Protecting Yourself When Using BitTorrent, And The New


Stop receiving copyright infringement notices from your ISP

I like BitTorrent a LOT. I’ve used it since it’s release around 2001 or 2002. Recently, however, it’s become more risky to download torrents from your home internet connection.

Disclaimer: I am absolutely not condoning downloading copyrighted material, of any kind. This is aimed at giving casual BitTorrent users some things to consider and nothing more

A number of my friends have received copyright infringement notices from their ISP’s for downloading a movie, music album, or any copyrighted material, for that matter. Most ISP’s will terminate your service if you continue to infringe.

When you download a torrent to your computer, and you aren’t using a VPN, your IP address will be reported to the BitTorrent tracker (that’s just how BitTorrent works). Various groups (including anti-piracy groups) can gather IP addresses of people downloading any given torrent, so having your ISP provided IP show up there could result with you receiving a copyright infringement notice.

That’s where having a VPN comes into play. If you’re connected to a VPN while downloading a torrent on your computer, the IP address of the VPN server will be reported to the BitTorrent tracker, instead of your ISP provided IP.

Skip Protection Options and Go Straight to Reading About the New Interface

Protection Methods

You have a few options that offer various levels of protection, depending on how much money you want to spend, or how paranoid you are. :) Three pretty simple options are detailed below. These methods aren’t guaranteed to keep you safe, but should be sufficient for most “casual” pirates. You’re still at risk using these methods, please read the clarification on protection part at the end of this post.

Option 1. Use a VPS for a personal VPN (aka: Poor Mans VPN)

I’ve referred to this as a poor mans VPN in the past. Basically, get a VPS from a hosting company, like DigitalOcean (referral link). You can get a VPS from DigitalOcean for just $5/month.

Once you have the VPS, just follow the steps I outlined in my Poor Man’s VPN post and you’ll be all set.

Option 2. Get a Paid VPN

A good way to hide the IP provided by your ISP is to use a VPN. There are many paid VPN services available, like IPVanish and ExpressVPN. I know a few folks who use IPVanish and are very happy with the service.

Option 3. Use

I’ve been using for around a year now and will never go back to running a BitTorrent client on any of my machines. is a cloud-based BitTorrent client, plus much more. was a no-brainer for me, as it’d free me of the need to download files directly to my computer. The unofficial Android app from Steven Schoen supports streaming to Chromecast, which sealed the deal for me.

That means I can stream videos straight from to my Chromecast, without the need to ever download them to my computer. I’ve often explained it to friends as a sort of personal Netflix. also has a feature that will download your torrent immediately. If another user has already downloaded the torrent you’re downloading, the files will be copied to your account, so you never even connect to the BitTorrent tracker to download data. It’s pretty awesome.

Another benefit of is that it frees up your home internet connection bandwidth, all the downloading and seeding is done on the network. This means you’d no longer have to waste your bandwidth to seed the torrents you’ve downloaded. This is a major factor for some people, especially those who don’t have very fast upload speeds at home (like me).

There’s also a pretty active group of third-party developers who make various apps and extensions for Steven Schoen is one such example. He’s been updating his Android client quite frequently, and recently implemented Google’s Material Design into the app. And it looks amazing.

I’m surprised that hasn’t tried to hire Steven Schoen to bring his app under the umbrella, making it an official Android client. Maybe the have, who knows.

A couple screenshots from the Android app are below.

So, which method should I use?

If you have a Chromecast and an Android device, I’d suggest using It’s a nice all-in-one solution, and plans start at only $9.99 a month, which gets you 50GB of storage. I have yet to find a iOS client that has Chromecast support, however there are clients for iOS, just not with Chromecast support.

Even if you don’t have a Chromecast, or don’t have the ability to stream from a client to a Chromecast, you can still benefit from After a torrent is finished downloading in, you can download the files from to your computer. Just like downloading a file from your Dropbox account using the Dropbox website.

If you want to download torrents to your computer using a more conventional BitTorrent client, like Transmission, I’d advise using a VPN. A paid VPN or the Poor Mans VPN setup will work.

Most paid VPN services have multiple VPN servers that you can connect to, so the IP being reported to the BitTorrent tracker can be changed pretty easily, just by connecting to a different VPN server. IPVanish has plans starting at $10/month and have hundreds of servers located around the world.

If you went the Poor Mans VPN route, changing your IP would be slightly more difficult because your VPS would likely have a static IP. But it’s still not your IP from your ISP. The BitTorrent tracker would see the IP address of your VPS instead of the IP provided by your ISP, giving you some level of protection. There’s still the possibility that a copyright holder could send a copyright infringement notice to your VPS host. Worst case there is you’d lose your VPS, which is far better than having your ISP terminate your internet service.

Just some things to take into consideration before you decide what the best solution is for you.

