The NewsDemon Blog

Text Based Messages Skyrocket In US

April 21st, 2010

texting-skyrockets

Upward trending since the beginning of Usenet, text based messaging has now eclipsed even the phone itself as to become the most frequent form of communication among US teenagers. Even more surprising is that girls send more than twice as many messages as boys, according to a new study.

The study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the University of Michigan released Tuesday found that the average adolescent sends or receives 50 or more messages a day, or 1,500 texts per month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Much to the dismay of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teen’s texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. Texting has gotten so prolific; there are even competitions now to see who can text the fastest: the LG Mobile Worldcup. This should not come as a big surprise if you simply look at the amount of communication on many throughout history on Usenet newsgroups.

However, although 71 percent of parents with teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old say they know how to and do text, kids still perceive their elders as being out of the texting loop.

Although some of the popularity of texting can be chalked up to generational trends, teens interviewed in the Pew study also cited practical and economic reasons for their enthusiasm. With some of the same initial draws to subscribing to and sharing on newsgroups, texting is quieter and easier than a phone call for brief messages, and many teenagers are on cellphone plans that limit minutes for calls but that allows unlimited texts.

 

Young Adults Online More Than Ever

January 21st, 2010

kaiser-survey

According to a survey released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American youths are spending far more time consuming media on a daily basis than just five years ago. Young people now devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to daily media use, or about 53 hours a week according to the findings being discussed on a variety of USENET newsgroups.

According to the study posted on to soc newsgroups, America’s 8- 18-year-olds have increased their consumption of digital media over the past 5 years by one hour and 17 minutes a day.  The 7 1/2 hour daily total is up from 6 hours and 21 minutes five years ago.. Total media consumption taking multitasking into account was up from 8 hours 33 minutes.

And when children go to their rooms, media still surrounds them, with 71 percent saying they have a TV in their bedroom and 50 percent saying they have a video game player, the researchers report. Live TV viewing comprises 59%, or 2 hours and 39 minutes a day, of young viewer’s video time with 41%, 1 hour and 50 minutes, coming from time-shifted programming, DVDs, online, or mobile. Other trends: About two-thirds of young people say the TV is usually on during meals, and just under half say the TV is left on, most of the time, in their home, even if no one is watching.  “What surprised me the most is the sheer amount of media content coming into their lives each day,” said Kaiser’s Vicky Rideout, who directed the study. “When you step back and look at the big picture, it’s a little overwhelming.” The huge increase since 2004 can be attributed to the transformation of the cellphone into a content delivery device and social networks such as USENET, Facebook and Twitter.

“The increase in media use is driven in large part by ready access to mobile devices like cell phones and iPods. Over the past five years, there has been a huge increase in ownership among 8-18-year-olds: from 39 to 66 percent for cell phones, and from 18 to 76 percent for iPods and other MP3 players,” read the report.

A few years ago, the same researchers thought that teens and tweens were consuming about as much media as humanly possible in the hours available. But somehow, young people have found a way to pack in even more.  The study cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship between media use and grades. However, the survey did find that about half of heavy media users, defined as consuming more than 16 hours of media a day, usually got grades of mostly Cs or lower, compared to less than a quarter of light users, defined as less than three hours of media a day. Black and Hispanic children, who as a group perform poorer in school than whites, spend far more time with media than white kids, consuming an additional 4.5 hours a day on average, for a total of about 13 hours of media exposure.

Study authors didn’t determine whether so much use is either positive or negative overall, but do say the new stats should be useful information for parents, health professionals and policy makers as they make decisions about kids media use and the content they’re receiving. “Anything that occupies this much space in kids’ lives is something we really need to pay attention to,” Richard added. “The bottom line is that all these advances in media technologies are making it even easier for young people to spend more and more time with media,” said foundation Vice President Victoria Rideout, the report’s author. “It’s more important than ever that researchers, policy-makers and parents stay on top of the impact it’s having on their lives.”   One form of media teenagers aren’t hooked on? Print newspapers. Most youth surveyed said they spent only 38 minutes a day reading a print publication.

 

Newsgroup Spotlight: Real Estate and Housing Newsgroups

August 12th, 2009

real-estate-housing

For those in the Real Estate industry, USENET newsgroups have long been an indispensable resource. Real Estate and Housing newsgroups are places where like-minded individuals gather to swap information and advice.

USENET newsgroups are broken into sub topics related to the different aspects associated with the Real Estate and the Housing markets covering much of the world. Housing Newsgroups have long existed for those people who are interested in buying real estate, discussing the buying process, picking a home, finding services, finding information about foreclosures, short sales, mortgages, and much more.

USENET newsgroups offer hundreds of real estate articles and guides on how to get started in Real Estate – whatever the role.

