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Thread: Highwinds and their piss-poor completion

  1. #1
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    I've not used Highwinds as my primary usenet provider in close to two years, but in trying out newcster's NewsgroupDirect trial, I discovered a lot of incomplete posts in their US server (I did not try the EU server).

    Everything I downloaded was peppered with missing articles. Whether at 600 days, 700 days, 800 days, all file sets I downloaded were incomplete, some quite badly, though all were repairable. Here's a sample shot of quickpar:



    Unless it was just unusually bad luck on my part (or maybe some other unrelated reason?), it would appear that Highwinds suffers from major completion problems on older files.

    Now before anyone suggests a 'solution' - I should add that it was my full intention to see how bad the completion was. So I had disabled auto-par, and dismantled my usual fill-server arrangement, and intentionally selected older files. (Interestingly, a few of the 'bad' rars were not (noticeably) undersized, as would be expected)

    Although I tend to download sporadically, I've commonly got perfect to near-perfect completion for older files from Astraweb and Readnews lately, so this result surprised me.

    So has Highwinds really turned to crap?

    ... or am I just blowing smoke?

  2. Newsgroups   -   #2
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    They have always been crap.

  3. Newsgroups   -   #3
    Quote Originally Posted by zot View Post
    Unless it was just unusually bad luck on my part (or maybe some other unrelated reason?), it would appear that Highwinds suffers from major completion problems on older files.

    So has Highwinds really turned to crap?

    ... or am I just blowing smoke?
    Using UsenetServer's EU and U.S. servers I tested both the top and bottom end of UNS's retention and found no significant completion issues, certainly not any more than Astraweb. All tested archives were completely repairable if any articles/blocks were missing. Here is a snapshot of a 909 day old archive:



    If anyone would like links or sources to the archives I tested send me a PM.... Highwinds network has come a long long long way from 2 years ago. IMHO it's bitching service at an awesome price....
    Last edited by nntpjunkie; 03-09-2011 at 04:17 PM.
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  4. Newsgroups   -   #4
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    Of course you would say that cause you own the site in your signature which has newshosting affiliate ads plastered all over it. Try and get stuff that is like between 300 and 600 and see how it is.

  5. Newsgroups   -   #5
    Tested several nzbs in that range and still didn't have any unrepairable archives...
    Digital World...You can't handle the Digital World! What did your Mom buy you a PUTER for Christmas!
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  6. Newsgroups   -   #6
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    Ok, I thought I'd do some direct comparison. I randomly picked out an old file, in this case an NZB of a Linux DVD posted to alt.binaries.nl 716 days ago to see if Highwinds results are out of line with the competition. The results using NZB Download Checker:





    Although far from perfect, Usenet-News.net (Readnews) showed substantially better completion than NewsgroupDirect (Highwinds) on this one sample file. Like I said before, I've not (yet) found any unrepairable files on Highwinds (US server), but every file that I've come across on Highwinds/NewsgroupDirect had (IMO) an exceptionally high number of incompletes. The real issue here is not the number of unrepairable files (zero so far) but the high degree of par-fixing required, a processor-intensive task which on an old computer can take longer than re-downloading the entire set of files a second time.

    I will say one nice thing about Highwinds. The process of checking article completion on Highwinds US servers using NZB Download Checker was much faster (maybe 2x or 3x faster) than Readnews, at least from my end.

    I'll admit that one person reporting on one file hardly makes a case, so hopefully someone else would volunteer to do some additional comparison of Highwinds vs. Readnews or Astraweb that might change my mind about Highwinds suffering from *comparatively* poor completion.

  7. Newsgroups   -   #7
    You created an issue by dismantling your normal fill server arrangement. I might be satisfied with the cheapest Highwinds server I could find, supported by a couple of block account fill servers.

    I noticed that 'news.us.usenet-news.net' (usenet-news-iad.readnews.com) resolves to 2 IP addresses, and that .14 (reader1 in banner) seems to have better completion than .71 (reader7 in banner). Readnews shuffles their servers around and that could change before you know it.

