I noticed you didn't have any peer to peer programs suggested. I can understrand why you might not. But, I just started using one that is fast and has no parasite programs or cookies. I can get an honest 250 kb/s peer to peer on an average nite. And as you know Braingoo, that ain't hay.
It's new and not as big as Kazaa or any of the others for that matter. The interface is intuitive, it has a built in media player and direct access to chat rooms where you can idle away your download time with fellow peer peeps.
The name of the program is Ares. Make sure you get the newest version.http://download.com.com/3000-2166-10174222.html
I also have used Ifranview32 for media browsing since 1998. This is on the same computer with Photoshop 7 Platinum and Adobe's newest pro graphics
program(CS). That's how good that little program is.