Monday, 16 April 2007, 10:05:03 EDT

First, I would like to express my appreciation for all the words of comfort everyone has expressed to me; via this site and other methods. I don't know what to say other than thank you.

Moving on, I added another button to the list of buttons. As with the Bluehost button, the Giganews one puts a little money in my pocket if you sign up for their service through my links. With Giganews, I don't see any money unless you stay with them for ninety days. I don't really expect to ever get anything out of putting the link up, but it's worth a shot, I suppose.

Until recently, I've been using BitTorrent (BT) to download missed episodes of television shows. BT is really nice when the torrent is well seeded, but that hardly ever happens. That, combined with limited peer-to-peer traffic on campus, makes for some really long downloads. I'm talking about days, not hours. I got sick of it, knowing that the files I want would be available on the Usenet. In days of old, ISPs and major universities provided Usenet access. Nowadays, most ISPs write off Usenet services as low priority since most of their users don't even know what it is. Speedfactory, for example, use to provide access but it was slow and had horrible data retention. They flirted with better Usenet service for a while, but then dropped it altogether. That left me without Usenet access at home. Since CSU isn't a very large university, it has never provided Usenet access to its students (at least, not that I am aware). So I broke down and signed up for a Giganews account.

I must say, I'm impressed. Their servers are really fast, and the ten simultaneous connections is awesome. I quickly burned through my three day free trial and activated the actual account. I also like how the trial data limits don't affect the first month's service. However, I think that is going to be moot in my case. I'm currently signed up for the 25GB/month service; my next service period doesn't start until 9 May and I've already hit 11GB. I think I'm going to be upgrading my account to unlimited service soon. I haven't decided, though. The price may be too much for me right now; I'll have to see if I run out of bandwidth before the ninth and then make my decision.

Another thing that has me excited about newsgroup access again is a new file format NZB. Instead of having to download days worth of headers, an NZB file can be used to tell your newsreader what files you wish to download. It is really awesome. I hadn't heard of NZBs until I saw one posted to some newsgroup. When I looked it up, I was blown away. It completely changes things. If you've used binary newsgroups in the past, but gave up due to the hassle, you owe it to yourself to check this out. I'm sure you will like it.

I know this has sounded like one long commercial, and, in a way, it was. But I am really quite excited about being able to browse the Usenet again. I'm still looking for some good non-binary groups that aren't completely spam ridden, though. Almost every Atlanta group I've looked through has been mostly dead except for spam. But, that's the way of the Usenet. Much like your email inbox :)

** Update 25 April 2007 **
As mentioned in the comments of this post, UsenetServer.com was brought to my attention. See the next post for more information.

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I have heard really good things about Giganews. Both people that have praised it so far have strongly recommended the added "encrypted" service for obvious reasons.

Posted by Mr Frosti on Sunday, 22 April 2007, 11:54:41 EDT.

I suppose if you are uploading a lot of questionable content the SSL connection is worth the price. Or if you think your ISP is snooping on you. Neither apply to me, so the extra cost isn't worth it for me.

Since I wrote this post, UsenetServer.com has been brought to my attention, as well a few others. I'm contemplating switching to UsenetServer. They have 100 days of data retention (Giganews just went up to 120 days) and unlimited bandwidth for just a couple more dollars than the plan I'm using with Giganews. I haven't overrun my Giganews allotment yet, so I'm not sure. Either way, it is very nice to have super fast Usenet access again.

Posted by James Sumners on Sunday, 22 April 2007, 16:34:46 EDT.