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The Internet

Deja.com Vu! 85

keen writes "Deja.com is back to its old self again, after trying its luck with the annoying 'percision buying service' for far too long. Finally, no need to click through to usenet search." The buying advice section was snapped up by half.com, who will roll it out early next year. Their Usenet search is typically the second place I go when I see cryptic Linux error messages; someone else has always had the same problem and about half the time they got a decent response. (Here's the first place.)
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Deja.com Vu!

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  • Although I hope that half.com improves upon it.

    Here are its problems in my view:

    (1) It was in dire need of good moderation (ala Slashdot). Too many of the reviews on there were "This is a good car" or "This is a good video card." These should be moderated to the netherworld to make room for the people that make meaningful posts. Deja.com had the start of a good system - an "i find this review helpful" button, but I believe it needs to be elaborated on. I actually emailed Deja about this but recieved no response.

    (2) More of an audience - some of the items on there didnt have enough ratings to be meaningful. A relatively mediocre product could have 5 ratings on 5.0 by non informed users and therefore be misleading to the Deja user.

    (3) A better organizational and/or search engine. I found it clunky to navigate to what I was looking for.

    C/NET and Amazon have proven that reviewing definitely has a place on the Internet. I hope half.com recognizess the potential of Deja.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Deja ramp up its DejaNews service now, offering even more features in its News interface.
  • I'm glad that Deja ditched the're "Preciscion Buying Service". I think that I used it once in two years. We already have epinions.com, CNET, ZDNet, and half.com, so there's no need for YAPIS (yet another product information service)
  • The best use I've had for them (and I'm suprised they haven't built a business around it) is for looking up things about companies that their Web site wouldn't say. For example I once found out that an organization that our company was going to deal with was just a Microsoft front-end. Of course, you have to wade through the rumors and lies, but getting people's impression is often quite important too.

    The other key thing I look for is the competition for a given software product.

  • Well, its not that big a deal, but it is nice to know that Usenet archiving is back front and center meaning there is (hopefully) less danger of it getting totally nuked. Now if we could only get all the early posts back online....
  • Why, oh, why does deja.com set "Pragma: no-cache" on every stupid page returned?

    I use deja.com on a daily basis, but it drives me crazy that I have to wait several seconds for each page to reload just by hitting the forward and back buttons on the browser.

    Hint to deja.com: your archive hasn't changed that much in the last thirty seconds. Let my browser cache do its work and if I really want to reload a query, I'll punch the button in my browser that says reload.
    --

  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @03:35PM (#561319)
    You're better off without the "/=dnc" in the URL. That URL gives you the "classic deja interface" which is missing features, such as the ability to jump to a newsgroup directly from a message posted in that newsgroup. Very handy if you need to search for some topic but don't know what newsgroup covers that topic.
    --
  • Mostly out of curiosity, do you mean that both it and Slashdot need good moderation, or that it needs moderation as good as Slashdot's?

    I meant moderation as good as Slashdot's. While Slashdot's moderation system has flaws, it is probably the best attempt at user moderation I have seen. Certainly better than what Deja had.
  • True, but Deja's newsgroup browser, like all HTML-based NNTP browsers, blows goats. I don't tend to use Deja for anything but searches.

    To do a newsgroup topic search, you just select "Forums" in the "Results type" menu.
  • the problem is, usenet is still too hard to use. Deja makes it easier to use for a lot of us. I'm glad their back and I'd even be willing to pay for a service that makes usenet easier ot use and understand

    How exactly is usenet too hard to use? I can perhaps see where slrn wouldn't be that easy to set up for a complete newbie, but it's almost too easy from Netscape, Free Agent, & Outlook.

    I'm happy deja is looking more like it used to, but I expect it will become a pay service in the near future. Until they bring back *all* the archives, it won't be worth paying for.

