Free NCAA March Madness Apps

It’s that time of year again.  With day 1 of March Madness underway, hopefully your NCAA tourney bracket isn’t too beat up.  We also enjoy the surprises that come each year over the first weekend.  This might seem a little off topic since we normally cover Usenet but I know a lot of our blog readers will be enjoying the tournament along with us.  Here are some free March Madness apps for iOS and Android to help you enjoy the tourney.

If you plan to watch March Madness from outside the USA we suggest using a VPN service.

NCAA March Madness Live

Free March Madness Apps

This year you can stream every game shown on CBS for free using the NCAA March Madness Live app.  The app is available for iPhone and iPad via iTunes.  Android users can download it free from Google Play.  If you’ve cut the cord on cable you can still watch all the CBS games which include a lot of important games this weekend and all of the NCAA Sweet 16 and beyond.  TBS, TNT and truTV games are open to paid subscribers.

ESPN Bracket Bound

ESPN Bracket Bound App

Keep track of the NCAA tourney brackets with the ESPN bracket bound app.  The app is free and available for iPhone and iPad via iTunes.  Those with Android devices can download the app free from Google Play.

ESPN ScoreCenter

ESPN ScoreCenter App

Use ESPN’s free ScoreCenter app to view the latest scores, read news, and watch video highlights.  iPhone and iPad users can download it free from iTunes.  Android users can grab ScoreCenter from Google Play.

You can check out more free sports related apps in either app store.  Enjoy this year’s March Madness!

IPVanish 50% Off Birthday Coupon

Feb. 24th update: the birthday sale is underway.  Save 50% off IPVansh and enjoy unlimited VPN from just $3.25 a month.  Visit the IPVanish Birthday Sale page and today to save.  The sale will end at 9am EST tomorrow so if you’d like to share it with friends please do so quickly.

The IPVanish team will be celebrating their birthday on Wednesady, Feb. 24th.  The popular VPN service launched four years ago.  To celebrate they are offering 50% off a year of VPN.  To take advantage of the offer simply visit the IPVanish Birthday page on Feb. 24th and enjoy VPN from just $3.24 a month.  Your other option is to pick up a year of Newshosting for just $8.32 a month or a year of UNS for just $7.95 a month.  Both annual deals come with free IPVanish VPN.  Though the full service gives you access to more server locations.

IPVanish Birthday Sale

As an old timer in both the Usenet and VPN spaces I’ve watched IPVanish grow over the last 4 years.  They have accomplished a lot.  Some of the most important milestones in my mind include the growth of their top tier network and implementation of their “no log” policy by which users don’t have to worry about their activities being logged.  Whether you join IPVanish directly or through one of their Usenet partners (Newshosting or UNS) their commitment not to log users on the network is another benefit of the VPN service.

If you frequent our blog or main NGR site then you likely know that we also manage a VPN review site,  We started testing VPN services well before online privacy became so popular.  There are now literally hundreds of VPN services on the market.  Even so I gladly recommend IPVanish to family and friends.  Their network is well suited for high speed activities like watching Netflix and other popular online services from outside the country of origin.  IPvanish also supports P2P, VoIP, and online gaming.

Remember to visit the IPVanish Birthday page and enter coupon code BIRTHDAY during checkout.  The sale is only active for one day so if you’re considering VPN access then Wednesday, Feb. 24th is the time to make it happen.  Otherwise as I mentioned above you can sign up for either our Newshosting or UseNetServer annual specials and enjoy free access to the IPVanish network.  Either way I strongly encourage everyone to use a VPN.

Stream Super Bowl 50 on CBS Sports

We’re just hours away from seeing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.  Along with the exciting game, we anticipate a great halftime show as Coldplay headlines with Beyonce and Bruno Mars joining them on stage.  Lady Gaga will be performing the Star Spangled Banner before the big game. Then of course there are the commercials which are said to cost $5 million for a 30 second spot this year.  Don’t miss a minute of the game.  You can stream all the excitement for free this year.  Watch on your computer or television for free with the CBS Sports app.

