What Is Usenet?


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Usenet was formed in 1979 and 1980 as a decentralized system for communicating online. Usenet, also referred to as newsgroups, has grown and evolved in the intervening years independently from but parallel to the World Wide Web. Today, millions of people share ideas and information on Usenet. Using a high quality newsgroup provider ensures a secure and reliable experience on Usenet.

Usenet

How Does Usenet Work?

There are over 110,000 newsgroups available on Usenet. Each group has an individual focus and they are arranged in a hierarchical manner. The categories begin broadly and then filter down into very specific areas. Broad groups include topics such as science or technology. Specific groups focus on one interest like golfing or sushi. With so many groups on Usenet, it is easy to connect with people who share your interests no matter how popular or esoteric. You can compare these newsgroups to web forums.

Posting a message to Usenet is similar to sending an email. Instead of sending to an individual, the message is posted to the newsgroup of your choice. Other users are then able to read your message when they subscribe to the group it was posted in. They can then post a reply to the same group.

Resilient Network

Due to its decentralized structure, Usenet is resistant to censorship. When an article is posted to Usenet, it is immediately disseminated to many servers around the world. This is, in part because many Usenet providers maintain redundant servers. It is also because Usenet providers push their articles to each other. Even if the original post is deleted, the articles will often remain on Usenet.

Usenet Providers

Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer Usenet bundled as a part of their Internet service. However, the Usenet offered by ISPs is extremely limited and outsourced to third parties. They typically only store articles for a couple of days. High quality Usenet providers store articles for years and many never delete articles. This means that every day, as users post new articles, their retention grows one day longer. Many now store years of Usenet articles.

High quality Usenet providers offer a free newsreader, the software needed to access Usenet. They may also provide SSL encryption to ensure privacy while using their service.

Conclusion

Usenet has a group for almost any topic you can think of. It is full of intelligent people sharing ideas about common interests. Before getting started on Usenet, take the time to choose a quality Usenet provider offering long retention and a free newsreader.

2011 Social Year In Review


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As we come to the end of another year, many of us will reflect back on things we’ve experienced, lessons learned, and just everything the last 12 months brought us. 2011 has been an incredible year filled with tons of important world events as well as a lot of interesting celebrity events and gossip. Sadly, but not surprisingly, “interesting” squashes “important” online, putting celebrity news and gossip far ahead of important world events when we measure our digital voice online. Frugal Dad put together the following infographic, showing what the world found compelling enough to search for, share and talk about on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

2011 in review infographic

Source: http://frugaldad.com

What was the single most important piece of news you shared this year (online or off)?

The Collection iPad App – More Than Just A Magazine


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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of OgilvyInteractive for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When the App store came out for the iPhone, developers started releasing ebook readers and apps to help you read news sites. When the iPad came out, the number and quality of apps increased and the door really began to open up to reading all your news on a device. In our fast-paced society, many people only get to spend a few minutes a day catching up on news and world events. Today, I got my hands on The Collection, a self-described monthly “appazine” for review. The Collection iPad App Screenshot

What Makes The Collection Different

I really don’t know where to begin. Most news apps offer very flat content. They have more of it, but it’s often the same stuff you find on their website or elsewhere around the web. The Collection has opted for an alternate approach, nailing down a single subject and bringing the reader every detail they can think of in a very rich and organized presentation. In it’s premier issue about Prince William, The Collection provided audio and video interviews, 360 degree panoramic photographs, tons of information about Prince William, details about the Royal Wedding, and even a virtual Royal Wedding, walking you through the whole process, complete with 3D palace designs. The Collection iPad App Screenshot Before downloading The Collection, I read a description claiming it to be a “uniquely compelling and entertaining user experience like you have not seen before”, and I simply can not find better words to describe it. The presentation is so rich, in fact, that it is only available for the iPad. Beyond all the useful information, there were interactive pieces like turning Prince William bald and unique tidbits like the section that focuses on his athleticism in near creepy detail. The Collection iPad App Screenshot If The Collection were food, it would be like eating a meal for 100 people, but sadly only once a month, and the meal would include those fancy garnishes… everywhere. The attention to detail and sheer amount of content is what makes each issue worth the $4.99 price tag. The fact that they make it available in three languages is just over the top.

What’s Missing

It’s hard to say that anything is missing when it has so much, but I always want something more. In the case of The Collection, we have a magazine that covers only one topic per issue. With print magazines, you get a variety of topics centered around a theme like Computers or Science. Here, if you don’t care about Prince William and the Royal Wedding buzz, you just have to not buy this issue and wait until next month. The only other thing I found lacking was the app’s stability and attention to programming. When it worked, it was incredibly smooth to use, but it did crash a couple times and that was not something that I would expect from an app of this caliber. Also in the programming corner was the issue of the Facebook sharing option. When I opted to share it on Facebook, all it filled in was The Collection and the link to the app in the App Store. I felt like it should have filled in “Reading about Prince William in The Collection rich media iPad magazine” or something. The Collection iPad App Screenshot

Conclusions

Despite a couple small crashes, I give The Collection five stars. It has truly brought digital publishing to a whole new level and other apps will now have to struggle to keep up. The $5 cost per issue is reasonable, and if they ever branch out into computing, I wouldn’t miss an issue. The writing style, photography, detail, balance and delivery all work together smoothly to bring an amazing new “appazine” into the spotlight. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Download the app and check out the issue preview and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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