Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Another week without cellular data!

A few weeks ago I ended up turning off cellular data again to try to improve my productivity and increase my attention span. I began on a Tuesday I think but kept forgetting to blog about it until today. Here are my thoughts from during the experiment, edited for coherence.

This time, I've included a random selection of HDR images I've taken of varying quality :P


Read more of Idiot Brain
Finished the Verge article on the secret history of the iPhone.

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat


Read this fascinating article on the history of pockets.

Haven't been able to stay off mobile data completely, need to check timetables and communicate. But at least I have been staying off Facebook and Reddit more. Makes me more mindful of it.

Hanging Rock, Victoria 


Mid-Thursday I ran out of data! Have stay off mobile data now because it doesn't work.

Thursday afternoon I read a long article on the underground music piracy scene in the 1990's. 

Smeaton, Victoria 


Friday morning I read an article on the nervous system, immune system and inflammation.

During the day I went through my phone and deleted old SMSes.

New Zealand.... 

The Weekend

Saturday I was at a friend's place so was occupied.

Sunday didn't need data as I was on wifi. Then I went out and met a friend, didn't need data as I was with company and could coordinate over SMS.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Monday and Tuesday

I didn't write it down, but I remember running out of cellular data on my plan so that forced me not be tempted. I don't remember what I read, maybe just more of The Idiot Brain.

Old State Library Building, Brisbane 


Wednesday I bought more credit so the experiment is over. 

Brisbane City Botanic Gardens 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Android App Review - Fuelio

+Fuelio  is a great utility app available on Android for logging your car fuel consumption and other costs such as insurance, repairs and maintenance. The app was so popular and well loved it was acquired in March 2015 by navigation app company Sygic. Pleasantly the Sygic has allowed the original developer Adrian Kajda to continue with development and product management rather than taking it all in house. As well as tracking your fuel top ups and consumption together with various car-related expenses, Fuelio also has many useful reports for gaining insights into your spending habits over various time periods and graphs to visualise the data.

Fuel Tracking and Reporting

Entering fuel is easy with the app showing your most recent odometer reading and calculating whichever of the fuel cost, total cost or amount of fuel you don't enter. Conveniently, you can still go back and edit any of the values - it will only auto-calculate the missing data once, which is what you'd want.

If you want, you can use the trip meter instead of the odometer reading, save the GPS location of the fill up (and report on it), and add a note.

The "(not set)" option in the Fuel type refers to the octane of the the petrol or the appropriate subtype of fuel based on the type for the car (diesel, ethanol, electric etc.)

So far though, I haven't found a way to include the fuel type in any reports, but it might be added in a future release.

With a full-tank fill up Fuelio will calculate the mileage between that fill up and the previous one, displaying it in green if it's more economical than the previous mileage calculation.

Cost Logging and Reporting

Fuelio has many built in cost categories such as insurance, tolls, maintenance, registration and you can add your own or delete those you're not using. In my case, I've created a CLUB cost category for the auto club memberships and of course I used the built in categories of SERVICE, REGISTRATION etc.  I like the segment graph of the various costs - it's handy to see an easy breakdown of costs of owning a vehicle.


The statistics are useful, providing averages, year-to-date, fill up and fuel statistics and km travelled.



You can visualise the costs of your fill-ups and costs in a line chart over selected periods. The line graph of fuel and fill up costs helps you see price trends, and I like the bar chart of monthly costs to find expensive months.

If these aren't enough, there's a dedicated Create Report function which you can choose a custom time period and get aggregated statistics for Costs or Fuel or both for that time period.

Other Features


A nice feature is a fuel economy calculator accessible from the home screen - enter the distance you plan to travel and the most recent millage (which the app of course can automatically surface for you) and Fuelio can calculate the cost for that distance. Apologies for the red tinge, I forgot I had Twilight running when I took the screenshots at night.

Syncing and Backup

Fuelio can backup it's data to Dropbox or Google Drive which I have used to sync to the tablet or of course you can restore to a new phone anyway. There is a new feature to sync between devices, presumably automatically (I haven't used it), but in the past I've just downloaded from Google Drive on the tablet as a spare copy for reference or something. Of course, I used the phone as the main device rather than the tablet.


If you have recurring costs like tire checks every X KM or services every year, Fuelio can also remind you about them as appropriate when you fill up.

Multiple Vehicles

I only have one car, but for those that have multiple you can track all of the above features separately for each car, and record notes like make, model, year and registration.