Super Bowl 50

I watched the Broncos beta the Patriots through the CBS Sports app a couple weeks ago and the stream was good.  It was interesting as my family had just moved and we were all set to watch the playoffs.  Then the snow came and DirecTV missed our install appointment.  That meant I had to find another way to watch Sunday’s games.  I’m happy o say that CBS was a positive experience.  I can’t say the same for Fox.  Their app was having issues.  Anyway, I grabbed the CBS Sports app and was able to watch the Broncos game.  Even more surprising was that the app didn’t ask me to log in to watch the game.  It looks like the Super Bowl stream will be free to watch as well which is great news for fans everywhere.

If you want to watch the big game on your computer, simply go to  You can always plug an HDMI cable to your TV to enjoy the stream.  Otherwise you can download the CBS Sports app for Xbox One, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast, and Roku.  Watching via mobile is a bit trickier.  You will need to be a Verizon customer to enjoy Super Bowl 50 on your phone.  You would do so through the NFL Mobile app.

Regardless of how you decide to watch the Super Bowl, I hope you have a great time this year.  We’re going to have our editorial team together for the big game.  We look forward to grilling out in the cold before the game and a lively time as we have a split group cheering for their favorite team to win.  Then there’s the commercials which never fail to entertain.  Don’t forget to prepare ahead of time.  I’m sure the CBS Sports app and website will see huge numbers as the day progresses.  I would suggest you hop in early as they plan to start coverage at 2 PM EST.  The game will start at 6:30 PM EST.  Enjoy the game and the commercials for Super Bowl 50.

IPVanish Cyber Monday VPN Sale

Have you been considering VPN access to help protect your online privacy or avoid geographic restrictions?  If so Cyber Monday is bringing you the best prices of the year.  IPVanish is offering new members unlimited VPN access from just $3.90 a month.  That’s over 60% off the retail price.  Monthly sign ups receive a second month free.  With deep discounts on quarterly and annual plans.  Visit during Cyber Monday to sign up.

IPVanish Cyber Weekend Sale

Since we know some will be wondering whether or not VPN is necessary for Usenet the answer is no.  Yet it compliments it well.  While most Usenet providers offer SSL encryption to secure your connection that doesn’t extend beyond your newsreader.  With a VPN connection you can feel secure while performing other activities online.  Not just web browsing either since VPN protects all your applications.  An advantage over proxies.

There are literally hundreds of VPN services out there and IPVanish is the only one we’ll be mentioning today.  That’s not to downplay others but we’ve seen the best performance from IPVanish.  Since most our readers want and expect high speed connections we think IPVanish is a great fit.  They offer free VPN clients for both Windows and Mac.  Along with support for Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android, DD-WRT routers and more.

For our tech savvy readers IPVanish supports all three major VPN protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP.  We use OpenVPN in their client while relying on L2TP or PPTP on mobile devices.  Gamers will appreciate the ability to choose between TCP and UDP connections.  You can switch between servers anytime.  With over 225 servers in 63 countries to choose from.  You can even connect two devices at the same time.

We could continue pouring on the praise for IPVanish but I think you get the picture.  It’s a favorite of ours and we use their VPN service on a regular basis.  You can read our IPVanish review to learn more.  Don’t delay too long though.  Remember to visit before midnight PST on Cyber Monday to take advantage of the sale.

Help the EFF Win $83k from Reddit

Feb. 26th update – here are the winners.  Each will receive $82,765 from Reddit:

  1. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  2. Planned Parenthood
  3. Doctors Without Borders US
  4. Erowid Center
  5. Wikimedia Foundation
  6. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychodelic Studies
  7. National Public Radio (NPR)
  8. Free Software Foundation
  9. Freedom From Religion Foundation
  10. TOR Project

If you haven’t heard yet the team at Reddit is donating 10% of last year’s ad revenue.  The news is even more impressive when you consider that Reddit brought in over $8 million in advertising revenue last year.  They will be donating $827,659.49 and plan to split the money between ten charities.  Reddit users will decide on the winners. Please join in.  You can visit the Reddit donate page by Feb. 25th at 10am PST to vote.

