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Re: [ExtensiveReading] Digest Number 1044

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  • Rocky Nelson
    The easiest way to get E-books is through the Usenet/Netnews network. Serve Yourself Some News Discover The Untapped Resources Of Newsgroups As the line
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2008
      The "easiest" way to get E-books is through the Usenet/Netnews network.

      Serve Yourself Some News
      Discover The Untapped Resources Of Newsgroups

      As the line “Make new friends but keep the old” from a children’s
      song implies, stepping outside of your comfort zone to try new things
      doesn’t have to mean leaving familiar things behind. We become so
      comfortable with the few things we know, checking our favorite sites and
      email, that we become reluctant to try something else. As a result, a
      wealth of information is sitting there untapped because you don’t even
      know it exists.

      What's A Newsgroup?

      Newsgroups are the big bulletin board of the Internet, providing online
      discussions where you can post, read, and respond to messages at any
      time. These messages are stored on a news server where users can
      retrieve them. Newsgroups contain all kinds of information on several
      topics with users generating approximately 1GB of new information each
      day. The majority of newsgroups are text-based but you can find binary
      newsgroups that contain pictures, music, video, games, and more
      available for downloading. Let’s compare newsgroups to the Web and

      The Web is a treasure trove of useful information, but it lacks the
      intimacy of communicating and exchanging ideas with others. Email, on
      the other hand, provides a way to communicate and exchange ideas, but
      you need to know specific email addresses. Newsgroups complement the Web
      and email. Newsgroups contain an enormous amount of information in the
      form of posted messages that is both timely and topical. Through your
      participation, you discover others with the same interests, thereby
      opening the door for communication. Once you’ve made contacts through
      newsgroups, communicate publicly through the newsgroup or exchange email

      Newsgroups sort messages as linear posts or threads. In linear, or
      sequential, order, posts relating to several topics are interspersed.
      For example, you may find two posts on last night’s college football
      game, followed by three posts on gardening, and then another post on the
      football game. However, most newsgroups tend to use the thread approach,
      which keeps all messages pertaining to one topic together. Users can
      read all posts for one topic before going on to another.

      Newsgroups can also be moderated or unmoderated. As that classification
      would imply, moderated newsgroups have rules for posting, and a
      moderator reads all messages to ensure users are following the rules
      before posting messages. On the flip side, unmoderated newsgroups have
      no rules or moderators; therefore, the posting of messages is immediate.
      Be cautious in unmoderated newsgroups because anything goes.

      Newsgroup names consist of a series of words separated by periods. For
      example, rec.football.nfl.stlouisrams is the name of a newsgroup for the
      St. Louis Rams, an NFL football team. The first word in the series,
      rec., indicates the category the newsgroup is a part of. The second
      word, football, is a subtopic of the general category. If there are any
      more words, such as nfl.stlouisrams, they further narrow the content.
      Just by reading the name of the newsgroup, you get a good idea of
      what’s in it. The majority of newsgroups begin with one of the
      following: comp. for computers; rec. for recreational activities; sci.
      for scientific; soc. for social and cultural; talk. for controversial
      issues; alt. for topics on the fringe; and misc. for topics that don’t
      fit into the other categories.

      At AthenaNews.com, a search for football newsgroups using the Search For
      Your Favourite Groups feature garnered approximately 160 results.

      History Lesson

      Newsgroups planted their roots long before the Internet, back in a time
      when computers were the size of a room. Running these computers required
      technicians to be stationed at several terminals in various locations.
      With technicians of the same computer spread out, the need to leave
      messages for each other in a place where others could find them became
      paramount. And when computers were linked together in ARPANet (Advanced
      Research Projects Agency Network), users realized a need to send
      messages between computers. (ARPANet was the precursor to the Internet
      and was implemented by the U.S. government in 1969 for scientists to
      share research findings.)

      Realizing this need, Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and
      Jim Ellis created a network for Unix users with the software necessary
      to send messages. This software became the first Usenet. The Usenet
      approach delivers copies of messages to each system where messages are
      stored on the computer. Users then read messages off the system at their
      leisure. Eventually, their software was installed on other Unix systems
      and the General Access Unix Network was created. By 1986, the Usenet
      network consisted of 2,500 computers. As the network grew, so did the
      number of newsgroups and the topics covered. The majority began to cover
      mostly recreational matters, along with technical.

      For many years, newsgroups were the way to go for communicating over the
      Internet because they required little power from the computer. But, as
      the Internet grew and computers gained power, newsgroup discussions
      moved on to more Web-based forums. And with the onslaught of spam, many
      newsgroup users went elsewhere.

      They're Still There

      Despite the decline, newsgroups exist and thrive with all kinds of
      information. Finding a newsgroup that matches your interests is a snap,
      and if you can’t find one, you can create one. We’ll tell you how to
      find interesting newsgroups and how to start accessing them.

      One of the easiest ways to find newsgroups is to do a search on your
      favorite search engine. We searched Google (http://www.google.com) and
      got approximately 3.8 million results. You can also find newsgroups on
      several manufacturers’ Web sites, most for free. For example, on
      Microsoft’s Web site (http://www.microsoft.com), you can subscribe to
      newsgroups that pertain to Microsoft products.

