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Subject: alt.usenet.offline-reader: YAFAQ (Yet Another FAQ)

This article was archived around: 22 Feb 2001 05:46:58 -0800

All FAQs in Directory: off-line-readers/usenet
All FAQs posted in: alt.usenet.offline-reader
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Archive-name: off-line-readers/usenet/yet-another-faq Alt-usenet-offline-reader-archive-name: yet-another-faq Posting-Frequency: monthly
Note: The original author of this document, Zhahai Stewart, has handed the maintenance of this FAQ off to me as of mid-1994. I have taken the liberty of making some minor updates and corrections. I wouldn't have bothered except that I found this document particularly helpful when I was getting started in offline reading and thought it was worth a little work. I invite any further suggested changes. I am especially desirous of removing any redundant and/or outdated information that is more appropriate in one of the other FAQs posted to alt.usenet.offline-reader or comp.os.msdos.mail-news. Mike Northam (mbn@teleport.com) ===================================== Unix host to DOS offline-reader systems for reading, replying, and posting email and news. Zhahai Stewart 12/06/93 Version 08/01/94 updates by Mike Northam 01/22/95 updates from readers Thomas Riha <rito@site46.ping.at> William Werth <billw@eskimo.com> 03/15/95 Rhys Weatherley <meteor@sprintmail.com> Russell Schulz <Russell_Schulz@locutus.ofB.ORG> =============== Intro =============== Many people read their internet mail and usenet newsgroups via direct login to a Unix based host, using a terminal (like a VT-100/200/300 series), or a computer emulating a terminal. They may do this via a wired connection (say, at a university computer lab), or via a modem and telephone connection. On the Unix end, they may run a news reader program such as rn, trn, nn, tin, etc. for news, and a mail reader such as mail, elm, etc. for email. (Of course, lucky ones have a high powered graphical workstation on a high speed network gated to the internet, but that's another thing...). For those who are connecting via modem and a computer emulating a terminal, it becomes obvious that they could reduce their connect time (which may cost money, or may tie up a phone line, or ...) if they could download new email and news, read and respond "offline" (while not connected to the Unix host), and then upload their mail and news responses. This is the idea behind offline readers. A very similar process is used by many BBS users, but the typical BBS oriented formats and offline readers (eg: QWK and Bluewave formats and offline readers) were not designed for Internet mail and Usenet news. However there are now several options for offline reading of internet email and usenet newsgroups. First off, there are "sorta" 4 packet formats: SOUP - designed for just this purpose, open standard, has the most support; used to be called "HellDiver Packet Format" or HDPF. ZipNews - also designed for this, proprietary, one $20 shareware reader QWK plain - actually BBS std, doesn't handle email and news well, especially bad for replies; but can be read by any QWK reader. QWK with header in body - includes internet/usenet header in the QWK body; theoretically a reader could use this (MR/2 INMAK does so, and handles setting up reply headers, too); one can at least read (verbosely) the header info, and an expert can manually create appropriate response headers (dangerous, as it is possible for a user to enter invalid header information). Basically, all of these consist of a group of files (one or two per newsgroup, plus a few extra) enclosed in a compressed archive file (like *.zip). On the Unix side, there are two packages which can create these packets for download, and accept uploaded responses. uqwk - can create/accept all four (SOUP, Zipnews, QWK plain and QWK header) getnews/postreply - can create/accept SOUP (in slnr package) Both of these are distributed in C source code, and may need to be compiled on your Unix machine host (somebody else may already have done this, or you may have to). Another tool is olmenu, a front-end to uqwk: olmenu kgresham@america.net ftp.america.net:/pub/offline_readers/OLMenu/olmnu117.zip http://www.america.net/~kgresham/olmenu.html Jim Tittsler says: I've added "score" (in YARN format) file processing to uqwk. Articles with negative scores are not added to your uqwk packet. This eliminates the need to run trn before uqwk just to kill off some articles. It is distributed in the form of a source patch to uqwk version 1.8. http://shrine.cyber.ad.jp/~jwt/uqwk I've