Reddit charity vote

You will need to have registered an account before Feb. 18th at 10am to vote.  You can vote for as many charities as you’d like but can only cast one vote for each.  Reddit partnered with Charity Navigator to use their large database of charities.  There are so many great causes to choose from.  I’m sure you have a few that you would like to help.  Reddit will announce the winners 48 hours after the voting ends so likely on Friday, Feb. 27th.

As you vote for your favorite charities please consider the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  The EFF is always at the forefront of fighting for our digital freedoms.  We would love to see them win an $83k donation from Reddit.  Remember to visit the Reddit donate page by Feb. 25th at 10am PST to vote.  You will need to login with your Reddit account which needs to have been registered by 10am PST on Feb. 18th.  We’ll keep an eye out for the winners and post them here so you can see if your favorite charities won.  Cheers to the Reddit team for their continued efforts.  Please share the details with your friends so they can vote as well.

SickBeard Build 503 Released

SickBeard recently pushed a new release of their popular PVR application.  The 503 build includes a number of updates and fixes.  We’ll list them for you in a moment.  Whether your currently running SickBeard or want to give it a try you can grab the latest version 503 free for both Windows and Python.  Both sites include a nice summary of features.  You’ll find SickBeard to be a very nice PVR app.  It integrates and works quite well with SABnzbd.

SickBeard build 503

Here’s a list of changes for build 503 taken directly from their GitHub page:

build 503 (2014-02-??)

  • Metadata: ALL — Cleanup and standardize providers. Pull #786 #789
    • Add banner, season banner season all poster and season all banner options.
    • Remove use_banner poster override since now we have a banner option.

    This now means users can have both a poster and banner instead of one or the other (XBMC12+).

    • Migrate legacy XBMC poster + use_banner setup to just banner option (keeps old functionality).

    Notice that on XBMC the banner and poster result in the same name, if you have both checked off it will just create folder.jpg with a poster since we don’t overwrite existing metadata.

    • Metadata: XBMC — Strip leading/trailing spaces off Actor’s names.
    • Metadata: TIVO — Generate rating off the episode not show data, convert 10 star rating to 4 star (ensure we end up with whole or half integers only).
    • Metadata: MediaBrowser — Re-order and cleaned up the .xml generation to match what MB3 itself produces.
    • Removed Synology metadata since it does not appear to be actually used by Synology units.
  • Tweak RawHD/SDTV (webdl/webrip) and change default defer site. Pull #782
    • Add additional RawHD format support that would allow (very specifically) for: Sherlock.S03E01.1080i.HDTV.H.264.DD2.0-CtrlHD
    • Split webdl/webrip from the normal SDTV regex test, to allow more flexibility since it usually contains audio related tags/h264 (ex: Chosen.S02E01.WEB-DL.AAC2.0.H.264-2T).
    • Fix HR.WS.PDTV.x264 from getting wrongly detected as SDTV.
    • Due to request, switched new installs to another defer site,
  • XBMC12+ Metadata support (initial support)

    Note that with the current settings you generate banner OR poster, not both at this time.

    Plans to support season##-banner.jpg / season-all-poster.jpg and having both banner+poster.jpg will happen in a future update.

  • Redirect fixes so that pages load with trailing / to reduce unneeded redirects. Pull #787
  • Update tvdb_api lib to 1.9 (for future support of dvd ordering). Pull #743
  • Add setting catIDs to NewzNab providers (ini only). Pull #771
  • Update FreeBSD init script. Pull #772
  • Update pnotify js, limit to a max of 5 onscreen notifications at a time. Pull #776
  • Fix UI setting of custom NewzNab sites that really do NOT require authentication (use 0 as apikey).
  • Tweak the Error Log Viewer page to show the 500 (instead of 30) most recent errors.
  • Tweak the extra_scripts execution to support unicode and fix the handle is invalid error.
  • Fix saving extra_scripts on config/hidden from creating empty list.
  • Quote search provider names to resolve issues if the name started with a number causing error unrecognized token.
  • Fix double encode UnicodeDecodeError errors when writing to the logger.
  • Fix UnicodeEncodeError exception in name_parser.
  • Trim trailing spaces when comparing ignore_words to resolve badly entered config.ini modifications.
  • Added version checking to the config migrator, follows how we handle our database checking to protect from trying to process ini that has been modified by forks/branches.
  • TVRage related fixes that deal with converting airdate to use locale abbrevations to resolve the error Unable to figure out the time from the TVRage data
  • Fix DeprecationWarning: BaseException.message on related database error messages.

