August 15th, 2006


The 30 second guide to BitTorrent.

Someone asked me about how you would go about downloading stuff from BitTorrent. I thought my answer was useful enough to republish as a separate entry. There are plenty of other BitTorrent FAQs out there but none, I think, quite this concise.

So you want to download files using BitTorrent? First, you need a BitTorrent client program. Assuming you're running Windows, there are two that I've had personal experience with:

Personally, I use Azureus because it's easy. Well, easy once you get it running. Azureus is written in Java, so you need to install a recent Java Runtime Environment (JRE) before installing it. A "recent" JRE because Sun didn't get Java's network code right prior to recently. You can download the latest JRE for free from Sun or from the Azureus site. This is a separate step from downloading and installing Azureus itself, and that sometimes annoys people. It was worth it for me - I really like Azureus.

uTorrent is a C program that doesn't need Java - just download and run it. But it isn't as fancy or as intuitive as Azureus. However, it has a tiny memory footprint and is lightning fast. More for the techie set. It's the motorcycle next to Azureus's Ferrari.

With either of these, you'll more than likely have to poke some holes in your firewall to get decent performance. Doing that is non-trivial, but there are some decent guides on how to do it out there.

After that's all set, grab yourself a .torrent file (Google can find you thousands) and use your BitTorrent client program to open it. Hit whatever button in your client is necessary to start the download, and away you go.
Trajedy... for YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

[Fark] Okay Scotland, you're out as a place to move to.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson announced laws to ban swords unless sold for legitimate reasons. Shops selling swords will need a licence, as will businesses dealing with non-domestic knives and other bladed weapons such as machetes.

The measures are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem of knife crime.

Next, Scotland plans to ban the buying of 2x4s and bricks by anyone who isn't a government licensed carpenter. "That's an offensive weapon, that is!"

There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start...

How many people were actually killed by swords in the last year in Scotland? I bet you it's single digits. Guns are already illegal in Scotland, so most thugs carry... knives. I'm sure there were a lot of stabbings by knife last year in Scotland. But death or injuries by swords?? If it's the weapon that bad guys are actually using that you want to make less available, if it's knives that are the problem... then how about we ban knives? Hm? HM??

I'm not saying I think a ban on knives is the right thing to do. I'm just saying, even if I accept the premise that we should take away a certain tool from everyone just because the bad guys abuse it, this law STILL doesn't make any sense. They are proposing a ban on dump trucks in an attempt to prevent hit and runs performed by people driving passenger cars.

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The kind of mentality that says, "We should ban X because *I* think it's scary" is not one that's generally based in rational thought.
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