Quasi Review of 'Scour'
Thu May 4 03:50:12 MDT 2000

I have the worst of luck with distributed sharing programs. I never had a chance to play with Napster because the program could never acknowledge that I had a connection to the Internet.. despite me accessing the program's web site, chatting with one of the founders, etc.

After that was Wrapster. Designed to share more than just the MP3 files like Napster was intended for. This program would wrap any file into a pseudo-MP3 format and send it through the Napster program/protocol. Neat stuff, except it wouldn't install correctly. Just my luck.

So I finally found a program that will let me peruse through terabytes of shared files out there. As I type this, the new program Scour Exchange boasts 2.1 Terabytes of files online. Yay!

The problems...

Searching: You can do an advanced search and delimit by media type (image, video, audio, or specific file types) and minimum bandwidth, further limiting the output by selecting how many entries to display (300 max). Because of the way people name files, it is difficult to find the files you want. Searching all 2.1 terabytes for "art" in the 'image' media type, I get 0 hits. That doesn't help me. I search again for 'gallery' (thinking "art gallery") and get back 300 hits (with the ability to "show more results" once), all from the same user. There is no way to find out if any of the other 4863 users sharing files fit my criteria.

Filenames: As I stated, users naming files are quite diverse and sporadic. Most people do not save art images with their full name, so a search for 'Dali' ends up with a few dozen images in a "Babes" directory. Searches for music files (MP3s) are quite useful, as the naming trend is often band-name.song_title.mp3 or some extended filename. Scour comes through in my searches for MP3s, especially Metallica. ;)

While there may be 4863 users on sharing files, the first 12 files I attempted to download were all reported as 'error' and would not transfer. Add this to the limitations of the searching criteria and you have a world of files out there, all beyond your reach. It is particularly frustrating when you find hundreds of matches from a single person, only to realize you 'error' out while trying to download their files. With no facility for removing them from the search, it is difficult to move on to the files you can access.

Overall, the program is much like others before it. Same purpose and features, but impacted by problems that plague all programs like it. Unfortunately, the search ability of this shared community is severely limited, making it difficult to find desired files, worse that a high percentage of the users sharing result in errors during download.

One day soon (I hope), we will see a really kickass shared file community.