Some FAQs about PCs you wish you knew before you bought it!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Q: Is there a tool that will help me get better page ranking via the search engines?
Try SE-Inspector, a website that tests your website for keywords, meta tags, and so on. It will also check keywords and such and find your competitors.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Q: What is BitTorrent? How does it work? I heard it's like P2P, but better? Is it "safe"?
A BitTorrent is a sorta P2P standard that allows any one on the Internet to locate a file, that could be spread across bazillion different computers on the Internet, and in turn be another provider of the file as more stuff is downloaded.

So what does this have to do with you? When you get to a torrent file, and download it, it doesn't do anything, because torrent itself doesn't contain anything. It's just a... pointer, like an URL, to the actual content, and even that isn't quite correct. It actually points you to the "tracker", which track all the different bits and pieces of that file. So all you see is the torrent, and that file will get to you... eventually, provided other people stay online long enough for you to get the other pieces.

Let's say 10 people have bits and pieces of the files you want. Five of the 10 have full copies. Those are called "hosts", as they're nice enough to stay on to continue hosting the file. The other 5 are leeches. When they got the complete file, they'll become hosts as well. As you join, you'll be the 6th leech, and eventually, be another host. Other people will join, some will leave, and hopefully the ring stays intact...

When you open the torrent file (with the appropriate BitTorrent client), the client will talk to the Tracker, and determine where the hosts and leeches are, and coordinate the bandwidth available (which pieces to download from who, etc.). As you can guess, the most hosts (and sometimes, leeches, as they have some useful pieces), the faster the download will go.

If there are no hosts, you likely can't download since usually leeches don't have complete copies. And if there are no trackers, the whole thing goes kaput.

When you "register" on these Torrent sites, you're just getting access to the torrent files they got from the various trackers. Who knows what happened to the trackers in the meanwhile?

Keep in mind that at least one of these torrent sites were raided by MPAA/RIAA. After vowing to fight them, the owner instead copped a plea agreement, and provided ALL REGISTERED USER'S INFO to them. Think about that.