Ways to Minimize Data Usage with Android OS Devices

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are a lot of people who are decidedly in one camp or another when it comes to iOS or Android smartphones, but it’s probably fair to say that many people go with Android ones because they’re not that savvy about the technology and they like the fact that generally Android phones are less expensive than iPhones. That may change some day, but as of now that’s the way it is and given Apple’s predispositions when it comes to their devise it’s unlikely it will. So if the small green droid is your guy then just go with your inclination.

You’ll be hard pressed to find any more than a few people who have less than a couple of gigs of data on their mobile plans these days, and many people will have 10+ as a minimum if they’re inclined to do more than check mails and use the odd messenger app from time to time. But if you’re an Android user and you’re roaring through your monthly data allowance then you might be interested in what we’re going to share here this week – ways to use less data on your Android device.

It’s something that will be of interest to some and of no interest to others, but here at 4GoodHosting we’re like every other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we know most people choosing us for web hosting in Canada will be being carried by the increasing wave of digitalization that we seemingly al are these days. That means more connectivity, and a need for more data. Or being smarter with the existing data you have, as the case may be.

So let’s get right into it and put you in the know about making your data allowance last longer, even if you paid way less for your Android OS device in the first place. After all, who is made of money these days?

Diagnose Data Usage

The first step is to have an understanding of your data usage each month, and where and how you’re utilizing your data. On older Android versions you can open up the Network and Internet section and tap a line labeled ‘data usage’ before selecting ‘mobile data usage’ on the appearing screen. For newer devices you follow the same path but go a little bit further into ‘app data usage’. If it’s fully updated to Android 12 then you’ll have a gear-shaped icon with your mobile carrier’s name that you click on.

From there, just have a look and if you’re going through much more data than you used to then you can get a definitive look at where most of it is going. Is any of that superfluous stuff that you don’t really need to be doing? This is where you might want to start making some priority changes if you’re not willing or able to add more data to your plan.

Do Away with Background ‘Trickles’

Unnecessary background app activity has always been a cause of diminishing data limits. Social and news apps tend to be the worst in this regard, checking in at regular intervals to prep content delivery if you choose to open them again. If you don’t, that is data wasted. So here’s what you should do – check these apps and look for data-saving options in their settings. One popular choice for certain apps like the Twitter app for Android is to uncheck the ‘sync data’ option that you should be able find quite easily.

And here’s a general rule that everybody should take note of; no matter what you do to change user preferences or anything else of the like, Facebook is an obscene data guzzler and you should really try to limit your time on it with mobile if you’re concerned about using too much data. Save the sifting through posts and the like for when you’re at home and on your Wi-Fi network.

Compress Your Mobile Web Experience

A quick, easy and guaranteed effective way to force browsers to be not so data hungry is to reorient Google’s Chrome browser for Android into its Lite Mode, where pages are routed through Google’s servers so that the pages are compressed before they are presented to you. Here’s how:

  • Go into Chrome setting and look for the line listed as ‘Lite Mode’
  • Tap to activate it, and leave it that way all the time if you’re so inclined

It really is that simple, and estimates are that steady and consistent use of Lite Mode can add up to data savings of up to 60%, and the other benefit is you end up browsing much faster too when you have compressed your mobile web experience.

Advance Downloads of Media

This one might seem very obvious, but mobile streaming will absolutely ruin your data budgeting if you engage in it too often. It is hugely advantageous to download content in advance, and there are plenty of multimedia apps that make that fairly easy. Those who have the user freedoms that come with YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium can be proactive here by going to the ‘background and downloads’ section of the app to adjust the setting and by tapping the 3-line menu icon you can find the download button to conduct your downloads while still at home on your Wi-Fi network and then not use even an ounce of data.

Put the Brakes on Play Store

Auto updates can dig into your data too, and the Google Play Store is one of the worst culprits here. Open up the app on your device and select Settings and then Network Preferences. Once you’re there you can choose to have auto updates limited to ‘over Wi-Fi only’ and you can also choose the same for auto-play videos. Highly recommended and is something that’s easily done. If recently updated menu choices with apps, games and the like are important then you can choose ‘ask me every time’ if you want to prevent ongoing auto updates here.

Go with Light Versions

Many services now offer scaled-down versions of apps and sites that you can use or visit without using so much data. Look for Google’s ‘Go’ branded apps here, including Google Go, Google Maps Go, Navigation for Google Maps Go, Gallery Go, Gmail Go, Google Assistant Go, and YouTube Go. All come ready made and will allow a sufficient user experience while not going to hard and heavy on your data allowance.

