Who here uses USENET?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Porshuh944turbo, Oct 14, 2003.

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  1. Porshuh944turbo macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I see a lot of posts on USENET and just wondered if anyone here uses it (as opposed to Gnutella, hotline, carracho or some other crap)

    [edit] for File-Sharing
     
  2. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #2
    i've never even touched USENET... isn't it really complicated... and isn't it all text? i don't know about other people, but i need to see all the pretty pictures. :p

    it might be good to have a look at it though. could anyone post some good links for a USENET n00b?;) :D
     
  3. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    basic rundown...

    everyone pretty much has access already to usenet through their ISP. you can post messages (including attachments) to a news server (like alt.binaries.sounds.mp3) and others can then view the post and download your attachment from the server. Servers generally describe what you should be posting and downloading from them (like alt.binaries.mac.apps) has a lot of cool apps for mac.

    Say you are looking for an MP3.. you would look through all the servers that have 'mp3' in the server name for what you are looking for.

    How do I view these messages? glad you asked... basically there are a couple of ways.. 1 is to get a newsreader, like Thoth, or Hogwasher or something and go from there.

    Common problems - and the solution:
    The problem with usenet is that many ISP's have very low retention on the files that are uploaded to the servers. for example, if you upload an mp3 to one of these usenet servers, you could probably expect it to stay on the server for 2-3 days.. that's it.. not good for long term availability huh?
    - the solution -
    there are commercial news servers out there that fix this. say you upload your file again.. these commercial news servers grab up all the files that are being uploaded, like the one that you sent, and store it on their own server and since this is what they do, they have much bigger servers with much much more storage than your ISP does. Instead of 2-3 days retention, you can get closer to 30 days retention! This means that when you are looking for a song or file that someone else may have posted, you have a better chance of finding it, say if they posted it 7 days ago, if you look through your ISP's servers, it will have been long gone, but with a commercian news server, it will still be there.

    what does all this mean?
    The easiest way to use USENET is the commercial news server. My favorite is www.easynews.com - keep in mind that this is no longer the free USENET that your ISP offers you, but it is so much better and actually useable and easy.

    The cost?
    easynews.com charges users $10/month or $10/6 GB download. So if you download about 1200 mp3's, it'll cost you about $10. nice!

    so go to easynews.com and signup... you'll be glad you did
     
  4. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    What about all those RAR and PAR files I see on USENET?

    Glad you asked...

    A RAR file is a portion of a larger file. You can take a DIVX Movie that is 650 MB and split it into 30 RAR files that are only just over 20MB in size. You could go further and make 65 RAR files that are only 10MB in size.

    Why would someone do this?
    The reason for RAR'ing a file has to do with USENET. I think it has to do with the same reason that you cannot email someone a 650MB file. It simply will not go through most email servers because of its size. However, if you were to split the 650MB file into many many smaller files, then you could email all of them to someone individually and they could rejoin them on the other end! - Same thing with USENET.

    How do I rejoin the RAR files? DO I have to get them all???

    RAR files.. sometimes the extension on a RAR file will simply be .rar, or it could also be .r01, .r02, .r03 and so on, numbering the files.. Stuffit also has a split/join system like RAR files.. these will simply be numbered without the 'r' such as ".01, .02... .85 etc..

    You do have to get ALL of the RAR files in order to rejoin them and come out with the finished product. On MAC OS X, the easiest way to rejoin the files is a program called "UnRAR X" and you can find it on downloads.com or versiontracker. MacRAR is another one.

    What happens if I can't find 1 or 2 or 5 of the xx number of RAR files out there?

    You are still in luck - maybe. There are files called PAR files (or parity files) that were first used to recover RAID partitions. They have the extension .par or .p01, .p02 etc...

