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1  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: August 29, 2012, 07:25:29 PM
Sorry guys, auto-renew was not enabled for the bitcointorrentz.com domain. I have now renewed it manually and the site should be back online for everyone within a couple of hours once the DNS has had time to propagate. It is already working for me now.

Apologies again for the inconvenience. Hope you guys didn't get too much of a shock! Cheesy
2  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: August 14, 2012, 06:54:27 AM
TL;DR - aforementioned bug repaired, and I agree... more development work needs to be done on the site to make it more reliable, I have a lot of ideas but my time is extremely limited due to work obligations. Suggestions? Volunteers? Donations?

-------------
The torrent client had crashed on the server again. Thanks for the email Krak, I fixed it pretty much straight after you emailed me yesterday evening. As previously suggested, I am going put some kind of system in place to restart the clients automatically when this happens in the future.

Note to shareholders: dividends will be paid out tomorrow August 15th. Also, does anyone think that the 0.05btc/gb base rate should still be maintained given the fact bitcoin is now worth $12? This puts the price of the service at approximately 60c per GB before discount.

Absolutely.

Thoughts from the CEO on costs of development work to make this a much more reliable service please.

I guess the biggest problem of the whole endeavor is the lack of reliability. There are two "foreign" components, namely the bitcoin client and the BitTorrent client, both with their own reliability problems, and limited time of the one person running the project. So it is no surprise that the entire system is not perfectly reliable.

Perhaps some good ideas about this are needed. How about a little bit of monitoring and automatically restarting components that fail? Ideally all open tasks should survive such a partial reboot and pick up where they were interrupted.

The second best task survival idea may be to have the tasks and the recently paid bitcoins on the book (in the database) and restart tasks from the beginning that were interrupted by some partial failure. Or perhaps pay back the already paid bitcoins and ask the user to start again from scratch. Payback may just mean to set the task to unfulfilled and ready to be restarted in the bookkeeping. Or it might mean to actually send the bitcoins back.

Of course it would be much better if each and every piece of software involved were perfectly reliable, but I have my doubts. So the intermediate aim may just be to provide a reasonably good user experience in the face of occasional failures without the need for round-the-clock monitoring by the operator.

My other worry would be the seeding or the lack of it.

hgmichna, you are totally spot on with your appraisal of the situation. I think you articulated the main issues succinctly and I agree with all of your criticisms. It frustrates me to no end that I am providing a service that I would personally consider unreliable, and I would rather not provide any service at all than to provide one of uncertain reliability. But I have a responsibility to my shareholders that I take very seriously, so shutting up shop is patently not an option.

It's been a bumpy road, but the site has came a long way from where it was at the beginning. I started this project at the end of last year while I was unemployed with very little money and lots of spare time on my hands. I started a new job in the field of biomedical science in January, and now I spend pretty much all day on my feet. I don't have a desk so only have intermittent access to the internet on my iphone or at shared workstations. I have been doing my best to keep up given the pretty horrendous work demands, but it's been somewhat of a struggle. Believe me, it's not just bitcointorrentz that is suffering because of this. Most of my other projects have been put on hold too and I have damaged some close personal relationships, maybe irreparably. I have sacrificed many things important to me and neglected aspects of my life that were incompatible with my new lifestyle, all for the sake of employment. It's almost not worth it.... almost.

Anyway, back on topic. Service reliability and providing a smooth user experience are probably two of my biggest concerns and I do realise that there is a lot of room for improvement in both of these areas. I am convinced that the service is genuinely useful though and think it has a lot of potential. People are using it every single day despite the fact they know it can be a bit wobbly at times.

There is clearly a pressing need for some time to be spent on development work in order to address the issues gathered from feedback collected over the past 9 months. My 'to-do' list is literally chocked full of unresolved minor bugs and new features that are still waiting to be implemented. But I am presently the only person involved in the ongoing maintenance, development and promotion of the site. I'm an amateur coder at best, and have had no professional training of any kind in IT or web development. I do this in my spare time, of which I have very little.

@ Ben Walsh: You asked me about my thoughts on the cost of the development work needed to make the service more reliable. As far as I see it, the most important issues that need to be addressed a.s.a.p are the following:

1) Polling & autorestarting the software clients when they crash
2) Fix the bug that causes torrents to hang at 100%
3) Ability to cancel and refund unused bandwidth for torrents that never start, partially download or are still in progress.
4) Redesign of the members control panel to show download history, download links, time left to download the file etc.

