Archive for May, 2011
This guide is designed to get you up and running with the newsgroups. Using newsgroups for file sharing has become much easier than ever thanks to new software that automate the process.
To get setup, you need three things:
1. A newsgroup server – this is where your newsreader will download the files from.
2. A newsgroup reader – this is the client software you will use to download from the newsgroups.
3. Access to an indexing site – this is where you will search for content to download.
1 – Subscribe to a premium news server
First you need to sign up for a premium news server. The news server is where all the content you want is located and it is essential that you subscribe to one. Most offer a 14 day trial, so you can try them out before buying.
Retention is the amount of time they store the content uploaded, the usual these days is 1000 days. It means anything uploaded before this may not be complete. Usenet is only great for stuff uploaded in the last 2 yrs, older stuff would need re-uploading and may have to be found elsewhere, torrents, rapidshare etc.
2 – Get a good newsreader
Download and install a free news reader client on your pc.
These news readers will not only download files from the news server, but will also automatically repair and combine the parts of the files for you, taking all the hassle out of downloading from the newsgroups. Sabnzb+ is the one I’d recommend, it has many functions the other two don’t have like web access and scheduling. Setting it up is more difficult, but it can be migrated to a server at a later date.
3 – Access an indexing site
There’s a very handy Chrome browser plugin to automate the sending of .nzb’s from the indexing site to Sabnzb+ to a single click:
SABconnect++ Chrome plugin
There is also site that announces new content uploaded online. Subscribe to the rss feed of the category you want to watch with your Google Reader, then add the Google Reader app to your iGoogle page, you’ll see the latest scene releases on your homepage as they appear.
Google Reader iGoogle app
With Boxee now having better support for local metadata and thumbnails support I decided to sort my media. Ember Media Manager is really powerful open source program for adding information and images to your media collection, but with it adding lots of files, one wrong move could really mess up your collection. After a bit of work, I’ve mine setup perfectly for Boxee.
For movies, I’ve it creating just the .nfo with all the relevant movie info from IMDB and then movie posters from themoviedb.org (has much better images). I’m setting Ember to re-size the posers to 299×434 at 100% quality, from my reading of the forums its the optimum size for Boxee with the files ending up 50-120MB. I’ve not bothered to reduce quality but its very easily done by moving the slider from 100%. I’m also not bothering with cast posters or fanart backdrops as Boxee doesn’t show them. My settings don’t add a rating to the .nfo as this is an issue in Boxee where if adult content is disabled, only over 18′s media will show. Someone logged the issue as a bug but it was closed immediately saying “will not be fixed” as its a parental controls feature, they need it working. I also stop Ember adding the thumbnail location to the .nfo file, this is because the location for Boxee needs to start “smb://”, adding it with ember doesn’t allow this and the result is that the thumbnails will not work. Heres a few screenies of my Ember settings for movies:
For Tv Shows, I’ve it creating .nfo’s and thumbnails for every single episode from thetvdb.com, (which look bloody amazing compared to the default IMDB ones before this). I also have it creating show folder.jpg that appear on Boxee as the show image, it being re-sized once again to 299×434 at 100% quality. I’ve not bothered with fanart, banners or actors posters etc. Boxee doesn’t show them. This is the area lots are having trouble with, but mine worked first go. Here’s my settings screenies:
You must then clear your thumbnails and media information in system settings for Boxee to do a full rescan which will take a while but will pickup everything eventually once it matches the .nfo’s and .tbns to the media. Afterwards you can use Ember to change a thumbnail to a nicer one if needed, as it names it identically Boxee pulls the new image the next time it scans.
Remember, If you change the .nfo at a later stage, you’re going to have to either manually add the new .nfo by identifying the movie/show (it will give the option to identify from .nfo) or re-add all the thumbnails and media information again.