With dozens of different newsgroups to choose from, anything and everything you want to know about the Real Estate profession and Housing can be found on newsgroups. No other online source comes close to providing the same high level of information than what USENET newsgroups have to offer.

All aspects of Real Estate are covered on USENET – from Interior Design Newsgroups to Home Ownership Discussion Groups.

As the housing market becomes a center point of America’s attention recently, a number of housing related newsgroups have experienced a huge spike of new subscribers. Looking for answers on a variety of aspects of Real Estate, USENET again remains a necessity for many to stay informed.

 

Newsgroup Spotlight: Animal and Pet Newsgroups

June 3rd, 2009

Pet newsgroups are communities for animal lovers with comprehensive discussions on all types of animals and their care taking. From Reptiles to Pigeons, every animal of land, sea and air is covered. On these newsgroups, one can share related knowledge and experience, ask questions, get advice on practically every kind of animal on newsgroups.
Even Badgers have a dedicated newsgroup that discusses the health, behavior and spotting of badgers throughout the world.
Usenet newsgroups give pet owners and animal enthusiasts alike the opportunity to ask questions, share stories, read and talk about current events in the animal kingdom. Reptiles and wildlife newsgroups are great as they offer practical education as they give the knowledgeable care, materials and resources that are needed to understand these animals.
Naturally, dog newsgroups and cat newsgroups dominate the arena. Groups such as rec.pet.dogs and rec.pets.cats discussion groups invite pet owners to talk with other owners about everything from food and nutrition, care and grooming, to toys and furniture.
Pet newsgroups are a primary source for news and expert advice on dog and cat behavior, health, breeding, showing, and care specifically.
You’ll find a great multitude of enthusiastic and knowledgeable members; all who would love to answer questions, look at your pet pictures, and welcome you into these Usenet newsgroups.

 

Newsgroup Spotlight: Pregnancy and Parenting Newsgroups

May 20th, 2009

Parenting is a tough job….really tough.  At the same time, it’s arguably one of the most important jobs any of us will ever have.  Usenet parenting newsgroup communities have a rich history of helping others, making new parenting friends, and to grow as a parent.  These parenting newsgroups have historically had a long lasting positive impact on the lives of many parents and children.

Usenet parenting newsgroups are a great source of information and support for parents, and parents-to-be. Parenting newsgroup communities, like misc.kids invites you to participate in parenting discussions – by either asking for advice/support or providing answers and sharing parenting tips with others.

Many Usenet newsgroups also provide critical information such as the decision-making moment that women face during crisis pregnancies on misc.kids.pregnancy. There are newsgroups that assist adopters and birth parents to find families by helping hopeful adoptive parents make adoption dreams come true on adoption newsgroups such as alt.adoption.issues and alt.adoptive.parenting. There are parenting newsgroups such as soc.adoption.parenting and alt.adoptive.parenting that are committed to helping children in the U.S. and around the world, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find families.

Many parenting newsgroups have been created and have lasted throughout the years with the goal of building an online community of parents.  These newsgroups are only a great source of information for parents, but also a venue that both outreaches and provides resources to the parenting community at large.

 

Google Experiences Second Outage In A Week

May 18th, 2009

165046-google-error_180After an initial service outage on Thursday, Google was dealt with another service outage this Monday morning which impacted users around the world. Beginning around 8:30AM, the primary Google service, Google News, had been inaccessible to many users, generating a “503 Server Error”.

The first outage on Thursday had already resulted in paniced users, including Usenet newsgroup users who also felt the affect as Google Groups was also down for the hour and a half it was reported being down. The net result was that not only did five percent of the traffic disappear, but it also jammed the rest of the web, as it slowed to a crawl. In a recent official company blog post, Google said that an error in one of its  systems caused it to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. It claimed that only 14 per cent of its  users experienced slow services or even interruptions.

Traffic would have fallen even more if the outage had been wider, as it affected just 14 percent of Google’s users. Analysts said the outage demonstrated exactly how reliant the world has become on Google, which now handles nearly three out of four search queries in America each day. Google Groups, which many had considered a stable source of accessing Usenet, was also compromised.

The outage happened after Google accidentally routed online traffic through Asia, creating a massive backup. The slowdown peaked around mid-afternoon in Europe and morning in the US, affecting millions of users.

Usenet newsgroups lit up throughout the morning with comments and complaints about the outage and the company.

”An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our Web traffic through Asia,” Google said.

“We’ve been working hard to make our services ultrafast and always on, so it’s especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens.”

The disruption prevented users around the world from loading Google Group newsgroup pages, but the problems were in scattered areas. The outage was been reported by users from California to Massachusetts and as far away as Sydney, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom.

Although today’s outage is still being determined, only Google News has been reported to be affected this time around, versus the suite of applications and services affected at the end of last week.

