What to do with this site?

So, I’ve had this site up for a hot minute, and I’ve been thinking about a direction I might want to take it in. There are basically three things that get me going in life: Technology, music, and cars. I’ve already posted a bit about technology on here. I’ve talked about newsgroups, text based video games (if you can consider that to be technology), and posted a video about the history of dance music. Nothing about cars yet, but I’m sure that will come up pretty soon. I would be more inclined to post about cars, except a guy that I follow on facebook is already doing a better job than I could ever hope to do. Seriously, his site is the best site on the internet (something that I’ve informed him of). It’s car porn to the max.

So that leaves technology and music. I think that could be a good mix. It would be dope as hell if I could get featured on Hype Machine or something like that. It would primarily be concerned with dance music, as thats what I listen to on a regular basis. I know my site wouldn’t be the next Resident Advisor or 365mag, but I would like sharing music that makes me happy. So then the question of how to host the music comes up. From what I remember, a lot of the sites on Hype Machine host their content locally. Thats all well and good, but the upload I pay for isn’t very fast, so that could be frustrating. One concept that I haven’t messed with is using my Drop Box account. Drop Box supports public links for the use of sharing files, and that would probably be a lot faster than sharing from my own server. But then that gets into copyright stuff and it would royally suck if my Drop Box account got deactivated.

Technology is also a passion of mine, and creating a blog about technology seems less risky. I know quite a bit about technology, and it’s a topic I enjoy educating others on. I’ve been using Mac for a long time, in addition to linux. I haven’t been using linux much lately, although I do have it on one of the hard drives in my computer. I haven’t spread the linux gospel in a while, so maybe this is my soapbox to stand on.

I know there are a lot of bullshit blogs out there and I don’t want mine to turn into one of them with a bunch of random crap that no one cares about. I suppose seeing that BBS documentary inspired me to start up the site again. BBSes were a little different because those were communities. My blog is less of a community and more of a soapbox. However the people in the documentary talked about how much they enjoyed creating something that was beneficial for other people. You could hear a sense of pride when they talked about the BBSes they ran, and I’d like to experience that too. What do you think? Lemme know in the comments or drop me a line.

How do I newsgroups?

Newsgroups are a pretty great part of my life. They are very high performance, secure, relatively inexpensive, and reliable. The terminology and technology working in the background is different, but for those familiar with torrents, the process is virtually identical. Let’s get started.

1. Premium Usenet Provider

First, you’ll need a premium usenet provider. If you do a google search for “usenet provider” you’ll get a bazillion results. You’ll also see hits for sites that compare different providers and different plans so you can pick one that best suits your needs. I’m signed up with Astraweb. I got in on their “special” (includes SSL) which has been around for what seems like forever. I didn’t do a whole lot of research before signing up with them, just went with the recommendation of one of my best friends who was already a subscriber. He had been with Astraweb for a while and had zero complaints. Same from me. I’ve had more issues with ISP’s than I’ve had with my usenet provider. Get billed every month through paypal, easy as pie. Think of a subscription to a premium usenet provider as your access to newsgroups. I realize the concept of paying for something might seem inconceivable to many people, but, as I’ve said before, its incredibly fast (as fast as your internet connection), secure, and probably has what you’re looking for 95% of the time.

2. Client

Second, you’ll need a client. Just like with torrents, you had uTorrent or Transmission to handle your .torrent files, newsgroups follow a similar process. It goes like this: Download .nzb file from newsgroup search site (like binsearch.info, for example), open .nzb file in client, content gets downloaded. Think about what it was like with torrrents: get the torrent file, open torrent file in client, content gets downloaded. The process is exactly the same. SABnzbd+ is my favorite client. Cross platform, reliable, and very customizable. It wasn’t the client I started with, but it’s definitely my personal favorite now. The way it runs is a little different than how many people might expect an app to run. For most people, when you double click on an app, stuff pops up on the screen. SABnzbd+ isn’t like that. It runs as a daemon in the background, and you interact with it through the browser (localhost:8080 is the default address). During setup, SABnzbd+ allows you to advertise the service on your local network. This lets you manipulate SABnzbd+ from other computers on your home network (or beyond if you forward the port on your router). There are also some really awesome plugins for Chrome and Firefox that let you interact with SABnzbd+ as well. These plugins add functionality to search sites like binsearch.info and nzbsrus that grab nzbs directly. I didn’t use those extensions for a long time, but I’m definitely glad I do now. Those extensions make the newsgroup experience even better.

3. Search Engine

Third, you need a place to get .nzb files from. I first signed up with a paid search engine, nzbsrus. Why would you pay for a search engine? I’ll tell you. Go to binsearch.info and search for metallica. A little confusing and chaotic to say the least. Nzbsrus (and other premium newsgroup search engines) provide things like categories, comments, and handy features. I’m not sure if they’re still doing it, but I paid for a “lifetime” (10 year) subscription for $10 bucks. Entries are uploaded to nzbsrus by members, so if its on nzbsrus, whatever you get is probably (definitely) going to be what you intended to get. As you gain more experience with newsgroups, binsearch.info gets easier to use. Binsearch.info is EVERYTHING that’s on newsgroups, nzbsrus and other premium search engines are a subset of that. I use it like this: I check nzbsrus first, if I can’t find it there, then I’ll check binsearch.info.

So, long story short: Get a newsgroup account with a premium usenet provider, get a client, definitely consider getting an account with a premium search site (trust me), and have at!

I’ll talk more about newsgroups in future posts.  If you have any questions, hit me up.

Recommended App: MarsEdit

I’m writing this post using a program called MarsEdit.  MarsEdit is a weblog publishing utility.  This is handy for me because the WordPress interface is pretty beefy and my old PowerBookG4 struggles a little bit with big websites like that.  MarsEdit doesn’t have a huge processor/RAM footprint.  Give it a shot.
Also, PureMac is an awesome site.  I found out about it a very long time ago, and I’m happy to see that it’s still up.  It’s a great resource for people who are new to the Apple fold that aren’t sure what apps to get.  Old school lookin, but I always find myself back there for something or other.

Zork is hard and confusing, revisiting “Themes for an Imaginary Film”,and “Pump Up the Volume”

So I played Zork for a little bit…  and stopped.  I managed to get underneath a house and kill a troll and pick up some stuff and get hella lost.  Maps are very helpful for text adventures, by the way. I get how to move around and pick stuff up, but I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to do.  Perhaps I just need to keep playing it and the plot (?) will present itself.  Another reason why I might have gotten frustrated by it is because I was playing it on my iPhone in Frotz.  Typing on the iPhone can be rather tedious.  I haven’t made it that far in the game, and one thing that I’ve realized is that playing through the same text adventure again goes really fast, so perhaps I can start again on my laptop or something.

In the mean time, I’m listening to “Themes for an Imaginary Film.”  Its pretty great and you should definitely check it out.  Don’t expect four to the floor dance intensity, as its more feaux italo driving soundscapy ambient kind of stuff.  RA says it better.  If you like it you can purchase the album for the low low (low) price of $8.

Lit the fire tonight, so that was fun.  No that’s not a pun, I actually have a fireplace.

Also, I watched a great documentary about the history of house music, called “Pump Up the Volume”.  If you’re a clubhead or want to learn more about that repetitive music you hear at the club, or if you question whether dance music existed before dubstep, watch this film, its pretty great.