There are things on Usenet that you want to download regularly. Doing so is a time-consuming chore that'd be better accomplished through automation. This guide aims to show you how.
The problem with Usenet is that, even with the requisite utilities, you still find yourself manually extracting RAR files, applying PAR2 files to regenerate missing chunks, and then disposing of all the compressed/encoded files after extracting your media file. Not to mention seeking out and downloading every episode of everything you want to download. It's not for the faint of heart.
Here's where it gets awesome, though. There's a free, open-source application called SABnzbd+, available for every platform, that does all that for you. Even awesomer, it can monitor RSS feeds and watch for user-defined strings in the filenames to facilitate the automatic downloading, unpacking, repairing, renaming and moving of files into your media library with zero intervention on the user's part. After setting up SABnzbd, the content you want to download is magically downloaded FOR you, with no intervention on your part. This is the future, and it is AWESOME.
To get started with your magical new life of automatic content delivery, you first need a Usenet account. And, you're probably going to want a 'premium' account, meaning that you'll have to spend some money every month. There are many different options when choosing premium Usenet providers, but I recommend Giganews. They even have a free trial, allowing you to see how awesome this whole thing can be. You can sign up for your free trial by clicking the nifty banner below. (We'll supposedly get referral credit or something if you end up being a paying customer.)
The next thing you need to do is install SABnzbd on a computer in your household. On Mac/Windows it's a super-easy installer, and it runs using a web interface rather than a GUI. Upon installation you'll need to specify the username/password for your Giganews (or other Usenet provider) in the Config tab.
The next stop is giving SABnzbd one or more RSS feeds to monitor looking for things to download. There are many different options for sites that provide RSS feeds of nzb files. A quick Google search can help you find one that has the type of content you're looking for. Once you add a feed, you can enter in names/words in filenames to either 'accept' or 'reject.' SABnzbd will then periodically check the rss feed, and when it finds an nzb that matches your rules, it queues it for download.
You then configure the Folders option to specify where you want finished downloads to end up. That's really all there is to it. Now your computer will periodically check any configured RSS feeds for things it should download, and when it finds something, it just does. And then it decompresses, repairs (if necessary), and then gets rid of the compressed stuff. No muss, no fuss. Set it and forget it.
An average 360meg file downloads in about 2 and a half minutes. But you don't care how fast it is because it'll just be there waiting for you automatically.
An added perk, is the SABnzbd Firefox extension , which gives you a constant indicator of things that are downloading, right in your browser's status bar -- and also the ability to click on any nzb file from any nzb search engine and have SABnzbd automagically start downloading it, even if you're surfing from a different computer than SABnzbd is running on. Very awesome.
UPDATE: I've now written an app for Android phones that will allow you to queue nzb files on your SABnzbd installation: NZBdroid
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
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