This article is from the Sacramento FAQ, by David F. Prenatt, Jr. with numerous contributions by others.
The most straightforward and easy way to use e-mail is by using a
program called "pine" (pine is an acronym for "pine is nearly elm"--
elm was an e-mail program that preceded pine). To use pine, type in
"pine" (without the quotes) at the Unix prompt. The pine application
is menu-driven, so just follow the instructions that you see on the
screen. [Note: Not all ISPs support the pine application.]
10.2.2.2.2) How do I use the USENET newsgroups?
The most straightforward and easy way to use the USENET newsgroups is
by using a program called "tin." To use tin, type in "tin" (without
the quotes) at the Unix prompt. The tin program is menu-driven, so
just follow the instructions. [Note: Not all ISPs support the tin
10.2.2.2.2.1) How many USENET newsgroups are there?
There are several thousand USENET newsgroups (more than anyone could
ever hope to read), and there are more being created every day. Thus,
you should decide which newsgroups you want to read.
10.2.2.2.2.2) How do I figure out which newsgroups I want to read?
The USENET newsgroups are organized into a heirarchy that includes
regional and other domains. You can use this hierarchy to select-out
thousands of newsgroups that do not interest you. With tin, use the
"yank" command (with the "y" key), the "search" command (with the "/"
key), and the "subscribe" command (with the "s" key). After you've
subscribed to the named groups that you want, simply yank out the
rest. The "unsubscribe" command (the "u" key) will eliminate unwanted
groups. For more information, use the online help in tin (^g).
10.2.2.2.2.3) What regional domains are available from the Sacramento
The Sacramento USENET has a peculiar constellation of newsgroups in
two regional domains: The sac.* domain and the sacramento.* domain.
These regional domains are not generally accessed by residents of the
nearby San Francisco Bay Area (the major population center of Northern
California approximately 100 miles to the southwest), much less the
rest of the world. The sac.* domain, which is by far the most
frequented, is a peculiar abbreviation that few people would know to
look for when seeking information about Sacramento -- perhaps this FAQ
will change that.
My exposure to the Sacramento USENET is peculiarly limited to the
sac.* domain for all practical purposes, but it is augmented by access
to the ba.* domain (serving the San Francisco Bay Area USENET), the
ucd.* domain (serving the U.C. Davis USENET), the davis.* domain
(serving the Davis, California USENET), and the yolo.* domain (serving
the Yolo County, California USENET). Many discussions that properly
belong on the Sacramento USENET end up on these other USENET domains.
For historical reasons, the U.C. Davis, Davis, and Yolo USENETS
are routed through the same information hubs that serve the ucb.*
domain (serving the U.C. Berkeley system). The sac.* domain was added
to the U.C. Davis USENET when the sac.* domain was first created, but
the sacramento.* domain is still inaccessible to the U.C. Davis family
of USENETS except through obscure newsservers. For all of these
reasons, the sacramento.* domain and the sac.* domain have remained
discrete from each other and relatively obscure, even among the
denizens of Sacramento.