Archive for the ‘Usenet’ Category

Sharing your news service with yProxy yEnc Decoder

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

yProxy allows you to remotely share your news service. For example, you may need to share the news service that is provided by your ISP to other computers outside of your local network.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide their users with free news service. Some ISPs even subcontract their free news service through one of the premium news services such as Easynews.

Often, these ISP provided news services don’t require a login. Instead, the ISP uses the source IP address to allow or disallow access to the news service. So, as long as you’re on the ISP’s lines (at home), you can access the news service without question. However, if you aren’t at home, you can’t access the news service.

You might be away from home and need to access your ISP provided news service. Normally, you can only access the news service from home. However, yProxy allows you to share your connection from home.

In local mode, yProxy only accepts connections from the same physical computer where yProxy is running. This is for security. However, if you turn this mode off, yProxy will accept connections from anywhere.

Simply leave yProxy running on your home computer, you connect to yProxy remotely, and yProxy connectes to the news server over the ISP’s own lines. As far as the ISP knows, you’re sitting at home on your computer accessing the news server.

To setup yProxy and your computer for remote news service access, simply follow these steps, in order:

  1. Configure your home computer’s firewall to allow remote connections to local port 119 from the IP address that you will be connecting from. If you do not use the firewall to restrict access, the entire Internet may be able to connect to yProxy and share your news connection. In addition, if your firewall is enabled and you don’t specifically allow this type of connection, your firewall will probably block it by default. In other words, don’t skip this step.
  2. If you have a Internet router or Local Area Network at home, you will also need to configure your router or gateway, enabling port forwarding for port 119 and directing it to the address of the computer where yProxy is running. This is so you can reach the computer on your home Local Area Network from the Internet.
  3. On your home computer, run yProxy, but turn off the “Run locally only” Server option.
  4. Now, you just need to know the public IP address of your home computer. An easy way to get your home computer’s public IP address is to visit IPChicken from your home computer. Your home computer’s public IP address is the address that you will connect to remotely from your work or vacation. In your remote computer’s news reader settings, simply set the news server name to your home computer’s public IP address. This allows your news reader to connect to yProxy remotely on your home computer. yProxy will then connect to your free news service via your ISP.

Caveats

In case it isn’t obvious, you’ll need an always-on Internet connection at home. Most highspeed cable and DSL plans automatically provide this type of service. You will also need to leave your home computer on.

If your news service provider requires a login, you will need to configure your remote news reader with the required username and password.

Benefits of using yProxy yEnc Decoder as a remote news proxy:

  • Access your free or premium news service from anywhere
  • Share your news service with friends, family, and coworkers
  • yProxy still decodes yEnc messages for you, remotely

Disclaimer

Please note that some ISPs who provide news service restrict this type of use in their terms of agreement or other legal agreements which you may have signed. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are not violating the terms with your ISP, or be willing to face the consequences.

If you are paying a premium news service provider, they probably won’t care if you share their service because you are paying for the bandwidth usage, just as long as you don’t resell the service. Read your agreements or ask them if you’re unsure.

yEnc Decoder Proxy

Friday, September 5th, 2008

When I invented the yEnc Decoder Proxy in 2002, yEnc was still new and hadn’t yet saturated Usenet.

The binary groups I frequented started getting a fair amount of yEnc posts.  About 10% of the posts were yEnc encoded.  I couldn’t read yEnc encoded attachments with my existing newsreader, so I simply conceded to the fact that I would miss out on the content.  However, as more and more of the valuable content was yEnc encoded, I either had to find a yEnc decoder, or keep missing out on the yEnc content.

My news reader, Forte Agent, did not decode yEnc attachments.  It only handled MIME and UUE.  I downloaded yEnc32.  In order to decode attachments with yEnc32, I had to first export the messages to text files, then processes those text files with yEnc32.  While this wasn’t very difficult to do, it was time consuming.

I am a software developer, and one of my specialties is developing web and network utilities.  As a network developer, I was able to apply the pipelining and streaming paradigm to this problem, yielding a proxy as a solution.

What is a Proxy?

A proxy is a generic term in networking for a utility that sits between a client and a server and acts on behalf of the client.  Generally, a proxy filters and/or caches some type of traffic that flows between the client and server.

The most common type of proxy related to the Internet is a caching web proxy.  A caching web proxy intercepts all web requests and attempts to fulfill the request from its cache.  For example, one person might request a photo from the Internet.  The web proxy retrieves the photo from the Inernet and delivers it to the client.  The second person that requests the photo from the proxy is sent a copy of the photo that had been saved to memory or disk.  This saves Internet bandwidth.

yEnc Decoder Proxy

A yEnc decoder proxy also sits between the server and the client, sending requests on behalf of the client.  When the client asks for a yEnc encoded attachment, the proxy requests the attachment from the server in yEnc format and converts it to a more accepted format before sending it to the client.

yDecoder Diagram

A yEnc Decoder proxy is also considered a plug-in because it’s a third party utility that adds functionality to an a separate program.

I figured a yEnc Decoder proxy would be the perfect solution to my problem.  The only problem, of course, was that there wasn’t such a thing.   I would have to write one.

yProxy: The Original yEnc Decoder Proxy

I wrote the first, beta, version of yProxy over the weekend and released it to the public.  I also alerted Forte so that they could recommend the free utility to their users until they added yEnc support to Agent.  Unfortunately, Forte never responded.  Yet, Forte did add yEnc support to Agent shortly after, and anyone with a recent version of Forte Agent has native yEnc support.

Still, the word about yProxy spread via the newsgroups and quickly became the yEnc Decoder solution for many people who either weren’t entitled to upgrades for their existing newsreaders, or whose newsreaders just plain didn’t support yEnc.  For example, the most popular free newsreaders are still Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.  None of those newsreaders support yEnc.

With a yEnc Decoder proxy between your newsreader client and the news server, you can continue using your existing newsreader and still be able to read yEnc content, even if your newsreader does not support yEnc natively.  Most yProxy users, therefore, are Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird users.

Jurgen, the inventor of yProxy, became one of yProxy’s biggest advocates.  People who had previously complained that their newsreaders didn’t support yEnc were directed to use yProxy and stop complaining.

yProxy is the Leading yEnc Decoder Proxy

yProxy Pro’s biggest competition is the free version of yProxy, which is still available on the yProxy website via the FAQ page.

I stopped counting after one million people downloaded yProxy, which occurred within the first year that it was available.  There is even a French version that a considerate user translated.