Definition of Torrents the Beginners Guide to Using Usenet
How To Use Usenet, A Beginners Guide
2013 BitTorrent Inc. has Launched BitTorrent Sync a Syncing Service to Compete with Dropbox. BitTorrent software is completely legal.
BitTorrent Sync is a service for syncing files between devices. The new service is very much like Dropbox but with one major difference: it doesn't store any files on anyone else's servers. In fact, it doesn't store any files anywhere in the cloud. It only copies files directly from one computer you own to another computer you own (or to a friend's computer that you explicitly allow into your personal "network") without intermediate storage anywhere else. This is accomplished by using peer-to-peer technology: all files are copied directly from one of your computers to another of your computers with no intermediate servers involved.
Usenet is considered to be the most “private” way to share files. Fact is, your ISP can monitor all of you search requests and whatever downloads pass through your connection, unless you encrypt.
If your newsgroups are provided by your ISP they will be maintaining logs of access, and can be forced to turn them over to whomever requests them – whether that's police, or the RIAA and MPAA.
The only way you can pretty much ensure anonymity is by using an encrypted service, by tunneling, and making sure that you're covered both on the request and on the reception of files.
Some anonymity methods such as proxy use, still leave you vulnerable, so know what you're doing.
The reason why Usenet hosting providers don't get in trouble for distributing this content, it's obviously due to the decentralization and legislation difficulty of the Internet, and also the DMCA. As long as the providers respond to "takedown requests" by the copyright holders within a reasonable amount of time, their operation is legal since they remain unaware of whether data transferred in and out of their service is being redistributed unlawfully. These takedown requests take resources to file, and lawyers tend to target the more public, obvious places to scare people into never downloading anything ever again.
1) Usenet servers are not free. You need some kind of paid subscription plan to be able to get decent speeds on Usenet.Try http://usenetserver.com does a 3 day $3 trial.
2) For those who are new to Usenet try a free trial at Binverse. This give you all the tools to start downloading from Usenet quickly, and guarantees fast downloads. Binverse has its own built in search engine and a custom download client. A premium service will always cost a few bucks.
Learn Usenet. (Guide)
Usenet is an extremely fast, powerful way to download media online. It is relatively unknown compared to the popular BitTorrent, but kicks it to the curb in terms of speed, instant gratification, and user experience. In this tutorial your will learn how to get started.
Warning: Don't bother with this if you aren't willing to pay $15-ish a month for this service. If you want to jump straight to a walkthrough, click here.
What you'll find on Usenet
Legal: Old people flaming each other, your creepy neighbor posting horrible Alvin and the Chipmunks slashfic, Linux ISOs, some book collections, porn sites flooding XXX groups with watermarked pictures that they own
Illegal: Full ROM sets for every system imaginable, DVD's of every movie and TV show imaginable, HD resolution captures of TV shows, full high-bitrate MP3 albums, DVD's of all the latest console games, cracked versions of operating systems and software, eBooks, and A LOT of porn (which, by the way, is still copyrighted). Basically all forms of media that are or can be digitized have been pirated on Usenet.
Why Usenet is better than BitTorrent
BitTorrent is a very popular way of pirating media online. You've probably heard of it. Its popularity is driven by large public tracker sites like The Pirate Bay http://thepiratebay.org However, there are many key differences in pirating content with BitTorrent vs. Usenet.
BitTorrent is great for the following two general categories:
- Large legal files that are freely redistributable (e.g. Linux ISOs)
- Obscure content you can't find on Usenet (e.g. a very specific rare Nickelodeon TV show or a rare indie album) (One of these days I'll give a rundown of all the places you can go to get those more rare things...)
The Usenet Difference:
- Much faster. Since you're on a pay service, you're getting premium bandwidth from a central point. On BitTorrent, you can only hope that other nodes in the cloud are going to be fast.
- No concern about seeds. Usenet keeps everything in a central point, as if you're constantly downloading at high speed from a single seeder. On BitTorrent, if a seed leaves the cloud or never comes, you may never complete downloading the file. We all know what that feels like, and it sucks.
- Anonymity. With a good hosting provider, what you are downloading is kept completely private. On BitTorrent, everything you do is tracked by multiple people at once, which could include people ready and willing to attempt to fuck you over.
- Much more lawful. Hopefully what you're downloading are things you already own. If you were to use BitTorrent to download these possibly copyrighted materials, you'd be assisting in its distribution, which is illegal and can result in a small disaster for you and your dorm room when the MPAA and DMCA bust up in there and tag-team your cornhole.
- Much easier to find things. Searching indexing sites like Newzbin will result in nicely built posts that have been tested by editors in the community. BitTorrent is in a very messy state at this point, with tons of 12-year-olds uploading torrents all over the place with trojans in them and mislabeling that Linkin Park album you wanted, so you end up with a bunch of mariachi band music.
Getting Started: Hosting
I suppose the biggest problem for most people wanting to get involved with Usenet is that it is going to cost money. ISP's have caught on in recent years, and now it is very rare to find an ISP that actually keeps binary groups listed on their Usenet servers. Even if you do find such an ISP, their servers may only store 2 or 3 days of data, far less than what you'd get from a paid Usenet hosting account.
An unlimited bandwidth package could run you, say, $15 a month, and a good indexing site will run about $3 a month. If you do a lot of downloading, especially of things that are time-critical (i.e., you enjoy instant gratification), then it is very much worth this cost.
