April 25, 2009

Torrents

Part of the reason that I resist downloading fansubs is because of the ethical aspect of it. We don't need to go into that again.

A significant part of it is that torrent programs scare the hell out of me. When you're downloading, you're also uploading. I don't mind that concept; the problem is, you aren't necessarily uploading what you're downloading, and I don't know how you control what you make available for uploads.

Have you opened up your entire HD for any torrenter to plunder at their will? Presumably not if you do it right, but that potential exists if you louse it up. Or at least that's what my nightmares tell me.

On the other hand, I've got a second computer sitting here. It's the laptop I was using before I bought this big notebook a year and a half ago. The old Compaq hardly ever gets used, and it runs XP. It came to me a couple of days ago that I could go in and carefully delete everything on the old machine which was at all personal, and turn it into a dedicated torrent machine. Then if I foul up I'm still fundamentally secure. If it gets infected, I can reload it. Nothing major risked.

Well, maybe I'll do that sometime. In the mean time the current drought of new anime I feel like buying is getting depressing. The second Ah, My Buddha disk is out, and I'll include that in my next order whenever that may be. Problem is, it may not be very soon. The only announced/scheduled titles coming that I'm interested in are the second volume of Kenichi (due 6/16), Gakuen Alice (due 6/30), and I might end up getting Kaze no Stigma (due 6/30).

There's nothing I'm interested in due for at least two months. It's damned discouraging.

And that's making it harder and harder to resist the allure of unlicensed fansubs.

I do have my download site, but they don't carry everything, and updates are often less than timely. I'd really like to watch the third episode of Saki, for instance, but it isn't online yet.

Still, tonight desperation got the best of me and I decided to see what it did have that might be interesting. So as I'm writing this I'm also downloading the first four episodes of Bamboo Blade and the first four episodes of Umisho.

Bamboo Blade has been licensed for R1 by Funimation, but they haven't announced a date for it, let alone released anything. Umisho is one of those titles which has little chance of being picked up here, unless Media Blasters gets it -- which could happen, in fact. But no one has announced any plans to license it.

And damn it, I'm bored. And I've been sliding down the slippery slope of my conscience for quite a while now.

(Another thing I considered, and may end up sampling, was Nagasarete Airantou. Yeah, it's really stupid. But my download site has the whole show in HD, and it would be interesting to see how much difference that makes. They've also got Manabi Straight in HD, and the second Zero no Tsukaima series in HD. And Kanokon in HD -- but I'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice that many brain cells.)

UPDATE: For people who don't have these titles down:

Bamboo Blade: Toraji Ishida is a high school kendo teacher. His friend and fellow kendo teacher makes him a bet: if Ishida can assemble a girls' kendo team that can defeat his girls' team in a practice match, he'll treat Ishida to free meals at his father's sushi restaurant for a whole year. Now Ishida must find five girls to join the team.

Umisho: Kaname Okimura, a student of Prefectoral Umineko Shougyou High ("Umisho" for short), joined the school's swimming club in order to learn how to swim, but the club is filled with weirdos, let alone teaches him swimming. Then, a sunny, happy-go-lucky girl named Amuro Ninagawa who was transferred from Okinawa joined the club. Her extraordinary underwater speed and unorthodox swimming style (plus her personal habit of nude swimming—a powerful magnet to teenage boys) surprised every club member, especially Okimura, because she reminds him of a mermaid-like creature he saw only once in his early childhood.

Nagasarete Airantou: One day, Ikuto has a fight with his father and as a result runs away from home in the heat of the moment. Everything was going well until he boarded a ship, but then he carelessly fell overboard. After encountering the most serious raging storm in a hundred years, and spending many days adrift, he arrives here, at "Airantou". However, this island is a little weird...because, this Airantou is an island comprising solely of girls. An (extremely enviable) destiny awaits Ikuto.

Manabi Straight: The year is 2035 and schools have been suffering from a lack of child birth which has caused many of them to close. An energetic girl named Manami Amamiya transfers to a new school where she quickly becomes the student council president and starts to bring back some vigor in the students' lives.

Zero noTsukaima 2: This sequel is a continuation of the previous season, not long after the war. Louise and Saito seemingly getting along now since she knows that he had given up his only chance to return to Tokyo for her. The story continues as Louise begins to use Void Magic from a mysterious secret book she had recieved from her majesty Henrietta, while a new villain has appeared in town causing trouble.

