The NewsDemon Blog

USENET Sees CompuServe Cousin Pass Away

By Newsgroup Usenet July 6th, 2009

CompuServe, the first major online commercial service, has been shut down by AOL. AmericaOnline, the current owner of CompuServe, has confirmed the passing of CompuServe Classic in a message sent to subscribers last week. The company had announced plans to shut down the service back in April, urging customers still dependent on dial-up services to move to a surviving version, CompuServe 2000.

The correlations between CompuServe and the USENET in both their history provides many similarities. Both systems provided online access to many first users as well as providing discussion forums on a variety of topics. In those days, everything that we now think of as being part of the Web was only available in far smaller, text-based portions on online services like AOL, BIX, CompuServe, Delphi, Prodigy and the USENET newsgroups. Lastly, USENET and CompuServe are both 30 years old.

The original CompuServe service, first offered in 1979, provided its users with unique addresses and was one the first major online service alongside USENET.

CompuServe users will be able to use their existing CompuServe Classic (as the service was renamed) addresses at no charge via a new e-mail system, but the software that the service was built on has been shut down.

Tellingly, the current version of the service’s client software, CompuServe for Windows NT 4.0.2, dates back to 1999. CompuServe Classic has ceased operating as an Internet service provider and its services are slated to be taken offline. AmericaOnline itself is slated to be decoupled from Time Warner. Meanwhile, USENET continues to thrive.

Newsgroup Spotlight: Web Design and Internet Newsgroups Revisited

By Newsgroup Usenet July 1st, 2009

With the recent update of the Newsgroups website, it seemed appropriate to revisit the world of web design and internet related newsgroups and spotlight the many resources it has and continues to provide the USENET community.

Considering that the USENET has long been home to one of the first communities of web design and standards, its no surprise how many active newsgroups remain today.

The most popular of which, alt.html, has been the most active and has had a long reputation of offering expert advice by industry leading designers to this day. Also, if you ask many of these webmasters where they started with design and generally online, and you’ll probably be surprised by how the majority all contribute the USENET as more of a starting ground than even there schooling had been.

As trends continue to evolve in the web arena, so have web related USENET newsgroups. Large USENET newsgroups exists and are active regarding trends such as CSS, AJAX and Ruby. Newsgroups new website is a prime demonstration of many new website elements that were unthinkable less than 5 years ago. If not for the collaboration between the web design community and emerging technologies brought together by elements such as the USENET newsgroups, it might have remained unachievable.

Below are just some of the newsgroups that exist in just the realm of HTML



























alt.html.editors.toppage Newsgroups Announces New Website Redesign

By Newsgroup Usenet June 29th, 2009 Newsgroups is pleased to announce the unveiling of the new website design. The URL remains the same, however, has literally a new face in the world with the introduction of the Newsgroups mascot.

Alongside the addition of the new mascot, the re-designed website allows both members and visitors to more easily navigate and find information faster.

The website navigation was simplified and content was reorganized to better meet the needs of our customers. The changes to the website are the result of comments and suggestions from all of our members and visitors. The site is an effort to take Newsgroups to the the next level in terms of technology and functionality. Newsgroups new website design is part of the overall collective movement to bring awareness on the valuable resources USENET is able to provide to its community. As a leading provider of USENET access, Newsgroups provides premium services to its members to thousands of uncesored newsgroups.

Newsgroup Spotlight: About Microsoft Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet June 24th, 2009

With a new search engine – Bing, a new free anti-virus software – Morro, further integration with Facebook and a new operating system due in October, Microsoft seems to be dusting off any negative perceptions that they may have received by thinking they were slowly crumbling. A great example of this growth is the new height of activity Microsoft newsgroups have been receiving.

There are currently over 2,000 Microsoft newsgroups carries dedicated to discussing Microsoft products. If you have a problem with a Microsoft product – from a smartphone, spreadsheet, or music player that you can’t solve, chances are you can find an answer on a microsoft related newsgroup.There are many valuable newsgroups on USENET on nearly every available topic and in many different languages. Regardless of your problem, chances are someone on a newsgroup can help. For example, if you can’t figure out why a formula in your spreadsheet produces errors, asking someone in a newsgroup can often help troubleshoot your problem.

With thousands of IT pros visiting on a regular basis, Microsoft newsgroups offer an incredible amount of support for techs that use Microsoft products. With USENET access, you can freely access and participate in the constant discussions.

