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PC Magazine InternetUser

Free Agent 1.0:

Usenet Newsgroups Made Easy

By Jon Kaufthal (8/7/96)

Forte's Free Agent, overall winner of PC Magazine's 1996 Shareware Awards, makes the chaotic world of Usenet a pleasure even for those who are new to newsgroups. And this full-featured mail and news client can be used off-line, saving time and money.

After a simple installation, Free Agent prompts the user for mail and news servers, and then gets a list of all available newsgroups. The program's main screen consists of three areas: a list of newsgroups, a list of subject headers for the current newsgroup, and the current message. Each of these areas can be made any size and placed anywhere within the window, depending on the user's preference.

Free Agent is fully customizable throughout. A toolbar provides quick access to often-used functions, and through help will provide answers to all of your questions. Among the settings is the option to optimize the program for either online or off-line use, depending on your preference. Free Agent also allows you to run a text search on any area, and you can highlight quoted text within a message in a different color.

Free Agent's interface is uncluttered and adjustable. The newsgroup list offers three views: a complete listing, a listing of subscribed groups, and a list of new groups. Clicking on a newsgroup brings up message headers; you can choose to see all messages or just the new ones. Messages are threaded by subject, and clicking a small icon to the left of a message expands the thread. Right-clicking brings up a list of related options, including marking the thread, changing the font, and saving or launching an included binary file.

Free Agent's biggest strength lies in its ability to confine the unmoderated and confusing world of Usenet to a simple and ordered Windows interface, allowing you to spend time reading messages rather than learning arcane syntax. Sending e-mail or posting articles is just as easy, even when attaching files. With its unmatched balance of simplicity and power, Free Agent is an indispensable tool for browsing Usenet newsgroups.

Free Agent 1.0
Price: free for non-commercial use
Requires: Microsoft Windows 3.1 (compatible with Windows 95/NT)
Forte Inc.

Copyright (c) 1996 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company

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