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If you’ve spent any amount of time browsing the internet in the past half-decade, you’ll probably have heard about BitTorrent, a popular program used for downloading media. Whether or not you know how to use it is another thing altogether. I’m here to tell you that it’s invaluable and to show you how to get started with it. Disclaimer: BitTorrent is an entirely legal program and infrastructure. Downloading copyrighted material through it is not. If you follow my instructions here, you will have done something wholly illegal and morally reprehensible. Good people pay for their media. If you don’t intend on downloading copyrighted material, BitTorrent is still extremely useful, as it is a powerful method of distributing legal information. Even if you don’t ever plan to use it at all, I still recommend you internalize what I lay out here, because this system is changing the world. I, the author, am not responsible for any damage you incur in relation to this piece of writing. A Bit of History The seminal Napster hit its peak usage with roughly 25 million users in mid-2001. At this exact same time, Bram Cohen produced the BitTorrent protocol and first client. Since then, BitTorrent’s uptake has been exponential. In 2006, an estimated 35% of the world’s aggregate internet bandwidth was reported to have been being used for BitTorrent traffic. More than every third bit travelling across the world was being used specifically in these programs, and this number has only been on an incline since then. Now, even commercial companies like Blizzard (the creators of Starcraft and Warcraft) use BitTorrent to dispense software updates. To say that BitTorrent is the new Napster is massively underestimating its impact. Torrents represent ... ... middle of paper ... ...Vertigo will begin its trek to your hard drive. You might find that this download is taking a very long time, but that’s the fault of public torrents. They are usually quite slow, and speeds will fluctuate quite a lot. During my writing, this torrent dropped from roughly 75 kilobytes per second to 40kB/s and then held steady at 110kB/s until finishing in roughly 2 hours, actually less time than the film itself. There is much more to go over for advanced users, but with this short run through, anyone ought to be able to download their favorite books, movies, comics, music albums, or software. Simply switch out the “Vertigo” search for “Harbrace Handbook” or “Celtic Thunder,” for example, to find them. Regardless of the moral and legal issues inherent to the topic, I believe that the specifics of BitTorrent usage should be readily available and apparent to everyone.
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