|And I thought I was bad.
||[Jul. 10th, 2008|12:17 am]
At my dad's request, I've introduced him to Bittorrent. It's something I regretted almost instantly. Currently, I'm sitting on a windows session that has 3 TV series downloading. Each amounts to about 5 gigs each. Until last Monday, our monthly limit was 40 gigs a month, so the cap would be severely dented under the new regime, without even servicing my own needs. Doesn't he know I have needs too? Thankfully, looking at the NTL/UPC/NameOfTheMonth (our service providers) it turns out we were due for an upgrade, including an "unlimited" cap. Obviously this is not as unlimited as it says, there's always a fair use clause but as friends in Irish Broadband tell me, it means "We don't care, just don't take the p*ss".
I'm beginning to understand where my data packrat tendencies come from. He started off because he realised that the only way to get any further series of The Last Detective would be to buy DVDs in a format that we couldn't play. So he decided to ask me about downloading via bittorrent (he was particularly impressed by the fact that I downloaded an episode of Doctor Who that we missed and was able to play it on my laptop (TV-Out is a blessing) at better quality than our DVD recorder can record it), and I showed him the basics. Once he got his hands on that, he's now turned his sights to other British detective/police series. As I said, I'm sitting on a windows session downloading with about 10 gigs downloaded tonight, with a target of about 15 gigs to download. As he said himself, rationally he knows it's going to take a spare lifetime to watch all of this, but it doesn't stop him wanting it somehow. To a large extent this is how I used to be, and used the minor fact that I had to limit myself to about 1 gig a day to save myself from myself. It's scary to say that I've trained myself to have a little more net-related self-restraint than my dad, but anywho, at least I know where the packratting comes from.
On the other hand, he's certainly proved that it's easier to get things for free when you pay. Due to the tracker he goes to for his stuff, he had to keep a certain ratio - the way bittorrent works is that you have to share data back to other users in need, it's very robin hood - but The Last Detective had people more than willing to give us data, but we were the only ones wanting it. To continue the Robin Hood analogy, there were no poor citizens to give our data to, so we couldn't reach our expected Robin Hood standards. There were several ways to deal with this... one approach was to get our hands on a popular torrent and share that to the swarm of the Vashta Nerada (Dr Who spoiler link) for consumption. This plan seemed to be going ok, until my dad noticed that donation to the site would make the problem go away - it then acted like he'd uploaded more, making his Robin Hoodness in the community a non-issue for the next while.
Still, it's interesting watching him grasp new technologies; watching the little neophyte excitedness that I used to have, while patiently waiting for the Zen of the situation to hit him. He can't own it all, the internet's too big for that, and the "see data, grab data" urges soon wane once you realise you're running out of disk space.
Oh, and the new 20meg line? It's plain zippy! I like it.