The "Field Track User Club" provides better support through the "FTUC" news server. This server is a NNTP server and can be used by any news reader software. Users can also access the system directly through the web, however engaging the services of a news reader package will enhance your use of the service. Please use the below information to set-up your news reader software. In this example "Outlook Express" is detailed.
Whether you access the support service through the Web, or your news reader you will require 3 pieces of information:
The news server address.
A user name.
As a member of the "FTUC" you will already have a user name and password. The news server address depends if you are entering the information into Internet Explorer, or your news reader software:
News Reader Software:
You can also use news://18.104.22.168/ to have Windows® try and load the address into your news reader software.
To set-up a news reader package you will need to create an account in your news reader software. In this example we will use Outlook Express.
Under the "Tools" menu select "Accounts".
Select "Add" - "News".
Give the account a name: "Joe Bloggs" for example. Ideally this will be your name.
Enter your email address. The Field Track server is password protected, however it is up to the individual whether they want to 'doctor' the email address to protect themselves from spam robots that scan news servers. The Field Track server is protected, however it is a good lesson to learn when dealing with news servers. You can 'doctor' the address above to something like "Charles@nowhere2.com". What you are doing here making the email address dysfunctional. If you want to maintain a useful contact do not change it by much, or use the "Reply-To" field in your settings to enter the correct email address.
Enter the Field Track news server address (22.214.171.124).
Enter the correct user name and password. This information will be provided with your "FTUC" membership details. Press "Next" and then "Finish". The job is done.
To quickly check your account details. Select your Field Track news server, which will now be listed as "126.96.36.199" and select "Properties":
Your news reader is configured and ready for the off. Remember you need to have entered the supplied "FTUC" user name and password to gain full access to the new support forums!
Using Your News Server Software
Most news servers follow a similar pattern of access, however Outlook Express is shown here, as an example.
Collecting Group Names:
The first thing a news reader needs to do is go online and collect all the groups available from the news server. Outlook Express will prompt you to do this, as you close the "Accounts" window. Once Outlook Express has collected the groups available you can subscribe to the groups of interest. 'Subscribe' does not relate to a cost but to whether Outlook Express should display the groups for you.
Select all the "FTUC" groups and select "Subscribe" to have the groups displayed within Outllook Express.
First Access To A News Group:
Due to the amount of possible traffic within a news group you do not want to be downloading old messages, or a massive amount of information. However it is wise to get up to speed on how news groups work and what this means to you.
News reader work by collecting messages from the server for you to read and reply to. You can collect only message headers and then decide which messages to download later for reading. You can also download all messages. Each way of doing this depends on the amount of message traffic within the group. Because the Field Track news server is private the message traffic should be pretty small, thus there is no reason why you would not be able to download all the messages. However if you are joining a news group late in the day (i.e., it contains a lot of messages) you only want to collect a small amount of messages and then alter your settings to a more normal message collection procedure.
For example if we assume the message server held 1000 messages, you would not want to read them all. What you would do is tell your news reader to only collect the last 50 messages from each group. This would limit you messages to a small amount and bring your news reader software up to date. Once you were happy with this you could then instruct your news reader software to only download new messages, as they would only be a few extra each day.
Collect Headers, Or Messages?
A news reader can be told to download only the message headers, or the whole message. In a busy newsgroup you would only collect the headers (faster), review these and then go back to get the messages you want. On a small news group like Field Track then you would probably collect all the messages and bodies (slower) but due to the small number of messages it would not take too long and makes the operation a single task.
You can set up each of your subscribed group's properties by right clicking on each group and setting the "Synchronization Settings".
Using the above information about busy groups and message traffic you really want to go into a new, low traffic group on "Headers Only". Synchronise the account and then switch it to "New Messages Only". On a large and busy account, on the Internet, you would firstly 'Catch Up' with the account, or x numbers of messages first. Once you have accessed the group, on a large message traffic croup you would then select "Header Only", which would quickly get all the message header and you can decide, offline, which messages look interesting.
Message Filters (Viruses)
News server messages can contain binary files. Sometimes these can be useful, however can also be viruses. User discretion is required. To limit the risk of having to download a large file due to an error by another user you will want to look into message filters. To limit the size of any message you download consider using the message filter below:
News Reader Software:
There are several news reader applications available. The most common are listed below, however a good search on the Internet will throw up a few more:
The news group 'FTUC.Files' is used to download binary files. This group is special, as all the messages will be large, so needs to be accessed only on "Headers Only". This is where you can share files with others. It is recommended you do not use this group to conduct conversations but to only point to files that may reside in this group.