|Spell check your posts!||
MT-NewsWatcher can use the Word Services Apple Events suite
to check the spelling of messages that you post. This is essentially a
mechanism that enables a spell checker application to communicate with
NewsWatcher in order to check the spelling of text in a message window.
More information about the Words Services Apple Events suite is available
To use the Words Services suite, you will need a Words Services server application; available ones are listed at the site above. You may wish to get the Spellswell demo to give this a try:
A commercial, but cheap, version of Spellswell is available from Working Software:
Once you have the server application (e.g. Spellswell) installed, you need to tell MT-NewsWatcher that this service is available. Go to the Preferences dialog, and navigate to the 'Word Services' panel. Click the 'Add' button. In the resulting open file dialog box, find and select the Spellswell application (or other WS server software), and click OK. Now, there should be a 'Check spelling' item at the bottom of the Edit menu. This item is enabled when a window in which you are composing a message is foremost; simply choose 'Check spelling' to have Spellswell check the spelling of your message text. The corrected text will then be pasted back into the window.
|Marking cross-posts read||
Some articles are posted to more than one group; such articles are terms
'cross-posted', and information about which groups they are posted to
appears in the Xref header.
When you read such an article, you usually don't want to see it in the other groups once you've read it. In this case, MT-NewsWatcher can mark the article as read in all groups in which it occurs. You can turn this option on in the "Newsreading options" panel of the Preferences dialog.
You can also control whether filters that kill an article in one group also kill that article in other groups. This is enabled via the 'Filtering kills crossposts" checkbox in the "Filtering options" panel of the Preferences.
of user group files
|MT-NewsWatcher can automatically open user group files in the folder which is specified in the 'Saved user groups' Preferences panel. Check the 'Auto open user group in this folder' button in this Preferences panel to have your group lists open automatically when MT-NewsWatcher starts up.|
|MT-NewsWatcher, like YA- but not the original NewsWatcher, can decode Base-64 encoded MIME attachments. You simply need to specify a helper app to do the decoding in the 'Extracting binaries' preferences panel; see the section on Helper Applications for details of how to get one of these.|
|X-Face headers||MT-NewsWatcher can display X-Face headers when these are detected in articles. X-Face headers are a way of encoding a 48x48 bitmap image in a string of ASCII text, and are used to display a picture of the poster, their institution logo or some other small image.|
By default, articles are sorted according to their article number, a unique
number that the news server assigns to each article. These are chronological
with respect to the time that the server received the article, which does not
necessarily correspond with the actual time that an article was posted onto
the Usenet system.
MT-NewsWatcher can sort articles by author name, subject, line count, date and priority (based on filters); you specify the default ordering the the 'Subject windows' Preferences panel. Of course, you can only sort by headers that you have specified to download, so don't expect to be able to sort by date if you are not showing the date in subject windows. You can also tell MT-NewsWatcher to sort in reverse order, which sorts long articles, or those with more recent dates to the top.
The sorting interface is meant to be as similar to the Finder as possible. You can click on column names to resort, and the active short is indicated by an underlining of the column name. So, to resort a list of articles on the fly, click in the column headers:
so to sort by author, click in the area shown. To sort in reverse, hold down the option key when clicking.
The non-obvious items on the left of the top panel are used, respectively, to set the sort order, to sort by article number (the '#' symbol), and by filtered score (the 'S').
To resize a column in the subject window, simply click on the dividing bar
between the column titles, and drag it. The rightmost column (lines, or dates)
is 'stuck' to the right hand side of the window, so resizing the window will more this
column to show more, or less of the subjects. You cannot move the divider in front
of the Authors column.
The column widths are saved back to the preferences when you close a window, so to set your global defaults, ensure that you have only one subject window open, set the column widths to your liking, and then close the window.
|Reading digests||Digests are postings that consist of a number of smaller message, concatenated together. The 'Info-Mac Digest' in comp.sys.mac.digest is one example. Normally, you use the spacebar key to mean 'Next chunk', so it shows another screenfull of text or the next article. In a digest, it will take you to the next message in the digest by searching for the next line starting with "Subject :". This is useful to quickly scan through the articles. It does not require any special preferences settings to work.|
If you have Kaleidoscope installed,
you can have MT-NewsWatcher use its colors for windows and panels. This can look really cool:
Note that not only is Kaleidoscope customizing the window borders, but that MT-NW is using the correct colors for the panels and text within the windows, like in the Finder. To enable this effect, check the 'Use Kaleidoscope colors' checkbox in the 'Miscellaneous options' preferences panel.
Miscellaneous other options added to MT-NewsWatcher are described below.
|Interface wisdom||I've made a big effort to make MT-NewsWatcher the best-looking, and most enjoyable to use newsreader on the Macintosh. Here, I explain some of the interface features that make it so.|
|Full groups list||
MT-NewsWatcher has a hierarchical full groups list, a natural ordering
for this hierarchical group structure. This does not impinge upon
usability, however. Searches automatically expand headers to show
the found group, and dragging from the full groups list into group windows,
or the filters list, intelligently interpret the contents of the drag
based on whether a heading was dragged, and whether it was expanded
I've reworked the Preferences panel, to try to make this plethora of
different options easier to navigate. The addition of an icon-based
list on the left hand side has the advantage of showing that other
panels exist, and the icons hint at the topic related to by their
This dialog box is also almost entirely keyboard-navigable, and has extensive balloon help.
Where possible, long processes in MT-NewsWatcher show a progress bar
which gives some indication of how long the process will take, and
provides a button for cancelling that process.
Because the the way that information is transferred from the news server, it is not always possible to provide a reliable indicator of progress when fetching article headers. When extracting binaries, however, the progress indication is very accurate as long as you have set preferences to get article line counts.
I have chosen this WDEF, with the title bar down the side, to save space on screen. This is also the reason to use a window type which is normally used for floating windows. Under System 7.5, the title bar of the window does not indicate whether it is hilited (foremost) or not. However, if you install Aaron or Kaleidoscope, the appearance changes properly to indicate the window's status.
If used well, elements of Apple's Grayscale Appearance can significantly
improve the usability of a program. They direct the users attentiont towards
the information-containing parts of the window, and separate 'content' from
'structure' in a non-invasive way. One role they should play is to
attract the user's attention to the active, foremost window, and few applications
do this well. MT-NewsWatcher mimics the behaviour of an Aaronified Finder,
in flattening the 3D panel, and greying out the heading text and controls of
|Using with other NewsWatchers||
As from version 2.2.0, MT-NewsWatcher stores its preferences in its own PREF resource,
having copied your previous settings from the standard NewsWatcher's resource if one
exists. Thereafter, MT-NW does not touch the old NW preferences resource, so any changes
you make to MT-NW settings will not be reflected in other NewsWatchers that you run
(except those settings stored by Internet Config).
If you are running MT-NW and no NewsWatcher preferences file exists, it will create one for you, and store its own resource, while creating a minimal standard NewsWatcher prefs resource. The purpose of this minimal standard resource is to keep NewsWatcher, and YA-NewsWatcher happy when they open this prefs file.