also created a SOUP<>QWK converter that is intended to allow using a SOUP format reader to be used to read/reply to QWK format packets... in case that is all that is offered by your host. http://shrine.cyber.ad.jp/~jwt/qwksoup/ On the nearby (to you) end, on your machine, there are several offline readers. There are two basic dynamics: either they read the downloaded packet directly, or you run one program to import each packet into a local messagebase and another to read/respond from the messagebase. A "threaded" reader can group related messages together (eg: same subject); unthreaded ones display them in the order received. slnr - SOUP only; MSDOS; packet reader; distributed in C source; colored screens supported; also runs under Unix or Atari or OS/2 offliner - SOUP; MSWindows; beta at present (apparently abandoned) paperboy - SOUP only; MSWindows; packet reader; threaded newswerthy - SOUP; MSDOS; databased; threaded yarn - SOUP only; MSDOS; messagebase reader; threaded; also runs under OS/2 unor - SOUP only; MSWindows; packet reader; unthreaded (sorted by 'Subject:' header) hpv - SOUP only; MSDOS; packet reader? ZipNews Reader - ZipNews only; MSDOS; packet reader; threaded; shareware $20; unregistered version can read netnews only, cannot read email or respond to either any QWK reader - can read QWK plain or QWK header, but most cannot handle all of the internet/usenet fields, or good responses. Not recommended except as a last resort for this reason. Some QWK readers now respect Usenet header formats and these are perfectly acceptable. MANY readers are available, for many machines and OS's. Note that all of these formats, host programs, and offline readers can handle both email and newsgroups; unlike the typical Unix software division of labor, the same program usually does both. There is more information on the formats, readers, and host software later in this document, including file names, authors, and ftp locations. ========= Setting up and configuring the software ========= This can be complicated, and very much depends on the software you are using. You may have to create configuration files (on the DOS and/or Unix end), or set environment variables (likewise, on either or both ends), or use the right set of command line parameters. You may want to create "shell scripts" (on the Unix End) or "batch files" (on the DOS end) to aid you in getting everything set up or called correctly. You will have to read the documents for the software you plan to use. Ask specific questions in the newsgroup if you get confused. This document would be many times longer if I tried to explain all the background and details (well, even that portion thereof which I more or less understand <grin>). You may even need to compile some C program(s) to get started. Some systems are simple (like getnews/postreply/slnr) and fairly obvious to anybody used to the compiler; others like uqwk include a makefile to handle the complexity. Get local help if you cannot figure out how to compile. [See note at end.] ========== Operating Procedure (after set up) =========== Typical usage: Use your terminal program and modem to log in to the Unix host as usual. Run UWQK or getnews with proper parameters to extract news and email and create a 'download' packet. Download the 'download' packet using a modem file transfer protocol like ZMODEM. Log off. For packet reader, run the reader software on the new packet; read & reply For messagebase reader, run the import software on the new packet; then run the reader to read from the messagebase. The reader should create a reply ('upload') packet if you have any responses. Use the terminal program to log in again (or do this next time you download). Upload the reply packet via a modem file transfer protocol like Zmodem. Run 'uqwk' or 'postnews' with the proper parameters to process the reply packet and send email and/or news to the appropriate destinations. Log off. One part not specifically addressed here is the process of moving individual files in the packet into and out of compressed archives. Some aspects may be done automatically, others you may have to do manually (or via batch files). For example, getnews will invoke a configurable archivers (by default, zip), but you have to manually unarchive (unzip, pkunzip) this file on your PC before handing the enclosed files to slnr. Read the docs. Logging in, running the host programs, and downloading/uploading are still your responsibility, so you need to already know how to log on to the host system, and how to download and upload binary files using a protocol like Zmodem. The UQWK and