There are a lot more minor modifications and bugfixes that need to be made also.

In addition to the above, I think a site-wide redesign is probably worth considering at this point too, preferably before any significant development work is done. Otherwise all of this will have to be redone again anyway at some point in the future. The existing design and user experience in general is just a tad messy and disorganised. Also, my code is kinda haphazard and could do with some restructuring and simplification to make subsequent development faster and easier. This sounds problematic and time consuming, and it is, but the most annoying part is design and a lot of that can be simplified using a professional design framework like twitter bootstrap - which I have absolutely fallen in love with!! It was the same framework used by the Bitcoinica trading platform before it went belly up. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Good idea?

Once I extract all the torrent-related & bitcoin-related functions & code the rest of the work is mainly in dealing with design elements and creating a smooth, efficient user experience. There is some ajax and javascript work to do, but the database is not particularly complex to work with, and the site itself contains relatively few static pages. I'm considering turning my payment gateway into a modular plugin also, and that would reduce future development time further.

To answer your question about the cost of doing all this, the biggest expense is most definitely my time. Before January, my time was essentially free because I wasn't working. Now, it has become significantly more precious. I would have to take at the very least a week of unpaid leave (quite possibly two) to complete the modifications necessary to transform the site into a reliable, innovative and fully-automated service. Thats a significant loss for me and the site is still not generating enough revenues to cover the cost.

I'm willing to listen to any ideas or suggestions shareholders may have on the matter.
3  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: July 22, 2012, 04:09:03 AM
apparently this has been fixed. now I got the bug (for the first time) with the popup being 0-sized empty payment popup (only the "x" visible)

Yeah, I fixed the first error that you posted about but didn't realise that the bitcoin client had also crashed.
Apologies for the downtime guys. The problem has been fixed now.
4  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: July 18, 2012, 02:39:22 PM
Dividends were paid out a few days ago, here is this months financial & usage statistics:

Financial Statistics
Monthly Earnings: 16.53825 btc
Dividend per share: 0.01653825 btc/share
ROI @ 0.51 btc/share: 3.24%

Usage Statistics
New users this month: 64
Total users: 422
Downloads this month: 360
Bandwidth this month: 155 GB
5  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: June 24, 2012, 05:26:46 PM
Just a quick update to inform users that the bitcoin client crashed yesterday.
It has now been restarted and the service is operating as normal.

With regards to the changes I suggested, what I meant was to pay out dividends '2 monthly', i.e. every two months - not twice monthly. However, if shareholders would prefer monthly that makes little difference to me personally.

With regards to the price decrease, I guess the service was pretty underpriced, this was an intentional decision to grow the business. When the btc exchange rate goes up, the price should come down proportionally or else it is tantamount to a price increase. If users and investors are happy with the current rates however, then I think I will just leave it static for the moment and see how users react. If however volume is down by the end of the month, a price decrease will be back on the table.

imho ALL shares should be paid dividends.
but that's just me.

All shares are paid dividends except those I hold myself. I agree though that the GLBSE system should allow me to pay out to all shares (i.e. including my own) and not just those held by other investors.

are you selling shares for the money paying out as dividend?

No, I am not doing that. Bitcointorrentz is not a ponzi scheme.
6  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: June 10, 2012, 12:46:14 PM
This month's dividend payment was paid out but haven't had a chance to post the financial statistics till now.

Financial Statistics
Monthly revenue: 12.19448 btc
Dividend/share: 0.01219448 btc
Monthly ROI (at current share price - 0.7btc) - 1.74%
Monthly ROI (at IPO price) - 6.09724%
Total ROI (for IPO investors) - 69.31%

Profit is a little down this month, perhaps due to recent increases in the value of bitcoin or due to large volumes of bandwidth purchases last month that last longer than the dividend payment cycle. I have two suggestions.

1) A moderate decrease in the base cost of the service to 0.045 btc/GB
2) Changing the dividend payment cycle to 2 monthly instead of monthly

Any input would be appreciated.
Would investors still prefer monthly dividend payments?
Do you think the 0.045 btc price level is appropriate?
7  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: May 08, 2012, 03:21:20 PM
This month's dividend payment will be sent within the next hour.

