3G Watchdog app for Android monitors your 4G/3G/Edge/GPRS data usage

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 THE DOG'S BLOG


What’s new in 3G Watchdog Pro 1.22.0

Written by Richard. Posted in Blog

Optional password

You can now set up a password (in Settings > Misc) to protect access to settings and usage-modifying functions (restore, set usage, repair database).
 
This is useful if for example you want to install 3GW Pro on your children’s phones but don’t want them to be able to modify the usage numbers or the configuration.
 
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Leave the “password” field empty if you do not want to use any password (this is the default). Otherwise be careful to memorize it, or you might have to reinstall the application to reset the password!
 
However if you have installed the 3G Watchdog Pro SMS extension you may specify a phone number to send a new (automatically generated) password to in case you forget the current one. Be sure to double check the number – you don’t want to send the SMS to the wrong person (e.g. your child)!
 
Once you have set up a non-empty password, access to the settings and important functions becomes protected:
 
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If you check the “Do not ask again for password…” option, the authorization will last for 10 minutes (the password will not be asked again during that time). Otherwise (option unchecked) the password will be asked again every time you try to access protected functions.
 
Note that the option to send a new password via SMS will be visible only if you have installed the 3G Watchdog Pro SMS extension and specified a recipient number in the settings. 
 
Also note that the “Enable/disable mobile network” feature is not password protected, because this is a shortcut to the system switch otherwise accessible via the Android settings (Settings > Wireless and networks > Mobile networks > Use packet data / Data enabled), so protecting it in 3GW would be useless.

Two new alternate prediction methods

3G Watchdog usage prediction capability is one of its most useful features. It is important for the user not only to know her/his current consumption, but also to anticipate its usage by the end of the current plan period or day so she/he can take corrective action if necessary.

However usage prediction is not an exact science, and there is no way to predict usage with 100% accuracy. Different strategies may be implemented, and as of version 1.22.0, 3G Watchdog offers the choice between 3 prediction methods:

  • Standard (aka “Amnesic”) method:  this prediction is based on usage since the beginning of the current period (day or plan), and is a simple linear extrapolation of this usage. Usage history before the beginning of the current period is not taken into account (hence the nickname “amnesic”). A drawback of this method is that the prediction is unavailable at the beginning of each period until enough usage data can be collected to get a significant prediction. Even after enough data has eventually been collected to supply a prediction, this prediction strategy still tends to amplify your usage in the initial part of the period: for example if you had exceptionally high consumption in the first hour, the prediction will be very high too, which can be disturbing. Nevertherless the prediction will become more smoothed and accurate as time passes.
  • Moving average [since 1.22.0]: this prediction is based on the average usage from the last N days (N configurable, default: 30). This strategy tends to smooth the prediction because past usage (before the current period) is taken into account. It works well on a large period such as a monthly plan, but may produce strange results with current day prediction, as the importance given to past usage may outweight the actual usage for the day.
  • Mixed [since 1.22.0]: this prediction is based on a dynamically weighted combination of the two above methods. More weight is given to the moving average prediction (based on past usage) at the beginning of the period (reflecting the absence of actual data), but as time passes and more actual usage data becomes available the balance shifts towards the amnesic prediction (reflecting the fact that actual data is more important than speculative one).

No method is perfect. You might want to experiment in order to find which one best matches your usage pattern, but if you have some usage history I recommend you give the Mixed method a try. You can freely switch from one method to the other.

Go to 3GW Settings > Prediction to select the prediction method:

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Current and remaining usages shown inside the Pro Usage graph bar

If you selected the “Pro” usage graph style (rather than the “free” graph style – remember you can switch between the two with a long press on the graph) in 3GW main report screen, you will notice that the actual current usage and the usage left are now displayed inside the bar, on the left:
 
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…in the above example, it reads “19 MB used (3.0 GB left)”

Improved Samsung Galaxy S3 support

The Galaxy S3 has many variants with (unfortunately) sometimes divergent behaviors when it comes to usage counting. This release of 3GW should improve the way mobile usage (and WiFi tethered usage in particular) is counted across all variants.

Samsung Galaxy S4 support

If you own a Galaxy S4, make sure to leave the “Use pre-Froyo…” (in 3GW Settings > Advanced) option unchecked. Checking it would result in 3GW counting incorrectly your mobile usage.

Error reporting tool

A new error reporting tool has been included in this release.  If the application crashes a dialog will appear offering the user to send a crash report email. This report will include technical information about the context at the time of the crash (3GW Settings, state of the phone…) and will help us to identify the cause the problem and fix it.
 
You will be able to review the report mail in your mail client before sending it.

Misc bug fixes…

 

Richard

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