 

Newsgroup Spotlight: Art and Entertainment Newsgroups

May 6th, 2009

Devoted discussions of all aspects of theatre, art and entertainment follow the history of Usenet.  Split into specific sub-category newsgroups, Usenet is a source for community discussions, interactions, sharing and discovering aspects of their respective genres and fields.

Since the early days of Usenet, devoted newsgroups to particular art forms of theatre and entertainment have existed. A hub for those interested in both the result and the process has either found or created a group specific to their interests over the years.

For film buffs or those interested in the process of film making can join discussions on dedicated newsgroups such as rec.arts.cinema where they discuss everything from cinematic technique to film history on this newsgroup.

Additionally, rec.arts.movies and rec.arts.television cover generally the same aspects in their respective genres.

For theatre, rec.arts.theatre, along sub-category newsgroups cover discussions of everything within the range of stage work, acting, directing, reviewing and production. Otherwise, rec.music.musicals covers other aspects of popular theatre as well.

The above examples are just some of the many newsgroups that Usenet provides in the field of theatre, art and entertainment. Other newsgroups that are much more specific to your interests are sure to also be part of the Usenet hierarchy.

 

Newsgroup Spotlight: Cell Phones on Usenet

February 4th, 2009

It’s undeniable that cell phones are being used less and less nowadays as a phone. Recently, research studies have suggested that cell phones are being relied upon for everything from using your email to downloading and playing favorite tunes and videos. The future of this market seems only to be increasing by the day as phone manufacturers rush to supply the latest and greatest. The iPhone, G1, Blackberry Storm and the new Palm Pre are all examples of these all-in-one devices that are quick to cater to the flood.

A great source for both fans and owners of these devices have been found on newsgroups. From development to the technology in which they’re based, many newsgroups are hosts to dedicated discussions of the different phones and platforms they’re based upon.
As an example, newsgroups such as misc.phone.mobile.iphone hosts general discussions of fans of the iPhone. Users of the recently released Google phone, the G1, have been active on alt.cellular.t-mobile – the only US Carrier suporting the phone. While patiently awaiting fans of the new Palm Pre have been getting leaked details of the new phone on alt.comp.os.palm. Other newsgroups dedicated to the development of the platforms and the phones themselves have been an invaluable resource for developers. The newsgroups have been responsible for creating and maintaining some of the core functions these phones feature.
General chatter on providers, service and technology also are prominent on Usenet. For the US, alt.cellular.attwsand alt.att have been a meeting ground regarding ATT service, while the UK community meets upon groups such as uk.telecom.mobile and tw.bbs.rec.mobilecomm.
Many other newsgroups exist on the subject as well that cater to different phones and providers alonside the other thousands of newsgroups that exist on Usenet today. Many of these newsgroups came into existence even before there products were released, as others will be created as technology and advancements are made.
 

Usenet is Dead…Really?

January 12th, 2009

Recently, an article was published for PC Magazine that made the claim that Usenet, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2009, is supposedly dead. The article goes on to write presumptuous claims on the direction that Usenet has taken as well as the impact that both Usenet and its Newsgroups represent.

Usenet Dead?

First off – Usenet is not dead, and far from it, as facts provide. As evidence, Newsdemon.com as well as other 3rd party Usenet service providers alone have users in the hundreds of thousands that use newsgroups in both HTML translated base and NNTP.

The article fails to reflect that Usenet is not part of, nor can be compared to other internet services that may exist. Usenet may not be the prevailing discussion system that exists on the internet today, but its popularity has proven only to be increasing once again.

Just because it may not be integrated into your “MySpace” or “Facebook” profile yet does not mean it does not exist anymore. Usenet is still vital and useful.

Usenet In Use

Usenet’s technological underpinnings predate its association with the Internet, resting on dial-up-based store-and-forward e-mail BBS systems and UUCP protocols and programs. Usenet is perhaps best described as a huge, loose collection of informal information-exchange communities that have little in common beyond their naming convention and their reliance on the Network News Transfer Protocol used to manage Usenet messages.

People had been predicting the death of Usenet almost from the beginning by those that have not comprehended the conception or the value of the protocol. However, almost 30 years later, tons of intelligent, meaningful, and important conversations still take place in just a couple megabytes worth of text-based posts.

Consider that Microsoft uses Usenet for community discussion and support. Realize that Google Groups makes Usenet searchable for people who may not have Usenet access. Google Groups alone has a high traffic volume and promotes considerable community participation off this channel of access alone.

Usenet is constantly evolving. Unlike most technologies, Usenet continues to surpass the longevity of most decentralized networks. There are, of course, online communities and massive acts of collaborative authorships today, but Usenet has always been the first.

To this day, Universities and Colleges alike actively use Usenet for studies and group discussions.