Financial Statistics
Monthly revenue: 21.3658 btc
Dividend/share: 0.0213658 btc
Monthly ROI (at current share price - 0.85btc) - 2.51%
Monthly ROI (at IPO price) - 10.68%
Total ROI (for IPO investors) - 63.22%

Usage Statistics
New users this month: 69
Total users: 299
Monthly downloads: 641
Total downloads to date: 2260

Because the site was offline for the majority of last month, there will not be a dividend payment for this period. The site resumed services on the 8/4/12 and future dividend payments will be made on the 8th of the month.

Since the site started up again last month, I thought it would take some time for usage to return to the pre-downtime levels. Thankfully it has picked up pretty much where it left off, showing that there is certainly a demand for the service bitcointorrentz provides. I am very much looking forward to next month's figures.
8  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 21, 2012, 01:02:50 PM
The torrent client crashed about 12 hours ago, so any downloads started during this period will have failed to start. I have restarted the client and all torrents are now downloading. Apologies for the inconvenience guys.

bytesized hosting has the following rule:
Quote
We do not allow the use of torrents that are registered on a tracker that allows anyone to sign up without an invite. The rule of thumb is: If you can get a .torrent file of the server without an invitation, then the tracker is banned. This policy is enforced through our firewall as well as scanning for torrent files containing trackers that are publicly accessible. [...]

I did not notice this rule. Thanks for pointing it out. I was considering using this service but I guess that's out of the question now.

Would it be too difficult to ensmarten the bandwidth throttling rules?

...

The short answer is yes. Because I would have no idea how to go about doing it. Cheesy

Your speed issues (1mb transfer limit per connection) are however probably not being caused by unfair use of the severs bandwidth. I can download from this server at high, unthrottled speeds here in europe. But I have heard otherwise from some US users. The server is on a 100mbit dedicated line located in Luxembourg and is capable of speeds up to 10mb/s.

I suggest you use a download manager to control the number of connections to the server. I suggest using 5 parallel connections if you are having difficulties with per-connection speed limits.

This has been a problem since the launch of this service (see the first 2 pages of this thread where we discussed this). I get only around 200 to 300 kB/s per download thread (on my 100mbit downstream link) which I'm able to scale up linearly by using 10 or even more parallel threads (axel is my friend!). But I don't think these are mjcmurfy's throttling rules either. This probably comes from some ISP/router along the way when routing packets to certain hosts. mjcmurfy says that he's able to get pretty high, unthrottled speeds in his own testing:

...

It's a pity that this is a problem for a website dealing in downloads. It would be fantastic if this could be investigated (I offer to be a testing guinea pig if needed!)

I don't have much control over what is causing this problem really. This would seem to be an issue with particular ISPs somewhere along the route. The only way to solve it probably is to purchase another server with better connectivity I think. The current server arrangement however is quite favorable for me and the server is nowhere near it's limit in terms of maximum concurrent bandwidth use.

I'm not really an expert in this level of network spelunking, but I will do my best to look further into this situation and appreciate any suggestions you or anyone else might have.
9  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 14, 2012, 02:56:44 PM
Our Terms of Service clearly state that we may request proof of identity, by using GLBSE you agreed to the TOS (it's at the bottom of every page, we've had a TOS since only a few months after GLBSE began).

mjcmurfy, your details would be kept on an ENCRYPTED drive under the TV Tongue

We've come to the conclusion however that the decision as to whether to invest in a share/asset is best decided by the GLBSE user themselves, and whether they are happy to give their money to someone they don't know the identity of.

Verifying your identity, as an asset issuer is optional.

We're not playing police, just trying to run a market.

Nefario, yes you had a TOS from the beginning, but you and I both know the original TOS that I agreed to did not specify anything about the requesting of proof of identity. I made a copy of the old terms when I signed up which I can repost here for posterity if you like. You added the proviso about identity after our discussion. Yes, you had that line at the bottom stating that the TOS can change at any time without notice, which you are entitled to do, but asset holders must agree to the changes before they can be enforced. Simply using the service does not constitute an agreement to changes to the TOS, especially when many are probably unaware of these changes.

