data plans

How can I get more data while on the road?

Episode 1560

Tracey from Irvine, CA

Tracey's husband has retired and they've bought a travel trailer to see the sights. But they quickly surpass their data caps on their mobile devices and is looking for an alternative. Leo says that you can buy a larger data plan. It really comes down to how much data you need from month to month. Part of Tracey's problem is she has three kids who are also on the plan. So they blow through 22 GB is days. Using a satellite dish is possible, but you have to aim it every time you stop, the gear is expensive, and the caps are small and slow. But Exceed by Wild Blue is the best.

Why is my Windows tablet using up all my data in one day?

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Episode 1239

Wes from Columbus, OH

Wes's laptop died after he dropped it last week and he got a Windows Surface tablet. He got it with LTE and found out within a few days that he had used all of his data. Leo says there's got to be an app that is phoning home and eating up data. It could be that his tablet tried to download all of his mail at once. When he first set it up, it likely downloaded updates as well. Windows Threshold is a 3GB update all by itself. And then toss in other apps, and it's likely that's what happened.

How much of a data plan do I need?

Episode 1189

Jack from La Junta, CO

Jack is getting his first smartphone with a data plan. Which plan should he get? Leo says that rule of thumb is, unless he's watching a lot of video, he's probably only going to go through 3-4 GB a month. Is 40GB too much of a plan? Leo says he doesn't know of such a plan and it could be that he's confusing throughput with data caps. He should check the website for their available plans.

What cell phone should I buy?

Episode 1183

Dennis from Las Vegas, NV

Dennis has a really old dial telephone that he still uses and needs to upgrade to a new phone. Leo says don't! It's so old that it's new again. Leo bought one and converted it to a cell phone. But Dennis needs to move to a cell phone anyway. He doesn't want to spend a lot, though. Leo says that if he's willing to sign up for two years, he can get a free phone. The real cost is in the data plan.

Do I need a data plan to use the FLIR thermal imaging attachment on my iPhone?

FLIR One

Episode 1156

Mark from Menasha, WI

Mark has a FLIR attachment for an iPhone 5 that does thermal imaging. Can he use it on a phone without a data plan? Leo says it should work, unless it requires data in the app. But it's worth a try. Gazelle sells used iPhones. He'll probably have to have an iPhone 5 or later though.

(Disclaimer: Gazelle is a sponsor)

Should I give up my unlimited data plan?

Episode 1147

Mark from Malibu, CA

Mark still has the AT&T Unlimited data plan, but it's so expensive. Should he just keep it or downgrade to a smaller, more limited plan. Leo says that the CEO of AT&T is on record sharing his regret that he ever offered that option. But they've now incentivized enough to get people to give it up. It may be you can save money by giving it up, but they don't want to make it easy to give you the best deal. Leo advises going to the AT&T store and asking a salesmen to walk you through the options because you're thinking of jumping ship.

How can I get GPS data on my laptop?

GPS

Episode 1140

Jason from Auburn, ME

Jason uses a logging app that will automatically add GPS data when he creates an entry. It would take something from an external GPS through a com port, which is obviously something his laptop doesn't have. He found an app that allows for GPS over Bluetooth so he can use the app on his laptop. Most laptops have Bluetooth built-in, but the app is looking for that data from a com port. The chatroom recommends the GlobalSat GPS receiver for $35, and it works via USB. They also make USB to Serial port adapters.