Using PlayOn Desktop to Schedule Off Peak Video Downloads

What is PlayOn?

PlayOn Desktop is a program that allows you to schedule the download of movies and tv shows during Sky Muster ‘off peak’ data times. It is relatively cheap and very simple to use, you don’t have to be very tech savvy and its an excellent way to utilise your off-peak data that often goes unused.

What Do I Need?
You need an existing Netflix account or You Tube account to use PlayOn and a PC or laptop with Windows installed. Unfortunately PlayOn Desktop doesn’t work for Macs. 

BIRRR is currently researching the Play On Cloud app which works in a similar way on idevices, we will update when our research is done.

How Much Does it Cost?
PlayOn costs $4.99 USD per month or $30 USD annually or you can pay a one off lifetime membership charge of $69.95 USD. Prices do change regularly so check out current pricing on the Playon Website. Look into downloading a limited time trial, if you want to test the software without the commitment.

PlayOn charges are  an additional cost on top of your Netflix subscription. (Netflix AUS costs $9.99 per month for the basic package, which allows you to stream or download Netflix on 1 screen at a time in Standard Definition). Other plans are available, however it is not ideal to download from more than one device on Sky Muster. You may want to ‘trial’ Netflix for free for a limited time first.

How Does It Work? 

You can set your Play-On to record and download videos as .MP4 files during Sky Muster off-peak times.  PlayOn will start and end the recordings automatically. The recording works in a ‘streaming’ fashion. Meaning that if a movie is 3 hours long it will take 3 hours to record, and you can record up to 6 x 1 hour episodes of a TV series during your off-peak times. This means you can download up to 180 hours of movies and TV shows per month during your off peak time (subject to your data limits). This enables Netflix and You Tube to be more accessible to those on limited data connections.

PlayOn records during normal times too so if you find yourself at the end of your billing period with some leftover peak data and not enough time to use it up you can use PlayOn to record shows during peak times as well to use your data effectively.

How much data does it use?
You can easily adjust the quality of your recordings (similar to adjusting the streaming quality on your Netflix account), which will reduce the amount of data that is used per recording. However, I find anything less than Medium quality to be unwatchable and if you have a decent sized tv then you may want to stick to a High quality download setting.

Low Definition: reduced standard definition video quality, can use up to 300MB per hour.
Medium Definition: standard definition(SD) video quality, can use up to 700MB per hour.
High Definition: high definition(HD) video quality, can use up to 3GB per hour.

How to Watch?
Once you have downloaded your movies and TV shows there are multiple ways to watch them. You can use a streaming device (such as Chromecast) from your desktop, tablet or device. You can also put the files onto a USB or hard drive and plug that straight into your TV. If you have downloaded onto a laptop you can also use an HDMI to plug your computer directly into your TV.  Mirroring apps (try Googling one that is compatible with your TV and device) are also an easy way to watch.

Problems & Tech Support
PlayOn works really well the majority of the time. You can have issues where shows have not recorded properly or not at all (this can be from a minor Play-On glitch or a short Sky Muster outage or update). The program will flag the ones that failed to record overnight so you can add them to the queue to record next time.

PlayOn is a US based company so doesn’t offer phone based support in Australia, however there is a ‘tech support’ button in PlayOn settings which details problems and glitches and how to fix them.  PlayOn tech support can also be contacted via email.

How to Use?

