unofficial abma/aba faq
Annotated :: Single Page/Plain :: Text :: Notes

1. Preface
2. Introduction
3. Newsgroups
4. Encoding
     a. uu
     b. mime
     c. yEnc
5. Archives
     a. .rar/.r##/.part##.rar
     b. RAR recovery
     c. .ace/.c##
     d. .###
     e. .zip
6. Support Files
     a. .sfv
     b. .par/.p##
     c. .rev
     d. .idx/.sub/.ifo
     e. .smi/.ssa/.srt
     f. .nfo/.txt/.md5
7. Newsreaders
8. Posting
     a. Bad Requests
9. Auto-Posters
10. Hentai
11. Formats/codecs
     a. avi/ogm
     b. mpeg4
     c. mpg
     d. rm
     e. audio
     f. linux
12. News servers
13. Software
14. Appendices
     a. About the FAQ
     b. Mirroring the FAQ

The new home of the FAQ is http://animeusenet.org/wiki/.

This site exists only for historical/archival purposes.

7. What's a good newsreader?

News Clients (Newsreaders) [Keikai, xo, Myen]

Access to usenet is established through the news client. The most common news clients are those embedded within Outlook Express and Netscape Navigator. Both of these, however, are completely inadequate for dealing with binary usenet groups. Many of the problems that new AB(M)A users encounter are the result of using one of these two news clients.

Below are listed some of the more popular news clients used by experienced AB(M)A denizens. No single news client is ideal for all situations, even within just AB(M)A. Some users even use a combination of two clients, one for reading and responding to text messages and the other for monitoring and downloading the binaries.




News Client descriptions and usage notes

Agent/Free Agent

For Windows, Agent (http://www.forteinc.com) is very good. It is not free though. The free version, Free Agent, is usable but lacks some valuable features like sorting by subject line.

Usage Notes: [inc]

1. Combining segments from multiple posts/servers:

In Agent, segments from a given Part can be retained in a work folder and later combined with other segments from a different post of the same part. Segments (or Sections) are the actual individual messages that are propagated by Usenet. You see them as something like foobar.r03 (4/16). This segment would be the fourth message of the sixteen that make up the RAR part foobar.r03. If you have an incomplete part (say, only 14 of 16 segments of foobar.r03 made it), they can be saved to a work area within Agent and later combined with segments from a repost of that part. (To make a work folder, be in the Groups/Folders window. Right-click and chose New Folder.)
When you have segments to retain:
  • Select the RAR part that has the messages you are going to save.
  • Choose "Message / Split sections"
  • Select all the segments to save.
  • Do "Online / Get selected message bodies."
  • Right-click the messages and "Copy to Folder"
Then, later, if the part is reposted, but is again incomplete, you can check if the segments missing from the first post made it, if they did, save them to the same work area.
Once you have all the segments in the work folder.
  • Select all the messages that make up the part
  • Right-click and "Join sections"
  • Verify the order & "Join"
The only requirement is that the poster is sending with the same segment size on both posts (and, preferably, with the same software & version).
This method can, of course, also be used to combine segments of the same part post from different servers.
2. Missing messages
Your server may be loading messages out of numeric ID order. By default, Agent just checks the ID of the last message you have and grabs headers from there on. If any new messages went on the server that has a lower id, you don't see them unless you do a "Get all headers."
There is an option in Agent that can cure this: "Options / User & System / System / Server creates messages out of order" ==> Checked.
Agent will then check for holes in the message ID list. Obviously slower, but you won't miss anything. Free Agent doesn't have this option - instead you have to open a newsgroup with the "download all headers in selected groups" command.
Another site with good explanations of how to use Agent is at http://www.freepicgirl.com/nero-x/


Usage Notes [Myen]

Just remember to hold shift when starting ZeoNews if you want to access database repairing utilities. And to wait a while after it quits to make sure it quits properly (after a little box shows up with a progress bar similar to loading).

