Re: Any Chinese citizens in this group?
- From: Peter Moylan <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2006 12:48:40 +1100
Iskandar Baharuddin wrote:
Although web browsers are not so good for reading news as a
dedicated news server, they are much better than reading news on
This puzzles me. Over the years I have used four ISPs, all of which provided usenet access. I am surprised that anyone can get onto the Web and not be able to access usenet.
We got broadband a few months ago. My wife insisted on signing up with
a well-known but incompetent ISP, rather than one of the little-known
but competent ones that I proposed. This led to about a month's work
getting their ADSL modem to work. (They had crippled it so as to
prevent access to some of the configuration parameters, and they
wouldn't help me because I was running "the wrong version of Windows".)
Once past that barrier I got web access and mail working for her almost
immediately, but news was a bigger problem. Luckily I, as the resident
computer expert, have the talent of knowing how to read Help files, and
I finally pinned down the address of their news server.
I suggest that a typical new subscriber would have had trouble doing
this. First, they would need to know that something called "news"
exists. (A google search for "news" gives Google itself, plus links to
places that are mostly newspapers. In the first 5 pages of results (I
gave up after that) there was not a single mention of Usenet. A search
for "nntp" was more helpful, but only geeks know what nntp means.)
Second, they would have to search the ISP web site for information that
is usually buried in some inconspicuous corner. Finally, they have to
find a decent newsreader, and the newsreader supplied as default with
most computers is a pile of crap.
And now, of course, they also have to get past Google's campaign to get
people to believe that it owns Usenet. I don't think that there's
anything on the Google site to suggest that a web interface is one of
the worst possible ways to access Usenet. Google used to be a pretty
good search engine, but now it's trying to do things that are beyond its
competence. It would have done better to create a Usenet server and let
people use that.
(While writing this I tried a little experiment. There is in fact a
domain called "news.google.com", so I configured my newsreader to fetch
mail from it. No luck: its port 119 is blocked.)
This probably explains why the average age of Usenet users seems to be
so high. Only the old-timers know how to read news. Newcomers are
directed to the garbage that is Google Groups.
Thunderbird is good, but insists on real addresses.
Check the headers on this article. I'm using Thunderbird with a fake
domain name. (Although it is, I imagine, easy for humans to figure out
what the real domain name is.)
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Please note the changed e-mail and web addresses. The domain
eepjm.newcastle.edu.au no longer exists.
My e-mail addresses at newcastle.edu.au will probably remain "live"
for a while, but then they will disappear without warning.
The optusnet address still has about 5 months of life left.
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