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Sunday, January 15, 2006
  KurzweilAI.net - A Dialog on Reincarnation
KurzweilAI.net

This is really cool... I first became away of this guy, Ray Kurzweil as he was briefly interviewed in a sidebar in a Wired Magazine I was reading... Anyhow, he is a brilliant guy, an amazing inventor and a futurist... And this is a neat little read discussing reincarnation / physical immortality, etc...
 
Saturday, January 14, 2006
  Using BitTorrent to get Movies...
Ok, so here's the skinny on the best way at the moment for getting movies off the net for free, I'll try to make this fairly straight forward...

1) Download & Install a BitTorrent Client - I like ABC, there are other quite popular BitTorrent clients out there, but ABC works well, is quick and easy to use...
DOWNLOAD HERE - http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/pingpong-abc/ABC-win32-v3.1.exe?download, the install is fairly straight forward, you can prob. leave most of the defaults. Once it's install, you will want to change the default port (if you're using Rogers as your ISP) - Within ABC, from the File menu, choose Preferences, select Network, and then enter 1720 as the Port, click Ok.

2) Open up a Port on your Router - If your PC is behind a Router, you will need to log into it and open up the Port that you'll use in ABC. I can't really give you detailed instructions on how to do this as it'd be different for every make/model of router. Once you've logged in, look for a section called 'NAT' or 'APPLICATIONS' or something like that, for Protocol, if it asks for TCP or UDP, just choose both, and for Port, I'd recommend 1720, this isn't the default, but Rogers is filtering the default port so using 1720 ensures you get faster speeds.

3) Visit a decent BitTorrent tracker site - My personal fav at the moment is Mininova, but I think Torrent Spy and Pirate Bay are also decent... You can search on titles of movies from here, and if you find one you like click the appropriate link and you'll be prompted on what to do with the .torrent file, just choose 'Open', and this should open automatically within ABC and you'll see that it's downloading... You can track the progress is ABC, once it's done, enjoy! Keep in mind that these web sites WILL come and go, so always check around for new sites, where can you find them? Read more below...

Here are some decent links/tutorials you might want to check out for more learning/info...

VCD Quality - http://www.vcdquality.com/ - This is a great site that tracks new 'RELEASES', if you're desperate to get a movie BEFORE it comes out on DVD, checking this site and checking the reviews of a particular release is useful so you can try to find a Screener of suitable quality worth downloading... Once you've found one that seems to be Ok, search the tracker site for that particular release (by including the type of release and name of the group in your query).

BitTorrent Tutorial - http://wiki.theppn.org/index.php/BitTorrent_Tutorial - Move info on BitTorrent, includes info on several other BitTorrent clients...

Zero Paid - http://www.zeropaid.com/ - This is an all around good site to follow info and trends on Peer-2-Peer (P2P) file sharing... Forums, links to site, tutorials, etc...

* If you've downloaded a movie, but when you try to play it you don't hear any sound, or you can't see the video, or Windows Media Player gives you some type of Codec error, you probably need to get DIVX or XVID or some Audio Codec. I'd recommend you get a Codec Pack, it'll probably have everything you need... Something like this: http://www.divx-digest.com/software/acemega_codec.html

** WARNING ** - Always beware when you start to get into downloading software off the net, especially if it's grey area stuff that you be wary, make sure your Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software is installed, working and up-to-date!
 
  Free XBOX 360? Come on... Joking?
Ok, so you've heard of the iPod thing, fair enough, no biggie... How about getting an XBOX 360 for Free?.

Through the Freebie Authority site, I found a link to this place. They are quite similar to Gratis, who run the Free iPod site, they have a variety of offers, the one that tweaked my interest is the XBOX 360...

You need to get -8- referrals, 3 more than the 5 required for the iPod, but clearly, the XBOX 360 is an even more valuable item (and I imagine shipping would be more too!).

I haven't been in a hurry to jump into this, as:
I've seen some of the XBOX 360 games, they do look great - Project Gotham Racing 3, and Call of Duty 2 and they look absolutely gorgeous! I checked them out at Best Buy... The 360 comes with Wireless controllers which is cool, and all the games are in High Definition, so they'll look glorious on a proper HD set...

Anyhow, if/when I get around to moving forward and actually looking to get my 8 referrals, I'll post the status & updates here! Giddyup!
 
Friday, January 06, 2006
  How do I download movies/music/games?
This is one of the most common questions I get, and I intend to write a series of articles/tutorials that will introduce a typical web surfer to HOW us real Geeks get all this great stuff...

The two things to keep in mind:

1) You WILL have to learn some stuff... You will get frustrated the odd time, but it's really a journey like anything else, no pain, no gain...

2) Change is the only constant. The psuedo-underground world of Internet Piracy is always shifting a change. As technologies mature they become so succesful that they attract attention from the authorities and sooner or later get shutdown or change, but just as certain is that something new will replace it... So whether it be Napster or Kazaa or Limewire or SuprNova or whatever, don't expect to learn one thing and have it work for ever... Rest assured though, once you've learned a few things dealing with the changes will be easy :)

If you do manage to learn the things you need to learn, you'll be able to get pretty much any album you want, any movie you want, any game or application you want, quickly and easily...

So if all this interests you - Go do some homework, learn about Bittorrent (don't download a client or anything yet, just google on it and read a little bit), and also go ahead and download WinRAR, it's a file compression technology (like zip)... You're going to need it too...
 
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
  Sharp XLMP60 - Great micro system...
I was in the market for either a new set of speakers, or perhaps a CD changer that supported MP3's in order to improve my main stereo system in my living room.

I checked Best Buy, they had a few set of bookshelf speakers, starting at $79/pair and up... I listened to them, they sounded good...

I looked around at Best Buy, Future Shop, couldn't even find any component CD changers, I'm sure they're still being made, but they certainly aren't prominant in retail... Lots of DVD players, recorders, etc, but no MP3 CD Changers.

I checked out Costco, and this is where I found this little beauty! The Sharp XLMP60. It's a Micro system, as you can see in the picture, you have the main unit with AM/FM, and CD, it holds 5 disks and supports MP3 and WMA. You can fit up to about 150 songs on an MP3 CD, so thats up to about 750 songs! It has a crisp sound, sure it's not going to shake the windows like a big ass pair of floor speakers, but it fills the room no problem... Now the kicker... Guess how much this was? $299? nope! $199? nope! Only $99!!! crazy! I'd recommend this to anyone as either a second system, or for a kitchen, or dorm room, perfect little unit, great price!

Here's a link to the Sharp site for some more info:
http://www.sharp.ca/products/index.asp?cat=40&id=558

 
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