Of course you know that BitTorrent is great for piracy not only because of the wide availability or torrents, but because the way in which BitTorrent operates means that no one is posting or downloading illegal files wholesale. But beyond all that, BitTorrent also has great practical applications when it comes to reducing the need for bandwidth by distributing the load among a network of users. It's this handy quality that BitTorrent is using to experiment with peer-to-peer video streaming.
TalkO'Clock is a new wake-you-up-in-the-morning iniative to bring wake-up calls into the digital age. Or something. How does it do that exactly? TalkO'Clock markets itself as a peer-to-peer social alarm clock. The thought behind it is that the best way to wake up in the morning is to have a living, breathing, person on the other end of a phone line to make sure you heard the alarm and got up, and TalkO'Clock will set you up with a complete stranger who is willing to do just that.
When you sign up with TalkO'Clock, you give them your phone number, which they will store on their end. From there, you can either set an alarm (and specify the gender of the caller), which then registers it in a public list, or you can look through the public list of alarms and pick one you want to call. When the time comes, TalkO'Clock initaites the call between the two participants -- without sharing either phone number with the other -- and you get to wake someone up with "Rise and shine, time to get up" or "Feet on the floor" or "AHHHHHHHHHHHH," or whatever you feel like. If no strangers are available, you'll get a call from the CallO'Bot.
Canadian Internet service provider Rogers has admitted that the software it uses to detect peer-to-peer file sharing was inadvertantly identifying online games such as World of Warcarft and limited the bandwidth of such users. Ars Technica is quoting a company representative with Rogers as saying:
Our tests have determined that there is a problem with our traffic management equipment that can interfere with World of Warcraft [...] We have been in contact with the game manufacturer and we have been working with our equipment supplier to overcome this problem.But Rogers' claim that this was a purely innocent mistake may not hold water. This bandwidth "throttling" was noticed by Canadian gamer Teresa Murphy who wrote a very well-researched letter to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, who in turn ordered an investigation into the matter. In her letter, Murphy maintains that Roger's arguments are highly specious:
Rogers employees on their own forums have been stating that these games use P2P to run, which is why they're being throttled, and that the game manufacturer needs to change the game. Add to this, Rogers employees have been telling us gamers to disable any P2P, wait 10 minutes, and try the game again. (For the record, these games do NOT use P2P, never have and never will.) I see this as a CLEAR indication that they're knowingly throttling up/down stream of the entire connection while P2P is active, whether it really IS active, or they just think it is.This is a thorny issue, certainly. In an effort to curb illegal filesharing, ISPs have pushed for greater control over their user's online activities. But Murphy concludes her letter with a succinct argument that's hard to disagree with: "It’s not fair that Rogers customers are paying for a service they can't even use." (via Ars Technica)
It's the end of an era on the Internet: LimeWire, one of the first P2P music-sharing services to attain breakthrough popularity online, is pulling the plug on its Gnutella-connected P2P software following a simmering legal battle with the RIAA which ended today with a court-ordered injunction.
More than one million people are expected to download the pilot episode of Pioneer One, the new indie sci-fi series by filmmakers Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith which debuted on Bittorent-powered distribution platform VODO last Wednesday, with P2P file-sharing giants such as uTorrent, Limewire and The Pirate Bay also pledging their support. As of this post's publication, there are over 19,000 seeders for one torrent of the episode. It's an exciting vision of how entertainment content will be presented in the future: After all, why spend buckets of money trying to get your show on television when you can circulate it directly among the viewers? Who watches actual television nowadays, anyway?
IsoHunt was one of the more popular torrent sites out there among the file-sharing crowd both for its selection and its ease of use, which is why it sent a definite chill through the
piracyindustry when the site was first taken on by Columbia Pictures and then hit by a judge with a proposed order to remove copyright-infringing links from the website, which we’re guessing comprised a pretty healthy percentage of their links. (Cue Celebrity Deathmatch episode in which one of the announcers thought he’d be arrested for illegal file-sharing, but it turned out he only “pirated” public domain songs like “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”)
Now, the creator and owner of IsoHunt, Gary Fung, has defied defeat by rolling out a new, “lite” version of IsoHunt, which he says will still allow users to find the torrents they’re looking for, complete with relevant information, but that the site now has a .hk domain and, more importantly, is deliberately configured to look more like Google or Yahoo, search engines which haven't really been called out in file-sharing lawsuits despite the fact that they can be used to call up much of the same copyright-infringing information as torrent search engines like IsoHunt.