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With the recent demise of Napster we all need to look elsewhere for our MP3 downloads. As of yet there has not been a clear cut winner in the race for a replacement, but can iMesh hope to tempt all the ex Napster users?
The only little niggle was that no sooner had I downloaded iMesh and ran it that it told me that due to a request from the RIAA iMesh are in the process of stopping users downloading copyrighted files. So the chances are that in the future there will be no more music from iMesh either, but luckily for it, unlike Napster it also offers the chance to share a massive amount of other files too so it still has a future even if it isn't in mp3's.
The idea of iMesh is quite simple. It provides a place for you to search other users hard drives and download files from them. In theory this is great and idealises what the internet was designed for. In reality it isn't so great, but read on..............
After downloading the installation program and running it you are faced with what is initially a rather confusing display. It isn't something I would recommend to the new PC user. I am always worried about the security of these peer to peer programs so when it came to deciding which files I shared I decided not to share any files. I know that's the not the spirit of things and if everyone did the same then the program would be useless, but to be honest I don't want people downloading things from me. If nothing else it slows my connection down and as I only have a 56K modem I don't have much bandwidth to begin with. So now it comes to the program itself. It has 6 main sections, being
The search section is where you will spend the most of your time, as this is what lets you scour everyone's elses hard drive for all that vital information. You can search for 5 different type of files...... Audio Video Images Software Documents
There is also the option to search in all media types for a file with a specific name.
Programs of this type live and die by the files they have available for sharing, Napster did so well because you could get any song you wanted. To be honest, on the mp3 front iMesh is rather poor. You can find mp3's but there is nowhere near the large quantities that are available on other such file sharing programs. You can find popular songs by popular artists but it lacks the depth and variety that Napster offered.
However, where iMesh succeeds is in the vast number of other files it offers you the chance to download.
One very exciting feature is the ability to download movies. Typing in a word like 'Simpsons' or 'Star Trek' brings up a list with a number of episodes of our favourite TV shows available for download.
Unfortunately the other 3 file types available are a little less useful. The 'Images' section seems to yield only pictures from the seedier side of the net. I even searched for pictures by Monet for my sisters school project and the only hit I got was a picture of a porn star called Monet. The software section is a little dodgy, as I cannot see how downloading a '.exe' file can be wise or even provide a purpose, as most programs require lots of other files to run. The last section, 'Documents', is even less helpful and I have only ever managed to find a few documents in the whole of my searching, and then half of these were related to 'those' things.
So, the only advantage I can find is the downloading of videos. The problem is that they are rather large and take quite a while on a 56K modem. Luckily though, the way iMesh downloads files makes what could be a painful process much easier.
iMesh offers a resume feature as well as segmented downloading. When you're downloading a 50Mb movie then the chances are that if you're a 56K modem user then you won't be able to download it in one go. Luckily this doesn't matter as iMesh will start downloading the file from wherever you got up to last time. It is if course only possible if lots of users have that particular file so everytime you go online someone, somewhere in the world, has the same file as you are downloading. Luckily iMesh gives each search result a rating of its availability.
Segmented downloading is a technique used to increase the speed of downloading files. Rather than downloading a file from one single location iMesh will download it from a number of users, meaning that download speed can be maximised. This means that even if the users on the other end have slow connections, the fact that you are downloading from 3 of them at once means that you still get a fast transfer rate.
If it's just music you're after then iMesh won't make up for the loss of Napster, but its other uses make it worth a look.
The thing I don't get is why people keep talking about Napster as if it's completely defunct now - I still use it and though it's a bit irritating that because of screening people have had to change the names of their tracks slightly, but I've still generally been able to find what I'm looking for. Good op though - Dione
DoubleTrouble 20.05.2001 16:10
Good op, I prefer audio galaxy however, couldn't get on with
imesh but know a lot that do, new name, remeber you before, but mines a new name too, was broksababe..lol