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Cox Discontinues Usenet, Starting In June

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the alt-dot-mumble-mumble-dot-binaries dept.

The Internet 306

Existential Wombat was one of several readers to note that Cox Communcations customers have been put on notice that their Usenet access will soon dry up, unless they want to pay a monthly surcharge for it. From the note that subscribers received: "Effective June 30, 2010, Cox Communications will discontinue Usenet service to our subscribers. Declining newsgroup usage in recent years has highlighted the need to focus our resources on other priorities, such as increasing our Internet speeds and providing new services, including Cox Media Store and Share. We understand that our newsgroup subscribers may want to continue accessing Usenet. Therefore, we have worked with leading newsgroup service provider Giganews to offer special pricing for Cox subscribers." Gripes Existential Wombat: "$15++ a month for something Cox provided as a part of the service? Of course they will be reducing everyone's monthly tariff by the value of the service they no longer provide. Yeah, right."

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Who cares? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931726)

The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files. The average "$100 for a limited time for a Triple Play of Internet, TV and Phone" user doesn't know it exists and wouldn't use it anyway. So, if you really want it, pay for it. The pay-for Usenet providers exist because the ISPs wanted to limit or eliminate this service and have have done so for years.

This is a price hike for those who want to use an obscure feature that should lead to better service or lower costs for those of us who care about those things more than a supply of illegal content. If you want to get one HBO show... this price will likely make it more cost effective for you to get HBO through your TV pipe, a reduction of traffic on the Internet that should make your community's connection work better.

Re:Who cares? (2, Funny)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931794)

Cowboy Neal does, you insensitive clod!

Re:Who cares? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932706)

So much for alt.slack and bob dobbs

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931826)

better service? That is naivety or a blatant false statement.
The fact that they will not be charging less even though they are providing less service hits the nail on the head.

Re:Who cares? (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931970)

The fact that they will not be charging less even though they are providing less service hits the nail on the head.

For 99% of their customers, they're *already* not providing that service.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932062)

I would state it as, "they're providing a service that 99% of their customers don't use, or even realize is there".

So, for those 99% of the customers, there isn't a visable loss. Cox thus views it as, "they weren't using it before; why should their payments go down. If they want to use it now, their payments will go up."

Capitalism in action.

Re:Who cares? (4, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932364)

Capitalism in action.

Sure, but in this case, I dunno that Cox are being the complete ass clowns they usually are. I was a big time usenet user, long ago. Lately, I've forgotten myself that it evens exists. Yes, I'm sure that there are die-hards who will take issue with this. To them I say "GET A LIFE". There's so many better, richer alternatives out there now for connecting with masses of people with the same interests. Besides, usenet has become a huge pornography distribution network with a few anecdotal, non-porn topics anyway, who really gives a sh*t if isp's are getting a little tired of carrying it. There's better ways to distribute porn than usenet as well. Usenet was one of those great protocols that came with this new-fangled internet thingy. Now its a little passed its prime and ready for pasture. Let it go.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

VGR (467274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932438)

"Capitalism in action" implies customers who are displeased with the change can take their money to a different, roughly equivalent service.

Re:Who cares? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932540)

That would be my choice if Cox didn't have a complete monopoly in the city I live in (Phoenix AZ).

Re:Who cares? (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932896)

That would be my choice if Cox didn't have a complete monopoly in the city I live in (Phoenix AZ).

Interesting since I know plenty of people in Phoenix that have providers other then Cox for their internet access. But I guess you have never heard of DSL, or other alternatives to cable.

I think what you meant to say is that you would switch if there was an option you preferred over Cox. But the reality is, you have decided that losing Usenet isn't enough for you to want to switch to one of the other providers.

Fact is, there is no area of Business which Cox has no competitors, unless you narrow it down to a specific method of content delivery (a.k.a cable).

Re:Who cares? (3, Interesting)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932778)

People like to throw around competition as a core concept of capitalism but that's just marketing, really. In some cases competition would actually be harmful, for instance, it makes no sense to have multiple lines delivering electricity or for that matter Internet service to the same household, especially when there are other unconnected places that would be much better served with a connection. It would be redundant and a waste of natural resources that, again, would be put to better use providing new service to people, or more likely, serving an entirely different function in a different industry altogether.

Putting resources to work where they are most urgently demanded: That is "capitalism in action."

Re:Who cares? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932942)

Putting resources to work where they are most urgently demanded: That is "capitalism in action."

Ah, to be young...

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932118)

And I'd wager most customer's don't even know their ISP provides e-mail. They use gmail, hotmail, etc.

Heck I own my own domain and I don't even use my ISP's e-mail (other than SMTP), but if they canceled e-mail service I'd sure as hell want a discount.

