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December 31, 2002

2002, A Year For Sharing

As far as file sharing goes, 2002 was a year of loss and gain. Audiogalaxy and Napster bid final farewells, and were forced by the RIAA to remove their music CD covers. On the bright side, Soulseek and Directconnect (and its wonderful open-source client DC++) emerged as useful alternatives for those of us looking to sample music. For live music fans, Furthur upgraded its client software and is slowly expanding from the jam bands that made up most of its content originally to indie shows from bands like Wilco, the Replacements, Robyn Hitchcock and Talking Heads, among others. Gnutella-based filesharing is still alive, with my favorite client being the spyware-free Xolox. If you feel you must use the Kazaa network, please use Kazaa Lite, also free of spyware.

My favorite file-sharing programs:

Advantages: Recursive file downloading; bitrates of mp3s visible before download; a mere $5 a month grants a move to the front of every queue; much eclectic music; buddy lists move friends up in your download queue
Disadvantages: Queues can be very large; terminating the program moves you to the end of the queue; program is a resource hog

Advantages: Recursive file downloading; large hubs with varied software, music, movies; DC++ client small and inobtrusive
Disadvantages: Hubs often require an enormous amount of shared files for entrance

Advantages: Live shows from bands that allow taping; well-organized downloads with useful documentation; growing base of both available bands and users; high quality sound (in general).
Disadvantages: Only downloads of complete shows currently.

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