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Author Topic: Forte Agent reaches 6.0, now with "hide quoted text"  (Read 7183 times)
tranglos
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« on: November 22, 2009, 06:36:46 PM »

Forte has released version 6.0 of its venerable newsreader, Agent. Their mailing highlights these new features:

   * Automatic server failover when downloading message bodies
   * Faster Usenet header downloads (compressed headers)
  * A new hide-quoted-text command
   * Improved browser navigation
   * New go-offline and retry-failed-tasks-now commands
   * Improvements to searching

I just had to upgrade. The "hide quoted text" feature (press "Q" to toggle) is something I've asked from Forte a number of times, starting in 2002 or maybe even earlier. I'd seen it around that time in a Linux text-mode newsreader 'mutt', and couldn't believe Windows newsreaders and email clients did not have it. A mere 7 years later, my wish has been granted :)

(New users: $US 29.00, upgrade: $US 19.00. They don't appear to surcharge VAT for EU buyers.)

Now, since I no longer use Agent for email, I wonder how much longer it'll take Ritlabs to implement the same in TheBat! I've been asking them, too, for just about as long.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2009, 08:59:53 PM »

Forte has released version 6.0 of its venerable newsreader, Agent.

Egads...is this program still around? I remember when I started using Forte Agent. The version number was v0.90. smiley
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2009, 10:53:36 PM »

Now, since I no longer use Agent for email, I wonder how much longer it'll take Ritlabs to implement the same in TheBat! I've been asking them, too, for just about as long.
Good luck...Ritlabs only adds extremely subtle and minor features as far as I've seen.  For them to add newsreader support like that, well, that would be the most significant thing they've done in  several years.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Bat, but they never ever add any useful features to the program.
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tranglos
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 02:57:06 AM »

Good luck...Ritlabs only adds extremely subtle and minor features as far as I've seen.  For them to add newsreader support like that, well, that would be the most significant thing they've done in  several years. 

It is a minor feature, though. TheBat already highlights quotes better than Agent, since it can use different colors for nested levels of quoted text. To simply hide the quoted lines instead of coloring them should be relatively easy, especially in the viewer, where text is not editable.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Bat, but they never ever add any useful features to the program.

This I agree with. The last feature that meant anything to me was the automatic versioned backup. Then again, the one time I tried to restore account data from a .tbk file, it crashed smiley
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Innuendo
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 11:40:19 AM »

Good luck...Ritlabs only adds extremely subtle and minor features as far as I've seen.  For them to add newsreader support like that, well, that would be the most significant thing they've done in  several years.

I don't think tranglos was wishing for newsreader support, but rather the new "hide quoting" feature that Agent just added.

I downloaded Agent v6.0 last night to check it out. Looks like they have added all the features that I deemed to be too important for a newsreader to lack since I left Agent behind a few years ago. My first observation on configuring the beast was that I was amazed by the number of options they have crammed into the menus and dialogs. Anyone who wants to micro-manage their newsreader will be pleased.
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 06:07:22 PM »

I don't think tranglos was wishing for newsreader support, but rather the new "hide quoting" feature that Agent just added.
Ah!  i see.  Sorry, my bad.  Still, i think it will take them forever and a day to add something that significant (yes, I'm being sarcastic).

I asked them to add a checkbox option so that the autoformat feature in microed will allow one carriage return to be interpreted as a new line.  They refused.  Adamantly.  I don't quite understand why.
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tranglos
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 06:26:55 PM »

I asked them to add a checkbox option so that the autoformat feature in microed will allow one carriage return to be interpreted as a new line.  They refused.  Adamantly.  I don't quite understand why.

It's only a small exaggeration to say **everyone** asked them to change that behavior of the editor. it's hopeless.
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superboyac
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 07:07:43 PM »

I asked them to add a checkbox option so that the autoformat feature in microed will allow one carriage return to be interpreted as a new line.  They refused.  Adamantly.  I don't quite understand why.
It's only a small exaggeration to say **everyone** asked them to change that behavior of the editor. it's hopeless.
Really?  I didn't realize that.  When I asked and made a fuss about it, it seemed like I was the only one who had issues with it and everyone else was happy with it.  Why are they so stubborn about it?  The weird thing is that many times, I have said "screw it, I'll just use the 'plain windows editor' option".  But whenever I do, it seems like a little feature or two doesn't work quite as well as in Microed, so i go back to microed, and get frustrated by other things.  It's like a vicious cycle.
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tranglos
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2009, 07:59:29 AM »

I asked them to add a checkbox option so that the autoformat feature in microed will allow one carriage return to be interpreted as a new line.  They refused.  Adamantly.  I don't quite understand why.
It's only a small exaggeration to say **everyone** asked them to change that behavior of the editor. it's hopeless.
Really?  I didn't realize that.  When I asked and made a fuss about it, it seemed like I was the only one who had issues with it and everyone else was happy with it.  Why are they so stubborn about it?