  • Here's another handy workaround with Junkbuster [junkbuster.com] which greatly improves the excessive latency of websites which set HTTP headers as Expires: 0(zero), Cache-control: as well as or instead of Pragma: no-cache. Here's a part of my extended patch (rest was cut for brevity) to fix the problem:

    • --- parsers.c.new Sun Nov 26 15:11:15 1998
      +++ parsers.c Fri Feb 20 17:40:32 1998
      struct parsers server_patterns[] = {
      • { "set-cookie:", 11, server_set_cookie },
        - { "cache-control:", 14, server_set_cache },
        - { "pragma:", 7, server_set_pragma },
        - { "connection:", 11, server_set_connection },
        - { "expires:", 8, server_set_expires },

      -char *server_set_cache(struct parsers *v, char *s, struct client_state *csp)
      -{
      - return(crumble(v,s,csp));
      -}
    and to complete the patch just add the functions server_set_pragma, server_set_expires which can be identical to server_set_cache. You can also add extra functions for cleaning up any unwanted metas in the body.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dejanews went through several phases of evolution throughout my years of using it.

    1.)Indispensible Resource 2.)Awkward but still useful 3.)Awkward 4.)Awkward and irritating. 5.)Just not worth the the hassle.

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @04:39PM (#561325) Homepage

    I didn't think anyone else cared! I thought I was the only one in the world who bothered to use deja for it's usenet search.

    All the smart people I know lived by it. And the dumb person I know (me) did too.

    There is nothing else like it for tracking down obscure information - web crawling search engines don't come close. Nowhere else can you find almost any question asked, answered, and debated to resolution by a community of knowledgeable people. The usenet archive - moreso before it got lobotomized to mid-1999 - was the number one most useful technical research tool on the internet.

    Unfortunately, I don't see how it can be made profitable in these post-banner-ad days. But a public service like this needs to be maintained! All I can pray for is that an internet philanthropist like Brewster Kahle decides to buy up the archive and put it online at a loss. If I had the money I'd do it myself. (And no, I wouldn't charge for it - I consider that highly inappropriate since the postings were made freely)

  • An alternate interface to the Usenet search can be found at http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/deja.html [exit109.com].

    I find this form much easier to use than the one Deja.com provides; it has also remained unchanged through all incarnations of Deja.com in recent memory.

  • I generally found that Deja had less than 10 comments and ratings on most products. Only the most popular ones had more, and I don't think I really Deja to tell me that a Sony TV seems to be good.

    As someone said in another post, epinions.com does a *much* better job of this -- even the most obscure products have useful comments. I'm getting into the habit of visiting the site before any meaningful purchase decision..
  • Now that Remarq has gone fee-only, there's no other free gateway between the Web and Usenet.

    Try NewsOne.Net [newsone.net]

  • I see some discussions about dejanews as a newsclient in compare to f.i outlook. But it are the search capabilities of deja that are powerfull, not the client functionality. Does anyone else also has the feeling that all his knowledge is on deja.com? If I encounter any IT problem, or people try to defeat me with technology I don't know about, deja is my first source. Another way to use deja is to track down people. If you got someones name or email you can track him, you know the pattern of his life (the time he is online, the time he posts), you know his interests.... frightning!
  • Try NewsOne.Net

    OK, I did. Its coverage is rather thin, and the browsing interface is worse than Deja's.

    But at least it's there. Thx for the lead.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:04PM (#561331)
    > i use Usenet searches as a second source for more reviews of products. i certainly never thought of [the precision buying part] as "cruft" or "bloat" like some people here.

    I think most of the people who use Deja to get product information used the USENET stuff to get the info, and that the "precision buying" stuff was what Deja tried to create when it realized that a lot of folks were typing in product names in an effort to get de facto reviews from USENET users.

    I'm one of the ones who says that's bloat/crap, because the USENET portion was where I got the useful info on products when making buying decisions.

    > i find the ratings and comments from owners to be very valuable in making a choice.

    I'll take this in two parts: Ratings and comments. (Don't take these remarks personally - they're basically a thrashing out of how I believe most Deja users cruised USENET to get product evaluations).

    • Ratings:

      To me, useless. (1) "Internet polls" aren't valid and are easily stacked, and (2) a list of integers on some arbitrary array of categories doesn't tell me bugger all, which I'll get to in the "Comments" section.