      There are also several Web sites dedicated to just newsgroups, some
      containing as many as 100,000 newsgroups. Be aware, though, that most
      charge a monthly or yearly fee for access. For more information on the
      top Web sites for newsgroups, see the “Directories For Everything”

      Serving The News

      Now that you’ve found them, how do you get to them? You’ll need a
      newsreader, which lets you access all the information contained in
      newsgroups. Both Internet Explorer and Netscape come with their own
      bundled newsreader. With IE, the newsreader is housed in the Outlook
      Express program. You can get a copy of Outlook Express by downloading IE
      from Microsoft.

      If you don’t have a newsreader, check out News Rover
      (http://www.newsrover.com), NewsBin (http://www.newsbin.com), and Agent
      or Free Agent (http://www.forteinc.com). These are a few examples of the
      newsreaders out there, and they all offer free trial periods ranging
      from 10 days to 30 days. If your goal is to access binary newsgroups,
      you’ll want to install a separate newsreader rather than rely on a
      newsreader bundled with your browser. These separate readers have a
      higher success rate at downloading complete files, and they have more
      features for working with binary files.

      With your reader installed and ready to go, you’ll need to decide
      which newsgroups you want to subscribe to. As we said before, several of
      the top Web sites for newsgroups charge a monthly or yearly fee, so
      you’ll want to check out which scenario works best for you. If a Web
      site carrying thousands and thousands of newsgroups isn’t what
      you’re looking for, you can contact your ISP (Internet service
      provider) to get the name of its news server. Most ISPs dedicate one
      server to news, although not all ISPs carry the same newsgroups. With so
      many newsgroups out there, not all ISPs have room to carry all of them.

      To give you an even clearer idea of just how easy it is to do this
      newsgroup stuff, we’ll outline how to use Outlook Express to access
      Microsoft’s newsgroups. Select Accounts from the Tools menu in Outlook
      Express. When the Internet Accounts window appears, select the News tab.
      From the News tab, click Add and select News. The Internet Connection
      Wizard appears, type in how you want your name to appear in the
      newsgroups and click Next. Then type in your email address and click
      Next. Now type the name of the news server in News (NTTP) Server. For
      example, we typed msnews.microsoft.com, which is the name of the
      Microsoft newsgroup we want to access. Click Next and when the Complete
      screen appears, click Finish.

      When the Internet Accounts window appears again, click Close. The
      message Would You Like To Download Newsgroups From The News Accounts You
      Added appears; click Yes. Once the download is complete, the Newsgroup
      Subscription window appears. Search for a topic with the Display
      Newsgroups Which Contain feature and a list of Microsoft newsgroups
      pertaining to that topic appears. Highlight the newsgroups of interest,
      click Subscribe, then click OK. The newsgroups you just subscribed to
      now appear on the left side of the screen under Folders. To read a
      newsgroup, click the name of the newsgroup, which downloads all
      messages. The messages appear on the right side of the screen. From
      here, the process of reading, posting, and responding to messages is
      much like the process of receiving, reading, and sending email. Just
      click any message to read it or click New Post. When the New Message
      Window appears, type your message and click Send. To reply to a message,
      click Reply Group, type your response, and click Send.

      Cruisin' The Freeway

      If the Internet is the information superhighway, newsgroups are the
      information freeway. And now that you’ve tapped into the resource of
      newsgroups, let the information flow. With nearly 1GB of information
      posted every day to newsgroups, you’ll always find something new, and
      perhaps you’ll even learn something new every day.

      by Dana Montey

      Directories For Everything

      The following four newsgroup directories are just a sample of the Web
      sites that exist for the sole purpose of bringing you newsgroups.

      Active News

      Active News (http://www.active-news.com) gives you access to more than
      90,000 uncensored newsgroups for just $5.95 per month. You’ll have
      access to text-based newsgroups, music, movies, pictures, and software
      with a 1GB daily download limit. Take advantage of the Search feature to
      search its active list of newsgroups. Active News boasts long retention
      times, anonymous posting, high-speed access, fast servers, secure
      sign-up, no bandwidth restrictions, no logging of activity, and no
      minimum membership period.


      AthenaNews.com (http://www.athenanews.com) has more than 90,000
      uncensored newsgroups at only $5.95 per month. You’ll get access to
      four news servers with a 1GB daily download limit. The servers offer
      free software, pictures, music, videos, MP3s, and discussion while
      guaranteeing your privacy: AthenaNews.com does not log your activity. It
      recommends using Free Agent or Microsoft’s Outlook Express as your
      newsreader, and the site provides links to the newsreader’s Web site.
      Go ahead and search for topics among its available newsgroups.

      Giga News

      Giga News at http://www.giganews.com operates on three main tenets:
      Retention, Completeness, and Reliability. With more than 60,000
      uncensored newsgroups at $7.95 a month, you can download 1GB from its
      newsgroups. If you need to download more, Giga News has tiered prices;
      for example, download 50GB for $79.95 per month. Giga News houses its
      newsgroups on six servers, and it also offers free trials. Check for
      newsgroups that interest you with the Do We Have Your Newsgroup search


      With 19 news servers and more than 100,000 newsgroups, Usenet
      (http://www.usenet.com) has what you’re looking for, including free
      software, pictures, music, and movies. It’s also compatible with Web
      TV, and offers one server that’s completely anonymous. Usenet has
      Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Unlimited accounts from $9.95 to $39.95 per
      month, respectively. The account determines which servers you can access
      and how much you can download from each server, each day. There are
      links to newsreaders for Mac and PC, along with instructions on setting
      up the newsreader for Usenet. There are also links to MP3 players, movie
      players, and compression software. Use Find Your Favorite Newsgroup to
      see what it has.
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