Book Review - BitTorrent For Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Kris Krug
BitTorrent is one of those file-sharing technologies that I've heard about but never really understood. To remedy that, I got a review copy of BitTorrent For Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Kris Krug. I now understand why this is such a better architecture than others...
Part 1 - Getting Started with BitTorrent: Cluing In to BitTorrent; Downloading BitTorrent Files; Playing BitTorrent Files
Part 2 - Managing BitTorrent Content: Finding BitTorrent Content; Storing BitTorrent Content; Understanding BitTorrent and the Law
Part 3 - Creating BitTorrent Content: Creating Audio Files; Shooting Digital Video; Capturing and Editing Digital Video
Part 4 - Delivering BitTorrent Content: Making and Tracking Torrents; Seeding Your Torrents; Promoting Your Torrents
Part 5 - Getting More Out Of BitTorrent: Hunting for Additional Content; Protecting Your Content; Using BitTorrent in Organizations
Part 6 - The Part of Tens: Ten (Or So) Common File Formats for Sharing Your Content; Ten (Or So) Things You Can Do To Stay Safe From Viruses; Ten Fun BitTorrent Downloads
Now the first thing that comes to mind when discussing peer-to-peer software for file sharing is the illegal downloading of copyrighted software. Gardner and Krug make sure that the reader has *no* defense along the lines of "I didn't know it was wrong". They do a great job in explaining the laws, why downloading certain material is illegal, and how to find sites that have legal content for downloading. That won't stop people from using it to get the latest Madonna single or video, but you've been warned. After that's out of the way, they explain how BitTorrent works and how your behavior when using the software affects all other users. After reading the book, I now know all about seeds, swarms, and leeches. I also know where to go to start using BitTorrent for accessing and distributing my own material.
The only "problem" I have with the book is with Part 3. It's on how to create video and audio material like podcasts or home videos that can be digitized and stored online. It really isn't material that's specific to BitTorrent usage, and it will only appeal to people who want to create content to share with others. In fact, I've seen much of this material covered in books on podcasting, and it seems to make more sense in a book like that. I think that if you already want to create content, BitTorrent isn't going to be your driving technology like podcasting might be. It's not bad material... I just don't think I would have included it here.
Basically, an interesting book on a technology that is redefining how content is controlled and distributed in the digital world. If you want to know how to make it part of your world, it's worth reading...