Chapter 14



News Xpress 1.0 Beta #2


Quick Reminder: News Xpress is a Usenet newsreader that does a nice job of threading. It will retrieve news from an NNTP news server at your Internet access provider.

Tasks:

  1. Launch and configure News Xpress
  2. Subscribe to some useful newsgroups
  3. Read articles in one of the subscribed groups
  4. Post a message into one of the subscribed groups


Launch and Configure News Xpress


  1. Make sure that you are connected to the Internet using your WinSock TCP/IP stack, which is probably NetManage's Custom application.
  2. Double-click on the News Xpress icon.

    News Xpress launches.

  3. From the Configure menu, choose Setup. News Xpress will bring up the Setup dialog box with most of the configurable options for News Xpress in it (see figure 14.8).
  4. Figure 14.8: News Xpress Setup dialog.

  5. In the News Server box, type in the name of the news server (also known as NNTP server) as given to you by your Internet access provider. Leave the following box set to 119 -- this is the TCP port number for NNTP, and if you change it News Xpress probably won't work for you.
  6. In the SMTP Mail Relay box, type in the name of the mail host for your site, again from the information you received from your Internet access provider.
  7. In the Fullname box, type in your full name.
  8. In the E-Mail box, type in your email address.
  9. Skipping down to the bottom, in the Time Zone box, type in the time zone string for your local time. The format of this is roughly, TTT#DDD, where TTT is your local time zone, # is the offset from GMT, and DDD is the daylight savings time zone. For the west coast of the continental U.S., this would be PST8PDT, while the east coast would be EST5EDT.
  10. Click on the OK button to save what you have just typed.

The other options available in the Setup dialog are typically not necessary for simple newsreading, but feel free to explore the help file for their definitions.


Subscribe to Some Useful Newsgroups


  1. From the File menu, choose Connect. News Xpress asks if you want to retrieve the active newsgroups from the server. If this is your first time running News Xpress, you must click on the Yes button and wait for it to download several thousand newsgroup names.
  2. In the Filter box of the Newsgroups dialog, type comp.os.ms so that we only have to sift through the Microsoft Windows groups for now.
  3. Click on the check box by comp.os.ms-windows.misc
  4. Scroll down to comp.os.ms-windows.networking.tcpip and click on this group as well.
  5. Figure 14.9: Subscribing to newsgroups.

  6. Click on the Done button to save these newsgroups.

You are now subscribed to a couple of Windows-related newsgroups, as well as three newsgroups suggested for reading by new Usenet readers.


Read Articles in One of the Subscribed Groups


  1. Double-click on the group comp.os.ms-windows.misc. News Xpress loads the article subject lines and authors for the current group and displays them in a new window (see figure 14.10).
  2. Figure 14.10: Article headers.

  3. Choose an interesting thread and double-click on that thread. Threads are distinguished from single articles by the folder icon on the left. I chose the thread titled "Change GIF/Jpg to BMP."
  4. Double-click on the first article in the expanded list.
  5. Figure 14.11: Article window.

  6. Read the article if it looks interesting. This is the whole purpose of this exercise up to now. Undoubtedly you will find many interesting and insightful items herein, although there's no guarantee for any specific article or group.
  7. To read the next article, you can either find it in the headers window or click on the > symbol in the toolbar at the top.

Now you have read some news in the Windows newsgroups! You can read from another newsgroup either by closing up your current article windows and double-clicking on a new group, or by simply starting on a new group while you still have the first one on the screen. Since you are already subscribed to news.announce.newusers, you might want to read through that to pick up some hints on proper newsreading.


Post a Message into One of the Subscribed Groups


Before I get into the steps for posting an article from News Xpress, you must find a proper place to post it. If you have no special question to ask in an appropriate newsgroup, but still wish to post a test article to see whether it works, you must find a test newsgroup. A typical test group to use for this is alt.test, so we will use that for our example. Posting to alt.test can have some interesting side effects as well, such as automated replies to your email address trickling in from around the globe to verify that your news posting is indeed getting distributed.

