Sunday, January 13, 2008

02. I have a news provider, now what?

You'll need a news reader. Outlook has a built in news reader. I wouldn't recommend using this as NG posting has new encoding methods for faster downloads and Outlook doesn't have the encoder (yenc) built in to properly read these messages. If it does, I haven't gotten it to work so it doesn't work for me.

Forte Agent is one of the best PC news readers. You can get a free 30 trial from I have had nothing but good experiences for the past 6 years with Agent. Agent also has the encoder (yenc) built in so when posters post with yenc you'll never have to do any extra steps to view the file.

Agent is also set up like Outlook which makes using it easy to figure out. You have 3 windows, a folder window, a list of headers (subjects) window, and a message window.

The folder window
The folder window contains the newsgroup titles that are available from your news host. From here you can subscribe to a particular newsgroup that will be put in a subscribed folder for quick access. Also in this window you can tell Agent to retrieve new headers (subjects).

The headers window
The headers window contains all the headers that were retrieved from a newsgroup in the folders window. These headers get replaced by other headers if the selection in the folder window changes as each newsgroup will have its own headers. Headers are the posts that people upload. These posts can be simple messages or messages with attachments much like email. Just like the folder window you will need to download the header in order to see the attachment or message it contains.

The message window
The message window will only have something in it if the header that is currently selected has been retrieved. If its has been downloaded the message and attachment it contains will be visible here. You can right click to save or launch the attachment. You can also tell Agent to always save in a particular folder automatically for a group of posts or for a whole group. Example, if you had a newsgroup that was dedicated to movies you may want all those attachments to be saved to C:\Movies, you can do this in Agent.

There are other news readers out there, but Forte Agent has consistantly been reliable for me and its easy to use. The end.

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