Usenet vs. The Web

 While it’s fair to characterize it as a series of bulletin boards, it is much more. The thousands of newsgroups on arcane topics was the first place that collective authorship really shined in the form of FAQ’s and tutorials. A role that Wikipedia itself models itself after. For many of us, this was the closest thing to a reference on rapidly changing technologies. Follow groups like comp.lang.c.moderated, microsoft.public.development.device.drivers, microsoft.public.platformsdk.msi to see that Usenet is still vital for power users.

 Sifting through Usenet has become increasingly easier over the years with feature rich Newsreaders such as Newsrover and many others that allow multiple Newsgroup results on search terms. These methods rival, if not surpass, the searches found on Google or Google Groups as the extension of Newsgroups that are not carried on either of the Google services are easily accessible with a Usenet account and a multitude of Newsreaders. Additionally, unlike many web forums, reading through posts do not require authentication on the part of the user to access the content.

 Usenet is doing quite well. The programming-related newsgroups are in fine shape. “comp.lang.python”, “comp.lang.javascript”, and “comp.databases.mysql” have heavy traffic from knowledgeable people, including developers of the underlying systems. It’s much faster to see the day’s updates on Usenet than to search through a half dozen archaic PHP-based forum systems. Usenet in comparison to even Web 2.0 standards still stands with an advantage.

 Usenet is fast, being a simple text protocol with built-in multicasting that can support communities of millions with virtually no drain on resources. Web forums and sites frequently rich limits when they start to become popular because the centralized hardware requirements and the use of a database mean that once it starts getting more than a few readers per second, specialized solutions are a priority. Otherwise, there is a great chance of losing the community to database overload crashes and general slowness. As long as there’s a Usenet, there will be service providers such as Newsdemon.com who disseminate and maintain it. If anything, Usenet may actually return to a more usable medium again, now that it won’t be free for all the spammers and trolls anymore. There are some things that no Web site can offer that you can only find on Usenet.

 The Future of Usenet

The bitterness that this is not “your fathers” Usenet is not relative. Usenet should be noted as a champion by surviving the dot com crashes that continue to plague the Web today. The geek paradise is still the utopia known as Usenet. The society of Usenet still thrives and continues to grow. Although it may have turned off some, Usenet remains consistent on bridging the gap with new members on a daily basis, contributing to the growth that Usenet continues to exhibit.

 Usenet is far from dead. The fact is, the evolution of what Usenet has become is greater and stronger than it has even been before. Since its inception, we have seen factual technological growth of Usenet over the years. Newsdemon.com serves as a great example as a 3rd party Usenet provider that continues to grow retention rates, completion of articles, bandwidth limits and capacity 100 times more than it was in 1993. Usenet follows a variant of Moore’s law and as time progresses, these values will only increase. With any technology, it is better to understand and realize the evolution as progress, rather than making ill assumptions of its demise by presumptions.

Even as the author states:

“It’s hard to completely kill off something as totally decentralized as Usenet; as long as two servers agree to share the NNTP protocol, it’ll continue on in some fashion.”

The fact of the matter is that Usenet will always in exist in a certain capacity. As it stands now, Usenet has evolved and grown by catering to the community it represents. Besides the protocol, Usenet will continue to exist as long as there is an interest in the conversations that take place on Newsgroups. Usenet is well alive and more capable than it has ever been.

Usenet hosts a robust and vital discussion community. Other internet based services capture a limited site-specific audience. Same topic groups may be found on other sites, but unifying these sites the way Newsgroups operate on the Usenet global distribution network for unified discussion groups is a limitation that internet services still cannot duplicate.

 

What’s the deal with Usenet Newsgroups Retention?

January 1st, 2009

Recently, NewsDemon.com’s Usenet Newsgroups had made several retention upgrades.  We had been waiting on these upgrades for some time now and we were happy to finally be able to pass the extra days along to our customers.

Now, we are getting customers who have seen that several of our competitors are following suit and increasing their retention above and beyond what we currently show.  So, we thought we would clear the air about NewsDemon.com retention.

It is NewsDemon.com’s internal policy to NOT report retention increases until we are able to actually provide and verify these days of retention on our servers.  Often, our retention numbers posted are only the amount of days available through use of article ids and exclude additional days that might be available in a group.  This mostly occurs on some of the larger groups with over a billion articles.

With that in mind, we would like our customers to know we are currently showing slightly over 200 days of retention in most of our core groups we use for measurement.  We will be updating the numbers on our website later this week.  And although we do not choose to provide an actual number of days we are building up to, we will share that we do not intend to stop growing our retention in the near future.  Building retention is a very costly and time consuming endeavor and we at NewsDemon.com hope you will understand our efforts to provide accurate information regarding our continuing upgrades on our Premium Usenet Access services.

From all of us at NewsDemon.com, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2009.