Completely decentralized sharing of information with P2P? No need to go sites such as LegitTorrents?

Yes, one answer for the future can be spelled Tribler. This P2P (Peer-2-Peer), Bittorrent software is based on the idea that connecting to a central node in a network for sharing information can be risky and disadvantageous if something would happen to that. Thus Delft University of Technology and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam started this as a research project in 2008 with funds from the European Union to develop this social information sharing without any central key nodes in the network.

The interesting thing about this software has also been its threshold when it comes to the first impressions and usability. When using the program it has been rather slow and unresponsive thus I have not wanted to recommend the client to family, friends and fools but in an idealistic perspective I see it as a very good source for information and material as the user base grows and the quality improves, which it is doing more often. One thing which has been troublesome when using Tribler is the collection process that the program does of torrent files which makes the search for content possible. This is described in the official forum as a function that uses a cache folder of torrent files on the user’s computer that other users can get access to start downloading as a regular Bittorrent download.

I have tested different versions of the software since 6.0.0 on the Windows- and OS X-platform. On the Windows-platform there has been an extremely slow startup when noticing that Tribler starts indexing files. On OS X there has been bugs during start-up as well but more so with the shut down of the program. A personal reflection was when I experienced how the settings were not able to be changed on the OS X and as this was reported on the forums this got solved only shortly after with the next version. The upcoming releases will focus on solving issues for some people as it is a very power-consuming process for the computer. However things have changed a lot (at the moment  6.1.0) and the software now feels quick and is a bit cleaned up graphically, with the speed of development in only a couple of months has been impressive. The downsides at the moment can be notice with the Family Filter which does not seem to work and how the mousepad scroll not functions in Tribler as it should universally do in Mac software.

Tribler Logo

Tribler Logo

Tribler is licensed with the LGPL and it opens up for anyone to help out with the project but the big advantage I see here for people who want to learn about networks and P2P networks in general is that they can scrutinize the code and see how it functions. In other terms the Universities might be not only conducting advanced and important research but also educate external people involved in the project and at the same time providing a piece of software that can be very useful in future versions.

The project is interesting in so many ways because it uses almost all of the advantages with open sourced-software. It looks into different scenarios with peer-to-peer and collaborative production and consumption, visualized through P2P-networking. With funding from different institutions and by being in the QLectives (Quality Collectives), it opens up for a lot of research on building and deploying the next generation of intelligent informational systems. The development consists of different community contributors but the fundamental team behind the project are mainly researchers from the universities behind it, such as assistant professor Johan Pouwelse and Henrik Sips at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and by looking at the forum it seems as the community is growing as this is a rather unique solution.

Tribler has a very simple user interface but one thing found unnecessary is the media player function which at the moment does not add any extra value to the user. The idea is that the software should be able to stream content from other users directly in the application which was tested on both platforms in different versions but never with success. However the function addresses a huge issue that the Internet faces are the content services filling the bandwidth of the web as more and more people turn to the market of commercial streaming services. A larger amount of cultural consumption goes through digital means every day and this is how Tribler plays a part in the P2P-Next project by experimenting and working with solutions for better decentralized content streaming through P2P. The project has not only been funded by the EU QLectives but also by the I-Share project, The STW, PetaMedia. Current communicative improvements would be that the project team updates their website often and increase the transparency when it comes to details in funding and where the millions of research money goes in development. The project is very interesting as a basis for commercial businesses and I am curious to see how it develops in the future.

I will definitely use this software when I get going with a distribution of GNU/Linux. It is my ideal choice for a fuller client in the future as I cheaply and quickly can become an agile distributor of software and culture. The personal channel function for distribution has been tried this with the project to spread reviewed music and films reviewed but it will be interesting with content for other agendas as well. Most interesting of all now is the aim to introduce full encryption in the project and work with anonymous sharing which is interesting both for the integrity of the user and for research purposes.

With the Tribler project, distribution of information has never been more decentralized and you can contribute by downloading it.

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I have given this project a lot of thought. I was asked when I am going to give this thing up and go back. Go back to watching the million dollar budget movies and series through streaming services such as HeadWeb, the cinema or  TV. Go back to listening to music by using Spotify, SoundCloud or Grooveshark. Go back to play video games within the Steam computer software or Sony Playstation 3 console platform. People around me wonder if I have a set date for when this project is over but I can not say when I want to end this project. I am back from a long journey where there was not much time or access to write but this never intended to mean that I had abandoned the ambition. Although I should have been clear about this but it is something I learnt from, lots of things were going on before I left and during the voyage I felt it was better to re-animate the challenge when I got back. In contrast, this virtual absence has supplied me with a lot of energy to think and develop my thoughts about it. Additionally I have also had a lot of discussion with people I have met throughout the travels which have inspired my thoughts as well as I inspired their thoughts as well. I met people who liked the challenge and some who did not care, but most of all I enjoyed just exchanging thoughts about it and about culture in general.

