Category Archives: News

Raspberry Pi

How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine: Building the Pi

It can be really annoying having to run your home PC overnight to complete a batch of NZB downloads. Using the Raspberry Pi 2 (retail value: $35.00), you can build a low-budget, low-power Usenet downloading machine that runs Raspbian and SABnzbd. In this multi-part series, you will learn how-to to successfully create a fully functioning NZB downloader complete with web-based queue management and a network-attached storage setup for all of your downloaded Usenet binaries.

Why the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B?

The cost of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, especially when compared to the set of technical features that it offers, can’t be beat at $35 for the core unit.  The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is the second-generation Raspberry Pi. Replacing the original in February 2015, the Pi 2 delivers six times the processing speed of its predecessor with an upgraded Broadcom BCM2836 processor. The board also features an increase in memory capacity to 1GB of RAM. The Raspberry Pi is an open-source product designed to be supported by Internet-based user forums. As a starting point, you can refer to their official website for your base operating system needs.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Other Features Include:

  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • HD 1080p video output
  • Composite video (PAL/NTSC) output
  • Stereo audio output
  • 10/100 BaseT RJ45 Ethernet socket
  • HDMI 1.3 & 1.4 video/audio socket
  • 3.5mm 4-pole audio/composite video out jack socket
  • 4 x USB 2.0 sockets
  • 15-way MPI CSI-2 connector for Raspberry Pi HD video camera (775-7731)
  • 15-way Display Serial Interface connector
  • MicroSD card socket
  • Boots from MicroSD card, running a new version of the Linux operating system
  • 40-pin header for GPIO and serial buses (compatible with Raspberry Pi 1 26-pin header)
  • Power supply: +5V @ 2A via microUSB socket
  • Dimensions: 86 x 56 x 20mm

 

What You Need to Build the Pi

Once you have the Raspberry Pi 2 that is great, but it might as well be a $35 paper weight without the other components needed to prepare it for some serious downloading action. Remember you will need a proper power adapter to power the device and although the Pi 2 Model B has an Ethernet port, you might as well have WiFi capability to save yourself another wired connection. You are also going to need USB storage to store your data and USB input devices (keyboard and mouse) to setup the Pi on its initial boot. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has 4 USB 2.0 ports, but it’s always good to have more so we recommend throwing a powered USB hub into the mix as well. Finally, you will need a decent sized SD card (4GB or more) to load and store the Raspbian Linux operating system that your Pi will run. Here is our list of recommended components you’ll need to build the Pi 2 downloading machine:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • microUSB Power Adapter (+5volts @ 2Amps)

    Raspberry-Pi-2-Starter-Kit

    Raspberry-Pi-2-Starter-Kit

  • USB Wifi Adapter (We Recommend the Panda 300Mbps Wireless-N USB Adapter (PAU05))
  • USB Mouse & Keyboard
  • Powered USB Hub to Support Additional Devices (We recommend the D-Link DUB-H7)
  • External USB Hard Disk Storage (Two is better for data redundancy)
  • HDMI Cable for Video Display on Initial Boot
  • 8GB microSD card (We recommend 8GB, minimum of 4GB)

If you’re looking to save time and money, a kit can be ordered here that contains most of the components needed to get started on this project. But if you’re looking for a more customized build, a full list of compatible hardware can be found here.

A bit about audio and video: For digital video to a standard computer monitor that lacks an HDMI port, an HDMI to DVI cable is needed for the video signal and a 3.5mm stereo cable for the sound (as you’ll lose the sound in the HDMI to DVI conversion).

What’s Next in Our Series? Time to Load the OS, Raspbian

Raspbian OS

Raspbian OS

In the next installment of UsenetServer’s How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine, we walk you through imaging your microSD card with the latest release of the Raspian operating system. Go to Part Two: Setting Up the Raspbian OS

Plex

Playback and Stream Any Media with Plex

With the advent of plaforms like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine, there is no shortage of user-generated video content on the web. In fact, it is these services that have given way to the democratization of media with varieties of content coming from creators all over the globe. Whether a creator or a consumer of user-generated content, users today have the need for good media management software to keep everything organized and to provide instant access when needed. There are many media library software solutions out there that will indeed keep things organized and offer both playback and stream, but there are very few solutions that offer organization and playback across any device and platform. Plex offers the best of both worlds by making media playback and stream on virtually any platform or device possible, all while keeping things organized.

