Newsbin 6.31 Enhanced PAR Functionality

April 15, 2012 update: Newsbin 6.31 is no longer in beta.  Visit the Newsbin download page to grab the new version.  If you already have a Newsbin license then all upgrades are free.  Those new to the client can download a 10 day free trial or purchase a license for just $20 with lifetime upgrades.

The latest Newsbin Pro beta – Newsbin 6.31 Release Candidate 4 – enhances the reliability of their autoPAR feature.  While also giving users the option to have Newsbin automatically download PAR files instead of pausing them be default.  We’ll share some more details on each of the latest enhancements along with our recommendation for why you might want to stick with letting Newsbin pause your PAR downloads be default.  Visit the Newsbin beta page to check out the new features.  Licensed users enjoy free lifetime upgrades inclding beta releases.  Those new to the client can test it free for 10 days and then buy a license for just $20.

Newsbin 6.31 includes a bug fix that will allow it to process RAR sets more reliably.  In addition to a couple new PAR options.  Specifically ‘Daisable Automatic PAR Unpausing’ and ‘Aggressive Assembly Mode’.  Those who install Newsbin from scratch will download all PAR files and have ‘Aggressive Assembly’ mode on by default.

The new ‘Aggressive Assembly‘ mode is helpful.  When enabled Newsbin will examine your RAR set after the download finishes (10 seconds after the last chunk completes) and determine if you have enough PAR files for any necessary repairs.  Assuming there are enough PAR chunks Newsbin takes care of the repairs.

The new ‘Disable Automatic PAR Unpausing‘ is for those who prefer downloading all the PAR files up front.  We would personally rather wait and download only the necessary PAR’s but understand that some would rather download everything up front.  Please understand that even if you let Newsbin pause the PAR downloads it will still grab any necessary PAR’s for repairs.  So we suggest letting Newsbin pause your PAR downloads.

To toggle the ‘Disable Automatic PAR Unpausing‘ modes open Newsbin and click on Options and then Options.  Once the Newsbin Options screen is up click on the AutoPAR Options icon to the left.

As you can see above you have the choice of whether or not to ‘Disable Automatic PAR Unpausing‘ and can toggle the setting.  Since we upgraded to Newsbin 6.31 this is the default setup.  Which is preferable to us since Newsbin does a fine job of downloading PAR files only when necessary.

If you download a fresh copy of Newsbin and want to let the client only download PAR’s when necessary just go to the screen above and uncheck the ‘Disable Automatic PAR Unpausing‘ box.  This is especially helpful for those on slower connections and block account users.  Since downloading all the PAR files is normally overkill.

We’ve enjoyed covering Newsbin for years now.  The client is an excellent fit for new and experienced users.  Moderate to advanced users will also enjoy the extra features and tweaks to help enhance your Usenet experience.  Download a free trial of the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Newsbin 6.31 beta.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about newsreaders and follow @NewsgroupRevs for the latest offers.

Merlins Portal Alternatives for Searching Usenet

Earlier this month Merlins Portal closed indefinitely.  You can visit to read the latest owners closing remarks.  In case the site goes completely dark here’s a link to the Merlins Portal closing letter.  In the last week we’ve received some emails asking us to recommend alternatives to Merlins Portal.  There are several options to choose from.  Visit our Usenet search section for a full list or read below for our top picks.

Top 5 Merlins Portal Alternatives

Here is our list of favorite Usenet search options:

1. Newshosting Usenet Client

Newshosting members can rely on the built-in Usenet search engine inside their popular Usenet client to find content.  The newsreader is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.  Search for content, preview videos before downloading, automatically repair files and unRAR.  The client is free to all Newshosting subscribers.  Enjoy unlimited Usenet access for $9.99 a month or $99 a  year.

2. Newsbin Pro Search

Newsbin Pro newsreader has an optional Internet search feature.  The Usenet search engine finds the best results from over 1,000 days of binary newsgroup content.  With an excellent user interface and filtering options.  The prices ranges from $2.50 to $5 a month.  Visit the Newsbin search page to learn more.  You can also download a free trial to test the client and search features.

3. Binsearch

Binsearch is our favorite website for conducting Usenet searches.  Their engine is built into the Newshosting client.  Those who aren’t Newshsoting members can also visit to search 1,100 days of binary posts across 400+ newsgroups.  You can also browse newsgroups, search contents of nfo files and filter results using Binsearch.

