Measure your bandwidth use

Mar 05, 2009 By Anne Krishnan

Q. With more Internet providers starting or threatening to start limiting and charging for bandwidth usage, it would be useful to have some idea of how much bandwidth I use per month. How can this be determined?

A. Several ISPs have threatened to place limits on monthly bandwidth, which measures the amount of data users transfer over the Internet. While Time Warner and AT&T are looking at pricing their services based on bandwidth used, Comcast's strategy is to slow down the connections of bandwidth hogs during peak hours.

This is mainly to curb the activity of people who download and upload lots of large files such as videos and music. If you mainly use the Internet to search the Web and check your e-mail, you don't have much cause for concern.

However, with more and more people watching TV shows online, videoconferencing with family and playing games with friends across the country or the world, using lots of bandwidth is getting easier every day.

As Cisco Systems put it in an Internet traffic forecast last June, "today's 'bandwidth hog' is tomorrow's average user."

Luckily, there are a number of tools available to help you monitor your bandwidth use. Two popular ones are BitMeter and SurplusMeter.

BitMeter II, a free application available for Windows only, keeps track of real-time usage and can be set to alert you when you've reached a specified percentage of your bandwidth allotment.

SurplusMeter, a free program available for Mac OS X, keeps track of your bandwidth use and allows you to set a monthly limit (and pick the months to match your billing cycle). The program also calculates a daily bandwidth allowance that it reconfigures based on actual use as you go through the month.

Download them both at CNET's Download.com.

___

In my last column, I suggested a program that would help a Mac user capture still images from a DVD. Several readers wrote in with suggestions about how PC users could do the same.

"PC users do not need a program, as every Windows operating system since version 3.1 has had this capability," wrote Richard Miller of Cary, N.C. He instructs:

• Start by playing your DVD in full-screen mode.

• When you get to the image you want to copy, pause the DVD. On your keyboard, press the Alt and PrtSc (print screen) keys together. This puts the image on your screen onto your clipboard.

• Open the Paint program by going to the "Start" menu, "All Programs" and "Accessories." Hit Ctrl-V or select "Paste" from the "Edit" menu to create the image you selected.

• Next, save the image to your hard drive by selecting "File," then "Save As."

The default format is bitmap (.bmp), but you can select other formats, as well.

Once the file is saved, you can then open it in photo-editing software such as Photoshop or Picasa.

Depending on the software, you may be able to completely bypass the use of Paint and paste the image from the clipboard directly onto a new canvas, he said.

By the way, in Macs, you can create a screen shot by pressing command+shift+3, points out Gary Pearce of Cary. Control+ command+shift+3 copies the image to your clipboard for pasting into a photo-editing program.

Finally, David A. Smith, a math professor emeritus at Duke University, suggests free software called Jing to capture images on a PC or a Mac.

After installing the software, just pause the DVD on the relevant picture, grab it with a click on the Jing icon and save it as a .png file.

The open source .png file type combines all the best features of .jpg and .gif files, Smith said. You can find Jing at jingproject.com.

___

(Think you can stump the geeks? Send your high-tech question to stumpthegeeks at newsobserver.com. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number. Individual replies are not given.)

___

(c) 2009, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.).
Visit The News & Observer online at www.newsobserver.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Democratizing science with high speed networks

Apr 01, 2014

In the burgeoning world of nanotechnology, researchers see many potentially useful properties at the interfaces of materials called metal oxides—from magnetoresistance (the reason a hard drive can write ...

In the eye of the beholder

Jan 24, 2014

Astrobiologists are developing 'intelligent' instruments that could help future robotic explorers make their own decisions about where and how to collect data. Although focused on Mars exploration for the ...

Kinect@Home crowdsources for 3-D models

Aug 30, 2012

(Phys.org)—An open source undertaking called Kinect@Home offers the world a deal: "Users get access to 3-D models they can embed anywhere on the internet, and we use this data to create better computer vision algorithms." ...

NASA's Deep Space Network turns 50

Dec 19, 2013

NASA's Deep Space Network, the world's largest and most powerful communications system for "talking to" spacecraft, will reach a milestone on Dec. 24: the 50th anniversary of its official creation.

If the tech fits, wear it

Oct 16, 2013

The digital domain is creeping off our desktops and onto our bodies, from music players that match your tunes to your heart beat to mood sweaters that change color depending on your emotional state.

Recommended for you

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

6 hours ago

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

Apr 18, 2014

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

Apr 16, 2014

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...