CERN Slips Off September To Smash Particles Again

By Newsgroup Usenet June 22nd, 2009

Large-Hadron-ColliderMany USENET newsgroups are reporting today of the world’s largest atom smasher, stating reports it will likely be October before the collider is restarted.

The Large Hadron Collider went live last year in September. It kicked particles for about nine days after a technical problem caused the LHC to stop. Although it was supposed to go live in April, it was delayed until September 2009 because the damages were worse than first thought. The 20-nation operator, CERN, said the collider needs more repairs and safety features that will end up running about $37 million in the next few years.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is up for repair ever since it got nicked by faulty wiring just nine days after it was started last September, and CERN’s officials are saying that current estimates for when repair is going to be finished are getting kicked back to sometime this October. Scientists are still carrying out tests and putting new safety measures in place to prevent a repeat of the faults that sidelined the $10 billion machine.

There are 10,000 splices around the underground collider’s 27-km (17-mile) ring, which smashes particles together at a temperature of just above absolute zero to recreate the conditions believed to have been present at the beginning of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

Once it’s running, scientists will use the machine to smash together protons from hydrogen atoms inside a 17-mile circular tunnel that runs under the Swiss-French border near Geneva. By recording what particles are produced by the collisions they hope to better understand the makeup of the universe and everything in it.

Apollo 11 Tweets Its Way Back To Space

By Newsgroup Usenet June 19th, 2009

In July, it will have been 40 years since Apollo 11 made history. That was the first manned mission to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” came as he left his footprint in the lunar soil. Now, thanks to the folks at Nature, Apollo 11 will tweet its mission.

The countdown to the online launch began yesterday on People interested in experiencing the virtual recreation of Apollo 11 can pre-register to receive event email reminders and get regular “real time” updates during the four-day mission in July. Users will be able to follow the event on Twitter and AOL.

“This site represents a unique opportunity for viewers to ‘go back in time’ and experience one of mankind’s most amazing achievements,” said Tom Putnam, director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. “From actual mission audio transmissions and archival video to mission factoids and news reels, visitors to will be able to track every step of the Apollo 11 mission, as it happened, 40 years later.

Nature, a publishing group, is mixing the old with the new by “tweeting” the Apollo 11 moon mission as it happened — 40 years later. Followers on Twitter will be able to read about technical milestones, political challenges, and related events in the space race starting today, just over a month before the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched the Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16th, 1969, landing safely on the surface of the moon four days later.

Also, a 1970 documentary on the voyage of Apollo 11 and its historic lunar landing is set to be re-released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the event. The film also includes footage that captures the essence of the world’s reaction to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, when he uttered the immortal phrase.

Newsgroup Spotlight: World Wide Web Internet Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet June 17th, 2009

Surfing through the internet today can be sometimes confusing. It’s even more difficult if you’re job is to maintain and manage systems that coordinate with the ever changing world wide web.

USENET newsgroups, celebrating its 30th year this year, has long been a hub for all things involved about the internet. It was after all that Tim Berners-Lee, cited for creating the internet, used a USENET newsgroup to first post about the WorldWideWeb Project that would eventually lead up to be the foundation of the internet that we know and love today.

Since then, hundreds of newsgroups have been created and active on practically any topic related to the internet. From information system newsgroups that deal with technology used to connect to the world wide web to internet language newsgroups such as comp.lang.php for php coding and alt.html for html related discussions are just some samples of all of the categories and sub-categories that internet related USENET newsgroups provide.

To this day, many of these newsgroups provide insightful answers on the evolving world of the internet that eventually turn into the technologies and systems that we use today.

One of the most popular trends on the internet today as an example, cloud computing and storage, owes its source to USENET. USENET has been the oldest version of cloud computing in existence. With emerging cloud computing technologies from Google, Sun, Microsoft and Citrix, the foundation and architure for all is based on the fundamentals of USENET.

Whether just an active surfer, a professional web designer, or an IT networking administrator, USENET newsgroups are a hub for all the internet related discussions that you could possibly imagine.

Space Newsgroups: NASA Plans To Blow Up The Moon This Week

By Newsgroup Usenet June 15th, 2009

In an unprecedented scientific endeavor,  NASA is preparing to fly a rocket booster into the moon, triggering a six-mile-high explosion that scientists hope will confirm the presence of water. Many newsgroups on the matter of space exploration and  have been active on the topic.

