My Karma Go: Five Months of Use

I finally got my Karma Go mobile hotspot and it was a little bit magical. After several months of steady use, I thought it’d be a good time to share and reflect on how I’ve used the thing.

TL;DR

  • 3.4GB total data used — 0.9GB uploaded, 2.4GB downloaded
  • 19 guests, total of 1.9GB in earned data
  • 10 Karma Go purchase referrals — thus far bought 20GB extra data (Karma occasionally runs Buy-N-Get-N data promotions, which are great with the referral cash)

With my usage, you can make the case that it pays for itself (especially if you refer folks! if you want one, save some money by using my referral)

Anecdotes

I don’t use my Karma every day — maybe 3 days a week, with downtime for holidays (see the drop in December usage) and whenever I work from home. I would include a stat about “days using Karma”, but unfortunately Karma doesn’t expose per-day data beyond the past month or so.

I feel like guests aren’t uncommon, seems to happen once a week-ish. My train ride is commuter-heavy, and lots of folks already have hotspots, but I suspect airport riders from Millbrae are my main audience. Occasionally I’ll catch an earlier non-commute train on the way home, and I feel like I get more hop-ons those days.

I even have guests outside of the train rides. Last week I used my Karma at a lunch join and, to my surprise, a guest appeared. Maybe they thought it was the restaurant’s network? One of the more “magical” experiences lately.

Data Empathy

Over the past five months, I’ve developed a newfound awareness of how much data our applications use without our explicit consent. Things like iMessage and Dropbox routinely synchronize in the background, and unless you’re on a metered data plan you don’t really pay attention.

I’ve read proposals for APIs that let developers figure out whether a user is on a metered plan, but I’ve rarely seen them discussed.

Tools

I found TripMode to the best application for throttling unwanted network traffic, but it doesn’t play well with my developer tools or work for every application. It often blocks access to my command-line programs, even if they’re just broadcasting on localhost. There might be a way to fix it, but it’s been more expedient to just stop using it.

I definitely suggest the Block Image Chrome extension. There are several extensions that “hide” images, but as far as I know this is the one that prevents images from downloading.

Wishes

I wish Karma made some kind of toolbar app to show my usage, without having to go to their website or use the mobile app. It would also be cool if Karma made their own bandwidth control application ala TripMode, or allowed you to throttle traffic at the router level.


Maybe this got lost in all the data, but I’m stupidly happy with my Karma. It’s invaluable. At my current usage rate, I have enough extra data to last years. Leave responses or notes if you have any questions!

Here’s an invite link to get your own Karma at a discount.