The NewsDemon Blog

Newsgroup Spotlight: Mac Newsreaders

November 20th, 2009


Apple is more popular than ever. With new software becoming available for the Mac almost every day, an unusual amount of variety is now starting to sprout. No surprise that the mac newsreader arena is one of them. Here are our top three newsreaders for Mac that stand out from the bunch.

3) Hogwasher – Made by Asar, the mac only newsreader has been around for a while. It maintains multiple server support, integrated media viewing features and complete email support. It should be able to run on Snow Leopard without issue, but we were not able to test that. The trial period is 60 days and $49.00 thereafter. Set up Instructions for Hogwasher

2) BinBot – Originally designed and created for Linux machines, this newsreader is one of the very few that actually support all three – Linux, Windows and OS X systems. Also feature rich, BinBot automates a lot of the processes involved with USENET. You have a full 30 days before committing to a $19.95 cost to buy the program.

1) Unison – The parent company, Panic, makes other programs but one of the most popular has and continues to be the Unison newsreader. One of the longest running newsreaders for Mac in the market today, Unison continues to be updated and supported for most Mac machines.  Unison definitely has the most users than any other Mac newsreader we’ve found, which makes it helpful when needing to get support especially.  If you like it after 30 days, keep it for $24.95 for each full release. Set up instructions for Unison

All three of these newsreaders are quite capable all on their own. The real difference is really how intuitive and complicated each one can be. Hogwasher and BinBot take a little bit more time to configure and get used to. Unison on the other hand, is much more straightforward and fairly simple.

It’s a good bet to just try out each to find what works best for you. With a good trial period for each one, they all allow for you to test them out thoroughly and figure out how they function. If you have an experience you’d like to share, add them here to our comments. We’d like to know what you think.

Also, if you’re using an iPhone, you do have options. NewsTap is the most popular newsreader for the iPhone and iTouch  and is routinely updated and maintained.


DRM through DECE without Mickey

September 15th, 2008

A consortium of leading studios, including Warner Bros, Sony, NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment, Paramount and Lionsgate, has teamed up with Microsoft to develop an industry-standard digital media framework – excluding Disney because of its association with Apple.

Initially, more than 20 companies will be involved in the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) – a digital rights management initiative to standardise the acquisition and playback of content across a range of services and devices. This could lead to the development of a rival to Apple’s digital entertainment retail store iTunes.

In addition to the above studios, other DECE launch partners will include Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Philips, Toshiba and VeriSign.

The consortium will aim to “address growing consumer confusion around buying, downloading and playing digital content offered by multiple services by working towards a simple, uniform digital media experience.”

Over time, DECE will issue a licensable specification, along with a recognisable brand and logo for compliant products and services, which it says will “assure consumers that content they download will play on their devices.” The specification, based on mutually agreed industry standards, will outline the hardware and software requirements for companies to follow.


New Zune Software Slated For Release

September 12th, 2008

A significant software upgrade for Microsoft’s Zune music player will be available next week. It will not garner the attention of Apple’s recent iPod news, but the changes are notable and worth consideration if you want a new portable music option.

Zune and other music competitors remain well behind the iPod in market share, yet Microsoft is doing some interesting things and have a more robust view of music that Apple has so far overlooked. Zune’s software upgrade will be available to download and shipped on new devices starting Sept. 16.

Here’s what’s new:

Buy from FM. The Zune has a built-in FM radio. So if you hear a song you like while listening to the Zune’s radio, you can tag it and the song will download to the Zune the next time you dock the device. This is similar to the HD Radio feature called iTunes tagging. I’ve tested that and it works great.

Zune Pass improved. Microsoft has always embraced the music subscription approach (Apple does not), and if you pay $15 a month for the Zune Pass, you’ll find that the feature for discovering new music has been significantly enhanced. You can download songs that stay on your device, as always; but with a subscription, you also can choose among 3.5 million songs to listen to at anytime.

Channels. These are programmed playlists that will change regularly. Channels will include songs suggested by top music programmers at radio stations, a selection from the Billboard Top 100, genre categories like folk, rock, hip-hop, etc., and even music for workouts. If you have Zune Pass, these channels will be refreshed with new music weekly.

Picks. These are songs recommended for you, based on what you like. In one respect, this is similar to the Genius program Apple offers on iTunes 8, but the difference is that when Apple suggests a song you like, you need to buy it. If you have Zune Pass (yes, you pay $15 a month), you can download and listen to full versions of as many songs as you want.

Social. You can listen to what your friends like. If one of your buddies always is the first to listen to some cool music, Zune can deliver those songs to your device.

There are more capabilities, but the real news is that Microsoft continues to distinguish Zune as an alternative approach to music. It’s a fine player if you take the traditional approach — load your CD collection onto the player or buy digital music online — but if you really like music discovery, Microsoft’s subscription plan is a great bonus.


Apple Unveils New Line of iPod and iTouch

September 9th, 2008

ipodnano.jpgApple has taken the wraps of the latest version of its iPod Nano and Touch, with Steve Jobs making a joke about the recent leaks that initally broke the news of the new version.

Speaking about the announcements, Jobs said: “We’re confident that this line up will give us the strongest product range we’ve ever had in the lead up to the holiday season.”

The new iPod Nano is set to recieve a major overhaul, with the Apple detailing the thinnest-ever device, with it set to feature the accelerometer from the iPhone and iPod touch.

The addition of the device means that can now display content not just in portrait mode, but also in landscape mode when tilted. The technology is also at the centre of the model’s Shuffle mode, with users shaking the device to enable it.

Jobs revealed that the new Nano will come in 8GB and 16GB devices, with them shipping by the end of next week. The new iPod Touch would ship with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models.

A recent criticism of the firm has been battery life problems on the iPhone, with Jobs revealing that the new Nano will have 24 hours of battery life when it comes to playing music and four hours for video. The iPod Touch is set to benefit from 36 hours of music life and six hours of video.

One thing that is likely to appeal to customers is the wide variety of colours, with around nine various colors available.