getnews/postreply software must also exist on the Unix host, and be properly configured (these come with doc files). You should understand the idea of compressed archive formats, like .zip files. ========== Basic Questions and Answers ============ Q: What is "subscribing" to a newsgroup? A: This just means that you have it on a list to be read; the list is maintained as a file on the host, and it has both the name of the newsgroup and the list of messages (by number) which you have already read. This file is typically named ".newsrc" and is kept in your host directory. Files beginning with a period are by default not shown, so this is a semi-hidden file; see a book on Unix for more details. Subscribing means the newsgroup names go into this file (one per line), unsubscribing means the name is removed. (Detail: actually, it's subscribed only if the newsgroup name is followed by a colon; if followed by an exclamation point, it is unsubscribed even if listed in the file). Offline reader host programs (getnews and uqwk) also use a file like this for the same purpose (to know which groups are subscribed, and which messages have already been marked as read); they may use the same file, or separate ones. Note that most online newsreaders allow you to subscribe or unsubscribe to newsgroups, and change your .newsrc accordingly (as they also do to show which messages you read). You can also do so with a text editor, as the ".newsrc" file is simple text., and there exist special programs for maintaining this file. Offline host programs may require that you use some online method to maintain your .newsrc (or equivalent)--the online reader, or an editor, or a maintenance program; or they may allow you to subscribe and unsuscribe remotely. For example, the SOUP protocol has explicit options (which may or may not be implemented) for subscribing and unsubscribing, as well as listing newsgroups. Or, the uqwk program can read commands mailed to it as messages. See the documentation. Q: Can I read my mail/news both online (connected to the Unix host via a terminal or terminal emulator and using elm/nn/trn/etc.), and offline (via a packet format and offline reader as described here)? A: Yes, but you need to think out what you are trying to do. Both the online reading programs and the host end of the offline system keep track of which messages you have read or not read. Do you want them to use the same info about this? Or each keep separate pointers? Same info: For news, use the same .newsrc file for both the online news readers (like rn/trn/nn/tin/etc.) and for the host end of the offline system (like uqwk/getnews). Once either of these has read a message, it will be marked not to be presented to you again by either one (unless you take special actions). For mail, have uqwk/getnews delete your incoming mailbox after collecting the messages therein. In this case, each mail message will go to the online or offline reader, whichever gets it first (actually, this is only true if you delete it from the incoming mailbox with the online mail program; if you leave it around, the offline host program will snarf it up when it next runs). Different info: For news, use a different .newrc type file for each; uqwk can be configured to use another one, getnews can be edited and recompiled. You can decide to put some newsgroups into each, allowing some to be read online and some offline. Of you a newsgroup in both such files, in which case the online and offline readers will maintain separate pointers. For mail, configure the offline host program to not delete your mailbox; you will get all mail both offline and online. You can answer this question (using the same or different info about what has been read for online and offline) independently for mail and news. The difference between them is that for news, you only have info about which messages you have already read (in your .newsrc or equivalent file), but the messages (whicha are shared by everybody) stay around for a while and you can still refetch ones you are marked as having read with some minor effort; but for mail, once the messages are deleted from your incoming mailbox (by an online mail program or an offline host program), they are gone, period. Q: I cannot compile getnews.c on my Unix host; it gives two errors, one near "recompile" and another near the "I" command description. A: Version 1.9 of getnews.c is mostly "old" C, but has one ANSI extension which confuses some older C compilers: concentanation of two adjacent quoted strings. This is used for multiline strings in two places. You have to change the second and following