Cheers to the SickBeard developers for continuing to put out timely releases.  Remember to let them know if you find any bugs along the way.  They have an issues page where you can detail the error and submit a traceback log for review.  If you enjoy using SickBeard please consider donating to the project.  You can do so either through the application itself or by visiting their web site.  Donations are handled through PayPal.

Using SSL and Personal VPN To Secure Usenet Access

Today we’d like to share some tips to help secure your privacy while accessing Usenet.  Along with browsing the web and other applications.  We get questions all the time from users who want to secure their connections.  Most of them are familiar with the term SSL from secure online transactions.  Yet they might not have experience configuring a newsreader for SSL.  We will explain the process.  Along with the advantages of personal VPN’s.

Secure Usenet access

Let’s start by answering a couple of questions in regard to SSL.

  • What is SSL and why would I want to use it?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.  We all use SSL for tasks like shopping online and accessing bank, credit card or other financial services.  Why not take advantage of the same encryption to secure your Usenet connection.

  • Why do I need secure Usenet access?

We won’t call it a ‘need’ but it is certainly our preference to secure our data online.  Including user name and password.  In addition SSL can help prevent the hassle of ISP bandwidth throttling and deep packet inspection.

Tip #1 – Find a Usenet Provider with SSL and Alternate Ports

In conjunction with SSL, alternate ports will help in securing your Usenet connection while minimizing the risk of poor performance from ISP throttling.  Instead of using the port your ISP expects for secure Usenet traffic some providers offer alternate ports.  While most Usenet services offer SSL encryption you have to look closer to see if alternate ports are available. We provide a table of alternate news server ports on NGR to help.

Here are a few leading Usenet providers that offer alternate ports:

Tip #2 – Configure Your Newsreader for SSL Usenet Access

Assuming you found a good Usenet provider with SSL access its time to configure your newsreader for secure access.  We will demonstrate with a couple of examples.  First with Newshosting using their new Usenet client.  Then again with UseNetServer using Newsbin Pro.

  • Configuring SSL with Newshosting and the new Newshosting Usenet client

If you haven’t had a chance to try the new Newshosting client they are currently offering a 14 day free trial.  Once downloaded you simply launch the newsreader.  Entering in your username and password credentials.  Next click on OptionsSettings and choose the Connection tab.  Here is the resulting screen:

The process couldn’t be much easier.  As you don’t even need the news server address to access via the Newshosting newsreader.  You’ll notice an option at the bottom of the screen labeled ‘Prefer SSL connections if available‘.  Simply check the box.  Then choose your desired port.  The default SSL port for Usenet is 563.  For most this is fine but we highly recommend using port 443.  As port 443 is the same port secure web traffic passes over.  Not much chance your ISP will want to mess with traffic on port 443.

  • Configuring SSL with UseNetServer and Newsbin Pro newsreader

This is more of the traditional process for those who have their own Usenet client.  We use UseNetServer for this example since they rank #1 on NGR and offer $10 unlimited Usenet access.  Along with our top rated newsreader – Newsbin Pro which offers a free trial download.

After opening Newsbin Pro click on OptionsServers.  Choose the server you entered during setup or add a new service.  Either way the news server address for SSL access to UNS is – enter it into the Server Address field as shown below.

Just under the Server Address box you’ll notice an option for ‘Use SSL – Encrypted Connections‘.  Check the box and then enter a port number.  Again the default SSL port for NNTP is 563.  For best performance (to deter ISP traffic tampering) we suggest you use port 443.

Tip #3 – Consider a Personal VPN Service

Our final tip goes well beyond Usenet.  As we believe that all your online activities should be private and secure.  We’re not advocating bad behavior either.  We just believe that what you do online is your business.  If you choose to tell everyone about it on Facebook that’s one thing.  However, if you want privacy then a VPN will help.

