USENET for Beginners
Usenet remains a bit of a mystery to many people, which is a shame as it is a quick and easy way to share and download files. It has been around for years, long before the internet and it is still growing in its number of users. It is certainly a bit more complicated than the internet so does require a bit of knowledge, but a little knowledge goes a long way here.
You should approach the Usenet like a forum. It really is a giant forum with loads of different topics known as newsgroups. There are thousands of newsgroups available, each one geared to suit your interest. These newsgroups are divided up into categories known as the major hierarchies. These are composed as follows:
- Comp “ computers and software
- Sci “ sciences
- Soc “ social issues
- Talk “ debate
- News “ topics about Usenet
- Rec “ hobbies and recreation
- Misc “ all others
An example may be the newsgroup for Take That, which you may find under alt.music.takethat
There are some other categories that do not fit into the above Big Eight, these are:
- Alt “ all that does not fit in above
- Biz “ business related
- Clari “ clarinet
This structure is designed so that you can easily find the subject matter you are looking for. An example would be you would not search the sciences grouping for information on traveling around London. There are also local newsgroups that are ideal for posting about stuff to do with your local area, for example, you may wish to post about a comedy show that is on in your town.
Some newsgroups are moderated. In these cases, if you want to post something to the group then your post would first go to a moderator who will decide if it is suitable and then post it for you. There are un-moderated groups and you read them at your own risk, though we would say do not read them if you are easily offended!
For most, the Usenet is a great way to download free files. It is the most private way to share files also. The biggest element to holding back usage of the Usenet is that it is not free. You do need to pay for a newsreader. The cost though is negligible when you see just how much access to information you get for a few dollars a year! Binaries are the big selling point. You can download files faster than anything on the internet and there are loads to choose from.
Once you get the hang of the Usenet, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. It may be older than the internet as a format, but it beats the internet hands down when it comes to file exchange.