    What do I do with those?
    Get a program called MacPAR or MacPAR Deluxe. If you have a .par or .p0x file, drag it to MacPAR and let it do it's magic.. Par files exist solely to recover missing RAR files. They are the same size as the RAR files from the same set. You cannot use and PAR file for any set of RAR files, the parity files must have been created from a full set of RAR files and must match the size of the RAR files of the set.

    More on PAR...
    If you are missing 3 RAR files, you will need exactly 3 PAR files to recover the 3 missing RAR files. YOu cannot simply duplicate one PAR file two times to get a second and third one either.. doesn't work that way. If you are missing two many RAR files and can't find enough PAR files to recover them, you are then out of luck except to ask the original poster on USENET to upload more PAR files for you or to upload the RAR files you are missing.

    ok.. so this does seem complicated.. but i'm telling you .. start using usenet and you will wonder what you did without it.. I am telling you all of this because we need more people on USENET to keep it growing.. the only way you will find what you are looking for is because some other user has uploaded that file to the servers.
     
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    Porshuh944turbo has a pretty thorough explanation of the binary transfer (file sharing, that is) scene on Usenet, but there was one slightly confusing error:

    Each of those groups, like alt.binaries.mac.apps, is called a newsgroup, not a server. The entire set of newsgroups you have access to are all on the same server.

    If you're interested, the Usenet's structure is something like this: There are a whole bunch of Usenet servers on the Internet. Each server is linked (has a feed) to at least one other Usenet server.

    Periodically, a server will connect to whatever other server(s) it is associated with and compare the list of posts in each newsgroup that is on that server. If server A has a new post that server B doesn't, it sends that post to server B. If server B has a post that server A doesn't, A grabbs that post from B.

    This chain reaction is carried out between all the various Usenet servers on the Internet, and so eventually a post that starts on a single server (whichever one the poster uses) will be found on EVERY server--usually called propagating.

    How long any given post stays on any given server is entirely up to that server's administrator, usually based on how much storage they can afford. That's called retention time, and the longer the better.

    Groups where massive multipart files (gigabytes a day of data) are traded rarely have a retention time of more than a few days other than on expensive commercial servers. Text-only (discussion) groups--basically the predecessor to forums like this one--can easily have retention times in the weeks or months, since traffic is so much lower.

    Sometimes posts don't make it to a particular server--say, the server they originated on forgot to transfer them, so they never propagated at all, or just some particular flakey server didn't grab it along the way, causing some downstream servers to miss it. Big expensive Usenet providers usually have multiple newsfeeds, making it less likely that the'll miss a message, but it can still happen, particularly when someone posts using a flakey small-time server.

    Finally, not all Usenet providers carry every newsgroup. There are over 100,000 groups at this point (many of them dead or jokes to begin with, but tens of thousands are still active), but a local ISP probably won't carry more than a few thousand of the more popular text groups. Big dedicated providers try to carry them all, and come darn near succeeding.

    Last thought: An interesting difference between P2P filesharing and Usenet binary groups (don't forget that it's still a huge discussion community as well) is that while P2P is on-demand but also highly encourages (or forces) participation, Usenet is a one-to-many distribution medium. When someone feels the need to share something, everyone benefits equally, and the cost of distribution is spread out among paid Usenet providers and ISPs that include Usenet service. Personally, although it can make finding exactly the file you want exactly when you want it harder, I prefer that system.

    In my case I dabble a bit in the discussion groups, but I mainly use Usenet to satisfy my MAME ROM fix.

    Cox@Home actually has a pretty good newsfeed included (close to a week retention even on some very high traffic binary groups), but I also use Giganews when I can afford to pay for the good stuff--great retention and fast servers.

    Oh, and if you decide to do some binary downloading, get yourself Thoth--it's a great app.
     
  6. mim macrumors 6502

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    flesh, melbourne.... heart, london
    #6
    I feel old....someone asking what usenet is ;)

    - no offence - it's just that not that long ago the internet was pretty much == usenet!