$1.44 Billion Ready to Go a Long Way for Satellite Internet in Canada

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If digital connectivity isn’t an integral part of your life these days then you haven’t been living on earth, or at least anywhere outside of North Korea. What’s kind of ironic is the fact that those folks are kept off the information superhighway entirely for the most part, while their cousins and next door neighbours in South Korea have the best Internet on earth. The logistical challenges that come with a country as large as Canada make those types of internet networks and speeds comparatively impossible, but there’s recently been a major development at the federal level that promises to make quality internet available to more Canadian than ever before.

Here at 4GoodHosting we imagine we’re like most Canadian web hosting providers in that the recent news that the federal government is directing 1.4 billion-plus dollars to Telesat satellite internet is something we NEED to talk about. The very basis of the service we provide is dependent on the web functioning as it should, but it’s been a well known fact for years that people in urban centres enjoy much better connectivity than those in more rural areas of the country. Considering that the web is for so much more than browsing or streaming and is increasingly key to participating in life and personal advancement, that’s not right.

Telesat is a Crown-owned Canadian satellite communication company, and what is in design is their Lightspeed low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. The investment is in the development of the first and second generations of satellites, plus establishing domestic employment targets and – in the bigger picture – aiming to reduce costs for regional providers who rely on Telesat products to provide internet connectivity to customers.

This has the potential to be a MAJOR development for people in quieter parts of the country who have been disappointed in the inferior internet they’ve had for more than 20 years now. Previously it was a problem without a real practical solution, but satellite internet is poised to be that solution now.

298-Strong ‘Constellation’

Telesat’s Lightspeed constellation is going to be made up of 298 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that will be equipped to deliver gigabit speeds with impressive 30 to 50-millisecond latency, and make that available anywhere in the world. The network will run on global priority Ka-band spectrum and boast a capacity of 15 Terabits per second. That would have sounded totally unrealistic even 10 years ago, but here we and isn’t progress a wonderful thing?

In our country the Lightspeed constellation will finally deliver the connectivity the country’s most isolated areas have been looking for over a long, long time now. Internet and cellular services enabled through Telesat will begin service in about 4 years from now and connect 40,000 households in underserved communities. This is perfectly right in line with the government’s previously stated goal of providing high-speed internet to all Canadians by the end of this decade.

Jobs Too

Telesat is also going to invest $3.6 billion in capital expenditure in Canada, and this project’s development and then long-term infrastructure maintenance should provide up to 700 jobs. There is also going to be a focus placed on women in STEM programs when it comes to filling the engineering-related positions.

Partner to Starlink?

SpaceX’s Starlink probably needs no introduction as this game-changer has already been discussed in the news at great length. Starlink is already making its way into Canadian homes, although with limited availability at this point. Starlink launched its testing phase in Canada earlier in 2021, allowing eligible Canadian customers to register for satellite internet subscription. If anyone’s tried it and would care to let us know how it’s been for them, we’d love to hear it.

One big difference between Starlink and Telesat’s Lightspeed will be that Telesat will be making their powerhouse available to regional internet service providers. That is quite different from Starlink, which will sell its service directly to consumers.

It’s also received funding from provincial governments individually. Ontario to the tune of $109 million , and Quebec $200 million plus a separate $200 million investment in the company made in the company by La Belle Province.

Could it be the appetite for genuinely high-speed and reliable internet is stronger in rural Quebec than elsewhere in the country? Who knows, but this is definitely a potentially major development in making it available to all Canadians, no matter where they live.

 

Avoiding VPNs with Tracker Apps

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The appeal of VPNs won’t need much explanation, and as data storage and access needs continue to grow all the time we will see more and more organizations making the move to them. There’s been plenty of times the masses have been told that some new wrinkle in their digital product is innocuous or harmless, but at least some of the time that’s just not the truth. Many VPNs employ tracker apps, and the reasoning given for them is that they are part of offering you a more personalized experience and the like.

That in itself is true in the bigger picture, but in the smaller one for some it may be that tracker apps are actually putting you at risk. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re a Canadian web hosting provider that takes the well being of our customers to heart and given that some of you may the ones making IT decisions for your business, venture, or interest then this is a topic that’s worthy of discussion. The industry consensus very much seems to be that tolerating VPNs with tracker apps is something you shouldn’t be so indifferent to.

But of course, convincing is always required and so with that understood let’s get right to laying out why that’s the consensus, and why a less intrusive VPN may be best for you.

Important Protocols

Most of these types of people will be at least somewhat familiar with protocols and encryption methods used by VPNs. Usually that level of understanding doesn’t make it at all clear as to why VPNs with trackers are creating risks. But let’s start at the start and begin with what a tracker is and what a tracker does. It’s actually a fairly basic explanation – a tracker is something that tracks the choices you make when moving around the Internet. It’s true that most websites and apps use trackers in some way and they’re inclined to follow you nearly everywhere you go.

The information gathered by the trackers about you is then used for targeted advertisements and the like. The trackers are built by software developers at the behest of businesses that want to create greater profits by increasing the chances that like-minded people are made aware of what they have to offer.

