Accessing Newsgroups in Newsbin

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Main Menu: Options: Servers

Setting Up Servers with Newsbin Pro

When you initially installed the software, you were asked to put in the information for your account on Usenet Storm.  Some folks end up changing servers or invest in multiple servers.  Here you can add or change a server if you want.  You can also set the number of connections and the priority for the server.

For those that are noticing that their headers are not completely downloaded, that can also be fixed here.  You'll have to hit the Really Advanced button and then Disable XFeatures.  You should notice right away that Newsbin is downloading the entire header list without stopping midway through.

Main Menu: Options: Filters

Filtering Posts with Newsbin Pro

You'll notice that in your typical newsgroup there are tens of thousands, sometimes millions of posts to go through.  Some groups might have over a billion posts.  Navigating through that can be nearly impossible.  One way to deal with the volume of posts is to employ filters.

Here you can tell Newsbin to disregard posts that are smaller than a certain size, larger than a certain size, or have exceeded a certain number of cross-posts.  You can also tell it to accept or disregard posts based on a certain set of self-defined rules.

Main Menu: Options: Add Groups

Add Groups to Newsbin

This is where a lot of the magic happens.  You'll notice that most Usenet servers have over 100,000 different newsgroups to choose from with new groups and new content being added every day.

The groups that you select from here will show up in the Groups List tab.  You'll be able to download the headers for these groups and explore the content therein.  You'll also want to be careful, however.  Usenet provides users with a truly anonymous way to talk and to share files.  That can be good and bad.

The Basics of Navigating Newsgroups

In a world where the internet is dominated by major corporations, Usenet is the last true frontier.  Content of all kinds is shared there, including some that you would never have known existed any other way.  With ISP's now throttling transfer methods like torrents, Usenet provides a singular way to sidestep their attacks on internet freedom.

Usenet itself has been around for a long time. It was originally conceived of as a message board system and evolved to be able to share binary files. While the internet advanced in one direction, Usenet hung around in the background with its legions of faithful users tending the flame that kept it alive.

Today, it remains as awkward as ever to navigate and use for the purpose of file sharing, but it's a vital resource in an era where major telecom companies can determine what content you access and how you access it.  For that reason, it's garnered increased interest recently as more users flock to the message boards in search of the privacy they once took for granted.

And there's another good reason Usenet has become so popular: it’s actually blazingly fast.  So with all that in mind, we're going to explore the most efficient way to explore Usenet's many newsgroups using Newsbin.

Sorting Through Newsgroups to Add to Newsbin

Most providers afford their subscribers a great number of newsgroups to choose from.  Over 100,000 is common.  Sorting through them to find what you're looking for can be painful.  Nonetheless, the software offers some decent features for cutting down your choices.

Newsgroups are displayed in a sort of hierarchy.  For instance, alt.binaries tends to be incredibly popular.  You can sort out all the options that are in alt.binaries by typing it into the search. You can refine your search further from here. For instance, if you’re looking for pictures, you can select alt.binaries.pictures.

In addition, Newsbin offers other switches that can further refine a search.  For instance, you can cut out newsgroups that have less than 10,000 posts.  It also helps to remove the groups to which you've already subscribed from the list.

What is a Newsgroup Exactly and How Do I Access One?

If you think of a newsgroup as a forum you won't be far off the mark.  Forums, however, tend to be organized slightly better with subforums accessible in a hierarchy.  While it was structured to behave that way, any administrator can add a newsgroup to Usenet at any time.  Not everyone has the same sensibility when adding new newsgroups to Usenet or even knows how to spell properly.  So what we have after decades worth of newsgroups being added is a giant mess.

Suffice it to say, a newsgroup is a forum with a number of posts.  In order to access these posts, you first have to subscribe to the group by adding it to your list.  This does not mean that you pay for anything more, adding it to your software is just called subscribing because your software then keeps up with what comes in to that group.  You can do this from the Add Groups selection under Options from the main menu.  See Adding Newsgroups to Newsbin for more information.

You'll then want to download the headers.  This can be done by selecting your new group, and then right-clicking on it.  Select Download Special => Download All Headers.  This will download all the headers from the group going as far back as your provider's retention allows.

After downloading the headers, you can double-click on the group.  If you don't see anything in the group, that means one of two things:

  1. There have been no new posts in the last several years (or as far back as your provider stores posts).
  2. Newsbin needs to load older posts from the disk.

This can be done using the reload icon, which will let you select a date range for the content that is of interest:

Loading Older Posts from Stored Headers

Browsing Newsgroups

When you are comfortable with searching Usenet with Newsbin, it is time to try browsing newsgroups.  Browsing essentially gives you direct access to everything on Usenet.  If you search for 'sports car' you might miss a post in the group alt.binaries.pictures.automobiles that has a title of '2017 Corvette Stingray', but if you are browsing that newsgroup you will never miss what you want because groups are named by category or interest.

Step 1

In Newsbin, click on the 'Groups List' tab that is half way down the left side of the screen.

Groups List Tab in Newsbin

Step 2

Click the 3rd button from the right, in the top menu.  It says "Open the Group Add Window", if you put your mouse over it.

Button for adding newsgroups to Newsbin

Step 3

Use the box by the "Search" button to find groups with a specific word.  Double click on any groups you want to add to your list and click 'OK'.

Think of this as bookmarking it for later.

Newsgroup Selection

Step 4

You can now double click on a newsgroup, and Newsbin will start downloading the list of messages.  It will then show you the progress as it downloads.

When it finishes downloading the list of messages, they will be shown in the top window and the newsgroup is ready to browse.

Downloading Headers