Android Cellular Data Minimalism Strategies

Following are some notes about getting by with a limited monthly 100MB data plan with an Android smartphone. To be expanded as I get more familiar with the platform.

Rough daily data metric is (monthlyData – emergencyData) * 12 / 365, or about 2.63MB per day in my situation.

Set up billing cycle and cap information in Data Usage panel: You can configure Android to shut off Cellular data entirely when a certain threshold is reached.

Blacklist bandwidth-hungry Apps from using Cellular data in the background: also available in the Data Usage panel. Watch for any anomalies day-to-day, and blacklist misbehaving apps.

Pre-filtered web browsing: Chrome and Opera Mini can be configured to minimize image sizes via intermediary proxy servers. Opera Mini can strip out images entirely. Probably not good for any sensitive information, but OK for a quick trivia search.

Google Docs syncing is an incredible hog: Watch out for cloud syncing. Docs uses significant bandwidth to download/upload even a simple todo list.

(e 2017/Feb/13: Emergency data)

SNES Slap Bass

Don’t ask me why I did this, but some time ago I found the BRR sample for that silly slap bass instrument used in early SNES games (you know, the bwoo bwoo bwoo one), and did a pattern search on the entire archive for files containing a portion of it.

I remembered this sound as being kind of ubiquitous and inescapable on the system, but to my surprise, there weren’t as many matches as I thought there would be. 27 out of over 1500 SPC sets.

There were a few problems with my methodology:

  • The sample could be in an SPC file (in SNES sound RAM) but never actually be used by a track.
  • The sample could be modified slightly, still be recognizable as the bwoo bwoo bwoo we all love/hate, but still no direct match would be detected.
  • Any SNES soundtrack that is incompatible with the SPC dump format (ie any game that uploads new audio data mid-track) won’t be in the archive and therefore won’t be detected.

As an example: there is a slap bass sample in ActRaiser (Filmore) that sounds very similar, but didn’t count as a match. I’m not sure if it’s the same sample though. Paperboy 2 also seemed to dodge the list. Bwoo bwoo bwoo.

I could be missing significantly more, then. In any case, here is the list:

Darius Twin
Dungeon Master
Gan Gan Ganchan
Genjuu Ryodan
Hit the Ice
Hokuto no Ken 6
John Madden Football
Magic Johnson's Super Slam Dunk
Michael Jordan - Chaos in the Windy City
Might and Magic 2 (Japanese Version)
Mega Man X
PGA Tour Golf
Raiden Densetsu
Shinseiki Odysselya
Sonic Blastman
Soul Blazer
Spark World
Super E.D.F. - Earth Defense Force
Super Off Road
Super Soccer Champ
Vs. Collection
World Class Rugby

And here’s a list of matches for the individual SPC files.

(e 19/Mar/2017: Wording)

MIDI Masquerade

In 2015, someone posted a very large collection of MIDI files to Reddit, numbering at around 130,000 files total. I just downloaded and extracted it and I have now become this man.

Many of these files are transcriptions of pop, classical music, and video game soundtracks, dutifully sequenced by fans. Others are pretty awesome original works. Still others are just a single melody or set of chords.

It’s fun to pick a mid file at random, and if you like the track, to try and find out more about what it is, if it’s a cover of something, etc.

Some random picks:

  • ParadiseIsland.mid (Michael Walthius – Adventures on Paradise Island)
  • Streetlife-1.mid (The Crusaders – Street Life)
  • z2lapse.mid (LamSon Nguyen VanLam – Two Lapses)

But let me get to the main topic of this post. For whatever reason, some files that were not MIDI sequences were renamed .mid, and ended up in these internet collections. I guess people running MIDI repository sites weren’t very concerned about screening their files.

Here are some finds:

  • sou.mid – compressed archive containing what appears to be promotional content for a Japanese cop show.

  • how_do_i_live.mid – just an MP3 file. Spotted because it’s the largest file in the set.
  • horse03.mid WAV sample – Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • hiatt.mid WAV sample – John Hiatt- Drive South
  • Amanda Wilson – Gotta Let You Go.mid – simply contains the ASCII text “file does not exist”
  • stereo.mid – WAV sample – “This is a journey into sound. A journey which along the way will bring to you new color, new dimension, new values.”
  • Somebody2.mid – dead hyperlink to an MP3 version of Somebody Help Me.

OK, so the only really intriguing one so far is the zip file with Japanese cop show stuff in it. Will add more to this post if I find anything worth highlighting.

1/5/2017 – Most standard MIDI files begin with either “MThd” or “RIFF” as a header identifier. Need to do some more culling, but a quick search for files that don’t match either header yielded around 1000 results.

19/Mar/2017 – Here are some more finds. I think I’ve satisfied my curiosity, and probably won’t come back to this. I just think it’s interesting how tiny bits and pieces of different things all over the world found their way into this collection.

