Not a day goes by without someone bitching and whining to me about their mobile bill. This kind of reminds me—because I’m getting old—of the eighties; of my old college friend, the one and only Lance Richardson, Lance Romance, who loved cocaine and had very little money. Always a young man of enterprise, he would selectively invite friends and acquaintances with good jobs and access to the beloved Colombian marching powder and stage weekend-long parties. Free-basing was the order of the day, as was complaining about the endless bathroom queue. Some folks would get so blitzed and eviscerated after hours spent queuing that they’d get high, have sex and do God-knows-what-all-else in the bathroom. Consequently, there were two other complementary lines in the room. One for guys to urinate in the sink, which would, of course, always be full of piled up dirty dishes, the other one for the ladies, who would take turns forming a sort of rugby scrum around each other while someone squatted to pee in a bucket.

And sometimes, in spite of sometimes being buzzed enough to levitate, Lance would have moments of brilliant, lucid clarity. Perhaps it was the pong of ammonia from the dirty plates and glasses in the sink. “Jesus!” he said one time, with the certainty of Moses coming down from the mountain bearing the Ten Commandments, “Y’all are a bunch of materialistic degenerates.”

Apropos of nothing, perhaps, but this tale of tragic coke etiquette finds a fine parallel with modern manners in the way most of us seem to suffer without the constant availability of our beloved mobiles. Technology has seen the candy-bar-sized phones that sent and received calls less than half a decade ago evolve into touchscreen devices capable of being palm-sized computers used for photography, web surfing, text messaging, gaming, GPS navigation, social networking, fitness tracking and work-related documentation and classification.

Trying to Stop Your Data Drain

All these assets require data. And data is what you pay through the nose for through a monthly plan with your carrier that give you a certain number of megabytes or gigabytes to use up by the end of the month. Go past your set limit and you will pay through the nose. The rules and regulations are pretty clear. Here are some suggestions to help you quit whining and start saving.


Close apps properly when you’re not actually using them! They suck up both your batteries and data. If using an iPhone, double-tap the ‘Home’ button and swipe upward to shut off apps; users of Android can press then hold the ‘Home’ button and then swipe apps to the right to shut them off.


Apps with reappearing content—stock quotes, weather updates, live sports, GPS tracing—eat up data. Unless you actually work in the money business, do you really need the immediacy?


Hotspots—where your tablet or laptop connects to your smartphone—really suck your data dry. Be aware also that using a USB cable to connect your phone does not save data. This is a fallacy!


Quit data-eating activities! Do you need to watch streamed movies on the bus?


Email correspondence, web surfing, and downloading kill you! Can it wait till you get home?


Research the amount of juice your favorite apps use. Both Google and Apple Maps suck up a lot of data. Use CoPilot Live Premium HD instead because it doesn’t eat up any power at all.


Use IM (Instant Messaging) as an affordable communication solution for friends. WhatsApp, BBM, Kik and Facebook Messenger use little data and are all very reliable.


Unless it’s work-related, turn off ‘Push’ mail unless you need to know instantaneously whenever an email comes in. Set your email to ‘View only,’ instead of downloading full attachments.


Update apps on your computer. Synch into your smartphone later. It’s easier and saves power.

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