4. is operated by the same folks as Binsearch.  The difference is that the site is setup to provide the most relevant results across 800 days of binary retention.  Visit and try it out for yourself.  The engine looks at factors like file set size, PAR files and .NFO file inclusion to help determine relevance.  With the best search matches listed first.

5. NZBMatrix

NZBMatrix is one of our favorites.  They had some technical issues in months past but seem to be back at 100% now.  Visit to sign up for an account.  While you can use the site for free the real value comes in having a premium membership.  Search from 1,500 days of binaries.  Though at the time of writing this post Usenet providers only support around 1,350 days.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

Newsbin Pro 6.3 Auto-Sutdown Feature

Earlier this week we discussed Newsbin adding video sampling to their latest betas.  Since then the team has released Newsbin Pro 6.3 Final.  Not only can users enjoy the new video sampling feature, the Usenet client now has several auto-shutdown options.  Giving you even more control over your downloads and Windows environment.  If you haven’t already installed the latest version visit the Newsbin download page and enjoy the cool new features.  As always new releases are free for anyone with a license.  Those new to the popular Usenet client can test it free for 10 days and then purchase a lifetime license for just $20.

Setting up the new auto-shutdown feature and configuring it to meet your needs is very easy.  Just launch Newsbin Pro 6.3 and click on Options and then Options again.  Once the Newsbin options screen opens click on the Advanced tab to the bottom left. That will bring up the screen shown above.

To enable the new feature simply check the Auto-Shutdown box.    That will cause Newsbin to exit when your download list empties.  From there you have some additional options for Windows.  Check the Windows Shutdown box and choose from the dropdown list that includes Sleep, Hibernate and Shutdown to have Windows take any one of those actions after Newsbin Pro closes.

Give the latest edition of Newsbin Pro a test drive.  New and experienced Usenet fans alike will find the client to be intuitive.  Advanced users will also appreciate the extra features and tweaks to further enhance your Usenet experience.  Download a free trial of the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Newsbin 6.3 final release.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about newsreaders and follow @NewsgroupRevs for the latest offers.

Newsbin Pro 6.3 Adds Video Sampling

Late last year we reviewed a new app for Newsbin that let’s users control the newsreader remotely from iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  The NBRemote app enhances the experience for iOS users.  Since then Newsbin has been busy working on new features for their popular Usenet client.  Rolling out new versions including Newsbin Pro 6.3 Release Candidate 2 on February 24th.  One of the new features in Newsbin 6.3 caught our eye.  The ability to sample video files while downloading.  You can download a 10 day free trial of the client.

For those who haven’t used Newsbin in awhile the look has changed quite a bit.  We really like the clean layout and flexibility of the client.  As mentioned above Newsbin 6.3 (starting at beta 5) added support for video previews along with a number of other new features, enhancements and bug fixes.

Here’s a change summary for Newsbin 6.3 RC 2 from their beta page:

  • New Sample mode allows you to view the beginning of a video before the entire rar set completes downloading. Available from the Download tab or the Files tab, both in the toolbar and in the right-click menu.
  • Growl support for notifying on certain events.
  • Made retries configurable. Should help for iffy connections. Default is 2. Can modify under Options/Setup.
  • New column in Groups tab called “New Records” lists number of new posts since the last load.
  • Better progress reporting in Download tab
  • Fixes to resolve memory problems on 32 bit systems
  • Ctrl-Y to force a download now bypasses spam filters too (Add to Download List – Bypass Filters)
  • New authentication scheme for Remote Control Interface so you don’t have to enter your Newsbin key anymore (which is a pain on an iPhone).
  • Expanded Unicode (UTF-8) support for folder names and throughout program.
  • Added ability to have Newsbin either shutdown your PC, make it go to sleep, or hibernate when the download list empties.

We highly encourage you to check out the latest edition of Newsbin Pro.  Those who have a license can always download the latest version for free directly from  Those new to the Usenet client can give it a test spin by downloading the free 10 day trial.  Then a license is just $20 and includes free upgrades for life.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet clients and follow @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

NBRemote : Newsbin Pro Remote Control

December 5, 2011 update: after using NBRemote from time to time over the last couple weeks we enjoy the app even more. You should definitely check it out and let us know what you think.

Earlier this year we started using Splashtop to remotely access Newsbin Pro.  Which was ok but Splashtop is a remote desktop app for iOS.  So it wasn’t integrated with the Newsbin client features in an iPhone / iPad rich interface.  Today that all changed as Newsbin released their own remote control client.  NBRemote let’s you control Newsbin from your iOS device.  It’s available in the App Store for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for $2.99.

