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Use News is Good News
c. Tony Gilchrist 2000
A lot of internet users are unaware of news, and yet "news" is one of the original internet protocols. Originally, there was now World Wide Web; there were various other protocols, notably: email, ftp and news. Recently, all three have been replaced in part by inferior, but more accessible for new users, web-based systems (i.e. instead of ftp, you can now get files via the web, instead of email you can now use webmail (like hotmail, and so on) and instead of news, a lot of discussion forums use web pages.
So what's news? News (once called "usenet") is a system to enable focussed discussion forums on specific topics between people in different locations (using an internet connection). Like email messages, news messages are text only letters from news users; in most cases anyone can contribute, and anyone can read what other people have contributed/ News is a great place to find other people who own an Asus video card, or other people who like jazz music, or who wear rubber boots (some newsgroups are silly, some are obscene: others are very useful. News still exists, and is still "better than" a web forum, because news is universal: it is stored / accessed through thousands of local servers around the world, instead of on only one, as is the case with a web page.
Note: "Usenet" or "News" is one of the oldest and most interesting pieces of internet history; for a complete story of how the name changed, and how it all came about, see http://www.vrx.net/usenet/history/.
To set up news under Outlook Express:
- Start Outlook Express
- In the pull-down menu, choose "Accounts", as shown above. The window below should open:
- Click on the "Add" button, and choose "News" from the popup list. An internet connection wizard should appear; in each of the pages of the wizard, enter the following:
- your real name, or the name you wish to use in newsgroups (a real name is nice, please).
- your return email-address. Because newsgroups are sometimes abused by spammers, I recommend a "spare" email account (I use email@example.com), or enter extra characters (like tonygNOSPAM@nbnet.nb.ca) which people can remove: this works because automated email abuse programs cannot remove the characters "NOSPAM", whereas someone (a person) who wants to send you an email will see the characters "NOSPAM" and remove them.
- the name of a local news server: the usual one on nbnet it "news.nbnet.nb.ca" which will work fine for our purposes.
- Once you have finished the wizard, you can edit the properties of the account by clicking on the "News" tab in the "Internet Accounts" window. We donít really need to do so at the moment, so close the "Internet Accounts" window by clicking on "Close"; you will probably see the requester below: Say "Yes".
- Once you do, the window below will appear.
- It will take a few minutes (depending on your connection speed) for this one-time scan to take place; you computer is receiving a list of all the known newsgroups available from your news server. There are literally thousands of newsgroups, so there is a nifty feature at the top of the window where the field reads "Display newsgroups which contain"; type any word here to limit the list of newsgroups to topics you are interested in, as shown below.
- Try typing "LightWave", as shown above. The two groups listed are 1. A binaries group (where people post images), and the very useful "comp.graphics.apps.lightwave", which is one of the best "ask a Lightwave question" places there is. Select that newsgroup (as shown above) and click on "Subscribe".
- Change the filter to read "3ds" (as shown above) and subscribe to "comp.graphics.packages.3dstudio". Click "Ok" to get out of the "Newsgroup Subscriptions" window.
- Your Outlook Express main screen should now include some new elements, and be similar to what is shown below:
- Select on of the subscribed newsgroups, and you should see a list of the messages stored in each newsgroup (usually sorted most recent first). Read through a few to get an idea of the kind of material you'll see here.
- Take note of a new button or two on the main Outlook Express screen: in addition to "Reply" there are also features for "Reply Group" and "Reply All": when you "Reply Group", your response will be posted to the news group for anyone in the world to read, when you "Reply All" it will still go to the newsgroup, and will also go directly to the person to who you are replying to. Also note that when you create a message, the "Send" button will read "Post"Ö
"Flame": A flame is a nasty or rude post; please avoid making them. Ignore flamers!
c. Tony Gilchrist 2000