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Learn the Secrets of Usenet in 3 Easy Steps

Learn the Secrets of Usenet in 3 Easy Steps

If you waste too much time on the Internet like I do, you have probably torrented all sorts of files such as movies or other forms of media. But what if I told you that there is a faster alternative to BitTorrent which can also protect your privacy?

That is precisely what Usenet is. Usenet is not some newfangled prototype. In fact, it is older than what most people believe when they think of the Internet. Usenet was originally created during the late 1970s to late 1980s essentially as a series of disconnected discussion boards and groups. But today, these groups contain huge amounts of data and files which anyone can download.

So why don’t corporations and the government crackdown on Usenet? To some extent, they have. But Usenet has been able to stay under the radar because there are a few catches with it such as that it can seem trickier to use. But it really is not that hard. Here are some key steps which even the least tech-savvy person can use to start downloading all sorts of files through Usenet.

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  1. Pay for your Usenet provider

When you download files through Usenet, you are downloading through server farms and not through peer-to-peer sharing. This better protects your privacy and also allows you to download more obscure files which do not have enough seeders. But it does mean that you have to pay a fee so that those servers can be maintained.

The fee is not that much, and most Usenet providers are willing to provide a free trial while you understand how Usenet works. NewsHosting, one of the most popular Usenet services, charges just $13 per month for their standard plan, which places no limit on the amount of data that can be transferred. That is an exceptional price considering the kinds and amount of data which can be downloaded.

Most Usenet providers will charge roughly the same amount, so users should look at other aspects to determine which provider is best for them. One of the biggest keys is data retention – because Usenet providers receive so much data, they have to periodically expunge older data to make room. Aim for a provider with a longer retention period. Other things to check for include how much data you can download and how many connections you can have at the same time.

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  1. Use SABnzbd

In addition to a Usenet provider, you need a Usenet client. But what kind of client you get depends on why you intend to use Usenet.

The two reasons to use Usenet are to get access to interesting discussion groups via comp.* or news.*, or to download files. Essentially, you can get a client which can do one or the other, or you can pay for a client that can do both. If you are interested in a paid client, then I would recommend Newsbin.

If your primary interest in Usenet is to download files and you do not want to pay for a client, then the best choice by far is SABnzd. This client is very easy to install, especially because it now comes with a wizard which guides you on the steps.

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One key point here is that when you sign up with a provider, you will receive via e-mail the provider’s server details as well as a password. Also, enter the number of connections which your providers allows.

SABnzd will restart at least once so that you can test the server’s connection, but once it is finished you will have the address you can use to get access it from your web browser.

  1. How to Find the Files

So you have your Usenet client and provider, which are the tools needed to download files. But you cannot just type in “find usenet files” on Google and expect to get anywhere. You will have to find a dedicated indexer to find the location point from which you can find Usenet files, which are normally called NZBs.

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Some indexes charge an incredibly small fee like $1 per year to run, and you should be willing to scrounge that little cash. But one of the big challenges with indexes is that major ones such as NZBMatrix have been forced to close down. Binsearch.info, for now, is one of the better indexes and it is free.

When you search with Binsearch, just type in the kind of file you want to find. It should be noted that the naming sense of Usenet files can be peculiar, so it can take you a while to get the hang of it. But once you find the file you want, click on the checkmark and the click the “Create NZB” button at the bottom. Your computer will download the NZB file.

From there, you can add the NZB file to SAB, and SAB will download the files, unzip them, and place them in your directory. From there, you can do it again, downloading and using all the downloaded information you can get.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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