    It's been ages since I even looked at it. Does anyone know if alt.wesleycrusher.die.die.die still exists? Ahhh...those were the days!
     
  7. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #7
    Oh yes, Mr Crusher is still die.die.dieing on my newserver as we speak:D

    I've used Usenet for many years, and still do, only lately have I begun looking at the MP3 groups, and naturally I have nothing to do with alt.binaries.pictures.... of anything at all;) ;)

    AIM and iChat have killed off some of the better conversational groups, but there's still a whole world out there, I have an account with www.usenet-access.com, costs about $5/month and has a 1Gig/day/server limit, there are 3 servers.

    Browsing the hacker groups is always interesting, it's like reading a foreign language...:D
     
  8. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    i checked that usenet-access and it says $6/month and 250MB/server/day for binaries groups.. (like alt.binaries.anything) so that wouldn't work for me... sometimes I'll go download a whole 6gig in a couple hours on easynews... sure, it's $10 but it's a lot of stuff for 6gig...
     
  9. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

    Joined:
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    #9
    whoa guys, thanks for the info! :D

    you've put in alot of effort there. :)

    i've heard of USENET before... i've actually got to the point of reading up about it... and then i just got lost in all the complicated stuff.

    so how can i access some newsgroups? do you have to use an app? anyway, i'm DL'ing Thoth now... i'll have a look at that.

    if there's any other apps that i might find handy, please let me know. :)

    thanks for all the help.
     
  10. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    thanks for the explanations makosuke.. sorry i missed the server/newsgroup difference. I had the idea right.. just wasn't sure exactly how it all worked accross different servers as you explained.. cool

    have you checked out the global search on easynews?? man is it great.. being able to search every newsgroup for a file you are looking for.. search for "MAME" and get all posts that have MAME in the subject. then there is the par viewer.. search for a movie and find a par.. click on par viewer and it opens a new window in your browser with ALL of the rar files that are on the server.. if any are missing it shows you which ones.. then hit "check all" and "zip" and it zips em all up into one file that you download from your queue.. great stuff..

    I used to mess around with THOTH, but once I found easynews.. trying to individually find every file i need was way too cumbersome....
     
  11. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    cb911,

    after you get thoth, you'll need to find out the news server address from your ISP. probably news.[ispname].com or something close to that.. comcast is netnews.comcast.com -- find it on your isp's home page probably in the help/setup section...

    if they don't have one, you'll *have to* go to a commercial server.. the good thing about that is that it's much easier and better, but you have to pay for it...

    easynews is all web-based.. no THOTH or other program needed.. access it anywhere, anytime on the web at easynews.com (man i sound like a freakin salesman).. they ahve a global search at members.easynews.com/global - (have to be a member to access it) but they also have a free trial.. i think it is 1GB download for free to try it out.

    you can also search the newsgroups name for anything you are looking for.. like "mac" or "games" and you can do this in thoth and other newsreader programs.. then it will show you all the groups that have that in their name. from there you will have to download all the "headers" (may take a while) and search the headers for the particular file/subject you are looking for such as "halo" or "quake" or something..

    someone else help me on this one.. does thoth group all the headers for multipart messages together for you? how do multipart messages work in thoth? I don't use it so I am not sure... someone else can fill in?
     
  12. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    #12
    okay, so generally speaking you need to find a server and then use the newsgroups that it hosts... and you almost always have to use an app to access the newsgroups?

    my ISP newsgroup thingy is actually just the Comindico one... i still have to check it out.

    does anyone know some good free newsgroups? i don't mind if they're only text based... i just want to check some out. :)
     
  13. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #13
    Yeah, I checked the site, but I've been with them for years, and they haven't changed my account from the original deal.

    I don't think I could find 6gig to download, I don't bother with movies;) :D
     
  14. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #14
    Try searching for public news servers on Google, that'll get you started.
     
