Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Download Torrents Anonymously with TorrentPrivacy

The TorrentPrivacy software has been developed so that anybody can use it, from BitTorrent novices through to experts. TorrentPrivacy uses a pre-configured version of v1.7.7 uTorrent, so there are no settings that have to be entered manually.

It pretty much works straight out of the box. First you have to chose a connection point - at the moment they have servers in Europe, USA, Canada. The closer the connection point is to your true location, the faster the speeds you will get from the service. Then, after you’ve chosen a connection point, just click connect and the program will connect to the server. The connection is made through the SSH protocol with 128bit encryption, which prevents traffic shaping and keeps your traffic ambiguous to prying eyes.

TorrentFreak briefly tested the application and it worked surprisingly well. People who are used to uTorrent wouldn’t notice any difference, besides the fact that they are using version 1.7.7 instead of 1.8 which was released earlier this week. The download speeds we got were decent as well, perhaps 5% less than normal, but that’s to be expected, and is acceptable for an SSH tunnel.

Alex, who runs and TorrentPrivacy, told TorrentFreak: “We started the TorrentPrivacy project at the end of 2007. The idea was to give torrent users an anonymous BitTorrent service from a party they can trust. TorrentReactor has been online for approximately 4 years, and we believe that when people see that TorrentPrivacy uses ns1/ as DNS servers, they won’t have any questions about a possible government setup of”

When we asked Alex about his motivation to start the project, he said that he wanted to make it as easy as possible for BitTorrent users to be anonymous, and get the RIAA and MPAA off their backs. “We don’t like the situation where two organizations from the USA believe they can rule the world. The Pirate Bay showed them that other countries have other laws and American laws don’t work outside of USA. We want to be the pain in their asses, and allow users to download what they want without fear of a sudden door knock.”

One of the possible downsides to the project is that you have to use their client, which is Windows only. For now there are no plans to offer SSH accounts separately, Alex told us. They do offer some other goodies though. As TorrentPrivacy only secures you while you’re using torrents, they have also developed a web proxy, listing 300 torrent sites which you can visit anonymously as an extra service.

Sounds great, right? Yes it does, but unfortunately the service is not free. TorrentPrivacy currently has three payment options. $2.95 per week, $9.95 per month and $99.95 per year. I guess it’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it or not.

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7 Lessons Olympians Can Teach Internet Entrepreneurs

What qualities would you come up with if you were asked to describe an Olympian? Perseverance? Determination? Fearlessness? Quick Wits? Teamwork? You could probably come up with a long list of admirable qualities.

Now how about if you were asked to describe an entrepreneur? Don’t all of those terms apply to the most dedicated of entrepreneurs? Don’t the successful ones share the fearlessness and dedication that Olympians exhibit?

Although a professional cyclist may be different in many ways to the founder of an Internet startup, many of the traits and qualities of a successful cyclist are the same for successful entrepreneurs. So while we celebrate the greatest of all sporting events, let’s learn a few lessons from these amazing individuals. Here are seven lessons you can take from the hard work and struggles of Olympians.

1) Great talent means nothing without great teamwork:

lebron-jamesJust ask LeBron James. The 2004 Olympics were a disaster for Team USA Basketball. Despite having the most talented individuals on the court, the United States lost three times and came home with a disappointing bronze. After that, the leadership’s mentality changed to make sure 2008 was different. Coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t choose individuals, but chose a team. This group has now played together since 2005 and 2006 in preparation for these Olympics and showed their strength in a 101-70 opening rout of China.

Learn from Team USA’s mistakes - getting great talent is never enough if that talent does not mesh and work well together. You must build a team with members that complement each other and are selfless in achieving company goals. If you ignore that team dynamic, you’re probably going to be stuck with something far more disappointing than a bronze medal.

2) Endorsement deals are great, but don’t let them distract you:

In sports, endorsement deals mean commercials, visibility, new products, and a wad of cash. For Internet entrepreneurs, endorsement deals mean venture capitalists, networking, new credibility, and of course a wad of cash. But if you get too engrossed in venture capital, it can become something you regret. If you spend too much time finding a deal instead of working on making your product the best it can be, nobody will want to endorse you in the first place, regardless of whether you’re an athlete or an entrepreneur.

