Nov 30

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I’m probably dating myself with this comment. It’s going to be one of those “when I was your age…” type things that your grandparents constantly say to you.

You know, “…when I was your age, they didn’t have fancy cell phones. No, we had to find a phone booth! And they only cost a quarter!!!”

…Or something like that…

But way back when, downloading (let’s just say “stuff” in case the Feds get any ideas about me) “stuff” used to be a visit to porn filled pop-ups, loaded with various kinds of sexual debauchery (not to mention gross fringes of the fetish world, with my favorite being the then nouveau “girl-on-girl+midget Jello wrestling) that really even the staunch would cringe at.

Close a window (when there weren’t pop-up blockers) and 10 more would open up asking you if needed “company” for the evening or some other paid for “view-the-stars” naked site. I never did find that Carrie Fisher nudie pic

Warez sites used to be so loaded with XXX stuff, free offers and other various parts of the Internet’s seedy persona, that strangely enough, almost always came with some request for your SSN. Phishing with sex back in its relative digital infancy.

Suffice it to say, *ahem*, I haven’t been to those parts of the web in a semi-long time. (2 hours and counting…) So, when my kids broke (snapped in half is more like it) a purchased copy of “Woody Woodpecker” on DVD, I decided rather than purchase a replacement that I would venture into that world once again to grab a digital copy. (BTW: You are allowed to keep a digital copy of any content that you own on a disc format. At least that’s what I’m told and I’m sticking to it.)

Besides, there’s no way I was going to find a copy of Woody Woodpecker (I wonder how many more times I’m going to type Woody Woodpecker in this post). I scored that copy in the bargain bin at

Downloading “stuff” was somehow a finely kept secret that was easy to access to anyone wanting to find “stuff”. File sizes and download speeds were limited, unlike today’s world of GB file sizes and blazing fast cable modem (or better), so that definitely made it more of an exercise in patience than detective work.

All that crap is about how I haven’t really downloaded anything in quite a while. Paying 99 cents or just grabbing a legal DVD was just easier and less time consuming.

Armed with two screaming kids for their daily Woody Woodpecker fix and there it is again, I had no choice but to visit the old haunts.

And wow was I surprised. No more pop-ups (at least the pop-up blockers caught all of them) and propositions for sexual deviancy (aww crap!), but actually clean easy to find “stuff”.

Now everything is P2P (click the link for a Wikipedia explanation) now in a sanitized, GUI, interface. Search, click and download away. Your computer does the rest. You can even search what torrents are out there and download away.

If you have no idea what I just said, let me explain it to you. It’s easy. Torrents are basically files that “point” to where the file(s) you’re looking for is. Somewhere out in the vastness of the interweb, folks are offering up the files. Your computer and a bit-torrent application just needs to know where to look.

Here’s another definition for you (if you haven’t clicked on Wikipedia by now): P2P stands for “peer-to-peer” networking. Basically, it’s a way of sharing files and everyone in the network gives you a little bit of the file(s) you’re looking for.

So bit-torrents point the way, and P2P makes it all happen. Simple right?

A few searches here and there (Google “stuff” and the word “torrent” together) and you’ll be grabbing files of content you already own in no time.

Back to Woody Woodpecker. Just a Google search and surprise! It was available. “Woody Woodpecker Classics Collection”. Easily found in the bargain bin 5 years ago, but not so much anymore.

Snapped disc in hand, I grabbed a copy and burned a copy for the kids. Lucky for me the $25 DVD player I bought plays .avi files easily.

All in all, I think I learned a healthy lesson. 1)Never let the kids play with DVD’s like they’re throwing frisbees, no matter how funny it is to see. 2) Don’t let them snap said hard to find disc because they want to touch the rainbow on the inside.

And of course: 3) finding “stuff” isn’t so hard anymore. You no longer have to navigate the insane amount of offers for free porn (if you know what you’re doing), even when you’re searching the words “Woody” and “Woodpecker”.

Sites that offer up torrents are still up, but they get shut down every once in a while. Especially those boys at Pirate Bay (which I won’t link in case Big Brother is watching).

Somehow though, I still miss the old days. A little harder to find back then and definitely dirtied up your web browser’s cache. But as technology changes, one thing is for certain:

As long as there are people using a network, there will be file sharing of some sort. Going as far back as the old BBS days and 9600 baud rate (or *gasp*, 2400 bps) modems, people have been doing it. And they’ll keep doing it no matter how much it gets regulated.

(Editor’s Note: In all seriousness, you should never download copies of content you don’t own already. And on a side note, I bet you never thought you’d read so much “Woody Woodpecker” in one post, did you?)

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