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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > "OE 5 is not a good newsgroup reader"

"OE 5 is not a good newsgroup reader"
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JH
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Oct 21, 1999, 12:01 AM
 
This is from a Microsoft employee:

MacOE 5 was designed to be a great Mail application, it is not optimized for
Newsgroups. Apple's customer base is changing, and we are focusing our
efforts on those users. Many new Internet users prefer web-based message
boards. Continue development of newsgroup features would have come at the
expense of greater MacOS integration, greater support for new mail protocols
(IMAP and Hotmail), and at the expense of other power users features
(advanced find, Palm Sync, etc.). The industry is moving away from
newsgroups as are the majority of our customers. Besides, there are many
good news readers for the Mac and we're not trying to compete with them.


--
Jimmy
MacIE Team

Outlook Express 5 Macintosh Edition
So good, you'll wish you paid for it!

> From: Mark Hofhuis <[email protected]>
> Organization: EuroNet Internet
> Newsgroups: microsoft.public.internet.mail.mac
> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 13:56:25 +0200
> Subject: OE5: No threaded, by date sort 2
>
> Well . . . IMO this is a great flaw in the programming of OE 5.0.
>
> I find it pretty hard to read my Usenet when it is not listed by date in
> threads . . . . But maybe I am doing something wrong here . . any advice .
> . . please.
>
>
> Mark
>
     
artemis67
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Oct 21, 1999, 10:07 AM
 
Well, one of the best new features of OE 5 is that you can assign email accounts to newsgroup servers.

The old, kludgy way of doing this in OE 4.5 was, if you don't wan't your email address to go out on Usenet so the email spammers can scoop it up, you had to either edit your email address in the preferences (and change it back after you post) or create an account just for Usenet posting with an alternate or bogus email address, set that as default, post, and set it back. I can't tell you how many times I went to preferences, switched to my Usenet account, but forgot to hit "set as default".

Sadly, there isn't a really good newsgroup reader for the Mac. Communicator, OE, and NewsWatcher all have some good features, but they all have some really disappointing features, too. Communicator has fully-threaded messaging support and cached message titles, but a kludgy way of surfing newsgroups, and no multiple account support without quitting and relaunching. OE has an EXCELLENT search/sort feature, an excellent account management feature, but the message threading is so bad as to make it nearly useless for daily newsgroup reading. As for NewsWatcher, well...I haven't used it in so long that I can't really say, except that it needs a major overhaul.

Compared to PC newsgroup readers, what we have on the Mac is really, really pathetic.

OE 5 could easily have been the best Mac newsgroup read if only it had fully threaded message support. I hope this will be addressed in the next update.
     
dbuchan
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Oct 21, 1999, 10:29 AM
 
So now Microsoft it telling us that everyone is moving away from newsgroups? Huh? I think what the MS drone means is that Microsoft WOULD LIKE everyone to move to web-based discussion groups, so that everyone can be using IE with its gaping security holes (well, on the PC anyway .

I hate hate hate hate hate using web-based newsgroups; they're clumsy and SLOW. I can't believe they removed message threading from OE5. I guess I'll be tossing that installer in the trash, then.


Dan
     
artemis67
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Oct 21, 1999, 10:52 AM
 
Yeah, I agree. MS's response is a lot of marketing doublespeak. Apple has done this many times, the classic "Let me tell you what you want."

The fact is, there are over 30k Usenet newsgroups available to me, and many software companies (including Microsoft) have very good newsgroup-based support forums. Whether or not web-based forums are better is irrelevant; there is already a significant foundation of newsgroups out there, and the current disparity between Mac and PC newsgroup offerings only means that more Mac users are forced into web-based forums.
     
jimmyg
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Palo Alto, CA, USA
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Oct 21, 1999, 07:32 PM
 
Please don't tell me Mom that I've become an "MS drone" cause she's already mad that I don't call her enough. I guess that's what happens when a crazy Mac user starts getting paid to play with Macs all day long. It doesn't help being an only child and living many thousands of miles away from home, but that's the subject of another thread.

I'm really not a drone. I occasionally make my own decisions about what I'm going to eat for lunch, or which clothes I'm going to wear to work.

Joking aside, the truth regarding newsgroup support is pretty simple. The MacOE team is not as big as the Windows OE team. When it came down to deciding what features they were going to implement, everyone agreed (grudgingly) that it didn't make sense to refine our newsgroup features at the expense of the majority of our users who primarily use mail and only occasionally use newsgroups. Hey, if we sold our product rather than giving it away free, we'd have tons of developers to implement all these cool nifty features. Alas, we don't...and I kinda think that's cool. That's why I like working here. Anybody with a Mac, rich developer or broke fifteen year old, can enjoy our products.

Your opinions and views are important to us, and we'll do our best to do them justice in future products.

-Jimmy.

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Jimmy
MacIE Team
     
mbarsoom
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Oct 21, 1999, 07:57 PM
 
I understand not deciding on whether to upgrade the e-mail or usenet features since it is a free program. But I don't understand removing the functionality that existed in v4.5. In 4.5 you could easily extract binaries from posts and in 5.0 it takes several steps and it can't extract from multipart posts. Also marking a threat as read only marks the first in 5.0, but in 4.5 it marked the entire thread. And lastly its slower.