NBRemote First Impressions

In a moment we’ll dive into the installation, configuration and features of NBRemote.  Before we do though I’d like to share some thoughts on the new app.  As I know some won’t want to read this whole post to decide whether or not to spend the $2.99 for the app.  In short if you use Newsbin Pro and have an iPhone or iPad we highly recommend you download NBRemote.  Definitely a solid effort and well worth supporting.  So read on to learn more about NBRemote and then download your copy and enjoy controlling Newsbin remotely.

NBRemote Prerequisites

In order to use NBRemote you will need a registered copy of Newsbin version 6.11 or later.  So if you’re currently on the free trial version you’ll want to go ahead and purchase a license.  The cost has been lowered from $35 to $20 and that includes free upgrades for life.  You might also consider Newsbin Internet Search.

NBRemote Installation

As mention make sure you have Newsbin Pro version 6.11 or later.  We tested on the latest beta release which was Newsbin 6.20 RC2 Build 1500.  After you’ve got that taken care of hop on into the App Store from your iPhone or iPad and purchase NBRemote.  The app is only 3.1 MB so it doesn’t take long to download.

Newsbin Configuration

Before launching NBRemote you’ll want to configure some related settings in Newsbin.  To do so fire up Newsbin and go to Options – Options – Remote Control.  Which will bring up the following screen:

Check the box to ‘Enable Remote Control‘ and set a password.  You can make the password anything you want.  It will be used to connect from NBRemote.  You can change the port or leave it as 118.  Note: if you change it make sure to set the port number in NBRemote to match.  Now you’re ready to launch NBRemote.

NBRemote Configuration

The first time you launch NBRemote you’ll need to go in and setup a connection to your system.  Using this guide will make it a breeze.  We’ll walk you through it here as well.  To get started you’ll want to know the IP address of your host computer.  To find out you can drop to a command prompt (cmd) and run ipconfig.   Here’s a helpful video if you have any trouble finding your IP address.  You will also need your Newsbin serial number.  From inside Newsbin click on HelpAbout Newsbin Pro to obtain your registration code.

The first time you launch NBRemote you’ll need to add the connection back to your computer to access Newsbin remotely.  To do so go to Settings and then Add Newsbin computer:

Fill in the Computer settings screen as follows:
  • Description:  Any name you want for the connection.
  • Server address:  The IP address or your computer.
  • Server port:  Only change if you chose a port other than 118
  • Serial number:  Enter your Newsbin Pro registration code
  • Password:  Enter the password you chose a moment ago in Newsbin Pro.

When your finished hit the Test connection button.  If all goes well you’ll see ‘Connected Successfully’ after a few seconds.  In my case I got another message the first time around.  An error stating ‘Authentication required’.  As usual I had fat fingered some information.  In this case the serial number.  A quick fix followed by ‘Connected successfully’.  The other common error you might see is ‘The connection timeout has expired’.  In that case confirm the IP address is entered correctly.  Otherwise you’re ready to use NBRemote.

Launching NBRemote : Connecting to Newsbin

The first thing you want to do after opening NBRemote each time is connect to your Newsbin remotely.  To do so tap on Computers and then the name you gave to your system.  Note that you can set up NBRemote to remotely control more than one computer.  Once connected we went right to the Search area.

NBRemote Search Functionality

I expected that NBRemote would support the Newsbin Internet Search feature and it does quite well.  However, I was surprised by the other Usenet search options including Binsearch, NZBMatrix and  I tested both the Newsbin search and Binsearch.  Here are some screenshots:

I searched for ‘Ubuntu’ using Newsbin internet search and Binsearch.  Because let’s face it.  You can never have too many Ubuntu distros.  We played a little with the filter options for the Newsbin search and then tested out Binsearch which is one of our other favorite Usenet search engines.  Next it was time to download.

Downloading with NBRemote

I chose a Ubuntu distro from Binsearch and created the NZB file.  Then downloaded it to my PC remotely from NBRemote.  Later I downloaded a picture of a train directly to the iPhone and opened it.  In the files area you can view local files (on your device) or Newsbin files (on your computer).  There is also an optional setting to integrate NBRemote with your Dropbox account.

Browsing Newsgroups with NBRemote

Along with searching for Usenet content by topic the NBRemote also lets you browse through newsgroups.  As you would from inside Newsbin.  Simply tap on ‘Groups’ from the NBRemote home screen.  We chose the group to test and found a number of results after tweaking the filter options.

