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Linux Wireless Interface Driver Updates | Linux
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Flash Drive Linux - Introduction | Linux
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Basics of Long Range Wireless Networking
Linear Focus Parabolic Wi Fi Antenna
High Gain Wi Fi Dish Antenna
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High Gain Yagi Wi Fi Antenna
High Power Wireless Adapters
Wi Fi Extender Antenna for Routers
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Linksys WUSB54GC External Antenna Mod
Compat Wireless Linux Drivers
Installing WPA_Supplicant for Wi-Fi Security
Linux Wireless Interface Driver Updates
Linux Wireless Interface Driver Support
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Enabling FLASH in Jack Audio | Digital Audio in Linux
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Veracrypt Encryption for Linux
Veracrypt Encryption for Windows
Using Google Within China
Popcorn Time and Flixtor for Uncensored Streaming Media
DNS Encryption using DNSCrypt
Galaxy Nexus Privacy and Robustness Enhancements
Galaxy SIII Privacy and Robustness Enhancements
Flash Drive Encryption for Linux
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Multihop VPN Connections for Strong Internet Privacy
Open and Free DNS Server List
OpenVPN Cloaking against Deep Packet Inspection The Serval Mesh Phone Project
Skype's Robust Security
Man in the Middle Wireless Security Risks
Wireless Security and Surveillance
Adjusting Audio Dynamics in VLC
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My Flight on 9/11
Joshua Chamberlain's Leadership Tips
Special Operations Forces Truths
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TV DXing the World Trade Center
New York TV after 9/11
Adjusting Audio Dynamics in VLC
Backing Track Prep Guide
Ipod Music Processing Guide
In Distress, by David Wagoner
Just A Radio Operator, by Robert A. Wallace
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Aviation Photo Gallery 2: On the Road With ATA Airlines
Aviation Photo Gallery 3: More ATA Airlines
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NOTE: In the years since this article was originally posted, there have been legal challenges in multiple jurisdictions, stress, strife, and all sorts of pressures which have caused the Popcorn Time and Flixtor projects to fracture and fork into numerous other derivative projects. The article below will remain for historical purposes; for access to actual unblockable movies or television, consider using a VPN and search for "Putlocker" sites, which use peer-to-peer technology to stream video data.
The Problem With Chinese Video Sites
My first thought was, "WTF - are you kidding?" My second thought was, "A dictatorship of nerds doesn't understand the real world." This was in response to the removal of several television shows from Sohu.com, Youku.com, and other Chinese video streaming sites on strict orders from the PRC's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. It is merely another vain attempt by China's political leadership to control the minds of people within the Middle Kingdom. When they complain about "foreign content" they really mean "content which is beyond Communist Party control."
Forget about having a choice. Forget viewership following merit.Viewership will follow what they are told to follow, right? Wrong! Wrong in China, wrong anywhere else where the people can connect to the internet. I didn't care much about the television shows in question, which had previously been under licensing agreements to stream from popular video websites. My issue was about control, as usual, and about enforcing my own intention to not let any state regulator dictate what elements of the press I could access or not access.
Torrents as an Anti-Censorship Tool
Expert bit torrent users have long since enjoyed access to all sorts of media without censorship. Popular trackers carry movies, television
shows, audio programs, and so forth. These are extremely difficult for service providers or governments to filter because the peer-to-peer
traffic can be obfuscated and routed through unlimited IP addresses. But what is a tool worth if its use is limited to just a few experts or nerds
willing to learn a difficult process? Could the process be made as easy as using Netflix or Youtube? Indeed, a better way was in the making.
Several software developers responded to demand for an easy way to find and watch movies via bit torrent.
UPDATE: Time4popcorn.eu version includes a VPN to thwart surveillance.
Popcorn Time was the first of a new breed of torrent streaming graphical user interfaces. The special thing about Popcorn Time is that it is simple and easy, with several tasks working behind the scenes. It uses the YIFY-TORRENTS application programming interface to get lists of movies or television shows on the torrent tracker. Opensubtitles.org's API is used to retrieve subtitles in any available languages. Data displayed about the movies or shows is retrieved from the Internet Movie Database. When the user selects a movie to watch, a bit torrent download is started, and the user watches the program. All of these components work together to make a seamles point, click, read, and watch experience for the end user.
