The NewzScape Starting Point

The Starting Point window can be opened from the NewzScape Downloader. Click on the newsgroup to select it. Click the “Edit Group” button, and then click the “Starting Point” button.

Posts are stored on Usenet servers with ID numbers, and the ID numbers are not changed when old posts are removed. So a newsgroup may have, for example, 5000 posts numbered 100,001 to 105,000. NewzScape scans a group from the beginning to the end, that is, from the oldest to the newest. So, NewzScape would start on post number 100,001 and then go forward until it did post 105,000. When NewzScape reaches the end of a group, it will wait for new posts to arrive on the server and then scan them.

If you want NewzScape to start over at the beginning of a newsgroup, set the Starting Point to zero. If you want it only to analyze new posts, set it to the last post number. If you want it to start somewhere in the middle, set the Starting Point to something in between the first and last post. You can only know the first and last post numbers by logging onto the server and looking at the newsgroup. Since new posts are constantly arriving, and old ones are constantly being expired, the first and last numbers change frequently.

To find out how many posts are in the newsgroup, and peek at them, you must be logged onto the server.

Keep in mind that there can be large gaps where posts have been removed. So, if the message IDs range from 100,001 to 105,000, there may only be 2,000 posts actually there. Posts are removed if they are found to be spam, because of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint, or because they were cancelled by the poster.

If you are trying to zero-in on the beginning of a set of posts, keep in mind that they are not always in order and that there can be many posts interspersed. Just because you found the first post of the set doesn’t mean that you should set the Starting Point there. It’s usually a good idea to set it back a bit, or make a note of where you set it so that you can back it up if you didn’t get the whole set.

NewzScape will show you the poster, date, and subject of posts as you move back and forth through the newsgroup once you are logged on. However, if you know where you want to start, you don’t need to log on. You can just type the number and click the Save button.

From time-to-time, you will be forced to set the Starting Point back to zero for some or all of your newsgroups because your ISP has re-arranged the Usenet server.

In newsgroups where large files are posted in hundreds or thousands of parts, it isn’t a good idea to start scanning from the beginning. The reason for this is that the Usenet server doesn’t know which posts comprise which files. All it knows is that the post is past a certain age, or that the newsgroup has exceeded its disk-space quota and the oldest posts need to be removed. And since posts from many different files may arrive on the server interspersed, the beginning of the newsgroup will probably be populated with posts from incomplete files – that is files whose oldest posts have expired. There is no precise way to determine a good Starting Point, but 10% into the newsgroup is reasonable. If you do start from the very beginning, you may have to download quite a lot of posts before you get one complete file, and you will have lots of files in your Parts folder taking up space since they will never be completed. In picture newsgroups, starting from the very beginning is fine.

When changing the Starting Point, always set it to one less than where you want NewzScape to start. NewzScape always starts analyzing on the next post.