By default the NBRemote filter is enabled and set to only show posts between 0 and 1 day old.  We noticed the same when testing hte Newsbin internet search feature.  Since that didn’t net many results from the train group we extended the filter out to it’s max number of days which is 720 days.  Then we got nearly 3,000 results.

In the future I look forward to diving deeper into NBRemote.  Some of the other features include Dropbox integration and an option to add any search site you like.  Basically you add the name and URL to the search menu and use the engine of your preference.  You can tell a lot of planning went into the app.  Especially at such an early stage.  Definitely a fun project to track and an app we will use.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my review / guide / ramblings about NBRemote.  It really is a cool app to remotely control Newsbin.  I hope you’ll try it out and let us know what you think.  As always you can visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet and follow us @NewsgroupRevs to share your thoughts.

Newsbin Pro 6.1 Released + Newsbin Remote Control

Newsbin Pro has released a new version of their popular newsgroup reader.  Newsbin Pro 6.1 is available to download directly from the site.  Those who would like to test out the newsreader can download a 10 day free trial.  Version 6.1 of Newsbin Pro Usenet client includes better RAR processing and some cosmetic changes.  Newsbin has also released a remote control interface and is working on some more cool apps.

Here is a list of new features in Newsbin Pro 6.1:

  • Bug fixes
  • Changed icons to expanded compacted posts from arrows to more common + and signs.
  • Hooked up retries for failed header downloads.
  • Hooked up speed and time remaining display when you dwell over the taskbar icon.
  • Load drop down in the post list tab goes back 4 years now.
  • Now only displays the MOTD if there is something new. Unregistered shows the MOTD all the time.
  • Hooked up the Ctrl-G shortcut to perform a header update.
  • New TCP commands for the Remote Control interface: Interface Spec | Remote Control Forum

We’re excited to see Newsbin Remote Control in action.  The Newsbin team is currently beta testing an iPhone / iPad app and they are developing an Android app as well.  You can learn more about the project by visiting their SourceForge page or the Newsbin forum.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest news.

Newsbin Pro iPhone / iPad / Android Client

We recently tested a really cool app that let’s you remote desktop into your computer from iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android devices.  It is called Splashtop.  We’ve tried other remote iPad apps in the past but they were either too slow or the graphics weren’t up to par.  That’s not the case with Splashtop.  We were able to easily connect and access Newsbin Pro 6 from an original iPad.  Here’s a look at Newsbin on the iPad.

The screenshot doesn’t quite give justice to the Splashtop app.  As Newsbin Pro looks great on the iPad’s 9.7 inch LED display.  What you see above is the image taken directly from our iPad during testing.  The remote touchpad controls take a little getting use to but we were able to remotely connect, search and download Usenet content using Newsbin through the Splashtop app.

We bought the Splastop app from the iTunes store for $1.99.  It looked like they had a free version as well.  Not sure of the limitations for the free app but the $1.99 price is well worth it to get the premium Splashtop remote desktop client.  Here are some specs for those comparing Splashtop to other apps.

Splashtop information:

  • Remote desktop app for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Palm Pre
  • Splashtop supports 30 FPS (frames per second)
  • Latency is around 174 ms.  Which is about .2 seconds.
  • Splashtop for iPad: $1.99 – iTunes product page
  • Splashtop for iPhone / iPod Touch: $0.99 – iTunes product page
  • Splashtop for Android devices: $2.99 – Android product page
  • Spashtop HD for Android devices: $6.99 – Android product page
  • Splashdot remote desktop for Palm Pre: $4.99 – Palm product page

Those new to Newsbin Pro can download a 10 day free trial.  The Newsbin team recently released version 6.0 of the popular Usenet client.  If you haven’t had a chance to upgrade or try the v6 newsreader definitely give it a try.  You’ll be impressed with the new user interface.  Prices have changed as well.  With the client being sold for $20 (including free lifetime updates).  Those interested in the Newsbin Internet (Usenet) search can purchase a year of access along with the newsreader for a total of $30.  A great value for the combo.

$30 Newsbin Pro with 1 Year of Internet Search

Earlier this week Newsbin released the latest version of their popular newsreader.  Newsbin Pro version 6 was released on July 4th.  Along with the new version came new pricing.  The Newsbin client itself costs $20 and includes lifetime updates.  Newsbin is also offering a second option that we really like.  Those interested in the Newsbin Internet (Usenet) search feature can purchase the reader plus a year of search for just $30.  Quite a value considering the search feature is normally $2.50 to $5 a month.