I very much appreciate the fact that you have made it optional, which is the way it should be, but when you first approached me it was in a demanding fashion telling me that it was required in order to allow the asset to continue trading. I'm not trying to be difficult, and I think you guys do a fantastic job for very little reward (I actually think you should charge more for trades and listing assets). I also appreciate the pressure you are probably under, but I really did not like your tone and felt that you approached the matter in a very unprofessional way.

Anywho, as already stated, I will not be providing this information now or at any stage in the future.
If asset holders do not like this, they are free to sell their shares in the asset.
10  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 14, 2012, 11:45:38 AM
I'm interested in your shares. However, you have none of your ID information verified by GLBSE. Could you please elaborate your consideration? thanks.

Nefario approached me a few weeks ago before the migration to GLBSE 2.0 asking for copies of my national ID, passport, driving license, facebook & linkedin profiles, home phone number and address as well as details of my professional life in order to allow the asset to continue trading on GLBSE. At the time, there was no mention of this being an optional thing. It felt like a demand from the GLBSE, with the threat of freezing the asset should I refuse.

Needless to say, I was reluctant to immediately provide this information. As you are probably aware, the nature of the service bitcointorrentz.com provides means that I value anonymity greatly. I am extremely hesitant to provide any of my personal documentation to any individual without justified legal grounds for doing so. And I don't even like giving these details to legal money service businesses.

I have not entered into any agreement with the GLBSE to provide this information, and was not under the impression that my use of the service would necessitate the provision of this information when I first listed the asset on the GLBSE. Nefario has no legal obligation to demand this information, nor store it securely, and when I explained my concerns about security and privacy he told me that my sensitive information would be 'kept on a hard drive underneath my tv cabinet' and would be released to the general public if I 'buggered off with peoples money' - his words. The whole thing seemed very unprofessional and did not instill much trust, so I refused to provide him with my info.

He came back a few days later and told me that he forgot to mention that it was optional, so I opted not to provide the information.

My identity on the GLBSE is represented by my private GPG key and asset name, which represents my domain name and associated DNS information. It is also represented by my interactions on the bitcointalk.org forums. If you want to learn more about my character then my posts on this forum should be sufficient for you to assess my trustworthiness. I have >600 posts and am a hero member. The users of the GLBSE who have already invested in my asset are satisfied with this or they would not have bought shares.

So to sum up, if you are not satisfied with any of this, then do not buy bitcointorrentz shares.
11  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 13, 2012, 05:44:33 PM
Someone tried to attack bitcointorrentz using the contact form on the site today. I'm pleased to say that they were not successful in their attempts. Also, after testing it out quite extensively, I have found that it seems to only work intermittently at best anyway. Therefore, I have just removed it and put up the support email address instead.

If you have sent an email via the contact form on the site and have not received a response, my apologies.

I've also added torrent availability to the status page. There will be more coming on that front soon, but I feel that availability is an important piece of information that should not be left out. An availability <1.00 means that a torrent will not complete.
12  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 13, 2012, 11:11:35 AM
@2wieX: Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you proposing using bytesized-hosting for scaling the site? They do not accept bitcoin as payment, so that's not really a feasible option since the site revenues are in bitcoin not usd. Or are you suggesting running bitcointorrentz in the same way as they do with their monthly subscription type plans? If that is what you mean, I don't really see the benefit of that compared with the bandwidth bundles that are already available. If you mean something else entirely, please elaborate.

O YES do they accept bitcoin!
http://wiki.bytesized-hosting.com/wiki/index.php/Bitcoins

I was suggesting renting their server space for upping and downing.
you could sell premium services (SFTP) etc etc...

They need to update their FAQ, it says that they only accept paypal as payment. One thing that may be a problem using their service though is the fact that they do not support web hosting, but it might be possible to have all torrenting done remotely on one or more of their servers and keep all the content off the main server. Like you said that would prove to be an added layer of protection. Hmm, interesting.

I found the perfect solution. w00t! I can proudly say:

Magnet links are now fully supported by BitCoinTorrentz.com!