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

rfuilrez (1213562) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932244)

Really, it's a better idea IMO to use a 3rd party email service. Either a paid service, or a free one such as gmail/hotmail/yahoo. This way if you move, change ISPs for whatever reason, no longer need the ISP etc, you don't lose your email address. I've had my gMail account since it was invite only beta like 5 years ago. In that time I've moved and cancelled / signed-up for ISPs probably 6-7 times.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932714)

2009 Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study
http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/high-speed-internet-service-provider-ratings/east/

They rank right near the top is customer sanctification.

What, you want everything fucking free? Must be a fucking liberal.

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932838)

They rank right near the top is customer sanctification.

Well that's a small blessing but it's not the holy picture.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

thittesd0375 (1111917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932186)

I believe it is more accurate to say that they are not raising the price on everyone to keep an outdated service active for a few.

Re:Who cares? (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932330)

Who ever said they would be charging less? That is naivety or a blatant false statement.

It's a matter of priority. An ISP (or any business for that matter) has limited resources and needs to decide how to allocate them to maximize satisfaction (that is, profit). Cox, my ISP, has decided that other needs are more pressing. For example, I noticed my speed just went up, and they did in fact increase my speed. I don't know if it's related but the point is things like the extra speed isn't free, and they decided there is a better use of the resources currently going to Usenet service, due to demand.

Re:Who cares? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932476)

Seriously, what resources?
I hardly think that running a USENET server is a massive drain. Its probably some old box that they're already re-purposed from an earlier upgrade. Maybe $100/yr for electricity?
Even all the client->server connections are local to the Cox subnet so USENET doesn't even put a load on their internet backbone.

Re:Who cares? (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932510)

AT&T, Comcoast, Time Warner and Verizon have all discontinued their newsgroup services. What is a surprise is that there are (were) ISP's that still had them.

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931852)

Bingo.

It doesn't cost Cox that much to provide the service. They're dropping it basically because no one needs it, except for piracy and such. This is more of a move to cover their asses in the wake of the ACTA treaty.

browser is not the best tool for every job (5, Insightful)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931894)

News readers are a lot more lightweight than web browsers, can deal with the format intelligently. That's what I'll miss when Cox (my ISP) drops Usenet. How big are browsers now, to make use of the all the funky Ajax features, that basically just simulate what I could do with trn in a terminal window 20 years ago?

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932046)

Yea I love my 386 as much as any other retro nerd, but damn man it sits next to a 2.8ghz multicore with more ram than my 386 has hard disk space

spend the 100$ to get a machine made within the last 5 years

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932100)

Yea I love my 386 as much as any other retro nerd, but damn man it sits next to a 2.8ghz multicore with more ram than my 386 has hard disk space

spend the 100$ to get a machine made within the last 5 years

And yet the 386 with a good newsreader is faster than a 8 gig 64 bit i7 mambo nuclear system with bad ajax. Where is the progress again? And why do I want to pay for that?

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (2, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932326)

So, the GUI is too slow for you, but I hear the computer says that it still runs faster than you can read.

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932698)

take one for the team you bastard

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932748)

Yea I love my 386 as much as any other retro nerd, but damn man it sits next to a 2.8ghz multicore with more ram than my 386 has hard disk space

spend the 100$ to get a machine made within the last 5 years

And yet the 386 with a good newsreader is faster than a 8 gig 64 bit i7 mambo nuclear system with bad ajax. Where is the progress again? And why do I want to pay for that?

Download a 2+ megapixel jpg image from a newsgroup and view it with that 386. Then do same with the i7. You'll see the progress.

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932974)

Try browsing some threads on Usenet using your 386, then try browsing threads on some Javascript driven web based discussion system, and see which is faster ;).

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932848)

Err, no it's not. Get a better browser, or use a better site.

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932990)

I happen to know of ChristTrekker form a forum, he is just pissy because his 68k quadra cant download porn any more

and I would love to see a 386 outrun a i7 in anything, stupid thing takes nearly a full min just to count its 4mb of ram

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932320)

If I did, then it wouldn't be GHETTO now would it?

:>

Re:browser is not the best tool for every job (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932224)

You can just use gmane.

Use an alternate newsfeed (3, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932378)

www.eternal-september.org

Re:Who cares? (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931898)

What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

The standard discussion forums for a great many tech communities are still on Usenet: comp.lang.python, comp.text.tex and gnu.emacs.gnus are just a few that I read daily. While you are right that the average subscriber doesn't know about Usenet these days, the Slashdot crowd ought to be upset that ISPs are dropping Usenet servers.

