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"The phones get smarter and the people get dumber...." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
"The phones get smarter and the people get dumber...."
Our friend Ann said that to me in some coffee-deprived context at the Dog Park this morning.  By this afternoon, though, the dumbness had come home to roost.

Early in the afternoon, Eleanor got a text from our cell provider, warning that she'd used 90 percent of her data for the billing month- the month that only began a week ago.  This came as quite the shock, since almost all of her phone usage is here at home and at the store, and both have always-connected wifi.  About the only time she would connect to the cellular network for anything other than unlimited texts and effectively unlimited phone calls? Using Siri in her car for directions, as she did yesterday (but which at most accounted for about 10 of the 300 MBs); and, we just learned from the kid, when she'd attach photos to text messages. (The texts are unlimited; the associated pictures, though, are not and count against your data limit.) But no one of those would have blown a month's worth of data.

So we put on our deerstalker hats and solved the mystery- through printing out the usage report from their website and checking the settings on the phone. The report tells you when and how much the cell data was used, but not which app or function accessed it when. The phone, in turn, keeps limited records of how much cell data has been used by different functions, but not when they accessed it. (There are apps for that. We will be finding one.)

Eleanor only got a smartphone just over five months ago.  She's not as much of a user as I am for work, for connecting via Bluetooth to her car, or, yes, for farting around on Facebook; but she's picked up several apps for things she used to watch or use on her (rapidly deteriorating) laptop. These include Cheezburger, coupon sites, and, perhaps to the point of the message this morning, the SNL app.  Many of these, when installed, came with a default setting of "use cellular data." That might explain why many of the larger data drops (750K here, a meg and a half there) were showing up  Also, we found, the App Store had used a large portion of the cell data, probably happily updating away in the middle of the night because it preferred it to the wifi.

Turns out, all these settings are reversible- and they now have been.  Only the bare essentials have been set to "cell data," and she now knows to check any new app that she installs to make sure it doesn't do that. Just to be sure, I headed over to the AT&T joint, showed the manager the report and the phone, and he confirmed that I'd done it right. (I also wrote down his name and job title on the report I printed, to save until the next bill comes out.) He also showed me a Stupid Phone Trick on how to call a star number from her phone and immediately get a text back with how much data you've used; it's *DATA# if you're keeping score at home. 

I also picked up more wine for dinner (we're having Ann over tonight for a Not Watching The Super Bowl event), and restocked my dress and gym socks with a Kohl's coupon from today. The problem with buying socks in packs of 4-6 at a time is they all wear out at the same time (well, except the ones the dog eats sooner). She of course has a different way of telling us when her dirty-clothing quota is all used up; it either comes out one end, or it comes out the other.
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Comments
tilia_tomentosa From: tilia_tomentosa Date: February 5th, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm now suddenly glad that I don't have a smartphone. :)
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: February 5th, 2017 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Someone told me years ago that a boat was "a hole in the water into which you throw money." Cell phones have always been, in essence, a hole in the AIR into which you throw money.
yesididit2 From: yesididit2 Date: February 5th, 2017 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
i have a smart phone but no data plan. it can only hook up to my house wifi, and only when i turn the wifi on the phone to 'on'.

admittedly its not a very smart smartphone. it was free. it doesnt have enough memory to do much of anything. but it was good for me to dip my toes into the smartphone waters.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: February 7th, 2017 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I still have my slowpoke iPhone 4; it's deactivated as a phone, but it's fine on wifi, works nicely as an iPod and minibrowser, and if I ever have to send the 5-plus-whatever-it-is in for service, I can flip the SIM back into it and have one for the duration.
yesididit2 From: yesididit2 Date: February 7th, 2017 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
my 'smartphone' is so old it is 1/3 keyboard, 2/3 screen.
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