    • Comments:

      Useful - but what does this provide that USENET doesn't?

      When I buy, I tend to have both general questions (I wanna read lots of comments and see if people are consistently reporting problems of which I was unaware), or extremely specific questions. Usually both.

      The USENET search engine helps me with the specific stuff - what's the horizontal output transistor on a FooBar 17XYZ monitor I'm trying to fix? Does the new FooBar 21XYZ fail the same way as the 17XYZ always seems to?

      And the general stuff -- like realizing that there are a whole lot of dead 17XYZs out there when I search for the thing in sci.electronics.repair and find dozens of threads and the word "crap".

      The ability to search - not just for "product reviews" (from typical users who say "Yeah, it rawkz", or "ug, it sux"), but for typical failure modes (sci.electronics.repair), company-related production delays (anyone try to get an ATI All-In-Wonder 128 with 32M in mid-1999?), and what-not - by segregating by newsgroup and keyword, and with contributors from all USENET users - beats the hell out of any "product review" site whose participants are limited to those who actually decide to work within the Deja system.

      And that gets to the last point - interoperability. The ability to cram two keywords into a USENET search gives me the ability to isolate likely hardware conflicts. Product reviews can't, unless you're very lucky that the reviewer had the same configuration you did.

    In a nutshell - most of the time, the I don't want a product review. I just wanna see what people are doing with the widget, and if they're being successful or not, and if not, what the workarounds are.

    No product review will ever tell you that you can solve Creative Labs SBLive! PCI / ATI AIW128-32 conflicts on a BX6 motherboard by making sure that the sound card is in the proper PCI slot, because there's a shared IRQ between one of the PCI and AGP slots, and you can really screw yourself up unless you put the damn card in the right slot.

    Nobody at Creative could really be expected to know this, nor anyone at ATI, nor anyone at ABit. But lots of people had the problem, someone solved it by swapping cards, and posted the solution to USENET, and voila - I can now buy all three products at once, knowing that any other threads (that say they don't interoperate) are bogus.

    Now... if only they'd get the old archives back. I've got a hunk of circuit board labeled "Jovian Logic", and "ViewMagic", made in 1995, that has lots of video-like connectors on it. I'm guessing it's a VGANTSC converter with S-Video capability, but I can't tell which ports are inputs and which ports are outputs, or what the DIP switches on it are for.

    If Deja's old archives were up, I could probably type in a few keywords from the board's silkscreening, find it, and figure out what the hell this thing really is, and make myself a nice toy for Christmas.

  • Nah, it wasn't so bad. Back when it was "The Internet Bookstore" instead of "The Internet K-mart," I enjoyed browsing thousands upon thousands of titles - more than any bookstore I had in town. Then B&N moved in (yes, this happened AFTER I found amazon!), and I didn't care so much about amazon. And, eventually, they started to become concerned with profits rather than revenues, and their loss-leader selection dried up considerably.

    Yeah, Amazon used to be cool and no longer is, but they've got worse problems than cruft.

  • I'm glad to see this move. I was just saying the other day that they could probably make it as a smaller company if they just focused on Usenet archives and access. I would think the banner ad revenue alone could sustain a couple employees. Add some premium Usenet services and you might even be able to buy fancy furniture.

  • The usenet stuff was just another click away. It's not like that much has really changed.

    Deja has been talked about [slashdot.org] frequently on Slashdot. The company is making a serious change by selling off a portion of itself. ALOT has changed. A company that has been trying to pitch itself as a product review site has reverted itself back to a USENET search engine.

    Troll! ;-)
  • My first response to this news was to say "YAY!" and send a thank you comment on the feedback page. Yes, really.

    Because I think thanks is all they're going to have to go on after not too long. I mean, this seems awesome, but didn't they start that product review junk because maintaining a huge-ass usenet archive just isn't profitable? So it seems like going backwards 2 years doesn't really get them anywhere financially except no longer barking up that particular wrong tree.

    Still some work to do to stay in business, though...