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31931908)

Usenet was *not* superseded by Google Groups. Google Groups is just a crapping web front-end to Usenet. There are still a lot of good groups in Usenet, certainly more than what you describe. A lot of language standards still perform discussions on Usenet. The only issue with Usenet is all the idiots (trolls, spammers, jerks, pendants) have caused many of the truly smart and helpful people to leave, but you can still find people whose knowledge and skills easily over match your typical person on web-based forums (such as this one).

Re:Who cares? (3, Funny)

TDyl (862130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932078)

Being a pendant, I'll probably swing for this and you'll hang for that 'n'.

They should get rid of email too (1)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931992)

Exactly! I'm reminded of this post [interesting-people.org] by email researcher Meng Weng Wong, where he talks about DSL and providing good email service:

DSL providers should just say to their customers, we'll just drop your price by $X a month if you decline POP --- that way we save on machines, sysadmins, and software licensing fees, and we get to say we're 20% cheaper than the competition ... and you'll just go off and use Hotmail, which is what you were going to do anyway!

Maybe they'd use gmail instead of hotmail today, but the same principal applies.

Re:They should get rid of email too (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932136)

If the price was better, I would buy just a nekid connection with NO additional services. I can roll my own mail, web site, news... Just cut my price! What? You want to cut service, raise the price and shove some personal data-mining junk at me? Uh... Pass...

Re:They should get rid of email too (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31933012)

I would buy just a nekid connection with NO additional services. I can roll my own mail, web site, news...

So, basically, a pipe tied to a static IP address? Sounds good to me.

"dark allies" (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932032)

To you perhaps it is, but others its not.

Also, while i agree there are things such as Google groups that are similar, its still not Usenet, and if you weren't a snot nosed kid, you would understand the difference. ( hint, one is distributed, another is a single point of failure/control, for starters. )

And ya, Usenet isn't what it used to be due to the dumbing down of the net due to the influx of idiots "oooh, click, its pretty", but it still has a place, especially as governments try to crack down on information freedoms.

Re:"dark allies" (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932156)

To you perhaps it is, but others its not.

Also, while i agree there are things such as Google groups that are similar, its still not Usenet, and if you weren't a snot nosed kid, you would understand the difference. ( hint, one is distributed, another is a single point of failure/control, for starters. )

And ya, Usenet isn't what it used to be due to the dumbing down of the net due to the influx of idiots "oooh, click, its pretty", but it still has a place, especially as governments try to crack down on information freedoms.

And as the "Ohhh, click, its pretty" croud go away. That is the best part of the web. A vacuum for usenet.

Re:"dark allies" (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932944)

Google Groups *is* Usenet. They are just another Usenet peer. And their interface and searchability makes usenet more useable than any standalone client I have ever used.

Re:Who cares? (4, Interesting)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932064)

The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

So we should just use a crappy web interface when there are vastly superior stand alone applications, is that what you're saying?

Every time some protocol gets eliminated. Every time things move from the open to the closed, the proprietary, the world sucks just a bit more. Interaction quality goes down, and you end being able to do less and less.

Let me guess. Twitter is better than email right? After all, a 140 character statically allocated array is enough for everyone. Or are we supposed to all be sucking at the tit of Mark Zuckerman's stolen walled garden?

This is a price hike for those who want to use an obscure feature that should lead to better service or lower costs for those of us who care about those things more than a supply of illegal content.

Actually it's a price hike for everyone jackass. When cost stays the same, and service goes down, you're actually paying more for less. It's the oldest trick in the book. Haven't you noticed that your box of Wheaties is smaller [cnn.com] , but costs the same?

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Random Data (538955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932070)

"Superseded" normally implies improvements. While Google/Deja provide a long term archive and searching support, they're nothing like as useful as a dedicated client to a newsgroup server for actually taking part in discussions. It's similar to the reason people use mail clients rather than just Gmail: you have more control over how you interact with others.

Re:Who cares? (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932260)

It's an outrage! What is the world coming to? Next they'll block gopher and archie and uucp!

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932324)

Interestingly, uucp is still seeing some use in remote areas of certain countries, where the Internet infrastructure is not built up. The idea, as I understand it, is to use uucp to copy batches of email onto a mobile system (or just a flash drive), then physically move that system to the next computer, exchanging mail and whatnot, eventually exchanging email with the broader Internet. Slow, yes, but better than nothing at all.

I am sure gopher and archie are still used somewhere too.

Re:Who cares? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932550)

Interestingly, uucp is still seeing some use in remote areas of certain countries, where the Internet infrastructure is not built up. The idea, as I understand it, is to use uucp to copy batches of email onto a mobile system (or just a flash drive), then physically move that system to the next computer, exchanging mail and whatnot, eventually exchanging email with the broader Internet. Slow, yes, but better than nothing at all.

