The NewsDemon Blog

Online Impersonations Terminated In California

By Newsgroup Usenet January 3rd, 2011

Watch out, West Coast Newsgroupers, because a new California law prohibiting online impersonations officially went into effect this weekend. Violators of a new California law will face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a year in jail.

To summarize the bill, which was passed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, classifies electronic impersonation as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1k, and jail time of up to a year; in addition to the right of the impersonatee to sue the impersonator.  It offers no provisions for anyone who is pretending to be someone on the internet for comedic effect. Basically the state has created a new crime, and a new section is being added to the penal code. To be inacted you have to have the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person.

The text of the bill says it is now against the law in California to “falsely impersonate another in either his or her private or official capacity, as specified. Existing law also makes it a crime to knowingly access and, without permission, alter, damage, delete, destroy, or otherwise use any data, computer, computer system, or computer network in order to devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or wrongfully control or obtain money, property, or data. For a violation thereof, in addition to specified criminal penalties, existing law authorizes an aggrieved party to bring a civil action against the violator, as specified.”

While the law doesn’t explicitly address free speech concerns, it does specify that perpetrators must demonstrate a clear intent to harm, intimidate, or defraud the individual being impersonated — or, for that matter, anyone else.

How the law will play out is, of course, something only the courts and time will decide. For the time being, it would be better to be safe, rather than sorry.  Be yourself online. Newsgroups $7.00 Holiday Special

By Steve Schwartz December 24th, 2010

In lieu of the holidays, Newsgroups is having one last sale for the season for all subscription based accounts.

Choose any subscription plan from Newsgroups for only $7.00 for the lifetime of the account. Newsgroups is having this limited time offer holiday sale to celebrate the season and give thanks to all of our loyal fans and members. The one day sale takes all of our monthly subscription packages down to one low price of only $7.00 a month for the lifetime of the account. This offer will only be available through December 25th 2010.

All subscription plans include all of the features and benefits that Newsgroup offers.

  • Over 760 days of binary retention
  • 256-bit SSL encrypted connections for maximum privacy and security
  • Access to over 107,000 uncensored newsgroups
  • Free version of News Rover newsreader
  • US and EU News Server Farms
  • 99.9% Completion
  • 24/7 Live Customer Support

Additional to the current promotion, you’ll also receive an additional 14 days of free access. Simply join at any time during this limited time promotion, and have your first recurring billing date 45 days after you sign up, giving you a total of 14 days of blazing USENET access absolutely free.

The $7.00 offer on any of our subscription plans range from 15GB to our UNLIMITED access monthly packages. Any monthly subscription packages will automatically rebill at $7.00 a month for as long as you remain a member.

Save up to $13.00 a month with this special one day offer! This December 25th one-day holiday special will go quickly, so act fast and join the Newsgroups family now for only $7.00 a month for any subscription package.

From all of us at Newsgroups, we wish you a joyous, fun and safe holiday season and a happy new year!

FCC Launches New Net Neutrality Rules

By Daniel Li December 22nd, 2010

Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted upon –and passed by a 3-2 margin– the Open Internet Order, the revised net neutrality rules which seek to establish more formal codes of conduct for broadband network operators.

The order has caused a great deal of sturm and drang among newsgroup subscribers, who feared that there would be a shift in power for ISPs based upon loopholes it opens. The order has raised a great deal of concern from both sides of the political spectrum: from those who believe the FCC oversteps its boundaries by trying to create rules for the Web, and from those who believe the FCC isn’t going far enough to prevent future problems.

As expected, FCC Commissioners Baker and McDowell voted against the Order, while Commissioners Clyburn and Copps and Chairman Genachowski voted in favor of the Order. “Over 90% of our actions are not only bi-partisan, but unanimous,” Commissioner Robert McDowell said on Tuesday. “We agree that the Internet should remain open and freedom-enhancing…Beyond that, we disagree. The contrast between our perspectives could not be sharper.”

The Order lays down just a few basic rules for fixed broadband services, and a few more for mobile broadband services.

Basic Rules for fixed Broadband

Transparency: Carriers must clearly express to consumers how their traffic is handled and how charges are derived.

“A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.”

No Blocking: This refers to services which may compete directly with the network operator, such as VoIP and streaming video.

