With the release of Mavericks, the usenet client MT-NewsWatcher
for Mac have at long last been rendered inoperable due to Mavericks no longer supporting OpenTransport. It's pretty safe to assume that MT-NewsWatcher won't be updated to use another network protocol, so it is in effect, dead.
So what usenet client should a "hardcore" MT-NewsWatcher user use? Well, the most Mac-like usenet client available is Panic's Unison
. They label it as the best Usenet browser, but I think the emphasize is on "browser" rather than "reader" since it focuses on file downloads more than making it easier to read usenet posts.
Usenet is a dying medium, but it's still there. If I was in charge, there would be a number of changes to Unison to make it more usable for us more "hardcore" users. Let's go to the bullet list first and the UI parts after that:
Make my Message-ID's less unique
Make it possible for me to filter on my own Message-ID due to it being unique, but still having some common part I can filter on. MT-Newswatcher bases the Message-ID on my email address. So if my email is "firstname.lastname@example.org" then my Message-ID will be "mr-@usenet-host" when posting.
Alternatively, make "reply to my posts" and "threads I've participated in" as selectable parts of the filter dialog, which is what I use the Message-ID filtering for.
Fetch X number of articles
I want a function that marks all posts read and hides them, but not the last X ones. Imagine me alt-clicking the "Mark all read" icon and it asks me if I want to mark all messages read except the last X number of articles or the X number of days. This way I can catch up with the latest posts.
MT-Newswatcher has really good keyboard navigation and Unison needs it as well. Keyboard navigation for replying, marking read, moving to next thread/topic and marking current read and so on.
Post read syncing
MT-Newswatcher had support for storing the .newsrc file on a remote FTP server, but I used Dropbox to synchronize the read status and my subscription. Unison isn't using a .newsrc single file and seems to have its settings stored with several files, making it hard to know what to sync. Using iCloud to sync this is the natural solution.
More static UI
When i click a post in the list and the read pane is hidden - don't show it. Look at how Mail does this. Merely clicking a post in the list does not mean that I've changed my mind about hiding the read pane.
Unison needs some updates to the UI as well, since some things Are a bit backwards.
This is the UI as it currently looks. We have one list view where content stacks vertically but grows horizontally, meaning that the more horizontal space you have, the better for this view. Then you have the read pane, which has content that is horizontally dynamic and grows vertically, meaning that the more vertical space you have, the better.
Obviously, these two views cannot co-exist in the same viewing metaphor. So here is my solution.
Here is how this looks in MT-NewsWatcher. It uses separate windows for each view which means that each is optimized for the content it shows.
The most obvious thing is, make the sidebar selectable, or "hideable". That means more horizontal space, great!
Now, when clicking a post, show the reading pane to the right of the list. Still plenty of room for the list (especially in full screen mode)
And, especially when in full screen mode, show the reply pane on the bottom. Or use the Mail "popover" window mode and a normal window in non-fullscreen mode.
These simple changes would make the UI far more usable than it is today. Obviously, the user should be able to select where the read pane should be and so forth.