Reminds me of the good old BBS days and dialing up long distance at midnight to exchange email between systems. <sniff>

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932338)

Wrong wrong wrong.
Yours is a pitiful argument. Just because you or even the majority of users don't use some aspect of the internet is not a good excuse to make a blanket assumption that no-one uses or wants it.

Your points sound similarly misguided to the malicious blurring that the RIAA and MPAA are trying to make around P2P, in that all P2P is by definition illegal regardless of the fact there are many legitimate P2P sites and P2P is simply an efficient distribution protocol, not a DRM circumvention mechanism in itself.

I use USENET legally and Google Groups and other free sources just don't provide what I want. Firstly, they dont cover binary groups and secondly they aren't nearly as easy/convenient to use, so your argument that other things have superseded USENET is entirely wrong.

In real terms it probably costs Cox next to nothing to have a USENET server sat in a rack, so the real savings of cutting it off are going to be minimal, probably just the electricity for an old server box that they've already re-tasked from other upgrades.

I'm surprised you really expect to see any noticeable improvement in other service areas as a result of Cox no longer suporting USENET. I seriously doubt it. All that this will mean is (probably literally) a few tens of dollars of extra corporate profit that we the users will never see the benefit of.

Personally I hate the idea that ISPs are being allowed to redefine "internet service" to just mean port 80 traffic. Cox's own advertising confirms I paid for an internet connection not just a web connection. I don't see why I should now be obliged to pay extra to keep the same level of service that I've had for the last 5 years.

Re:Who cares? (2, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932750)

I use USENET legally and Google Groups and other free sources just don't provide what I want. Firstly, they dont cover binary groups and secondly they aren't nearly as easy/convenient to use.

Honest question here. I understand why people would prefer to use a real news reader as opposed to mailing lists or web forums, as they are much better tools for the job. But binary groups? That is like preferring to get binary files as shar [wikipedia.org] email text rather than an attachment. It was a hacked in use and I never saw the appeal apart from piracy.

What features of USENET make it better for obtaining legitimate binaries compared to FTP or HTTP or Bittorrent?

USENET is more than just a server in a rack (4, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932876)

Perhaps one can serve usenet in a rack, but that's so very not likely. Daily usenet traffic is measured in the hundreds of gigabytes and maintaining a local cache of that traffic means hundreds of gigabytes of traffic even if NO ONE ACCESSES IT. Whether you have one subscriber or 1000 using that local cache of traffic, the very act of maintaining a local cache means more inbound /0 traffic, more overhead in the form of support costs and maintenance costs, and dealing with an ever spiraling demand for more space.

Anyone who thinks usenet is dead is seriously uninformed. Easynews has gajillions of subscribers and they provide access to binaries groups directly via the browser - no need to learn t use nzbs or nntp clients unless you really want to. Easynews, Giganews and even Astraweb provide access to usenet in a way no other local ISP likely has for a decade now. I understand Cox has had very good usenet service but that just makes the point ever more: it costs real money to provide this service! Cox also has the problem of serving as an illicit gateway - a good bit of the illegal stuff posted to usenet has come through rooted windows machines sitting on the Cox network. By eliminating their pool of nntp resources they shift that security problem off onto Giganews, an ISP that focuses directly on providing this service.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932918)

Usenet was before my time, so I might be missing something.

It doesn't sound like Cox is banning access to usenet, just discontinuing their service. That shouldn't prevent you from finding a new free or pay-for service provider that you can connect to and get your usenet fix. It's the same as with email, sure my provider gives it to me, but I don't use it.

ISPs aren't redefining "internet service" to mean port 80 traffic. The ISPs aren't providing you with most of your port 80 traffic, they just move the packets on your behalf. They might provide a server that can do port 80 traffic for you, but again, it probably sucks anyway.

What I want my ISP to provide to me is a way to connect my computer to their network (DSL, cable, whatever), then they point those packets to the right place. If they want to provide a DNS resolver, fine, but I don't have to use it.

They might have to put some resources into resolving usenet requests (again, not sure exactly how this system works), but they don't need to provide the service.

And, everyone who "probably" thinks a usenet server is not a lot of work probably doesn't know. If it is an actual meaningful service, it is probably a PITA for a sysadmin (that is a huge amount of data that they have to distribute).

Re:Who cares? (3, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932428)

"The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?"

Compared to my Usenet client, Google Groups, Slashdot, and every other web based system are a collective joke...and I am sure there are better Usenet clients than what I use (KNode). Usenet also has the advantage of being distributed -- or did Slashdot suddenly start exchanging comments with other systems (can I peer with Slashdot?), which came in handy when a Usenet server I used to use was shut down; I just pointed my client to another server, and the same discussions were all immediately available.

