QuadSucker/News

(c) 1999-2010 SB-Software, http://www.quadsucker.com


Quick Start Frequently Asked Questions Revision History Register

Purpose:

QuadSucker/News is a multithreaded newsgroup downloader. It is intended to download binary attachments from usenet newsgroups. QuadSucker/News is enhanced specifically for downloading pictures and includes four thumbnail viewers. Other formats (sound, archives, movies, etc.) are also supported.

See Also:

Streaming Download Tutorial -- Good for Picture groups
Pick and Choose Tutorial -- Good for Movie/Music/Application groups
Registration Tutorial -- How to enter your registration code


Table of Contents


Features:


Operating Modes

The first and most important choice that you'll need to make is what operating mode to use. QuadSucker/News supports two main operating modes: Streaming Download, and Pick and Choose. Here are short descriptions of the two modes:

Streaming Download

Streaming download mode is intended for the person who wants to download EVERYTHING and sort it all out later. It is primarily intended for the pictures newsgroups -- the alt.binaries.pictures hierarchy. In this mode, QuadSucker/News gobbles down all of the binary attachments it can and stores them on your hard drive. You'll get lots of stuff real fast. Presumably you'll go through it all later, either with the built-in jpeg viewer, or a standalone viewer such as SortPics.

Controlling what you want to download in Streaming Download mode is mainly done with "filters". QuadSucker/News includes black and white list filters. A black list filter prevents things that you don't want from being downloaded. A white list filter specifies things that you specifically want downloaded. Most people use the black list filters extensively; and few use the white list filter.

Pick and Choose

Pick and Choose mode is intended for the person who only wants to download a select number of specific files. It is intended for the multimedia and large file newsgroups -- for example: mpeg movies, mp3 music, zip/rar archives, etc. In this mode, QuadSucker downloads the "headers" (small summaries of the articles) ahead of time and let's you pick through them and choose what items you want. QuadSucker won't downloading anything that you have not selected.

Controlling what you want to downloading in Pick and Choose mode is done with the "headers" dialog. You use the <headers> button on the main dialog to get there. The headers dialog displays all of the headers (i.e. summaries). You drag the ones you want from the list of available headers to a list of selected headers. Then QuadSucker will download the items you put on the selected list.


Quick Start:

NOTE: We've written up an illustrated tutorial that will get you through the basic configuration steps. Click here to view the tutorial.

  1. Press the Config button to bring up the news server configuration page.
    1. Mode Selection Page

      On the mode settings page, you get to choose between streaming download mode and pick and choose mode.
    2. Server Settings Page:

      On this page, there are three items that must be entered. All three items are determined by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
      1. News Server Name. This is the computer that QuadSucker/News will connect to in order to retrieve news. It is usually something like news.ispname.com or nntp.ispname.com.
      2. User Name. Most news servers now require authentication and will require you to enter a user name and password. This must match the user name and password that is setup with your ISP. It is usually the same as your PPP/SLIP login username and password, but may not necessarily be so.
      3. Password. This goes with the username entered in #2.
    3. Download Settings Page

      The default path should work for most users -- only change it if you have a need to
    4. Thread Settings Page

      We recommend starting out with 2 threads to make sure your news server supports them, and then gradually increasing to more later on.
    5. Finished

      When you're finished with the wizard, click the <Finished> button and you'll get back to the QuadSucker main window
  2. Press the Groups button to configure your newsgroups. You will be presented with the newsgroup screen which features several buttons. The Add button is used to add new groups to the list.

    Since this is (presumably) your first time running QuadSucker/News, you will have to download something called a "newsrc" list -- this is the list of newsgroups supported by your ISP. When you press Add the first time, it'll show a little message that says to press Refresh, so press the Refresh button.

    Pressing the refresh button will begin a newsrc download. The whole process is automatic, but may take a while due to the size of the file. If there are errors, then the information you entered in step #1 is probably incorrect -- go fix it. Otherwise, once the newsrc is downloaded, you can effortlessly search and scroll the list to pick out the groups you want.

    Note: You can also manually enter a newsgroup name at any time without downloading a newsrc. Do this if you already know the newsgroup name.

  3. Press the Start button to begin downloading. QuadSucker/News will begin downloading messages in sequence from the first group to the last. Congratulations, you are now downloading binary news.

Black / White String Filtering

QuadSucker/News supports two different search filters:

Most people I know of use the black list extensively to lock out spammers and off-topic posters. If you see someone posting spam, right-click on the spam picture and select black list. Then you can optionally add any of the primary headers (subject, author, etc.) to the black list.

You can also add items to the black list directly by pressing the <Filter> button or by hitting the <Black List> buttons located on the <Status> pages.