 

What is Plex?

Plex is a free multi-platform media management system that can stream playback of a user’s media library to almost every imaginable device, from a Chromecast to a Roku, iPhone, iPad or even an Apple TV. Plex consists of two main components: the Plex Media Server (to store, organize and stream media) and the Plex Client (To playback the stream from the server.) Although the Plex Media server software is free, the client apps for Android, and iPhone for example, cost a few dollars. The convenience and value the user receives is enormous when compared with the minimal investment of purchasing the client for payback on a favorite device. The Plex Media server can be installed on a wide range of platforms from Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD to NAS systems like QNap, Netgear, Synology and Drobo.

Plex Features

For a full list of Plex features, visit their features page here. Plex also offers a subscription-based service called the Plex Pass for a small fee. Plex Pass members receive access to the new features while they are still in their beta testing phase, giving users a chance to try out the latest and greatest from the Plex development team.

Download Plex

Downloads for Plex are available on their downloads page.

Plex Client Apps

Most Plex Apps for mobile or connected platforms are paid apps. These include:

  • Android
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Google TV
  • iOS
  • Roku
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Phone 8

 

Download Usenet Binaries on Android with Power NZB

In today’s connected world, almost everyone has a smartphone. They have become an almost extended part of our bodies and as such, we are demanding more and more from our mobile devices. From playing high-speed racing games, to checking the weather, to reading email – we truly carry the world’s most powerful tool right in our pockets. But did you know that your phone could download Usenet binaries?

Power NZB Usenet Download App for Android

That’s right! Using an Android smartphone or tablet, managing and downloading user-generated binaries from the Usenet can be easy and convenient! The Usenet apps available for Android range  from companion apps for client-side remote server management – where the Android app talks directly to a computer that downloads content from the Usenet – to fully-featured NZB download clients. The latter of which will search, download and extract binary Usenet content directly onto a mobile device making it ready for immediate use.

The best fully-featured Usenet download application we have found so far is Power NZB. With Power NZB, we can download and extract Usenet user-generated binary content directly to our Android device. The best part about Power NZB is that it is completely free, although donations to the developer are appreciated and will make further development of the app possible. Since the application is free, it’s a win-win all the way around! Visit the download page and simplify your Usenet downloading experience on Android.

Feature Rundown:

  • NewzNab search API built in.
  • Use the Webview to search various free NZB indexing sites.
  • Add NZB RSS feeds to always stay up-to-date and never miss favorite user-generated binaries.
  • The Par2 library lets us check and repair our downloads directly to our device, just like Quick Par. No more wasted downloads!
  • Easily and quickly extract multi-part RAR files. No need to use another file manager to extract your files. Even set downloads to auto-extract and delete!
  • Join split archives. No need to re-join on a PC! Power NZB will now auto-re-join binaries.
  • Slick built-in SAB client to manage PC downloads. No need for multiple apps!
UsenetServer Love Instant Win Sweepstakes

We Have Been Bitten by the Love Bug, Enter to Win Instantly!

This Valentine’s Day, UsenetServer has been bitten by the love bug! We care about our users very much and with Cupid’s help, we’re going to give them some love – Usenet style. We would like to show our gratitude to our users by giving away random Usenet Valentines! Click the graphic below and enter the UsenetServer Love Instant Win Sweepstakes for a chance to win a month of free unlimited Usenet service + VPN access! Enter daily to increase your odds!

Enter to Win

Participation in the UsenetServer Love Instant Win Sweepstakes is subject to the official rules.

For users looking for a bigger, longer, more permanent love, take a look at our Partner’s Special and save big! Earn a deep discount-off our regular pricing plans and subscribe for a full year to get free VPN access too!

UsenetServer provides world-class premium tier-1 Usenet access to users all around the globe at the best value in the industry. We offer access to over 110,000 newsgroups, including discussion groups covering topics from iOS app development to March madness bracketology and usenet binary groups including user-generated videos, audio files and software. Our vast array of newsgroups coupled with our robust network infrastructure and server farms in the United States and Europe, UsenetServer provides first class high speed access to the Usenet at the lowest price.

