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Napster (www.napster.com) is a small freeware application for sharing Mp3s over the Internet that has been recently released. It allows you to share your collection with everyone else who is logged on to the program. A good search system allows you to easily rummage through hundreds of thousands of files in their real-time database.

Getting Started

After Downloading and installing the program you setup your computer by answering some simple questions like where you want to download the mp3s to and what your connection speed is. After this short semi registration you can start.

How it works

Based on the same premise of Scour.net, Napster is a quantum leap ahead. Scour.net works by having certain people share their mp3/media directory and making that into a database for people to sort through. Scour.net had some inherent problems. First the database could not be updated quickly as to what people had, if they were online, and such. This resulted in the fact that most times after going through their crappy search and finding what you think you want the link would almost never work no matter what the reliability was. Another major problem was that the search function on the site was awful, you could never find what you wanted. The final problem was that there were not too many people sharing the mp3s to begin with.

Napster uses the same principle as Scour.net in the sense that they both have people sharing mp3s over the Internet. Napster fixed all the problems with Scour.net. The Database is constantly updated by pings between users, there by eliminating the need for a complicated database server that would constantly be in need of updates. If the person is not online they donít show up, you can also see the speed of the person who you are going to download from. (This means that you T3 people donít have to download from us poor 33.6 folks, unless we have something that you want.)

Their search system is far better than Scour.netís for many reasons. It offers more search options to users such as the traditional such as artist and song name but also specialized ones such as bit rate and other quality settings (so you donít end up getting a 11khz version of the song you were looking for).

The final solution was to have more mp3s available online. To do this they had everyone share their Mp3s. this means that as long as there are people online there are mp3s that are free to get. At any given time there are 450 gigs of mp3s online for the taking. This fluctuates according to time of day.

The Good

There are always tons of mp3s available from fast people, most of the time the song you want appears on a T3 connection. The search engine is easy to use and very effective. Often not returning any search trash because it does not use keywords, instead it checks the actual file name. Napster also has a "Hot list" this allows you to add certain people so you can peruse their mp3 collection and get what you want.

The Bad

The chat that is included with the software is awful because you cant keep track of everything because when ever someone logs on or off it updates and basically turns into a stream of system messages in the IRC style window. My connection is so slow that I canít get all the mp3s I want at a time. Since the Mp3 are all off personal computers of mostly college kids, things go offline while you are downloading. This is only a minor set back because you can almost always get it somewhere else.

The Ugly

This program is BETA, very beta. Occasionally has serious problems but nothing that can crash the operating system. It just gets frustrating when you have a Queue setup for overnight and it gets screwed up. But I must remind you two things: this is beta, and this is free.

Conclusion

This program definitely kicks ass. This is by far the best and easiest way to get songs and believe me I have tried everything. Trading is awful cause I hate dealing with people who screw me over after I send something. FTPs are all ratios or have only bad stuff (Yanni). WebPages are all just links to porno banner sites. And search engines just lead to dead links.

This program is still very green and will require lots of work but it is still well worth it to download because just from looking at it there are 600 gigs of shared mp3s. 3/5 of a terabyte of music at my disposal.

Leonard Greenfield
freakzoid@targetpc.com
99/11/19
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