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Newzbin is back June 2, 2010

Posted by deepsharer in NZB, usenet.

That is all.


Interview with Team R Dogs May 28, 2010

Posted by deepsharer in NZB, usenet.
Tags: , ,

I secured an interview with Mr White via IRC last night (the conversation has been tidied up a bit).

DS: How are you Mr White? May I call you Caesium/Freaky/Kalante now?

W: You can, but I think they might be a bit upset & I’d get confused, but I like the Bond reference 😉 Srsly, we are not the Newzbin guys, I mean, the old Newzbin guys. But I guess you’ll never believe me till you get my phone number?

DS: which is?

W: (202) 456-1414

DS: yea, right. So how did you get the code?

W: We liberated it. Code just wants to be free. Specifics don’t matter.

DS: So you’ll opensource it?

W: No. That said, if we have to shut down at any stage we’ll try to opensource it.

DS: Why did you steal the code?

W: I nicked it initially just because I could, that was a while back. There was no real ‘plan’, I just kinda did it, but I didn’t want to copy the site and didn’t even really plan to use it. Then when I saw the legal news I thought Newzbin was looking like it really might fold. Since they didn’t say they would opensource the code I chatted to a couple of mates and we talked about running a site ourselves. We didn’t do anything for ages but when Newzbin suddenly closed without any warning at all we decided to make a move.

DS: So when are you going open this site? What’s the url going to be?

W: We’ll let you know the domain name later. The site is gonna open really really soon.

DS: Are you planning to change the way Newzbin works or is it going to be a straight clone?

W: We’ll be running a straight clone to start with but we want to change it eventually. Unfortunately the site backend is mega mega complicated so we’re concentrating on just getting the systems running with a minimum of falling over in the beginning. Plus, we also greatly underestimated the number & power of the servers needed to run this stuff so we’ve been trying to raise a metric fuckload of cash to buy gear.

DS: Doesn’t sound promising…

W: no it’ll be fine but I’m just saying that for a while it may all be a bit wobbly 🙂

DS: what are the longer term plans for the site?

W: we want to raise retention time. 240 days is a bit crap. We want to get it to at least 400 days soon and then up to 600+ days within the next 9 months. Kinda pulling figures outta my ass but something like that. Plus I want to do a redesign of the site. I reckon some people wanted the old site to have lots of features so it’s become complicated as thy added them in, but others want it simple & less confusing. It’s a tough design issue and we need to think how we can do this. We’ll probably do A/B testing on the site and maybe do polls, start a design/features discussion with users. We’ve also discussed adding non-Usenet search results to the site like torrent or Rapidshare results, but we’ve just kinda floated that idea and we don’t know how we’d incorporate it. Should all be fun.

DS: The MPA are gonna come after you. You got a plan?

W: 😦 yea, it’s inevitable, we’ll just do a Piratebay on them. We can run faster than them and shapeshift.

DS: Do you reckon users will return?

W: we hope to hell they do or we’re in a money hole. I reckon we’ll lose a few users of Newzbin1 but I’m hoping over time many will join us and if we can get increased retention and more services I think we may even improve over the old site in time. I’m certainly appealing to the editors and editor admins to  join us, purty purty please!

DS: Good luck. I’m rooting for you. Make it come back soon.

W: a lot sooner than you think I expect 😉

Mr White will try to answer polite questions below.

Newzbin: ex-owner Caesium’s comments May 21, 2010

Posted by deepsharer in NZB, usenet.

Just got this press release from the old owner of Newzbin:

## Ex-owner/director of Newzbin Ltd / http://www.newzbin.com
## 21st May 2010
There’s a lot of questions being asked of me in the last few days, many of
which I simply can’t answer either through legal responsibilities or because
I plain out just don’t know.
So here I will set out what I do know and what I’m allowed to say.
The Newzbin site is not coming back under my control. I have no further
interest in Usenet indexing sites. The legal proceedings over the last two
years, which I will admit the Newzbin team fucked up pretty badly with, has
drained all my remaining motivation for either resurrecting Newzbin now it’s
gone, or starting a new site at all.
The final reason Newzbin actually closed its doors because it went into
liquidation in order to pay the MPA costs.  Companies are not allowed to
carry on trading while in liquidation proceedings.
The Newzbin source code *is* in the wild. Someone has it. I don’t know who,
and I don’t know what they’re going to do with it, and I don’t really much
care. Best of luck to them, it won’t be competing with anything I choose to
do in future.
Don’t ask me to share the Newzbin source with you, it is not mine to share.
Control of Newzbin Ltd was transferred away from me (because I sold it. not
by force) in January 2010 and with it, all my rights to the source code and
servers etc etc. Whoever obtained it didn’t get it through me – how did they
get it? I don’t know.
The NZB specification was on Newzbin servers which are now unavailable and
that’s unfortunate. I will ask the new owners of Newzbin’s assets, whoever
they might end up being after the liquidation, if it’s possible to re-host
the NZB specification and DTD for further development to take place.
Coincidentally, today I was made aware of an attempt to re-engineer the NZB
specification by adding optional metadata – that’s already been in the
official NZB specification for months! Clearly someone doesn’t keep up to
Did I get rich from Newzbin? Not really. I made a comfortable living but at
the same time I had no job while I was working on Newzbin, so I pretty much
think I was entitled to take a decent wage, thanks. Newzbin ate my life for
more or less a decade, being one of only three people working fulltime on
it, caring for servers, making regular datacentre trips to replace dead
disks, lugging heavy servers around, being woken up at all hours by the
pager telling me a server was dying, maintaining the accounts, paying VAT
returns, playing nicely with the UK taxman, as well as actually writing the
site on a near continual basis. Anyone who thought it was easy money is
sadly mistaken. Try running a busy site sometime.
If you want a Newzbin refund, you will have to talk to the liquidators,
Bennett Verby. Newzbin Ltd is no longer in my control, in fact it’s not even
in the control of who I sold it to, so I’m twice removed.
I will remain on irc.freenode.net #newzbin for the forseeable future, not
because I have any part in Newzbin anymore, but because I have plenty of
friends there I want to stay in touch with. If you want to come throw abuse
that’s where you can find me.
As for real life, chances are I’ll go find myself a nice simple sysadmin or
coding job where I don’t have to worry about VAT returns or legal
challenges. Anyone hiring? 😉
To all previous competitors of Newzbin – best of luck.
See you round.

Caesium has volunteered to answer (polite!) questions in the comments.

What are you looking for in a Usenet NZB indexer May 20, 2010

Posted by deepsharer in NZB, usenet.

Now Newzbin is gone I’m looking for somewhere else and I see a lot of commentators saying “nzbrus sucks” or “nzbmatrix doesn’t have what it takes”. Most people seem to think Newzbin was the best site. I always thought the site was dog ugly and complicated; brilliant content & the reports were great, but a usability nightmare. Is that bullshit? Why do some nzb sites suck so badly? Who’s the best and the worst, and why?

If you were designing a site what features would you add? Or for that matter lose?