UsenetServer network route

Increase Download Speeds With a Better Route

Most of us are spoiled these days by having a broadband or high speed connection to the Internet. In fact, some of us don’t even want to use the Internet if it’s slower than 10 megabits per second – we have a need for speed. So it will come as good news to our users to hear that under normal circumstances, users of UsenetServer will get good download speeds maxing out their connection with ease. We have built a first class tier-1 network infrastructure with our user’s bandwidth needs in mind to deliver the best speeds possible. Try as we might though, we sometimes have users whose ISPs do not have good routes to our servers. In other words, sometimes there are Internet bottlenecks between our users and our Usenet servers. For the users who fall into this category, don’t worry – we have a solution! Users experiencing slower-than-normal download speeds from our servers can increase their download speeds by using a better route.

Finding a Better Route to Our Usenet Servers

In order to provide the best possible access and download speeds to our users, our Usenet servers listen on different NNTP ports that each provide a different possible route to our servers than the route your Usenet client would take to connect to our default NNTP port of 119. We offer several ports to choose from for users’ Usenet clients to connect to for both our secure and non-secure servers. See the list below for all our available NNTP ports. If users are having speed issues, they should set their Usenet client to use the NNTP port that will give them the best possible speed.

Server and NNTP Port List

Non-secure server: news.usenetserver.com  Ports: 119, 23, 25, 119, 3128, 8000 and 9000
Secure Server: secure.Usenetserver.com SSL Ports: 443, 563, 8080

Survive the Winter With These Great Android Apps

If you are an American living in the U.S. of late, you will undoubtedly have noticed the arctic blast of unusually cold weather, even for this time of year. So much for global warming for much of the Northern, Southern and middle U.S.; many places are experiencing very cold temperatures and piles and piles of snow. All this is leaving some motorists and bystanders stranded out in the cold. Protect yourself, be prepared, and don’t be stuck without a backup plan . Survive the winter with these great Android apps! Watch the video below as Shannon Morris from Tekzilla shows us some of the best Android apps to brave the winter blast:

We Come Bearing Gifts!

UsenetServer Free VPN for 1 Month Happy Holidays!

‘Tis the season for giving, and it’s in that spirit that we have decided to reward one FREE month of VPN access to all of our new and existing UsenetServer members.

To redeem, from December 17th – December 31st 2014, new members can sign up at UsenetServer.com and existing members can simply log into the control panel of their UsenetServer account and click on the gift icon. On behalf of the UsenetServer team, we appreciate your business and we wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

* To qualify for the full month of free VPN access, members must have an account that remains active for at least 30 days. Members with 3 day accounts will get 3 days of free VPN. *

 

 

Tracking Our Location Without Killing Our Battery

A company called PathSense has created a way of tracking location using smartphones without killing battery power and using GPS. PathSense demoed the software at Demo 2014, saying that the app uses 90% less battery power than conventional map apps using GPS and that the location tracking is actually made to be more accurate using the phone’s own built in sensors for acceleration and rotation, etc. For more, check out this video from Tekzilla bites.

 

Automate Usenet Downloads with NZBVortex

NZBVortex is a NZB client for MacOSX.Today’s Usenet users do not want to wait long to download article sets after they have been posted to newsgroups. This is why  download automation has become a  popular and important feature for many Usenet users. There are many NZB downloader clients out there to satisfy even the most avid Usenet user, but there is only one that stands out of the pack due to its ease of use, features and efficiency, and it’s NZBVortex.

NZBVortex is a lightweight, feature rich, batch NZB downloader for Mac OSX. For  those who enjoy simplicity and power, NZBVortex is a very attractive option. NZBVortex allows users to automate NZB downloads with its built-in RSS feed reader; queue up and download a set of NZBs stored locally and detect password protected archives on the spot.

To give NZBVortex a try, visit their download page or visit the app store for an 50% discount on the full version for only € 8,99.

Benefits and Features include:

  • Very efficient: low CPU, memory and disk IO usage compared to the competitors
  • Smart junk detection (fake and junk downloads)
  • Minimizes download size by skipping as many files as possible
  • Downloads par2 files only if required and does par2 check only if required
  • RSS Feed integration – automatically add your favorite NZBs
  • Deep Search integration with multiple search engines
  • A Mac native interface and also a web interface to control by remote
  • Much more like: scheduler, speed limiter, sleep when done, etc.

New in 3.0:

NZBVortex Cloud: Clients work together by sharing download information between clients.

Some examples are:

  • Download results
  • Filenames
  • Passwords
  • Download titles
  • Passworded files without a password (Will pause the download)
  • Junk status