UseNet - News Reader Setup and Use
UseNet News Groups are an aspect of the Internet many people find helpful and fun. These groups are similar to discussion lists but don't require that you "join," the information disappears after a period of time, and they are generally available for browsing by anyone. The UseNet News groups are organized by categories and locations, and can be viewed from within Netscape Navigator or with other news-reader software. This activity describes how to browse UseNet groups from within Netscape Navigator as well as where to download other news reader programs.
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
Special interest groups have forums that are available on the Internet in the form of UseNet or news groups. These groups are similar to e-mail discussion groups, but don't require you to subscribe, the information disappears after a period of time, and you can browse the news groups at your leisure by selecting them from any news reader program. Netscape Navigator includes a news reader window that is easy to use and converts most news group file types automatically for viewing. In this activity, you will learn how to specify your news server within Netscape Navigator, how to open the news reader, how to navigate in the news groups, and how to download alternative news reader programs available on-line
From within Netscape Navigator, as with all the other news reader programs, you must define your designated news server location or address before you can use the news group program. Do this by selecting the Mail and News Preferences option from the Options menu in Netscape Navigator 2.0 or later. This opens a dialog box where you select the Servers button which displays fields where you must specify your mail and news server, as well as the number of news messages to download at a time (usually set to 3500). Type in your news server in the appropriate field and press the OK button to save the entry.
Before viewing all newsgroups, Netscape saves a copy of the newsgroup
list. On a modem or slow connection, this may take a few minutes.
Once you have established your news server in Netscape Navigator, open the Netscape News window by selecting that option from the Netscape Window menu. [Newsgroups have the naming convention news.something.somethingelse, where something is underneath news, and somethingelse is under something.] This will open a new window overlaying the Netscape Web window and displaying the news groups that are already automatically subscribed for you, usually news.announce.newusers, news.newusers.questions, and news.answers. Notice the news reader window has three sections-one for selecting the news groups you want to browse or view, one that will display the messages in the news group (the upper-right-hand quadrant), and one that displays messages you select to view or read.
Subject: Welcome to Usenet!
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 1996 07:00:04 GMT
From: email@example.com (Mark Moraes)
Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers, news.answers
Last-change: 5 Dec 1995 by firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Moraes)
Welcome to Usenet! The newsgroup news.announce.newusers contains a lot of introductory information about Usenet. All new users should read and fully understand all the documents in news.announce.newusers before trying to post messages to Usenet or create new Usenet groups. This may take a while, but it will help you find your way around Usenet much more easily.
To open the list of available news groups on your server, select the Show All Newsgroups option from the Options menu. This will either display a message "Before viewing all newsgroups, Netscape saves a copy of the newsgroup list. On a modem or slow connection, this may take a few minutes" or display the list of available news groups. If the message appears, click on the OK button to continue. In the upper-left-hand quadrant of the screen you should eventually see all the major newsgroups, from alt.* through zer.*. [Note: The * represents all the news groups underneath the one specified. So, for example, if you see alt.*, that represents all the news groups under the alt group.] By clicking on an entry, for example, alt.*, you will see the next lower-level news groups under that heading. If you select alt.*, you might see alt.0d through alt.zorch.
If you want to have specific news groups available to you, and you are using your own computer (not one in a lab), whenever you load the news reader, you can subscribe to them by checking the box or entry which results in a checkbox or checkmark showing up for that news group. These groups are automatically listed when you open that news server.
If you don't want to use the Nescape Navigator news reader, you can use any of the other avilable news reader programs (see Internet Resources below). These programs are similar to the Netscape Navigator news-reader, but are run outside of Netscape.
Back to Internet Access Module Activities