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8.4. Newsgroups

Newsgroups don't necessarily contain news; in fact, they're Internet bulletin boards collectively referred to as Usenet. There are well over 60,000 newsgroups on every conceivable topic: pop culture, computers, politics, and every other special (and very special) interest. Well over 100 of them are just about the Macintosh. Fortunately, in addition to being an email and calendar program, Entourage is also a newsreader. You can use Entourage to read and reply to newsgroup messages almost exactly as though they were email messages.

UP TO SPEED
Newsgroups Explained

Newsgroups (also known as Usenet) started out as a way for people to have discussions via a bulletin-board-like system, in which a message gets posted for all to see, and anyone can reply to that posted message. These public discussions are divided into categories called newsgroups, which cover the gamut from miscellaneous photographic techniques to naval aviation.

These days, newsgroups have a certain reputation as a place to exchange questionable pictures, pirated software, and MP3 files with doubtful copyright pedigrees. Even so, there are tens of thousands of interesting, informative discussions going on, and newsgroups are great places to get help with troubleshooting, exchange recipes, or just see what's on the minds of your fellow Internet users.

Although using newsgroups is like using email in Entourage, it's important to remember that anything you see or post in a newsgroup is public, and will probably remain so for years to come. (Sites like Google maintain searchable newsgroup archives going back to the mid-1980s, complete with email addresses!) Think before you post, especially if you have aspirations to run for Congress someday.



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