Just a PSA that in The Current Year there is absolutely no need to pay for almost anything. Save the money, use it to go on holiday, drink it away, give it to me (http://akarlin.com/donations/ ), etc. instead.
This will also be a reference post for future review posts.
Use Sci-Hub: https://sci-hub.tw/
Emil Kirkegaard has a short for dummies guide: How to use Sci-hub to get academic papers for free
Considering the greed and rapacity of academic publishers, stealing papers isn’t just a moral right but a moral imperative. In my experience, it works 99%+ of the time. Literally the only paper I can recall not finding there – and I have downloaded well more than a thousand – is an obscure 1981 paper on Racial Variations in Vision (apparently, Aborigines have much better eyesight than other races). But somebody added it to Sci-Hub eventually, anyway.
Use Library Genesis: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/ (unblocked version)
Emil Kirkegaard has written up a short guide for this as well: How to download ebooks from Library Genesis (libgen) for free
Coverage isn’t as good as with Sci-Hub, but it’s still pretty impressive. I find approximately 90% of the books I want there.
Cases in which you can avoid using Libgen:
- You respect the author and want him/her to get money for their work. Even so, you can still download the book from Libgen to avoid the restrictive DRM practiced by most booksellers, inc. Amazon, while buying a symbolic copy from the store.
- You want a high quality paper version. My physical library hit its minimum size around 2015. Since then, it’s actually been slowly growing, but almost entirely by dint of high quality books, usually hardbacks. Uppening the scale even further, antiquarian books not only look very good on your bookshelf, but are as legitimate an investment as, say, Swiss luxury watches or art pieces.
- When said book isn’t available on Libgen. This is the case for some very obscure books, as well as books that came out very recently, or very long ago.
Many books will be in epub/mobi format. There are many ebook readers for Android that you can use to read them. I use Moon Reader. It has exportable highlighting/notes, and I find its visual options even better than the Amazon Kindle’s. I suggest getting the pro version for a few bucks to get rid of the annoying ads.
The only major format it doesn’t support is djvu, which is popular in Russia. EBookDroid handles that.
Sponsoring Hollywood in any way whatsoever is basically a sin at this point.
My favorite torrent client is qBittorrent.
While Western countries don’t really care if you pirate papers and books, Hollywood and MPAA have an order of magnitude more lobbying power than Elsevier or Penguin, so this is most definitely not the case with movies.
I strongly recommend getting a paid VPN if you live in the West. I use NordVPN, though others I know swear by PIA VPN.
I would actually recommend getting a VPN regardless. The Wild West days of the Internet are coming to a close, and regulatory agencies around the world are rushing to block “extremist” content and set up national firewalls. This is going to get worse before it gets better, so you might as well get a head start on this.
This is one medium where piracy is low and unattractive.
Market near-monopolist Steam/Valve offers low prices for the amount of content – very low in places like Eastern Europe. Probably not so much out of the goodness of GabeN’s heart as the existence of companies like Humble Bundle which will step in were Steam to get out of line.
The technological specifics of modern video games also limits piracy in that most of them are now dependent on constant updates and patches.