Black/White filename Filtering

The black and white filename filters work similarly to the black and white string filters. However, there are several notable differences:


Duplicate Checker

The duplicate checker built into QuadSucker/News offers many features not built into competing products. A single unified duplicate database is able to reject files based on name, subject, or contents. This database is maintained automatically by QuadSucker/News without user intervention.

As an added bonus, the built in jpeg viewer will automatically query the duplicate database and display the message subject when you view the corresponding file.

All duplicate options are accessed by first selecting <Config> and then clicking the <Duplicates> tag. In QuadSucker/News, maintaining the database and rejecting duplicates are two independent options:

Duplicate Database Enable

Check this option to enable the recording of duplicate information to your computer. I recommend that you should always leave this option enabled, regardless of whether you intend to actually reject duplicates or not -- that way if you do decide to reject duplicates in the future, all of the data will be there.

When you enable the duplicate database, QuadSucker/News will build a file called "dup.lst" in your QuadSucker directory. This file will contain one line for each file and/or message that is downloaded to your computer. The information stored includes the message name, subject, author, filename(s), and checksums of the file contents.

Subject Checker

The subject checker is intended to reject duplicates of matching subjects. For example, if you download a message with the subject "this is my picture" and later try to download a message with the same subject, the file will be rejected. This works very well in practice and eliminates many duplicates and reposts.

The one drawback of the duplicate subject checker is that sometimes people will use the same subject for multiple messages. For example, if two separate people were to post a message entitled "this is my picture", then QuadSucker would reject the second one even though the contents may be different. There are two ways to prevent this: the 'also match author' and the 'also match lines' checkboxes. If these options are checked, then the file will not be rejected unless the author and/or message line count is identical to the first post. This limits false rejections significantly.

Filename Checker

The filename checker is intended to reject files with the same name. For example, if you download "myfile1.jpg" and later try to download "myfile1.jpg" again, the duplicate filename checker would prevent the download.

The filename checker has a similar drawback in that many people give files the same name. For example, a lot of people post files under numerical names, i.e. "1.jpg", "2.jpg", etc. In this case, the filename checker may reject files which are really the same. For this reason, the filename checker has the same 'also match author' and 'also match lines' options as the subject checker.

Due to an artifact of how news messages work, the filename is not always known until you have started to download the message. This means the only way to 'reject' a duplicate file is to actually abort the transfer. Aborted transfers are slow to recover since the connection has to be re-established. However, since QuadSucker/News uses four simultaneous threads, you shouldn't notice this problem as much.

Contents Checker

The contents checker works by identifying files which have the same contents (duh!). It works independently of the filename and subject checkers and will reject files with duplicate contents even if they have different names. This form of duplicate rejecting is very precise and never yields false results.

The problem with the contents checker is that QuadSucker/News has to download the entire file before it can be checked for duplication. Thus, enabling the contents checker will not speed up downloading at all. However, it does provide the following benefits:

Integration with Viewer:

The built in full-screen jpeg viewer will automatically query the duplicate database and display the subject of a message corresponding to the file that is displayed.

The bottom line:

  Subject FileName Contents
May reject non-duplicate files by mistake YES YES NO
Can reject messages without downloading them YES NO (must abort) NO (must download entire file)
Improves download speed YES SORT OF NO
Saves disk space YES YES YES

Most users may prefer to enable all three duplicate checkers. I suggest experimenting -- the 'log' window will show you when a given file is rejected any for what reason, so watch the log window and see if you're getting the results you want.


Viewing Headers (Streaming Download Mode)

This section describes how to view headers in "Streaming Download Mode". Streaming download mode is one of the modes that you can configure QuadSucker/News to operate in. The intent behind streaming download mode is that you want nearly all the items in the newsgroup, and hence you won't be spending much time going through the headers.

Quadsucker/News includes a powerful facility for displaying the list of messages (also called "headers") in a given newsgroup. Viewing the headers allows you to see what will be downloaded next, and possibly to reject certain messages or override automatically rejected messages.

To view headers, click the <Headers> button on Quadsucker's main window.

Headers are displayed one per line. By default, headers belonging to a multi-part message are grouped together and indented.

Legend of Header Status:

Status Code Description
Pending The message will be downloaded when Quadsucker gets to it
Queued Message has been picked up by a worker thread and will be processed soon
Processed Message has been processed; Quadsucker is done with it
Downloading The message is part of a multi-part message block and the parts are being downloaded
Downloaded The contents of the message have been downloaded
Multi-Abort The message contained a multi-part file with missing pieces and/or a piece could not be retrieved
AboveMax There are more lines than are allowed by the Filter:Message Lines filter setting
BelowMin There are fewer lines than are allowed by Filter:Message Lines
DupSubj Message contains a duplicate subject and the duplicate subject checker is enabled
NoWhite No keywords in the message match the White List filter settings
BlackFrom The "from" header contains a keyword that matched the Black List filter
BlackSubj The "subject" header contains a keyword that matched the Black List filter
UserReject Message was rejected because you selected it and pushed <Reject>
Override Message will be re-downloaded

Selecting Headers (Pick and Choose Mode)

The section describes how to select headers in "Pick and Choose Mode". Pick and Choose mode differs from streaming download mode in the respect that files are not automatically downloaded -- QuadSucker/News waits for you to go through the headers and pick the files that you want to receive. Once you have picked headers, QuadSucker will download the files that you want.

