Friday, 24 May 2002

, , , ,

How do I find out if my IP address is static or dynamic?

Having this information to hand is especially useful if you intend to set your computer up as a web or FTP server. If you've got a static IP address you can redirect your domain name to point to your own computer instead of a remote host to enable people to access your data or web site. This can also be achieved with a dynamic IP address, but it's a bit more fiddly.

There are various ways of identifying your IP address, but I find the easiest method is to use IP Agent, available from the Gibson Research Corporation (click on the 'Shields Up' button, proceed to the freeware section and then click on the download link near the top of the page). You'll need a microscope to see this program as it's absolutely tiny - no bloatware here folks!

Once downloaded, if you simply double-click on the program's icon you will find that your IP address is staring you in the face - no searching through menus is required - that's all there is to it.

If you make a note of this number, disconnect from the net and then reconnect you can see whether or not you have been assigned with a new number.

Friday, 17 May 2002

, , , ,

How do bootleg software and movie releases end up in general circulation on the internet?

Once the release groups have stripped the copyright protection from software, or encoded leaked movies, they are packaged, quality assessed and then uploaded to 'topsites'. These are lightning fast, highly exclusive FTP servers with an abundance of hard drive space. Topsites are shared by a number of affiliated release groups, usually in the region of twenty. When new releases hit the topsites, couriers take hold of the reigns by distributing the releases to other topsites all over the world.

While they're at it, some of these couriers, who are sometimes referred to as 'dumpers', transfer copies of the latest releases to 'dump sites'. These represent the preceding rung of the ladder - like topsites they are private, fast and FXP enabled FTP servers.

From these dump sites, FXP groups and IRC channel operators distribute the data further. FXP groups scan for publicly accessible, anonymous FTP servers and then transfer the releases from the dump sites to these FTP servers by means of FXP (File Exchange Protocol). These free for all FTP servers are known as pubs. Once filled they are posted in public or private FXP forums so as to allow the members to share their contents.

The releases multiply exponentially as more and more people gain access to them. Once this process is set in motion it is virtually unstoppable - data transfers snowball until the releases have been spread to every corner of the globe via a variety of peer to peer applications.

Tuesday, 14 May 2002


How can I check an archive for CRC errors without actually unzipping it?

This can be done using either Winrar or Winace. The first step is to double-click on the archive you wish to validate to open it. If you are using Winrar, select the 'commands' option from the menu and scroll down the list until you find 'test archived files' and click on this option. Alternatively, if you are using Winace, select 'archive' from the menu bar followed by 'test archive'.

Now get on with doing something useful until the CRC checking process is complete - ah, the joys of multi-tasking. Once finished, look for the words 'no errors found'. If receive this all-clear message you can assume your files are A-OK. If it's bad news you will see the message 'CRC error' adjacent to the file which was currently being processed when the log was created. If this happens, you can either download the archive again and re-check it for errors, or attempt to repair it using Winrar or Winrar (I've covered the procedure in another entry so feel free to use the search engine).