Kanokon: Kanokon's story revolves around Kouta Oyamada, a young first-year high school student who moves from the country to the city and thus transfers to Kunpo High School. On his first day at his new school, a beautiful second-year female student named Chizuru Minamoto asks him to meet her alone in the music room. When he arrives, she reveals that she is in fact a fox deity and from that day on the two hang out together. Nozomu is a first year female student at Kouta's school, she is in fact a wolf deity and in love with Kouta, and a rival of Chizuru for Kouta's affections.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 07:19 PM | Comments (22) | Add Comment
Post contains 1033 words, total size 7 kb.

1 I've got an old Dell PC that I use just for downloads, of any kind.  I download, scan them for viruses or malware, and if things come up clean, I install them on my main computer.  Thus far, it's a system that has worked pretty well, though I confess I haven't gotten much from torrent sites.  (I don't like the legal aspects, and I get stuff from them only when there's no other avenue.  If it were available commercially--and I do a thorough search--that is where I would go.)

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at April 25, 2009 07:31 PM (K5RTP)

2

If this stuff were legally available I'd be buying it too. I've probably spent $8K on DVDs in the last five years and I'd be quite happy to keep spending at that rate, if only things I wanted to buy were available.

But the industry (in R1) is still in convulsions from the ADV implosion. Funi's been releasing stuff at a decent clip, but a lot of that has been reissues of titles previously licensed by ADV or by Geneon/Pioneer. The number of new things coming out is still a trickle, and most of what has been coming out is things I'm not even remotely interested in.

Like Clannad. Darker than Black. Kanon. Death Note.

Someone out there likes that stuff and will buy it, I hope. Not me, though.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 25, 2009 07:38 PM (+rSRq)

3 With some of the initial p2p sharing networks, you simply designated what folders/drives you wanted people to have access to, and anyone on the network could browse the shared folders of all the other connected users.  Of course, some programs let you think you were sharing restricted folders (or none at all), and were actually sharing your whole drive.

With the torrent programs, at least the ones I'm familiar with, you actually have to specifically seed a given file, and then anyone who downloads via that seed is known to have the file and shares their portion of the file, until they delete it or otherwise tell their torrent program to stop sharing that file.  I suppose some programs could be trying to get around this, but every torrent I've ever seen is specifically named and described, not some collection of random files or a directory off someone's machine.

Of course, the real danger with torrents is not that you're uploading your machine, but that the file you're downloading is a trojan.  I've more than once downloaded what purported to be a video file, but had an .exe extension.  I shudder to think about downloading applications.

Posted by: David at April 25, 2009 08:06 PM (n/RK7)

4 Short version on Torrent uploading: you only share what you want to share.  Period, end of line, full-stop, -30-.

If you don't have a .torrent file created for it, it isn't shared and can't be seen.

Wow, on that list of shows, I'd only recommend Bamboo Blade.  Yeesh.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 25, 2009 08:07 PM (/nYBT)

5 You're missing the point on how torrents work, I think.

When you are downloading a torrent, what are you uploading? That torrent. Sure, you might only have a tiny piece of the file to start with, but if someone else doesn't have that part, you'll upload it to them. There's no directory of other stuff that you're offering to the internet or anything like that - the only data your torrent program sends to other computers is the contents of active torrents you have open.

The reason you're having trouble finding "how to control what you upload" is because you're thinking that BitTorrent and its successor programs work like old file sharing programs did, where you connected to a single user and browsed through whatever they had available. BT doesn't have any of that from the start.

On the other hand, you SHOULD limit the amount of upstream bandwidth you're prepared to use, because most BT programs are pretty greedy and will max out your connection otherwise, which slows down other things you might be doing at the time. Putting a cap on your upstream slows down your downloads a little (the chances that a BT peer will be told "hey, send the next part of a file to this guy!" go up when you're uploading more), but it makes it work in the background much more effectively, so I feel it's a good trade-off.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 25, 2009 08:08 PM (vGfoR)

6

I've got a lot of upload bandwidth so I'm not massively concerned about that. I just did a benchmark and it said I had 12.5 megabits of download and 4 megabits of upload.

I know that part of being a "good citizen" is that you don't disconnect until you've uploaded about as much as you downloaded.

