Reading the News

(or: It's the Thoth That Counts)

Newsgroups, oddly enough, have nothing to do with news, nor are they groups. Instead, they are electronic bulletin boards with messages that can be read by anyone on the Internet. There are (depending on the news feed involved) 30,000-50,000 different newsgroups, ongoing discussions on every conceivable topic (music, television, computers, religion, politics, hobbies, sports, etc.) There are also special binary newsgroups, from which one can download, among other things, MP3 files, illegal copies of software, and pictures of nude women. (Of course, none of you would be interested in that, would you?) Newsgroups are sometimes referred to collectively as Usenet. Although Usenet is part of the Internet, it is not part of the World Wide Web, even if one happens to be reading news group messages via Google Groups.

Generally you reach these discussion areas using a program called a newsreader. You probably already have one or two newsreaders already installed on your computer: Microsoft Outlook Express and Netscape Communicator's news reading feature. There are several other (and much better) alternatives available:

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See you in Usenet!

(Sponsored link) Giganews Unlimited Usenet

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