  • Who judges what's worthy of archiving though? For instance, I'd hate to see the hilarious old Otaku Wars posts of alt.fan.sailor-moon torched mainly because there's no longer the need to debate what would happen in the series finale of 1997. OK, you may hate Sailor Moon, but my point is there's often more to a lot of newsgroups than just time-sensitive information, even if that is their stated topic.
  • Deja.com is an awesome resource, it's good to have it back.

    It didn't go away. The actual resource part of it was always there.

    However, it was severely crippled when they limited it to May 15 1999. You can't get anything before then out of the archives.

    So in some ways it never went away. Certainly, it isn't back by any stretch of the imagination. It'll only be back when the full archive is back online.

    Simon
  • "I was just going to post asking if anybody knows when this temporary situation was going to end."

    I emailed them to ask, but didn't hear back by press time.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • Storage is cheap. Bandwidth ain't.
  • I use OE when I use Windows, it's not that bad - could be better, particularly as offline reading goes and it needs the ability to edit headers.

    But I was talking about console not GUI, so OE and Agent don't count.
  • Can anyone recommend other web based usenet ARCHIVE sites that are good and free?

    E.
  • For the last year the only banner ad I've got on Deja News is some dodgy one about looking for jobs without your boss finding out. I don't know that they're making anywhere near that amount on banner ads. Jakob Neilsen has gone on and on about Yahoo! being the only company that makes a profit from banner ads ... dejanews is a great service, but how will they make money, really?
  • Cool. I had been wondering where their threaded search results settings went. Very handy, thanks.
  • I think this is an important point. Stuff prior to May 1999 has been 'temporarily' unavailble for a long time now. Then again I wouldn't be sad to see the back of some of my more idealistic posts from my youth.
  • nah ... any problem I ever get I jump straight to Deja (btw I always use http://www.dejanews.com ?) - nearly always comes up with an answer :)
  • It bothers me a lot that people like the parent to this comment are whining about the pre-98 archives: this invaluable data seems to be available only in Deja's (quasi mythical now) archives and it's future is quite incertain. It may not be new now to post about now, but when it IS time to post, it may be too late.
    Some other posters have suggested that Deja could charge a fee for consultation of this archive, and few will disagree that Deja deserves some compensation for the archiving work they've done: they seem to have been the only one to put down the ressources to keep that colective memory alive.
    On the other hand, they will be making profit (if they're lucky) using our work. It brings quite a few copyrights issues to my mind. The lawsuits many newpapers a facing from their freelance journalists regarding the web rights of their articles are a good example of the problems that might arise from a fee-based service from Deja.
    The easiest way out of this would be for some nice dot-com billionaire (there gotta be one or two left) to buy the archive from deja and release it under a very permissive license for all to mirror at their heart's content.
  • revenue of $922,000 in the first quarter

    That kind of revenue stream could pay for colo space, bandwidth, and the salaries of a handful of techies and programmers.

    The loss of $1.25 million comes from an idiot CEO who hired dozens of marketing and sales and business consultants, attempting to ride the dotcom vapour blowout. Now that the bubble has burst, they have realised they don't need 20 marketing people, they already have a brand name presence on the internet most dotcoms would kill for.

    With any luck, they will realise there is a market for searching usenet archives going back 15 years, and set up a parallel pay-for-performance system for corporate groups. If you were the head of a large programming group, would you pay for a local copy of deja's DB, covering comp.* and alt.* from 1985 to a few months ago?

    They could also sell their text archiving and indexing system to large companies, the same as google, ask jeeves, and others are doing. They might be doing that now, I just haven't heard about it.

    the AC
  • Remarq wasn't really discontinued per se, it changed its name back to SuperNews and got purchased by some other company which turned it into a fee based service. I personally liked the Remarq interface a lot better than the Deja interface, but I guess I'm stuck with Deja now.
  • What about forming a non-profit org. to by the database, put up a site, and maintain it. You get money via donations and build a trust to make sure this is always availible.
  • >>>Incidentally, what other sites out there offer a similar service? the more reviews the better! you can't trust magazines because of the potential for corporate tampering, so online reviews are great!

