The world's best Usenet provider Giganews has added another great feature to its service. This time it is the Giganews Accelerator program which customers of the Usenet provider can use to download headers up to 10 times faster thanks to header compression technologies built into the program. Header downloads are the most annoying part when it comes to using the Usenet. It sometimes takes longer to download the headers of a popular newsgroup than to download a 700 Megabyte file with my 16 Mbit connection.
You are probably wondering: Usenet? What the hell is this thing? Here is a short explanation that I copied from one of my earlier posts on the subject: A Usenet provider like Giganews gives you access to the Usenet which is basically a discussion platform where users can also post binaries. The binaries make the Usenet so attractive to everyone who feels that P2P is not safe anymore. Giganews offers SSL encryption which means that your Internet Service Provider does not know what you are exchanging with Giganews. If you want to get an impression of what the Usenet generally has to offer you may want to take a look at Newzbin and Binsearch. Those two sites are Usenet indexing sites that have records on many files that get posted day in day out on the Usenet.
Back to the Giganews Accelerator. The Accelerator is a standalone program that runs in the background in conjunction with your basic newsreader. I use Newsbin for that purpose but any other client is fine as well. You do not have to configure the Giganews Accelerator directly, all that needs to be done is to change the configuration in your newsreader. This is done in a matter of seconds. All you need to do is replace the url of the server with localhost and change the port to 119. You also have to disable SSL but don't worry, the Giganews Accelerator has it enabled by default.
After making those basic changes you can try and download some headers from some groups and you will witness how fast the process now is. Downloading 5 million headers from a group took a long time before and now it is a matter of minutes (instead of half an hour or even more).
Note that you can make a couple of modifications in the Options menu of the application. You should make sure that compression and 256-bit SSL Encryption is enabled here. It is furthermore possible to limit the download rate in case you do not want the program to use all of your bandwidth while it is downloading headers from the Usenet.
Guess what, I'm allowed to post the link to the Giganews Accelerator right here on my homepage. Enjoy this fine piece of software. If you encounter any problems let me know and I try to sort them out for you. Still using another Usenet Provider? Time to change, don't you think?
Update: Giganews Accelerator is out of beta and now available for all Giganews customers.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.