If MS didnot want to add features I understand but removing feature makes no sense.
     
jimmyg
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Oct 21, 1999, 08:08 PM
 
We didn't "remove" any features technically since this app was a MAJOR re-write and many of the features that it has in common with OE 4.5 were manually added back in. Moving to a single database allowed us to treat Newsgroup messages in a very similar manner to mail messages. It also allows us to store other data-types in the same database if we want to in the future.

Unfortunately, it would have been A LOT of work to restore threaded messages sorted by date to newsgroups with the new database. That's unfortunate cause i like reading newsgroups too, but I would take the improvements in e-mail support over lost newsgroup functionality any day.

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Jimmy
MacIE Team
     
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Oct 22, 1999, 04:02 AM
 
Jimmy, I've read all the threads going on about OE 5, and I've seen all your replies.

Could we agree that a fair summary of OE 5 feedback so far is:

1. Restore passwords.
2. Fix the newsreader or lose it.

I myself would recommend MT-Newswatcher 2.4.4 to anyone out there wanting to do newsgroups. It has vague similarities to the old Newswatcher but really, it's better. Try it.
     
Hared
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Oct 22, 1999, 01:27 PM
 
I have a question about reading newsgroups. Please forgive me if the answer is obvious. When I download the contents of a newsgroup, all the new messages are added but old ones aren't removed, even the ones that are no longer on the server. How do I get rid of these?

I can mark them all as "read" than set Outlook to not show them but they aren't gone, just hidden. I don't want to fill up my hard drive with thousands of old messages I never wanted.

I've only been using Outlook for a couple of days so there may be some point when they start auto-deleting but I can't find anything about this in the Help Files.

-Hared
     
mbarsoom
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Oct 22, 1999, 01:29 PM
 
I understand that you had to rewrite the usenet reader to use the new database, and can understand the problem need to thread the messages. But why make extracting binaries so much more difficult. It was nice 4.5 to just select the message and hit command-e and all the binaries were downloaded. There is not easy way to do this now.

Mike
     
iMacMike
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Oct 24, 1999, 01:37 AM
 
The newsgroup features of OE 5.0 are simply horrid and indefensible. This is why M$ has the lousy reputation it does... lousy software. Implementing newsgroups into the interface and then not giving them any functionality or power is like putting a 4 cyl. Nissan engine in a drag racer. Why even bother?

The M$ Mac team used to be innovative and imaginative. OE 5 looks and feels more like a Windows app. A 12.5 meg download the eats 8 meg of ram... just to do email? Thats equal to Word, the Office folder, and the Proofing Tools folder for Office 98!

At this pace, IE 5 will be a 15 meg download, require 12 megs of ram, and it won't support HTML.

------------------
I work, I play, iMac!
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Valvoline
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Oct 25, 1999, 08:34 PM
 
> Unfortunately, it would have been A LOT of
> work to restore threaded messages sorted by
> date to newsgroups with the new database.

Indeed, but by not doing this, you have upset your users who would appreciate your program more. OE 5.0 regresses on features that I once thought put OE 4.5 above the rest.

> That's unfortunate cause i like reading
> newsgroups too, but I would take the
> improvements in e-mail support over lost
> newsgroup functionality any day.

Speak for yourself. I spend more time on usenet than my e-mail, but I liked the convienience that OE 4.5 had as being able to do both in a clean format. As a programmer of a popular internet application, each decision should be in the interest of all the users of the application, not just the majority or yourselves.

I realize that this is a free program, and resources must be filed down to only the greatest issues, but when nice features that your program offered have been removed, users will naturally be upset.
     
scott
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Oct 25, 1999, 10:57 PM
 
I really like OE 5.0. Perhaps I don't notice the performance problems with a G3/400. Strangely, the performance seems much smoother to me now that everything has been moved to a database format. No more disk cruching and compacting folders. My hard drive and I are on good terms again.

The only thing that bothers me about this discussion is the argument that usenet newsgroups are losing popularity. I cannot possibly imagine a way to skew any data that would suggest this. Usenet is widly popular, and there are, of course, more active newsgroups today then there have ever been. I can find a dicussion group on everything from my Olympus C2000-Z digital camera to Sega Dreamcast.

The argument that more people are moving to web-based dicussions instead of usenet just doesn't make much sense to me. Primarily due to the fact that there is no accurate way for Microsoft to gauge the usage of usenet, or web discussion boards for that matter. I would imagine both are gaining popularity at a fairly frantic rate. In fact, one might argue that easy-to-use newsgroup clients are the key to usenet's success. The OE Mac team in particular is in a unique position since all Macs are equipped with MSIE/OE.

Usenet also has the advantage of only requiring you create one account with one password to use for everything. Clearly Microsoft believes newsgroups are important, as they have setup dozens of discussion topics for customers and developers to use.

However, if the OE Mac team decides to spend time on more email features than newsgroup features, so be it. There are plenty of good newsreaders, and far fewer good email clients.

- Scott

------------------
Scott Stevenson
Contributing Editor,
MacNN

     
   
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