I've heard of Usenet, but just what is it?...
I won't go into too much depth about Usenet as there is plenty to read on the subject available on the internet by people far smarter than I.
So just for some basics; Usenet started out a decade before the internet as just a whole bunch of message groups where people posted and read messages on numerous topics in numerous message bases, called Newsgroups. Each new message is then distributed along a chain of servers that constantly change. Very similar to the old BBS days, except without relying on a central server run by us sysops. (Yes, I ran a BBS for 15 years, and believe it or not, starting out on a Commodore 64, D9090 HD's and then a Lt. Kernal Hard Drive, and Cnet BBS software. Eventually moving on to the Amiga 2000, using Xenolink BBS software.) (I even still have the hard/software)
Even before that I remember my first 300 Baud modem. I use to have to dial the number with a handset, then flick a switch as soon as I started hearing the modem at the other end... Sorry, I transgress, that's all for if/when I write my memoirs, even a story about a friend who eventually got caught hacking into NASA. On a C64!! :-)
Anyway, Usenet was originally created to distribute text content encoded in the 7-bit ASCII character set. With the help of programs that encode 8-bit values into ASCII, it became practical to distribute binary files as content. Binary posts, due to their size and often-dubious copyright status, were in time restricted to specific newsgroups (alt.binaries), making it easier for administrators to allow or disallow the traffic. Which is why many of us need to seek a Usenet provider for these binary files, as our ISP's tends to block them. Mainly because they use terabytes of data daily.
In an attempt to reduce file transfer times, an informal way of file encoding known as yEnc was introduced in 2001. It achieves about a 30% reduction in data transferred by assuming that most 8-bit characters can safely be transferred across the network without first encoding into the 7-bit ASCII space. So later, when you eventually load up your first download into your newsreader you may see the yEnc in the filename/s.
The standard method of uploading binary content to Usenet is to first archive the files into RAR archives (for large files usually in 15 MB, 50 MB or 100 MB parts) then create Parchive files. PARity files are used to recreate missing data. This is why it is important to choose a Usenet provider than can offer 99% completion rates like Tweaknews.
Binary newsgroups are only able to function reliably if there is sufficient storage allocated to a newsgroup to allow newsreaders enough time to download all parts of a binary posting before it is flushed out of the newsgroup's storage allocation. So not only do you need a Usenet provider with at least 99% completion rates but also one than can offer great retention (Over 1000+ days).
So what can I expect to find on Usenet?
The same things you can on p2p but without having to worry about seeding (No more uploading!). Plus, with the right Usenet plans, download speeds as fast as your broadband connection, and with secure (SSL)128 byte encryption. You simply cannot get that security with p2p (Torrents)!
To make full use of Usenet you will need 3 things...
1. Usenet Provider that offers "binary" newsgroups, such as the ones listed in my tutorials.
2. Newsreader that handles 'binary' attachments like SABnzbd (Not MS Outlook)
3. Searching website, such as Binsearch and/or a NZB indexer.
The easiest and quickest way to get started would be to download my 'Sabnzbd Tutorial' in the Usenet tutorial menu . That will explain how to sign-up to Tweaknews, then its just a matter of searching for what you want. If you are unsure on anything just drop me an email and I will be glad to help, that is what this website is here for :-)
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