It is not impossible to do a challenge like this and start to avoid majority of all culture content available, but it can be extremely difficult. I have noticed that trying to do this without writing on the blog for a while, almost pulls me into going back. But I haven’t given up, I have learnt that if I should stay true to this challenge, which I really love, demands of me that I truly spend time on writing the process and being active with it because if I do not do that, I will have a fall-back into old customs and mind-numbing culture consumption. It has a lot to do with the social environment and the exposure through different mediums but the only platform I see in my current situation to offer an alternative is the Internet and that I believe says a lot.

To describe my situation with a somewhat horrible analogy would be the drug addict who is addicted to all sorts of drugs and has to stop and go into an infinite rehabilitation when at the same time being exposed to these drugs during the process. Everywhere he goes, whether its staying at home or taking a walk in a city he gets exposed, visually or through audio. That forces him to immerse himself and enclose himself mentally, which is really challenging when all the drugs are everywhere. I can be honest to admit that there has been some occasions when I have checked out songs that do not go hand in hand with this challenge but I have most often been quitting it while in the consumption process since I know it has been wrong of me to do so.

The relapse tendencies throughout this period of no writing at the blog calls for an upgrade of the challenge, to widen the spectrum and challenges, but also developing my own solutions from this perspective. I look at quality through another lens in the microscope nowadays. But there is and has from the start been an issue  – Should I follow my own values in accordance with this challenge in all situations? Or do I adapt my values with this project? There is a social dilemma as I cannot stay true to the project without affecting my relations to other people in my surroundings and this is where I have tried different approaches during the last couple of months, trying to figure out what feels best. All in all I have come to the conclusion to always have an alternative idea with culture suitable for the project at hand to propose for these social situations. This is something I have tried a couple of times and it has worked really well. It has also made me think of what a cultural prison that much of the world is entangled in at this point in history. There are some interesting things that I will write about soon that connects well with this matter.

To end my thoughts for now; my feelings to continue this are very motivated but at the same time will have to look into more alternatives and start planning for larger changes that can make me transcend the problems. Stepping it up a bit. The long absence and time to think about this challenge has only made me more curious to what and how I can develop this challenge and to make something more of it. I am looking into different schemes on how to go ahead and I hope that it will create great influence on this challenge. The more I think about it, the more I understand that we need diversity and certainly in culture.

Thumbnail photo by Chris Goldberg (ChrisGoldNY) on Flickr.

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Helsingfors succeeds compiling years of indie sounds and that is the unique listening experience

Helsingfors capture decades of lighthearted indie rock by turning into a tightly packed EP with an assortment of riffs, tunes and some experimental use of the guitar. I have not listened to a lot of indie music in my life but I know what it sounds like and what I can mention about Helsingfors’ EP “Schematics” is that they do not sound very special from what I have heard before but that is how I hear to most indie-bands. The audio does not stand out from the crowd and that is why I think it positively sums up many years of minor bands that have come and gone without becoming commercial successes. Many have called themselves indie to gain attention and earn money without any help from commercial powers.  There are of course bands which have become major successes too, because they left the indie scene and went commercial, like The Cure, Radiohead and Muse. There is also as one can view it; a question of branding and reputation which often has stayed with these sorts of bands or as with Radiohead, have come and gone but that discussion belongs with another post.

Cover of Helsingfors' EP Schematics

Cover of Helsingfors’ EP Schematics

Their music, and progressive music in general sounds like a discussion between instruments and it is something to listen to when one feels like getting some pounding thoughts drawn out of their mind. The songs have their moments that create great symbiosis of sound but I hope to hear more like the chord progression in the ending of Truncation Error which in my ears is the best song of this EP. The other songs Angle of Depression, Inversion Notation and The Panda Condurum are all tracks with impressive efforts but they do not leave as big of a trace with me. But the overall experience does.
Read more about this band from the UK on Lost Children Net label with the members that consists of Daniel King, James Morris, Barry Rogers, Alan Ross and John Spears. Download the EP ‘Schematics’ from released at SoundShiva on the 26 of June in 2009.

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Two weeks ago I fetched back my old desktop computer that was collecting dust in a neighbouring house basement. I was convinced that it still was usable and living enough to run newer operating systems than the Windows XP it had been running on for the last ten years. So I brought it home and started with the configuration of the operating system by heading on to Ubuntu’s website. Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux which is under development by the company Canonical Inc. As far as I have heard it is one of the most user-friendly distributions of Linux. However it is not as commercially independent as it could be in comparison to other distributions because of its maintenance connections to Canonical Inc but logically more independent than the closed source operating systems developed by Apple and Microsoft. But it will do for now because what I am experiencing now is just fine for my understanding and comprehension of how Linux functions in comparison to OS X and Windows. What I also learned during this period of time is that OS X and Linux are siblings, based on the same system architecture named Unix, written almost 45 years ago, a sign of how old the pillars of modern operating systems are.

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After installing Ubuntu through the WUBI (Windows) installer, I tried starting up the computer and realised that there were some major issues with this configuration. When I booted, I manually had to select what operating system (OS) that I wanted to run for the specific session, in my case Windows XP Home Edition or Ubuntu 12.10, a so-called dual boot. In the long run I do not think I would stand to have it like that but further issues developed which made me take even more time to address my sparse free time to solve this. When I finally was done with the installation I experienced heavy graphical issues when the screen all of a sudden turned black after I had logged in. I did a lot of research and found that it could be the graphics card that was incompatible so I followed up a forum thread and bashed in some commands and hoped it would solve the problem. It did not and I felt rather despondent. Then I thought that there was only one thing to do, look for the possibilities.

