NetNews and netnews (and net news)

[11 January 2008]

Clash of Expectations Department

Having incautiously decided to spend a little time this afternoon catching up on the blogs I optimistically subscribed to during the quiet days of the winter holidays, I spent a large part of the afternoon downloading what look like a lot of nifty Mac applications, having been led to a handy list of Mac OS X freeware by Bob Sutor’s link. I then encountered Tim Bray talking about something called NetNewsWire, which some people seem to regard as a pretty slick way to read news feeds.

This got me excited. Mostly, I’m pretty happy with my current setup, but after an afternoon of looking at software sites talking happily about how nice their GUIs are and how they’re better than their competition, I thought “Wow, a modern, up to date app for news? Cool. I should look at it! Maybe it’s better than what I’ve got!”

I looked at it.

And suddenly in a very short time I went from feeling kind of perky and with-it, with all my new apps downloaded (although not installed), to knowing that I am a dinosaur, still alive and kicking but clearly, inalterably different from all these mammals running around here.

You may already be guessing the awful truth. From the name NetNewsWire, and from the comments of Tim and others about reading news, and news feeds, and so on, I had been expecting not a reader for RSS and Atom feeds — I’m sure it’s a very nice one, but as far as I can tell I have three or four pieces of software for reading RSS and Atom already on my system, not counting the one I installed myself — but, well, a reader for netnews. By which any self-respecting dinosaur means, of course: a reader for NNTP feeds.

Fortunately, gnus still works fine for me.

(And for news news over the net, the NY Times daily headlines work fine for me, though actually I still get most of my real news from the Journal and the New Mexican and from National Public Radio.)

3 thoughts on “NetNews and netnews (and net news)

  1. And someone does, by cracky! (Loud cackle from old fart.)

    Point your Atom newsreader at{group}/feed/atom_v1_0_topics.xml?num={count}
    where group is the name of the group and count is the number of recent topics you’d like to see at once, and you can read your news with your favorite newsreader!

    On the downside, Google doesn’t filter spam from Usenet at all.

  2. It turns out that my employer is smarter than I thought. Using Google Reader, the spam gets filtered before I see it even though the Atom feed is still filled with it.

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