  1. Subscribe and open the alt.test newsgroup.
  2. From the Articles menu, select Post.
  3. In the Post window, fill in a subject line -- just type the subject of your post after the header Subject. In our case, use Test Post.
  4. Below the headers, start typing in your message to be posted. You are posting to a group that almost nobody actually reads, so the text of this message doesn't really matter, but I like to make it witty just in case (see figure 14.12).
  5. Figure 14.12: Post window.

  6. From the File menu, choose Send.
  7. Click on the OK button when asked if you are ready to send.

That's it -- you have just shot a message off to thousands and thousands of machines all over the world to be read by hundreds of thousands of people and in general be torn limb from limb. It's not quite as bad as all that because we chose a test group, but if you post an original item to a more well-read group or reply to someone else's article, keep in mind the huge number of readers that will see your message and probably have an opinion of their own about what you said.

You've now seen the essentials of using News Xpress. There's lots more to learn about this program, and it's a rewarding journey, so keep playing with it and reading news. You may even find something useful lying about in Usenet news.


WS_FTP 95.01.22


Quick Reminder: WS_FTP is an FTP client. It will connect to FTP sites on the Internet and transfer files both to and from your PC.

Tasks:

  1. Launch and configure WS_FTP, setting up a new FTP site to connect to
  2. Connect to ftp.tidbits.com and retrieve a file
  3. Connect to a preconfigured site and retrieve a file


Launch and Configure WS_FTP, Setting Up a New FTP Site to Connect To


  1. Make sure you are connected to the Internet -- connect with your WinSock stack, probably NetManage's Custom.
  2. Double-click on the WS_FTP icon.

    WS_FTP launches, presenting you with the last session profile used.

  3. Click on the New button to start filling in a session profile for TidBITS.
  4. Type TidBITS into the Profile Name box.
  5. Type ftp.tidbits.com into the Host Name box.
  6. Check the Anonymous Login checkbox.
  7. Type anonymous into the User ID box.
  8. Type your email address into the Password box.
  9. Enter /pub/tiskwin into the Remote Host box.
  10. Click on the Save button to store this new configuration.
  11. Click Cancel to close the Session Profile dialog box.
  12. Figure 14.13: Session Profile dialog.

  13. Click on the Options button to open the Option dialog.
  14. Click on the Program Options button and then type in your email address in the Email Address box in the center of the Program Options dialog.
  15. Click on the Save button to store this new setting.
  16. Click on the Exit button to leave the Options dialog.

That's all the configuration that you should need to run WS_FTP. WS_FTP needs your email address so it can automatically fill that in as a password when you choose to perform an anonymous FTP. This is considered good form, and more and more FTP servers require your email address as the password.


Connect to ftp.tidbits.com and Retrieve a File


  1. Click on the Connect button in the main window of WS_FTP.
  2. Choose the profile name TidBITS from the Profile Name dialog.
  3. Click on the OK button to connect to TidBITS.
  4. Scroll through the file listing until you find wtalk11.zip and then select it.
  5. Transfer wtalk11.zip to your local PC by clicking on the left arrow button.

That's it. In a few seconds, the wtalk11.zip file will be on your PC in the directory indicated on the left-hand or Local System side. You can then unzip the file and run Windows Talk.


Connect to a Preconfigured Site and Retrieve a File


  1. Click on Connect in the main window and choose Finger from the Profile Name dialog.
  2. Verify that the UserID is anonymous and the Password is your email address; if not, fill in the appropriate data.
  3. Click on the OK button to connect to sparky.umd.edu.
  4. Scroll the lower window on the Remote System side of the dialog box to find the file that you seek, in this case finger31.zip.
  5. Click on the left-pointing arrow to transfer this file to your local PC.

Figure 14.14: Transferring a file.

Transferring files from your local PC to the remote machine is left as an exercise for the reader, but I will give one broad hint. Use the right-pointing arrow. With these few commands, you have mastered most of the things that you will ever do with WS_FTP. There are some interesting things that you can discover by clicking on the LogWnd button and watching the Log Window as your transactions take place, but the essentials are all as described previously.