“A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.

No Unreasonable Discrimination: This general rule means paid traffic prioritization will not be allowed, but “reasonable” network management practices are acceptable. What is “reasonable” can be determined on a case by case basis.

“A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service. Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.”

Basic Rules for Mobile Broadband

Transparency: Like fixed broadband providers, mobile network operators must also be open and transparent about their policies.

No Blocking: Network owners cannot block access to lawful Websites or applications that compete with voice and video telephony services such as Google Voice. This, however, does not generally apply to providers engaged in the operation of their own app stores.

The problem here arises in the lack of language covering paid prioritization for mobile broadband traffic. Commissioner Clyburn, who believed there should have been some protections against paid mobile prioritization, said “Bear in mind, this does not mean we are not pre-approving any behavior by mobile broadband providers.”

As a part of the Order, the FCC will allow anyone to file both formal and informal complaints that alert the FCC of operator violations. Consumers can submit free informal complaints at, or go through traditional methods to file formal complaints. Based upon these complaints, the FCC can move to initiate investigation into the carrier’s practices, and ultimately block the actions that violate the Open Internet Order. The FCC’s power to preside over the Internet in such a way is supported in the Order by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and Titles II, III, and IV of the Communications Act.

“In key respects, the interests of edge innovators — the entrepreneurs creating Internet content, services, and applications — broadband providers, and American consumers are aligned,” Chairman Genachowski said on Tuesday. “I believe our action today will foster an ongoing cycle of massive investment, innovation and consumer demand both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks.” The Order will not take effect until next year, and it could face opposition from Congress or the Judicial branch. As Commissioner McDowell was almost proud to point out, “The FCC’s last net neutrality order was met with a spectacular failure in the appellate court.”

Americans Now Online More Than TV Watching

By Steve Schwartz December 16th, 2010

Americans Online Newsgroups Usenet
Americans are now spending as many hours online as they do in front of their TV screens, according to a survey released by Forrester on Monday.

The average American now spends roughly 13 hours per week using the Internet and watching TV offline, Forrester finds, based on its survey of more than 30,000 customers. The Internet has long captivated the attention of younger Americans to a greater extent than TV and is now proving more popular to Gen X (ages 31 to 44) for the first time ever. Younger Baby Boomers (ages 45 to 54) are spending the same amount of time per week using both media.

While the amount of time Americans spend watching TV has remained roughly the same in the past five years, Internet use has increased by 121% in the same time frame.

So what are Americans doing online? Shopping, mostly. In a similar survey issued in 2007, a little more than one-third of online respondents said they were shopping online; now, 60% claim to do so. A little more than one-third also access social networking sites, such as newsgroups regularly, two-thirds of Generation Yers report that they update a social networking profile at least once per month.

Blogging, listening to streaming audio and IMing prove far less popular, engaging one-third or less of the U.S. online population respectively.

In addition, Forrester expects that 2 million new households will be connected to the Internet by the end of the year compared to the end of 2009, and that 82% of households will have Internet by 2015. Broadband will have reached 5.5 million new households by the end of this year, meaning that more than 90% of connected households will have access to high speed Internet by the end of 2010.

The effect and growth of subscribers to Usenet newsgroups are expected to follow an increasing trend.

Google Groups Usenet Enhancements Roll Out

By Newsgroup Usenet December 10th, 2010

Google has finally given some attention to Google Groups and has given it a bit of a facelift.

Google Groups is Google’s version of USENET newsgroups which offers users a small selection of newsgroups to access. The all-text newsgroups service of Google Groups hadn’t had much attention as of late, with growing concerns from users on whether if Google had forgotten about the service which was rarely maintained.

Google has set to change that with a few adjustments that have been made to the service.

As one enhancement, Google has made it easier to search for and browse both groups and individual postings by entering a topic in a single search bar. Once users find a group they want to follow, they can now add it to a list of favorites easily accessible on the left side of the window. As a result, the overall interface has a cleaner and more streamlined look and feel.

New keyboard shortcuts offer a way to quickly cycle through the different forum threads and topics. To find a list of all the new shortcuts, users can press ? on their keyboard. Also, tapping into a new toolbar of icons, users can more easily format text and add hyperlinks and images.

