Netscape Navigator Tips and Tricks

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                         NEW NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

Most Netscape Navigator users have access to only one news server, which is the one entered as the default news server in the Mail and News Preferences dialog box. (Select Options|Mail and News Preferences, then click the Servers tab.) It is possible, however, to have access to several news servers. If this is the case, Navigator allows you to open an alternate news server without having to monkey around with the Preferences settings. To do this, open the News window and select File|Open News Host from the menu. Next enter the new news server's name in the "Open News Host" dialog box that appears. You're now in business with the new news.

                         KEEPING THE NEWS

Netscape Navigator's mail and news facilities are very similar, and actually look very much alike. There are, however, important differences in the way each handles incoming messages, or articles in the case of the news facility. Essentially, you can automatically store received e-mail messages on your local hard disk or leave them on a server, while news articles are always stored on the server. You can see them displayed on your computer when you access the server online, but you must save anything you want to keep yourself. The easiest way to do this is to select the article(s) that you want to save (while you're in the News window), then choose File|Save Message(s) As. In the dialog box, choose the folder where you want to save it (them) and name the file. Click "Save" and you're all set. Actually, it's usually good policy to save a bunch of articles at once to be read later, when you're disconnected from the 'Net.

                         SAVING YOURSELF

As we saw in yesterday's tip, Netscape Navigator doesn't automatically save the articles you read in newsgroups. You can, however, automatically save anything you post to a newsgroup. (A good idea if you want to protect yourself from being misquoted!) There are actually a couple of saving options. You can email a copy to yourself, add the posting to a running text file, or both. These options are set in the Mail and News Preferences box. To set them, select Options|Mail and News Preferences, then click the Composition tab. If you want to mail a copy to yourself, enter your e-mail address in the News Messages field of the "By default, email a copy of outgoing message to:" option. If you want to save the article to a text file on your hard disk, enter the full path and file name in the News File field of the "By default, copy outgoing message to the file:" option. If you want to do both, enter that info in both. When you're done, click OK to close the box and save your settings.

                         GROOVY THREADS, MAN

A thread is, of course, a series of newsgroup articles that relate to the same topic. This is a convenient way to read everything posted about a particular topic, but be aware that Netscape Navigator does not thread automatically. However, it does give you the ability to thread articles and set sorting criteria. If you don't turn on the threading option, Navigator lists all articles in the order they were received, which could get quite confusing. To set the threading and sorting, select Options|Mail and News Preferences, then click the Organization tab. To thread, click the Thread News Messages option. Now select a Sorting option. Because you have chosen to thread the articles (you can sort without threading, actually), it's probably better to choose Subject here. Click OK to close the box and save your settings.

                         DON'T READ `EM OR WEEP

It's pretty common to come across newsgroup threads that don't interest you at all. In these cases, you probably don't want or need the thread's article headers cluttering up the news window. To take care of this, mark the thread as having been read. Select the top article in the thread and click Thread on the menu bar. All articles are marked "read." You can do the same thing for the entire newsgroup if you want. In this instance, select the newsgroup in question and click Group on the menu bar.

                         FLAG ON THE PLAY

Browsing through a newsgroup list of articles can be like leafing through a magazine. You don't always read everything you want at first, but sometimes make a mental (or physical) note about ones that interest you, and that you want to get back to. You can do the same thing in Netscape Navigator News by "flagging" the articles that interest you, then accessing them later. To do this, click the flag column in the same row as the article that you want to flag. True to form, a little flag icon appears in the column. Now, when you want to go back to the flagged articles, you can easily scroll between them (because many will be out of the window).Here's how: Select Go from the Navigator News menu, then select the appropriate option (First Flagged, Next Flagged, or Previous Flagged).

                         SNEWS, YOU DON'T LOSE

Usenet news sites can also be on SSL secure servers. The URL for a secure news site begins with "snews:" rather than the standard "news:".

                         NEWSGROUP SEARCH

Ever wonder how you can search for particular newsgroups in Netscape Navigator? Well, you can't! Not directly from Navigator anyway. There are some free third-party search engines available, however. Here are some sites for these:


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