  1. Create an account on the PlayOn website. (you will also need to have created a Netflix or YouTube account)
  2. Choose which payment option you want.
  3. Download the program to the computer you want to use (remember it is not compatible with Mac Computers)
  4. Follow the prompts as instructed.
  5. Once the PlayOn desktop program has downloaded go into settings and the ‘channels’ tab and enter your Netflix or YouTube logon and password details.
  6. In that same settings screen under the ‘General’ tab you can choose the quality of your download from HD to Low Quality as discussed above.
  7. Once this is set up you can go to the top right hand side of the screen and see an ‘off peak’ button. Click it to set up to record during off-peak times. You will need to enter your off-peak times in. PlayOn is very definite and only starts once the off-peak time has begun, it also won’t continue to record past the off-peak time you have set. e.g. If you have a 55 minute episode to record, but only 45 minutes of off-peak time remaining PlayOn will simply not record that episode (rather than record most of it or go over the specified time) and it will remain in the ‘Recording Queue’ until next time.
  8. Now the fun part. Click on the channels tab and choose the Netflix channel. Now you can choose whichever movies and tv shows you want to download. Once you have found what you want to record you will see the button on the far right of the show/episode description that says ‘record’. Click that and it will add it to your ‘Record Queue’ to be recorded during off-peak. You will have to click record for each episode of a series.
  9. Click on the ‘Record Queue’ button on the top right of the screen to see everything you have in your queue. You can change the record order etc from there if you want.
  10. Keep your computer turned on and connected to the internet overnight for the recordings to work (turn the volume down on the computer if you don’t want it annoying you through the night).
  11. You can see which recordings have downloaded successfully and which haven’t in the ‘new recordings’ and ‘failed recordings’ tabs on the left hand menu. Any ‘failed recordings’ you can just add to the ‘Record Queue’ again for next time and they will usually record successfully.  If you continue to get failed recordings or have other problems go to the ‘Help’ button at the bottom left of the screen.
  12. Sometimes when you open the PlayOn program you will get a screen that says ‘Server can’t be found’. Simply click the ‘Open Settings’ button and you will see a ‘Start/Stop Server’ button on the right of your settings. Click it and wait for the box to become green and say ‘Running’ and you are good to go. This happens often and is due to settings that don’t start the server automatically (to save data).

How to View
Refer to the How to Watch section above. You can open the PlayOn program to watch them, otherwise the recordings are also stored in a ‘Play-On’ folder in your Video files on your desktop. From that folder these can be transferred to a USB or hard-drive for viewing (and travel etc) if you want.

Check out Skymesh’s PlayOn hack article

Prepared for BIRRR by Sophie Parbury & Ben from SkyMesh.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your eligibility and best plans available. Page updated 25/10/18.

Upload videos to Youtube during off peak hours

This is a Google Chrome Extension – you must be using the Google Chrome web browser, which is a free download from chrome.google.com
This allows you to schedule the uploading of videos to YouTube to occur during off peak hours.
This is completely different to the YouTube video scheduling feature, which does NOT schedule the uploading, only the publication time.
For details on installation and use, click https://chrome.google.com/…/ocpgggmabipnhemenjflgnflbcieplc…

Go to the page above.
Choose the green “Add to Chrome” button.
Double check it is enabled:
In a Chrome window, choose the 3 dots at right of URL box.
Choose More Tools.
Choose Extensions.
Should be ticked with the word Enabled. Close.

How to use:
Open Chrome tab to your YouTube upload page.
It will look slightly different to normal.
Where it normally has a fairly large grey arrow with “Select files to upload” (this will still show momentarily), in its place now is new text (see image):

To schedule:
Change the date/time in the box manually to your planned off-peak time.
Press Choose files. I would suggest that you have all the files you want to upload in a dedicated directory, go there, select all (mac: command A), press open.
Then press the schedule button.

***It says you must leave the browser and tab open. This means if you wish to keep using the browser you need to open this as a separate window that is kept open.

(This agrees with my recollection that when I have been uploading manually in the past, if I opened another tab to do other work, it cancelled the upload. This also suggests that you may not want the computer to go to sleep or the screen saver to come up, but I’m not sure of that.)

If you upload multiple files the first is uploading and the others say Upload Pending, then as one finishes the next starts to upload.

Remember: Once uploaded they are NOT published. You can come back at your leisure, go there and edit the description, title etc. And publish when ready. (and YouTube does have a publishing scheduler).

The above instructions were contributed by BIRRR member Deb Maxwell. While all efforts are taken to ensure BIRRR documents are correct at time of publishing, BIRRR cannot guarantee that the linked software is free of any fault or malicious software.

BIRRR nbn™ Fixed Wireless Success Stories

Much of our volunteer time at BIRRR Headquarters is taken up troubleshooting people who live ‘just outside’ nbn™ fixed wireless ‘purple’ coverage areas.  Here are some of the stories from people we have helped to get fixed wireless.

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Sample of BIRRR Success Story, who lived outside ‘purple coverage area’

Amanda :  Huge difference to us. No drama streaming Netflix, Xbox Live etc etc during school holidays. Now back at school have SKYPEd with tutors able to read children’s work sheets from video, easily downloaded lesson material during actual lesson! Husband can work easily from home. Haven’t come close to monthly limit. Not too mention cost – have no idea what we were spending on internet with recharges for mobile broadband. Kids can log into school portals no problems. Can do research for assignments from home. I can access bank first go. The list is endless.