Google Groups is no substitute for complete USENET access. By comparison, Google Groups only offers a variety of 25,000 text newsgroups (or less) – many of which are inactive, whereas a service such as Newsgroups offers more along the lines of 107,000+ only active newsgroups.

Additionally, Google Groups only carries a selection of text newsgroups, where as premium Usenet provider Newsgroups offers binary newsgroups as well with over 700 day retention.

The redesigned Google Groups will roll out as an option over the next week, giving users the opportunity to preview the new look and features. Google is also promising other enhancements, including better spam control, forum moderators, and improved search. Newsgroups Extended Black Friday Deal Ends Tonight!

By Steve Schwartz November 30th, 2010

Due to the amazing success and requests of this offer, we’ve extended our Black Friday sale well beyond the weekend and is now coming to a close.

This is your last chance to get in on an amazing deal on premium USENET newsgroup access from Newsgroups.

We’re currently offering the Black Friday 40% OFF all subscription packages until December 1st at midnight. After tonight, our deals on all of our monthly subscriptions, including our Unlimited and Unlimited plus plans will no longer be available!

Join Newsgroups now to get an amazing savings on all our plans. Our current Black Friday discounts include:

15GB $8.99 $5.40
30GB $11.99 $7.20
45GB $12.99 $7.80
Unlimited GB (10
$16.99 $10.20
Unlmitied GB + Free
Online Storage + 50
$19.95 $12.98

(best value)

All of our special prices entitles our new members with all of the fantastic features and services provided by Newsgroups including:

  • Unlimited Speed
  • 700+ Days Retention
  • 50 Connections
  • Free Newsreader
  • 24/7 Live Support
  • Free Headers
  • 14 Extra Days Free

The 40% Off sale ends tonight, so don’t miss out.

NewsDemon Discount Coupon Giveaway

By Daniel Li November 23rd, 2010

In the spirit of giving, Newsgroups is offering webmasters and forum members exclusive discount coupon codes this holiday season.

These coupon codes can be used for any website you own, manage or are an active member of. Apart from our affiliate program, these coupon codes can be used to offer your website fans the opportunity to join the Newsgroups family.

Are you active on forums or blogs? The perfect gift for your fellow forum and blog members, Newsgroups is offering a coupon code that you can use to offer them discounted prices on any of our subscription based plans.

Also available for website owners and other online media forums, you can use these codes to help spread the word and help us grow the Usenet community.

This holiday season is a time for giving. Email us with your interest, and one of our dedicated support team specialist will set you up with an exclusive coupon just for you to use on your choice of online media channels.

Email us now and get a multi-use coupon code that can be used by all of your fellow members and followers that will give them deep discounts on any of the monthly USENET newsgroup plans available by Newsgroups.

Already a member? We also offer referral benefits for our members for anyone who refers a friend or family to join Newsgroups. Log in to your members control panel to access your unique URL to pass along and get a free month of service for each member you refer. The referral also receives a free 30 days of access!

What Does Google Say About You?

By Steve Schwartz November 17th, 2010

There’s no two ways about it: if you use a lot of Google services, then Google knows a lot about you. Google has received a solid amount of criticism because of this, and they’ve alleviated the issue by launching Privacy Dashboard; a one-stop-shop with all the information that Google knows about you and your online habits collected in one place. Something many might have not known about since Google doesn’t really advertise this at all to make easy to find.

To view the information Google’s servers store about you (or at least the amount the company is willing to fess up to storing), sign in to your Google account and scroll through the Google Dashboard. On a single page you’ll find settings for and information about your Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Voice, YouTube, and other Google accounts, including an extensive search history.

The dashboard is a great way to review and update your Google profile, Checkout purchase information, Google Sync settings, Picasa Web albums, and contacts. You can also revoke access to any service you’ve allowed to connect directly to your Google account by clicking the “Websites authorized to access the account” link under Accounts. This opens a window listing all such services along with a link to remove each one, if you wish.

It contains fascinating details like how many contacts you have, stored credit card numbers, recent status messages, most commonly e-mailed individuals, most recent piece of spam received, most recent alerts, newest e-mails, number of conversations logged, number of docs trashed, number of gadgets installed and more. Interestingly, any account activity using their the newsgroup feed, does not seem to be logged yet.