My Recommendation


Especially if you have an Android device and a Chromecast. Even if you don’t have a Chromecast or Android device to stream to the Chromecast, you can still download the files from to your computer. is a bit more expensive than the other options, but is well worth it in my opinion. offers 4 plans:

  • 50GB of storage for $9.99 a month
  • 200GB of storage for $19.99 a month
  • 500GB for $29.99 a month
  • 1000GB for $49.99 a month

A Quick Poll

Do you use any method to obscure your IP from BitTorrent trakers?

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Now, On To The New

A couple months ago, released a new interface to their website, which also implements aspects of Google Material Design. The new interface is still being built and tested, but can be previewed at

Here’s a screenshot of the new interface (it’s the featured image for this post, too).

And here’s a screenshot of the old interface, which is still the default.

The new interface is much easier to use than the old. It makes extensive use of AJAX, which makes for a much nicer user experience as far as not having to wait for a new page to load. It’s also much more visually appealing.

The new interface and the Android client from Steven Schoen look very similar to each other, providing a consistent look across the website and the Android client. Not really important for functionality, but it’s nice to have a consistent look across the board for a specific service.


This post covered a lot of material and was written without much revising. If I’ve gotten something wrong, I’d really appreciate you letting me know.

If anyone knows of a client for iOS that supports Chromecast, please let me know! I’m an Android guy but my daughter has an iPad mini, and I’d love if she could cast from a client on her iPad to the Chromecast.

Comments are open if you have any questions or anything else to add.

Clarification on Protection

The protection methods listed aren’t full proof, something I thought was quite obvious. All methods listed can lead to your IP address being discovered, but they all add an additional step that law enforcement must do to find your IP. Some scenarios that would result in your IP address being discovered are covered below.

Scenario 1. A law enforcement agency could demand user information from a VPN provider, which would reveal your identity if the VPN provider complied. Same deal with the Poor Man’s VPN solution. Law enforcement could request information from your VPS host, and if your VPS host complied, your identity would be revealed.

Scenario 2. A Law Enforcement agency could demand user info from, which would also reveal your identity, provided complies with the request. says they respect the privacy of their users, but there’s still absolutely no way to prove that they wouldn’t hand over user information if it was requested. However, I tend to trust more than most companies, simply because they’re not based in the United States and the owner is a genuinely good guy.

In both scenarios listed above, your home IP would be revealed. But why not make law enforcement jump through some hoops to get your IP? Instead of just handing it to them like you do when downloading a torrent from a public tracker without using a VPN.

If you’re uploading new movies to public trackers or are downloading massive amounts (think terabytes a month) of copyrighted material, none of the protection options I’ve outlined will offer you enough protection. Those of you who would draw the attention of anti-piracy groups who would get law enforcement involved should be able to figure out better ways to protect your identity. And that’s not something I care to cover. Referrals Give Crazy Amounts of Free Cloud Storage Space


Lots of free cloud storage, 5GB for every referral :)

I use Copy a lot. I still maintain a Dropbox account for sharing files with friends who still use it, which is most of them honestly. But, I have such a crazy amount of free storage at Copy that I use it for absolutely everything.

All of my photos and video go there from my Nexus 4. On top of that, when my Nexus 4 gets full, I’ll just archive it to Copy, so I essentially have two of every photo and video in Copy. Dropbox holds just one copy of all videos and photos, I only have about 20GB of storage there, so that stuff eventually gets brought down to a local drive. Which I should probably just bring it local right off the bat and just skip Dropbox all together for that stuff. But I digress…

I’m currently using about 19GB out of 185GB available to me. It’s all due to this post I made back in August of 2013. It resulted in a bunch of referral signups, which gave me an additional 5GB each. I started out with 15GB of storage.

If you’re a blogger and want some decent amounts of free cloud storage, check out Copy. Drop your referral link in relevant posts and you’ll slowly start building up referrals and gaining additional storage.

Copy has clients for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, MacOS, and probably others. Just visit their download page. I’ve been very impressed with Copy and have been using them for nearly a year. They’re run by Barracuda Networks.

I dig Copy’s Fair Storage concept, which they explain like this:

We believe in a simple concept of fairness. Everyone paying for the same data they are sharing doesn’t work for us. We think that’s like going to dinner together and everyone having to pay the entire bill. People sharing content should equally divide the amount of storage being used. With Copy, you can split the bill. So a 12 GB folder shared between 3 people only counts as 4 GB per person.

Unless I’m missing something, that sounds as lot better than what Dropbox does. With Dropbox, if someone shares a 4GB folder with me, that’s 4GB taken away from my available storage, plus the other persons. So both of us ending up getting the 4GB taken from our accounts. Fucked, but that’s a topic for another post.

I still think you should check out Copy. I seriously recommend it, and that’s after I’ve been using it constantly for nearly the last year. I’ve a couple minor gripes about the Linux client, but I can deal with them.

