Data Vampire, revisited

Last day of the month, so I checked out the data usage on my desktop.

To recap for new readers, the only internet service we can get out here is satellite, because the alternative was to install a tower at least 60 feet high to be able to get any sort of signal from the nearest signal tower.  We just can’t afford that.  The highest non-business data plan available is for 100 gigs of data, which we promptly screamed through.  Going beyond that 100 gigs, without useage.detailsaffecting our speed, came at a price of $2 a gig (otherwise, we’d still have internet access, but it would be very limited in speed).  It ended up being cheaper for us to have a second satellite account for another 100 gigs.

We were still going through the data really fast, which lead to some investigating as to what activity was using so much data.

It turned out to be my desktop’s system.  I had a Data Vampire.  This image was captured back in January, when I first discovered the issue.  No wonder we were going through our data plan so fast!  Almost all of it was being used up by my own computer, without my knowing it!

My daughters checked out their desktops, too, but they are on wi-fi, so they can meter their data usage.  They still shut off anything they could find that might be using the internet without permission, and are also monitoring their usage statistics.

useage.details.end.FebMy desktop is hard wired, so metering wasn’t an option.  I went through everything I could find and shut off anything that looked like it could be sucking up our data.

Within less than a week, I could see there was a drop in data usage.  The stats are for the last 30 days, regardless of when you look at them, so best way to monitor it and compare with our internet accounts, was by resetting the stats at the end of the month, then checking it again at the end of the next month.

This second image is from the end of February.  What a major difference!

Our total usage for the February, between the two accounts, went from almost the full 200 gigs we had available, to about 150 gigs.  The second account was added in the middle of the month, so that’s when the data plan flips, while the original account flips at the end of the month.  What we did was wait until the original account reached between 80-90%, shortly after mid-month, then switched the cables on the router to the second satellite.

At the beginning of March, my husband switched the cables again, so the first half of the month would be once again using the original account.  The plan was to repeat what we’d done in February, and switch to the new account at the 80% plus level.

We were into the last third of March, and barely more than 75%.

Which means we went from screaming through our data plan like no tomorrow, to under-utilizing our data!

Now, we were being frugal with our data usage; especially my daughters.  We were all putting off updates for various things – even our phone apps – to conserve data.

useage.details.end.MarchOnce we realized that was no longer necessary, we switched cables and my daughter did all the updates she had been letting slide.  With our satellite speeds, she had one that told her it would take 3 days to download!

It didn’t take that long.

Meanwhile, I’ve started doing more things like uploading videos to YouTube and photos to Instagram.  I was going to add that I have been watching more videos now, too, but I really haven’t.  Not because I don’t want to, but because it takes forever for them to load.  At you can see, my browser usage has gone up, but the system usage is only a bit higher than last month.  I expect it will go up more next month, if only because Lent is over and I will be back on Facebook. 😀

Even with all that deliberate internet usage, the second account has only just reached a little over 26% as of today.  So we still ended up using more than 100 gigs a month, between the two accounts.  Just not much more.

Before we moved, we averaged about 350 gigs a month on our unlimited, high speed internet.  Now I wonder how much of that was our actual usage, and how much of that was my Data Vampire.  I would never have known it was there had we not moved to the sticks, simply because I had no reason to look.  We all use the internet so much, it just didn’t seem odd.

For myself, this means I’ll be uploading more videos onto the new YouTube channel.  I’ve already started to upload videos I’d posted directly to the blog by using the share function on my phone, then replacing the shared videos with embedded YouTube videos.  Once the posts get updated, I can deleted the version stored in my WordPress media, freeing up data.

Just two videos brought my media status bar from being in the red at over 80%, to an amber low 70’s.  A few more of these, and I should be able to bring it down by quite a bit.

Sweet!

The Re-Farmer

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