It will also indicate most recent Web search, image search, news search, product search, video search, map search, blog and book search with the corresponding date and time. It also indicates how quickly information becomes irrelevant.

The complete list of Google services that are participating in “Google Dashboard” include:

  • Google Account
  • Alerts
  • Blogger
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Docs
  • Finance
  • Gmail
  • Health
  • iGoogle
  • Latitude
  • Orkut
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Product Search
  • Profile
  • Reader
  • Talk
  • Tasks
  • Voice
  • Web History
  • YouTube

In some ways, it’s freaky how much honest info people unwittingly hand over to Google, but the company insists that it’s all under user control, and can be removed at any time. Google is considering sending out dentist-like reminders to remind users to check their Dashboard settings every six months (an alert that users would be able to control, of course), but the company is always open to suggestions. A step up from where Google is now would be to put the relevant settings on the Dashboard itself, but we think things are off to a decent start. Newsgroups, in contrast, never keeps any logs or information on members. Completely anonymous, members usage of their USENET newsgroup accounts are completely private and secure.

New from NewsDemon: Non-Expiring USENET Block Accounts

By Newsgroup Usenet November 9th, 2010 Newsgroups reaches new limits with non-expiring block accounts. All block account packages available through Newsgroups now come with no time limit to use them.

Block accounts from Newsgroups allow members to use a set amount of bandwidth until its gone. There are no monthly fees with block accounts and now, they only expire until you’ve used the allocated amount you pay for. Once the amount has reached its limit, the member can then decide to purchase more of an allotment, but will not be automatically billed. Newsgroups offer a wide variety of non-expiring block accounts that range from 10GB to 1000GB that best fits your specific needs. All block accounts from Newsgroups include the same monthly member features including free headers, 650+ day binary retention, a free newsreader and 50 simultaneous connections on all 107,000 newsgroups completely uncensored.

Block accounts from Newsgroups are one of the most affordable plans in the industry, raining from:

The non-expiring block accounts by Newsgroups are provided to all of our existing and new members of the Newsgroups family. Click here to see all of our non-expiring block account plans.

Happy 41st Birthday To ARPANET

By Daniel Li November 1st, 2010

ARPANET 41st Birthday

We take the Internet and USENET for granted, and it has become so integral to daily life that even people who can remember the time before it was everywhere can’t really fathom how we got along without it. But when you think about it, the online universe has only really been something we consider a normal component of everyday existence for about 30years or so. Online communication existed long before that, but it took several decades for the average person to catch up. In fact, the first steps toward the Internet began on this day in 1969, when the first online transmission was sent via ARPANET.

The Internet was born on October 29, 1969, when the first data traveled between two nodes of the ARPANET, an ancestor of today’s Internet, according to the Computer History Museum.

On 29 October 1969, two letters – LO – were typed on a keyboard in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and appeared on a screen at the Stanford Research Institute, 314 miles away.

The computer scientists had intended to type LOGIN, but the connection was lost just before the G. Nonetheless, this was the first time a message had been sent over a telephone line between two computers.

ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) was a cooperative project between a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Department of Defense. The idea was to design a network that would allow simple communication between computers. Though millions of computers are currently connected via the Internet today, that first network consisted of only four systems, one each at UCLA, Stanford, the University of Utah and the University of California Santa Barbara. The system had been in development since 1962, and by 1969 it was ready to transmit.

Two two young programmers responsible for this historic moment were Charley Kline at UCLA and Bill Duvall at SRI in Northern California. Their idea was radical at the time: to network computers to each other.

Since then, online communication has made major leaps forward every few years or so. The first e-mail was sent by 1971, and by 1980 the number of linked computers had grown exponentially. The personal computer represented another leap forward, and when America Online became a must-have program for everybody in suburbia, the online world finally took over most of our daily lives. For USENET though, it spawned a mass see also “Eternal Semptember

Now we’re free to keep tabs on people from high school, read news about Mel Gibson and trade “Weird Al” Yankovic songs with each other. The future is now!

Just like the early days of USENET, ARPANET was not developed for commercial use, Duvall said. The computers of the 1960s were viewed as “information repositories” but lacked a network to share this information.