1st and 3rd Party Trackers

Understanding the difference between first- and third-party trackers is also helpful in having a better understanding of them, and why they are not completely harmless in the way some people might think they are. The distinction between them is important. The ‘Cookies’ we’ve ALL heard of are examples of first party trackers and used to remember things like your language, layout preferences, and even for saving your shopping cart.

It’s fair to say that cookies are by and large necessary for many websites to give you the type of visitor experience you’re expecting and refusing cookies from being stored is fairly straightforward if you have concerns about their function.

Third-party trackers are entirely different. They’ve been built into websites and apps for the explicit purpose of making money from you. What they are after nearly all of the time is PII – personally identifiable information. Examples could be your IP address, what browser you are using, where you choose to click, long you are on a certain web page, device specs and more. As you’d imagine, this is where most people start to think these trackers are overstepping their bounds.

Free to Profile

And that will also be because the information that’s going to be collected with 3rd party trackers will be used to create a profile for you, and from it comes targeted ads that are delivered to gain business and revenue from you. And yes, Google is ALL about 3rd-party trackers with a ‘more the merrier’ attitude related to having them in place.

A lot of mobile apps will also make use of 3rd-party trackers, and in some ways you need to be even more aware when it comes to using a VPN that implements trackers in their apps. VPN apps that utilize trackers are compromising your privacy to make money, and that’s really the long and short of it. They are not required for the app to function properly and then they are actively leaking your information to Google, Facebook, or whoever else among big data companies.

The extent of the information being collected will vary from app to app. But the use of trackers regardless means information about you is being shared, and this isn’t being communicated to users whatsoever.

More Capable Than You Think

Plenty of these third-party trackers are sophisticated to the point that they have a wide net of data to pull from that and often your IP address isn’t even needed to create a targeted profile for you. These trackers can use the huge amount of information they have and the unique ID for you to connect the dots and still trace everything back to you. It is good to know that even if something as easily traceable as an IP address isn’t being shared, there may still be the ability to connect dots and track the person’s behavior online.

This is why ever greater numbers of decision makers are deciding that a VPN service that is making use of trackers should not be trusted.

We’ll conclude here today by saying that it is possible in some instances to get clarity on what a VPN’s tracker might be getting up to. A good example is the Exodus tool that is very useful for Android-specific information. Plus Apple is putting into place brand-new guidelines for App Store apps and making it mandatory that every single app disclose the information they are collecting, the permissions needed, and also what trackers are being used (if any). These are definitely steps in the right direction if people are in general going to become more trusting of these trackers.

 

7 Means for a Cooler PC

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It’s best to be cool, and we’re not talking at all about ‘being’ anything at all outside of not to being too hot. Anyone who’s ever had no choice but to put a computer through its paces will know what it’s like to hear the cooling fan whirring furiously and failing to make much difference with a PC that’s running too hot, but there are things you can do to try to have yours be cool and have nothing to do with shades and a leather jacket.

CPUs aren’t the only component that get run a little ragged and start feeling the heat. There’s a whole lot of people who are harder on their GPUs than anything else, and if you’re an avid gamer you also probably don’t need to be told what it’s like to have a fan that sounds like it’s seize up and die if it’s made to go any harder.

Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like most good Canadian web hosting providers in that there’s but a few of us here who are real hardware experts. Most are more savvy on the soft side, but even if you’re not the type who could do open-heart surgery on a PC you can still make your PC less likely to overheat and perhaps shut down at the worst time possible.

That’s what we’ll share with our entry this week – 7 ways to keep your work or gaming station from overheating.

Clean out your PC

When we talk about cleaning here, we’re talking about it literally and not meaning getting rid of superfluous files and scripts and the like. Through those vents goes a lot of dust and dirt that ends up settling on the interior components of your PC. That can have negative effects depending on where the bulk of that crud builds up. Pet fur can be a part of it too.

So actually opening up the casing and using a fine brush and / or some isopropyl alcohol to clean up problem spots can be a good idea.

Make Sure Fans are Properly Installed

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes cooling fans are facing the wrong way and when this happens they are 100% during more harm than good. A fans orientation will have the intake side taking cool air and the exhaust side of the blades dispersing hot air from the unit.

Have a look at yours if you’re having a problem with overheating. If the blades that are facing you curve away from you, then they’re they way they should be. If the blades facing you are curving towards you then somebody messed up assembling or re-assembling the computer and you’ve got a very simple but promising repair job to do.

You should also confirm the configuration works well for airflow. Try to aim for a slightly positive pressure setup, and it’s something you can find out more about online with a simple Google search.

Repaste the CPU Cooler

Having old thermal paste around your CPU cooler is pretty common, especially if yours is an older model and you’ve never had any reason or inclination to open it up and do basic maintenance. But if your computer is overheating now then maybe it’s time to give this a try and its also not particularly difficult.

