Newsreaders are obviously an essential tool for anyone that enjoys reading newsgroups.
Often times, users will utilize the newsreader that ships with the browser of their
choice, i.e. Internet Explorer users will use Outlook Express. There is nothing wrong
with this line of thinking as the newsreaders are free and don't require the user to
acquire them. Therefore, competing newsreaders often resort to offering specialized
options that the others do not.
Gravity, developed by MicroPlanet, is a newsreader that has gone from shareware to
freeware and is one such competitor. Now that cost isn't an issue, perhaps other users
will download this fantastic piece of software and give it a try. Gravity is a full-featured newsreader that sports an excellent user interface that is customizable and
a tremendous number of features. It's approximately a 2.5MB download and consumes about
8MB of hard disk space once it has been installed.
The download is a single exe file and the installation is quick and easy to follow. After
installation, you need to configure the software and Gravity excels in this area. There
are hints that will help on questions that you have and the interface is very similar to
other popular newsreaders. The help files that ship with Gravity are excellent as well.
There are a series of lessons that will get new users up to speed with the software and
newsgroups in general.
As previously mentioned, the interface offers you to pick from one of 5 choices for the
basic layout. Once you set the basic layout, you have further control over which menus
are displayed. You also get the choice of showing items like the filter bar, outbox bar,
status bar and rule bar inside the interface. They are typically gray in appearance in
respect to the rest of the screen and do not have any color options. There is a tabbed
configuration windows, which is accessible from View | Toolbars, and offers you the
options to customize your toolbars to your liking.
The window that you use to compose messages is easy to navigate and is one of the strong
points of the program. Most of the options, for doing tasks such as file attach, are
conveniently located across the top portion of the composition window.
Another configuration window is available in View | Global Options. From this window,
which again uses a tab system for organization, you can set options for signatures, window
layouts and spell check settings to name a few. The integrated spell checker works
extremely well and was very good at catching mistakes. Another interesting feature is the
image gallery that allows you to view pictures in a sort of slideshow and can be
configured to use thumbnail images. Obviously, any newsreader worth mentioning will have
the ability to decode binaries and with the image gallery feature, if you plan to download
pictures, this option alone will be worth the download time.
Gravity is a worthwhile program and is a newsreader that has enough strong points that it
warrants a download. You can find it at your favorite download sites or directly from the
MicroPlanet site at www.microplanet.com. The folks at MicroPlanet have done a great job
on a freely available application that offers an array of unique features not found in