Sponsored by BoysStuff.co.uk


By Ian Urie

I'm probably preaching to the converted here.......
that is, if you use binary newsgroups!
I'll start from the beginning.
I was told about Grabit by a friend.
Grabit is a news grabber that specialises in binaries.
Still not clear to many of you?
All material on the Internet has , at one time or another, appeared on a newsgroup.
Newsgroups are on a system known as Usenet.
Usenet has what is known as Binary newsgroups.
Binaries can be music files (in any formats), movies, pictures, software, practically anything that isn't described as text.
Normally you would use a NewsReader such as Agent.
Grabit isn't such an animal, it does what it says, it grabs articles from newsservers.


Forgive the grabs, they were taken while I ran Grabit using WINE on Mandriva.
Grabit is for Windows based computers but runs quite happily , as you can see, using an emulator on other OS'es.
To get Grabit, simply click the title of the article and it will take you to their webpage.
Above you can see Grabit running and displaying the contents of a binary newsgroup.
Grabit is free to use, and Shemes ( the company who owns Grabit) hope to get money from people using Newsgroups by incorporating
their Grabit Usenet search engine.


I'll assume that everyone has downloaded and installed the software.
Setting it up is extremely simple.
Fill in the details of the newsserver of your internet provider, set the port (usually 119), put in your username and password (if you need them to access your server)
and then right click on your default newserver and select full update of groups.
Grabit will then download the list of groups your newserver provides.
You'll probably find that most of the popular cheap and cheerful ISP's only provide the text groups and a very few binary groups.
If you decide newsgroups are interesting enough, there are an awful lot of Usenet providers out there eager to take your money.
Most of these will have limits on how much you can download and at what speed, and how comprehensive a list of groups they provide.
Another thing to watch out for is the retention rate they have on the groups.
You will pay more for higher retention levels.
Retention levels mean how long the provider keeps the article on its server.
Mine guarantees retention rates of 3 days!
The dollar exchange rate means that American providers are winning the price battle at present.
Most have monthly  contracts as well, with some having trial periods which will let you see how good their service is.

Ok, time for a (very) quick explanation of the first grab.
On the left we can see the list of groups I've decided to subscribe to as an example.
They're all binary groups and there's a combination of music and video groups.
In the grab, I'm exploring the alt.binaries.sounds.radio.oldtime.
On the right, this shows the content of the group.
Should have mentioned how to subscribe to groups.
Simply download the list of groups as above, search through them , and , when you see one that might interest you, right click on it and select subscribe.
There, that was hard.
The tabs at the top of the grab show the group articles, then you have batch (one job showing in grab 2), third tab shows all groups on your server  and finally the tab for the Grabit search engine.
The Grabit search engine does allow so many free searches, but to get the most from it, you pay for searches.
To find out what is in a particular group, update it .
Again, right click on a group and select either incremental update or full update.
This task appears on the batch tab. Grab 2 shows this happening.
At the bottom of the grab, you can see your download rate and upload rate, as well as how many connections you are using to your newsserver.
Mine only allows 3 consecutive connections and this varies between providers.
Grabit will automatically use as many connections as your newsserver allows.
More quick explanation of the first grab.
You'll notice that most of the articles are mp3 files, while others are marked as Par2 files.
Wouldn't it be terrible if you downloaded a movie in RAR format, consisting of 150 pieces, then discovered you couldn't unrar it because one piece was corrupt?
That's what Par2 files are for.
They help repair corrupt (or missing) downloads.
You used to do this by manually repairing the files using the Par2 files, but Grabit does it transparently.
Unraring files is also done automatically if you so desire.
Since some binaries are very large (such as DVD vob files), Grabit is designed to set up downloads , then leave it to get on with it.


From the preferences, you can see the part dealing with Par files.
I've left most of these options at their defaults.


The preferences are fairly self explanatory and are a breeze to set , if you decide to change them.
I found the interface clean and easy to use from the first use, but you can alter them to suit your own tastes, or needs.


Above, the part where Shemes intends to get their money back for the development of Grabit.
As for the majority of Grabit, it is easily understood and simple to set.


This part aids you if , for instance, some parts of your download is missing.
This ties in with the Par handling. The Par files should be enough to repair a missing piece.


Another part of the interface . Alter to suit your taste.


Grabit also has preferences dealing with your history on Usenet and how to deal with it.


Choose where you want to store your files and the cache for the newsgroups.


Since connections can go down, set your auto save options and the information tab updates.


You can also post using Grabit.
I haven't mentioned the nzb import either.
As with many other newsgroup grabbers/downloaders, Grabit can use nzb files.
They're , more or less, batch files.
Instead of clicking on all the individual files for a download, posters can upload a nzb file, which contains the list of the files required.
Import the nzb file and it will batch all the files for downloading.
I've used Grabit for a few weeks now, and it really is impressively easy and intuitive to use.
The layout and icons are expressive and simplify useage of Grabit.
The integral Par and rar handling works well.
I recommend everyone to, at least, give this a try.
It is the dog's bollocks and makes downloading large amounts of material from Usenet very easy.

RIYAN Productions

AmigaZ Logo