strings into separate print statements, matching the first one. Maybe this will be changed in a later version. The problem is your compiler being too old, not bad coding on the author's part. Luckily, this is easy to compensate for. Q: On the PC, "slnr" blows up in strange ways with some newsgroups. A: If the newsgroup name plus description is too long, the stack gets trashed, with unpredictable but unpleasant results. In the function "show_header()", increase the length of the desc[80] array, maybe to 160. Recompile. Q: How do I create a SOUP packet for download with uqwk? A: run the commands: uqwk +n +m +L zip news.zip AREAS *.MSG sz news.zip Q: How do I get my uqwk SOUP replies mailed? A: run the commands: rz ;your comm program will prompt you for the reply packet unzip -U reply.zip uqwk -n -m +L -RREPLIES Q: How do I create a Zipnews packet for download with uqwk? A: run the commands: uqwk +n +m +z zip news.zns <user>.* sz news.zns Q: How do I get my uqwk Zipnews replies mailed? A: run the commands: rz ;your comm program will prompt you for the reply packet unzip -U <host>.pst uqwk -n -m +z -R. Q: How do I find out more about uqwk? A: type the command: man uqwk You can find out which version of uqwk your system is running by typing: uqwk -p Q: uqwk can, under certain circumstances, lose mail. How can I avoid this? A: Use the following script for secure mail locking: #!/bin/sh # # Safe UQWK wrapper -- H.Shrikumar shri@cs.umass.edu 1994 # All rights reserved by the holder of the mail lock file. :-) # ( echo 's1-$' /tmp/qwk$$ ; echo q ) | mail exec uqwk -f/tmp/qwk$$ $* Q. Is it possible to use killfiles with uqwk? (Answered by Larry Caldwell <larryc@teleport.com>) A. Uqwk does not directly support killfiles, but it uses the same .newsrc as trn, which does support killfiles, and is available on almost all unix systems. Just run trn first, then run uqwk and you won't have to download mountains of junk. You can learn the full details of trn kill files in the rn killfile FAQ, which is regularly posted to news.software.readers. Here is a shell script wrapper for trn: # cut here ------------------------------- #!/bin/sh # trnkill - shell script to apply trn KILL files in the background # 14 Mar 89 created for rn by Jim Olsen <olsen@XN.LL.MIT.EDU> # 10 Sep 93 modified for trn 3 (or 2) by Wayne Davison <davison@borland.com> # 16 Nov 94 New version received from Chin Huang <cthuang@io.sys> # # Options: -d debug mode -- you see all gory action as it happens. # # Visit all newsgroups (if trn asks about anything else, just say no) export TRNINIT TRNMACRO RNMACRO TRNINIT='-q -s -T -t -x +X' TRNMACRO=/tmp/trnkill$$ # support for trn 2.x RNMACRO=$TRNMACRO trap 'rm -f $TRNMACRO; exit' 1 2 3 15 cat >$TRNMACRO <<'EOF' z %(%m=[nf]?.q^J:n)^(z^) ^m ^(z^) ^j ^(z^) EOF if test X$1 = X-d; then echo "z" | trn else echo "z" | trn >/dev/null 2>&1 fi rm -f $TRNMACRO exit 0 # cut here ------------------------------- =============== Formats ============= Format: QWK (plain; message body = Usenet message body) Origin: sparky@sparkware.com (Mark "Sparky" Herring), extended by others Version: 1.7 ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/qwklay16.zip QWK format spec Files Dnloaded:CONTROL.DAT,MESSAGES.DAT,*.NDX Files Uploaded:<bbsid>.MSG Unix Host End: uqwk (optional mode) DOS Reader End: any standard QWK reader Advantages: Widely supported standard, many readers available for many machines Compatible with QWK packets from many BBSs and doors uqwk source freely available Disadvantages: QWK format truncates some important fields, is missing others as initially implemented. Some readers overcome this disadvantage. * This is a major problem for posts and replies * *** Format: QWK (w/header; message body = Usenet message header and body) Origin: (see above for basic QWK) Version: 1.7 ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/qwklay16.zip QWK format spec Files Dnloaded:CONTROL.DAT,MESSAGES.DAT,*.NDX Files Uploaded:<bbsid>.MSG Unix Host End: uqwk (default mode) DOS Reader End: [most QWK readers] Advantages: Piggybacks on std QWK, can fallback to previous case With full headers, it's possible to write USENET aware reader uqwk source freely available Disadvantages: Many QWK readers do not make correct use of Usenet headers. Some use headers embedded in the QWK message body, for replies, display, threading, etc. and these are preferred for Usenet use. *** Format: SOUP (formerly Helldiver Packet Format, HDPF or HPF) Origin: meteor@sprintmail.com (Rhys Weatherley) Version: 1.2 ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/soup12.zip SOUP format spec Files