Page Contents

About this Manual

This document is the user guide and reference manual for MT-NewsWatcher, a Usenet newsreader for the Macintosh. It is based on the documentation for NewsWatcher 2.2.2, and both the program and its documentation were written by John Norstad. Terje Bless kindly provided an HTML version of the documentation; subsequent errors and omissions are entirely my own. The document uses style sheets for formatting and layout; for best results, ensure that style sheets are enabled in your browser.

This documentation deviates from the original NewsWatcher documentation in two main aspects. First, I have added details about the additional features found in MT-NewsWatcher. Secondly, I have removed information that pertained to the use of NewsWatcher at Northwestern University, where it was mostly developed, and geared the manual more towards private individuals using MT-NewsWatcher at work and at home with an ISP, rather than the individual in a university setting.

There are some conventions used in this guide to make for easier reading, and easier use when you're offline. First, paragraphs which contain a warning, an informational note, or a useful tip, are highlighted like this:

Tip: This is a useful tip. Like much of this guide, you should be using a browser with good CSS support, like Netscape, Mozilla, Safari, or Camino so that these show up correctly.

Also note that links are color-coded, so you know when of them will take you away from the manual:

  • This link takes you to another page of the manual.
  • This is an "off-site" link that takes you somewhere else, and will cause network activity.
  • This is a link to a newsgroup
  • This is an email link

If you are new to reading Usenet news, you should start by reading the first two chapters: Usenet Organization and Etiquette and Getting Started. The remaining chapters and the appendices describe additional features of the program and provide detailed reference information. You can read them at your leisure.

About MT-NewsWatcher

MT-NewsWatcher is free. It may not be sold for profit or included with other software, products, publications, or services which are sold for profit without the permission of Simon Fraser, but otherwise you should feel free to use it and redistribute it.

MT-NewsWatcher has received the following awards:

GNKSA The "Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval" (GNSKA).
Essential Pick MacOrchard "Essential Pick",
Cool Tool Award "Cool Tool of the Day" award.

MT-NewsWatcher is available for download from a number of sites, which are listed at

System Requirements

MT-NewsWatcher requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later to run. The Mac must have a connection the Internet (for example, a dialup connection via an Internet Service Provider, or direct ethernet connection in a company or university computer lab), and be properly configured for Internet access.

MT-NewsWatcher is strictly an online newsreader, so requires an active full TCP/IP connection to the Internet. It does not support offline newsreading, and it does not support older kinds of dialup connections designed primarily for simple terminal emulation.

Y2K Compliance

MT-NewsWatcher 3.5 is believed to be Y2K compliant. Dates used internally are stored in Apple's standard date format, so properly handle dates between 1 Jan 1904 and 6 Feb 2040.

However, like any news client, correct functioning of MT-NewsWatcher during the Y2K transition requires that your news server, and the news transport system in general, is Y2K compliant. The distributed nature of Usenet news makes it impossible to verify that the entire system will function normally during the transition; there is a possibility that some news distribution problems could occur.

For more detailed information about the Y2K compliance of your news server software, contact your vendor, or the author of the software. Links for some common news servers are:

(Mention of a product here does not constitute an endorsement.)

About the Author

MT-NewsWatcher was written by Simon Fraser <>, and has been under development for the past 8 years. It is based on the original NewsWatcher by John Norstad of Northwestern University, and stems from the publicly available source code to version 2.2.2 of that program.


The author welcomes your feedback on MT-NewsWatcher. If you have a comment, question, or suggestion about MT-NewsWatcher, please read this user document before writing to the author. Most questions are answered in this document. In particular, see the Getting Started chapter for basic instructions on how to use the program, and see the FAQ for a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" and their answers.

Before writing to the author, also please check the FTP site to make certain you have the most recent version of the program.

To send feedback about MT-NewsWatcher, click here. If you are describing a problem that you are having, please provide detailed information about exactly what you were doing when the problem occurs. Someone reading your report has to be able to reproduce your situation exactly to try to identify the problem. If the program is crashing, it is helpful to provide a crash log from Crash Reporter (turn this on in the Preferences of the Console application, in Applications/Utilities).

If you would like to make a feature request, please first read the documentation and experiment with the program to make sure that your requested feature does not already exist. Then consider if your feature would be of benefit to more than just a handful of people. If so, feel free to send in a feature request by clicking here. Although I read all mail that comes in, and use it to weigh the feature lists of future versions, I cannot reply in person to each email.


MT-NewsWatcher is based on version 2.2.2 of the NewsWatcher application, by John Norstad, without whom none of this would have happened. Many thanks to John, and Northwestern, for making the excellent NewsWatcher code available, and to those who inspired John to work on the original version. Thanks also to Bob Boonstra for earlier versions of the VA-NewsWatcher code (only small parts of which remain in this final version), and Brian Clark for making a NewsWatcher that inspired many of MT's features. Michael Crawford of Working Software also supplied an early version of the Word Services code.

Thanks are due to Terje Bless for the HTML version of the NewsWatcher manual. It is with regret that I have strayed from HTML 4.0 Strict where necessitated by browser deficiencies. And while on the subject of standards compliance, thanks to Terje, John Moreno and others for keeping me on track in the RFC department.

MT-NewsWatcher could not have been completed without the patient help of the beta testers, documentation readers, and those who helped with distribution. These include Adam Bailey, Terje Bless, David Brady, Doug Clark, Bill Christman, Jim Correia, Jeff Diamond, Greg Ferguson, Ludovic Ferrandis, Scott Forbes, Douglas Godfrey, Jerry Goldstein, Scott Gruby, Lars Kellogg-Stedman, Simon Kidd, Jerry Kindall, Joel Klecker, Pat Lee, Sarah Liberman, gor Livshits, Barry Margolin, Katsuhiko Momoi, John Moreno, Larry Rosenstein, Drew Saur, Mike Skultety, Andrew Southwick, Andrew Starr, Sander Tekelenburg, Rick VanDerveer, Kiran Wagle, F. Todd Wilson, the folks at Bare Bones Software, and many others. Responsibility for any remaining defects is entirely my own. Thanks also to Bernd Heller for the initial SOCKS code, and members of the QuickTime team at Apple, particularly Kevin Calhoun and Sam Bushell, who donated considerable time to help with progressive movie display issues.

Thanks, also, to Christian Fowler of for the logo.

Table of Contents