That's fantastic! Care to reveal the solution? Smiley

I'm using a reliable third party service that returns torrent metadata based on the provided torrent info hash which can be extracted from the magnet link. It is much faster and uses far less resources than actually loading the file into the client.
13  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 13, 2012, 01:50:07 AM
I found the perfect solution. w00t! I can proudly say:

Magnet links are now fully supported by BitCoinTorrentz.com!
14  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 13, 2012, 12:30:16 AM
@2wieX: Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you proposing using bytesized-hosting for scaling the site? They do not accept bitcoin as payment, so that's not really a feasible option since the site revenues are in bitcoin not usd. Or are you suggesting running bitcointorrentz in the same way as they do with their monthly subscription type plans? If that is what you mean, I don't really see the benefit of that compared with the bandwidth bundles that are already available. If you mean something else entirely, please elaborate.

And while I am here, just a quick update on magnet-link support.

Unfortunately, I have hit a snag while trying to integrate the functionality into the site. The problem is that the vast majority of magnet links do not include the filesize of the torrent in the uri scheme, so the cost of the torrent cannot be easily calculated. Magnet links only contain the torrent hash and the tracker address (and sometimes the name of the file). When you load the torrent into your client it connects to the swarm and downloads the metadata rather than it being provided in a .torrent file.

The only way I can think of obtaining the filesize would be to immediately load the torrent into the client after the link is provided, wait while the metadata is downloaded (can take up to 10 seconds) and then query the size using the client API. This would require some ajax magic and since the client pre-alocates hard drive space, it could potentially consume a lot of server resources. Since the user has not yet paid for the file, this would leave the site vulnerable to attack by malicious users loading lots of large torrents without ever paying.

I really don't want to set this up in a way that allows torrents to be loaded into the client before payment has been received.

Does anyone know a way to retrieve the filesize using just a magnet link and php?
Maybe it's possible to query the tracker using a curl command or something along those lines?
15  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 09, 2012, 11:56:20 PM
% downloaded in tab title would be pretty snazzy, too.

Not a bad idea Kluge. Thanks for the suggestion.
16  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 09, 2012, 05:11:44 PM
For those of you who were asking about magnet links, I have some good news.

I just finished writing the code that will allow bitcointorrentz to support this. All that remains now is to implement it into the site, which should be done by the end of the week. I'll post here and update this thread when the new functionality comes online.

Also, I plan to include a health indicator on the status page that would give the user some idea of the availability of the torrent during the download, and am working on bulking out the members area with a download history and the ability to cancel torrents that have become stuck.
17  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 08, 2012, 07:59:11 PM
Woot, just in time for Game of Thrones. Smiley

I'm actually about to watch both new episodes myself. w00t!
18  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: April 08, 2012, 01:14:30 PM
The recent issues with bitcointorrentz have finally been resolved.
There was an extensive list of errors that needed to be debugged after a php update.
Apologies to all users of the site for the unacceptable delay in sorting this out.
19  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: March 31, 2012, 07:56:19 PM
Guys, I'm sorry I haven't had time to respond to this thread in a while. The site has been having some issues since a recent php update. I have been super busy at work for the past couple of weeks and have not gotten around to debugging the code. I will probably just roll back to the older version and see if that sorts out the issue.

Well, the problem is mjmurfys real-life workload that obviously doesn't allow him to do anything substantial for bitcointorrentz. I'm sure he's motivated but just doesn't have the time. Bringing someone else in would also cost him time and as he said, there's other stuff on this server, so this might not be an easy way, even if we raise more capital.

Molecular is right. Since I started work in January, I have given less to the site than I should have. I can only apologize to shareholders and users. I should have time this weekend to get things up and running again.
20  Economy / Services / Re: BitCoinTorrentz.com - Torrent Download Service on: March 19, 2012, 12:16:19 AM
There have been some issues with the hdd of the server. It's currently down since I attempted a server restart yesterday and the machine failed to boot. The support team at the hosting company I use do not work at the weekends, so I'm currently waiting for them to replace the burned out hard drive. All the code is backed up, so no need for alarm.

Things have been a bit choppy this week, I'll admit, what with the bitcoind issues and php crash but unfortunately this latest issue with the hard drive I cannot fix myself from 1200 km away. So I would like to ask all customers and shareholders to have patience while this issue is being resolved. Despite what some of you have experienced and posted about, in general bitcointorrentz has a relatively good uptime record.

I will post in this thread as soon as the site is back up and operational once more.
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