P2PForums.com’s Guide to NOT using FastTrack
FastTrack is a network we’ve grown to hate, and for many, many good reasons. There was once a time where FastTrack was a valuable resource for music and even movies/applications. This was around the time Morpheus had a clone client which connected (legally) to the FT network, around 2+ years ago. Fewer people used it back then, but it was still great for a quick P2P fix. Over the years the FastTrack network has deteriated rapidly and at this time is seen as nothing but a joke in the eyes of the more experienced file-sharer.
This thread lists the reasons FastTrack and its clients Kazaa and Grokster are so poorly looked upon now.
I often see people telling others that “K-Lite K++ Gold Platinum Kool Fast Limited Super Low-Fat Diety l337 Edition” is better than “K-Lite K++ Silver 5 Star Kool Fast Insane Sexy Edition”. They are essentially telling you “Dog Food” is better to eat than “Cat Food”. Hey, GUESS WHAT?! NO ONE NEEDS TO EAT DOG OR CAT FOOD WHEN ROAST STEAKS ARE JUST AS EASILY AVAILABLE FOR THE SAME PRICE.
But, 2.5 million+ people still use FastTrack, surely it must still be good?
2.5 million+ people still buy Britney Spears CDs. So, they’re good too, right?
There is one simple reason to why so many people continue to use FastTrack despite of the overwealming amount of reasons not to — IGNORANCE.
Being a human living in todays “MTV” society, I’m sure you can easily find more cases of human ignorance. These people are your average Kazaa user. If you’ve ever been to a Kazaa chatroom, you can instantly see just how braindead these people are. Don’t worry, by taking notice of this thread you can rest assured you’re nothing like them. Wink
You also have the large proportion of people who come under the category “clueless”. Rather than being out-right ignorant, this group of people simply know no better. Some know about other alternatives but for whatever reason stay with Kazaa (often falling into the “Ignorant” category), others would be willing to try anything else but simply don’t know there IS any other (better) software to use. I hope this thread appeals to these kinds of people.
Lets get this straight–in the case of FastTrack–SIZE DOES NOT MATTER! 2.5 million users is not an excuse for you to use the network.
Come on, FastTrack MUST be good for something?!
Ok, lets see. If any of the following appeals to you, by all means continue to use FastTrack.
Alternative Arrow Music–Old 128kbps CBR mp3 encodes. 192kbps+ CBR mp3 sometimes available. Most popular music will be corrupted thanks to Kazaa’s inability to fully hash files. All FastTrack clients have a serious flaw which for the past year the RIAA (or whoever else) has been exploiting. Unlike every other P2P client around today, Kazaa hashes only parts of each file you share. It goes something like this:
You have a 10MB mp3. Kazaa will hash (scan the file and give it a unique ID) the first few bytes of that file, skip a few, hash a few, skip a few, and so on. The RIAA simply fills the spaces Kazaa doesn’t hash with silence or random noise. This leaves your mp3 completly ruined and unlistenable without changing the files hash. Does it work? Yes. You’ve got an extremly high chance of music downloaded via FastTrack being corrupted.
Rare music is extremly hard to find on FT.
As file-sharing has advanced, I have started to take ripping quality all the more seriously, also becomming interested in other compressed formats such as Ogg Vorbis and Musepack. If I go after an mp3 today, it has to prefrably be a variable (VBR) encode, such as ALT-PRESET-EXTREME, and of course encoded in LAME 3.9x or similar. FastTrack is your #1 stop for inferior sounding encodes, often encoded using hopelessly outdated encoders such as Old Xing.
Alternative Arrow Movies–New movies, no chance. If you don’t mind waiting weeks for a very poor quality DivX re-encode of a poor first release CAM, Kazaa is for you. Don’t expect finding the files will be easy when they eventually do reach the network. Most are renamed or another file in disguise.
Older movies–Very poor selection. Many fakes, many poor encodes.
Alternative Arrow Software / Apps–Looking for a quick and easy way to format your HDD? Open up Kazaa and download some random apps. FastTrack is a haven for viruses and trojans. Of course, many networks suffer from this problem but those other networks offer means of varifying content so the chances of receiving a virus are minimal. Forget about downloading software from FastTrack. Forget about new builds and betas.
In no particular order, here are the reasons why downloading files from FastTrack (or using Kazaa) is one of the most stupid things you can do on a computer:
Arrow Inferior & outdated software lacking in features we’ve become accustomed to in applications of today.
Arrow Client hashes only parts of files, leaving the network WIDE OPEN to exploits from Anti-FileSharing companies.
Arrow Poor selection of music. Don’t even think about going after an album unless searching for each file individually and downloading a dozen different versions of songs encoded in different encoders appeals to you. And that’s without even taking the amount of fakes/corrupted files into account.
Arrow Terrible selection of files overall. You won’t find new releases on FastTrack, so don’t kid yourself.
