I want to say something about Bittorrent. Its a fabulous way of getting the stuff you need, and stuff you are interested in. Its also about sharing. Its not like the traditional way of downloading… someone pays for a space on a website or ftp server and you get to leech off them at no cost. With bittorrent, everyone wears the cost because the uploading and downloading happens all at once, from and to everyone who has the file.
So: I am downloading File A and File B. So are a gazillion other people. But because of how Bittorrent works, as I am downloading from person a, b, and c, so I might also be uploading that which I have downloaded to person d, e, and f. They might have bits I don’t, and so I will also be downloading from them as well, and I may well be uploading to a, b, and c at the same time.
It sounds complex, but its not. Its actually a very efficient way of doing downloads and sharing what you have.
Before you start thinking bad things about me, there are many, many legal torrents out there. Many of the opensource community now distribute via bittorrent as well, and there are sites dedicated to only legal torrents. (When I speak of a torrent, I am simply referring to the 60k or so file which defines the downloadable file and tells us where it can be got from)
So.. what to use? You can’t use a browser, or an ftp client with torrents. You need a specialised client which knows how to read .torrent files.
uTorrent: comes highly recommended. I’ve never used it, being on a Mac, but I understand its the bees knees at the moment.
Transmission: Just updated, this has become a very nice piece of software and for the moment it has replaced my usual favourite
Cross-Platform (for Linux, Windows and OSX)
Azureus: Java based, it was my favourite until Transmission came along again in its updated form. It does everything including washing the breakfast dishes, but you do need to forward your ports.
The only downside with BT is that if you have a net provider which limits your data transfer (as happens in Australia)… if you have one which counts data going both ways, up and down, you’ll chew through your allowance in no time at all. Bigpond is one of those which does that to you. I don’t know of others, though I’m sure all Bigpond resellers would do the same thing.