[ Contents | Chapter 3 ]


Chapter 2: Installation, Configuration, and Settings


Create a subdirectory where you wish News Xpress to reside and transfer all files from the ZIP file (except CTL3DV2.DLL) there. Place CTL3DV2.DLL in the \Windows\System directory and make sure that this is the only copy of this file (or a newer version) on the boot drive. This file gives the 3-D look to dialog boxes. Choose or create an appropriate group object and create a program reference object for NX. For "working directory", be sure to enter the correct path to where NX resides.


All information that determines how NX behaves is placed in NX.INI, it's default location is in the \windows directory.

When NX is started for the first time, the Setup screen is automatically displayed. Here you must enter information, most of it supplied by your provider. Those fields unique to you are: the path and filename of your "signature", a text file containing whatever you wish to be appended to articles or e-mails you post; the home directory where NX should look for it's supporting files (usually where NX.EXE resides but sometimes not - see the section on multiple providers); and the path, if different than the home directory, and filename of NEWSRC, a text file containing most, if not all, of the available newsgroups on your provider's news server.

UseNET articles are time/date stamped. Therefore, entering the correct code for "Time Zone" is important. The format of the code is: zzz[+/-]d[d][lll] where zzz are three characters representing the name of your local time zone; [+/-]d[d] is a 1 or 2 digit number, optionally signed, and is GMT's difference from the local time in hours (positive numbers are eastward toward GMT, negative numbers are westward toward GMT); and lll is an optional three characters that represents the name of your local time zone's daylight savings time.


The Preferences dialog box is where you control how NX performs for you. See the descriptions below for more information.

On the Groups page:

"Retrieve all Active Groups" will cause NX to request the server's latest list of all active newsgroups and article count once a connection has been established. If you deny NX the opportunity to update NEWSRC for any length of time, you should occasionally use this function to establish a new NEWSRC. The highest article number read for each newsgroup will be retained.

"Retrieve new groups only (if any)" will have NX ask the server if any new groups have been recently made available. This function is perhaps the most useful of the three. The "NewsRCUpdate" entry in NX.INI holds the local date and time of the last new groups inquiry.

"Do not retrieve any groups" should be used only by those users who have a NEWSRC file containing only newsgroups of interest and do not wish to have NX process a 13,000+ line list.

Q. In beta#3, there was the option of having NX pop up a dialog box and ask to retrieve all active newsgroups. What is the equivalent in beta#4?
A. There isn't one. Instead, you must mark "Retrieve all active groups," select File, Disconnect, wait until NX saves the NEWSRC, then select File, Connect. After the newsgroups have been read in, select "Retrieve new groups only (if any)."

"Prompt for New Groups" will have NX prompt you and let you subscribe to newsgroups found newly made available on the news server. "Retrieve new groups only (if any)" must also be marked.

"Update Subscribed Groups Every nn Mins" will have NX update this session at a specified time interval. If the group's Article Headers window is open, all new articles will be automagically added to the list. Enter zero here to disable further updates after the initial update.

"Hide Groups without Articles" will filter out any group with no new, unread articles from the (subscribed) Newsgroups window list.

"New Window for Each Group" will allow you to have more than one Article Headers window open at the same time. (Why? This allows one to have several articles available and in view at the same time and as such, facilitates the composition of an article based on information found among several separate source articles from several separate newsgroups.)

On the Articles page:

"Headers Sort by" Subject, Line count, Date posted, or Name as a default. This sort may be over-ridden by pressing the appropriate header-button in the Article Header window.

"Thread by" Subject and/or References will have NX thread article headers appropriately and as much as possible if both options are checked. Threading has NX group article headers together on one line in the list and indicate such groups with a "folder" icon.

"Max Hdrs Per Read" specifies a batch count of article headers per header retrieval request. For example, if you specify 20, and there are 50 articles available, NX will request 1-20, then 21-40, then 41-50. This allows you to stop the retrieval of article headers before all headers have come in. If you specify zero or one, NX will request all 50 at once. Note: you will suffer a significant speed penalty if you make this number too small. If you don't routinely stop NX in mid-retrieval, specifying zero here will give you best performance.

"Date Time Format" specifies how the date and time is displayed in the Article Headers window. The format string consists of directives and ordinary characters. A directive consists of the percent sign followed by a letter. All possible directives are shown below:


Abbreviated weekday name


Full weekday name


Abbreviation month name


Full month name


Date and time


2 digits day of month (01-31)


2 digits hour (00-23)


2 digits hour (01-12)


3 digits day of year (001-366)


2 digits month (01-12)


2 digits minute (00-59)


AM or PM


2 digits second (00-59)


2 digits week number (00-52), Sunday is first day of week


Weekday (0-6), Sunday is 0


2 digit week number (00-52), Monday is first day of week






2 digits year (00-99)


Year with century

"Skip Old Articles" specifies whether NX should retrieve all or only new article headers from the news server. Old articles are those which have actually been read or those which have been skipped over by pressing {Catch-up}.

"Suppress 'Re:' " suppresses the Re: prefix in the subject column of the Article Headers window.

"New Window for Each Article" will have NX open a new window for each article. (Why? This allows one to have several articles available and in view at the same time and as such, facilitates the composition of an article based on information found among several separate source articles.)

"Show grid lines" will draw a thin line between each header in the Article Headers window. (Why anyone would opt to turn this off...?)

