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All You Can Eat?

If I upgraded to the 1MB connection with the 30GB cap I would be in clover as my usage fell somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately though, I failed the ADSL line test for the upgrade and BT Yahoo refused to allow me to pay the extra few pounds each month to get the 30GB cap even though I would be stuck at 512Kb speed.

The thing is, I was unable to come up with a legitimate reason why I needed more than 15GB of data per month, not that I actually know what my monthly traffic is. Let’s have a stab though at working it out. Let’s say I send and receive 10MB of email each day and download 100MBs of drivers each month - about 1GB of traffic. Add in a load of web browsing and I’m still nowhere near to 15GB, so it has to come down to peer-to-peer file transfers.

Of course you could legitimately rack up a massive amount of data if you wanted to purchase the entire music libraries at iTunes or Napster, but I don’t believe that a huge amount of people are going down this route. The idea of purchasing heavily compressed music as an alternative to physically buying a CD still doesn’t appeal to me.

We all know that there’s a large amount of content out there and most of it is MP3s, DVD rips and lots and lots of adult entertainment, as well as a huge amount of high quality TV programmes. Personally I hate waiting six months to watch The Sopranos in the UK when I can download it the day after it airs in the US with all of the adverts edited out. I’m happy to buy the DVD when it is made available, but heck, in the States they are showing series 16 of The Simpsons and you can only buy the first four series on DVD.

I believe that legal precedent says that I’m completely in the clear watching US TV content right up to the point where HBO and the other TV companies start to add DRM, which could stuff me for series 6 of The Sopranos.

What we need is an entirely legitimate use for BitTorrent, and I’m happy to report that I’ve found it. Last week I discovered that the update for the game Painkiller is a startling 339MB in size. The publisher has distributed this hefty patch to the usual mirrors (Filefront, Fileplanet, Fileshack etc.) and showing a bit of foresight has also made it available as a Torrent.

As BitTorrent is inherently tolerant of broken downloads, this seems like a fine idea so I gave it a whirl. The download took two and a half hours to complete which is 300Kb/sec or six times dial-up speed, and in that time I uploaded 164MB. This compares poorly to the 543MB download of Windows XP x64 which took 47 minutes from Microsoft’s amazingly fast servers but it’s a sign that BitTorrent is evolving, which is surely a good thing.

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