Technical Support Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ's about NewsWatcher

What is NewsWatcher ?
Configuring NewsWatcher
Subscribing and unsubscribing
Subscribe to newsgroups
Unsubscribe from a newsgroup
Reading news
Saving an article
Posting an article
Post an original article
Respond to an existing article
Encoding and decoding binary files
Working with a UNIX .newsrc
Searching and finding
For more information

Q. What is NewsWatcher ?

A. NewsWatcher is a newsreader for the Macintosh. Using NewsWatcher you can read and post articles in over 25,000 Usenet newsgroups. For a more detailed description of what NEWS is and for more general information about NEWS, see the "news" help file.

Q. Configuring NewsWatcher ?


  1. When you first open NewsWatcher, you see a dialog box asking for server information.

    a) For "News Server" type "".
    b) For "Mail Server" type "".
    c) Click OK.

  2. The Personal Information dialog box opens. Information you type in this dialog box appears in the header of any news article or mail you send using NewsWatcher.

    a) For "Full name" type your full name. (Note: This is optional.)
    b) For "Organization" type the name of your organization. (Note: This is optional.)
    c) For "Email address" type your email address. (Note: This is NOT optional.)

    Your email address is your username followed by "". For example, my username is "jdoe" so I would type "".

    d) Click OK.

Note: If this is not the first time you open NewsWatcher, these dialog boxes do not appear automatically. To open them:

  1. Choose Preferences from the File menu.
  2. Choose Server Addresses or Personal Information from the Topic menu in the Preferences dialog box.

The first time you open NewsWatcher, when you finish configuring the Server and Personal Informaton settings, the Full Group List window appears. This contains a list of every group Access carries. You may have to wait a few minutes for the list to be complete, but NewsWatcher only has to do this once. When you open NewsWatcher in the future you will not have to wait.

Q. Subscribing and unsubscribing ?

A. To subscribe to newsgroups:

  1. Choose New Group List from the File menu.
  2. An "Untitled" window appears.

    Note: If an "Untitled" window does not appear, and you do not already have a group list file, choose New Group Window from the File menu.

  3. Select a newsgroup in the "Full Group List" window.
  4. Choose the Subscribe command from the Special menu.

    Note: You can also click on the name in the "Full Group List" window and drag it into the "Untitled" window.

  5. The newsgroup appears in the "Untitled" window.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for other newsgroups.
  7. Save your personalized newsgroup list.

    a) Click on the "Untitled" window to make it active.
    b) Choose Save from the File menu.
    c) Name the list of newsgroups.
    d) Click OK.

You can create more than one newsgroup list file. You may want one for work and one for personal interests. You can have lots of lists, or have all your newsgroups in one list. It's your choice.

To unsubscribe from a newsgroup:

  1. Select the name.
  2. Choose Unsubscribe from the Special menu.

You can also click on the newsgroup name and press the Delete or Backspace key.

Q. Reading news ?

A. NewsWatcher groups articles into threads. A thread consists of an article, and any follow-up articles with the same subject. When you open a newsgroup, you see a list of threads. Open a thread to read the articles in it.

To read news articles

  1. Double-click on the newsgroup name.
  2. A window containing a list of threads opens.

    The list of threads tells how many articles there are in a thread, and who wrote the first article in the thread. A hyphen means there is only one article, and a small triangle means there are more than one.

  3. To see the entire thread, click on the triangle.

    The triangle turns to point down, and all the articles in the thread show.

  4. To read an article, double-click on the article name.
  5. The article window opens.

    The article's header tells the author's email address, the date the article was posted, and the newsgroups it was posted to. It may also tell the author's real name and organization. If the article is part of a thread, the header tells you which article you are reading, and how many there are in the thread.

  6. You have several options:

    Scroll through the article.
    Choose the Next Article command from the News menu to read the next article.
    Choose the Next Thread command from the News menu to skip to the next thread in the newsgroup.
    Choose the Next Group command from the News menu to skip to the next newsgroup in your list.

You can read newsgroups in the "Full Group List" window as well as in your subscribed newsgroups list(s).

Q. Saving an article ?


  1. Select the article name or open the article.
  2. Choose Save from the File menu.
  3. Name the file and open the folder you want to save it in.
  4. Click on OK.

You can also append another article to an existing file by choosing the Append command from the File menu.

Q. Posting an article ?

A. You can post an original article, or you can respond to someone else's article.

Post an original article

  1. Choose New Message from the News menu.

  2. There are three icons across the top of the window. You can check one, two, or all three options.

    a) Check the "news" icon to send the article to the designated newsgroups.
    b) Check the "mail" icon to send the article to people via email.
    c) Check the "self" icon (looks like a face) to send the article to yourself via email.

  3. Fill in the header. The header shown in the example is what you see when all three icons are checked (all three options are active).

    a) For "Newsgroups" type one or more newsgroup names.