For full disclosure we’d like to point out that in addition to NGR we manage a VPN review site – – where we’re working hard to build up a complete resource for those seeking VPN access.  Nearly two years into the project we feel good about it’s progress and are happy to share VPNSP with our readers.

Personal VPN’s offer a number of advantages.  Here’s are a few examples of how VPN access might help you:

  • Secure Wi-Fi access – always protect yourself on open networks!
  • Secure Internet access, email, Skype, VoIP, etc.
  • Anonymous Internet access – protect your personal information from sites that profile visitors
  • Help decrease the chance of your ISP throttling traffic
  • Don’t allow others to track you by your IP address
  • Enjoy familiar content while traveling – Netflix, Hulu. YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, etc.

Just like Usenet providers, personal VPN services are not all created equal.  There are a number of factors to consider when comparing VPN providers.  Before purchasing an account consider these features:

  • Don’t overpay.  Just like anything else the most expensive providers aren’t always the best.  You can easily find quality VPN access for under $10 a month.  With annual plans as low as $6 a month – VPN specials
  • Does the service offer unlimited VPN? – as many Usenet fans will want unlimited usage.
  • How large is the VPN provider’s network?  How many countries does it span?  How many total servers?  How many total IP addresses?
  • Total IP addresses is very important.  While most smaller services don’t advertise the number, leading services like IPVanishHide My Ass, OverPlay andgladly share this information.  Think of IP’s as the number of seats a VPN service has open.  If those seats fill you can’t connect.
  • Look for a service that supports OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP protocols.  OpenVPN will provide the best security while L2TP/IPSec and PPTP will extend compatibility to iOS and Android devices.
  • If you want to secure your entire home network with one VPN account look for a service that supports DD-WRT routers.

Here are a few leading personal VPN services to consider:

We hope you’ve found our tips for helping secure your Usenet access with SSL and VPN useful.  For more information on secure Usenet access visit Newsgroup Reviews.  For those who would like to learn more about VPN visit our VPN Service Providers review site.  Follow us on Twitter – @NewsgroupRevs and @VPNSP for the latest Usenet and VPN news along with special promotions.

Protect Your RapidShare Data

Do you have files stored on RapidShare?  If so move them off immediately.  RapidShare is no longer allowing unlimited free storage.  They are cutting back to 5 GB of free space per user.  Worse yet if you don’t upgrade to a paid account your data will be automatically deleted.  If you need a place to move the data there are several alternatives that offer free online storage space.  Including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and many others.

RapidShare data deletion

It looks like you have until the beginning of April to purchase more storage from RapidShare.  Otherwise you need to move your files off immediately.  They will be sending out warning emails and then deleting the data.  Each user will get 5 GB of free storage.  The confusing part is knowing what data they’ll delete if you’re currently storing more than 5 GB.  Regardless we suggest you move the data off to protect it and then plan for the future.

There are a few Usenet providers that offer free storage to members.  Including NewsDemon, NewsgroupDirect and Giganews.  If you use any of those services then visit their sites and see if you’re eligible for free storage.  Otherwise as we mentioned above there are plenty of options out there to choose from.

Who is Behind Dump Dropbox?

March 14 update: TorrentFreak confirmed that Giganews / Golden Frog founder is behind Dump Dropbox.

There is some buzz on social media sites today from those trying to figure out which competitor is behind  If you haven’t seen the site yet it’s a negative campaign against Dropbox.  The question is who is behind the site and were they handing out Dump Dropbox stickers at SXSW?

Glenn Fleishman @GlennF has been tracking the source of the site and we suspect he’ll be sharing the details of his investigation.  We’re not trying to break the story first.  There are others like Glenn who do investigative research for a living and frankly they are far better at it.  We look forward to reading Glenn’s conclusion.

Our interest is in whether or not Golden Frog is behind the site since we write about their services.  A couple weeks ago we shared an announcement in regards to a SXSW party that Giganews / Golden Frog is throwing tonight.  Since their storage product is aptly named Dump Truck, might they be the source?