Final Thoughts

I've been a long time Fuelio user and have appreciated the regular updates from the developer and the thought they've put in to the features and functionality. The app uses the Material Design language so it fits in well to the Android ecosystem, and looks good too. There are also app shortcuts which the new Pixel Launcher and Action Launcher 3 have exposed or you can manually set shortcuts to go straight to the fill up or add cost screens - handy at the service station or repair shop. Fuelio is available on the Play Store and Fuelio has a friendly website with an FAQ.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A week without 3G - Day 7!

I guess that's a week now! My experiment is nearly over, of course I could continue crux of the matter. Though now I'm pretty used to it so I don't actually think I will. Maybe I'll cut back on this blogs though now at least.

Following is my Note from today (notes from the day in italics, in-place amendments in normal script):

Day 6
On the bus in, I switched to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, rather than the random Pocket articles on brain studies or motivation or life/relationships. 

I got a Facebook message from a friend via Wi-Fi just before I left the house, which I couldn't reply to. I'd have liked to, but it wasn't necessary because a) it's Facebook chat (IM shouldn't have an importance placed upon immediate replies anyway), and b) they know about this experiment anyway. 

I also wrote these notes. Which unfortunately caused me to stop reading the book. 

On the way back home I read more of the book from this morning, tried to play more of the game from Day 1 and also just thought some more.


Today, I didn't even turn on 3G once! Not even to receive an MMS or look up a map! I'm certainly getting better at choosing bus routes. I do think I'll try to keep 3G off more, and I like that the addiction to socmed has waned now.

To be honest... This whole thing started because I wanted to save power on my phone the night before I started the experiment and then I thought of doing the test, and blogging about it. How about that!

Sunset landing over Brisbane

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A week without 3G - Day 6

I'm getting pretty good at this no 3G thing! 6 days into the experiment and I only had to turn on 3G once because the Wi-Fi was playing up and I wanted to catch up on a chat. I'm not really going to count it because I would have used Wi-Fi anyway, but thought I'd be honest on here.

Again, on the bus I got more reading and thinking done!

My Facebook and Reddit addiction is waning too now.

Funnily enough, it'll take longer to find the unrelated cool photo of the day than it did to actually write the words of this post!

The Wheel of Brisbane. I've modified it for dramatic effect!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A week without 3G - Day 5

This dairy is getting boring because there isn't news today. My experiment to turn off 3G and document its effect continues and now I'm almost used to it. I've got some more bus routes sorted out, the only time I had to turn on 3G again was to receive an MMS (I turned it off afterwards).

Again, on the train, I read some saved articles on Pocket. I had no real reason to check Facebook or anything like that. I'm beginning to better separate my life away from social media and gather my thoughts. If nothing else I'm getting things read and other things worked on.

Random photo of the day is from one
Christmas decoration in Brisbane City

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A week without 3G - Day 4

Has it been 4 days of this experiment already!? So it has. (My experiment to see how my life is affected without the use of 3G internet on my phone and in what cases I'm forced to turn it back on.) (No notes taken during the day, this time since there was nothing to note down. Of course an unrelated picture for fun too.)

Again, today I was mostly at the coding event again, and again with Wi-Fi or "busy". (I use that term loosely because I didn't really achieve as much as I'd hoped.)

The one time when I needed 3G on my phone was for navigation and Google Voice control in the car, later on in the afternoon. Once I realised I was lost, I turned on data access on the phone so I could use voice directions to get myself unlost.

I didn't end up turning it off again, because once I got to the destination (a science and technology event), I was pretty busy looking around at the event and with friends so it didn't end up being a distraction anyway.


Today, 3G was useful for the navigation and voice control. I had a car GPS but it's hard to use and the Google Maps are much easier to use with intelligent searching. I think offline navigation with Google Maps is possible now, and also with other mapping applications. The voice control is useful while driving though - having said that, with planning just pull over and type out the message or open the navigation app!

Freemantle Maritime Museum in Western Australia.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Week Without 3G - Day 3

Continuing my experiment still, today wasn't much a problem without 3G (I took notes throughout the day when I had to turn 3G data back on or what I did instead):

Day 3
I was at a coding event today I haven't had to turn on 3G at all to check any timetables or anything. Once though, my friend sent me an MMS so I to turn on the carrier data to receive it. The rest of the day I was busy coding or on Wi-Fi anyway.


Of course, today I drove to the coding event and was on Wi-Fi or busy, so the lack of 3G data never really came up apart from when my phone couldn't download the MMS picture from the carrier's network. (I guess if you're on Wi-Fi, when the MMS comes through, the phone normally just temporarily turns data services back on in the background to receive the MMS.)

Fancy pants cupcake in front of a fire at an outdoor night market!