Affiliate links are rampant throughout this post. If you don’t want to help me out, here’s a non-affiliate link for Copy, and here’s a non-affiliate link for Dropbox. Pretty sure you get extra space if you sign up from an affiliate link though, so, your call. Here’s the affiliate Copy signup link and the affiliate Dropbox signup link. :)

Flash TWRP .img File From Ubuntu Using Fastboot


I use TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) on my Nexus 4. Back in the day (read: 3 years ago) I used ClockworkMod Recovery, on my Moto Defy, but have since switched to TWRP. I believe there were some licensing issues that drove a lot of people away from CWM. In any case, you’ll want to install adb and fastboot before proceeding.

From an Ubuntu distribution (Xubuntu in my case):

After adb and fastboot have been installed, boot your Nexus 4 into fastboot mode. Just switch your Nexus 4 off, then turn it back on while holding the volume down button. Keep holding the down button until you see a menu (usually with an Android guy somewhere on the screen). Entering fastboot mode may be different for your device, check the TWRP site, they have instructions for a lot of different devices.

Now, make sure your PC sees your device in fastboot mode. In a terminal window, run fastboot devices. If nothing is printed to the terminal, something is wrong, you probably don’t have fastboot enabled. If you did see some output, you should be good to go.

Download the latest recovery .img file from the TWRP site. Current version as of this post is To flash it using fastboot, do this in a terminal:

If everything goes well, you should see something similar to this:

sending ‘recovery’ (8130 KB)…
OKAY [ 0.510s]
writing ‘recovery’…
OKAY [ 0.476s]
finished. total time: 0.987s

If you see something other than OKAY messages, something is probably wrong, and I have no idea what. If you do see the OKAY messages, you can either reboot your phone to Android or go to recovery which will take you to TWRP. With TWRP you can make a nandroid backup, flash new roms, flash new gapps, and all kinds of other things.

Infographic: Global Cell Phone Statistics

The Infographic

The post title pretty much sums this one up. CouponAudit produced, with a little help from, an infographic showing Global Cell Phone Statistics. I’m not usually a fan of infographics but this one appealed to me due to it’s simplicity and the fact that I am pretty obsessed with smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices.

There’s not too many surprising things in it, but it’s interesting to note that older age groups (30+) have a higher percentage of e-readers compared with their younger (16 to 29) peers. I guess that makes sense, people like my mom and aunt are more likely to buy a Kindle or similar device than I am. I always go Android, unless I’m gifted an iOS device. Some e-readers just don’t have the flexibility that they should.

Somewhat surprisingly, only 25.6% of people in the 25 to 34 age group have smartphones. 25.6% is the highest percent from all the age groups, too. Every meatspace friend that I can think of owns a smartphone, so I’m not sure I totally agree with those numbers. Actually, there’s one friend who doesn’t own a smartphone, and he is probably the only IT Director in the country without a smartphone, but he refuses to get one. Most of my friends are in the 25 to 34 age range, with some quite older friends who even have smartphones. Perhaps it’s just due to the company I keep, who knows.

More interesting facts:

1. More than $150 billion was spent on mobile media globally in 2013.

2. The average american household spent, on average, $1,226 in 2013 for phone services. In 2007 it was $1,110 a year.

3. Samsung continues to be the most prolific manufacturers of smartphones and dumb phones.

4. 68% of smartphones run some version of Android, with 16.9% running Apple’s iOS.

5. Android recently hit 50 billion downloads on the Play Store.

6. The Apple AppStore hit 50 billion downloads 6 months earlier, but I think it had a considerable head-start with a well established app ecosystem from the git-go.

You can download the infographic right here. The link will open in a new tab. I’ve also included it after the break, if you’re reading from the frontpage, click the “Continue reading” link below to see the infographic embedded into this post. There’s also code you can copy to include the infographic on your website.

Continue reading

Nexus 4 Mirror Is Closed

Nexus 4 Mirror

If you’re seeing this post, chances are good that you’re looking for the Nexus 4 mirror that used to be at After running for a year or so, I’ve decided to close it down. The development around Nexus 4 software is starting to slow down now that the Nexus 5 is available. I’m still using my Nexus 4 but will likely be getting the Nexus 5 within a month or so. As such, I don’t have a great interest in custom Nexus 4 software, as I once did.

It doesn’t make much sense for me to commit so many resources to something I don’t really use any longer, so, a few weeks ago I posted an announcement on noting that I’d be closing the site down on November 22nd, 2013. I didn’t close it down until late on the 22nd, and closed it down simply by using a 301 redirect via a .htaccess file.

Right after I closed it down, you probably started being redirected to 404’s at this site. This post is here to prevent that, as all traffic going to will be redirected to this post to help inform everyone about why the site went away.

In all, about 120,000 downloads were made, but I didn’t start tracking that until about half-way through the life of the site. The gapps mirror from Michael Banks was by far the most popular. I almost renamed the site to “Banks Gapps Mirror” at one point.