After some more research, I understood that Ubuntu was far too requiring for the old machine so I had to move on to look for alternative distributions, which I did via Distrowatch. The information about system requirements could have been much more accessible and this problem was about to haunt me again. The Linux Foundation has allowed and encouraged modifications of releases by the user community and this has for example resulted in the operating system Ubuntu, developed off Debian which is ‘the rock upon which Ubuntu is built‘ another Linux-based operating system. This means that there are interestingly enough for me low-requirement distributions such as the one I found most suitable for me as a beginner – Lubuntu, a derivative of Ubuntu which uses another graphical interface. When I started the install process I felt everything was going very well but when I got to the point of where the actual erasing and installing of the system it seemed to stop. I let the process roll on when I slept, for seven hours straight without any interruptions but I realised fairly soon it had frozen. After a lot of research and asking questions on forums and chats looking for answers I finally found the problem; my computer could not handle the system requirements, but this time for the graphical version of the Lubuntu installer which made me a bit annoyed and I went on to download the text-based installer and it was a success. But it could have been so much easier with easier access to such information which would have saved me a lot of time and energy in this very intense period of working.

However I am very glad I took this step, it is almost like I might have opened Pandoras Box. I want to dive deep into all knowledge.

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You have probably heard or seen the low budget horror flicks filmed from the characters’ point of view with a hand-held camera and where the person last standing dies in the end. This film is not like that. Similar to other commercials movie of this sub-genre of horror, the audience gets to follow the members of a news team which are investigating what is going in an old tunnel in Sydney. The town politicians had plans to work and expand the tunnel system which would affect a lot of people in the city. The construction would also find out about the homeless people who are believed to dwell all their lives down in the labyrinth maze of tunnels and branches of those. I find the storyline interesting because of all the motifs that are presented to the audience about why the crew would go down in the tunnel without any security to do their news story. The circumstances do not allow any other way and it makes it credible as it in other cases would be seen as plain stupidity for such a decision. It also offers a perspective on what kind of lengths an individual can go in order to keep their job which they do not really enjoy, like the main character Natasha Warner does to discover why the government of New South Wales would trash their plans of new ideas for construction in the tunnel that was built to supply and improve their infrastructure of already historical tunnels in Sydney. Natasha Warner is played by Bel Deliá and helped by the team Peter, Steven and Tangles. These roles are done by Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis and Luke Arnold and all the actors have a great influence of the credible and they help to make many of the scenes enjoyable.

There are obvious sources of inspiration from the same genre which have influenced this work heavily but there are some differences. The directing of camera, lighting and auditory work turns out to be very realistic and as the viewer follow the news team, the work is divided between different characters and as a team of four and it develops into being a thrilling feature. This is because the story affects the news team and how the production changes in quality which has an ultra-realistic effect on the result. It never goes over the top in terms of, what often can annoy one when watching horror movies of this sort is that they rarely portray a background of characters which in contrary is supported by the storyline in this one.

The movie is a bit of a slow starter and one can really how the movie was intended to have a documentary semblance as the crew is interviewed and at times the scenes’ conversations, which at times can be viewed as depicting work environment of a female news reporter in a male dominated business. However the story is much more developed than other commercial forerunners within this genre. As the news team progresses in the tunnel several things are discovered, historical remnants are found and it adds a good impression of the scenography work and some nice trivial details to the story which can be of great interest to people interested in history. In the end, what they experience in the tunnel as a result is something largely different then what they came for.

– This is horror I never wish to experience as a real documentary.

Download the free P2P-version of the movie as a torrent in HD or SD through VODO which has more information of the release.

The licensing of this movie is interesting because it is only the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) version which is licensed with a Creative Commons license however the other releases use copyright for commercial purposes. Interestingly there has not been any press material licensed with the Creative Commons license and that is why there is no featured imaged for this post on the front page. This is disappointing and paradoxical because it makes the sharing of the movie suffer because of the copyrighted license on material which could be advantageous for the movie’s distribution. I will have to get in contact with the producers and ask them about a permission.

There is quite a unique story about how the creative minds featuring writers and producers Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi, director Carlo Ledesma, executive producers Valerie Petrenko and Achmed Salama who also worked as the online and marketing director for the movie, wanted to create something special in distribution of films through the company Distracted Media. They started the 135k project, which broke down the production cost of the budget into the amount of movie frames that would be recorded – which were 135 000 frames or $135 000 or 90 minutes of film, which is regarded as a feature film. One can only see this as a very pedagogical approach on how to get a crowdfunding campaign successful by using simple concrete values that which simplifies how the budget is spent and that adds a lot of trust to the people that want to support it. It is certainly a recipe for success and these filmmakers from Australia put in a huge effort to remind us that they offer good films in addition to innovative distribution.

If you have an opinion on the review please comment below and if you like The Tunnel feel free to share your view!

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