Few usb mobile modem dongle questions

re. usb vodafone (uk) mobile broadband dongle:

three questions:

  • using some tcp command line tool some time ago on my computer connected to the net by normal broadband i realised there’s loads of network background noise; numerous tcp connections, or at least attempted connections, coming from god knows where. would such connections sap the dongle’s credits? i guess yes, as it is activity, stuff being sent backwards and forwards, and the dongle use is charged by the amount of data. would there be any way to block that do you reckon? (unplugging it, or turning it off even programmatically is not an option for how i want to use it – i want to leave it connected indefinitely)

  • do you reckon the sim card’s credits, how much is left, is available programmatically on the device the dongle is connected to?

  • in the blurb on that amazon page it says

Requires a laptop or PC with Microsoft Windows XP or Vista / at least 50 MB of free disk space and 128 MB RAM. Mac support: Please note that the VF TopUp and Go mobile broadband does not currently support the Apple Mac.
and
PLEASE NOTE THAT VF TOPUP AND GO MOBILE BROADBAND WILL NOT SUPPORT THE APPLE MAC AT LAUNCH ON DEC 1. Apple macs will be supported in late release in march 2009

some years ago i remember isp’s, this was back in dial up days i think, saying their internet connections were not mac compatible. what it actually was was their supplied software which set it up for you wasn’t for a mac, but all you needed to do was plug in the right info (number, user name, password etc.) manually into the right places in the OS and all was fine. do you reckon this may be a similar issue? or do you think some proper software is required to use the modem dongle? the later release being compatible with a mac mentioned in the quoted text above isn’t so useful as it seems later releases of this device the credits expire, e.g. from one of the comments on one of the reviews on that amazon page:

If you get the 1GB £15 topup stick there will be no 30 day limit. The 30 day limit is for the version with “R” on the product number and these were rolled out after Xmas. The older sticks without the “R” will have the old tarriff.

i definitely don’t want to get the ones whose credits expire.

thanks.

You’ll get a Vodafone Software control panel to install that tells you the data being uploaded and downloaded (plus speed) and can check your “balance” any time you are “connected” (online) via the Vodafone Mobile Connect control panel.

Obviously you can use the software to disconnect or connect to the internet but probably what it doesn’t tell you is you’ll have “Content Filtering” enabled by default. So if you want that unblocking you need to prove you are aged 18, i.e. credit card or something like a UK driving licence.

You also pay in £15.00 amounts to top-up the last time I looked it was something like 90-days of inactivity after the initial £15.00 of starter credit was used before it would expire.