Concerned about spending money on this? Worried someone will take down your hosting provider and map your downloads to your personally identifiable information from your credit card? That's valid. However, most Usenet hosting companies are very strict about keeping your privacy. When looking for a Usenet host, you are probably going to want a provider that does not keep any logs of what their users are downloading.
3) The Alternative Solution Download Grabit here. Double click the downloaded file and proceed to install. When installing make sure 'Associate Grabit with NZB files' is selected. Before clicking “Finish” select “Launch Grabit”. If you missed this look for the grabit icon on the desktop and double click it. Once launched you'll be asked to enter the name of your usenet server. If you have a premium server (highly recommended, e.g. a free trial at Binverse) select the check box and press next. If you selected the checkbox you'll then be asked for your news server username and password. Enter them and press next. - Continued
Getting Started: Indexing Sites - "binaries" aka files
When you hear people talking about "binaries" on Usenet, they're talking about files. It doesn't necessarily mean a program; it just means files. It could be images, ZIP archives, RAR archives, whatever. All of the stuff you're looking for is most likely stored in binaries groups, which are conveniently indexed by several sites on the web (but not Google). These sites are a lot like The Pirate Bay or TorrentSpy, since they will be the place where you search for your downloads, but not where you actually pull the data.
These indexing sites make things a LOT easier for you, because you don't have to wade through a single group's millions of postings and group them together yourself. The indexing sites create special instruction files called NZB's (sort of like a .torrent file) that you can then pop into a client of your choice so all the work is done for you.
Internet's best, indexing site is Newzbin.com. Newzbin requires an invitation from an existing member to join but has a community of editors that put together groups of posts, so you can be sure a post is complete and will work properly when you download it. They also have a commenting system for the posts, so you can pick up some feedback from other people that downloaded the post. Newzbin has kind of a funky payment plan where you pay once every 8 weeks, and it's only 2 Euros (a little under $3 USD).
- NZBMatrix free.
- alt.binaries.nl - Nowhere near the editorial control of Newzbin, but a large index. Need to be a bit tech-savvy to understand what's going on here.
- binsearch.info - Simple usenet index with no real editorial control. You have to select posts to create NZB files. Useful if you can get the hang of wading through raw Usenet headers.
- TVNZB - editorialized NZBs for TV Shows.
SABnzbd+ runs a resident program (in Windows it sits in your taskbar, in OS X it's an app in the dock, and on Linux it's just... there) that runs a web server on your local machine. All interactions are done in your web browser in a web dashboard. Configuration is done with user-friendly menus in the web interface, and there are lots of little bells and whistles. Perhaps the most useful thing in SABnzbd is the ability to simply drop a Post ID from a Newzbin report in a box on the dashboard to begin a download. If you're savvy enough, you can achieve this with a Firefox bookmarklet in one click.
hellanzb command-line solution - a free, open-source command-line NZB client written in Python.
NZBPlayer from http://www.nzbplayer.com
For configuration and to learn about all the awesome features of SABnzbd+, check out their excellent Quick Setup guide on their Wiki. And be sure to set the number of concurrent connections in the server configuration to the maximum your provider allows. Newshosting allows 8. If you don't set this right, you may get slower-than-optimal speeds. Also, if you have any issues with your connection to the provider, your hosting will often provide specific port numbers (like 80 and 23) to use so you can make the traffic a bit more firewall-friendly (see the members section of Astraweb once you've signed up).
If you're using SABnzbd, it typically will do all the work needed to repair and unarchive any archived files you may have downloaded.
At this point, you either have the files you were looking for, or you might have a bunch of files like "r00, r01, r02" or ".001, .002, .003". These are pieces of a broken-up RAR archive, which you can open up using any number of decompression utilities (for Windows, use 7-Zip, OS X, use UnrarX, Linux, use unrar).
Although usually when you pull data from Usenet with a verified NZB (like from Newzbin) the data integrity will be pretty solid, there will sometimes be cases where you might be missing a piece or some pieces are incomplete. Luckily we have PAR to help us out.
Most posts, especially large ones, will bundle some special parity files that are downloaded first. Depending on the size of the post you're downloading, there may only be the initial PAR file (*.PAR), or you may have several (*.PAR, *.P01, *.P02, etc). These files give you an opportunity to rebuild any lost data, so long as you have most of the other pieces. Wikipedia
Programs that help you fix broken posts using PAR files.
- Windows: QuickPar is free, fully-featured, and has plenty of helpful information on its website.
- OS X/Linux: par2cmdline is a free command-line tool to fix that broken data (and, if you want, create PAR files of your own). However, hellanzb, mentioned above, already handles PAR files all by itself. Protip: just use that.
Basic WalkthroughLet's say I'm looking for a Metallica album, and I haven't signed up for anything yet. I would:
- Get an Astraweb "DSL Unlimited" account ($11/month)
- Sign up for Newzbin, give myself premium credit, and set my account preferences to show search results for 80 days (thus the results will match the retention of my hosting account)
- Download SABnzbd+, start it up, and configure its settings with same account settings at Astraweb and Newzbin
- Search Newzbin for "Metallica"
- Click on the album I wanted
- Drop the Report ID (in the URL, also printed on the page in a few places) in SABnzbd's web interface
- Wait for the download to complete.
- Delete the music that was just downloaded for this How To Excercise demo