your comments or suggestions below.  I would love to help with anything else you might need assistance with.

Written by Mark Robson

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Installing Ceiling Insulation  vs

The price of home insulation is interesting.  When I went to Builders warehouse I got three different quotes for three different sizes of Aerolite.  So I sat down at my desk and drew up an excel table to get the per metre price. 100mm Aerolite at Builders was going to cost me about R50 per square metre and the first Isotherm guy I called was going to install Isotherm at R60 per square metre.  The second one I called from Pretoria was all installed at R53 per square.  So I went ahead without checking the facts and for some reason I thought Isotherm was better, they quoted it as being better for the environment, better at soundproofing, but no-one was willing to commit to it being better at insulation.  I realise now that no-one was willing to say so because Isotherm isn't better, but no-one would give me the factual answer that it wasn't better.

So, now I've googled it after the fact and apparently the best way to compare the effectiveness of Insulation is to look at it's R-Values.  This is how they compare:

R-Values comparison
Thickness Aerolite Isotherm
50mm 1.25 1.02
100mm 2.5 2.04
135mm 3.38 3.14

So it seems looking at the reason one buys Insulation Aerolite is still superior.  They go into the whole up R value and down R value, but that is quite complicated to understand and the R-Values I have quoted here are supposed to be a combination of those two values.

The reason you buy insulation is to insulate your home.  Aerolite is clearly better at doing this.  I am sure you can find cheaper ways of getting it installed for you than going to builders so I think Aerolite is the way to go.
A lot of people say they like to install Isotherm because it is easier to install, it's not so itchy.  However this is a once off, the stuff will stay in your ceiling for many years and if it bothers you that much then pay someone to install it.

Written by Mark Robson