Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

  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.

Advertising

  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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality That Might Scare Some People How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity This Is Why Classical Music Lovers Are Smarter

Trending in Productivity

1The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? 210 Best Time Management Books Recommended By Entrepreneurs 3What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating) 46 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals 5Secrets to Organizing Thoughts and Ideas (So You’ll Never Lose Ideas!)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

Advertising

So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

Advertising

  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

Advertising

According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

Read Next