Really, when it comes to text based discussions, Usenet has a lot of advantages. If all you care about is using the latest cool looking technology, I guess that does not matter to you, but some of us actually do like the discussions on Usenet. There are still a number of very nice discussions on technical topics, such as cryptography, math, and various programming languages. Usenet is not just for "illegal content," even if that is all you ever used it for.

As for better service...well, let's put it this way: when Time Warner stopped running its Usenet servers, there was no increase in the quality of service I received from them. The quality of service remained identical, as it has with other ISPs. Cox just wants to turn a higher profit by ending a service that a minority of customers were using, and to claim otherwise is either naivety or outright lying.

Re:Who cares? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932468)

The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

It's sad how proprietary services are displacing open standards on the Internet. The rise of Twitter over email is another example, and web chat over IRC is another.

It's sad because it shows complete freedom / anarchy doesn't work very well, not even in so-called "cyberspace." There goes another generation of utopian aspirations :(

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932620)

What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

What you describe is not just most of Usenet, but most of the Internet itself. Would you be OK if Cox discontinued all Internet service, but continued to bill customers?

In fact, 1) Usenet is lot more than the dark alleys of the internet.

2) What does Google have to do with it? So what about Google Groups? What about options? There is Gmail, does that mean there should be no other email option?

3) What about all the things my newsreader does that Google Groups does not? Saving threads for reading off line, killfile, etc.

4) You contradict yourself. If Usenet is such an obscure feature used by very few, why would removing access result in a measurable reduction in traffic?

The truth is Usenet does some things better than your "zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites."

Re:Who cares? (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932702)

Doesn't the same pipe carry the same data, as in the pirated HBO show versus the actual show being sent from HBO? And would not the pirated copy be smaller and have less impact than streaming it to the customer?

Re:Who cares? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932754)

If you want to get one HBO show... this price will likely make it more cost effective for you to get HBO through your TV pipe, a reduction of traffic on the Internet that should make your community's connection work better.

Wrong. The the people who were using Usenet now use a different service for Usenet, then the amount of traffic overhead will INCREASE, not decrease, as now they have to use the pipe on BOTH sides of their IPS's servers to do so, raising the amount of traffic on the backbone side exponentially, as each user requires a separate connection, which is impossible to cache if they are to different providers. Granted, they will only be fetching what is requested instead of every single Usenet msg, although it is unlikely that Cox was already serving binaries groups, which make up the bulk of Usenet traffic. The amount of traffic on the customer side of the ISP's network will increase slightly due to higher likelihood of bad packets/resends.

Likely, the users of Usenet on Cox's network were not downloading porn/binaries anyway, as almost all ISPs don't carry those groups. People looking for illicit files were already getting them somewhere else.

If they REALLY wanted a ban that improved service (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932772)

They could get rid of that OTHER back alley of seamy, scummy crap known as craigslist.

Re:Who cares? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932874)

What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

Exactly! This is why I care! OK, I could do without the spamming and illegally shared copyrighted files.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932906)

Just because YOU don't think it to be useful or important doesn't mean you are correct.
Vilifying a service, used by untold millions? That's a new low water mark on /. congrats!.

Also, if it's part of the service I CONTRACTED for and am paying for, you had BETTER lower my price if you are taking it away.

Big 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932926)

What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files. The average "$100 for a limited time for a Triple Play of Internet, TV and Phone" user doesn't know it exists and wouldn't use it anyway. So, if you really want it, pay for it. The pay-for Usenet providers exist because the ISPs wanted to limit or eliminate this service and have have done so for years.

Actually I've found the Big 8 outside of the alt.* crap pretty good for a variety of topics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_8_(Usenet)

Of course most people have moved on from Usenet (or never joined it), but personally I find web forums to have absolutely atrocious interfaces. I much prefer Usenet and mailing lists. There's also the fact that killfiles aren't available on web forums.

*blonk*

Re:Who cares? (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932972)

Wait cox didn't offer real binary access for free up til this did they?

Those cocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31931814)

What's a usenet?

Much ado about nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31931832)

Who cares?

They capped the bandwidth to it and limited it to 4 connections.

Usenet is dead except for piracy... (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931842)

Usenet is pretty much dead except for piracy, subsumed by specialty web forums for those who are after communication rather than warez. And if you still want it for communication, Google Groups offers a free gateway IIRC.

EG, NNTP may still be a huge amount of some ISPs traffic (eg, see this paper, http://www.icir.org/vern/papers/imc102-maier.pdf [icir.org] ) but it is almost ALL binary transfers.

So its not a shock that Cox is getting rid of its Usenet servers, whats only shocking is that it took them so long.

