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Usenet Newsreaders

Multi-Threaded NewsWatcher

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Release Notes License:

Current Version: 3.1 / 3.4 / 3.5.2 (August 28, 2006)

Since John Norstad releases the source code to the free NewsWatcher program for people to change, there are several variants of the program that add many features. MT-NewsWatcher is a multi-threaded version of NewsWatcher (hence the name) that brings a new level of usability to the NewsWatcher series. Multithreading has almost become a necessity in these days of Usenet overload, and the version 3.x series further enhances MT-NW's implementation, with an intuitive interface and smooth operation that will get you reading news faster than just about any other newsreader. Yes, it still has speech recognition capabilities, but a host of new features in version 3.x are, perhaps, of far more interest to most users. A few highlights include:

  • Read news on multiple servers at the same time.
  • Set up several personalities for posting, with different reply addresses, headers and signatures.
  • View images inline, right in the article window! Non-image binaries show up as file icons.
  • Read and post articles in different languages, like Japanese and Chinese.
  • Post binaries to newsgroups.
  • Index the contents of articles that you read, so that you can search them later.
  • Configure per-group preferences for list format, character sets etc.
  • Real-time pattern filtering in newsgroup, subject, and article windows.
  • Newsgroup FAQ retrieval.
  • Many other new features, and feature enhancements.

Version 3.1 (the latest "Classic" version) has some new features, and a lot of bug fixes. New features include:

  • Progressive movie (QuickTime, MPEG etc) display, and MP3 playing
  • More image formats supported (PNG and other QuickTime image formats)
  • Option to use a more accurate way of counting the number of articles available in a group
  • More message posting options
  • Support for UTF-7 and UTF-8
  • SOCKS 4 support (via the Internet Control Panel).

Version 3.4 (the latest Mac OS 9 version, which is not considered fully supported by the author) features the following changes:

  • Junk filtering - MT-NW now has an adaptive junk filter that makes it much easier to filter spam out of your newsgroups.
  • Inline spell checking - The native Cocoa spell checker is used to do spell checking as you type in message windows, complete with red underline.
  • Email address auto-complete - The system Address Book is used to auto-complete email addresses as you type them in recipient fields.
  • Better error reporting when extracting binaries - When batch-extracting binaries, extraction errors now go into a log window to avoid interrupting the extraction with dialogs.
  • Auto-extracting of downloaded files - You can set preferences so that "safe" files that you download are automatically opened.

Version 3.5.2 (the latest Mac OS X version) is a must-have upgrade, bringing Universal Binary support for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. Improvements include:

  • Secure News - Added support for news over SSL (snews), configurable via the server settings in the News Servers dialog.
  • Secure Mail - Added support for SMTP authentication, and SMTP over TLS and SSL, configurable via the Mail Server tab in the Personalities dialog.
  • Passwords Stored in Keychain - MT-NW can now store news and mail passwords in your Keychain, and not in its preferences file.
  • Search Integration - The context menus in article and message windows now have items to search in Google, look up a word in Dictionary, and search using Spotlight (on Tiger). Spelling-related items are now also available in message window context menus.
  • More reliable binary extraction - This version contains fixes for several bugs relating to binary extraction. Extraced binaries will no longer produced corrupted files, and the process will use less memory.
  • Added the ability to create filters via AppleScript.
  • Removed the ability to base a personality on an Internet Config profile, since IC is deprecated in the OS.
  • The "User agent" header no longer contains "Intel" on PowerPC machines.
  • Build PPC with gcc 3.3 so that it's compatible with pre-10.3.9 systems.
  • Fixed the "Print" menu item.
  • Authentication via GSS (Kerberos) now works again.
  • Fixed SOCKS connection error on Intel.
  • Fixed a bug that caused extracted binaries to be corrupted sometimes.
  • Fixed a bug that caused files created by cancelled binary extraction tasks to not be deletable.
  • Improved error reporting when extracting binaries.
  • You can now Copy from the binary extraction Log window
  • Fixed memory leaks when extracting binaries.
  • Now use long filenames when dragging msgs from subject window to Finder.
  • JPEG images now display millions of colors, which fixes color banding issues.
  • Fixed some issues enabling menu items on the "Shared Newsrc" submenu.
  • Fixed a bug that caused some window positions to be restored incorrectly on Intel (this was most apparent with the Log window, and I believe was responsible for a nasty hang when extracting binaries on Intel machines).
  • Fixed an issue that caused MT-NW to complain that some URL helpers (like Fetch) are too old to use.