    For that sort of stuff, I usually use epinions.com or consumerreview.com myself. I like consumerreview.com better, espically the audioreview subsite. Check it out.
  • www.dejanews.com
    That's the only one I've ever used.
  • revenue of $922,000 in the first quarter

    That kind of revenue stream could pay for colo space, bandwidth, and the salaries of a handful of techies and programmers.

    You have the right idea, but very possibly the wrong numbers (these data were from 1998). Now that we have better data on user behavior, and a not-so-booming economic situation to play with, It wouldn't surprise me if deja.com (or even dejanews.com :-)) could only depend on half or a third of that income stream. Then I think the cost situation gets a lot more tricky.

    With any luck, they will realise there is a market for searching usenet archives going back 15 years, and set up a parallel pay-for-performance system for corporate groups. If you were the head of a large programming group, would you pay for a local copy of deja's DB, covering comp.* and alt.* from 1985 to a few months ago?

    There is *some* market for this, sure, but less than you might expect. I think it was Henry Spencer who pointed out that, if you extrapolate from the data we had, the truly most useful and popular post on Usenet is the post you are about to make (or am I confused?). Now, I *loved* the fact that I used to be able to go back in time using the dejanews archive and find out how much of a weenie I used to be in the early 90s, but I'm afraid I can't (yet) impute a beefy profit stream to Usenet nostalgia.

    They could also sell their text archiving and indexing system to large companies, the same as google, ask jeeves, and others are doing.

    So why don't they do this? To paraphrase the Old Prospector in Toy Story 2: Two words: Remarq Dotcom. [slashdot.org] It's very possible there's still some money in this kind of thing, but I'm not sure.

  • The usenet stuff was just another click away. It's not like that much has really changed.

    Besides, the shopping stuff was sort of useful.
  • It's good to see one of the best (IMO, anyway) sites getting back to its roots and focusing on doing one thing, and doing it well.

    Get rid of the cruft (amazon.com, you listening?) and the users will beat a path to your NIC.
  • Nuff said, I missed you like an old pal, thanks for comin back
  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @01:38PM (#561357) Homepage Journal
    http://www.deja.com/=dnc/home_ps.shtml [deja.com] still seems to be the best way to get rid of the cluttered look associated with Deja's later incarnations. Give it a try if you just want the straight Usenet search from the old-school DejaNews days.
  • "Archive searches for postings prior to May 15, 1999, are [still] temporarily unavailable."

    So Dejanews has gone from a decent Usenet archive/search engine, to a shopping advice service, to a Usenet archive going back all of 20 months. Where's the rest of it?

    Maybe the money they made by selling the shopping service will allow them to go buy some new hard drives and get the old stuff back on-line. OTOH, maybe not...

  • This is perhaps the best news I have heard in a little while. I used to use dejanews all the time, but had shied away from it because of its sudden sell-me/buy-me attempt. This is _very_ cool.
  • Now if they'd just put all those back messages up. All I seem able to search is going back 2 years. Word was they have the old messages, just still fiddling with what to do with them.

    --

  • 02/22/1999 Re: Re; Novel forms of refri

    Older than May 15, 1999 but not by much...

    --

  • www.deja.com/usenet No clicking required.
  • Now that dotcoms are starting to realise that banner revenue just doesn't cut it, they are going back to their original good ideas.

    Now the power search is just one click away from the main screen. That is good. The archives still only go back to May 1999, that is not so good. And they still seem to place all kinds of special links into other people's posts. That's not good at all.

    With any luck, the smart people at deja will continue to beat the shit out of the marketing droids and idiot managers, and finally restore one of the internet's great services to full functionality. With even more luck, they wont try to harvest sensitive user data in the hopes of wringing out a tiny fraction more revenue.

    the AC
  • When I checked, they still had a memory lapse in 1999. That's kind of a major deal.

    And, of course, Remarq was pieced out before the "core service" (the Usenet archives) was just plain discontinued. I'm not breaking out the champagne yet.

