Now that you’ve mastered Usenet and know all about newsgroups and retention let’s move on to the next topic of your digital home. Indexing sites for Usenet.
So far we’ve learned that Usenet is a worldwide public service that was created before the World Wide Web. It is used for discussion and sharing of information on any subject imaginable. There are lots of news-servers across the globe and periodically they connect to each other and exchange all missing information on either server. And so every bit of information posted by any user eventually gets distributed across the whole network. Just one small problem…
Every. Subject. Imaginable.
Hm. That’s a lot of stuff, really. And you don’t want all that on our NAS do you? But how will you find what you are looking for? Google it? Actually, no. Have you ever seen those small bots flying around the internet and collecting information for Google? No? Well, they’re out there I assure you… Anyway, they’re doing what’s called indexing, which means a search engine will be able to find what you’re looking for.
What we need is something like that for Usenet, and thankfully we don’t have to look far. There are several services dedicated to indexing the ever-changing content of Usenet. Basically they do this so you don’t have to crawl through thousands of newsgroups and millions of headers to find what you’re looking for. Pretty cool, huh? Look at them like TV guides, but a guide that applies to Usenet and they offer several tools that will save you time, effort and bandwidth. Decidedly cool.
Now there are two of them you want to look into: Newzbin and nzbMatrix. I recommend Newzbin simply because they have a bookmark feature that works swell with some other components of your new digital home (though there’s nothing stopping you from getting both, please do, by all means.) Just like your Usenet provider (remember Giganews?) they both are paid services… but before you sigh, again, I can tell you they’ll only set you back about 10 dollars every 3 months. (Just don’t buy the popcorn I brought up in the last post and you’ve already financed this.)
Another feature these services provide is they allow you to turn your searches into RSS feeds. That means anytime your search would yield new information (such as when new stuff becomes availible) you’ll be notified about it, without making the search, automatically. I’ll let you dwell on the implications and usability of that until we meet again.
Having Usenet without any form of indexing service, like Newzbin, is like stealing candy from a baby.. and then not eating it. Who does such a thing?
Stay tuned to this channel for more!