BitTorrent Addiction: The Thrill of the Chase

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It's great to have access to a huge library of media via your torrent client, no one can deny that, but for many users BitTorrent is more than just a functional tool. It's become an addictive hobby, with puzzles to solve and treasures to find.

Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, loves puzzles – although he insists he’s not an addict. However, many users of the BitTorrent system he created can’t say they feel the same way about their new hobby.

After a brief introduction, many BitTorrent users find themselves really interested by this great system and how it all fits together. Sure, the free media BitTorrent provides is a great attraction and a positive reinforcement for continuing, but for many, the real attraction lies elsewhere.

For some hardcore torrenters, the media acquired is secondary. Enjoyable, yes – but in a post-coital cigarette-type way – the icing on the cake if you like. Sure, many torrenters just grab a torrent and come back to the PC when it’s finished but they’re blissfully unaware of where the real action is to be found. For the serious torrenters, it’s all about the thrill of the chase.

At first, the BitTorrent novice doesn’t know there are forces of evil lurking around every corner, dedicated to ensuring that his downloading experience is as difficult as possible. He (or she) is unaware that super-powerful corporations with friends in government are intent on sabotage.

He has no idea that this new hobby has such high stakes. It could potentially land him in prison or cause him to end up with a massive 6-digit fine. When the novice starts to build his knowledge of such things, it can be little bit scary – but the adrenaline flows a little and the excitement builds. The hobby becomes more intense.

With this new found energy and a little research, things become clearer for the BitTorrent student. Moving away from simply downloading, a strategy forms as he learns that for most attacks on his sharing experience, there is an effective counter-measure. So for example, any attempt to say, set up fake torrents, can be dealt with effectively by employing various counter techniques. Torrent sites start to be chosen through intelligence, not just at random.

As more experience is gathered, the BitTorrent fan will probably start to understand that organizations such as the MPAA like to deal in propaganda, and that the big headlines of being fined huge amounts or being sent to jail are not the norm. In reality, he’ll learn that the chances of coming to grief in these ways are tiny and over time, will probably come to disregard these risks.

For the more nervous torrenter, the file-sharing world can be an unforgiving place. As he learns of the many threats and people looking to profit from things like malware, he may start to put up more defenses. Terrified of getting into trouble, he may turn to services such as those offered by Peer Guardian or an anonymous VPN solution such as that offered by Relakks.

Most hobbies involve getting into the minutia and in this respect, BitTorrent is an absolute dream. On many forums, there is talk of squeezing every last little bit of performance from a BitTorrent setup – many fans are, well – fanatical about the details. Most users agree, the best way, is as fast as possible!

There are lots of things that aim to interfere with the torrent experience but thankfully, the informed BitTorrent user will pick up lots of tips and tricks along the way to help restore torrent harmony, ensuring that this hobby stays fun.

Whatever the strategy, many BitTorrent hobbyists have as much fun during the chase as they do when experiencing the media they’ve successfully snared. Although nice to have, the media isn’t always the number one importance. For some it’s just great to hoard but it’s the road to finding and obtaining the stuff that increasingly provides the pull for the torrent hardcore. The whole BitTorrent experience can be quite captivating with its technical elements, all wrapped up in a stealthy cloak-and-dagger social layer, plenty of intrigue, many new friends and lots of fun.

For some of the 21st century’s digital treasure hunters, it’s great to ‘get’ – but the journey getting there (making friends and sharing the fun with others along the way) can be better still.

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