Emma:  It’s been awesome to have faster internet, I don’t have to avoid using several devices at a time. Emails with attachments send so quickly and uploading files (I am studying online so do a fair bit of both). I’ve had an issue with the nbn™ speed being much slower the last week or so than what it initially was but it’s still at least twice as fast as what we had before even when it’s running ‘slow’. We have a higher data allowance for a better price due to not being restricted to Telstra. Our allowance wasn’t low before, but it’s now more than double what we had before and for a lower price. No longer having to pay home phone line rental just to have internet as well (changed over to voip). I went so crazy downloading last month – we watched full series of at least 3 different tv shows (probably about 15 seasons between all the shows watched), I downloaded xbox games, a heap of stuff on the computer and a lot of browsing and watching videos with everyone home for a few weeks. I didn’t even get to half our allowance!

Yolande:  Financially we are saving $30 a month just on our Internet bill (plus actually getting decent service for our money) not to mention not using additional data on our phones. kids have only just gone back to school but no doubt having internet for whole month instead of running out after 1-2 weeks will help them with their school work. Suppose you could say has also helped family relationships as no fights over who used all the data lol. Must say hardly most important issue given people struggling to run businesses etc but it was nice to have decent internet over school hols so kids could watch movies etc things they could never do on mobile broadband so b i suppose there has been a social benefit as well. It is just nice to feel like part of the modern world again cant you thank you enough for your help.

Kain: Much better. Higher speeds, less latency, cheaper, bigger data allowances. Much more stable connection than the mobile broadband. Average speed now is 22 down 4 up. Video streaming is actually possible now, and the data lasts the whole month. You can read more about Kain’s story here.

Barb:  Yes thank you Kristy. I’m finding nbn™ fixed wireless with SkyMesh way better than the crap local provider service I’d had to battle with previously – the crap service where speeds varied down to dialup , data would be used without being used and their solution to any problem was to blame the customer.

Margie: Cost saving I would say is the biggest positive in  wireless NBN. We have house phone and internet in one. Speeds, data allowance, clear phone line 100% plus advantage of NBN. ( South Burnett – north Nanango)

Chris:  A Great Leap Forward. Haven’t saved any money yet (Telstra won’t let us out of our contract) but having a good data allowance from Aussie Broadband is wonderful. We can run our business, communicate with our friends, and have much lower stress levels about going over our data limit. When the grandkids come to stay they are happy too. Thank you BIRRR !! (We are in South Gippsland, Vic).  You can read more about Chris’ Story here.

Lisa:  Kristy your help has made a huge difference to us. After being told countless times we couldn’t get nbn™ your request for a desktop study changed everything!! We had wireless broadband with Telstra. We were hooked up to nbn™ 2 weeks ago! Speed is about the same and this one drops out much more but the cost saving is enormous, over $1500 a month! We were trying to run our farm business, our business in Sydney all on 25gb. We had to keep adding data packages which meant we were spending at least $1800 every month. Plus I do the marketing for a charity in town and I have to manage their website and social media. The whole thing was a nightmare!  Not saving money yet as had to pay out Telstra but we will soon. Can’t thank you enough.

Narelle:  Huge difference to us. Tv reception is shocking so we are now able to stream, Netflix and iview got quite a workout during the holidays. I’m returning to study to complete a Masters through Distance Ed, could not have done this without fixed wireless, cost would have been crazy.  A lot of Ag research done on line now, great for our business My daughter is able to do Reading Eggs at home now as well as at school. They are about to start maths seeds, which is a similar programme, we can do this at home as well without me worrying about the cost of data. We actually feel like it has had a big impact on our life, much more than we originally thought it would have. Large data allowance for a fraction of what we were paying and a lot more stable service. Very few drop outs compared to mobile internet. Thanks to Kristy and BIRRR!  We live in the Wimmera in Victoria.

Ku:  It’s been life changing. My son can easily access his school work through CDSE. We have better access for my research and work as well as managing our business. Amazing. All for significantly less cost. Thanks Kristy!! Near Rockhampton.