Re:Usenet is dead except for piracy... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31931972)

If NNTP is a significant part of Cox's traffic, then it would be stupid to discontinue the service, because then each user (minus those who stop using it altogether) will cause a copy of the traffic to become external, where it puts Cox in a worse position for peering agreements. The store-and-forward nature of Usenet is a major relief on cross-network bandwidth, as long as users stick to network-local servers.

Re:Usenet is dead except for piracy... (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932490)

That's a good thought, but it's true only if:

a. Somebody is actually using all of those bits. If most of it is write-only (i.e. people put it out there but few read it), it can be a net win despite losing the store-and-forward.

b. People continue to download those files. Some will switch to BitTorrent (which may be easier on them, and has some of the same store-and-forward advantages of Usenet); others will stop entirely.

I think they're mostly banking on (a) not being true. I suspect that a lot of warez users have ALREADY switched to ButTorrent (which they can throttle, another advantage for them). But they still have to download the complete contents of the newsgroups.

Oh, Great. (5, Funny)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931864)

Oh, great. There goes my sex life.

Re:Oh, Great. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932222)

Only on Slashdot would that comment in this context be marked "Insightful"...

Re:Oh, Great. (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932806)

They don't grade fathers, but if your daughter's a stripper, you fucked up. --Chris Rock

I know a guy like that and yes he is.

Not that I'm actually TALKING about Usenet, but (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931888)

Does anybody who doesn't use IE for a newsreader expect their ISP to provide decent feeds? Anybody I know who's still there is using GigaNews or one of the other premium services.

Re:Not that I'm actually TALKING about Usenet, but (2, Insightful)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31931984)

I've been using Netscape and then Thunderbird for news since the mid-90s. What Cox provided has been fine for the past several years. Most other people have been drifting to web forums, so I've (reluctantly) followed. But I think NNTP is a lot simpler and can do the job just as well. Time was that Usenet wasn't a premium service, it was considered pretty basic, like email.

Re:Not that I'm actually TALKING about Usenet, but (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932314)

NNTP's weakness is searching for old threads, i.e. to save asking the same ol' question over and over in a given group. I moved away from groups a while ago, very few people were using them for communication, which is a shame. Anyone remember TIN?

Re:Not that I'm actually TALKING about Usenet, but (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932354)

Of course. Though I now use trn and slrn ... I like trn better, but it's not maintained and it gives me some grief that slrn doesn't ...

I definitely expect my ISP to provide a news feed (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932208)

I use thunderbird for news, and I absolutely consider a news feed as part of the services an ISP should provide.

That said, mine just funnels the requests to a dedicated usenet provider.

Re:Not that I'm actually TALKING about Usenet, but (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932828)

To add some context, in the dial-up days, my local ISP (literally a mom and pop outfit), happily provided a full newsfeed (30-60 day retention) through one of the major providers at the time. No busy numbers, no speed issues, no download caps, 24-hour support, and a complimentary news feed, all for $15.00/month. Hell, they'd even suggest from time to time that I come into their office to download my ISOs so I wouldn't have to tie up my line.

When I switched to ATT DSL, the improved speeds were nice, but everything else I'd taken for granted went out the window. Usenet? Only their Level 2 support knew what the word meant, and the techs on the other end of the phone quickly admitted the service sucked.

I don't know whether there's a business case for an ISP to provide a usenet feed, but I do know that I've been paying $15/month for it ever since.

You can get them for free now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31931926)

You can get them for free with google. But if you want the one with the goodies you can always pay an overseas server for around $11USD per month unlimited
Is way better than netflix, CATV, ondemand and torrents put together. I love my binaries :). And I like it that not many people know about it. And if someone findsout about it the person would just usually give up because they would find it too difficult with the pars and the rars and what not.

I love my newsgroups. I use them as backup.

Re:You can get them for free now. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932054)

You can get them for free with google. But if you want the one with the goodies you can always pay an overseas server for around $11USD per month unlimited Is way better than netflix, CATV, ondemand and torrents put together. I love my binaries :). And I like it that not many people know about it. And if someone findsout about it the person would just usually give up because they would find it too difficult with the pars and the rars and what not.

I love my newsgroups. I use them as backup.

Ah I see. Because niggers are less likely than the statistical average to understand computers, networks and Usenet it follows that Usenet must be racist against niggers. Typical Leftist logic just like what happened with IQ tests. Rather than investigate what's wrong with niggers that 200+ years of living in the USA hasn't prepared them to score well on a test "designed for English-speaking Westerners" they'd rather call the test racist because they found out that equal opportunity does not give equal results. So as a protest I use the word nigger since that's anathema to the ultrasensitive bed-wetters who give an identical test to whites and blacks and call it racist when blacks don't do well. They might have a real convincing argument if a different and more difficult test was given to the niggers, but that didn't happen, so they are limp-wristed bed-wetters who complain too much and should never be taken seriously.