Where do you get a the torrent client? Which one is recommended?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 25, 2009 08:39 PM (+rSRq)

7 You're no stranger to "stupid and distracting drawing conventions" (e.g. Div. Eve), so big heads will make no impediment, but other than that I am making no promises. Finest bloggers failed it: Don, Evirus, etc. First three or four episodes are a drag until the story kicks in.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 25, 2009 09:15 PM (/ppBw)

8 I used to worry about the ethical ramifications. Hell, I wrote the FAQ. These days, I've come to realize that it's trying to hold back the tide. Years of abstinence didn't seem to have any effect, so why should I expect it to start doing any good now?

Personally, I use µTorrent. Gets the job done. I'm sure there's a million options that I could be paying attention to, but meh, I don't start torrents, I just download from 'em. Then, to use it, just go to an indexing site and download a .torrent tracker file - it'll open up the program, ask you where you want to save, and get going.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 25, 2009 09:16 PM (vGfoR)

9 Personally, I use Azureas. Setup was pretty simple, and it has a lot of features under the hood I can ignore or tweak at will.  Starting a download wasn't very intuitive though, so I hesitate to recommend it..  Never figured out how to create new torrents with it, but I wasn't trying hard either.  Animesuki lists four clients here but it doesn't look like some of the links have been updated to new versions in ages. 

Generally, I stick to downloading from only 3 sites. Animesuki, Baka-Updates, and Tokyo Tosho.  I think the real trick for security is in going only to good sites -- and not following links to the groups websites (especially off Tosho, which has a lot of non-English downloads.  Ask yourself, does Russia have that big of a fansub community?).  Most are legit, but every now and then you'll get one that tries to load malware when you visit it.  Last time I got hammered "reload the O/S" hard was when I made the mistake of clicking on a new group's website link. (Someone else too, was it Toren or Brickmuppet?)

I also use the "secondary system" for downloads -- Misaki got that job after I built Lyar.

Posted by: ubu at April 25, 2009 09:34 PM (AM6Ds)

10 I'm a uTorrent user as well.  TokyoTosho is my main site for torrents, but their old domain got nuked and are running on their backup link now, which you can find here.  Animesuki is also good, though much slower on their updating.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 25, 2009 09:40 PM (/nYBT)

11

I just received an email that informed me that Crunchyroll is carrying Saki. So I took a look.

Yes and no. They're not offering it for "download to own" the way Strike Witches was. I gladly paid $3 per episode for Strike Witches, but the deal with Saki is rental, not ownership. You pay a monthly membership fee and it permits you to watch the programs they carry when you want -- online, using their Flash player program.

Which, among other things, probably means no frame grabs. But that's not the real point.

I don't rent software. Never have and never will. I buy DVDs, and I've bought a hell of a lot of them. But I do this. This is like those computer games which won't run unless they have an internet connection and can phone home every time you invoke them. Your game only works as long as the company that "sold" it to you feels like maintaining the validation server.

And this Crunchyroll deal only works as long as Crunchyroll exists. Not acceptable.

What I wrote back, perhaps more angrily than I should have, was: "I ***BUY*** anime, I don't rent it. I'll steal it before I'll rent it."

They do offer free viewing for brief windows, and Saki ep 3 will become available for free viewing tomorrow some time, so maybe I'll take a look.

But I won't pay them for that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 25, 2009 09:47 PM (+rSRq)

12 Indeed.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 25, 2009 09:49 PM (/ppBw)

13 Toren -- It wasn't just you; the last season was weak, period.  Wrote about the doom-and-gloom apocalyptic predictions over the last few seasons  not quite panning out, only to realize that for the winter season, they really did.  ONE mediocre series that I followed, and don't care if I finish or not.

This season, which was widely predicted to be the end of times, I'm juggling something like six:  Tears to Tiara, Pandora Hearts, Natsu no Arashi, Eden of the East, Valkyria Chronicles, Asura's Cryin', and well, I've downloaded two episodes of Queen's Blade, but that's all the brain cells I can spare.  I give Arashi and EotE thumbs up, but Asura's Cryin' misses it by virtue of that god-awful discontinuity between eps.1 and 2.

Posted by: ubu at April 25, 2009 09:51 PM (AM6Ds)

14 Another μtorrent user here. Used to use Azureus, but it went insane one day.

Thanks for the backup link for TokyoTosho, Wonderduck. I was wondering where it went!