Dnloaded: AREAS, *.MSG, *.IDX (typ in INFONEWS.ZIP) Files Uploaded: REPLIES, RMAIL.MSG (typ in REPLY.ZIP) for slnr REPLIES, MAIL.MSG (typ in IOXR.ZIP) for yarn Unix Host End: getnews/postreply from slnr pkg; uqwk DOS Reader End: slnr; yarn; unor; hpv (Helldiver Packet Viewer); offliner Advantages: Format designed for Usenet news/mail, powerful and expandable Full header fields, no truncation Source code freely available for getnews,postreply,slnr,uqwk Largest number of readers for any full-header usenet offline format Disadvantages: The name? email mbn@teleport.com if you have comments on any disadvantages. *** Format: ZipNews format Origin: jkilday@nlbbs.com (Jack Kilday) Version: 0.92y Ftp: (format not publicly documented) Files Dnloaded: Archived file <bbsname>.ZNS contains: <user>.JN, <user>.NWS, <user>.MAI, <user>.GPS Files Uploaded: <bbsname>.pst contains: <user>.id, <user>.* (one for each article or reply) Unix Host End: uqwk Dos Reader End: ZipNews Reader Advantages: Designed to handle usenet messages without omissions or truncations For DOS BBSs, there is a compatible "ZipNews Door" host end Disadvantages: Supported only by ZipNews Reader on DOS, and uqwk on unix hosts Beta only at this time; registration is $19.95 during Beta phase (with free upgrades to later versions) ZipNews unregistered shareware will not post news, read email, or send email, only read news (and send subscribe/unsubscribe cmds) but a 10-day evaluation key can be obtained via email to try out these functions ============= Readers ============ *** Name: 1stReader Author: Mark "Sparky" Herring (sparky@sparkware.com) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200a.zip ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200b.zip ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200c.zip ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200d.zip ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200e.zip ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/1st-200f.zip Notes: QWK format that extracts information from RFC-822 headers *** Name: Crosspoint 3.11 Author: Peter Mandrella (peter@xpoint.ruessel.sub.org) ftp://ftp.ping.at/pub/pc/xpoint/prog/ http://ttrip.worms.fh-rpl.de/xp/ (reviewed by Thomas Riha (rito@site46.ping.at)) Crosspoint (XP) is DOS based and works in several networks (FIDO, Z- Connect, Internet, Usenet...). The Internet, or UUCP, module is by far the easiest to work with program I've seen so far. You don't have to edit config files. Everything is done from inside the program. You only have to fill out a few points, call your provider with crosspoint and the program fixes everything for you. Maybe the problem with XP is that it is a German program but an english version is available since last June (but I'm not sure about the UUCP- module - but I think it's being translated right now). Some english speaking persons use it already - at least there are some english mails in the usenet-group de.comm.software.crosspoint. Next advantage: The registered version is quite cheap (40$) and the non- registered version isn't crippled at all. *** Name: hpv 1.01b Helldiver Packet Viewer Author: meteor@sprintmail.com (Rhys Weatherley) ftp://ftp.halcyon.com:/pub/waffle/news/hpv101b.zip Notes: DOS reader. HDPF format. Reads archived HDPF packet (does its own unarchiving to a temporary and deletes temps on exit). Multiple archiver formats accepted (ZIP/LHA/etc.) Text/Graphical interface (Borland lib). "The Original" SOUP reader (HDPF predates SOUP). *** Name: helldiver 1.07 Helldiver windows Packet Viewer Author: meteor@sprintmail.com (Rhys Weatherley) ftp://ftp.halcyon.com:/pub/waffle/news/helld107.zip Notes: MS Windows viewer. Supports Waffle only. *** NewsWerthy (reviewd by William Werth <billw@eskimo.com> Name: NewsWerthy 2.10 - SOUP format, packet reader, threads on subject. Author: William Werth (billw@eskimo.com) ftp://ftp.eskimo.com:/u/b/billw/nwrth210.zip Available using ncftp with the following command: ncftp ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/b/billw/nwrth210.zip (or with ftp at ftp.eskimo.com in directory /u/b/billw). If the above site is busy during peak hours try any of the Simtel mirror sites. The primary one is ftp.coast.net and it is in the SimTel/msdos/offline directory. Notes: Fully functional, reads news and mail, can send replies to either. Works well when used with uqwk, since it has a built in interface to uqwk commands. Now includes support for mailing lists, including a separate "news" group for the list and an option to reply to the mailing list. *** Name: slnr 1.3 Simple Local News Reader Author: Philippe