Ruby script to retrieve and display Comcast data usage

Update (2011-04-03): Comcast’s user account pages now appear to require JavaScript, which makes it impossible to scrape the usage data using a simple script. As a result, this script no longer works.

Comcast has often advertised their high speed Internet service as providing “unlimited” data transfer, but when they say “unlimited”, what they really mean is “limited to 250GB a month”.

Just before the new year, Comcast finally rolled out a data usage meter to users in the Portland, Oregon area so we can actually tell when we’re in danger of exceeding that 250GB ceiling. I find this usage meter incredibly helpful in achieving my goal of using as much of my monthly 250GB data allotment as I possibly can. I feel it’s my duty to get my full money’s worth.

Unfortunately, the meter is buried several pages deep in Comcast’s account site, which is a slow and ugly beast that requires a login, several redirects, and a click or two. So I whipped up a little Ruby script to do the dirty work for me and just print out my current usage total.

Before using the script, you’ll need to install the Mechanize gem:

gem install mechanize

Here’s the script:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'rubygems'
require 'mechanize'


abort "Usage: #{$0} <username> <password>" unless ARGV.length == 2

agent =

agent.follow_meta_refresh = true
agent.redirect_ok = true
agent.user_agent = 'Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; en-US; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6'

login_page = agent.get(URL_LOGIN)

login_form = login_page.form_with(:name => 'signin')
login_form.user = ARGV[0]
login_form.passwd = ARGV[1]

redirect_page = agent.submit(login_form)
redirect_form = redirect_page.form_with(:name => 'redir')

abort 'Error: Login failed' unless redirect_form

account_page = agent.submit(redirect_form, redirect_form.buttons.first)

users_page = agent.get(URL_USERS)
usage_text ="div[@class='usage-graph-legend']").first.content

puts usage_text.strip

Save it to an executable file (I called it capmon.rb), then run it like so, passing in your username and password (they’ll be sent securely over HTTPS):

./capmon.rb myusername mypass

The script will log into your Comcast account, go through all those painful redirects and clicks, and eventually spit out your usage stats, which will look something like this:

166GB of 250GB

Couldn’t be simpler! Naturally, this script won’t work for you unless you’re a Comcast customer in a region where the usage meter is currently available. Also, the script will break if Comcast changes their login flow or page structure, but I’ll try to keep this post updated if that happens.

This script is available as a GitHub gist as well. If you’d like to modify it and make it better, please fork the gist.