Google’s cache of Usenet newsgroups seems to be down right now. I don’t see new posts since June 27 in the couple newsgroups that I regularly read, including the very informative IDL newsgroup comp.lang.idl-pvwave. But that doesn’t mean the newsgroup is not there; I actually hadn’t noticed anything was wrong until someone told me about Google’s problem because I access the newsgroup using a Usenet client reader with an actual Usenet news server.

This is not hard to do and is a much better experience: less spam, using native application interface instead of a web app, etc. Here are the basic steps to do this yourself:

  1. Get an account on a Usenet news server. I use Eternal September because it provides free access to text-only newsgroups like comp.lang.idl-pvwave.
  2. Get a Usenet client reader. I use Thunderbird from Mozilla; it is free and available on all the popular platforms.
  3. Configure your Usenet client reader to use your Usenet server account. This depends on the client you chose, but is fairly straight forward from the information that your Usenet news server provides you.
  4. When starting to use a new Usenet server, there is a process of downloading the list of available newsgroups and then subscribing to the one(s) you are interested in.

Here is a detailed description of using Thunderbird with Eternal September to access a newsgroup, just use comp.lang.idl-pvwave instead of rec.arts.disney.parks.

You’re set to go, welcome to 1980!

UPDATE: articles are appearing on Google Groups again, but I still recommend using an actual news server.