We know a few things for sure:

  • Golden Frog, the creators of Dump Truck, are located in Austin
  • Golden Frog hosted a booth at SXSW Interactive in Austin
  • Golden Frog / Giganews is hosting a party at SXSWi tonight for their VyprVPN privacy service
  • Golden Frog uses some of the same points like not outsourcing data or using data deduplication on their site to promote their Dump Truck online storage service – more info
  • Giganews compares their services to Usenet competitors
  • Giganews doesn’t hide behind the comparisons made on their site

Take a look at the Why Giganews page.  You’ll notice a section titled “Not all Usenet is created equal” where Giganews compares their service to others.  It looks like the message is targeted at resellers.

We don’t have any problem with people or companies sharing their opinion as long as they stand behind it.  Whoever published DumpDropbox is hiding behind the message.  Perhaps to build some buzz.  We’ll see.  Hopefully the source will come forward and voice their opinions publicly.  I suspect we’ll find out soon.

Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for more updates.

Best Usenet Apps for Android & iPhone

Over the last year a number of Usenet apps have been released for iPhone and Android devices.  We’ve had the pleasure of testing the new mobile apps and sharing reviews along the way.  Today we’d like to present our favorites in a list of the Best Usenet Apps for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Each has advantages along with a few shortcomings as you might expect from early app editions.  We hope you’ll support the continued growth of the new apps by downloading the latest versions and enjoying the benefit of browsing Usenet on the go.

Best Android and iOS (IPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) Usenet Apps

As we take a closer look at some of the best Android and iPhone apps on the market you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.  First of all you’ll notice that some apps are developed for specific Usenet providers while others are tied to specific newsreaders.  We’ll make sure to point out the requirements and supported services while presenting each selection.  Along with linking to a full review of each Usenet app.

Let’s dive right in and take a look at the best mobile Usenet apps:

1 – EZ Global Search

EZ Global Search (full review) is designed for Easynews web Usenet members.  Allowing them to continue the experience of accessing newsgroups while connected from iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  Use the app to search Usenet, preview and even add content to Easynews Zip Manager.  The EZ Global Search app is available on iTunes for $2.99.  You’ll need Easynews web access to use EZ Global Search.  If you’re not already a member you can sign up for a 14 day free trial.

2 – NBRemote

Newsbin Pro users can now enjoy mobile access with their new NBRemote app (full review).  Newsbin Remote Control (NBRemote) is available on iTunes for $2.99 and supports iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  With forum members discussing the possibility of a future Android app.  The idea behind NBRemote is simple – control Newsbin Pro remotely from your mobile device.  A goal that NBRemote accomplishes well.  You’ll need a license for Newsbin to enjoy the NBRemote app.  We recommend buying a lifetime key for $20.  Newsbin also offers a 10 day free trial.

3 – SABMobile

SABMobile (full review) is a third-party app developed for the popular open-source SABnzbd newsreader.  SABnzbd Usenet client is free to download and supports Window,s Mac and Linux.  Sabmobile allows you to access SABnzbd remotely and is available for iPhone, iPad nad iPod Touch on iTunes for $2.99.  The app is also available for Android on Google Play for $2.99.  Grab the latest edition of SABnzbd free from  Also check out their other cool add-ons.

4 – EZ Usenet

EZ Usenet (full review) is the first of two mobile apps on our list catered toward Android fans that use Easynews to access newsgroups.  The app supports Android and is available on Google Play for $2.49.  First you’ll download the free version of EZ Usenet and then purchase the unlock for $2.49 to unlock all the features and remove advertising from the app.  Once again you’ll need Easynews web access.  If you’re not already a member you can sign up for a 14 day free trial.

5 – Easybrowser

EasyBrowser (full review) is the second mobile app on our list developed specifically for Android fans that use Easynews for Usenet.  The app supports Android and is available on Google Play for $0.99.  First you’ll download the free version of EasyBrowser and then purchase the unlock for $0.99 to unlock all the features and remove advertising from the app.  As you might have already guessed you’ll need Easynews web access.  Non-member can sign up for a 14 day free trial.

That concludes our list of the best Usenet apps for Android, iPhone and iPad.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our favorite mobile Usenet clients.  We look forward to bringing you the latest news along with hands-on reviews of upcoming releases as mobile Usenet apps continue to gain momentum this year and beyond.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about mobile Usenet.  For the latest news follow @NewsgroupRevs.