Helen:  Huge positive difference! 5 x the data for the same cost, good speeds and reliable/stable connectivity mean that our entire family benefit but especially our farm business. We are so amazed at the difference and hugely grateful and appreciative of the service we now have. It was a long, frustrating road to get there, and it would not have happened at all without Kristy and BIRRR 😀

Julie:  It has made a HUGE difference to our lives I can now down load emails and and my children can access it for homework!! It works out cheaper because I get 300+% more down load we are even getting to enjoy movies I can’t thank you enough Kristy for what you did for us !!
Linda:  Wow it is unbelievable the difference your assistance has made Kristy. We have been connected for just over 2 months with every services we could get. NLIS transfers and BAS lodgements take minutes. Netflix Stan Presto Foxtel iq3 not having to worry about being shaped is amazing. Kids have no issues with studies or online gaming. The cost savings are huge. Now just need to have Telstra allow users to share the some of their data limit with remote users.

Beck:  Kristy helped us get NBN, when we’d previously been told we couldn’t get enough reception. Between Mark Moore and Kristy, we were able to get it sorted and without their help, it just would not have happened! Previously we were on NGW and mobile broadband. $300+ per month minimum. My son had been doing BSDE in semester 1 2015 and poor reception and increasing frustration trying to connect and lodge assignments certainly added to the decision to change to local state school (which has luckily worked out!). Aside from this, the actual business of running a farm was so difficult – emails may or may not send or load, forms couldn’t be downloaded, the spinning “loading” internet wheel would drive us mad! And forget trying to download/watch a movie, music, videos etc, it just wasn’t worth it. Things are now so much improved – internet banking works without cutting out, emails flying in and out (and load!), we can watch YouTube and video links easily and even complete surveys! And the added advantage of being able to watch shows via Presto, iview etc has been great, especially with 3 generations in the one house with very different viewing habits lol. Additionally we have nearly halved our phone bill monthly which is a massive benefit. Sorry for such a long reply but it was too hard to summarise the benefits and to express what a change BIRRRA and Mark, and particularly Kristy have made! We are approx. 45km from Kingaroy.

 

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Example of BIRRR Success Story – outside of ‘purple zone’ and now connected to fixed wireless.

Jenni:   Yes definitely. cheaper and much more data, also think its faster. Great result, worth all the phone calls and hassles I had. Thanks so much to BIRRR helpers.

Patricia:  We had been requesting a test for nearly 2 years just for the testing, when I phoned I always tried to explain the position etc but the last answers were we failed the computer test, I phoned at least every month, the staff were always lovely and patient, but I could not get past the computer test. 2 weeks ago I private messaged you regarding our position within 2 hours of my message you PMed me and the local contractor phoned me, I was amazed how quick you got things moving. The contractor came 2 days later and tested the reception and BINGO he picked up 3 signals, one being -82% which is very good indeed……The plan we have gone with includes 500 gb data telephone calls to local, national and mobiles…….$119.00 p/m incredible…we were paying $100.00 for 15 gb mobile broadband and $45 p/m for home line for only local and national calls……I am a Web Designer, my husband is an entertainer, the documents we have to send and receive are large. Having this will be a huge difference.We will be looking forward to Netflix and other wonderful services. Another is I have started free workshops at Nanango for digital devices this will help me downloads tutorials etc for the students….This would not of been achieved without the assistance of Better Internet For Rural, Regional And Remote Australia (BIRRR) and especially Kristy.
Michael:  We have only been connected for a couple of days but the process was almost seamless and the using the Fixed Wireless is far superior to anything else we have used. With our usage, and once the old services are cancelled we will save in the vicinity of $140.00/month. Thanks again to the BIRRR team especially Kristy 🙂

Alan:  Thanks to Kristy and BIRRR, my family now has nbnfixed wireless. Cannot thank you more then enough.. Originally outside the ‘purple’ area with my only option looking forward was sky muster but ended up with a signal strength of 87db two foot off my roof peak. BIRRR opened doors to the nbn™ that my phone calls couldn’t. 🙂

Colin: Thanks to these ladies of BIRRR (Kristy & Julie)  I just had one of my customers connected Yesterday to Fixed Wireless nbn™ that had been failed before as not in the coverage area. He is now connected & loving the speed around 19Mbps.

nbn™ even blogged about our success stories – you can read about it here

BIRRR Success stories taken from the BIRRR Facebook Group 24/4/16

 

Reducing Data Usage on iDevices

One of the most-often asked questions on the BIRRR facebook page is ‘How can I save data? It seems to be vanishing without me doing anything!” While sending photos and uploading big documents are often unavoidable as we conduct business via the internet and can eat into our data limits, there is actually quite a lot we can do to curtail some of the often-unseen big data users chewing through our very limited monthly gigabytes.