Re:You can get them for free now. (0, Offtopic)

akmofo (590062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932206)

Wow...

Re:You can get them for free now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932390)

Where can I get the shit he smokes?

Re:You can get them for free now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932916)

Where can I get the shit he smokes?

Apparently, the shit that asshole smokes must be, quite literally, shit. It's the only explanation for that kind of brain-damaged thought.

Allow me to translate. (2, Insightful)

Toze (1668155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932000)

"We believe the group of customers that use this service is small enough to not be able to start a revolt, and large enough that we'll see some profit from charging extra. We would do this to the 'using Google' service if we thought we could get away with it. Please ignore how badly this conflicts with our claims that Net Neutrality would destroy the internet, and that we're a self-policing market who wouldn't dare charge people more for certain types or destinations of traffic."

Re:Allow me to translate. (5, Insightful)

rdunnell (313839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932148)

I don't see how this translates to a conflict with net neutrality.

They aren't saying you can't use Usenet, that they are going to block it somehow or that you have to use their Usenet servers at a premium price. They're just saying they aren't going to host it and offer it as part of their service package.

Regardless of whether this is a nice thing to do or not, it doesn't have anything to do with net neutrality.

Re:Allow me to translate. (0, Troll)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932190)

"We believe the group of customers that use this service is small enough to not be able to start a revolt, and large enough that we'll see some profit from charging extra. We would do this to the 'using Google' service if we thought we could get away with it. Please ignore how badly this conflicts with our claims that Net Neutrality would destroy the internet, and that we're a self-policing market who wouldn't dare charge people more for certain types or destinations of traffic."

Nicely said!

Re:Allow me to translate. (1)

bob5972 (693297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932504)

I don't think Cox makes any money off of "charging extra". They just save on the cost of running the stuff. The monthly fee offer is to buy it from another company.

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932004)

Sure, you've got Google groups, but they're privately owned and moderated by Google.

Usenet is the only distributed, unmoderated message "board" out there that isn't bound by one particular owner's or government's rules. It may not seem important now, but free anonymous and uncensored posts can be very important sometimes...

Re:Who Cares (2, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932204)

Sure, you've got Google groups, but they're privately owned and moderated by Google.

Usenet is the only distributed, unmoderated message "board" out there that isn't bound by one particular owner's or government's rules. It may not seem important now, but free anonymous and uncensored posts can be very important sometimes...

I won't seem important until no one has it. Unregulated and anonymous communications are one thing every bad guy wants to stop.

Upvote (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932808)

I have a feeling the "who cares about usenet" geeks will change their tune when ACTA arrives and ISP's are shutting down their beloved torrent sites.

Re:Who Cares (1)

DeadlyBattleRobot (130509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932862)

Google Groups is horrible. They totally ruined DejaNews. They couldn't and can't monetize it so they just fuck with it -- but they will still copyright it to within an inch of it's life. They had no respect for the value of usenet. It was the #1 source for programming information during the 90's and I still miss it. We are living in Orwellian times, and "He who controls the present, controls the past". I would vote you up a million times.

Usenet? That still around? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932008)

Usenet has been heading the way of the dinosaurs for quite a few years. By today's standards, it's difficult to use (requires more than a web browser), has a somewhat cumbersome hierarchy and, especially in the case of alt.*, bloated with SPAM.

The resources required for an ISP to proved a full Usenet feed to its subscribers are enormous and provide very little (read: none) return for the ISP.

Some might balk at having to pay "extra" for Usenet access (mainly people that refuse to acknowledge that this is 2010, there are better alternatives, and providing access and storage for the behemoth that is Usenet costs a metric ass-ton of cash), I for one don't. At least with pay services, you get decent retention time and at least some assurance you are getting a full feed if that is what you are after.

And at the end of the day, the majority of people using the Internet today have no idea what Usenet is, or could give 2 shits about it.

Re:Usenet? That still around? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932308)

Usenet has been heading the way of the dinosaurs for quite a few years. By today's standards, it's difficult to use (requires more than a web browser), has a somewhat cumbersome hierarchy and, especially in the case of alt.*, bloated with SPAM.

You can say the same thing about World of Warcraft. So? It is still important to many, and a substantial reduction in service.

The resources required for an ISP to proved a full Usenet feed to its subscribers are enormous and provide very little (read: none) return for the ISP.

A reduction in bandwidth? That was the original purpose after all. You only have to make that posting pass your transit once. It doesn't work so well now, since everyone reposts to get over drops and short retention times. Ooops...

