p2p part deux – fyi

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For the record, I will reiterate, yet once again, that I am not a Nazi.  I feel like one of the few scattered sane voices in Rocky Mountain-like isolation, hollering out into the cyberdin.  At least, that’s what some of these FYI items feel like to me (although that doesn’t stop me from posting them because they so badly need to be said).

Other items are more benign, to be filed under the “just so you know” category–little helpful bits of trivia, in case they ever come in handy.

* Do feel free to pm me.  Please understand that I’m rarely around and when I am, it’s usually a quick in-and-out.  I take 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there to run new searches, queue up a few downloads, browse those in my queue to see if I should add anyone to my list for having a cool collection or ban anyone because they’re either not sharing or they’re sharing too little.  I do try to reply to messages when I get in, although if your message consists of “hi” or “r u there?” or “can you add me” (the 2 exceptions to the latter being if you’re a fellow slsk roommate–more on this later–or you have a kick-ass or large collection), or to whine about your spot in queue (hint: don’t do this!)  On occasion, I’m around long enough to be up for a good conversation, but usually I’m not so much the chatty type.  Although I’ve held some long and awesome conversations with some just because we’ve hit it off, and I’m more likely to be chattier with those people.

* Follow the Golden Rule.  I’m sorry, because I know that sometimes I’m talking to the wrong crowd, but if you’re a leecher, listen up.  I cannot for the life of me get inside the heads of those who try to take from others without sharing anything themselves.  I mean, I simply cannot understand this.  At what point did the whole “file-SHARING program” get lost on these people?  It’s like they only understand half a concept at any given point in time.  (And we give these people a license to drive and a spot on a voter registration list.  No wonder the world is in the state it’s in!)  It’s the simple Golden Rule, folks.  Every religion, faith, or philosophy, whether major or minor, whether organized or not, contains some version of this concept.  Whether you believe in karma, hell, purgatory, judgment, nirvana, moksha, or something in between, the Golden Rule is for you.

“I’ve heard the excuses everybody uses”, and I call bullshit.  “But I’m a casual user.”  Then go get the files from other casual users.  My clientele are more hardcore about their collections.  “I have no/little harddrive space.”  This’s my favorite one.  Please.  Then where are you planning to put the CDs you plan to leech from me?  Not only that, but if I can run down to my local computer store and pop $149 while drowning in medical student loan debt, so can you.  And by the way, the $149 got me an entire terabyte.  You don’t have to spend that much if you don’t need quite that much space.  So save the experience of looking like a complete asshat and bag the sob stories.  They don’t become anyone.

* Adding people to my list is a call that’s mine alone to make, without a message from you prompting me to do so, but there are 2 exceptions.  First, if you have a large, quality, organized collection (it need not be as big as mine, but 15k-20k files or more of really tasty stuff is a good start), then you can pm me to be added.  By “files” I mean mp3, flac, or movie formats, not m4a or any other “secure” file format no one can do anything with.  I also don’t count incomplete files.  Again, useless.  And by “organized” I mean full albums, not the atrocious Itunes concept of generating 100,000 folders, each with a single track or two in them.  The full releases should be organized; the system is up to you, but each album should preferably get its own folder.  And needless to say, everything should be named properly.

The other exception is when you belong to a chatroom that I am also camped out in.  As a general rule, I try to add all fellow roommates to my list (unless they’re not sharing anything).  If you attempt to download from me and your download doesn’t start right away, that means I don’t have you on my list yet.  Either you’re new to the room or I am, or it’s an oversight.  Just pm me, tell me what room you know me from, and ask to be added.

* I’m having a few bandwidth/transfer-handling problems since I migrated to Windows XP (from Windows 2000 Pro) about a month ago.  If it seems like your downloads sit on “initializing” for a long time without doing anything or they fail more often, it’s not your imagination.  I apologize for this.  Yes, I have configured the client properly, and all the ports I know about are open.  I don’t know what else is causing it and I know enough about computers to use the programs but not to administer anything.  That’s my partner’s job, and he’s in med school with me, so let’s just say his time is limited, too!  But I’m aware of the problem, although I don’t know what else to do about it.  All I can say is, the download will process eventually, even if it waits a couple of days.  If you need the files more urgently, I suggest you seek out alternate sources.

