Newsgroups? What are they?
One of the features available to our privileged users is our newsgroup galleries, where we show photos of piercings we have collected from the usenet groups. Our purpose is to give our users some idea of the trends we are seeing in piercings, but the result has been a flood of questions about the usenet.
Usenet was the original public access messaging system, conceived in 1979 and started in 1980, more that a decade before the ARPAnet became the internet.(Read more of the history at Wikepedia.).
One of the primary sources of information for the body art community in the early 1990's was the usenet group rec.arts.bodyart, originally moderated by Anne Greenblatt who maintained their FAQ's.
Today, the usenet is one of the best kept secrets of the internet. With over 100,000 groups presenting over 250,000 terabytes of information to the public, one has to wonder why more people do not use it regularly.
There are two ways to use the newsgroups. The classic method is to use a traditional news reader, monitoring the group for new messages much like you monitor your email account. Although most email clients (including Microsoft Outlook) are able to act as traditional news readers, the best traditional reader in our experience has always been, Forte's Freeagent.
The second approach is to use an indexing service with a bulk downloader. This approach has appeal for both the beginner, who will probably be intimidated by the sheer number of news groups available, and the results-oriented power user who is looking for a specific binary file. The best in this category is News Rover, which allows you to search messages based on a few key words.
ISP's are increasingly not providing access to usenet due to the expense of maintaining the vast storage required. The few who continue are using third party providers. Get your own provider. Your ISP will probably not give you access, or that access will be ending soon.
There are a number of excellent usenet providers out there, and a number to avoid. As a rule of thumb, if they accept payment through PayPal, then they have been vetted by PayPal, and are likely to be reputable. The provider we use is NewsDemon who provide access to clients in North America and Europe, and who have one of the best article retention rates available. They also provide their subscribers with a free copy of News Rover.
Please note that you should never pay for usenet service using PayPal. The providers must conform to the PayPal TOS and you will only have access to half of the newsgroups.
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