Some might balk at having to pay "extra" for Usenet access (mainly people that refuse to acknowledge that this is 2010, there are better alternatives, and providing access and storage for the behemoth that is Usenet costs a metric ass-ton of cash), I for one don't. At least with pay services, you get decent retention time and at least some assurance you are getting a full feed if that is what you are after.

True. Giga news is better. So farm it out (It is only a few people by their admission) or reduce the fees. What? You just want to cut service and give me nothing back? I wonder why people are upset?

And at the end of the day, the majority of people using the Internet today have no idea what Usenet is, or could give 2 shits about it.

And the majority of people could care less about NASIOC, or Slashdot, or 4chan, or lolcatz, or porn... OK, not the last one. :) So what marginal cost is next? Bittorrent? No, that was the last one. (And I am a Linux dev, so I actually have a legal use for it)

Re:Usenet? That still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932684)

You can say the same thing about World of Warcraft. So? It is still important to many, and a substantial reduction in service.

Maybe, but people *PAY* to play/access World of Warcraft.

A reduction in bandwidth? That was the original purpose after all. You only have to make that posting pass your transit once. It doesn't work so well now, since everyone reposts to get over drops and short retention times. Ooops...

Yes, perhaps an ISP would see a reduction in bandwidth by not directly providing Usenet services, but that's not the only resources required. The biggest single resource Usenet consumes (and we are talking about a *full* feed here - no exclusing alt.binaries.*) is STORAGE. The close second is the servers themselves.

True. Giga news is better. So farm it out (It is only a few people by their admission) or reduce the fees. What? You just want to cut service and give me nothing back? I wonder why people are upset?

Perhaps. However, an ISP does have the right to change their terms of service and service offerings, like any other provider of a service. If you don't like the change, you find an alternative.

And in this case, Cox is farming it out, albeit, passing the cost of doing so to the consumer, which is subjectively crappy.

And the majority of people could care less about NASIOC, or Slashdot, or 4chan, or lolcatz, or porn... OK, not the last one. :) So what marginal cost is next? Bittorrent? No, that was the last one. (And I am a Linux dev, so I actually have a legal use for it)

Usenet is *not* a marginal cost by any stretch of the imagination. The number of servers and the continually growing amount of storage required to provide this service in house are *huge* costs. I am sorry, your reasoning here fails.

But where will COX users get copyrighted content? (1)

diatonic (318560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932034)

Usenet has pretty much digressed into an unregulated binary file distribution network. People who want it for discussion will use a web based news reader. People who use it do download files in a non p2p way will subscribe though cox or somebody else.

Oh look... (1)

RLU486983 (1792220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932150)

something new to throttle!

Move over Netcraft (2, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932202)

Cox confirms it - usenet is dying

Usenet (3, Funny)

jamesyouwish (1738816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932288)

What.is.Usenet?

Re:Usenet (2, Informative)

diatonic (318560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932430)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=usenet

No more Usenet cabal?!? End of an era! (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932434)

No more Usenet cabal?!? End of an era!

Now where are we going to go for our cancel control messages?!?

-- Terry

I've had thoughts of doing the same with my WISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932622)

For years most ISP's have dropped most if not all the alt.binaries.* due to copyright, viruses, etc... hence the boom in giganews and their competitors. Out of the 3k customers on my WISP I would say that I have maybe 10 people that use our nntp box. I have often thought of doing the very same thing due to it is one more time sink for me to have to deal with for less than 1% of my users. Would I give a discount for discontinuing said service? Absolutely not. I've always looked at it as a free perk for my customers and with so few using it why would it constitute a drop in service fee? If one of the few users that do use it contacted us I wouldd most likely give them a month free for the inconvenience but never a drop in their subscription price.

If only I had the bargaining power to cut a deal like Cox... at least they're doing something for their customers.

$15++ a month !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31932894)

Supernews.com provides a great service for less than $12 per month. Cox is not doing its customers any favors by offering the overpriced substitute.

Prices (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31932962)

The $15/month is _not_ what you'll be paying.

The real price is $30/month. It's a crazy price. It's Giganews' "Diamond" plan that has no quota and has vpn. This is the one you want if you have a peg leg, hook prosthetic, eye patch, single gold hoop earring, and a parrot on your shoulder. If you buy this, you have more money than sense.

If you use usenet as originally intended, i.e. text only, the Giganews' price is $3/month. But then there are free nntp servers that carry only text groups anyway.

Highwinds (Cox's usenet) has always sucked anyway. It was always slow and cantankerous.

For those of you saying "hurr, use google groups": shut up. The interface is made of dead babies and week old roadkill. Decades old slrn is better.

--
BMO

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