Sunday, 7 February 2016

Access to the Internet via your mobile phone

I have a mobile phone which I use in the UK. Its not tied to a particular communications provider. (unlocked) It has an 'all you can eat' data contract with my current provider. For the last couple of years my provider has wanted to get me off this contract. However, I have always refused a new contract which is usually offered with a sweetener in the form of a replacement 'supposedly free' phone. At the time I took out the contract, it was one of the more expensive options. But I got a good deal at the time for my needs. However today, by comparison its quite a cheap option for the unlimited data download.
There is much you can do to improve the number of 'bits you get for your buck'. But first a bit of background to why things have changed and the providers are trying to get everyone off the 'all you can eat' contracts.
The internet set off as something equivalent to the 'wild west' you just dipped a toe in and took your chance. Though it was essentially free. The network providers sold us a connection to the all new digital highway' that was the internet. We paid for the connection which for the last mile was usually over copper wires. Cable companies seemed to be the way to go. It meant digital data to the home. But as it was new infrastructure installation had a cost, it was also slow and expensive to install. Towns and cities where was where the cable laying went on a pace. By chance the cable ran past the front door of a small village where I lived at the time. There was even a subscriber box installed a few yards further up the road. However the cable company (shortly afterwards bought out) were not interested in a one off service provision.
So there was a two tier system. You had to pay for an installed phone line and the data was a separate service option using a modem/router – that you also paid for. As the mobile market was increasingly taken up and people wanted communications in their pocket.
As we became ever more reliant on the mobile phone and many people – myself included, I dropped off the land line modem/router to the home. I now use tethering, between my laptop and the phone. If your communications providers decided that tethering should be a paid for extra. If you know what you are doing – it is relatively easy to get round the restriction - by patching the browser to report (spoof) that it was a mobile phone version of the same browser.
The mobile phone and the commercialisation of the internet is big business today. Take the mobile phone. The contract price provides you with as many texts as you like, as many free phone calls as you like. The money now is made by the amount of internet data you down load. But the data is managed differently You now buy it in gigabyte chunks and you might reasonably expect that you get what you pay for.
Or do you?
The communications service providers make their money not by providing phone calls (Phone calls are so – yesterday) Remember the time when you had an alerter and the short text messages. (once again, its so old-school) Today the money is made by selling you the data in Gigabyte chunks.
Which brings us to a second issue. Who has control over what data you are downloading?
Today, Internet sites make their money by selling advertising. They want to be able to push, stream or pop up stuff on your desk top. This is mostly stuff that you don't want. But you are paying for data that you don't want.
Then there is 'click bait'... This is the real kicker. You see something that you are interested in reading on a web page. You start to read and there are adverts on the same page that you are also downloading. Then the article continues a paragraph at a time on page two, three, four and so on. With even more advertisements on each new page. And so it continues, page after page where the bit you wanted to read is a couple of megabytes – but at the same time you are downloading tens of megabytes of unwanted advertising.
I ask again, who has control over what data you are downloading?
You can take some control back – But only if you can limit in some way the unwanted advertising data. You can cut back the unwanted data that you are currently and often unknowingly paying for. But you have to do a bit of work by doing a bit of reconfiguring of the way you use things.
So one of the first issues is to look through your mobile phone at all the stuff you don't want, use or need. Usually this is stuff that you get prompted to update from time to time. So that you are updating the things you don't even use.
1-If you don't use an application - then you don't need it. Uninstall the application from your phone. It saves space on your phone's internal storage. It can also make your battery last longer. (some sit in the background ticking away using bandwidth and power) Uninstalling unused apps can even speed up your data downloading.
2- Updating applications costs you money, its a data download. Turn off any automatic updates. Configure your phone so that you choose what applications to update. (never, ever choose the update all option) Updated applications often work just as well as the previous version. So don't change what is working for you. Many free applications have – inbuilt sales – often downloading advertising data in the background. Applications updates usually bring - a much wider choice of the stuff you don't want or intend to buy. But you are still paying for the unwanted data download.
3- If you are one of those folk, who must update everything. Go to the pub, have a beer. and use their free wifi option. However, check that you have not ticked the - use both mobile and wifi option - to speed up downloads. Because you will still be paying for a significant amount of the data download that is not delivered to your phone via the wifi link.
4- If you are like me and tether your laptop to your mobile phone. TURN OFF AUTOMATIC WINDOWS UPDATES. I have just reconfigured a Windows 7 laptop for someone. That had downloaded in the background the windows 10 update! As a result the user had lost about 3gb out of a 5gb per month allowance. He did not want to update the laptop. He did not like Windows10 and certainly did not want to pay for the download. But he has now!
5- Got a favourite browser that you use on your tethered laptop (I use Firefox but your taste might vary) Then install a pop-up blocker. This will help to reduce the unwanted data downloads. It will get the annoying adverts off your screen. I prefer Firefox as its easy to use and very configurable for pop-up blockers.
6- Got a favourite application (say Facebook) there are also blockers available for the endless stream of mind numbing adverts. Which are usually based on the content of messages and any posting you make. Send a couple of Facebook messages to yourself about electric kettles and then see what advertisements you get offered.
7- Turn off notifications in the Facebook forums you don't use very often or better still delete the ones you don't use.
8- Got hundreds of friends? Then turn the ones you don't talk with very often into acquaintances. If I have infrequent conversations with people. I down grade them to acquaintance.
9- Or better still – do what I do. Every now and then I have a purge of the acquaintances. Its amazing how often people don't know that you are no longer a friend or acquaintance.
10- Do you just accept Facebook friend requests by default. I don't. I currently have about 60 requests from people waiting, people that I don't know or even vaguely recognise.
11- Never accept a random request without a message explaining why you should be friends.
12- In Facebook groups that you use very rarely, ones where you read through the posts only to find little to inspire you. Leave...

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