Or at least, for now, I think I have the answer (thanks to the Q&A and research noted below). I now have a computer that does not reach out to the Internet until I ask it to do so (we will see how periodic auto updates do [which I am ok with])... ahh finally the soothing tranquil sound of an Internet quiet machine at boot/start and shut down (still talks to router, broadcasts ect. Ok with that)
The following is what I did. I will explain it as best I can, and will not get into the merits of why one should, or should not do this. I don’t want to get into it with anyone regarding what traffic they are OK with their computer doing behind the scenes. This post is not intended to be a “freak out” session or imply that Canonical's phones-to-home and NTP checks are evil, sinister or anything of the sort. I asked these questions for a specific reason and I thank all of you who responded with tips, suggestions, and information. I found most of it very helpful and learned from some of it (popcon.ubuntu.com - gone; another bites the dust).
The Solution (so far, at least)
Figuring that some of the traffic was clock related and usage related, I continued researching the subject and came up with the websites referenced below (credit where credit is due). I believe the culprit here is a program called Zeitgeist. It sits around on your computer and monitors the user. It, along with some nasty co-conspirators called GeoClue and geoip, feverishly work to compile info about the user. The bandits collect, statistic-izes, package, and ship off what your doing to Canonical (oh, ...and they keep your time right, in case you're warping through a wormhole). Then (not before), I believe, Canonical makes the data anonymous and stores it for their usage needs (debug, develop, commercial, or otherwise). Either way it's got to go.
sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist zeitgeist-core zeitgeist-datahub python-zeitgeist \
rhythmbox-plugin-zeitgeist geoclue geoclue-ubuntu-geoip geoip-database
running that ultimately removed:
activity-log-manager activity-log-manager-control-center geoclue
geoclue-ubuntu-geoip geoip-database libunity-webapps0 python-zeitgeist
rhythmbox-plugin-zeitgeist unity-webapps-common unity-webapps-service
xul-ext-unity xul-ext-websites-integration zeitgeist zeitgeist-core
A bunch of stuff I could live without. In an anticipation that it would “break” unity, I put on “flashback” and Gnome Shell for a few other options. But as it turns out to my surprise, Unity still works! No errors. Time is looking good, Dash works (minus the bloated web searches/live searches/lense searches as desired) I have not (yet) be forced off unity.
sudo gedit /etc/default/ntpdate
and on the first line;
put an end to NTPD requests (juniperberry, golem, ect)
The referenced sites below talk about possibly removing Whoopsie too, but I kept that in for now, since you usually invoke the transmission at the time of the problem. (emphasis … for now.)
So there you go! Now a nice quiet start to my computer in the network neighborhood! Thanks again for all your comments and help guys. I will keep an eye on this, and if the problem returns, perhaps you'll be hearing from me. Good luck if you try this.
Strange connections by gvfsd-http --spawner