Arrow Fakes. There are more fake files on FastTrack than any other network out there (personal view) and very few ways to avoid them. Many placed by anti-P2P companies, many by other losers on the network with too much time on their hands.
Arrow Poorly encoded audio files. FULL of 128kbps encodes that sound simply awful. FYI–Kazaa restricted its users to sharing music encoded at 128kbps or below until around version 1.7.
Arrow Movies. Terrible selection of poorly encoded DivX files of CAMS, nothing new. See above for more info.
Arrow Awful search options. “Video/Audio/Software/Documents”. There, I’ve just described Kazaa’s search features down to the last detail.
Arrow Spyware. If you use an official, legal client from the “official” distributor, say goodbye to your PCs performance and privacy.
Arrow Adware. Forget about reasonable banner ads. Install an official client and you’re in popup city.
Arrow No significant updates. Clients have gone years without any noticeable or worthwhile updates. Your average KMD update would come down to a “cool new download button” and “better distribution of DRM infested AltNet content”.
Arrow Sharman Networks doesn’t care about you. Sharman are in this business to make cash, and lots of it. Both clients and the network haven’t received updates in an eternity, simply because they can still attract enough people to the current batch of poor clients.
Arrow You can’t get involved with the client/network. Sharman are simply not interested in your views for improvement–they want to make money from you.
Arrow AltNet / DRM locked content. A while ago people went crazy after finding out Kazaa had secretly installed a seperate network called “AltNet” on their computers without their knowledge. AltNet is another money-maker from Sharman who also wish to push DRM (Digital Rights Management) locked content through their network. These files are restricted to a number of plays and non-playable anywhere other than your PC, usually in Windows Media Player.
Arrow No privacy features. The official clients don’t even feature an IP block list, which other unofficial clients/hacks give you.
Arrow Useless for distribution. Hoping to get something you produced out to the masses? You’re better off investing in a carrier pigeon than putting up for download on FastTrack. The way the network is structured ensures the chances of anyone finding your file are minimal.
Sig2Dat only works for extremly well spread files.
Arrow Sharman have no respect for anyone attempting to improve user experience with their software. Creators of software such as “DietKaza” (a popular addon) and “Kazaa Lite” (a modified Kazaa client) which features an array of features and addons to improve the client and overall software experience have been threatened and their sites shut down. The same has applied for developers adding FastTrack support to their clients via giFT, such as KCEasy. Forced to remove the FT connectivity or go to court.
Arrow Unlike other software vendors, Sharman Networks and Grokster will personally go after anyone hosting “clean” versions of the software, such as Kazaa Lite on their sites. They won’t be afraid to threaten your ISP or get your hosting permanently suspended. Many Pro-P2P sites have suffered downtime due to Sharman and Grokster contacting the hosting company.
Arrow RIAA/MPAA constant presence on the network. The network is filled with bots belonging to various Anti-FileSharing companies looking to dispatch complaints to your ISP and take you to court.
Arrow Majority of lawsuites directed at FastTrack users. Even after the amount of lawsuites thrown at their users (including the 12 year old girl), Sharman have done NOTHING to protect the privacy of their customers.
The one advantage the client (Kazaa) itself has going for it is ease-of-use. Search>Download is as complicated as Kazaa gets. But let me ask you, wouldn’t you rather use slightly more “advanced” client which may take a little longer to get accustomed to than a client with so many crippling flaws?
It’s time to face facts. FastTrack and Kazaa are P2P history and at todays standards are nothing more than a joke. There are 0 reasons left to be on the FastTrack network. It’s time to move on in the world of file-sharing to a client and network that offers you the sort of features you like to see in your file-sharing experience. A client/network run by a person, or group of developers who listen to your ideas and not driven by money, perhaps?
Take a look around our forums for more ideas from other users. Here are a list of clients I’d consider to look into first after scrapping Kazaa/Grokster:
Alternative Arrow For Music:
Albums / Live Sets / Mixes:
SoulSeek–Currently the very best client out there for rare music and superior quality encodes. You’ll find high quality albums and singles here.
eMule–Plenty of sources for archived (.zip’d, .rar’d) albums.
BitTorrent–Plenty of torrent sites containing albums and others dedicated to music.
DirectConnect–(DC++). Plenty of hubs serving up complete albums.
Piolet–Easy to use client offering plenty of music content. Increased privacy features are set to be included in the next release.
WinMX–Good client for more popular music. If you make use of it’s Opennap support via NapMX, you’ll find a lot of rarer content.
Ares–A client and network becomming incresingly popular.
Gnutella and Gnutella 2 clients such as Shareaza also offer more music.
Alternative Arrow For Movies / Music Vids:
eMule–Full of just about every movie you can think of. Make use of link sites to find files.
BitTorrent–Especially great for newer stuff. Make use of torrent sites to find files.
Alternative Arrow For applications:
Again, eMule and BT are great for this purpose.