Amendment 8th Dec 2011
I posted before about CCleaner, now its time to go into a little more detail and explain how its used. CCleaner is mainly used for deleting temporary files and cleaning history files in Windows. Its customizability and many features make it one of the best tools to perform these maintenance tasks. There are four main functions represented by buttons on the left side, these buttons are:
- Cleaner - allows you to remove files or objects from Windows and other installed applications. These include temporary Internet files, cookies and the history of several web browsers, system files such as the Recycle Bin and log files and Windows Explorer information such as recent documents or thumbnail cache. Also, third party applications such Adobe Reader, Quicktime and Java as well as Windows related applications like Wordpad and Paint can be cleaned as well.
- Registry - this section contains all the common items which are normally included in Windows registry cleaners, such as missing shared dlls that have remained on the system after uninstalling software on the computer, unused file extensions, installers and obsolete software. It allows you to backup entries before you delete.
- Tools - contains a software uninstaller, startup programs manager and a system restore manager. The uninstaller loads much faster than Add/Remove Programs which you find in the Windows Control Panel. In the startup programs manager you can also modify your programs that are set to run when your computer starts.
- Options - this section allows you to tune your CCleaner settings. It’s also where you mark any cookies you want to keep and folders to exclude from cleaning.
It is quite easy to use CCleaner because with only few clicks you can clean your full computer. The “Analyze” button is used if you just simply want to see what is there to be cleaned before cleaning. To run the cleaner “Analyse” and then click the “Run Cleaner” button or just click the “Run Cleaner” button if you want to run straight through it like I do. The output window above will display a complete list of the analysis or cleaning process.
The registry section will help you find errors and old entries in the system registry. To use, simply press the “Scan for Issues” button and once completed press the “Fix All Selected Issues” button. You will be prompted to make a backup, select “Yes” and you will be brought through the process, it’s best to save the backup in your documents in case of anything going wrong.
Now after you finished with cleaning you may go to Tools tab where you have the options
“Uninstall” and “Startup”. These two features you already have in Windows and they are not any different to those in CCleaner, but CCleaner is faster. Uninstall programs by clicking them to highlight them and then click “Run Uninstaller”. Removing programs that aren’t essential from StartUp” can speed up your computer, but be careful because some programs are necessary and windows can’t work without them. You can just click on any and then click “Disable”.
My Wife got an Android phone, I advised her it was best to get all her contacts from her old Nokia into Gmail as Google contacts. She would then be able to edit and merge them on a bigger screen on the desktop computer and they’d sync automatically to the phone, so I set out to figure out how.
Nokia Ovi Suite has the function to sync contacts with Outlook, Windows Mail or Thunderbird, but my Thunderbird contains my own contacts which I do not want to mess up. So I went back to Nokia PC Suite 6.86, it’s integrated with Windows Explorer and I could see the full contact list as a folder. I just simply browsed in the contact folder and copied them all as .vcf files into a new folder. Now I had got all the contacts information in 500+ files in vCard or .vcf format.
Google Contacts import function supports .vcf format, but you can only upload them one at a time. As there’s 500+ I needed a way to join them, to do this I did the following.
- copy all these .vcf files to a folder called “wifecontacts”
- move this folder to the root of my C:\ drive so the path becomes C:\wifecontacts
- Start → Run → type “cmd”
- in Command Prompt type “cd C:\wifecontacts”
- then, type “copy /B *.vcf all_in_one.vcf”
This command will merge all *.vcf files into one single file called all_in_one.vcf that contains all contacts information, it can be imported into to Google Contacts very easily. In Gmail Contacts, select more actions and then select import. Where it says “Please select a CSV or vCard file to upload”, browse to the single file called “all_in_one” among the .vcf files in C:\wifecontacts. They will then appear in the list and can be edited one by one and any double ups merged in comfort on the desktop and they will sync automatically to the Android phone once signed in to Google.
Since you’re leaving Nokia, you won’t need the software, make sure to uninstall the Nokia PC Suite in Control Panel → Programs & Features, it sets itself to launch everytime you boot.