Path: utzoo!attcan!uunet!mcvax!ukc!icdoc!qmc-cs!flash
From: (Flash Sheridan)
Newsgroups: comp.sources.d,
Subject: Review of NN, a Usenet news reader
Summary: All the bugs are deliberate
Keywords: rn, .newsrc, b&d
Message-ID: <>
Date: 4 Jul 89 15:08:26 GMT
References: <>
Reply-To: (Flash Sheridan)
Organization: Mathematical Institute, Oxford OX1-3LB
Lines: 53

If you've already used rn seriously, don't bother with nn.  The author is
quite firm that your welfare is unimportant.  It's a fair amount of hassle
to get your .newsrc into the format required by the sequence part of your
.nn/init; you'll have to edit it, and do diffs on your .newsrc and your
site's active file.  Your KILL files are history.

The biggest bug is deliberate & permanent: it incorrectly marks articles as
read [though you do have the option of incorrectly marking some as unread
instead.]  {The author claims "incorrectly" is wrong; he's lying.} You
probably don't realize how awful this is.  Our site has an antique bb system
which does this; it has a rather useful group about the library, which
contains both urgent messages ["the library is moving to a new building
today"] and reviews of some learned journals.  I read local news in the
morning, when I can understand simple things; the news system then marks all
the day's article as read.  This means, in practice, that I never read those
learned reviews.

Killing is much more sophisticated than rn's, but doesn't work until it's
too late:  if half the articles in unix.wizards are on the Yiddish word for
"belch", you can make all such articles disappear.  The next time you read
news, _not_ this time.  I sometime quit & restart [slow; it's fast except
on startup], to simulate rn's behavior.  Auto-selection likewise.  Other
than that, it's beautiful.

Normal group selction is clumsy; there's no way to find out which groups
have unread news, except by finding out *all* groups which have unread
news.  You can page through groups, getting a whole slow screenful
summarizing each; nn deliberately ignores the command you gave it a third of
the way through to skip this group and go to the next, which means you have
to stare at a group you don't feel like reading to see when it stops
displaying and will listen to the command you just gave it and now have to
give it again.
	Its knowledge of headers is hard-coded, and wrong.  It doesn't even
know about the "Summary:" field; this means you can't see it, _ever_; much
less interesting non-standard ones [in England we have a "Kenneth-Baker:"
field (he's the government agent in charge of destroying higher education.)]

	For all its deliberate user-hostility, it's a beautiful piece of
work, and I use it about half the time.  Try typing " " in the middle of a G
[goto group] command.  Auto-selection is a wonderful concept,
well-implemented, except that it doesn't work.  It really, truly, does save
you oodles of time in news-reading.  Pity that the people who should save
time reading news are already using rn, and he's deliberately decided to
make it difficult for them to change.
	But I think every site should have it; tell people who have never
read netnews before to use it.  Making it is straightforward; even *I* could
do it, and seem to have been the first ever to Make it on a Sequent: there
were two problems, one probably my fault, one described in the PROBLEMS file.
From: (Flash Sheridan)
Portal,MacNet: FlashsMom

Path: utzoo!utgpu!!mailrus!wasatch!!uunet!mcvax!ukc!icdoc!qmc-cs!flash
From: (Flash Sheridan)
Subject: Re: Review of NN, a Usenet news reader: second thoughts
Summary: I like killing people; I'm using it more & more
Keywords: rn, .newsrc, b&d, KILL files
Message-ID: <>
Date: 14 Jul 89 18:00:52 GMT
References: <> <>
Organization: Mathematical Institute, Oxford OX1-3LB
Lines: 16

My earlier criticisms notwithstanding, I'm using it more and more.  I now
tend to read articles based on who wrote them, not on their subject or group.
I've always been heavily into KILL files, aiming them especially at people,
as much to select [via rn's M, soon thereafter c'ing, then reading the good
stuff] as to avoid.  
	I never put anyone into my global kill file, as rn was slowish on
header searching even in the smaller groups.  [I would have liked to put
weemba there (with a :M).] This may change the Nature of the Net; there are
some people whose views I'll never hear again on any subject; some whose
views I'll _always_ hear.  This may reduce flameage; I'm not sure it's a
good thing.
From: (Flash Sheridan)
Portal,MacNet: FlashsMom

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