Whenever TheBat! comes up, on whatever forum, this issue is raised and most people hate it. I've only ever seen it defended by a few hardliners on TheBat mailing list. this "feature" is awfully annoying, and the developers' attitude adds insult to injury. I'd have given up on TB long ago, if it weren't so convenient (and, for me, reliable) in all other aspects.

The developers' sole rationale for how the plaintext editor behaves is that in the editor, you see exactly what will be sent. If a line is not wrapped, it will be sent unwrapped, etc. Well, it's true as far as it goes, but *so what*?

They may have had a point once, a long time ago, when word wrapping was still something of a luxury on certain platforms (and there were MTAs on Unix and VMS VAX systems that would unceremoniously truncate lines longer than a certain constant value), but that was in mid-nineties. The rationale makes no sense - it's like printing a newspaper that you cannot fold, to ensure what you see is exactly what came out of the printing press. Argh. You are certainly not alone in your frustration.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2009, 09:04:32 AM »

Not to derail the "Let's Bash The Bat!" train, but I'm curious as to if anyone is still using Agent? More specifically, anyone here on DC use it? Or ever use it?

There was a time when Agent dominated the Usenet landscape, but these days it's regarded more as a fringe player.
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superboyac
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2009, 10:44:56 AM »

Not to derail the "Let's Bash The Bat!" train, but I'm curious as to if anyone is still using Agent? More specifically, anyone here on DC use it? Or ever use it?

There was a time when Agent dominated the Usenet landscape, but these days it's regarded more as a fringe player.
I use Agent.  Actually, i should say I used to use Agent.  I don't deal with usenet much anymore.  Web forums have taken over so much the last few years, it makes the usenet groups almost useless to me.  But I used to use Agent all the time.  I still keep up with the development somewhat because I just like software.

One interesting thing I've noticed:  even though other software for newsgroups have become more popular (it seems like, I'm not sure), it's usually because of their binary downloading features, NOT the discussion/thread/reading features.  So for actually reading the discussions taking place over usenet, I still think Agent is king.  For downloading, not so much.  Other programs seem to be geared towards making an interface that will feel like a p2p file-sharing network.  These are probably better for downloading files or even searching for files.  Most (newsleecher, newsbin pro) even offer services that index the binary groups so you can search and download the files like Napster used to.

But, again, for reading discussions Agent still seems to be the program to use.  I actually preferred it to downloading binaries also.  There was an subtle simplicity or elegance to it.  But I never really tried the search and find programs.

Another thing about Agent, they sure seem to spend a lot of their efforts on their email component.  I always wondered how many people actually use Agent for their email client.  And why?  There are much better email clients out there.  I never got that.
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superboyac
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2009, 10:48:43 AM »

Whenever TheBat! comes up, on whatever forum, this issue is raised and most people hate it. I've only ever seen it defended by a few hardliners on TheBat mailing list. this "feature" is awfully annoying, and the developers' attitude adds insult to injury. I'd have given up on TB long ago, if it weren't so convenient (and, for me, reliable) in all other aspects.

The developers' sole rationale for how the plaintext editor behaves is that in the editor, you see exactly what will be sent. If a line is not wrapped, it will be sent unwrapped, etc. Well, it's true as far as it goes, but *so what*?

They may have had a point once, a long time ago, when word wrapping was still something of a luxury on certain platforms (and there were MTAs on Unix and VMS VAX systems that would unceremoniously truncate lines longer than a certain constant value), but that was in mid-nineties. The rationale makes no sense - it's like printing a newspaper that you cannot fold, to ensure what you see is exactly what came out of the printing press. Argh. You are certainly not alone in your frustration.
I'm glad I'm not alone.  So what, indeed.  I wish they would get out of their little mailing-list world and open up to hearing the comments of their other users.
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tranglos
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2009, 05:43:15 PM »

Not to derail the "Let's Bash The Bat!" train, but I'm curious as to if anyone is still using Agent? More specifically, anyone here on DC use it? Or ever use it?