  • Deja.com is an awesome resource, it's good to have it back.
  • No more tears in the Matrix...we are just going back to what worked. I used Deja.com all the time, and now I will again. I personally am happy to see dot coms realize that by changing business plans they are only hurting themselves. Start one, and when it works...KEEP IT
  • Ditto, I was just going to post asking if anybody knows when this temporary situation was going to end.

    While some groups shouldn't really be archived for more than a couple of months (who is going to want to read comp.os.linux.setup messages of five years ago ?) there are others that deserve to be archived as far back as possible (algorithms, chess, and anything that's not moving too fast)
  • by iso ( 87585 ) <slash@warpze[ ]info ['ro.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @01:40PM (#561368) Homepage
    but i actually used the "precision buying" part of deja. i originally went there for the Usenet feeds, but lately i've been going to deja.com for a lot of my research when buying things like consumer electronics. i find the ratings and comments from owners to be very valuable in making a choice.

    it's not a big deal, i'll just go to half.com for that stuff now, but i actually found it useful to be included with the Usenet posts. i use Usenet searches as a second source for more reviews of products. i certainly never thought of it as "cruft" or "bloat" like some people here.

    incidentally, what other sites out there offer a similar service? the more reviews the better! you can't trust magazines because of the potential for corporate tampering, so online reviews are great!

    - j
  • If they ever restore the Usenet posts from prior to 1998 then there will be news to post about. The fact that the product review side of Deja is removed is not really news. All it does is remove one extra click (out of the the seemingly thousands it now takes to find anything on the web.)
  • My understanding is that the rest of deja is up for sale too and I wouldn't count on archives any time soon. Once upon a time we tried to find a stable institution to archive all of usenet back to the beginning but never turned up anything. What I am afraid of is that the archives will be trashed if deja changes hands. They also never archived a complete archive of usenet 93-95 which was given to them and who knows where that data is.
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:26PM (#561371) Homepage
    Now that dotcoms are starting to realise that banner revenue just doesn't cut it, they are going back to their original good ideas.

    CNet-News [cnet.com]: Deja.com reported a loss of $1.25 million on revenue of $922,000 in the first quarter of 1998.

    Original good ideas = spend money on a service that's given away for free?
    --

  • I would think they they should be able to run their basic Usenet search thing on $922,000 per quarter of advertising, and break even and then some.

    Bandwidth is expensive, but if you design the pages to be light on cruft, you need a lot less of it.
  • by bughunter ( 10093 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {retnuhgub}> on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:39PM (#561373) Journal
    ...back to its roots and focusing on doing one thing, and doing it well.

    umm... I wouldn't say it exactly does it well. The pre-1999 archives are still offline, and if you've ever tried to use deja.com to participate as a regular member of a newsgroup community, you know it bites.

    The story I read on CNet yesterday speculated that the usenet side of Deja may yet be sold to someone else, so the boat hasn't stopped rocking yet.

    And actually, that may be a good thing. If a parent with a steady profit can adopt Deja, then perhaps it'll stick around as a cornerstone of the internet. Right now, as a standalone business, Deja's long term prospects aren't encouraging.

    With any luck, the new owner might actually pay for development of a more useable browsing UI. Now that Remarq has gone fee-only, there's no other free gateway between the Web and Usenet. You'd think that any of the major portals (Yahoo, About, AltaVista, Go, Netscape, etc.) would love to have Deja's gateway and archives as part of their services. What a jewel that would make!

  • Deja.com's USENET archiving is a wonderful service, but it cannot compete with a real newsreader such as Microsoft(TM) Outlook Express. This full-featured application is also a multiple-mailbox e-mail client, and is absolutely free of cost. Deja.com is fairly useless when compared to Outlook Express, and I therefore can only surmise that the majority of its users run inferior operating systems such as Linux, which do not provide sufficient resources to take advantage of the advanced features present in Outlook Express.
    ^M
    When it is taken into consideration that Deja.com's userbase is made entirely of Linux users, (who are computer criminal "hackers" much like Keven Mitnick), it is not surprising that they find their business crumbling beneath them. No enterprise can be built upon a criminal userbase and "free" software. I cannot feel sorrow for their loss.
    ^M
    However, there is still hope for Deja.com. Assuming they still retain some capital, Deja.com would be a welcome licensee of Microsoft's upcoming USE .Net venture. This service embraces and extends the traditional USENET interface by introducing such innovative features as HTML messaging, Emoticons, and ActiveX technology. Deja.com would be wise to contact Microsoft regarding this service, it is wishes to survive another fiscal year.
    ^M
    [stifles maniacal laughter]


