Torrents VS. USENET
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Author Topic: Torrents VS. USENET  (Read 597 times)
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« on: January 04, 2020, 04:00:07 pm »



I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about USENET. I will try not to go into a long story. I'll try to make this post as brief as I possibly can; because the reality is there is a lot to know about USENET. So, I'll just spare you the technical details. Way back when, believe it or not, my first USENET experience was when I started using AOL. I don't believe I even heard of USENET until then, didn't even know they existed. I had a very bad experience with USENET, because the boards were constantly attracted by spam, and malware (which probably helped AOL's demise). I absolutely had no desire to pirate using USENET ever again after that!

However, a LOT has changed since then, and I've heard people praise USENET as being the best platform for pirates. My thing was, if that were true, why are they still using torrents? LOL. I digress. After, perhaps 20 years later, I decided to re-explore the idea of using USENET technology again, and see just how much of that has changed. But before I do that, maybe I should explain some important basic basics about USENET.

If I remember correctly USENET is an acronym for "User Network." In a nutshell, it started out as a distribution messaging system. Away for people to not only communicate with each other, but a why to offer NEWS UPDATES on personal events, or simply what's going on around the world. Today, we how have the ability to attach binary files, which makes USENET ideal for piracy in a somewhat decentralized way (but not exactly).

Messages are sent back and forth from something called USENET special interest groups. There's a group for every interest, from sci-fi movies, to porn, to school documents, you name it! I guess you can think of them like message boards, and they're are literally millions of them. The messages sent back and forth from within those groups are called "articles/news articles." The USENET files attached to those articles are *.NZB files. I guess most layman people would think of *.NZB files like torrent files, however, they're really not.

Before you can even begin to download from USENET, you need a few essential things. You'll need to subscribe to what's called an indexer. The indexer has access to the various groups that has content your looking for. All you have to do is type in a few keywords in the indexer, and it will search through all it's current USENET groups to find your content from within those groups. Once the indexer finds what you want, then download the *.NZB file.

Now, your gonna need something to download your content. The *.NZB file has information as to where the content your looking for is located, and any other important information needed to download desire content. A huge major difference between a USENET file and a bittorrent file, is that USENET files are stored on a server, and does not depend on seeds for it's speed. But that doesn't mean there aren't any challenges to USENET, it just means that's a slight benefit.

You'll need a software like SABnzbd, which is just one of the many commonly used software to translate what's in the *.NZB file.

Unlike torrents that rely on each other's computer, you need to purchase a provider/server. This server offers a place to store necessary information for software like SABnzbd to process your content, and allow you to download it once it's complete. You must purchase a provider, there is no other way of getting around it. I've seen some "free servers," however, they are extremely limited, and eventually you'll wind up purchasing a service from them.

When you are a member of many indexers, you can add them all to something like NZB Hydra, which is a search engine you can use to search all of your indexers at the same time. It's very quick and efficient.

So, USENET is an entirely different world from torrent technology. I wouldn't say that USENET is better than torrents, however, I do think that USENET can be used as a backup (or companion if you will) in addition to torrents. One of the most common annoyances with USENET I have is something called RETENTION period. This is how long content stays on a USENET server. Each server, or service will be different, so depending on how old the content is, it could be a hit or miss. Example, a movie you want was posted by someone about 90 days ago, it's safe to say you can probably download that with no problem. However, if you see something you want, and it was posted over 4,000 days ago you probably won't be able to get it, as most servers only a retention period of about 2000-3000 days, sometimes even less than that. Then you also have to deal with copyright take downs. I wouldn't say that these issues are bad enough not to use USENET, but you should consider that when you're looking for a primary source of pirate material.

So, after explaining to you a little about USENET, do I think it's worth it? Kind of. Like I said, that torrents are better because it's a familiar place for most people. But, then again it depends on what you're looking for. The most important thing is thank goodness malware attacks within USENET seems to be a thing of the past. You'll just have to use it for awhile to see if USENET works for you, and it's something you can technically handle.

-AOS
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