There was a time when Agent dominated the Usenet landscape, but these days it's regarded more as a fringe player.

I guess that's because Usenet has become fringe, unfortunately. I used to use Agent for email, until I switched to TheBat a few years ago, but Agent is still my favorite reader for newsgroups. The general public newsgroups are mostly spam and testosterone now, but there are still plenty of support groups for various products, like Delphi components. Borland (not Embarcadero) newsgroups remain the best source for Delphi help, etc. Some of these groups are closed-membership and if so, they do not get indexed by Google. So while I don't use Agent that much anymore, I have about 12 Usenet servers defined that I regularly download new posts from, *and* have kept a huge amount of knowledge in the archives.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2009, 06:31:11 PM »

Web forums have taken over so much the last few years, it makes the usenet groups almost useless to me.

I always preferred usenet over web forums as web sites tend to disappear and there goes your knowledgebase. With Agent & usenet, the messages are on your HD forever.

Quote
So for actually reading the discussions taking place over usenet, I still think Agent is king.  For downloading, not so much.

For discussions, yes. Nothing can top Agent. It's unmatched. As for downloading, this v6.0 seems to have closed the gap between it and other binary downloaders. I'm rather impressed.

Quote
Another thing about Agent, they sure seem to spend a lot of their efforts on their email component.  I always wondered how many people actually use Agent for their email client.  And why?  There are much better email clients out there.  I never got that.

There's a certain demographic out there that wants all of their correspondence in one place. I can respect that, but that's not how I work.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2009, 06:34:16 PM »

I guess that's because Usenet has become fringe, unfortunately.

Usenet has never been popular, but I wouldn't call that unfortunate at all. Keeps the riff-raff out.  Grin
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Innuendo
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2009, 06:36:00 PM »

I wish they would get out of their little mailing-list world and open up to hearing the comments of their other users.

Mailing list world? Sure, accessing their support is accessible through a mailing list, but it's far from the only way. You can also access the same channel through the web & through usenet. No other company has so many ways to tap into their support channel.
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superboyac
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2009, 07:11:12 PM »

I wish they would get out of their little mailing-list world and open up to hearing the comments of their other users.

Mailing list world? Sure, accessing their support is accessible through a mailing list, but it's far from the only way. You can also access the same channel through the web & through usenet. No other company has so many ways to tap into their support channel.
I just think the whole mailing list method is no good.  It's an obstacle to the (subjective) preferred method which is public web forums.  As you can tell, I got the idea that my suggestions for the editor was uncommon because the only people responding were mailing list people.  And they are probably a very small percentage of the Bat users.  if it were a public web forum, we'd have a better idea what people want.  It's also my opinion that they like it this way to keep from hearing about this stuff.  My threads about the editor were removed and I was banned without warning in their fake web forum that no one uses anyway.  I've never been banned from any forum and I didn't even really do anything wrong, just criticize like I always do.  Anyway, it's still a great program, whatever.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2009, 10:22:27 PM »

My threads about the editor were removed and I was banned without warning in their fake web forum that no one uses anyway.  I've never been banned from any forum and I didn't even really do anything wrong, just criticize like I always do.  Anyway, it's still a great program, whatever.

Then use the usenet method to post to their 'mailing list.'
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2009, 06:05:22 PM »

I'm curious as to if anyone is still using Agent?
I'm a little late to the party here but I use Agent all the time.
Like you I have a large database of material from Usenet groups. Most of that information will never go out of fashion.
While I have to rely on my ISP (and others) to delete stuff from its servers when told to, I won't deliberately park my mail somwhere that's off my machine.
At this point, using Agent is second nature -- why would I change?
I'm pleased to see that the development cycle has perked up a little in the past year or two.
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Chris
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2009, 10:43:51 PM »

I'm pleased to see that the development cycle has perked up a little in the past year or two.

Me, too. Agent is a one of a kind program & there'll probably never be anything written like it ever again due to the change in how the internet works.
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2009, 02:00:56 AM »

I've used Forte Agent Pro for years, but I didn't upgrade this time. I just found I rarely open it anymore. Too easy to find just about all I need without going to Usenet anymore. A shame, really, because their product hasn't fallen behind; the way things are oganized on the web now is just different enough to make Agent unnecessary IMO. Still great at what it does though.

Thanks!

Jim
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