  8. Newsgroups   -   #8
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    Highwinds started the long, winding road to.... when then moved out of Phoenix to the tech corridor outside Washington, D.C. (Falls Chuch/Tyson's Corner VA). Of course, at the same time Giganews and others made the same move, for better or worse.

    If the server plants don't get good maintenance, things go to h*ll pretty quickly. This weeks award goes to Blocknews, that has been dropping files left and right.

  9. Newsgroups   -   #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesaman View Post
    You created an issue by dismantling your normal fill server arrangement. I might be satisfied with the cheapest Highwinds server I could find, supported by a couple of block account fill servers.
    One reason I did this was because I suspect that most usenet users, probably the vast majority, don't know anything about block accounts or fill servers - they connect to one server only and that's it. Also, some things like MP3s are often posted without any pars, so a person without a fill server needs a provider with good completion. I agree with your strategy of buying a cheap provider and supplementing it with block accounts, but in this case Highwinds is not really less expensive than Readnews (both have $10/month-$96/year unl. specials). I strongly suspect that the main reason that Blocknews/UsenetNow and Ngroups/Usenetnews recently switched from Highwinds to Readnews was to save money, as other factors like completion and retention can be highly variable over time and thus harder to predict.

    I think it's a substantial achievement that a small company like Readnews can beat a much larger provider such as Highwinds in retention, completion, and price, as Highwinds has the obvious economy-of-scale advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by mesaman View Post
    I noticed that 'news.us.usenet-news.net' (usenet-news-iad.readnews.com) resolves to 2 IP addresses, and that .14 (reader1 in banner) seems to have better completion than .71 (reader7 in banner). Readnews shuffles their servers around and that could change before you know it.
    Good to know, I wasn't even trying any of those IP-address tricks revealed earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beck38 View Post
    Highwinds started the long, winding road to.... when then moved out of Phoenix to the tech corridor outside Washington, D.C. (Falls Chuch/Tyson's Corner VA). Of course, at the same time Giganews and others made the same move, for better or worse.

    If the server plants don't get good maintenance, things go to h*ll pretty quickly. This weeks award goes to Blocknews, that has been dropping files left and right.
    I remember that - Highwinds' Phoenix server was usually pretty good. Then they shut down their New York and Phoenix servers and migrated everyone to the Atlanta farm they acquired when they bought Usenetserver a few months earlier, and things quickly went downhill, but finally improved again after the move to DC the following year. Retention, which had been stagnant for over two years while Highwinds was busy buying up companies, started climbing again and continues to increase to this day.

    Server maintenance and upkeep -or lack of- is certainly a central reason for why problems occur. Perhaps it's no coincidence that not long after Highwinds bought Usenetserver and Easynews, both went through a long stretch of hard times. After all, when it comes down to a choice between paying the bank loan or replacing aging hardware, we all know which takes priority. It seems that in their thirst to expand, Highwinds bit off more than they could chew, so maybe we should all be glad that (as far as I know) they've stopped buying usenet companies the last few years, and are instead concentrating on servicing what they already own. I doubt that Highwinds could afford running any more companies into the ground, like they did with Easynews a couple of years ago.

  10. Newsgroups   -   #10
    Readnews can beat a much larger provider such as Highwinds in retention, completion, and price,
    By sacrificing download speed on older files which has always been pretty awful for me ...

    PS

    Your linux nzb(on AW):

    Parts checked: 16983
    Undownloadable parts: 0
    All OK!
    giganews has also got it all.


    to be honest i see only two real competitors on the market with a decent completition , retention and speed- GN and AW.

    The first suffers from dmca take downs. the second suffers from technical glitches from time to time

    That is if we exclude block accounts and wanna use only one NNTP provider)

    Thats it. And its not good at all.
    Last edited by Hypatia; 03-10-2011 at 10:42 AM.

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