Another ‘big’ change to VideoNeat

Another ‘big’ change to VideoNeat

I started VN a few years ago because I wanted to reference good documentaries for articles or in general to say to people “Hey look at this documentary to learn more about X”. You see, when it comes to documentaries there are 2 big “enemies”:

  1. Bad quality
  2. Location is unreliable

 

1. Bad quality:

A book is as good as its content is, and the same is true for documentaries. Just because a video is called “documentary” it does not make it good. From my experience, curating documentaries for the past years, most documentaries are BS. Made to shock and sell. The best documentaries come from governmental financed entities, that are independent of course, and who produce kinda “boring” documentaries in the eyes of the “normal” human that lives in our super-cool-man-breakthrough-society!

So to find good (well-made) and factual documentaries requires a lot of digging into the mud that the Internet has become because of our trade-based society. This is why I am checking every single documentary that goes on VN (or lecture/movie for that matter). Of course this relies on me doing a good job. And I try to do it well. This makes the process slow, I know, but I watch a lot of documentaries and so far I added a ton of them regularly. This is the best feature of VN. Since the project is involved into no trades (no ads, no data collection, etc.) then it is an honest project so you’ll find only quality materials there. I cannot say this about the vast majority of such similar websites that simply post dozens of documentaries a day for the sake of “views = money”.

2. Location is unreliable:

I know that many do this, but I feel like I’m having a heart attack when I see people watching a documentary on youtube or facebook. To me is like you eat food that you find on the street while you are driving at fast speeds. You pass by, see some food, grab and eat it, and if you like it or not you pass that place so you don’t know how to get back to that place if you ever want to + do you really want to eat food that you find in the streets randomly? I can make a documentary about any kind of crazy topic and make it look very scientific and post on youtube or facebook, and gullible people will watch it and think it’s the “real shit”. I never watch a documentary unless I know who made it. Else it is easy to get scammed into bullshit.

Also these online places like facebook and youtube only produce disposable products. The same documentary that you see today on those platforms will be deleted tomorrow. It simply is unreliable. So then, how can you use these good pieces of information to inform others or as sources? You can’t. They are like electrons sensitive to any measurements, too damn sensitive for today’s copyright trolling world. So we have to adopt a new approach. But the approach should not be to use other streaming websites rather than youtube, but use p2p. Meaning, that video file (documentary/movie/lecture) is stored on people’s computers and they share with each each other in an automated fashion. This way there is no central point that this documentary is stored on, so it becomes very reliable as long as people “seed” it. By seed it is simply to upload it to others – to let others download pieces of that content on their computers too. This is automatic. You download a p2p file and normally the torrent client that you use is then going to also “seed” that file to others who want it. It is neat and it has survived laws, political changes, even technological change for the past decades.

And this is why VN relies on “magnet” which is nothing more than a bunch of numbers and letters that once opened with your favorite torrent client it knows how to download that file in this decentralized way.

So that you are not confused if you are not new to this, p2p basically means peer-to-peer and it describes the technology behind this; torrent is mainly the file that contains the info to download the other files – it does not contain what you want to download, but the info about what you want to download and from where; and “magnet” is simply the same as the torrent file but instead of relying on a digital file that you have to download and then open with your torrent client, it works by this kind of unique number (hash) that it has attached to it – it is almost like sharing a link. That’s why is better to rely on magnets and not torrent files.

So, what changed to VN?

My idea is to rely 100% on magnets since that’s the best option, but the problem is that good documentaries are not very popular on p2p so there are less to no seeds, and thus downloading them is very slow (most of the time), and not at all (sometimes). I am trying to personally improve the situation but I am just one guy (computer) into the system. If anyone wants to help VN, please download and seed any VN documentary!

Because of this I am forced to add links to streaming or downloading websites that are not p2p. Up until now I had a database of such websites and every time I added a new documentary to VN I had to manually search for it on every single such website, and check to see if it works, and then make a button for that particular website and add the link and then the button to the documentary’s page. One by one! This made it very uncomfortable to add new materials to VN because it took me quite a while to do so. On top of that these websites are also as sensitive as electrons, and they get banned, blocked, shut down, or they change their url or their content. To combat that I tried to rely on people flagging links as broken, but that added more to my work since I had to fix them. After a while we ended up with many broken VN links for the download and watch sections for each documentary. This was not sustainable!

So what then?

I said why not create 2 custom google search engines for each of the “watch” and “download” that simply are using the same database of websites to search for a particular material. After all it is similarly to what I had to do manually, except that now I don’t have to take each and every website and search on it manually. And when a website goes down for whatever reasons I don’t have to do anything since the custom search simply won’t find any results on that website. I am also able to add a lot more websites to these custom search engines. So basically I had to manually replace the links for ALL VN materials one by one to work with the custom search engines. I still have to make sure that the results are sensical and not nonsensical, but I have to do this 2 times for one documentary (for watch and download) instead of 50 times for each documentary for every website like I did before. This took me several days to fix. Now it is all done, and this is the ‘big’ VN change that has several PROs and CONs.

PRO:

  • searches on way more websites so it is more likely to find links to download or watch a particular materials
  • 10 times less work for me for each documentary, and this allows me to post more often on VN
  • no more broken links
  • very automated

CON:

  • Google! I hate google and they may change their business model so they may even remove this custom search engine service and/or limit it, etc.. Thus, in the long run it is unreliable, but I found no other alternative to this
  • The results, at times, may be completely off. Say you want to find the documentary Life by BBC made in 2001; well, the engine will get confused because it is such a short and common name “life” and will show you crazy and unrelated results. So you have to put up with that and sort through the mess.
  • Ads. All such external links will be full of ads and scams. Of course no one should use the internet without an adblocker but even with it you’ll still see ads.

So get used to VN in this ‘new’ format 😉

 

IDEALLY

Ideally I would love to see VN similar to popcorntime:

Popcorn time is an amazing application promoting dumb content. Popcorn time only relies on p2p to stream the content. Simple, useful, efficient, non-destroy-able. To make VN this way it is in theory possible, but we would need tens of people seeding VN content at all times and to integrate it with WebTorrent technology so that people can stream the content from p2p. Difficult task for me.

Right now we kinda do this in a way. If people have WebTorrent installed on their system then simply click VN magnet links and they, if enough seeds, should be available for stream directly without the need to wait until they are downloaded.

If the seeds thing was not an issue for VN, I would remove the “watch” and “download” links entirely and rely only on magnets. If I find help with this then that’s what I’m going to do.

But for now, because VN’s content is quite unique in the world of p2p, I will have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past years.

I DO NOT recommend that you use anything but the MAGNET on VN. And please SEED!

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