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"NewsShark Beta 2" 

NewsShark is a low cost newsreader that has been designed for a single purpose: to download
large files from Newsgroups. Currently in beta version 2, NewsShark appears much faster than previous version and seems more stable as well. It is a newsreader that is unlike any other on the market at this time and excels at downloading files. However, it cannot be used for posting and should probably only be used if you are using it on a single news server.

When you first download the software, you will quickly notice that it isn’t like any newsreader you’ve ever used. There are only a few menu buttons and the simple yet confusing interface takes a short time to get used to. When you first run the application, you are walked through the steps of downloading a list of newsgroups that available from your news server. Once finished, you can search the groups by using the “contains" feature that allows you to search the groups for a specific string, i.e., entering “MP3" will list all newsgroups that contain the word MP3 in them. You then decide which of the groups you would like to subscribe to and headers are downloaded for each of them. From the list of headers, you choose the ones that contain binaries that you would like to download. Once finished, you click the download button and a batch download process begins.

NewsShark automatically handles the process of downloading and decoding the files (in any
of the popular formats: UUEncode, XXEncode, MIME Base64, and BinHex encoding) and there
are a few unique features that make it popular among users downloading large amounts of
data from newsgroups. First, there is a partial file preview that will download, decode and play the first segment of an MP3 or MPG and an Emergency Restart feature that automatically resumes interrupted downloads without starting over. For instance, if you have ever set up a large download before you go to bed, only to wake in the morning to find that you ran into some type of problem and the download halted a minute after you left? This is where NewsShark really shines. Downloads automatically restart if a problem occurs and the download picks up right where it left off. If something happens that it cannot help, for instance you are disconnected from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), NewsShark will allow you to manually restart the file download process at its current location. This will save you a great deal of aggravation not to mention the download times.

While NewsShark is excellent at what it attempts to do, there are a few shortcomings. First, it does not offer the ability to mange multiple servers in an easy manner. This can be quite cumbersome for users that have a standard ISP server and a subscription server such as Newsguy (www.newsguy.com). Additionally, you cannot post messages with the program. Individuals looking for a complete solution will probably wish to pass on NewsShark but for those looking for the best available option for downloading files from newsgroups, NewsShark is undboutedly the best. The automatic restart and resume batch download features are exceptional, making this newsreader a good value.

 - by Clayton Crooks

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