Many of the things you can do to manage data usage are

  • Save data in iOS
  • Track how much data you use
  • Stop Apps from using your data
  • How to see which Apps are using data
  • To save cellular data and use WiFi, turn off cellular data
  • Turn off autoplay in Facebook
  • Manage how you use Facetime
  • Manage how you use iCloud
  • Manage how you use iTunes
  • Manage data roaming
  • Use Safaris reading list to read articles offline
  • Manage the data guzzler Photo Stream
  • Turn off push notifications
  • Manage how you get emails
  • Stop Background App refresh
  • Manage WiFi
  • Use WiFi Hotspots

Solutions to the above data usage savers can be found here

Whether you use mobile or satellite broadband, if you own iDevices this is a short checklist to follow (as well as doing what is mentioned above)

 I-DEVICES

Operating system updates for Apple iOS are AUTOMATIC if you are connected via WiFi or cable. If the device is Cellular only, it is NOT automatic, and can be scheduled.

Disable a feature called Wi-Fi Assist which is enabled in the default settings of iOS 9.  Our iDevices can chew through ENORMOUS amounts, through updates and syncing. Go through the following checks to ensure your iDevice is NOT automatically chewing through precious data. The first step is to find the SETTINGS on your device.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 7.17.00 AM

CONTROL UPDATES

TURN OFF i-CLOUD UPDATES

The constant syncing of i-cloud on iDevices, especially if you have several devices, can really chew through your data. You can always turn them back on if needed, but make sure you aren’t in ‘automatic update’ mode:

  • Go into Settings>iCloud
  • Uncheck ‘icloud drive

This is a good spot to uncheck any other ‘auto-updates’ you might not need synced.

icloud

APP UPDATES AND WI-FI ASSIST

Check that apps that aren’t needed all the time are not updating and turn off wi-fi assist. Wi-Fi assist automatically defaults to using your mobile data when Wi-Fi signal is poor. This means your mobile data could be used without you realising, causing your mobile service to exceed your monthly quota and accrue excess data fees.

  • Go into Settings>Mobile
  • Go though your apps and  UNCHECK those you don’t need constantly accessing data.
  • UNCHECK the Wi-Fi assist option at the bottom

NB: Wi-Fi assist is a feature that is enabled by default in iOS 9. If your i-Device is running an earlier version of iOS, your device will not have this feature.

  • wifiassist

APPS REFRESH

  • Go into Settings>General>background app refresh
  • turn off (this will also save battery life)
  • BAR

AUTOMATIC UPDATES

WARNING: Your i-Device will automatically download iOS updates (when a new one is available) while it is charging, connected to the internet (thru WiFi) and there’s sufficient free space on the device. It will then prompt you to install, turning off updates will NOT prevent the auto download of iOS updates. Turning your device to airplane mode whilst charging OR having your device ONLY on cellular may prevent this.  

  • Go into Settings>App and iTunes Store>Update
  • Scroll down this page until you see the AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS heading. All new content that you buy after you turn on Automatic Downloads automatically downloads to all of your devices. When you turn on Automatic Downloads, your device associates with your Apple ID.If you use Family Sharing and turn on Automatic Downloads, content bought by other members of your family won’t automatically download to your devices. Only content that you purchase with your Apple ID downloads automatically.Here, you’ll see four options. Turn off Updates and other automatic downloads such as Music, Apps and Books.

Music – When turned on, any purchased iTunes music will download automatically.

Apps – When turned on, any purchased apps will download automatically.

Books – When turned on, any purchased Books will download automatically.

Updates – When turned on, updates for any apps on your device will download as soon as they become available.

  • turn off Use Mobile Data for automatic downloads

See expert tip at the bottom of this article to adjust settings in your router (at OWN risk), this is the only way to prevent automatic iOS updates.

Turn off Automatic Downloads in App & Itunes

PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

  • Go into Settings>Notifications
  • If your iDevice has an Internet connection and you turn on Push Notifications, your content automatically downloads to your device. On devices that don’t support Push Notifications, your content automatically appears in your iTunes download queue. You can manually download the content in iTunes.
  • Turn off any apps that you don’t require push notifications for.

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All of the above tips will often need to be re-applied after completing an update.

An easy and easy to forget tip is also to shut down all your apps and browser windows when you have finished with them.

  • Double click HOME button
  • Swipe apps (and browser windows) closed.