NASA related newsgroups in particular have reported that NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft (LCROSS) will launch atop the same Atlas V rocket scheduled to launch later this week. Four days following launch, LCROSS will guide an empty upper stage on a collision course with a permanently shaded crater in an effort to find evidence of water at the moon’s poles. LCROSS itself will also impact the lunar surface during its course of study. The search for water ice in permanently shaded craters at the moon’s poles will be a principal objective of the mission.

There have been discussions and debates over the years on many space related newsgroups as to whether there is frozen water on the moon or not. Soon two NASA spacecraft, a lunar spycraft and a kamikaze probe, will help answer the question by peering into the permanent darkness of craters at the moon’s south pole.

Controversial evidence for whether there is water on the moon began appearing in 1996 on NASA related newsgroups with the Clementine probe, a joint Pentagon-NASA project. Radar scans of the lunar surface reflected back the kind of signals at the south pole that one might expect of ice and other frozen compounds.

However, pointed out in discussions on space exploration newsgroups regarding later studies using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico revealed similar reflections “even from areas exposed to sunlight, places too warm for water ice to survive”. This suggested the reflections that Clementine saw might have come not from water but from piles of rocks.

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation for NASA Ames Research Center, is scheduled for launch on June 17 at approximately 4PM EDT, from Launch Pad 41 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. LCROSS will be launched with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on an Atlas V rocket.

Orbital properties will make analysis of Chandrayaan data from the south pole, where NASA is contemplating planting a lunar outpost that could use water ice as a resource, which will be even trickier until more time has passed.

WHO Declares Pandemic on H1N1 Swine Flu Virus

By Newsgroup Usenet June 11th, 2009

The World Health Organisation has stated today that it is declaring an H1N1 virus swine flu pandemic, raising its alert level to the maximum of six. The Department of Health said that the WHO announcement had no immediate implications for the public, but could prompt governments to take extra prevention measures, such as imposing travel bans and ordering increased vaccine production.

In government and politics newsgroups, many are discussing on how it’s the first global pandemic over the last 41 years. The last global flu pandemic came in 1968 over the “Hong Kong” flu, which killed about a million people worldwide. Moving to phase 6 (the highest level) means a pandemic has been confirmed and the H1N1 virus is spreading from person to person in a sustained manner outside North America, where the outbreak began in April. A pandemic declaration indicates geographic spread, not the severity of the illness.

The virus first emerged in Mexico in April and has now spread to 74 countries with a reported 27,000 cases and 141 deaths. The decision to raise its global alert level from five to six — officially signalling a pandemic — came after a day-long emergency meeting of the WHO to discuss the implications of widespread outbreaks of illness in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

As stated in press releases and various USENET newsgroups, moving to phase six will trigger a large scale production of vaccines. The WHO has been quoted stating in newsgroups that phase six would reflect the fact that the disease, widely known as swine flu, is spreading geographically, but not necessarily indicate how virulent it is. It could take up to six months before large amounts of a swine flu vaccine are available.

WHO says its pandemic announcement would not mean the situation was worsening, since no mutations have been detected in the virus to show it is getting more deadly.

Newsgroup Spotlight: Animation and Comic Book Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet June 10th, 2009

Comic book and animation newsgroups

Recently and upcoming, movie studios have been pushing and putting emphasis on a range of animation and comics book adaptations. From Wolverine: Origins to G.I. Joe and Watchmen, the recent and predicted success of these movies seem to indicate that only more are destined to hit the box office this decade.

Before this recent push, these movies were few and far in-between, receiving luke warm responses in the past. A large source of why these movies have suddenly received more accolade can be directly linked to the activity and discussions of all things related to animation and comic book online.

One of the largest sources of these discussions have been animation and comic book newsgroups. These newsgroups have been some of the world’s leading portals and resources for news, information and community activities for animators, comic book fans and artists.

Newsgroups like and rec.arts.animation have long been home to discussions of the technical aspects and technique of computer animation by industry insiders and fans alike. Where rec.arts.comics covers the superhero realm and an abundance of discussion of hero specific movies.

Many of these newsgroups have been responsible for running events where animation professionals are free to network with each other and discuss future collaborations. Comic book newsgroups and animation newsgroups both provide updates, news and events that affect animators and the animation world, including comic books.

Discussions are guided by a variety of figures from the animation and comic book world – from animators and directors, to the likeness of the comic book guy from The Simpsons.

Whether you are new or long experienced with the world of Animation and Comics, if you haven’t checked out the corresponding Usenet newsgroups on the matter, chances are you don’t know the full story.