Flutterby™! : NZB

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics


2012-03-29 17:59:34.868786+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

The things we learn: I gave up NNTP and Usenet news for dead sometime circa 2000. Sure, I had a brief fling with an NNTP interface for Flutterby, and tossed it around as a better solution than RSS for blog syndication, but overall the spammer and "Eternal September" quotient got so high that newsgroups lost their value over a decade ago.

Thus it was rather surprising to me to find that ISPs not only go out of their way to host local Usenet servers, rather than simply buying subscriptions for their subscribers to EasyNews or another Usenet provider, and that this effort to transfer around and store amazing amounts of data, is that having these machines in an ISP's data center actually reduces external bandwidth use.


Turns out there's a file format called "NZB", which is an XML based format for associating search terms and titles with a set of NNTP Message-ID records. There are people out there who have automated systems up to record off of broadcast or cable sources, post those video feeds encoded to Usenet newsgroups, and post the NZB files to various places (I haven't gone looking for them).

People looking for topical data could possibly BitTorrent this information, but a Torrent involves less anonymity and more external network traffic. So there are tools which grab those NZBs, download the (presumably MIME or UUencoded) NNTP messages, reconstruct the original files and present users with their TV shows.

Grist for the Dan & Todd bandwidth bet, and for thinking about broadcast vs on-demand network effects, and all sorts of ethics and legal issues discussions.

[ related topics: Cryptography Todd Gemmell broadband Content Management Ethics Weblogs Video Technology and Culture Clowns Net Culture Television Current Events Web development Law ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-30 11:28:28.91685+00 by: meuon

Same bandwidth math from 1994. Just different reasons and costs.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-29 20:48:38.499392+00 by: Dan Lyke

When the Scary Devil Monastery disappeared to "the other place", Usenet lost all relevance to me. So, yep, that's the rock.

I was really surprised to find out how heavily the costs of external bandwidth to support torrenting and on demand vs supporting a news server weighed towards the latter.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-03-29 19:00:28.127636+00 by: ebradway

You only just now found out about this? What rock have you been under?

There are also Usenet subscription services that give you a discount if you contribute CPU time to their groups in various distributed computation contests (which I suspect have been supplanted by BitCoin mining).