The NewsDemon Blog

NewsDemon Now Offers 1500 Days Binary Retention

By Newsgroup Usenet September 30th, 2012

We are thrilled to now provide our customers with 1,500 days of binary retention, allowing our Usenet newsgroup customers to access articles that are over four years old!

This is available to all of our customers no matter how long they’ve been a NewsDemon customer. Whether you signed up long ago or just signed up recently, you can now access articles that are 1,500 days old. We are proud of our premier Usenet newsgroup service and expect our features and benefits to continue to grow.

The higher retention comes at no additional price. Existing customers will not see their price increase, nor will they have to choose a more expensive plan to gain access to the new retention. New customers won’t face any price hike either and can sign up any time for our premier Usenet service.

We continue to offer trusted Usenet newsgroup service at unlimited speeds for premium access to all supported binary newsgroups. Keep an eye out for further announcements of expanded benefits of NewsDemon service!



New Computers Already Infected with a Virus?

By Newsgroup Usenet September 21st, 2012

Unfortunately, according to Microsoft USENET Newsgroups, some brand new PCs, particularly in China, have come preinstalled with a virus. The Nitol virus was introduced to new computers between somewhere in the supply chain before they were purchased by consumers.

Through Microsoft’s investigation, codenamed Operation b70, the company found that some retailers had loaded a counterfeit version of Windows software that contained the malware. Microsoft warned in its blog post that the malware could send fake email messages or post to social media from the victim’s accounts to infect others to whom the emails were sent or who accessed the messages via the victim’s social media accounts.

The company warned that consumers should be wary of deals that seem “too good to be true.” Still, some consumers may have purchased infected computers from retailers that seemed perfectly legitimate. The investigators found that one in five of the computers that were purchased from an “unsecured supply chain were infected with malware.” According to PCWorld.com, about 85% of the computers infected with the Nitol virus were found in China, while about 10% were found in the United States.

Perhaps most scary, the researchers found additional strains of malware, some of which was capable of turning on the microphone and camera of an infected computer. Some was even capable of recording the keystrokes made into an infected computer, according to the company’s researchers.

While some victims who purchased infected computers may have had no way of knowing that the computer was infected, the revelations should come as a reminder of the importance of cyber security. Microsoft notes that consumers should demand that they be provided non-counterfeit products from any resellers.

For a discussion about cyber security, head over to the relevant Usenet newsgroups. Usenet is full of tech professionals and enthusiasts who probably don’t mind answering your questions or having a more detailed discussion of the issue.



Canada Data Caps Affect Netflix and USENET Users

By Newsgroup Usenet September 17th, 2012

The Internet is serious business. Especially USENET. These days, a number of businesses absolutely require the Internet and USENET newsgroups to function. This is especially true if those companies are looking to stream media content to their customers or to access newsgroups to research and find information. When Internet service providers gouge their customers for bandwidth, they’re less likely to use said streaming services. It’s for this reason that Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, isn’t a big fan of Canadian providers.

Sarandos talked of Canadian ISPs bandwidth limitations, saying “it’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for Internet access in Canada”. There are Canadian ISPs with download caps as low as 15GB for a month, with excess billing charges if you burst through the 15GB limit.

In Canada, Netflix has even been forced to change its model for streaming, offering SD video as the default option rather than HD. For those who don’t know, Canada’s ISPs enforce strict data caps that make U.S. ISPs look like saints. Many Canadian ISPs offer a measly 15GB a month and charge large overage fees for those who go over said cap. The ISPs that don’t use caps are actually much worse because they charge by use. The average HD stream from Netflix is a few GB of data which translates to a rather hefty bill each month.

Data caps from an ISP is a major inconvenience for its subscriber base, especially those who frequent USENET newsgroups. Thankfully, the concept hasn’t really taken off in the U.S. ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have dabbled in the idea of implementing data caps in some markets, but the moves have been met with a lot of resistance. Perhaps Canadian lawmakers should start looking out for their constituents’ best interests and ban low data caps.



Your ISP Could be Providing Faster Speeds than Advertised

By Newsgroup Usenet August 24th, 2012

Do you regularly curse your internet service provider? Well, you might want to pull back just a bit, as your ISP could be giving you faster speeds than they advertise. An FCC report indicates that ISPs in general have been meeting or exceeding advertised speeds.

The report indicates that ISPs deliver an average of 96% of the speeds they advertise at peak hours — from 7 – 11 PM. Test data was collected in April of this year, and the researchers found that most services were doing a better job of meeting advertised speeds compared to last year. Cablevision was the biggest riser from an average of 54% of advertised speeds in 2011, the lowest percentage of advertised speeds last year, to 120% of advertised speeds in 2012, tied with Verizon fiber service as the highest percentage.

Another big jumper was Mediacom, who rose from 75% in 2011 to 100% in 2012. Comcast came in at 103% of advertised speeds, while Verizon’s fiber service came in at 120%. Charter (98%), Cox (95%), and TimeWarner (96%) came in between 95% and 99%.