Goujard (ppg@oasis.icl.co.uk) ftp://ftp.uu.net:/networking/news/readers/off-line/slnr/ Notes: DOS reader. SOUP format. Reads directly from unarchived SOUP packet, directly produces replies. Freely available in source. Packaged along with getnews 1.9 and postreply, which can provide Unix SOUP host functions, also in source format. Has compile options for Unix, OS/2 and Atari based reader. Currently limited to 500 msgs and 100 groups per packet in DOS version, but easy to expand. Can colorize display via ANSI.SYS escape sequences. *** Name: slrn SLRN Newsreader Author: John E. Davis ftp://space.mit.edu/pub/davis/slrn Homepage: http://space.mit.edu/~davis/slrn.html Review courtesy of Tim Kynerd <tim.kynerd@idsc.nu> Brief synopsis: slrn is a threading newsreader based (perhaps loosely) on the good old rn newsreader. The "sl" part comes from the fact that slrn uses the S-Lang library. Both slrn and S-Lang are the work of John E. Davis, also the author of the editor jed. slrn now includes a utility called slrnpull. This can be set up to connect to your news server and pull down new messages for the groups you read. It is not intended to be used for a large news feed, as INN or CNews is, but for a relatively small number of groups. (I read about six groups at home.) My setup is a Linux box with slrn and slrnpull. I have cron jobs set up that go out and connect to my ISP, and pull down news, every x hours. I then read news in slrn (telling it to read news from the spool on my hard disk rather than my news server). Responses are placed into a directory under the spool called out.going, and are automatically posted the next time slrnpull runs (unless you tell it not to). Slrnpull is the easiest piece of software to configure that I have ever seen (and I'm a systems consultant). *** Name: yarn 0.85 (Yet Another RN) Author: cthuang@io.org (Chin Huang) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/yarn_085.zip (DOS) ftp://ftp.nation.org:/pub/offline/* (DOS and OS/2) ftp://hobbes.NMSU.edu:/os2/comm/yrn2_085.zip (OS/2) ftp://ftp-os2.cdrom.com:/pub/os2/bbs/yrn2_084.zip (OS/2) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/win3/offline/winyrn71.zip (Windows) Notes: DOS and OS/2 reader. SOUP format (fully Usenet compliant). Netnews and mail. Imports SOUP packets into its own messagebase format, date expires old messages; reader operates on messagebase rather than SOUP packet. No source. *** Name: Offliner for Windows 0.06b Usenet Offline Reader Author: harknesb@metronet.com (Barry L. Harkness) ftp://ftp.oslonett.no:/gopher/Software/Windows/Comm/Offline/ol06b.zip [maintenance apparently abandoned 9/95. mbn] Notes: MS Windows Reader. SOUP format. Currently in beta test. *** Name: unor 0.31 Usenet Offline Reader Author: rrusbasa@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Bob Rusbasan) ftp://ftp.gte.com:/pub/unor/unor0031.zip Notes: MS Windows Reader. SOUP format. *** Name: znr 0.93b ZipNews Reader Author: jkilday@nlbbs.com (Jack Kilday) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/znr093b.zip ftp://ftp.halcyon.com:/pub/waffle/news/znr092y.zip (old version) ftp://ftp.gte.com:/pub/zipnews/znr093b.zip Notes: DOS reader. ZipNews format, or local Waffle BBS messagebase. Proprietary format; DOS based host also available (ZipNews Door). $19.95 shareware. Fully Usenet compliant. *** Name: pboy 2.06 PaperBoy Author: vart@clark.net (Michael H. Vartanian) ftp://ftp.clark.net:/pub/vart/pboy206.zip Notes: MS Windows based. SOUP Reader. *** Information submitted by Kathy Morgan <kmorgan@polarnet.com> Name: MacSOUP Author: Stefan Haller File size is 633K, $20 shareware This site has an informational paragraph written by the author, Stefan Haller, and it is a download site: http://www.snafu.de/~stk/macsoup/ A longer informational paragraph and link to Stefan Haller's download site is available at: http://www.blol.com/web_mnj/060196/macsoupjune.html This site mentions MacSOUP, toadnews and rnmac as SOUP readers for Macintosh. http://www.nic.com/~cannon/winsock.html#mac Another site ftp: http://www6.zdnet.com/cgi-bin/texis/swlib/mac/infomac.html?fcode=MC14326 Kathy adds the following review: All I can offer is my experience after some initial difficulty in configuring my system to use MacSOUP, I find that it is *much* faster in downloaded the newsgroups than other newsreaders I've tried by at least an order of magnitude (Newswatcher, YA Newswatcher, another I can't remember the name of, and Netscape, all on-line readers). MacSOUP can be used with unix accounts, slip accounts, or PP/TCP type connections. (I've got the last, so of course I haven't tried it