This is a small selection of the many data-saving tips you can employ – find more here Data Saving Tips

Expert Tip: Your iDevices will automatically download iOS (when new one is available) while it is charging, connected to the internet (thru WiFi) and there’s sufficient free space on the device. To disable automatic download, you will have to put a block on your wireless router to prevent your Apple iOS devices from contacting Apple update servers. Add mesu.apple.com to your router in access control.

Tips if you have multiple iDevices: You can use a computer with iTunes to download IOS Updates once, and then manually install the update onto multiple devices. Instructions for doing this are available by clicking here.

Another option, if you have a Mac computer, you can install the macOS Server app from the mac App Store, which costs $19.99. This has a feature called “Caching” which, when turned on, will intercept any downloads from the mac and iDevice app stores, and keep a copy. Next time a device requests the same file, it will download it from the mac instead of from the internet, saving your data. There is no need to tell your iDevices to fetch the updates from your mac, it just happens automatically  This works with every device on your network. I have used this in a school with lots of iPads, and it was saving 100+GB per week at one point. Some more info is available here.

* Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues and best plans available.  Information compiled for BIRRR by Julie Stott, Amanda Salisbury, Kye Rosendale, John Kitchener & Kristy Sparrow.  BIRRR updates articles as time permits and when new information is available.

Cloud Computing : Dropbox , iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive

Cloud computing has gone from a ‘buzz word’ a few years ago, to an integrated part of both Apple and Microsoft operating systems. We have Dropbox, Onedrive (Microsoft), iCloud (Apple), Google Drive etc.

THE GOOD

  1. You have a backup.
  2. You can also access to your files from anywhere that has an internet connection, across multiple devices.
  3. You can even share files with others.

An example of using DropBox:

‘I went to a party and took a lot of photos and a few movies with my mobile phone. As soon as I returned home, my phone connected to the WiFi and uploaded the files to the ‘cloud’.  These files were then accessible from my PC, my Laptop and my Tablet which not only meant that they were backed up they also could be viewed on the larger PC screen.’

THE NOT-SO-GOOD
Multiple movements of files: Internet use is calculated by both uploads and downloads. In the above example the picture and movie files were counted as data when they were transferred UP to the cloud, and then were counted AGAIN to DOWNLOAD to my PC. Then they were counted yet AGAIN to download to my laptop. By itself, it may not be a big thing, but it does add up.

What to do?

  1. Try to identify if you are running any cloud applications
  2. be aware that newer operating systems (by default) may automatically use cloud apps eg: iCloud and Onedrive.
  3. Consider turning them off completely – I have stopped using Dropbox and removed the apps from my mobile devices. Not only that the new install of windows 10 can automatically connect to Onedrive – event though no files were yet shared to it yet. And the new version of Microsoft word wants to save to Onedrive by default.
  4. Choose (instead) to save to the local computer.

(Thanks to Cliff Tindall From Christmas Island Computer Services for the above information.)

DROPBOX

How to PAUSE and RESUME syncing from Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to pause and resume syncing through the Dropbox menu in your system tray or menu bar on your computer.

When syncing is active, Dropbox will try to be smart about the amount of bandwidth it uses. Dropbox will use any remaining bandwidth available to download changes and only 75% of available bandwidth to upload changes. You can also adjust your bandwidth usage through the Dropbox desktop application’s preferences.

If you’d like to stop Dropbox entirely, you can do so through an option in your Dropbox menu.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.36.51 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.36.41 AM

(The above information is taken from Dropbox)

How to DISABLE AUTOMATIC PHOTO UPLOADS in Dropbox on iPhone / iPad:

Step 1: Open Dropbox

Step 2: Tap the Settings gear icon (bottom right)

Disable-Automatic-Photo-Upload-in-Dropbox-iPhone

Step 3: Now, tap on the “Camera Upload” option

Step 4: Turn the switch to OFF

Turn-Off-Automatic-Photo-Upload-in-Dropbox-on-iPhone

That’s it. Dropbox will now stop automatic syncing of photos from your camera album.

Thanks to iGeeks Blog for the screenshots and tips.

iCLOUD:

Turn iCloud features on or off:

Depending on which device’s settings you want to change, do one or more of the following:

On your iOS DEVICE: 

Go to Settings iCloud, then tap to turn on or off iCloud features.

idevice cloud off

On your MAC

Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then select or deselect each feature.

idevice cloud drive off.jpg

NB Some features aren’t available or are listed differently in earlier OS X versions.