AT&T, while they rose six percentage points from 2011, still came in at under 90% of advertised speeds at 87%. Quest, Century Link, and Verizon DSL also saw a rise but failed to eclipse 90% of advertised speeds. Frontier dropped two percentage points from 81% to 79%, while Windstream dropped one point from 85% to 84%.

The report found that, as most would expect, the speeds dropped during peak hours when compared to other times of the day when fewer users are logging on. Fiber had the lowest slowdown at 0.8%, while DSL slowed 3.4% and cable slowed 4.1% during peak hours.

Most Usenet services do not limit speeds, but caution that speeds may be limited by the user’s ISP. When signing up for internet service, you might consider the speeds that the company advertises compared to the FCC data that was released this summer to see how they measured up.



NewsDemon Offers Header Compression On All Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet August 11th, 2012

NewsDemon.com Newsgroups now allows header compression on all supported newsgroups and for all news servers, providing a faster USENET newsgroup experience.

 

A header for USENET articles provides the information of the subject, from and to lines of any given article. When browsing through a newsgroup through your client, the newsreader will load all of the headers for the articles in the newsgroup. Usually, this process takes some time as the majority of the process is downloading a lot of duplicate data.

 

With header compression enabled on supported newsreaders, the headers are compressed. This allows you to view only the unique data available on any newsgroup. This is especially helpful with the majority of newsreaders that download the full list of headers each time a newsgroup is accessed.

 

The new header compression will now allow users to download headers up a 100 times faster than downloading without this feature. Less data is downloaded and allows downloads to finish almost 15 times faster.

 

This option is fully available on all supported servers and over 107,000 newsgroups that NewsDemon.com Newsgroups support. In order to enable this option, configure your newsreader to enable header compression:

NewsLeecher – Automatically turned on. Check to make sure by going to:
Settings ->   Adv. Nerdy Tweaks -> Article Download Allow XFEAT Compression

NewsBin  – Automatically turned on. Check the settings by going to Utilities->Servers. Make sure “Disable XFeatures” is NOT checked.

News Rover – Automatically turned on.



Google Enters the ISP Game, Offering Fast Access to USENET

By Newsgroup Usenet August 6th, 2012

Google’s entry into the internet service provider market will allow customers in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri to take advantage of superfast internet and USENET newsgroup speeds, as well as the search engine giant’s new television service.

If you’re content with your current internet speeds, Google has something for you, too. Free internet at 5Mbps, which is more in-line with today’s standard broadband speeds. Just pay the $300 installation fee, and for at least 7 years you won’t have any more internet bills.

The supped-up 1Gbps connection comes with a $70/month fee, and the $300 installation fee is waived with the one-year contract. There are no data caps with this or any plan, and the internet service comes with a network box feature four ports and high-speed Wi-Fi.

For $120/month, you will get the 1Gbps internet speeds, two terabytes of storage to record television shows, and access to the Google Fiber cable service. You’ll also get a Nexus 7 tablet, which you will use to control the television service. The TV box features on-demand shows, and is already equipped with HD so you won’t pay any extra fee to watch your favorite shows in HD. You can even watch Google Fiber channels on the tablet. The $300 installation fee is waived with the two-year contract.

Following the unveiling of the new service packages to be offered to Kansas City residents, many started to wonder how it would affect the market for internet and television service. While the ultra-fast internet speeds could tempt a lot of customers, one of the concerns has been over the channel lineup provided with the television service.

So far, channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon are on the lineup, but ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS, and other Disney- or Time Warner-owned channels were not. However, in its fine print, Google has said that the channel lineup is subject to change, which could indicate that more channels could be added. AMC, which has attracted viewers with recent shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, is also not on the lineup at this time.

As Usenet users are often interested in faster download and upload speeds, it will be interesting to see how users in the Kansas City area react to the availability of the new internet and cable service. While most Usenet providers do not limit speeds, users often find themselves limited by the speed provided by their ISP.



No Office 2013 Availability for XP, Vista, Mac Users

By Newsgroup Usenet July 19th, 2012

Unveiled on USENET earlier this week, the new Microsoft Office 2013 will not be available to users who are still running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or using a Mac. The new software will limit availability to users running Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Other requirements for the new Office software, as revealed on the Microsoft TechNet site, include a 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM for 32-bit, 2GB RAM for 64-bit, and 3GB disk space.

The software will also feature touch capability. For example, OneNote will feature touch capability, while only certain aspects of some programs will have touch capability. Of course, to use any touch features you must use a device that is touch-enabled. You’re able to turn the touch feature on and off, too. When it’s on, certain aspects of the program will become larger to make touch easier to use.

The new software will also allow cloud-based file storage through SkyDrive.  What’s more, while Office 2013 will not be available for OS X users, an update to Office for Mac 2011 will include SkyDrive cloud compatibility. The company also announced that the new Office version will work in its full form with tablet devices rather than releasing a scaled down version of the full version.

Keeping up with the latest advancements in the technology and computer consumer industries, the new cloud feature and touch capability should go over nicely with consumers. However, some see limiting availability to Windows 7 and 8 users as a gamble by the company hoping to get users to switch to more recent operating systems.