with the other two.) My difficulty in configuring was that the news password and news user name had to be deleted from my Internet Config file in order to access my particular news server. Information about this is in the manual; some servers need the password and user name, other servers do not want it. ============ Utility Software for Offline Readers ========== *** Name: Bus V0.12 Author: bobr@mcs.com (Robert P. Rush) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/bus-012.zip Notes: Bus-012 (v0.12) - Bus works with uqwk's summary mode to select threads based on the subject line. Bus will take the summary file produced by uqwk and match subject lines to produce threads. It will then use a full-screen format to present these threads for selection. Includes bug fixes; improvements for blind users. Freeware. Robert P. Rush bobr@mcs.com *** Name: DDigest ddig-006.zip Extract articles from digest mailing lists. Author: bobr@mcs.com (Robert P. Rush) ftp://ftp.coast.net:/SimTel/msdos/offline/ddig-005.zip DDigest (De-Digest) will extract individual articles from a digest format mailing list and place these articles into a rnews packet to be imported into an offline news reader. DDigest will find these digests in either a mail packet (in soup format), or a Yarn folder. It uses regular expressions when searching for the digest and when looking for separators between articles. ============ Unix based Host Software for Offline Readers ========== Name: uqwk 1.8 Unix QWK host Author: seb3@gte.com (Steve Belczyk) ftp://ftp.gte.com:/pub/uqwk/uqwk1.8.tar.Z ftp://ftp.clark.net:/pub/vart/uqwk.binary.solaris.nntp ftp://ftp.clark.net:/pub/vart/uqwk.binary.solaris.spool Notes: Unix host. SOUP, ZipNews, QWK and QWK/header in body formats. The compiled Solaris versions are available for those without a compiler. Jeroen Scheerder <js@xs4all.nl> writes: I have a set of patches available that implement NNTP authentication for uqwk, includes Jim Tittsler's score code (with bugfixes); it fixes dozens of other bugs, and behaves much better. New URL: <http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Ejs/warez/uqwk++.tar.gz> It's in late beta now, and will be `uqwk 2.0' soon, having major new features and being pretty much rewritten and cleaned up. *** Name: getnews, postreply ftp://ftp.uu.net:/networking/news/readers/off-line/slnr/ Notes: Unix host. SOUP format. Source freely available. Packaged with slnr reader. *** There's a Linux qwk reader available. I'm not sure if there's a version for your system, but the source is available, and porting shouldn't be difficult. ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/system/BBS/mail/atp142src.tar.gz ============ Win95 Software for Offline Readers ========== I confess to not following Win95 very closely. The following home page has several tools for offline reading on Win95. Further submissions are welcome: http://www.itribe.net/virtunix/ Review by ebutcher@ashmount.com: Here are the details of Virtual Access a news and mail reader for MSWindows 3.x, 95 and NT. Virtual Access can be found at http://www.vamail.com http://www.ashmount.com Brief Feature List of VA: * Internet access - newsgroups and mail. * Multiple services - to serve multiple ISPs or multiple remote accounts (Service aliasing) * Kill-files & Get-files (excludes unwanted material from Internet downloads, selected by name or subject). * Connection Scheduler - set up connections for a specific time, or when a given number of actions are awaiting upload. * Build & Prune Scheduler - perform these administrative tasks overnight or at weekends. * Mail Rules - sort your incoming mail according to the address or the subject. * Auto-decoding of incoming Uuencoded and MIME-encoded material. * Attach File/Auto Uuencoding or MIME-encoding - now much easier to send files across the network, across dial-up services, and beyond. * Extensive user configurability. * Comms Wizards - to aid the initial configuration of services. * New Spelling Checker - no more excuse for speeling misteaks! ===================================================================== The author of this document is Zhahai Stewart (zstewart@nyx.cs.du.edu), with helpful contributions from: seb3@gte.com (Steve Belczyk) jkilday@nlbbs.com (Jack Kilday) mbn@teleport.com (Mike Northam) Russell_Schulz@locutus.ofB.ORG (Russell Schulz) --------------- -- mbn@teleport.COM Public Access User --- Not affiliated with Teleport Mike Northam coords: 123 11' 40"W 45 37'14"N O- http://www.teleport.com/~mbn/ for Blazers stuff and more [not line noise] Free Randal Schwartz! email fund@stonehenge.com for details