How to Access RADP via Usenet, Part Two
By Rodney T. Grill
Thunderbird will now start and prompt you to import settings from other mail or newsgroup
programs. While you may want to do this, these instructions will not cover that, so just click Next (or Continue
on Mac computers):
The next screen will prompt you to choose a type of new account to configure.
Although Thunderbird also handles mail and RSS accounts, the purpose of this documentation
is to setup newsgroup access, so choose the Newsgroup account
option and click Next:
On the next screen, you will be prompted to enter a name and e-mail address as your
online identity. This information does not have to match the information you
used to setup your Eternal-September account. This is the information that will be
publicly displayed when you post messages on Usenet. If you want to go by
a nickname or "screen name", you can put whatever you want in the "Your Name:" field.
Also, if you are concerned about publishing your e-mail address, you might choose
a "disposable" address on this screen or use a "munged" or "disguised" address.
After entering your name and e-mail address, click Next
and you will be prompted to enter the name of your newsgroup server. For Eternal-September,
this will be "news.Eternal-September.org". For AIOE, this will be "nntp.aioe.org":
Next, you will be prompted to enter a name for the account. Most people use
the name of the server, or you could simply call it "Eternal-September" or "AIOE":
After that, click Next and you will be given a summary
of your settings. Click Finish to complete the account
The new account will be shown in your "Folders" list in Thunderbird. There
is still some setup to be done, so click once on the account to highlight it in
the folders list, then click on the link for "View settings for this account":
You will see the general account settings screen. Here you can verify your
name, e-mail address and organization, as well as setup a signature attachment if
you want to use that advanced feature. Click on the "Server Settings" option
under the server you are working with to continue the configuration:
On the Server Settings screen, there are two things to configure.
First of all is the "Port". By default, Usenet servers communicate over the standard
NNTP port which is 119. Because some corporations and ISP's want to block
Usenet access, they often do this with a firewall that blocks the NNTP port, so 119 won't work. To assist
their users, many Usenet servers also allow alternate
communication paths, such
as on port 80, which is normally used for HTTP (i.e.
web browsing) and is almost never blocked. Both Eternal-September and
AIOE will communicate
over port 80. Additionally, if you wish to have a secure connection, you can check the option for Use secure
connection (SSL) When using a secure connection, the normal
NNTP port is 563, but again, this may be blocked so instead, port 443 (secure HTTP).
If you are using Eternal-September, then you will need to check the box for Always
request authentication... so that you will be prompted to enter
your username and password to access the server. If using AIOE, then leave this
unchecked because there is no username or password required.
Click the OK button to save your changes and return to
the main Thunderbird screen. Now click on the news server and then click on
the option to Manage newsgroup subscriptions:
Note that if you choose a secured connection, it's possible that the server's certificate could be expired. If so, this is not
a problem. Just choose to Accept this certificate permanently.
If you are logging into Eternal-September, you will need to enter your registered userid
and password. You will first be prompted for your userid. Enter it exactly
as you did when registering your account. You can check the box for
Use Password manager... if you want Thunderbird to save your userid
so you don't have to enter it each time you logon:
You might get a message about Thunderbird's Password Manager. Just click the
OK button to continue:
You will have a similar prompt for your password:
Thunderbird should take a few minutes to download a list of newsgroups from the
server. Once that is done, the list will be displayed:
You can search for a specific group, such as RADP, by entering its name in the
Show items that contain: box:
When you select a newsgroup from the list and click the Subscribe button, Thunderbird will download the messages from that newsgroup and will keep them refreshed each time
you run Thunderbird. Groups that are subscribed will
appear in the "folders" list underneath the server account:
If you click on the group, Thunderbird will download the headers for it.
If the newsgroup contains a lot of messages, you may
see a prompt like this:
If you have a slower Internet connection, you might want to choose to download fewer
headers at a time. With a broadband connection, downloading even tens of thousands
of headers usually only takes a few minutes. Once the headers are downloaded,
you can see them listed on the pane on the top right. Clicking on a header
will display the message on the bottom right pane:
Finally, you might want to use filters to make your Usenet experience
safer and more enjoyable. The easiest way to do this is to create filters
as you come across unwanted messages and posters. Highlight the offending
message, and then select Message and Create Filter
From Message... from the menu bar:
This will display a dialog box that defaults to deleting all future posts from the
You might also try creating a "politics" filter that deletes messages with certain
political names in the subject, like this:
It may take a while to build a good set of filters. Spammers and trolls often
use fake e-mail addresses that they change on every post, so certain types of spam
might be easier to filter using words in the subject rather than the "from" field.
Just be careful to not filter out too much. In the "politics" filter example
above, you could delete a good message, such as an announcement of when the Hall
of Presidents is having the Barak Obama animatronic added. Instead of having
your filter delete messages, you might want to create a "spam" folder and just move
them there. You can then periodically browse the spam folder to make sure
you aren't filtering good messages and clean it out.
That's it! You should now be able to enjoy RADP on a real Usenet news reader!
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