    If you type more than one name, separate the names using commas. For example, "accesscom.general,".

    If you are posting the article to more than one newsgroup, list them all now rather than sending it separately to each newsgroup. Posting a message to more than one newsgroup is called "cross-posting". It is polite to cross-post when you are posting the same message to different groups. For more information about crossposting, please see the crossposting support file.

    b) If you are sending email copies of the article, type the email address on the "To" line.

    To send the article to more than one email recipient, type all the addresses, separated by commas.

    c) Type a brief description of the article on the "Subject" line. The more specific you are, the more likely interested people are to notice and read your article.

  4. Write the article.
  5. Click on the Send button.

Sometimes when you try to post the news server does not accept the article. The most likely problem is that the news spool is full. Please let us know, and then wait until there is room in the news spool for your article.

Respond to an existing article

When you reply to an existing article, you can post a follow-up article or send email directly to the original article's author. If you can answer the person's post as well using email as you can in a follow-up article, or if someone else has already posted what you would say, you should send email instead of posting.

We are not trying to talk you out of replying to articles. Just remember, every word you write adds to the mass of information on the Internet, and is potentially seen by millions of people. Think twice before you post, and post intelligently.

  1. Open or select the article.
  2. Choose Reply from the News menu.
  3. An article window opens, with the text of the original article in it.
  4. Look over the header information.

    a) Do you want to post your article to all the newsgroups listed? If not, make sure only the appropriate newsgroups are listed.
    b) Click on the "mail" icon if you want to send a copy of your response to the article's author.

  5. Edit and reply to the original article.

    It is considered good netiquette to post more reply than original text. Leaving all of the original article's text in your reply wastes bandwidth and makes your article more work to read; this decreases the chance that people will read it. On the other hand, be sure to leave enough that you do not distort their meaning, and always give the original author credit for their ideas.

  6. Click on Send.

Q. Encoding and decoding binary files ?

A. Many groups contain binary files. Binary files are non-text files - graphics files, sound files, spreadsheets, programs, etc. Since you can only post text files, binary files have to be encoded to look like text files before you can post them. When you get a binary file from a newsgroup, you need to decode it before you can look at or use it. To find out how to encode and decode binary files in NewsWatcher, see the NewsWatcher manual.

Q. rot13 ?

A. Sometimes a text article is encoded using the "rot13" code. People use this to hide information that they don't want every viewer to see.

For example, someone might "rot13" the punch line of a joke, or the plot of a movie. rot13 "rotates" each letter thirteen places in the alphabet. For example, "a" becomes "n", "b" becomes "o", and so on.

To unscramble "rot13" text, select the text and choose Rot13 from the Edit menu. You can use the same command to scramble text in an article you are posting.

Q. Working with a UNIX .newsrc ?

A. If you sometimes use a UNIX newsreader (tin, rn, trn, nn, etc.) to read news, you may want to set NewsWatcher to read your .newsrc file.

  1. Go to Preferences under the File menu.
  2. Use the pop-down menu to get to the Remote Host Information dialog.

    a) For "Remote Host" type "".
    b) For "Path" type the directory path to your .newsrc file:


    c) Check the box next to "Automatically get/put newsrc".

  3. Click OK.

Q. Distribution ?

A. When you post a news article, you need to designate a level of distribution. For example, if you are posting an article relevant only to Access subscribers, the level of distribution should be "accesscom".

Other options are:
   nw      -  the Northwest
   usa     -  the United States
   na      -  North America
   world   -  the world

Q. Searching and finding ?

A. Out of more than 25,000 newsgroups, how do you find those that interest you? Out of hundreds of articles in a newsgroup, how do you find an article on a particular topic? The Find and Search commands let you locate newsgroups or articles with specific topics.

The Find command, on the File menu, searches the text in an active NewsWatcher window. You can use this command to find newsgroups about a particular topic. For example, if you are interested in fish, use the find command to look for "fish" in the "Full Group List" window. NewsWatcher finds every newsgroup name containing the word "fish".

The Search command, on the Special menu, searches headers of articles in selected newsgroups. If you do not select any newsgroups, it searches the article headers for every newsgroup in the active window. You can use this command to find articles pertaining to a particular subject. For example, if you want to find an article on cheesecake, you could select the newsgroup "" and search for "cheesecake". NewsWatcher searches the article headers for "cheesecake".

Q. Troubleshooting ?


Problem: You try to post an article and you see a message telling you that the article was posted in the future. The article actually never posts.

Cause: The time on your computer is set wrong, or the time zone selected is incorrect.

Solution: Reset the time or the time zone.

Q. For more information ?

A. You can use Fetch to download the NewsWatcher manual. Get it from The file is "user-doc-20d17.sea.hqx". It is in the "/files/accesscom/mac/news" directory.