First, let me explain briefly what a newsreader is – specifically, in this case, I mean a Usenet newsreader. Usenet is a community of systems that have chosen to exchange messages in ‘newsgroups’ organised and named as a hierarchy of topics – for instance, if you want to read about cats as pets, you’d head to the newsgroup “rec.pets.cats” – recreational, pets, cats. If you wanted to read about the biology of felines, you’d probably find a group something like sci.bio.feline – scientific, biology, feline.
If you’re not into Usenet newsgroups, you should know that they are an excellent source of information – where blogs and RSS feeds are more controlled by the individual blog author, Usenet newsgroups (or “newsfroups” as they are often called) can be added to by absolutely anyone, either to create a completely new thread of articles with a new subject under an existing topic, or to add your own comments or questions to an existing thread. [Adding a new topic – a new newsgroup – is a little harder, because Usenet doesn’t like to see multiple newsgroups on the same newsgroup]
So anyway, I’m a hard-core newsgroup reader, like most of the MVPs – it’s a great quick way to exchange information – asking and answering questions, and keeping track of topics you’ve already addressed.
For a long time, I used NewsXpress as my favourite newsgroup reader. It still is my favourite newsgroup reader, but has dropped out of my use for a couple of reasons – first, it crashes a lot; second, it doesn’t handle multiple Usenet servers / accounts well; third, it’s not on every system I’m going to use.
Outlook Express is better at handling multiple Usenet servers / accounts, and it’s on every system I use. It doesn’t crash – quite as often as NewsXpress.
Since I have the source to NewsXpress, I keep thinking I should fix it, but I simply haven’t had the time. So I stay with Outlook Express (originally, “Microsoft Internet Mail and News”, which is why the executable is called msimn.exe).
In Vista, Outlook Express is gone – replaced with “Windows Mail”.
Windows Mail sucks in a number of ways. Here are just a few of my complaints:
It seems almost as if Microsoft has given me reason to find the time to resurrect NewsXpress.