On your WINDOWS computer: 

Open iCloud for Windows, then select or deselect each feature.

To make your changes take effect, click Apply.

S0012_WiniCloudPrefs

  • Some features aren’t available on your Windows computer, or are listed differently, depending on whether your computer has Microsoft Outlook 2007 or later installed.

    Outlook installed: You use iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks in Outlook. Note that iCloud reminders are called tasks in Outlook. If you turn off Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks, the iCloud information remains available in Microsoft Outlook, but it isn’t kept in sync with iCloud.

    Outlook not installedYou can use iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders in your web browser on iCloud.com.

TO TURN iCLOUD OFF COMPLETELY

Depending on whether you want to stop using iCloud on all or only some devices, do one or more of the following:

On your iOS deviceGo to Settings > iCloud, then at the bottom of the screen, tap Sign Out (Delete Account in iOS 7 and earlier).

Note:    If you sign out of iCloud (or delete your iCloud account), iCloud no longer backs up your iOS data. You can still back up your device in iTunes. For more information, open iTunes, then choose iTunes > Help.

On your MacChoose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Sign Out.

On your Windows computerOpen iCloud for Windows, then click Sign out.

Note:    If you turned on automatic download of music, app, or book purchases (in iTunes preferences or in Settings on your iOS device), your iTunes purchases are still downloaded to your devices.
 
(Above information taken from APPLE SUPPORT)

OneDrive:

Windows 10 will put your documents, music, and photos automatically into its cloud service, if you don’t tell it not to.  Microsoft wants you to store your data in the company’s cloud-based storage service.   You have to change some settings to avoid this, as not only will it consume your data allowance it will also start to charge you when you use up your available space.

Turn off OneDrive for your documents, music, pictures and videos:

Right-click Documents in the Navigation pane (must be the Documents library, not any of the folders listed below it) and select Properties.

In the resulting dialog box, select the local location (probably C:\Users\yourname, where yourname is your login name) and click Set save location button.

1106-change-default-100622079-largeWhen you close the dialog box, your local Documents folder will be your default Documents folder. While both folders will be part of the library, new files will default to being saved locally.

Repeat and change the library settings for your Music, Pictures, and Videos libraries.

If you already have documents, music, pictures & videos stored in onedrive follow the steps here to store them locally on your computer rather than in a ‘cloud’ based program.

Information obtained from PC World 

Google Drive:

Google Drive for Mac/PC is the sync client. When you install Google Drive for Mac/PC, it creates a folder on your computer named Google Drive. Anything you put in this folder is synchronized with Google Drive on the web, and also becomes available on all your Google Drive devices. Google Drive provides bi-directional sync, so changes you make online are reflected on all your devices, and vice-versa. You can use Google Drive via your browser where it won’t automatically sync your files.

Turn off Google Drive Syncing

If you DO HAVE the Google Drive app downloaded to your computer or device, and you wish to keep your documents and photos from automatically syncing to the Drive folder on your computer, you can turn off syncing.

  1. On your desktop, click the Google Drive icon google drive desktop icon.
    • On a Mac, the icon is usually found in the menu bar at the top right of your desktop screen.
    • On a PC, the icon is usually found in the taskbar in the bottom right of your desktop screen.
  2. In the top right, click the overflow menu .
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Uncheck the box next to “Only sync some folders to this computer.”
  5. Click Apply changes.

Change how much bandwidth Google Drive uses

You can increase or decrease the bandwidth used by Drive on your Mac or PC while syncing your files. Decreasing this bandwidth can allow more bandwidth for other programs on your computer.

  1. Click the Google Drive icon google drive desktop icon.
    • On a Mac, the icon is usually found in the menu bar at the top right of your desktop screen.
    • On a PC, the icon is usually found in the taskbar in the bottom right of your desktop screen.
  2. Click the overflow icon in the top right .
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Go to the Advanced tab.
  5. To choose a different rate, click the radio button next to Limit to and use the up and down arrows to change the rate. The numbers are measured in kilobytes per second.
    • To use the full bandwidth for Drive, click the radio button next to Don’t limit.
  6. Click Apply.

Note: Changing the rate for downloads or uploads to a higher rate than your Internet connection allows may significantly slow other programs that you’re running using the Internet.

(Information Obtained from Google Support)

All efforts are taken to ensure BIRRR documents are correct at time of publishing, please contact your device manufacturer or cloud provider for further information.

