Move over giganews here comes astraweb and half of my next iPad !

For many years now I’ve used Giganews‘s excellent but some-what expensive service as my usenet (newsgroups) provider. Recently I’ve been open for change, especially the kind of change that saves me money. The latest thing to get me going was looking into some VPN service that looks interesting and costs $5 a month, so that got me thinking abut how much I’m currently spending on online services, and the most expensive service is Giganews. Plus, a friend at work said he was using a different – cheaper provider called Astraweb and that he was very happy with them. Astraweb is a well-known provider that I’ve heard about for years, so I finally decided to try them out and I’m very glad I did !

Astraweb has two pricing systems: unlimited subscription plans and pay-by-download plans

Unlimited Subscription plans

  • All plans have unlimited quotas.
  • Plans are either limited to 10mbit speed or not limited at all.
  • 20 connections.
  • Cost: $10/m with 10mbit speed or $20/3m.
  • Cost: $15/m with no speed limit or $39/3m.



  • Pay for a download allowance that has no time limit.
  • No recurring payments.
  • 50 connections.
  • Variety of download packages: 25gb / 180gb / 1,000gb
  • Costs for packages above: $10 / $25 / $50
  • Bandwidth per dollar: 2.5gb / 7.2gb / 20gb !


Although I’m a pretty heavy usenet user and as such would usually look for the unlimited subscription plan, I was actually drawn to the 1,000gb (1Tera) download package worth $50. After checking my Giganews account I discovered that it took me around 9months to reach 1,000gb last year. That means that if you divide $50 by 9months – it comes down to about $5.5 per month. Currently I’m paying Giganews $25 a month so that’s a huge difference which translates to about $240 a year – half of my next iPad 🙂

What I recommend to anyone who wants to check astraweb out for themselves before making the switch is goto their account and suspend it for a period of time while you check out the competition (I suspended mine for 2 months). If you see that it works well for you, just go back to Giganews to cancel your account completely.


Astraweb Miscellaneous

  • 1413 days retention.
  • Accept PayPal and credit cards.
  • Have both US & EU servers.
  • Supports SSL connections.
  • Normal Ports: 119, 23, 1818, 8080
  • SSL Ports: 443, 563



  1. Suspend Giganews account.
  2. Buy astraweb 1,000gb plan for $50 using a simple PayPal payment.
  3. Sabnzbd (usenet client) – configured one server to astraweb’s european server and left the other on Giganews, then I disabled the old Giganews server and enabled the new Astraweb server.
  4. Tested download – got my full 15mbit with a 25 connections setup.
  5. Re-enabled Giganews server and at the end of the month, after the giganews suspension kicks in, I’ll re-enable the new astraweb server, and later on I’ll probably cancel Giganews all together.

Happy savings and happy hunting !



Kickstarter does it again !

Kickstarter has done it again ! For those of you who don’t know kickstarter let me give you a brief explanation – kickstarter allows you to advertise a product/project you wish to create and raise money to that goal from kickstarters online community. You set a time & money goal and hope for the best. Contributors may pledge you money just for the fun of it or in exchange for a promise to receive the final product, so it’s like the ultimate preorder. Every once in a while something amazing happens there and a new great product is born… this is one of those cases.

Facebook Places launched.. Foursquare the big loser ?

Facebook launched its much anticipated location-based features yesterday, called Facebook Places. Facebook Places lets you check-in to places and share your location with your friends, much like Foursquare (currently places is available only in the US).

Back in April, rumors surfaced that Facebook (among others, including Yahoo & Microsoft) tried to acquire Foursquare for more than $100 million, but Foursquare resisted in favor of a $20 million cash investment from a venture capital fund.
Even though foursquare check-ins will also push updates to Facebook Places, I believe users will prefer to use Facebook Places rather than go to yet another service – and considering the huge users base and popularity of Facebook – it seems like Facebook Places will eventually crush Foursquare and that Foursquare will be very sorry they didn’t accept the offer.

Mashable posted an interesting article about Facebook Places, that includes a useful how-to section:

How to Use Places

First of all, you or a Facebook friend in your group will need a smartphone. If you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to use the Facebook touch mobile site on a browser that supports both HTML 5 and geolocation.The company does plan to roll out Android and BlackBerry versions of Places, but they haven’t released any specific dates for those releases yet.To use Places, go to the Places tab on the iPhone application or You’ll first be asked if Facebook is allowed to know your location. Once you click “allow,” you’ll enter the Places interface. From there, you can share your location with friends, find out where your friends are (if they’re using Places), and discover new places near you.You can add places, check in to places that already exist, and tag people who are with you. If you’re checking in for a group, make sure you tag your friends before you checkin, yourself. For example, I added my house and checked in there. I then opened the Places page for a nearby sushi restaurant, tagged my boyfriend, and checked us both in there.

A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places [Mashable]

How to protect your online identity using ‘LastPass’ password manager

Recently, I’ve decided to take upon myself a daring new mission – to help those reading my blog to achieve relaxation and peace of mind. You might think I’m planning to instruct you in Yoga or meditation, or perhaps help you obtain prescription medicine or drugs of some kind, but I’m actually talking about the peace-of-mind that you’ll find, when your online identity is protected and your data is securely backed-up.

This mission will be broken into a series of posts starting with this one, which will focus on protecting your online identity. First, let’s begin by understanding the subject.

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Windows Live Wave 4

Although this post’s subject is already “old news”, I have reason to believe that many of you might have missed it , possibly because the media has dealt unfairly with Microsoft. Even though they have reportedly higher earnings than Apple & Google put together and still dominate many markets, they have received significantly less press than the other two companies.

Ok, moving on… Microsoft has recently released its latest update to their desktop software & online services branded “Windows Live“. This suite of products is separated into three:

  1. Web Services Applications – branded “Windows Live Online“.
  2. Desktop Applications – Branded “Windows Live Essentials“.
  3. Mobile Application – Branded “Windows Live for Mobile“.

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