3) Finish:

Finishing isn’t always easy and you can get distracted from the end by distractions. Sometimes it’s just painful and the last thing you want to do, but nobody succeeds without finishing. The greats dig deep to summon the strength needed to finish. Just ask Track and Field Gold Medalist Derek Redmond. Even if you do not come out the winner in the end, you can hold your head up high and know you did what most never do: finish what they start.

4) When you are injured, you need to work even harder to reach your goals:

yao-mingYao Ming is the Chinese icon of sports. But the basketball all-star’s role in the 2008 Olympics was put into doubt when he broke his foot in February. China worried about not having Yao during its great Olympic debut. Yao’s response?

If I cannot play in the Olympics for my country this time, it will be the biggest loss in my career to right now.”

Yao Ming then worked his butt off to rehabilitate, to heal, and to prepare. And it paid off: He once again carried the Chinese flag during the opening ceremony and headlined the Chinese national team. In the world of Internet startups, dramatic changes to the market can put you and your company’s future in doubt as well. When you are at the short end of a lawsuit or being hammered by the media, remember what you set out to do in the first place. To make something successful you’re going to have to take those bruises, stand up, and work even harder to succeed. Injuries are temporary - they’ll eventually heal. Throwing in the towel is permanent.

5) Know your competition:

Some people suggest that you ignore the competition and focus only on your own goals and your own work. True, it’s more important to focus on your company and your business than obsess over the competition, but not looking at the big picture is also foolish. Baseball teams know the tendencies of opposing pitches. Tennis players know whether their opponent’s forehand or backhand is weaker and adjust their game accordingly. As an entrepreneur in a very fast-paced market, knowing when new competitors pop up or about what customers think of the current competition can help define a better direction for your company. If Olympians don’t ignore their competition, why should you?

6) Nothing worth accomplishing comes quick and easy:

michael-phelpsMichael Phelps is out to break the world record for gold medals won in a single Olympics. 8 medals isn’t a cakewalk – he has 17 races to swim to win those 8 medals. Hours of practice. Hours of cool-down laps after those races. Years of training. Hundreds of workouts. Hell, it takes Michael Phelps 20-30 minutes to get into his state-of-the-art swimsuit. That is dedication. But the reward is eternal.

You don’t need to stay in a pool for half of your life to accomplish your goals. The lesson is still the same - there is no substitute for hard work and dedication when it comes to success. Putting in those extra hours or persevering that much more can make all the difference between your idea’s success and your company’s dissolution.

7) Remember what’s really important:

You’re a human being first and an entrepreneur second. The Olympics are about people, not money or politics. Entrepreneurship is the same. Don’t create or join a startup because of the financial rewards – very few achieve Mark Zuckerberg-level success. Do it because you love it and because you believe your idea can help make people’s lives better.

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OpenComputing Leopard Restore Disk

Psystar is now shipping restore media to Open Computing customers at no cost. The restore media is different for different configurations of Open Computers (based on operating systems) and are outlined below:

  • Customers who purchased Open Computing products with Windows XP/Vista/2003/2008 already have full restore capabilities with their OS CDs which are included with their computers. We will, however, send a Linux-based live-CD distribution called SystemRescueCD which supports a wide range of restore capabilities and can read Windows drives in the event that you need a simple graphical environment to recover files and cannot boot into windows.
  • Customers who purchased Open Computing products with Linux will receive a copy of the "flavor" of Linux's installation CD or DVD which their configured their system to have installed by default, a copy of the installation media for any other Linux distribution that we offer, or Finnix which is like a sysadmins swiss-army knife that we like.
  • Customers who purchased Open Computing products with Leopard will receive a restore disc which will
    • allow them to reinstall their OS directly from the Leopard DVD included with their computer
    • allow them to boot into the service console
We strive to improve your (our customer's) computing experience and hope that these tools may assist you in hopefully few (if any) dark times.
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