Disable Automatic Updates (Mac Desktops & Laptops)

Mac has a handful of features that rely on a constant internet connection, these include the update feature.

OS X El Capitan, (10.11) the latest version of the Mac operating system is approximately a 6GB download.

Operating system software and all apps in the Mac App Store will automatically download and update themselves. However if you have metered internet or are living in a data drought you’ll probably want to stop these updates from downloading in the background.

Automatic app updates are controlled by the Mac App Store. To change the App Store’s settings, go to System Preferences > App Store. You can still enable checking for updates, by ticking the AUTOMATICALLY CHECK FOR UPDATES BOX, and leaving the other boxes blank.

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 10.22.11 am

This enables you to update when you have access to the appropriate data needed and allows the system to alert you to new updates available but does not download them without your permission.

NOTE: Install system data files and security updates is recommended to be checked.

When you are ready to install the updates go to System Preferences > App Store>Show Updates.

You can then decide on which updates are the most important and click on UPDATE or UPDATE ALL (if you have the required data available).

Important: If you’re going to use this automatic system update option, be sure that Time Machine backups of the Mac are allowed to be made on a regular schedule. Time Machine will do this automatically as long as it’s setup and the backup drive is available. If you do not make regular backups of your Mac, it is not recommended to use an automated system update installation feature.

Installing via a USB Memory Stick

How you handle Apple IOS updates is going to depend on which update it is.  To install onto a memory stick or external hard drive follow the instructions below.  You might be able to do this when you have access to free wifi or a friend / relative who has a larger data plan than yourself.

  • For major upgrades like 10.11 (e.g. El Capitan) your device will download an installer through the App Store
    • copy the installer file from the computer you downloaded it to, to an external drive
    • It’ll show up in the Applications folder when you download it and you can just move that or right-click and copy/paste it to your external drive
    • You can also use that method to create a bootable disk in case you ever need to reinstall OS X on your computers
  • For the minor updates they’ll be posted to the Apple website
    • you just need to download it from there to your external drive

Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your system operator before implementing any changes.  Operating software can also be downloaded at any Apple Store, there may be a charge for this.

Tips shared by BIRRR taken from Apple Chat help, October 2015.  While all care is taken compiling these fact sheets, we advise you check with Apple Support if you have issues or concerns.

Footnote: All information compiled by Amanda Salisbury & Kristy Sparrow for  BIRRR and is current as at 18th October 2015.

Apple IOS – Update Sept 16 2015 ( idevices)

Apple released iOS-9, a major operating system upgrade, on Sept 16th.

The good news is that the iOS 9 update is smaller than usual, at 1.3GB, the bad news is that there is a lot of other data usage that comes with the update, data demand that will multiply if you have many Apple devices.

The heavy, data demand includes: updating your computer’s iTunes; backing up your devices; updating the operating system;  reinstallation of your apps; and, the updating of your apps to be iOS-9 compatible.

In preparation to the update, do the following:

  1. Plan your data use: Prevent auto-updating on all your devices.
    1. Go to >Settings >iTunes & App Store >AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS
    2. toggle-OFF both ‘Apps‘ and ‘Updates‘.
  2. Make space: Review your apps, photos and videos and uninstall unused items. It will be a tough task for many 8/16 GB iPhone or iPad users to free up enough space. Here’s how.
  3. Get iTunes ready: Install the latest version of iTunes on your computer. Here’s how.
  4. Update Apps. Use iTunes as download-central for app updates across all your devices. Here’s how.
  5. Sync your device to iTunes. Make sure all your devices are synced across iTunes. Here’s how.
  6. Backup your devices. Backup to iTunes (not iCloud) if you are data challenged. Here’s how.

Update iOS update

Once Apple releases the iOS 9 update, you will see a pop-up on your iOS device notifying you that a software update is available. It is recommended that you wait a couple days after the launch to update. There’s always a chance complications will surface. If you’re not the type who wants to spend time troubleshooting issues, it’s best to wait a few days after release to update.

You can download directly through your device but doing this wirelessly will take longer and may exhaust your mobile data.  A better suggestion is to update through your computer, using iTunes.

  1. Plug in the device charger, so you won’t run out of battery and lose the download.
  2. Connect your device to your computer and update via iTunes. Here’s how.
  3. After the update, review that your apps are all up-to-date by repeating steps 4 and 5 above.

Prepared for BIRRR on Sept 15, 2015