The Usenet Club

First rule of Usenet. We do not talk about Usenet. Second rule of…

In the left corner, weighing in since 1979, the king of distributed systems, I give to you – Usenet! An old internet relic being streamlined and rapidly changing into an unstoppable juggernaut of file-sharing. It almost feels like a Rocky Balboa comeback, and the perfect example of how the old uncool becomes the new cool.

Usenet started out as a worldwide discussion system consisting of thousands of so called newsgroups availible on a huge network of servers across the globe. Its creation actually predates the Internet. Users post what’s called articles in the various groups and can read what others have posted. Now in the old days this system was pretty much only text-based, and you may wonder how that is going to help you and your digital home in this modern day and age? Well, I told you it was rapidly changing didn’t I? Today Usenet has newsgroups containing binary files (which is just a nerdy word for saying media like images, sound and video).For various technical reasons there is no point in diving into Usenet handles files in smaller sizes. Now you may have downloaded something using BitTorrent and been annoyed at how the uploader did it with 42 different .rar files each 20 MB large? This is because that file originally came from Usenet. And since you’re a bright bugger you now start to realize the file was availible first on Usenet, then later on BitTorrent.

Moving from file availability to speed, we notice another thing that’s great about Usenet. In a BitTorrent world your download speed is generally dependent on the uploaders internet speed, meaning you can’t really press the petal to the metal. In Usenet we’re dealing with server farms and as such we more or less have the full power of Internet at our disposal. The limit to speed is now only your own internet connection, not your neighbor’s.

And then you might wonder if upload speeds doesn’t affect overall speed, then you aren’t really uploading anything are you? Correct observation my dear Watson. With Usenet you don’t have to upload anything at all, someone else somewhere else has done that for you, so feel free to just leech away as much as you like. In addition to that most Usenet providers also offers SSL encryption on your download. Now take a moment and let this information sink in.

Not only are you not uploading, you are also downloading over a secure and encrypted connection making it impossible to tell what you are downloading. Almost every single case where somone is being sued for milllions over copyright issues it is because of sharing their media. Sharing like by using BitTorrent. With Usenet you don’t have to share a thing. Do I need to re-iterate the impact of all this?

Okay so what is the drawback then? Well Usenet is a paid service, ranging from around 15 to 30 dollars a month. As to why people don’t use it? Well mostly because they are cheap and plain stupid. As cool brat-nerds we don’t settle for anything but the best, the fastest, the most secure aswell as the most reliable. We wholeheartedly believe in the old saying you get what you pay for. BitTorrent is free, offers none of the above and your ISP will log all your activity. Now what’s your choice?

There are a multitude of Usenet providers out there, but I’m only going to mention two. Giganews and Astraweb. These are the best ones and offers the most rentention. Retention is a Usenet term by the way, which measures how many days a file stays availible for download. Giganews has a 1000 days retention, full speed on the downloads of course. Let me ask you this, what’s the download speed on a 3 year old torrent file? Yeah, thought so. For your digital home I recommend you sign up for Giganews today. A silver subscription will likely be enough for most users.

Try or

Alright, glad you’ve decided to shun BitTorrent and head over to the Usenet side then. Excellent choice. There’s only really one question left to answer, how you’re actually going to USE Usenet with your digital home. How you connect Usenet to the various components of your digital home will be the topic of several other posts, and not this one I’m afraid. But think of it in terms like this, if the NAS is the trunk of your car – Usenet will be your engine. No car runs without an engine.

K.O BitTorrent. Winner – Usenet!

Make the sensible choice and use Usenet. Just because we try to keep Usenet out of the spotlight doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. Remember the first rule of Usenet. We do not talk about Usenet.

Stay tuned for more on this subject.

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