    See you in hell,
    Bill Fuckin' Gates®.
  • the proximity of Submit and Preview got me againthe proximity of Submit and Preview got me again

    what's funny and perhaps more ironic, given the context, is that slashdot's sumbit and preview buttons are reverse of the way deja.com's are. gets me every time. seems people will likely more often hit the button on the left first. you're right -- they should change the damn buttons.

  • Unfortunately, I don't see how it can be made profitable in these post-banner-ad days. But a public service like this needs to be maintained! All I can pray for is that an internet philanthropist like Brewster Kahle decides to buy up the archive and put it online at a loss. If I had the money I'd do it myself. (And no, I wouldn't charge for it - I consider that highly inappropriate since the postings were made freely)

    The problem with any idea involving internet philanthropy is that it can be horrifically expensive if you give it enough bandwidth, but reasonably useless if you don't.

    My personal guess is that something like dejanews is most valuable to a successful company in the searching and indexing world. Actually, the specific candidate I have in mind is google. [google.com] I think it's pretty obvious that the google model for rating/ranking the usefulness of content could be applied to Usenet archives in a big way (the biggest challenge being to recognize and deal appopriately with flame wars). It's also the case that if people "knew" or "believed" that dejanews URLs would be permanent in some sense, that they'd use and link to them as they would to any other net resource, and the usefulness of the whole enterprise would go way up. So you type something like "linux kernel usb support" into google, and then you'd get back not just a few random-ish web pages, but the key usenet threads on the subject.

    Heck, now that yahoo is growing more dependent on google to be it's web-indexing device, it should become really clear to google that they really, truly want to do this.

    At least, I can hope...

  • Deja, if they stay Deja, should upgrade their message presentation into a linear format like Remarq used. Threaded archives are way too click intensive for quick archival reading. Deja should at least develop a linear presentation option.
  • ...but I'm afraid I can't (yet) impute a beefy profit stream to Usenet nostalgia.

    It isn't all nostalgia. If I have a programming question regarding Java, posts from pre-'99 have value, if it is regarding C++, it has even more value. They need to play up the corporate subscription route more.

  • Power Search [dejanews.com] is better.. Though their full archive is still unavailable :(((((((

    Bastards....

    Your Working Boy,
  • uhm, why was this moderated as funny? i really do use Deja's reviews, honest! i do find them useful!

    ...no, i don't use AOL, why would you ask me that?

    why are you looking at me that way? there is nothing wrong with using deja for the reviews!!

    why is it that i keep coming back to slashdot every day anyways? screw you guys, i'm going home.

    - j

  • I quite like it - they are one of the few dotcom ventures I've ever seen that actually pays off on its promises. I'm not going to say I got rich or anything - I've earned about $600 in a year of reviewing on the site, and I know of people who spend oodles of time on it and get a few thousand bucks out of it.

    The epinions system has two interesting advantages over Deja - they pay, and their community features (web of trust, convenient ways to check out people's interests) are very cool. The money got me curious, the community features make me stay.

    D

    (My account is daviddennis; note that I get paid if you create an account and read my reviews, but not if you don't).

    ----
  • Amazon? Amazon has never had anything _but_ cruft. They're evil wrapped in fluff.


  • I didn't think anyone else cared! I thought I was the only one in the world who bothered to use deja for it's usenet search. I was surely getting tired of typing that extra /usenet everytime.. :P
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @01:44PM (#561384) Journal
    check out www.epinions.com. I won't give you a username to credit because I don't have one. Great resource, though--better than Deja ever was.

  • They were both good services... in fact, dejanews has gone down the crapper the last couple of years. What happened to having 10 years of usenet archived?

