NewsReaders.com: Getting Started: Finding, Installing, and Using a Newsreader
I hope you will try Giganews or UsenetServer for your news subscription -- especially as a holiday present for your friends, family, or yourself!
Note that many of the instructions below are written in very general terms, as it is impossible to write one precise manual for every newsreader. For precise instructions, consult the information included with the newsreader you download or look at the menus in the application.
- AOL users should consult AOL documentation or see news and AOL for information on how to use a non-AOL newsreader
- Get server name.
- Check with your ISP or whomever supplies your Internet connection.
- If your Internet provider does not supply a newsfeed (most companies, for example, do not), then:
- subscribe to a commercial newsfeed
- read news via a web-based news service
- Note that for many, it is easier to read news in a dedicated newsreader (even the newsreader portion of Netscape) rather than via web browser.
- Check with your Internet provider as to whether the server authenticates or not. If it authenticates, ask what username and password you should use. (If it doesn't authenticate, it usually is still limited to access by those dialing into or networked into their system).
- Download a newsreader compatible with your machine.
- See NewsReaders.com to find a newsreader.
- Choose online or offline. Basically it is an individual choice. (But big factors include whether your phone company doesn't have flat rate for local calls, whether you have an extra phone line to tie up, etc.)
- Online readers need to be connected to the Internet the whole time you are using it.
- Offline readers download all the new articles to your hard drive, at which point a connection to the Internet is no longer needed. If you make posts or e-mail replies, they can be prepared offline to be sent the next time you connect. Other reasons to use an offline reader would be if you wanted to archive articles. Or, you may find that even though you don't need an offline reader, you happen to like a newsreader that turns out to be offline.
- Run the newsreader program
- After downloading, you might need to doubleclick the downloaded file to expand it (if self-expanding) or decompress/decode it with the appropriate decompression/decoding software.
- Once program is running, see if there is a preferences, options, or settings panel in the pulldown menus. Go there and fill in various data. The most important ones will be:
- server name. (and username and password if the server requires it)
- e-mail address
- Warning: spammers get e-mail addresses from, among various sources, newsgroup postings. I do not advocate forging your address as a response tactic, but felt it was my obligation to warn you of this.
- This is a little section where people usually put their name, e-mail address, web site address, and sometimes what they do in life or other relevant information. If your newsreader does not put it in for you, the start of your signature should have a sigdash. (two dashes followed by a blank space, followed by a carriage return. It should also have a carriage return preceding it, but that is almost always taken care of by the newsreader before inserting the signature.)
- Look through the list of newsgroups.
- Look through pulldown menus (or other command structure). There should be a command to show all newsgroups.
- Find ones you think you might wish to subscribe to. In most newsreaders, you can search through the full group list, scroll through the whole list, or explore the hierarchies (i.e. comp., soc., etc.)
- DO NOT post a message to the group saying "Subscribe."
- Unlike mailing lists, with newsgroups you do not subscribe by sending a message. You just select a group (usually by clicking once with your mouse) and use a subscribe option in a pulldown menu.
- Instead, in most newsreaders you click once on the name of the group to select it, and then click a subscribe button or menu option.
- Read newsgroups.
- You can usually read groups from the full list or your subscribed list. The advantages of the subscribed list are:
- shorter list (5 or 10 or more compared with 20,000+)
- your newsreader keeps track of what messages you have already read.
- But you may still want to open groups from the full list:
- when deciding if a group interests you
- to read all of the unexpired posts still on the news server
- Read about netiquette before posting to newsgroups.
- You might try a test post:
- DO NOT post a test newsgroup to regular newsgroups
- Only post test posts to test newsgroups, such as:
- Warning: after you post your test post, you will get e-mail messages for the next day or two from servers around the world confirming your post arrived. (Last time I did this I got about 30 messages.)
- You can put the word "ignore" (without quote marks) as the subject of your post or on a line by itself in the body (message) of the post and that should stop these confirmation messages.
- But be aware that the confirmation messages mean your post has seen the light of day at a server other than the one you use. Seeing the test message on your own server means only that it made it to the server you use.
- Before you post repeated tests, read the section below on a frequent beginner's mistake.
- Beware of frequent beginner's mistake:
- Many times beginners post the same message repeatedly because they post their message and yet it does not appear to show up in the list of messages for that newsgroup.
- This is because most newsreaders get the list of messages on the server when the program is started.
- Thus you are seeing the messages that were on the server at the time you started your newsreader
- So even though your post makes it successfully to the server, you won't see it on the list of messages, even if you exit the group and reenter it, unless you ask your newsreader to update the list of unread messages.
- Many newsreaders have a command for updating the list of unread messages.
- You should probably close the window for the group you posted the message to
- Invoke the command for updating the list of unread messages (this command will differ for various newsreaders)
- Open that newsgroup again
- If it is a new post, your post should show up at the bottom (if it is a group with lots of activity, there may be other posts newer than yours so yours may be near but not at the very bottom)
- If it is a "followup" post (in reply to another post) than it should show up in the "thread" for that subject.
- If your newsreader does not have a command for updating the list of unread messages, you may have to quit your newsreader and restart it to confirm the message arrived. (But after you are confident that everything is working fine, you shouldn't need to do this.)
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