Newsbin Pro 6.0 is a great newsreader.  Those who have used Newsbin in the past can attest to its quality.  The latest release builds on that with a fresh new interface and lots of cool features that make downloading from Usenet more enjoyable.  If you haven’t had the chance to try Newsbin 6 then download a free 10 day trial.  Make sure to test out both the reader and the Internet search feature.

Newsbin Pro 6 Released : 10 Day Free Trial Download

What better way to celebrate July 4th than to download the latest version of Newsbin Pro newsreader.  Earlier today Newsbin released version 6.  Newsbin customers can download the latest version for free.  Those who haven’t tried the newsreader can download a 10 day free trial.  Version 6 of Newsbin Pro Usenet client includes a number of new features and enhancements.  We especially like the new Mac style user interface.

Here is a list of new features in Newsbin Pro 6:

  • Total re-design of the User Interface.
    • Menu Bar is dockable, can move it wherever you like
    • All tabs are now movable and dockable, can make them standalone or group them with other tabs within Newsbin.
    • Status Bar now has components you can interact with. Right-click lets you customize it
    • GUI themes now available under View/Application Look
    • Download tab now displays as a Compact View.
    • AutoPAR tab is gone, function now is performed in the Download tab. Has color coded progress:
      • Blue = Download
      • Green = UnRAR
      • Yellow = Repair
    • Can create custom key mappings for many commands under View/Customize menu.
    • Groups tab has a small toolbar containing allowing access to common functions like update and load.
  • Download state of a post is now remembered whether downloading from headers, loading an NZB, or from Internet Search.
  • Now has a tree view for headers. Each compacted line can be expanded to see the posts comprising each set.
  • Vast improvement in handling headers. All of boneless can now be loaded if you really want to.
  • New caching mechanism that helps achieve smoother processing and higher download speeds. Clocked at almost 1gbps to a local server.
  • New image rendering library in use that renders more image types than before.
  • Can perform a Local Search for subjects or on posters now by selecting “From” on Search tab. (Not hooked up for Internet Search… yet).
  • Right-click in the download list on a file with PAR files and select Properties to get a QuickPAR like window.
  • Post list now has a Load Older and Load Newer function to easily browse a group or Group of Groups without loading all headers.
  • If a password protected RAR set is encountered, Newsbin can either fail the file or prompt for a password.
  • “Next” button for Internet Search to retrieve next set of matches beyond the initial 2000 match limit.

Those who are currently running an older version of Newsbin will want to read these upgrade notes:

Version 6 has a new storage format for headers. You have to manually invoke the conversion if you want to bring your 5.5x headers into V6. A new spool folder, SPOOL_V6 will be created for storing headers in the Newsbin Data Folder. To invoke the conversion, select a group or a bunch of groups in the Groups tab, right-click and select Post Storage, then choose “Import Version 5.XX Headers”. A progress screen will pop up and you’ll have to wait for it to finish before continuing. Once you are happy with the conversion, you can remove your old SPOOL_V1 folder to save space. If you don’t know where your data folder is, go under Options/Setup and click the “Open Data Folder” button.

Cheers to the Newsbin team who have delivered an awesome newsreader.  We look forward to bringing you more coverage of Newsbin Pro 6 in the weeks ahead.  For now it’s time to get back to the festivities.  Happy 4th!

Last Chance to Purchase Newsbin Pro for $15

If you’ve been considering a purchase of Newsbin Pro this weekend is the time to do it.  Before the price increases with the release of version 6.  Currently the price of a new Newsbin license is $15 and includes all future releases.  On Monday, July 4th Newsbin is set to release version 6.0 and will be increasing the price to $20.  Still a great value considering the price was $35 for years.  So if you’d like to purchase a copy of Newsbin for the lowest price possible then grab a license this weekend for $15.

Want to download Newsbin version 6.0 before Monday?  Visit the Newsbin beta page and download the latest version which is the final.  Newsbin 6 includes a completely new UI and lots of great features.  We highly recommend you purchase a license and enjoy the newsreader.  Also check out their Internet (Usenet) search feature which is optional but adds a lot of convenience.  The search feature starts at $2.50 a month.

Read more about the Newsbin 6 user interface in our previous blog post or purchase a copy this weekend for $15 and enjoy all future upgrades for free.  Stay tuned to the blog Monday for more information on the official release of Newsbin Pro 6.