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Thread: What are newsgroups? Everybody talks about newsgroups

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    Default What are newsgroups? Everybody talks about newsgroups

    Hi, sorry for the super dumb newbie question, but I always hear people talk about getting stuff on newsgroups.

    What the F are newsgroups?

    In a nutshell how does it all work?

    Do you need special software or something?

    The only way I'm ever going to play Radiant Silvergun, is if somehow I get a copy on these "newsgroups", but I don't know much of anything about them.

    I wouldn't know where to start.

    I guess I could just Google it and try to figure it out on my own.

    But if anybody has any tips or pointers on this stuff, I would be appreciative.

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    The newsgroups (also called Usenet) are a collection of message boards. It's actually a really old part of the internet that is at least as old as email, and older than the web.

    Although the newsgroups are entirely text (think of it as a cross between forums like this one, and email), people have found ways of encoding binary files into text messages and posting them into newsgroups. These posts can be decoded on your end and assembled back into a binary.

    You'll need a specific type of program called a newsreader to be able to access them. I use a program called Pan myself, but I don't think there is a version of Pan for Windows. The only Windows newsreaders that I can think of offhand are Agent and XNews... plus, I think Outlook Express can actually read newsgroups too (However, if you intend to get binaries off newsgroups, Outlook is a very bad choice, and you'll have a lot of trouble getting anything with it). Hopefully, someone else can provide more insightful information here.

    Oh, and you'll have to get some information from your ISP about what news server you have available to you (every ISP has their own news server). If they didn't tell you it already, try looking around their website to see if it's listed. They might call it an "NNTP server" (NNTP stands for network news transfer protocol... NNTP is to Usenet as HTTP is to the web).

    Unfortunately, many ISP's have terrible news servers, Many will drop articles (meaning that pieces of your downloads will be missing), or have poor retention (this is how long articles will stay on the server... often, they'll only be there for a few days, so you have to be quick). If this if the case, you might want to sign up for a commercial news server instead (Luckily, my ISP's news server is amazing, so I never had to look for better servers. I don't know which are best, but typing "most reliable news server" into Google came up with GigaNews). You'll have to pay for these commercial news servers, so make sure to try your ISP's (free) server first. A good news server is easily worth $10 a month or so.

    Some other things you may want to keep in mind:
    • Almost every binary that gets posted on the newsgroups is posted as a multi-volume RAR archive, so you'll definitely need to get a program that can uncompress these types of files. WinRar should do the job.
    • Due to the inherent unreliability of Usenet, people often post PAR files along with the binaries. The point of these PAR files is to help reconstruct missing pieces that might not have made it onto your server. Here's a tutorial that probably explains this better than I can. There is also a PAR2 that is more powerful, but more complicated. There is a program called SmartPar that will handle these for you, but I can't find it's web site at the moment.
    • Due to the nature of the newsgroups, you can't really go there expecting to find anything specific (Remember that it was meant as a discussion forum, not as a binary distribution medium). Things go by like a flowing river, so you just have to go there and hope you get lucky and find something you wanted. There is new stuff posted constantly, and it's entirely possible for a popular group to get 100,000 new posts in a single day. You can request things if you want, and someone might be nice enough to post it for you... but as I said before, articles only last for a few days usually, so be careful you don't miss the posting.
    • Usenet has it's own rules of etiquette that you might want to read up on before you post. Every newsgroup is different, but there are some things that are universally frowned on, such as excessive crossposting (Posting a message to many groups at the same time), billboarding (posting the same message multiple times in a row. It may increase the visibility of your post, but it'll annoy people), and spamming (that's right, spam isn't just an email thing, there's plenty on the newsgroups). Most newsgroups will post a FAQ every month or so that will list the rules. As long as you stay on topic and don't do anything stupid, you'll be okay.


    To be honest, the newsgroups are somewhat complicated, so this may be a lot to take in at once. Take things slow until you get a handle on what's actually going on. Get a decent news reader, subscribe to a few groups, and watch them for a few days to see what happens. The newsgroups can be a surprisingly reliable means of getting files when it's used properly.

    When you have things working, some of the groups you might want to check out are the alt.binaries.emulators.* groups (there are seperate groups for nintendo, sega, arcade, mame, etc. alt.binaries.emulators.misc is the most interesting in my opinion. If it's Radiant Silvergun you're after, then alt.binaries.emulators.sega is your best bet). There are also tons of non-binary groups that you might enjoy reading. rec.games.video.classic might interest you. There are tens of thousands of groups out there, each with their own focus.

    Feel free to ask any other questions you might have about newsgroups, I've been using them for quite some time. It's the source of just about all my emulator roms, and I've managed to leach an almost complete collection of Futurama episodes as well.

    --Zero

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    Go to http://www.newsbin.com and grab the program. It is really all you need to get started...as well as a news server of course. The news server is usually provided by your ISP. I am with Optimum Online, so mine is news.optonline.net . When you set up Newsbin Pro it will ask you for this, so if you do not know what your news server name is, contact your ISP and ask them.

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    Here's the brief version of the history.

    News Servers (NNTP) are the first, and the last unadulterated "wild-west" of the internet. With P2P stuff going down like a cheap whore, NNTP still has basically anything you want - even more accessible than mIRC. The problem? Takes more than a pulse to get the stuff.

