Newsgroups are a great source of information on the internet. Collectively these groups are known as the Usenet or informally as the underground internet. It had been in use before the World Wide Web was introduced but never gained the popularity that the WWW maintained. However it is still accessed by many users worldwide. Usenet utilizes a newsreader instead of a browser. There have been efforts to combine some of the functionality of binary newsgroups on the web but a few limitations have been encountered. Essentially the Usenet allows the sharing of information among its users via a network of news servers. It is best described as a kind of peer to peer network that permits the sharing of files most commonly: MP3s, photographs, software and videos. To take advantage of news group it will require you to download specialized software. It should not take too long for you to familiarize yourself with the Usenet and gain all the benefits of using this alternative source of electronic information. If you are able to appreciate the fundamentals required for installing the software, managing the files and configuring the system then using the Usenet will be fairly simple. A concise step by step list of instructions will follow that will help you to better understand and use newsgroup binaries.
What you will need
- ISP Access
- News Reader Software
- You will need to gain access to the Usenet, this will be possible by using your ISP which should readily be provided by your internet provider for free in most cases. There are some disadvantages notably the limitations that may be placed on uploading and downloading and quite possibly issues with the availability of space. The lack of space may result in fractured or corrupted binary posts. For this reason to avoid these issues it is possible to purchase Usenet access from Giganews which designates a larger storage space for better quality binary posts.
- You will need to input your news server address. You should be able to retrieve this address from your ISP support website. The Newsgroup service provider will allocate this address to you once you have registered. You will also need the NNTP news server address for the setup of the newsreader software. You may be able to enter the news server anonymously or you may be required to enter your User ID and Password which will be the same as the ones currently used for internet access.
- You will need to acquire a binary newsreader to view binary files. Binary files will be segmented if they are over 10 MB. You will also be able to view the binary files in threaded or un-threaded view .
- Go to any website that provides binary newsreader software and download and install on the computer. Commonly used readers include Free Agent 1.2, New Rover and Xnews. Free Agent 1.2 as the name suggests is freeware software meaning you will not be required to pay for it.
- Once you have installed the newsreader you can use it to search for files. Make the search more precise by utilizing the filtering and sorting options. When you have found the file that you desire to download queue up the files and wait for it to download. The time taken for downloading will vary dependent on the size of the files. Before downloading files ensure they are not fragmented with parts that are unavailable for immediate download. You may have to wait for an unspecified period to retrieve missing pieces of the file.
- After downloading you will need to extract and possibly decode the binary material. You may use a popular program like WinRar for file extraction.
- When you have acquired the binary material use it according to the type of file. For MP3s use a media player to play them. For videos use the appropriate video player to play the files or software to burn them into DVD format. The files that you have downloaded will dictate how they are used.
- You can also post material to the news groups but be careful not to divulge critical information about yourself for example your email address.
Do’s and Dont’s
- There are sometimes minimal regulations in Newgroups however you must act in accordance with whatever regulations are defined.
- Ensure that your computer’s hard drive has sufficient space when downloading extremely large binary files.