AnimeSuki is probably your safest bet, but they are very strict about not listing shows that they've been asked not to list, so you can't find everything there. TokyoTosho has far more content, but a lot of it is of little interest.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 25, 2009 10:06 PM (PiXy!)

15 Animesuki won't list any shows that have been licensed, or are streaming anywhere (so, for example, no Saki). They're significantly slower to update, too, generally by a matter of a few hours, not that that's terribly significant unless you're REALLY jonesing for your fix.

Tokyotosho has a lot more stuff, but you need to wade through a lot of crap (fansubs in other languages, raw video, music, and porn), so finding things you're interested in can be a bit of a challenge. Animesuki is much better about listing older titles too, with good indexes. I generally use Animesuki unless I'm specifically looking for something they don't list (generally because someone's saying "it just got listed!")

I can't imagine paying CR to watch a stream early, but meh, free the week after ain't bad.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 25, 2009 10:31 PM (vGfoR)

16 For the confused, ubu is responding to a post I made that I asked Steven to remove because I thoughtlessly violated the Prime Directive.
I blame Cthulhu.

Steven, although I don't think this is likely to matter in your case, Comcast has been known to place a bandwidth limit on people who are moving a lot of bytes.  Charmingly, they won't reveal what the cap is--you just suddenly get ganked and put offline until the next billing cycle.  However, I would expect that you will not leave the torrent running 24/7, so this is probably not an issue.

Posted by: Toren at April 25, 2009 11:35 PM (0jQJW)

17 *cough*  And then there's me and my low tech NetFlix subscription. . .

( yes, its technically rental too, but at least its rental of actual disks )

Posted by: metaphysician at April 26, 2009 05:14 AM (WPSw+)

18 I've tried torrents in the past for stuff I just couldn't find, but I'm just not tech savy enough (monkey with a hammer) to trust the process. I use two fan sub sites that seem to be ethical in pulling series off if they get licensed. I've been reluctant to buy for two reasons, I'm cheap, and there is very little that I'll re-read or watch again. I watch a couple of scenes of one that I've seen before and then it is like the whole thing is in my head again.

Posted by: toadold at April 26, 2009 06:23 AM (zcbXo)

19

has been known to place a bandwidth limit on people who are moving a lot of bytes.

That's for home users. I'm a commercial customer. I pay twice as much per month, and it's expected that I will use a lot higher proportion of my allocated bandwidth than a normal user will.

(I have to be a commercial customer in order to get a fixed IP and to run a server.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 26, 2009 09:03 AM (+rSRq)

20 I trust the BitTorrent protocol; I don't trust the authors of many clients. There's not much actual malice (unless the site hosting the client gets subverted), but a lot of poor coding and ill-advised protocol tweaking (generally to hide their behavior from ISPs). I still use the last official Bram-and-company Mac client, because of memory leaks and odd swarm behaviors I've noticed with newer ones. The last time I tried a large, poorly-seeded download with a modern, actively-maintained client, it ran fine for a week, and then started leaking memory until it locked up my (spare...) machine. It took another ten days to finish downloading, thanks to the bizarre behaviors of the seed and the other three leechers.

A fresh fansub torrent with 1,000 leeches can survive these pessimizations, but older swarms suffer badly, with seeds that randomly stop sending, leechers that disconnect from peers who have pieces they're interested in, non-random seeding that leaves all leechers with the same pieces, etc, etc.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at April 26, 2009 09:42 AM (2XtN5)

21 Gnutella and other algorithms are more dangerous to the casual user as their associated applications typically let anything be shared at any time.  (Such as the entirety of the "My Documents" folder and whatnot.) Generally, I believe, torrent uploads require torrent files to even work...

(And I'm currently kicking myself for not attending a lecture on the BitTorrent protocol by Bram Cohen's father. Ugh.)

Comcast is known for throttling (and otherwise interfering with) BitTorrent traffic even without the bandwidth caps.  It may not affect  business accounts.

Binary Usenet access is still thriving, apparently, though with necessary fees...

Posted by: Zyrkon at April 27, 2009 08:23 PM (PBdV8)

22 Usenet does not have squat for anime. It just naked piracy for the most disgusting variety. Cam rips etc.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 30, 2009 10:01 AM (/ppBw)

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