  • andyl15.mid – Old 404 HTML page for the long-defunct web host

  • saluetg.mid – HTML page belonging to ‘The MIDI Farm’.
  • SUPPORT.MID – BBS listings for DMP / Dual Module Player, a module tracker program.
  • TwistAndShout2.mid – Someone’s HTML page about the Beatles’ Please Please Me, presumably a MIDI version of the album.
  • island2.mid – HTML page from “Miss Pita’s Domain”, a Geocities site circa 2000, now long gone. “Edited entirely by WebTv” is proudly displayed at the top. Here’s a mirror of the original site — though this one is a bit different.
  • hall_wee.mid – Multi-part MIME file with a couple of MIDIs based on the Halloween soundtrack (judith.mid and laurie.mid, already in the collection). Includes a promising warning at the top:
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Do NOT listen to this music at midnight with all the lights off in the =
house. I did once and my friend came VERY fucking close to making me =
shit my pants.
  • F242.MID – This is a tracker module — a different sequencing format that includes instrument samples. F242 refers to German electronic group Front 242, which this module samples (per the internal notes).
  • bark.mid – NeXT Sound File of a dog barking.
  • swans.mid – NeXT Sound File, 19 second excerpt of a song I haven’t identified.
  • meg.mid – Shin Megami Tensei “BMS” music pack. Looping samples and a header file containing sequence data. My understanding is that this would be imported into a rhythm game.
  • bumble_b.mid – Seems to be a system component of an old version of Windows, maybe 3.0 or 3.1. References to EMS and various Windows file paths and fonts.
  • amc.mid – BMS package, similar to meg.mid above.
  • DAYSOF.MID – Sampled tracker module, like F242.MID above.
  • c04014.mid – Text file. Appears to be lyrics for a pop song by Taiwanese duo Ukulele – 《不知所措》 優客李林
  • JOYWRLD.mid – 
  • bluegrass.mid – 
  • absence_of_fear.mid – 
  • two_of_us.mid – 


And here’s a false positive: andshewas.mid is a valid MIDI file. Something prepended a text header to the top — it works if you delete that from the file.

(e:25/Mar/2017: wording)

Cave Noire


Konami’s 1991 Cave Noire is a bite-sized dungeon crawler for the original Game Boy. Released in Japan only, it seems to have come and gone without much notice, outside of a small following on the internet. With minimal story and randomized dungeons, it can be considered a cut-down take on the Roguelike genre, with an emphasis on evading monsters.


Cave Noire has four dungeons with 10 difficulty levels each. Each dungeon uses mostly the same creatures and chamber data, but they have unique background tilesets, and the win conditions are different.

Once a dungeon’s win conditions are met, you need to find an escape door and get out alive. Completing difficulty level 1 of a dungeon will let you play level 2, and so on, up to the tenth level (called M). You win the game by completing difficulty level 6 of every dungeon, but you can continue beyond that, up to M if you want.

You can travel down a floor by using a staircase tile, or by dropping down a pit, but you cannot return to a previous floor. The dungeons vary between short floors with one or two chambers, and larger floors with up to about 8 chambers. Monster and item information is persistent for as long as you are on a floor, so if you dropped a health potion in a previous room, it will still be there on your return. While the dungeons do have a bottom floor, it is very unlikely that you will ever get there before you die or fulfill your win conditions.


cn_quest_1Dungeon 1: Defeat Monsters

You’re given a quota of monsters to destroy. On higher levels, this quota gets pretty high, and you need to pick your battles carefully.


cn_quest_2Dungeon 2: Collect Gold

Strangely, gold has no purpose in Cave Noire outside of this one quest — there is nothing to spend it on. Gold is found in treasure chests, lying on the ground in some rooms, and is occasionally dropped by the tougher enemies when defeated. Larger batches of gold are found on lower levels of the dungeon.


cn_quest_3Dungeon 3: Collect Orbs (Goblets)

Pick up a certain number of orb / goblet items and escape the dungeon. This might be the most challenging quest, because the orbs that you collect will occupy your inventory slots, squeezing out useful spells and potions. On the ‘M’ difficulty, the required orbs will take up your entire inventory.


cn_quest_4Dungeon 4: Rescue Fairies

Locate keys in the dungeon, and then use them to free captive Fairies. Rescuing a Fairy will destroy all enemies and partially remove fog from the screen.



Cave Noire features monsters with variable sizes, such as dragons that occupy four tiles, and different movement patterns. Some of them chase the player, while others patrol vertically or horizontally, or move in a small circle, or hug the walls.

Monsters will attack when you are adjacent to them, or retaliate after you strike them first. But you can also evade monsters indefinitely, even if they are right behind you, as long as you keep moving.

loop1 loop2



Periodically, you will find yourself on a dark or foggy floor. The fog masks all terrain hazards, and enemies are harder to identify (they’re drawn as a pair of cliche “evil eyes” when on a fog tile). When you move, any fog around your eight neighboring cells will be lifted. You have to tread carefully through fog so as not to fall down a hole (travel to next floor and take 4 damage), fall into lava (instant death), or get cornered by a monster.

Some resources on the game:

Monster GIFs

To the best of my knowledge, this is every enemy in the game:

cn_enemy_stationarycn_enemy_zombie cn_enemy_spider cn_enemy_skeleton cn_enemy_knight cn_enemy_minotaur

cn_enemy_mimic cn_enemy_ghost cn_enemy_gas cn_enemy_grim_reaper cn_pointer cn_fire

cn_crab_small  cn_enemy_centipede cn_enemy_stump

cn_enemy_big_bat cn_goblins_framerate_fix cn_enemy_giant_enemy_crab

cn_serpent cyclops

 cn_enemy_hydra  cn_enemy_big_guy_recropped

cn_enemy_big_dragon_white_framerate_fix cn_enemy_dragon_dark

cn_dragon_more cn_another_dragon


(e 24/Sept/2016: wording)
(e 18/Nov/2017: wording)