As with any new announcement affecting the technology or computer industry, especially when it deals with a consumer product, several discussions of the topic are sure to be found in the various related Usenet newsgroups. Usenet boasts a vibrant tech community, many members of which are active participants and innovators in the industry.



Potential Breakthrough in Likely Discovery of Higgs Boson Particle

By Newsgroup Usenet July 10th, 2012

In what is perhaps the biggest discovery in the physical sciences in years, scientists at CERN say that they likely have discovered the Higgs boson particle, considered by many a major key to furthering our understanding of the universe as reported on USENET Newsgroups.

Two teams worked separately in arriving at their results, discovering what may be a new subatomic particle. The researchers expressed optimism that the new discovery is, in fact, the Higgs boson particle that could explain how particles obtain their mass. “As a layman, I think I would say, ‘we have it,'” Rolf-Dieter Heuer of CERN said at a press conference announcing the findings, “but as a scientist I have to say, ‘what do we have?'”

Further research is needed to better understand the results and what they mean, but the research teams described their results as ‘five sigma’, which puts the chance that their results were simply an abnormality at extremely minute to say the least. The science world erupted in excitement at the announcement with many evaluating what the new discovery could mean for our understanding of the physical universe.

“This is indeed a new particle,” said Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the research teams. “We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found. The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.”

Sometimes called the ‘God particle’, the Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs, one of the scientists who theorized of its existence in the 1960s. He was on hand for the announcement in Geneva.

The possible discovery of the Higgs boson has generated a renewed interest in the field as media outlets from around the world reported and discussed the new findings. ‘Higgs’ was even trending on Twitter on the day of the announcement. The new findings will surely generate plenty of discussion in Usenet newsgroups and other forums designated for the discussion of such scientific discoveries.



New USENET Posted Study Looks at Teen Activity Online

By Newsgroup Usenet June 26th, 2012

A recent study posted on newsgroups recently examined the behavior and activity of teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17, finding that 70% of teens hide their internet activity and behavior from their parents. The report also reveals a gap between what parents believe their children are (or are not) doing online, and what their teens are actually doing.

The new study saw a major rise in the percentage of surveyed teens who admit to hiding their online activity from their parents, jumping 25 percentage points from 45% in 2010. Some of the tricks teens used to hide their online activity included minimizing their browser window (at least, presumably, the windows containing the content they don’t want their parents to see), hiding/deleting IMs and videos, and clearing their browser’s history.

A number of teens (23%) even admitted to lying about or omitting details regarding their online behavior. But there are several others ways that teens got around their parents’ efforts to monitor their online behavior as well. Some take advantage of privacy settings so their parents could not see some of their information; some use their mobile device to access the internet; and some use private browsing options to conceal their activity.

The report also revealed that three of every four parents trust their children to avoid content that is not considered appropriate.  Still, nearly half of parents surveyed have installed parental controls, and 44.3% say they are aware of their teen’s passwords.

In the report, it recommends talking with teens so they understand the risks and consequences of certain activities, and taking advantage of parental controls and then monitoring to determine if their teen has figured a way around them. It also recommends informing teens of the monitors and controls, as this may help alter their online behavior.

The Internet and Usenet, which actually predates the World Wide Web, are great resources for sharing information, ideas, and more. However, there are also dangers, both physical and emotional, in teens accessing certain content or sharing personal information online. Usenet features, in addition to a vast expanse of other topics, newsgroups dedicated to parenting. You’ll also find newsgroups dedicated to the discussion of social behavior and trends, to which the recent study also applies.



Internet Conceptualized in 1934?

By Newsgroup Usenet June 8th, 2012

The World Science Festival recently took place in New York City, and one of the discussions centered around the invention of the Internet. While most recognize the contributions of Vinton Cerf, who was on hand at the event, and others in creating the Internet, one rather obscure name was mentioned by one of the panelists for the role he played in conceptualizing the Internet as far back as 1934: Paul Otlet.

One of the panel members at the event, Alex Wright, took note of Otlet’s ideas about the potential of communication technology that would incorporate several of the modern technologies of his time. Otlet considered the potential of technologies like radio waves, telephones, and television, and how they may one day connect people to information from all over the world.

Otlet imagined calling a large database by telephone, where the requested information would be transmitted by an individual working at the database (or library, as you might call it) to a screen in the user’s home. What’s more, his vision included dividing the screen into several sections to allow multiple documents to be viewed at the same time, which is very similar to the use of tabs on a typical browser today.

He even imagined a loud speaker to accompany the images if audio was required in addition to the image displayed on the screen. Otlet imagined cinema, phonograph, television, radio, and telephone combining to become ‘the new book’ that allowed easier and more direct sharing of the world’s knowledge and information.

His vision is remarkably similar to today’s reality of the Internet. Most in need of information consult the Internet before they consult books, and cinema, music, text, and other mediums combine to create a vast information sharing network that connects people to other cultures, knowledge, and ideas. Perhaps nowhere is this vision better represented than in the Usenet newsgroups, where ideas, information, and files are shared and discussed among users from countries and cultures all over the globe.