NewsGrabber [Severin]

For people with access to more than one news server, NewsGrabber, [shareware, currently $17 and it's worth it IMHO] from TronTech at www.news-grabber.com carries the Severin Seal Of Approval. While not as easy to use as Agent or News Express this thing is AMAZING in that it can piece together complete posts from parts gathered from any of the servers you tell it about. ex: a 15 part article, with M1Jax having 1, 4-6, and 14; M1Naples having 1-3, 11, 13-15; M1Pompano having 7; AirNews having 1-6, 8-10; and EasyNews having 8-15 is complete from NewsGrabber's point of view. @home users may find this particularly useful, since I understand that all of their news servers are available to all of their customers.

Xnews [Meep Meep, ox]

A excellent newsreader for binaries is Xnews, available at http://xnews.newsguy.com/ - It is currently freeware.

It works best as an on-line browser, which is fine for people who have constant-on connections (cable, dsl, etc).

Usage Notes [Meep Meep, Planet Destroyer]

It can be a little bit cryptic to use at first, but the manual is very clear. For downloading binaries, parts can be downloaded and held in an 'archive' while you are waiting for the rest of a post, and assembled afterwards (this really helps on @home servers, where early parts of a post usually expire before the last parts of a post).

A newer feature is the 'q-archive' which does not download parts but can let you queue up article parts across multiple servers and then download them. Very cool (and space efficient).

Segment Downloading with XNews; Select the broken files, Menu: Transfer - Binaries [when the download is complete you can goto] Menu: Folder - Binaries (here the broken parts 'll show up) -Make a ATTN: 'Posters nick', please fill missing segments (inside)- -(inside)=your missing segments in the body of the message - Segment(s) iS/are Posted.... Select the missing parts Menu: Transfer - Binaries [when the download is complete you can goto] Menu: Folder - Binaries (all parts are joined and can be selected as normal)

PAN (Pimp Ass Newsreader, Linux) [darkwire, xo]


This is the newsreader I use for all my NG sessions under Linux. It is very similar to XNews and Agent and seems to have taken the best features from both. It is currently a work in progress, and requires a fair amount of memory and resources to run. Since it is beta, it does segfault occasionally, or gets a hung thread. But otherwise, I use it as my *only* newsreader, so I rely on it solely for all my news needs. PAN does not support binary posting.

MT-News Watcher [xo, PeterCat]

Pretty slick for the occasional downloader. If you plan to get binaries on a regular basis, look into a program like NewsHunter, although when I tried it recently it performed rather sluggishly compared with MT-NewsWatcher - the downloads were so slow it could never keep up with the new posts on the newsgroup.

Usage Notes [PeterCat]

  • A tip for Macintosh users with MT-NewsWatcher: If you set the newsgroup to sort by Subject and also thread by Subject, with threads collapsed, MT-NewsWatcher will group all the articles for each part of a multi-part post on one line, and indicate in the Score (S) column in the newsgroup window whether all the articles for that part have arrived:
  • A blank means all the articles for that part are available;
  • a < (less-than) sign means some articles are missing;
  • a checkmark means you've read (downloaded) all articles in that part already;
  • a dash means you've somehow read (or marked read) some of the articles but not others, and some are still missing;
  • a dot means you've read (or marked read) some of the articles but not others, and all articles in the part are available, which usually happens to me when I've downloaded an incomplete part by mistake.
So it's easy to just select the lines with a blank Score indicating the complete parts, and hit command-B to start downloading in one go. (You can do this several times and have several downloads going at once, although of course all of them share your connection bandwidth.) Then check back in 12 hours or so to see if any of the remaining parts are complete yet, and download them.

nget (*nix) [xo 2001-07-26]

The author's brief description from the home page (http://www.azstarnet.com/~donut/programs/nget.html) reads:

nget is a command line nntp file grabber. It automatically pieces together multipart postings for easy retrieval, even substituting parts from multiple servers. Handles disconnects gracefully, resuming after the last part succesfully downloaded.

As a command-line client, it's not for GUI seekers or the faint of heart, but for those interested in automating the newsgrabbing process, it can be very powerful. The man page is very dense but thorough but those comfortable under Unix should be up and running with a little effort.


