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Slyck's Guide To The Usenet Newsgroups
Identifying a Post
This section explains many of the details you'll run into on the newsgroups. If you're interested in downloading headers and browsing the newsgroups, take a good look at this section. Often times, a newcomer to the newsgroups will get a list of a popular newsgroup and be very confused by the complexity of it all. Once a user learns how to break down any post into it's essential parts, and learns how to quickly identify a post, the newsgroups become a piece of cake and a dweam within a dweam.
.nfo Files
Damn NFO Viewer Info
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2.10.0031.RC3
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The DAMN NFO viewer is an excellent way to view .nfo files. As you'll soon find out, .nfo (info) files are the first line of attack when identifying a post. Whenever a new post is approached, the very first thing that should always be searched for is the .nfo file! This is a file that is posted with most archives and has an .nfo extension. The best place to look to quickly locate this file is the very top or bottom of the entire post. This is a text file that you can open with notepad (or any text editor/reader) or using the special ASCII viewer DAMN NFO viewer.
The .nfo files contains vital information about the post -- such as size of archive, type of archive, number of parts, installation instructions, codec needs if multimedia, etc. If a post contains an .nfo file, you should download it first and read it before downloading anything else, even if you're using an indexing site.

The .nfo file will give you a wealth of information about the post, it is usually created by the person who originally packaged and posted the files. Here on the right is an example of a simple .nfo file associated with the archive for Slyck's Video Guide to the Newsgroups, Episode IV, News Readers.
To launch these files from your newsreader, you will need to have you computer set to associate .nfo files with your editor such as Notepad. Otherwise, windows is set by default to associate .nfo files with the Microsoft System Information program, and windows tries to load our .nfo file into that program which will promptly puke a warning at you. A release group named DAMN created a simple ASCII viewer that will associate itself with .nfo files for you on installation and is quite useful for viewing .nfo files:
SFV Files
QuickPar Info
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0.9.1
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SFV files, or Simple File Verification, is a very small file that used to check the integrity of an archive. They are very similar to the small PAR2 files, but have no repair capability. When a RAR archive is created, the user has the option to create an SFV file. This file is simple. For every RAR archive part that's created, the hash value, or unique identifier, is indexed in the SFV file. SFV files are usually associated with QuickPar. When the archive is finished downloading, simply double click the SFV file, and QuickPar will check the hash values of the RAR archive against the hash values indexed in the SFV file. QuickPar will then report on the integrity of the archive.
Files with .001, .002, .003, etc. Extensions
Be careful with these files, as there are AT LEAST two major formats that use this naming system. Most of the time these extensions are split files; but occasionally RAR files are given this extension too. If you try opening the .001 extension in WinRAR and it doesn't work, you have a split file and need to reassemble the archive with a program like HJ-Split!. Just read on and you'll be able to distinguish the two types in no time. You should always read the .nfo file before extracting an archive, especially if you run into files with .001, .002, .003 extensions, because the .nfo file will tell you exactly what type of format you have. (Special thanks to johngalt who contributed this).
In the above graphic, the fact that the extension is in the file name (file.ISO.001) suggests that a utility other than WinRAR was used to create the files. They are not compressed and split, they are just split directly. In other words, someone used a file splitting utility (My personal favorite is HJ-Split! Pro) to split file.ISO into these smaller parts to post to the newsgroups.

HJ-Split! Info
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2.4
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HJSplit! contains routines to both split *and* join split files - and is pretty automatic - just navigate to the folder where the files are, it will list all the .001 files, and click on it, click start, and away you go.

Finally, for the enumerated RAR files - you can set up WinRAR to be the application that opens with them as well, but you have to be *extremely* careful in that you don't try to extract a non WinRAR compatible file that was split with HJ-Split!, and vice versa.

The key is the file name - split files made by a program such as HJ-Split! have a 3 part file name - {filename}, original extension (in this case ISO) and finally the enumerated extension.

If the files were created with WinRAR, they can be extracted by opening WinRAR. Browse to and select the .001 file and use the "extract" menu selection to begin the reassembly process. You will have to select a destination folder for the extracted file.
The Name Game
To understand why we have to go to great lengths sometimes to find out what a post contains is essential. The posting format of a binary archive was motivated during a time of bots - scripts that companies use to monitor what is being posted in the newsgroups. Most posters would rather stay out of the eyes that these bots have and so they disguise themselves. These bots are searching for names of programs or media that belong to the entertainment industry. At first, the easiest way to communicate what is being offered in the subject line of the post while avoiding these bots was to transform obvious letters into other characters or interrupt words so that the bot couldn't match the expression. Examples would be: C4ll 0f D00ty or st.ar wa.rs. Over time, posters went through a series of periods of having to user more clever disguises that made conveying what the post actually was rather difficult. Today, with indexing sites doing much of content organization, deciphering binary posts are of secondary importance, unless you enjoy browsing. Overall, binary messages not too difficult to comprehend. Let's take a look at a sample binary post:
Slyck.Episode6.News_Readers.HD-CAM.2009.h264.S1yckSt3rs - "SE6NR-SlyckSt3rs.r01"
Looking at the above example, you may say to yourself, "Hey, that's really easy to understand!" And that's true, most of the time its very easy to understand what is contained in a binary post. But let's break it down. To start, the "Slyck.Episode6.News_Readers" portion quite plainly tells us what this post is. No secrets there. The "HD-CAM.2009" part tells us that it was captured using an HD video recorder in the year 2009. The post will typically dictate what video compression was used, in this case h264. And finally, many release groups (S1yckSt3rs) like stamping their name on the release. The second part of the post typically contains what the actual archive files looks like - in this case "SE6NR-SlyckSt3rs.r01". These vary wildly; some uploaders spell out the entire file, while others, such as with this release, will abbreviate the contents.
420 days ago - by ericzutter
510 days ago - by IneptVagrant
764 days ago - by xbobdolex
1072 days ago - by somewherenc
1140 days ago - by HouseCrowd
1244 days ago - by jamie48
1255 days ago - by radion
1264 days ago - by NZBTrend

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