* Shit or get off the pot. When someone queues files that they’re not actually ready to download when their turn comes around, it takes up my queue space (ramping up the number in queue, making it appear larger than it is), and it eats up my RAM.  That might not matter to some, but the fact is, the program spontaneously gives me a nonsensical error and shuts down whenever it consumes too much memory, and this has indeed happened.  When it does, it takes me a looong time to get everything back up and running again, because the program has to re-scan through literally over 100,000 files, and that takes a lot of time, even with the amount of memory I have.  So…if you’re not ready to download for whatever reason (be in bandwidth limits or whatever), DON’T QUEUE THE FILES.  If I see your files go inactive when your turn comes up more than twice, I will have to ban you to prevent my own system from shutting down.

* Follow your own rules.   This should go completely without saying, as it is such a “duh” concept, but there are people who impose rules on others, for example “1 cd at a time” or “40 tracks at a time”, which is totally fine, but then they in turn go queue up a whole lot more from someone else!  Please.  Although I don’t live and die by any explicit limits, per se, I do expect that one would have the common decency to comply with their own rules.  For the cheap seats, if you impose a 2-cd limit or a 100-track or a 100-megabyte limit on those who download from you, you must not queue more than that from me at one time, either.  If you do, I will remove the selected downloads in excess of your own rules from my queue, plus maybe a bit more for punity’s sake.  If you re-queue, I’ll keep re-deleting, until the first batch is finished downloading.  If your queues are ridiculously out of line, I might tire of the situation and eliminate the problem entirely, if you know what I mean.  We both know that’s fair.

* Speaking of fairness, I don’t play bandwidth games, and I don’t appreciate those who do.  I complete understand, and can empathize with, the ever increasingly-draconian limits imposed by ISPs on their customers, often allowing just a certain amount of bandwidth per day.  I also understand that their customers often have no other ISP choice.  I know that this forces some of you to put limits on your upload slots or speeds, to ensure that you don’t exceed your daily limit.  That is completely fine; do what you have to do.  I’d rather you do that and be able to stay logged on, than not have you as part of the community.  But then, do be fair; if you actively limit your upload to 2k per second, don’t suck off others at neutrino speed while the Canadian post office puts your speed to shame.

I need to add a caveat to that: bandwidth is a funny thing. I’ve had people ask me why I download off them at 45k per second, while they can only get speeds of 10k/sec off of me. The truth is, I don’t know.  My ISP has no daily limit, but it does limit my outgoing bandwidth to about 55-60k; I set my max at about 50k, to leave some bandwidth left over for things like showing up in peoples’ searches so that they can find me, or so that people have a better chance of browsing my files.  Please know that the 50k is shared between all who are downloading from me at once.  Since I have a lot of user slots open, this can mean that there are smaller slices of the pie for each person, but that each person does get to download without having to wait long.  If you’re getting 10k/sec from me and I’m getting 50 from you, then chances are there are others trying to download from me at the same time, and I’m the only one in your queue, or you have more outgoing bandwidth than I do.  I’m not being a hypocritical douchebag, I promise.

* I’m happy to make recommendations, upon request.  My forte is in helping those brand-new to the ambient/dub/chillout or contemporary lounge scenes.  I can also help with the shoegaze and older alternative or synthpop genres.  However, I don’t know enough about punk, ska, goa, metal, hip-hop, house, deep house, trance, or techno to compare and contrast.  And I don’t do speed metal or death metal at all.

* If, after all this, you’re still game for a good time (in reference to filesharing, pervs) don’t worry; I won’t let you down.  What you’ll find is a treasure trove of over 100,000 mp3 files of decent quality, organized into individual complete cds, in nearly every genre with a few exceptions.  People find the organization method easy to navigate and they love the selection and depth/completeness of the collection.  However, I can be tough to browse, especially during peak internet traffic hours.  Be patient when browsing, be considerate while queuing, and be patient while waiting.  More often than not, it’s worth it.

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