MT-NewsWatcher is one of the reasons the Macintosh remains the preferred platform for serious Usenet junkies. There's little else that compares with it.

User Reviews

"Multi-Threaded NewsWatcher . . . without doubt positions itself as the premier Usenet newsreader available today for the Macintosh. Simon Fraser has done an unbelievable job supporting this excellent product, and get this - it's free! It is easily the most-used piece of software I have on my Mac.

"As far as bug fixes are concerned, every bug report I have sent to Simon has either resulted in a fix or has been acknowledged. Three new releases this year is pretty good going! I work for a software development company, so I can appreciate the response Simon is providing.

Submit another review!

Download version 2.4.4 (for older Macs).
Download version 3.1 for Power Macs running OS 8 and earlier.
Download version 3.4 for Mac OS 9.
Download version 3.5.2 for Mac OS X 10.3.x+ (Carbon / Universal).
Download the MT-NewsWatcher documentation.

Version 3.5.3b3 for Mac OS X 10.3.9+ is available (July 7, 2008), adding/fixing the following:

  • MT-NewsWatcher now supports SSL (secure) connections to news servers. To enable SSL for a server, go to the News Servers item on the Special menu. In the resulting dialog, select the server you wish to change. Check the "Use secure connection" checkbox under the server address. Normally this will use port 563, but you can change that if you wish.
  • Some forms of SMTP authentication are now supported (PLAIN, LOGIN and CRAM-MD5). MT-NewsWatcher will attempt to detect which authentication methods your mail server supports, and use the most secure. Secure SMTP is not yet supported.
  • MT-NewsWatcher now stores passwords for news and mail in Keychain. This relaxes the maximum username length from 32 to 64 characters.
  • MT-NewsWatcher is now Leopard-compatible.
  • Improved typing performance by not flushing the graphics port on every caret blink.
  • Greyscale images now display correctly.
  • Fixed authentication issues when not saving the password in Keychain.
  • Fixed the display of the help images on Intel machines.
  • Fixed a hang on 10.5 when extracting binaries on showing a "Choose folder" dialog (and some other related hangs).
  • Fixed a hang on 10.5 after posting a message (deadlock when destroying the spell checker object).
  • Fixed a bug that could cause security failure dialogs to not be displayed on connection. (b2)
  • Fixed a bug introduced in 3.5.3b1 that caused sending mail to never complete. (b2)
  • No longer show error message when dragging and dropping in subject windows. (b2)
  • Made uudecoding more robust to crud inserted into articles by news feed providers. (b2)
  • Fixed the ability to drag an inline image to the Finder without selecting it (option key saves a file, rather than a clipping). (b2)
  • Moved the MT-NewsWatcher.rsrc file to the English.lproj directory in the package to make localization easier. (b2)
  • Fixed a crash closing subject windows after rebuilding the full groups list. (b3)
  • Fix an issue where Extract Binaries would sometimes stall after choosing a destination folder. (b3)
  • Clear the news server authentication password field when switching between news servers. (b3)

Also See . . .

Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:

Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.

Related Links

Andrew Starr has another marvelous page about Usenet newsreaders that you simply must check out.

Key Mac Newsgroups

There are several Usenet newsgroups dedicated to Macintosh-specific topics. Here are the most essential ones:

comp.sys.mac.announce is a moderated newsgroup that contains important general announcements to the Macintosh community.

comp.sys.mac.apps is the place to go when you have questions about specific Macintosh programs.

comp.sys.mac.comm is the place to discuss all things involving Macintosh telecommunications and Macs on the Internet.

comp.sys.mac.printing is for all printer- and printing-related discussion.

comp.sys.mac.hardware.misc is for discussion of all other Macintosh hardware-related questions.

comp.sys.mac.system is the place to go for MacOS-related discussions.

comp.sys.mac.misc is the place to post when other Macintosh-related newsgroups don't fit the bill.

Note: If you'd like to search the Usenet for Macintosh-related information, you really only have one option (but it's a good one): Google purchased the old DejaNews ( Usenet archive, and now offers sophisticated searching of all mainstream Usenet newsgroups, both past and present.

Also Consider . . .

These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!