To view headers, click the <Headers> button on Quadsucker's main window.

There are three parts to the Header Selection Dialog, as illustrated below:

As soon as headers are available, they will be displayed in the "Available Messages" section of the list. To Pick messages to download, simply drag them from the available message list to the selected message list.

You can also browse through the available newsgroups using the Newsgroup list on the left side of the panel. When you change newsgroups, the available message list will update to show the available messages in that group.


Command Line Options

Command line options allow you to specify customized startup options for quadsucker. These options must be entered on the command line before starting the program. There are a few places to do this:

  1. Use the windows-95/98/NT/2000 command line prompt and type in a command line
  2. ... or ... Create a shortcut on your desktop and enter the options into the shortcut
  3. ... or ... Modify the shortcut that's in the start menu

Command line options are an advanced feature of Windows and are not the easiest thing to understand. Unless you absolutely need to use one of the following options, then I suggest you avoid the issue altogether.

Note: Windows is very particular about the placement of quotes in command lines. The following (note the use of the quotes) is are examples of valid command lines:

Supported command line options:

-autostart causes quadnews to being downloading without you needing to hit the start button (doesn't work on unregistered copies without adsoftware due to the start up delay)
-regkey <keyname> use a different registry key. This allows you to operate multiple configurations of quadnews on a single computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find the answers to some frequent questions and problems.

Why is the newsgroup list missing lots of groups ?

Some news servers don't include all available groups unless you send authentication information. Use the <Config> button, and select the <Server> tab. Insure that your authentication is correct. Enable the 'Send authentication info even if the server doesn't ask for it' option. Exit the config dialog, press the <Add> button, and <Refresh> your newsgroup list. Watch the dialog for any obvious errors. Hopefully all of the groups will be there now.

Why does it say 'error 502' or 'authentication incorrect' ?

Most news servers require a name and password to access the server. This name and password may usually be obtained from your ISP (try poking around in an existing news program installed on your computer to find the settings if you don't know them). Use the <Config> button and <Server> tab to find the server settings. Make sure your 'User Name' and 'Password' are correct. Disconnect QuadSucker, exit, reload, and try again.

My authentication is correct... Why do I still get lots of error 502 messages ?

Some news servers restrict the number of simultaneous connections that you can use (any respectable news service should offer a bare minimum four simultaneous connections, but some do not). When QuadSucker attempts to open many connections to a restrictive server, the connections trample one another and cause many '502 errors' usually with an added note about 'too many connections'. Solution: Use the <Config> button and <Threads> tab, and reduce the number of threads. Stop quadsucker, wait a few minutes, and <Start> quadsucker back up again.

Where are my downloaded files going? I can't find them!

QuadSucker places the downloaded files in your 'download path'. Press <Config> and select the <Download> tab to see where your download path is currently at. QuadSucker will automatically separate the downloaded files into several subdirectories based on group names. For example files from 'alt.binaries.pictures.animals' will be put in the subdirectory 'animals'. There is an <Explore> button conveniently located on the download page to help you find your files.

What is the JPEG auto-commenter feature and how do I use it?

The JPEG auto-commenter feature can be turned on to automatically add comments to JPEG files that contain the message subject, author, etc. It's useful for those instances where you might be viewing a picture several months on down the line and you say to yourself: "Now where did that image come from?" or "What is this picture supposed to be about?" The JPEG auto-commenter may be turned on using the <Config> button and click the auto-comment tab.

Comments are automatically displayed on the title bar assuming you are using the built-in image viewer, or by using the popular SortPics Image Viewer and Sorting utility.

Is QuadSucker/News compatible with commercial news servers?

Absolutely, in fact I've evaluated a number of commercial providers. Using a commercial server usually offers additional performance, higher downloads, and better retention that your default news server. Of course, a commercial news server is not required, and many QuadNews uses continue to use their existing ISP-provided default news server.


Register

QuadSucker/News is not free! You are allowed to evaluate the software for a limited amount of time. If you find QuadSucker useful and continue to use it, then you must register to continue using the product.

Complete registration information is available at http://www.quadsucker.com/order/.

Registrations may be paid for online in a variety of methods (credit card, etc), or may be made through the mail. See the QuadSucker site at http://www.quadsucker.com/ for full details.


Revision History