"Display Hdrs" specifies which of the following lines of the total article header should or should not be displayed in the Article Text window. If "Except" is checked, all lines except those in this list will be displayed. Separate the header names with a comma. The following are some of the possible lines which make up an article header:

  • Path: csus.edu!ucla.edu!info.ucla.edu!unixg.ubc.ca
  • From: someone@someplace.net (Who me?)
  • Newsgroups: alt.winsock
  • Subject: Re: News Xpress Binoculars
  • Date: Wed, 05 Jul 95 04:31:24 GMT
  • Organization: Bald Mountain
  • Lines: 18
  • Distribution: world
  • Message-ID: <3td4is$ib4_001@violin-22.synapse.net>
  • References: <3t5l4j$h4f@news.duke.edu> <3t7v9j$80g_001@dialin.csus.edu>
  • NNTP-Posting-Host: newsgroup.someplace.net
  • X-Newsreader: News Xpress Version 1.0 Beta #4
  • Status: N
  • On the Compose Page:

    "Max Include Lines" specifies the number of lines of the original article, starting at the first line of the article body, to be quoted in a Follow-up or Reply. NX precedes the quoted lines with the phrase, "In article <ID>, <poster> said,".

    "Include Prefix" is a character or string which is prepended to, and is used to indicate which lines of the original article were carried over into a Follow-up or Reply. There is a maximum of 10 characters. Some news servers scan your posts and will reject any where there is more quoted text than new text. Using anything other than just ">" may fool the server.

    "Include Headers" specifies whether or not to include and quote the lines of header text from the original article in a Follow-up or Reply.

    "Prompt for Including Original Message" will have NX ask you whether or not to quote any of the original article as configured by the above settings.

    "Word Wrap, Max Chars per Line" sets the default right margin here. Word wrap may also be toggled on or off with {Wrap}. The text editor will wrap lines based on the Edit window width (taking into account font size) or, if word-wrap is on, the value of Max Chars, whichever is less.

    "Generate Message ID" will have NX generate a Message-ID: header in your post. Leaving this unchecked is encouraged unless your news server requires it. Most servers insert one for you.

    "CC by mail" sets the default action here. Carbon Copy by mail may also be toggled on or off with {CC by mail} in the Article Edit window.

    "Copy self" sets the default action here. Copy self may also be toggled on or off with {Copy self} in the Article Edit window. For any article or e-mail posted, a copy is stored in the Copyself folder.

    "Confirm on Post and Send Mail" will have NX prompt you for confirmation before posting or sending mail.

    On the Headers page:

    "Post Headers Template" and "Mail Headers Template" allow you to define your own lines of header information for composing articles and e-mail. You can select a default template by pressing {reset}. Multiple line headers are not supported. For example:


    text line 1

    text line 2


    Note - you must have "Newsgroups:" and "Subject:" in the Post template, "To:" and "Subject:" in the Mail template, as NX will not automatically add them. Most servers require them.

    On the Miscellaneous page:

    "Subject template" specifies the default subject template for attachments. The template consists of directives and ordinary characters. A directive consists of the percent sign followed by a letter. The directives are shown below:


    Original subject




    Current part


    Total parts

    "Default cut size" specifies the maximum number of lines per part of a multiple part post. (Even though this is a "default", there is no other field where one may override this value.) Because Windows permits only about 64K of text edit space to compose an article within NX, longer text files must be "attached" and so for the convenience of the reader, a cut size of about 700 lines will permit other NX users to read the article, retrieved one part at a time. Otherwise, they must highlight the article header in the Headers window, press {Save}, and read the article using another text file viewer not limited to small file sizes.

    "Default directory" is the destination path where files will be placed when being processed through the built-in uudecoder.

    "Prompt for Directory" must be checked if you wish to change the default destination directory for any decode session.

    "Execute after Decoded" relies on Windows' filetype associations. For example, XXXX.GIF might be associated with a GIF-graphic file viewer, and if it is, the viewer will be launched with XXXX.GIF passed to it. As another example, XXXX.EXE after being decoded will be launched itself and hopefully nothing bad happens.

    "FTP:", "WWW:", and "Gopher:" specifies the path\filename for the Internet applications which should be launched when you double-click on a valid URL.


    For compatibility reasons, articles are composed with fixed-pitch fonts. Only identifiable fixed-pitch fonts will be listed in the font window. (Consider the case of using a proportional font. Not everyone who reads your article will have the same proportional font and not every proportional font has the same metrics. The result, for the reader, will be lines of text that may exceed their display's line length which will cause truncated or oddly wrapped text.)

    The standard article format is 75 columns of 7-bit printable ASCII characters per line, each line terminated with a CR/LF (hex 0D/0A or decimal 13/10). The TAB character might be frowned upon. Upper ASCII can be entered (whatever Windows allows) but there is no guarantee that somewhere along the way they get changed or stripped out entirely.

    You can specifiy which font typeface, style, and size used in each particular type of window. See the descriptions below:

    Lists Font

    Newsgroups and Article Headers windows.

    Article Font

    Article Text window.

    Write Font

    Text Editor window (Fixed-pitch only).

    Status Bar Font

    Status bar and the pushbutton flags.

    Printer Font

    Font used to print.

    Q. Sometimes retrieved articles have weird line lengths. They look fine when printed.
    A. The problem is that these articles didn't use non-proportional fonts. They were written with a proportional font that looked great on the author's screen but looks like hell on a standard terminal because the lines are greater than 80 characters, among other things. They look fine when printed because NX may be using a proportional printer font.


    [ Contents | Chapter 3 ]

    Most recent revision: March 31, 1997
    Copyright © 1997 , Brian H. Smither.
    All Rights Reserved.
    E-MAIL: Brian Smither