Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
When most people talk about the Internet, they're referring to popular
services such as the web or email -- but there's a lot more to the Net
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
One of the most popular net-based services is usenet, sometimes referred
to as internet newsgroups.
Much like the BBSs (bulletin board systems) that were so popular before
the Net came to prominence, these systems are a public forum in which
people can post public messages that will be distributed (usually world-wide)
so that others can read and respond to them in the same way.
Aardvark's Web-site Survey Service|
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one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then
maybe you need an Aardvark Site Survey.
It's quite surprising however, just how many people don't even know that
usenet exists -- which is a great shame, since there are now well over 30,000
different newsgroups to choose from and they are now readily
accessible through the web.
While most people use usenet to engage in discussions on topics as diverse
One very popular block of newsgroups are the "alt.binaries" and they contain
binary information such as
graphic images (yes, including porn),
movies (including pirated stuff),
etc. (note: your ISP's news-server may not have all these groups).
Unfortunately, because usenet has its origins way-back when the Net was far
more primitive than it is today, such binary files had to be converted
into text before they could be transmitted using this system.
To date, two systems have been widely used to enable this conversion of
binary files to and from text for the purpose of including them in a usenet
posting. Those systems are referred to as uuencoding and Base64 encoding.
One unfortunate side-effect of this conversion has been that the size of the
text created from binary data is significantly larger than the original
file -- and that has meant that usenet binaries download slowly and consume huge
amounts of server space.
Thanks to advances in the infrastructure of the Net, it is now possible to
store binary data using a new alternative to uuencoding/Base64 -- a system
Unfortunately, not all newsreader software (the programs you and I use to
access newsgroups) can handle this new method, and that's creating a real bunfight
in the binaries newsgroups.
Those whose software does support yEnc are praising its ability to cut download
sizes by 33%, while those without it are bitching about the fact that they
can't make sense of yEnc files.
And then again, some dial-up users have noticed that despite the fact that the
encoded files are smaller, they take just as long to download because it
the effectiveness of the built-in data compression provided by most
modems is somewhat reduced by the more dense data.
The fight will eventually die down with yEnc looking set to replace the older
standards in the very near future -- and in the meantime, the porn, pirated
music and "warez" (pirated software) continues to flow like water through
Have your say.
Aardvark's Garage Sale
It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm
having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time
and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry
has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.
First up -- I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be
perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some
pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or
an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export
I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since
I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing
"waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.
Second up -- I've still got 30,000 7am.com shares (representing about 30% of
the company) that I'm looking to unload. I'm afraid I can't offer much
information on the state of the company -- they haven't spoken with me for ages
so it's a bit of a pig in a poke. However, they survived the most critical
part of the dot-com crash and are now claiming to have nearly 250,000 websites
in their ticker network so that's got to be worth something. Any sale would
be subject to other shareholders exercising their preferential rights --
but all offers will be considered.
Thirdly -- I have an RC model helicopter here that I have built but never flown.
It's a Robbe Mosquito Basic with a JR X-3810 radio, JR piezo gyro, OS46FSH
engine and a Dave Brown flight simulator. Everything was purchased brand-new
a couple of years ago and is in pristine condition (having spent all that time
in a box in the storeroom). Since I haven't had any
time to fly it in the past two years I figure there's little chance I'll find
time to fly it in the next two years, so out it goes.
Anyone interested in any of these things should
drop me a line.
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