Sunday, December 17

Understanding Compression Algorithms as They Apply to Usenet

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File compression is a technology that allows the fast delivery of very large files. In practice, you can think of it in much the same terms as you might think of sending a letter through the mail. There will be several different elements involved in your getting the letter delivered.

For the purposes of example, we’ll concentrate on 4 elements: the text of your letter; the paper on which it’s written; the envelope in which it’s contained; and the delivery service that gets it from your hands to the recipient.

The text of your letter is the equivalent of the raw information in your file. When your file is compressed, a complex mathematical algorithm allows the computer to eliminate some of the information from the file, which can be later reconstructed during decompression.

As a simple example, say your letter started with the phrase: “Hi, John. How are you?” If you were to compress that statement, it might read: “H, Jn. Hw r u?” Even though it doesn’t contain all the original letters, you’d know what it said. The algorithms used in file compression work in a similar fashion.

The paper on which your letter is written is the equivalent of your file format. In this case, your format is paper. Other example formats would be a piece of cardboard or a clay tablet. When you compress a digital file, you’ll find that some formats fit in the envelope better than others.

The paper, for example, will be easy to fold up and put in an envelope. The clay tablet, of course, won’t fold at all. In a similar fashion, text files compress very well and image files very poorly. Format matters.

The final step is delivery. Your compressed, folded and enveloped letter is ready to go, but you need to get it to the right address.

Usenet technologies, such as NZB, allow for this to be done easily. These technologies allow you to find files very easily, and to post them just as easily. Much as your address does, NZB technology allows you to identify where something is and to find it amidst thousands of possible locations with ease and accuracy.

Because the files are compressed, they take a short time to download. The combination of compression and high-bandwidth services make the Usenet one of the best places for file sharing on today’s Internet.

Marion Marshall is a proud contributing author who writes articles on several subjects including Usenet and Technology. You can read more of Marion’s articles and learn about usenet providers and free usenet access located at


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