User Contributed Notes

2003-02-06 06:07am
NewsGrabber or ZeoNews has all but gone under but you can still reach them at http://trontech.net/b2
2003-02-13 04:20pm
Add the following section:

NewsBin Pro is a binary newsreader. It downloads, decodes,
and reassembles any binary attachment including movies,
music, pictures, even software. If any combination of servers
or groups has a complete file, NewsBin will download it
because it has the feature of re-assembling files
across servers and groups.
2003-04-28 06:41pm
A very much underated newsreader is BNR2. http://www.bnr2.org/. Its available for Windows and Linux (version is older). The UI is simple, non windows and a bit ugly, but very powerfull. It supports multiple newsservers and combines them to one logical one. Advanced features like 'filechecking'. It remembers ALL files you've ever dl-ed) and warns when you try to dl the same one (ideal for large picture/mp3 groups). When looking at an article behind it is show on which servers (if you use more then one) it resides. Very handy for checking quality of a server. Best newsreader yet for my requirements. Largest DRAWBACK is the fact that with large quantiteis of data (large newsgroups and/or many newsgroups) the database tends to get corrupted. After 7 months I gave up and swithced to newspro and paid for it. BNR2 is free. BNR2 has no xpat support, you can't post with it and support for text-threads is non-existent. Its for dl only. My dream newsreader would be BNR2 interface/capabilties with the stable database of newspro. Extended with xpath support.
2003-05-01 02:50pm
I know that it isn't advisable to use Outlook Express as a newsreader/binary leeching program, but since there are many ppl consisting of using this program you may find the following text usefull for your FAQ; Outlook Express & Combine and Decode multipart-binaries Binary Posts. Binary posts can arrive in News in several parts. Use the CONTROL key and the mouse to select each of the postings that make up the whole message. Then either select Tools - Combine and Decode or simply right click on the highlighted articles to bring up a drop down menu that includes the Combine and Decode option. News then will prompt you for the correct order in which the articles must be reassembled. Using this approach, you also can select multiple posts, e.g., Article A, Disk 1 (1 of 2); Article A, Disk 1 (2 of 2); Article A, Disk 2 (1 of 3); Article A, Disk 2 (2 of 3); and Article A, Disk 2 (3 of 3). If you highlight all of these and select Combine and Decode, the article will pop up with both separate parts at the bottom. Printing and Saving Multiple News Messages as One Message. To save multiple messages in a newsgroup so that you can print them and read them later as one message, connect to your news server, highlight the first message in the newsgroup and then use Edit | Select All. Right click on the mouse and select Combine and Decode. A list containing all the headers pops up so that you can reorganize the contents on a per message basis. This will give you the ability to follow the threads better. After clicking OK, OE will download all the selected messages, decode them, organize them as you requested and combine them into single message, from which you can print or save the contents. Note that if you do not use File | Save As, the combined and decoded messages will not be saved anywhere and you will have to engage in the foregoing procedure again. L8r, Planet_Destroyer
2003-05-01 03:06pm
XNews configuration pages ; http://www.seegras.de/xnews/index.htm or http://www.geocities.com/d4vidb/ or http://abmefaq.net/XNews_Primer.html or http://xnews.newsguy.com/sizer/index.html
2003-12-15 06:37pm
Suggestion: Add BNR2 to the list of newsreaders. http://www.bnr2.org
Vlad Romanz
2004-07-26 08:24pm
http://www.newsreaders.info/ also has more links to active newsreader applications. Introducing Usenet to new users including: brief history, recommended free newsreaders, and where to find newsgroup service providers.
2005-03-17 10:17pm
For Mac OS X, there's Unison. http://www.panic.com/unison/
2005-11-25 07:03pm
newsleecher is probably the best newsreader i have ever used in windows. can be used for text and binary downloads. http://www.newsleecher.com/
Usenet newsreader
2006-02-13 09:24pm
Another Windows freeware Usenet newsreader application is NomadNews located at http://www.nomadnews.com/