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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Ink Spot CE Review
By Michael Boone, Copyright 2001

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Ink Spot CE
Price:  $25
Available at:  www.dejavusoftware.com
Pros:
Great for offline reading.
Includes a "killfile" feature.
Good, adjustable font size for Pocket PC.
Easy navigation.
Allows replies to the group and by e-mail.

Cons:
It downloads headers AND all message bodies, which takes a long time and eats up storage space.
No desktop version.

About the software:
Ink Spot has been my newsreader of choice for quite some time now.  The latest release, version 1.14, has some great enhancements that make it even better.  This newsreader was designed for offline use.

Setup:
The default setting on Ink Spot downloads 50 messages and bodies per group, limiting the largest article size to 4k. These settings may be changed through the options. But, downloading just the headers is not an option; it downloads the message headers and bodies.  So, be prepared to wait a while for it to download the newsgroups.    Depending on how many newsgroups you follow and how many messages you get, you may need 1 MB of free space on the Pocket PC just for the messages.  But, this all sounds much worse than it is.  I have found that with using the "scheduling" feature of Ink Spot, and having AnalogX proxy run at startup on my desktop, all I have to do is set the scheduled download for about 5 minutes after whatever time I put the Pocket PC in the cradle, and turn on the desktop computer.  That way it will get on, sync my e-mail messages, sync Avantgo, then automatically get my newsgroup messages.  I never have to touch anything else from the time I put the thing in the cradle until the time I am ready to leave for work.  Cool.

If you have the time to wait for the download, and the storage space to store all those message bodies, this is a great way to do newsgroups offline.  The program works very well.   Navigation between newsgroups is a little slow, with it "Threading" each newsgroup as you open it, causing a momentary delay.  Once you are in each newsgroup, navigation is easy and quick.  It is great being able to read and reply to the messages immediately, without having to mark them and download them later.  You can reply to the group, or by e-mail, which will place an e-mail message in your Outbox for the next time you sync.

Tips for using this program:
After you are done reading the messages in a group, mark them as read.  Then, under "Scheduling," set it up to delete read messages before download.  If you don't delete the messages before you download, and you have your max. set at 50 messages per group, and there are already 50 messages in that group, it won't download any more.  This is not a problem though, because most of us would want to delete the messages anyway to free up space.  Also, under "Preferences" "Download Options," put a check by "Download newest messages."  That way the messages you get will be the most recent ones posted to that group.  Also, put a check by "Auto-Remove CR's"under "Article view options;" that is a neat feature that makes the messages appear the way they should, even if there are extra "CR's" in the message.

The newest version has the option to show quoted text in color.  This is a GREAT feature!  If someone posts a message without snipping out the quote from the previous message, it marks the quoted text in red, and the person's actual response is in black text.  The color makes it very easy to find the comments of the person posting the message.  All newsreaders should have this!

Dejavusoftware has always been responsive to e-mail questions, but they are occasionally just a little slow to reply.  But my support has always been helpful and friendly. 

Things I'd like to see:
1.  A desktop version!

The verdict:  If you have the time to download messages and bodies, and the storage space, look no further.  This is your news program.   Well worth the $25.
 

Group View

 

Thread View

 

Article View: (notice how easy it is to see the quoted text in red)

 

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