Redoing thermal paste can improve a CPU’s temperatures and repasting can also fix wonky applications for a brand-new build too. All you need to do is buy a tube of Arctic Silver 5 or something similar. Carefully scrape away the remnants of the existing paste and apply a new coating of it. It’s possible to also repaste on a GPU but it’s more challenging than doing it on a CPU.

Add Additional Fans

If one is not getting it done for you, you can opt to add more fans to your CPU or GPU to cool it down more effectively. A good choice is to start with additional case fans, which tend to be the cheapest and usually not to much is required to work them into existing CPU housings. Many people choose to have two fans at the front.

Upgrade the CPU Cooler

Generally speaking, beefier 3rd-party model fans are going to perform better than the stock ones that came with your PC. Dropping your processor’s temperature is made easy by upgrading to a third-party CPU cooler much of the time.

Another option is to go with a closed-loop cooler, but it’s only really necessary when RAM clearance is an issue for you or you have looks considerations.

Go with a Mesh Front Case

Mesh-front cases are really popular right now, and switching yours out and going with one of these is also fairly basic. They look different and they work much better for ventilating against heat buildup. A cooling fan upgrade and a mesh front case may make a major difference in your ability to stop your desktop from overheating.

The last suggestion we’ll make is a minor one so it won’t get its own subhead. Most computers are perfectly fine with going dormant or to sleep when they’re not in use rather than being shut down. But shutting down at least somewhat regularly is better for general prevention of CPU and GPU heating. It’s a good idea to let yours go off completely every once in a while.

Quantum Computing Goes Desktop

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To say much has been made of the potential of quantum computing would be a big understatement. We’re really only just scratching the surface of what its reach can be, and it holds so much promise for improving our lives along with major contributions to the efficiency of business. And nowadays quantum computing is coming on leaps and bounds. Previously the capacity of it meant that the physical hardware was expansive and the farthest thing from portable, but now that’s changed and having quantum computing go desktop is a big development.

This has the potential to reach into every industry and interest, and here at 4GoodHosting we are like any quality Canadian web hosting provider in that it has the potential to revise our landscape and those of the people who choose us to host their websites. Computing industry experts are calling an operating system available on a chip to be a ‘sensational breakthrough’

About 50 quantum computers have been built up to this point, and all of them use different software, as a quantum equivalent of Windows, IOS or Linux doesn’t exist. But this new development means an OS enabling the same quantum software to run on different quantum computing hardware types.

Let It Flow

The system has been named Deltaflow.OS and runs on a chip developed by consortium member SEEQC using almost nothing of the space required with previous hardware. The chip is about the size of a coin, and has all the same power and capacities as previous versions that were much larger. This new quantum computing chip is said to be about the size of a coin, and its relevance for the future of quantum computers is huge, especially as it look like they can be produced cost-effectively and at scale.

A little bit of explanation may be required here – quantum computers store information in the form of quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ as they are called. Qubits can exist in a pair of different information states at the same time. Being truly powerful requires scaling up to include many more qubits in order for it to make solving seriously challenging problems possible. Racks full of electronics were required to control Qubits previously, but now it’s all able to flow from a chip.

Grand Vision

The long-term goal is to have an operating system that makes quantum software portable across qubit technologies – scalable to millions of qubits. Part of that will be teasing the highest possible performance out of every qubit, and that will apply to applications like error correction that require fast feedback loops too.

The next question then is what will quantum computing be used for, and what are some specific benefit areas? A sufficient supply of qubits will allow quantum computers to process complex calculations at very high speeds, and so there is very real application for chemical testing without the use of a physical lab. As just one example.

What this entails is taking that vast processing power and using it to simulate digital versions of chemical compounds, test theories and predict chemical reactions without needing a physical lab and staff going through the processes of the tests. What this could do for the pharmaceutical industry is huge, especially when you consider it takes about $1 billion dollars to bring a major big-ticket new drug to market after many years of research, tests, and clinical trials. Quantum computing could speed this up and reduce research and development costs in a big way.

Better Batteries

If humans around the world are to achieve their carbon-neutral aims then the large scale switch to EV vehicles is going to mean the need for better batteries, and a lot of them. In much the same way the speed and reach of quantum computing can aid in drug development, the same virtual lab environment created by these computers may enable a much faster, less expensive, and more robust way to screen battery materials. Leading to improved research and development towards a cleaner future.

We can expect to see quantum developments in logistics, weather prediction, cybersecurity, and finance too. The technology will evolve in step with firmware developments for quantum processors that will later interface with Deltaflow.OS. There’s also something of a contest to see who will be first to transform quantum computers from experimental technology into commercial products. This is being referred to as the ‘quantum advantage’ and that’s a term you may be hearing a lot more of over the next little while.