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Configuring NewsWatcher

NewsWatcher allows a user to access the Internet News Groups (Usenet). The News Groups are single-subject message boards where users write "posts" in a running conversation(s) about the topic. NewsWatcher requires a Macintosh running System 7.0 or later with 2.5 megabytes or more of memory. The anonymous FTP site for the program and the user document is ftp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/newswatcher/. The helper programs used by NewsWatcher are available via anonymous FTP at ftp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/newswatcher/helpers/.

The majority of complaints regarding Internet pornography regard Usenet boards. For those who do not wish to explore such areas, we advise staying away from any boards containing such words as "alt.sex" (general sexual discussion), "sex.binaries" or "binaries.erotica" (sexually explicit graphics). Despite media sensationalism, users can NOT unintentionally be exposed to sexually explicit graphics on ANY News Group - the user must at least choose to open the article with newer versions of NewsWatcher, or even download, decode, and open the graphic on a special viewer with older versions of NewsWatcher.

For those who wish to use the Usenet but are concerned about younger family members accessing boards carrying pornography or other materials deemed inappropriate, several products are available for parents to lock out certain News Groups. These include Surfwatch, Net Nanny, Cyber Sitter, and Cyberpatrol, all of which may be purchased at local software stores, or ordered by mail. Surfwatch is downloadable on the Internet from www.surfwatch.com at a cost of $19.95. Net Nanny can be downloaded from www.netnanny.com for $19.95. Cyberpatrol can be downloaded from www.cyberpatrol.com on either a single-copy or updatable subscription basis.

When NewsWatcher is opened for the first time, it puts up a list of all the available (over 20,000!) News Groups. Configuring NewsWatcher involves selecting a "first cut" of which boards the user wants to access, since it takes a long time to bring up the full list every time the user opens NewsWatcher. The user should also set certain preferences the first time NewsWatcher is used. While the Preferences are too numerous to cover in this section, the most important ones will be explained.

  • 1.Open NewsWatcher. Double-click on the NewsWatcher icon. Nothing will happen for a long time, because NewsWatcher is trying to read the list of all the 20,000+ News Groups. Eventually, a long list of "New Boards" will appear.
  • 2.Select "New Group Window". Click on the File menu at the menu bar at the top of the monitor. Select "New Group Window." A blank window will open.
  • 3.Select the News Groups that sound the most interesting. Read through the list of News Groups. Each time a title sounds interesting, click on it and drag it into the blank window.
  • 4.Save your News Groups list. Click on the File menu at the menu bar at the top of the monitor. Select "Save As..." and tell the computer what to call the new list and where to put it. If you later decide that you want to get rid of certain News Groups or add others, this decision is not permanent. You can also set up multiple lists later, if you want to break up an over-long list.
  • 5.Select "Preferences...". Click on the File menu at the menu bar at the top of the monitor. Select "Preferences...". A window will open
  • 6.Select "Newsreading Options". Click on the Topic menu at the top of the window and select "Newsreading Options." We suggest selecting "Show authors," "Collapse threads," and "Stop at end of subject list". The maximum number of articles to fetch is usually best set at between 200 and 400.
  • 7.Select "Server Addresses". Click on the Topic menu at the top of the window and select "Server Addresses." In the "News Server" box, type news.skypoint.com. In the "Mail Server" box, type smtp.skypoint.com.
  • 8.Select "Personal Information". Click on the Topic menu at the top of the window and select "Personal Information." Type Your Name as you want other users to see it in your posts to the News Groups in the "Full name" box. If desired, type Your Organization Name in the "Organization" box. Type your E-mail Address at SkyPoint in the "Email address" box so that others can send you e-mail regarding your posts.
  • 9. Select "Authentication". NOTE: this step is OPTIONAL. It will permanently save your Username and Password so that you will not need to manually type it in every time you connect to the News Group server. If you are concerned about the security of your account, or if you, your family, or your organization have more than one SkyPoint account that will be accessed through this computer, you should NOT set this option.

    Click on the Topic menu at the top of the window and select "Authentication." Type the Username you were given by SkyPoint in the "Username" box. Type the Password you were given by SkyPoint in the "Password" box. Select the "Authenticate only when requested" and the "Save password" buttons.

  • 10.Select "Miscellaneous Options". Click on the Topic menu at the top of the window and select "Miscellaneous Options." Select "Check for new groups at startup." This will let NewsWatcher check if any new News Groups have been added to the master list since you last checked the news, and ask you if you want to add any of them to your personal News Group list(s). Normally between 10 and 30 new groups are added daily.
  • 11.Select "OK". Click the "OK" button on the lower right side of the window.

 

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