Popcorn time actually works quite well. I was able to pick shows based on release date, genre, popularity, and other criteria. After clicking on a particular item, another screen would come up with a description from the movie database and health of the torrent (number of seeders). There's also a listing of available subtitle languages. Screen resolution is selectable from the movie information screen - 720 or 1024 pixels in width. Playback is on the built-in player.
As the torrent downloads, it favors chunks of data closer to the start of the file over chunks nearer the end. Therefore, one can watch from the beginning while it gradually downloads the middle and end of the movie. As long as the download progresses faster than the playback, the movie runs smoothly. If the torrent is in poor health (too many leechers / not enough seeders), or if the internet connection is slow, playback may sometimes freeze or stutter.
UPDATE: FLIXTOR HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED - June 14, 2014. No guts, no glory.
Flixtor was the next popular torrent streaming graphical user interface, arriving after the first version of Popcorn Time withered under attacks from opponents of bit torrent file sharing. Flixtor is more polished in its presentation and easier to use than Popcorn Time. Flixtor uses the Torrentlookup application programming interface to get lists of movies or television shows on the torrent tracker. Opensubtitles.org's API is used to retrieve subtitles in any available languages. Data displayed about the movies or shows is retrieved from the Internet Movie Database. When the user selects a movie to watch, a bit torrent download is started, and the user watches the program. All of these components work together to make a seamles point, click, read, and watch experience for the end user.
Flixtor works nicely indeed. I was again able to pick shows based on release date, genre, popularity, and other criteria. Categories are arranged somewhat better than in Popcorn Time. After clicking on a particular item, another screen would come up with a description from the movie database. A listing of available subtitle languages can be checked after playback begins. Often there are different versions and sources of a video. Flixtor lists them as part of the description - screen resolution, seeds / leechers, file size, etc.
As the torrent downloads, it favors chunks of data closer to the start of the file over chunks nearer the end. Therefore, one can watch from the beginning while it gradually downloads the middle and end of the movie. As long as the download progresses faster than the playback, the movie runs smoothly. If the torrent is in poor health (too many leechers / not enough seeders), or if the internet connection is slow, playback may sometimes freeze or stutter. Playback is either on the built in player or VLC, if VLC is installed and chosen by the user.
Other Torrent Streaming Programs
Torrent streaming projects are killed quickly by threats of legal action, government censors, and other soul-less entities. If you find these applications useful, do yourselves and the world a favor: copy and preserve the source code. Most of them have space on Github. As one project fizzles out, another uses the source code and makes a fresher and more robust torrent streaming application. Originally, there was Popcorn Time, for example, then Flixtor. Following Flixtor, Isoplex, FlicsTor, and others have arrived on the scene - each one just a bit better than its predecessors and often using a different torrent tracker's API.
Here is a list of popular torrent streaming applications. Give them a try and pick your favorite for use as an uncensored media streaming workhorse:
- XBMC Media Center Torrent Plugin.
- UNTV Open Source DRM-Free Media Center Platform.
The Great Firewall of China is Dead
One thing notable about using Popcorn Time and Flixtor, or other torrent streaming applications within China is that download speeds can be quite high for healthy torrents. It seems that the throttling applied to traffic from foreign IP addresses is irrelevant for torrents. Sure, an individual seeder IP may be choked to permit only a few kilobits per second. If there are several hundred seeders for a movie, the movie arrives at several hundred kilobits per second - and the Great Firewall of China fails miserably! Rarely is the Chinese internet, built for surveillance and control, so fast and broadband as when it is subject to bit torrent traffic. Remember, the GFW attacks specific protocols from specific addresses and ports. Call a file from hundreds of seeders and the censorship is completely defeated.
Some internet service providers block bit torrent traffic. There's a way around that too. One can use a VPN to conceal the traffic content from the local ISPs. One can also set the software to use randomized ports for the traffic. Protocol obfuscation, as used in uTorrent, Transmission, and other raw torrent downloaders, is one area that should be addressed in future versions of these programs to make them resistant to the most determined censors.
Disclaimer: Some of the material available for streaming via the torrent APIs in Flixtor and Popcorn time may be restricted by copyright
or local laws. You bear all responsibility for what you download and watch. This website discusses technology behind these programs, but
cannot help you if you are reckless and get busted. Use a VPN to protect your privacy and anonymity. Do not keep copies of prohibited content
on your computers!
Tags: unblock movies, unblock television, streaming torrent movies, flixtor, popcorn time