  15. arn macrumors god

    arn

    Staff Member

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    #15
    let's keep the discussion to generalities.

    arn
     
  16. cubist macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Ten or twelve years ago I used usenet a lot; my view of the Internet was "news and mail". But the usenet signal-to-noise ratio was very low: for every useful post, there were a hundred or more posts of porn or spam. Spammers were mass-posting huge amounts of garbage. On top of that, they were sifting the news traffic for email addresses; posting in a usenet newsgroup is a guarantee you will receive gobs of spam.

    Today, I doubt if anything useful is ever posted, but if you want to access it, make sure you set up a dummy mail account, or modify your email address in some way, to avoid getting dumped on with spam.
     
  17. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #17
    There's been an interesting change in the overall atmosphere of Usenet recently; as the popularity of the web increased, Usenet usage slid downward until there were mostly hardcore, longtime posters left. But as a result negative internet traffic has shifted elsewhere--e-mail spam and newbies on easier-to-use messageboards--leaving the burden on Usenet somewhat lighter. Since it's somewhat cleaner, there seems to be a new generation of people giviing the Usenet a shot, so there's recently been a bit of a resurgence, and although I don't know how long or if it will last, it seems to have been relatively positive.

    Also nice having access to all the groups in one place, rather than hunting for the specific forums or mailing lists that you like.

    For those wanting to check out a bit of Usenet, a really easy place to start is Google Groups:

    http://groups.google.com/

    That provides free, web-based access to most discussion groups, with a very long retention time.

    Check out comp.sys.mac.graphics for a general idea of the sort of thing you can expect.

    On a side note, keep in mind that even the binaries groups on Usenet aren't all about warez or illegal filesharing. Some groups are used to distribute legit shareware (for example, old programs that aren't hosted anywhere now), homemade movies, photographs, and artwork, and there's lots in the grey area of abandonware, such as really old Mac games (though The Mac Garden pretty much covers that territory).

    One more note: you may have already figured this out, but the Usenet has a simple hierarchy organizing group titles, and it works as the revere of a domain name. The part before the first dot is the general category (for example the huge alt.* section, which is "alternative" whatever that means), and getting more specific from there.

    So comp.sys.mac.graphics would be computers --> systems --> Macs --> graphics; Mac-based graphics questions, basically.

    By the way, don't freak out at some of the weird group names; essentially anybody can create a Usenet group, so a lot of them are just jokes. My personal favorite being:

    alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bestality.hamster.duct-tape

    (I noticed it because it was one of the longest group names in the tree years ago, but fear not--there is thankfully nothing at all in it.)
     
  18. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Usenet is pretty neat. I remember using that prior to the emergence of the web.

    Its nice that its making a comeback, though people here are correct, that the S/N ratio is pretty bad, mostly because of the spammers.

    But that can be fixed with filters, if you don't mind a little work there.

    I used to use MT-Newswatcher for usenet. Its small, quick and versatile. There might be others by now.
     
  19. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    let me re-address the question... specifically,

    Who here uses USENET for FILE-SHARING?
     
  20. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #20
    And let me re-assert arn's statement that any discussion is to be kept to generalities.
     
  21. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    chill out rower. no one is talking about anything illegal here.

    generallity = "File Sharing"
    specifics = "Anyone know how to download [insert program name here] using USENET????"

    no one is doing any of that...
     
  22. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #22
    Not yet. Which is why I felt the need to re-assert arn's statement. You'd be surprised at how often people post here trying to find out how to acquire/crack some program.
     
  23. wHo_tHe macrumors regular

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    #23
    Usenet rocks

    I've used Usenet for years for file sharing. Lots of good stuff in multiple genres. Lags a bit behind the P2P services, but generally speaking, if you're patient, you can find just about anything you want in one binary group or another.
     
  24. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #24
    I've used Usenet to share large files in the past, specifically encoded audio files, but it's so much easier to email now as long as the boxes are big enough:D
     
  25. Porshuh944turbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    how nice........
     
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