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Binaries: Pictures and Videos

There are a huge number of pictures and videos posted to Usenet groups. By far, most of them are erotic (or pornographic, depending on your point of view). In fact, even a cursory inspection of the photos people post to Usenet will show you that, beyond a doubt, looking at erotic pictures in private is an extremely popular pastime for human beings.

Still, I don't want to mislead you. Although most binary postings contain erotic material, they are a large number of non-erotic pictures such as images of computer graphics, cars, animals, sports, art, cartoons, and so on. There are also many different types of videos, including movies, TV shows, etc.

Most of the pictures and videos are posted to special newsgroups that are designated as being just for pictures. These groups are in the alt hierarchy and have the word binaries as part of their name. (I'll explain why in a moment.) The table below shows a list of some of these newsgroups.

Examples of Usenet newsgroups that contain pictures

Newsgroup Description
alt.binaries.clip-artClip art
alt.binaries.eroticaErotic pictures
alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.brunetteErotic pictures of brunettes
alt.binaries.nude.celebritiesNude celebrities
alt.binaries.pictures.fine-artFine art
alt.binaries.pictures.grotesqueGrotesque images
alt.binaries.pictures.movie-postersMovie posters

Why the term "binaries"? In general, there are two types of data. TEXT consists of characters such as the letters of the alphabet, numbers, punctuation, and so on. Anything else is called BINARY DATA. The distinction is obviously a technical one, so I won't get into the details except to say binary data is processed as bits rather than as characters.

A file that contains binary data is called a BINARY FILE or, in the argot of Usenet, a BINARY. For this reason, the newsgroups devoted to non-text postings all have the word binaries in their name.

One problem that you may encounter is that your ISP may not carry the binary groups on its news server. The most common reason for this is that binary files are typically much, much larger than ordinary text files. This means that collecting, storing, and making available the content of the binary news groups requires a great deal of disk space and bandwidth, all of which can put a strain on an ISP's resources.

If you want to look at pictures or videos — erotic or otherwise — and your ISP's news server does not carry the binary newsgroups, you have three choices. (The resources listed below will help you.)

First, you can find a commercial news server that does carry all the binary groups, and use your newsreader program to look into whichever groups you want.

Second, you can use a Web-based service that allows you to look at binary postings using your browser, so you don't need a newsreader. This is a convenient way to access photos and videos, especially if you are not all that technically inclined.

Third, If you decide you really like looking at pictures, there are a number of programs that can simplify your life. These programs will search through a large number of Usenet binary groups and automatically download all the pictures, directly to your computer. To use such a program, you will need access to a news server that carries the binary groups. However, you won't need a newsreader, as the downloading program will do all the work for you.

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