I recently had the chance to try Newshosting‘s Usenet service, and I was very favorably impressed. For those who don’t know, Usenet is one of the oldest communication systems on the Internet, dating back to 1979. It was born as a bulletin-like system, and is very similar in usage to e-mail. Unlike e-mail, however, it’s greatly decentralyzed and news servers, as they are called, synchronize with one another. Each server carries several groups (also called newsgroups; normally they’re counted in the thousands), and each one of them is dedicated to a specific topic.
While Usenet usage is unfortunately declining for text, heavily supplanted by web-based forums and, in more recent times, social networks, it’s being more and more used to carry binary contents. There are many groups (whose name normally include “binary” or “binaries”) dedicated to the exchange of video files, audio files and, essentially, all sorts of material. In this arena, since very few ISPs still run a newsserver at all, and those few that do will just not carry binary groups, several commercial Usenet providers fill the gap. I am currently a customer of UsenetServer, but I may just switch to NewsHosting.
I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to advocate or promote piracy in any way. This post is solely dedicated to highlighting the differences between Usenet binaries and the more widely known BitTorrent system, and showing how NewsHosting got it just perfectly right. Let’s start from the beginning, but if you want, you can jump to the review by clicking here.
Ars Technica talks about how the fast pace of firmware releases for the Playstation 3 adds to the frustration of casual gamers. Being forced to update your system once per week or so makes people pissed off, and it’s worse for those who only play once in a while because it’s more likely that they will need to go through that every single time. I had a PS3 and I sold it for different reasons — I only used it as a Blu-ray player, as I prefer playing on the Xbox 360 — but I can talk about another, even worse, frustrating thing about Sony’s console: forced installation.
The research company Ipsos ran a poll in the UK, and found out that “64 per cent of the users polled would rather have games on physical discs, while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies”. The survey involved “over 1,000 Internet users aged between 15 and 50.” A detailed article about the findings is available at THINQ.
Such results do not surprise me in the slightest. I am a casual gamer, in that I usually buy a game every couple of months or so, and I usually purchase them from the UK, where they are much cheaper than in Italy. The reason I do that is that, since I never get games that have been just released, having to wait a week for the delivery is not a big deal. Savings versus instant gratification. (Disclaimer: that may not be the fact when GTA V comes out. Can’t help it.)