    Deja.com is where I did research for my digital camera... great information in one place.

    --

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @01:49PM (#561386) Homepage
    The long-term plan of most free service sites is to eventually find a way to make money other than banner ads. Because it's a simple fact that most free services cost more to run than they can bring in via banner ads.

    So, "getting back to its roots" really means "still not profitable", which could lead to "showing up on FuckedCompany.com soon".

    Enjoy it while they last.
    --

  • by bellings ( 137948 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:49PM (#561387)
    The only change I see is that www.dejanews.com [dejanews.com] once again redirects to the page www.deja.com [deja.com]. The usenet search otherwise looks exactly the same to me -- the same busted article threading, the same crufty featureless search engine, the same hobbled archive only going back about 17 months, the same totally broken "select language" non-feature.

    Let's face it -- the usenet news part of deja has been neglected for a looong time now. Only time will show if this move reflects deja's renewed interest in being the best usenet news archive available, or if if its just a pit stop on the road to closing the doors and shutting the lights.
  • I always thought that the buying service was horrible. I mean, if I want advice, I'll search the newsgroups for " and review", not look at a bunch of meaningless 1-10 ratings. Anyway epinions.com ate their lunch.
  • by Wills ( 242929 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @02:56PM (#561389)

    A workaround for the excessive no-cache latency of Deja.com is to use Junkbuster [junkbusters.com] with my patch to the file parsers.c as follows:

    • --- parsers.c.new Sun Nov 26 15:11:15 1998
      +++ parsers.c Fri Feb 20 17:40:32 1998
      @@ -27,26 +27,20 @@
      { "from:", 9, client_from },
      { "cookie:", 7, client_send_cookie },
      { "x-forwarded-for:", 16, client_x_forwarded },
      { "pragma:", 7, crumble },

    Or if you don't follow the diff, just add the pragma line above by hand. Just recompile and install it.

  • It was in dire need of good moderation (ala Slashdot).

    Mostly out of curiosity, do you mean that both it and Slashdot need good moderation, or that it needs moderation as good as Slashdot's?


    --
  • Is it just me or do others prefer to read news using a terminal based newsreader like NN?

    I started using NN in 94 and I have to say it is still the best newsreader around. Although if I need to do a search deja.com is the place I go.

    I sometimes wish for more terminal type apps...
  • I prefer tin but you are correct. The only thing most of the terminal based newsreaders lack is good binary decoding ability.

    Of course that's only an issue if you read binary groups, which deja doesn't carry anyway.

    What I would really like to see is a combined mail/news reader. I'm one of those who actually like to see them both in the same program. Pine has a newsreader but it was pretty crap.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    That's all you had to say; I'm going back there!

    Now who's next? Yahoo?

    Damn cheesy portal sites.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • the problem is, usenet is still too hard to use. Deja makes it easier to use for a lot of us. I'm glad their back and I'd even be willing to pay for a service that makes usenet easier ot use and understand.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Forté Agent [forteinc.com] worked pretty well, though proprietary, Win32/Win16 only, and relegated to maintenance mode by the vendor.
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2000 @01:53PM (#561396) Homepage
    The long-term plan of most free service sites is to eventually find a way to make money other than banner ads.

    I don't believe forcing unrelated content down the user's throat is the best way to go about making that money. This is just my opinion, so your mileage may vary.

    I, for one, would be perfectly willing to pay a small fee for access to the lean-and-mean deja.com, if that were the direction they wanted to go. That's closer to old-economy concepts as well: sell the customer what they want, not everything else under the sun.
  • Been using the power search page for years, hope it can keep this excellent resource and bring back the old archive. OTOH, I see opportunity for deja.com expanding their business towards corporations. Lots of company has intranet newsgroups, some provide public newsgroup supporting their products. Natually it will bring value to them if their news are threaded and web searchable.
  • is it real that HTTP rules the world? what about plain old NNRP news-reading? even i read news at deja.com... is this really what PHP (mod_perl, whatever...) stands for? (stupid) users know what a browser is and PHP does the NNRP for them... bah...

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