    You'll need a News Server which offers binaries (google "NNTP binaries") and you'll get a million hits. Will cost you like $10 a month.

    Personally, if you're only doing it for roms, it's not worth it IMHO. If you want porn, warez, moviez, etc., and don't like dealing with virii from p2p, then it might be worth it.
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    Yeah, there's a whole lot to get in the newsgroups, but the thing is that you cannot just search for what you want like P2P. You just download whatever gets posted, and wait for what you need. It all gets posted sooner or later however, and rom floods (complete system posts) come about often which is great. 99.9% of everything I have has been gotten from newsgroups. If I had to pay $20 a month for the access I would do it. It is just worth it imho.

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    This doesn't answer something that I've been wondering, though: Why do ISPs even bother? The alt newsgroups must get gigabytes of data posted to them every day, much of it can be illegal content, and not many people probably use them anyway. Surely this is a lot of unnecessary expense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho
    This doesn't answer something that I've been wondering, though: Why do ISPs even bother? The alt newsgroups must get gigabytes of data posted to them every day, much of it can be illegal content, and not many people probably use them anyway. Surely this is a lot of unnecessary expense?
    Yah know, I wonder the same thing. I couldn't imagine this will be going on forever. But, it is going on now. I don't know how, but I'm not asking. I'll just use it till I can use it no more!

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    Yeah, the best way to see whats there is to go in there and dig yourself... however, sites like www.newzbin.com or www.nfonews.com do attempt to catalog things that are posted and allow a means of searching.

    However, of course due to the nature of newsgroups, the information is usually posted the next day at the earliest... and some days the info is more current than others. But it's still a useful thing to check out as a first resort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho
    Why do ISPs even bother? The alt newsgroups must get gigabytes of data posted to them every day, much of it can be illegal content, and not many people probably use them anyway. Surely this is a lot of unnecessary expense?
    Well, a lot of ISP's cut costs and provide crummy news feeds (poor retention, not carrying all groups, dropped posts, etc). For the most part though, all they have to do is set up a single server for a pretty wide area (ie, one per state/province), since newsgroup usage is pretty sparse. Bandwidth usage has to be pretty huge though. Not only that, but for a news server with good retention, you really need a huge amount of hard drive space. There are enough legitimate newsgroups under the alt heirarchy that you couldn't just dump the whole thing... but I have to admit that alt.binaries.* is 99.9% piracy. It's a good thing all the P2P software is taking all the piracy heat, since it's drawing attention away from Usenet

    My guess is that some of the tech's who do work behind the scenes are the ones setting up the news server, and the more technical minded are the ones who profit most off of the newsgroups. I also think that a news server is something that ISP's are expected to have, along with a mail server and name server and such... considering how few people actually even know about Usenet, I'm surprised this is still the case. Shaw Cable has amazing an news server (Actually, Shaw is a great ISP overall, I've had almost no problems whatsoever), and it's rare for me to find incomplete posts. Whoever is responsible for setting this server up: Thank you!

    Easily one of the best parts about downloading stuff off of your ISP's news server is the speed. Instead of having to sit in some jerks P2P queue, and then get 5kb/sec at best, I get a perfect 250kb/sec transfer speed, since all the data is sitting on computers that are inside the city.

    --Zero

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    Yeah, what everyone said especially Zero who was nice enough to type all that out

    But I always send first timers to this tutorial:

    http://www.slyck.com/ng.php

    Newsgroups like the rest of the net is something you just need to put a little time into and it's best learned on your own.

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    Default Re: What are newsgroups? Everybody talks about newsgroups

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony1
    The only way I'm ever going to play Radiant Silvergun, is if somehow I get a copy on these "newsgroups", but I don't know much of anything about them.
    .
    It's on this one right now...... alt.binaries.cd.image.sega-saturni

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    The way I explained it to my dad was, Napster was like the Sears Catalog. It had everything, just pick what you want and you'll get it. The newsgroups are more like garage sales. It's different everyday, and you never know what'll be there -- the only way to find out is to go out there and look. Not the world's greatest analogy, but he got it.

    If you are into emulation, warez, mp3s or porn, then you owe it to yourself to figure out newsgroups. I use NewsBin as well and it's like newsgroups for dummies. It'll take a few minutes to figure out things like resorting the list alphabetically and what groups have what, but once everything's working it's terrific.

    If you're using your ISP's news server, then there's basically no faster connection you can get. It's a straight line from you to your ISP (more or less). I hit Cox's maximum speed of 1.5 megabit constantly, which is really fast for a home connection. I have given up p2p, irc, and ftp for getting what I want or need. Like someone else said, it'll eventually show up in the newsgroups. If it's something I need quicker than that I'll buy it.

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    Just a hint for you Flack.

    With Cox if you have a 2nd email address, open another Newsbin and change the server to the other Cox server. (There is news.cox.east.net and news.cox.west.net ) Then use your other e-mail address and password and sign in.

    Then you will be able to d-load at 1.5 m on BOTH servers .
    I download at a total of 3 meg all the time.

    Oh and if you don't have a 2nd e-mail address just sign up for one since you can have 7.

    Oh and you'll have to change the 2nd server every time you open the 2nd Newsbin. Just disable the one you aren't using on that particular Newsbin.

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