3.4 Using rn
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

     Some folks prefer this older newsreader.  
     If you type
                rn news.announce.newusers
at your host system's command line, you'll see something like this:
    ********  21 unread articles in news.announce.newusers--read now? [ynq]
If you hit your Y key, the first article will appear on your screen.  If
you want to see what articles are available first, though, hit your
computer's = key and you'll get something like this:
     152 Introduction to news.announce   
     153 A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community  
     154 What is Usenet?
     155 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions              
     156 Hints on writing style for Usenet                  
     158 Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part I          
     159 Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies, Part II              
     160 Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette     
     161 USENET Software: History and Sources               
     162 A Guide to Social Newsgroups and Mailing Lists          
     163 How to Get Information about Networks                   
     164 How to Create a New Newsgroup                      
     169 List of Active Newsgroups                          
     170 List of Moderators                                      
     171 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part I               
     172 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part II              
     173 Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists, Part III             
     174 How to become a USENET site     
     175 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part I    
     176 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part II        
     177 List of Periodic Informational Postings, Part III
    End of article 158 (of 178)--what next? [npq]       
     Notice how the messages are in numerical order this time, and don't
tell you who sent them.  Article 154 looks interesting.  To read it,
type in 154 and hit enter.  You'll see something like this:
   Article 154 (20 more) in news.announce.newusers (moderated):
   From: spaf@cs.purdue.EDU (Gene Spafford)
   Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers,news.admin,news.answers
   Subject: What is Usenet?
   Date: 20 Sep 92 04:17:26 GMT
   Followup-To: news.newusers.questions   
   Organization: Dept. of Computer Sciences, Purdue Univ.
   Lines: 353     
   Supersedes: <spaf-whatis_715578719@cs.purdue.edu>
   Archive-name: what-is-usenet/part1                 
   Original from: chip@tct.com (Chip Salzenberg)                           
   Last-change: 19 July 1992 by spaf@cs.purdue.edu (Gene Spafford)
   The first thing to understand about Usenet is that it is widely
   misunderstood.  Every day on Usenet, the "blind men and the elephant"
   phenomenon is evident, in spades.  In my opinion, more flame wars
   arise because of a lack of understanding of the nature of Usenet than
   from any other source.  And consider that such flame wars arise, of
   necessity, among people who are on Usenet.  Imagine, then, how poorly
   understood Usenet must be by those outside!
     This time, the header looks much more like the gobbledygook you get
in e-mail messages.  To keep reading, hit your space bar.  If you hit
your n key (lower case), you'll go to the next message in the
numerical order.
     To escape rn, just keep hitting your q key (in lower case), until
you get back to the command line.  Now let's set up your reading list. 
Because rn uses the same .newsrc file as nn, you can use one of the
search-and-replace methods described above.  Or you can do this:  Type
and hit enter.  When the first newsgroup comes up on your screen, hit
your u key (in lower case).  Hit it again, and again, and again.  Or
just keep it pressed down (if your computer starts beeping, let up for a
couple of seconds).  Eventually, you'll be told you're at the end of the
newsgroups, and asked what you want to do next. 
     Here's where you begin entering newsgroups.  Type
                g newsgroup
(for example, g comp.sys.mac.announce) and hit enter.  You'll be asked
if you want to "subscribe." Hit your y key.  Then type
                g next newsgroup
(for example, g comp.announce.newusers) and hit enter.  Repeat until
done.  This process will also set up your reading list for nn, if you
prefer that newsreader. But how do you know which newsgroups to
subscribe?  Typing a lowercase l and then hitting enter will show you a
list of all available newsgroups.  Again, since there could be more than
2,000 newsgroups on your system, this might not be something you want to
do.  Fortunately, you can search for groups with particular words in
their names, using the l command.  Typing
        l mac
followed by enter, will bring up a list of newsgroups with those letters
in them (and as in nn, you will also see groups dealing with emacs and
the like, in addition to groups related to Macintosh computers).
     Because of the vast amount of messages transmitted over Usenet,
most systems carry messages for only a few days or weeks.  So if there's
a message you want to keep, you should either turn on your computer's
screen capture or save it to a file which you can later download).  To
save a message as a file in rn, type
                s filename
where filename is what you want to call the file. Hit enter.  You'll be
asked if you want to save it in "mailbox format."  In most cases, you
can answer with an n (which will strip off the header).  The message
will now be saved to a file in your News directory (which you can access
by typing cd News and then hitting enter). 
     Also, some newsgroups fill up particularly quickly -- go away for a
couple of days and you'll come back to find hundreds of articles!  One
way to deal with that is to mark them as "read" so that they no longer
appear on your screen.  In nn, hit a capital J; in rn, a small c.