Agent News Bulletin


Agent 4.0 Released to Beta

In January, 2003 we undertook an extensive re-write of Agent's internal architecture. For the past year we've been quietly developing Agent 4.0 with the Agent Alpha Team. On May 23rd, we released Agent 4.0 to the Agent Beta Team.

Agent 4.0 is a major upgrade with functionality that benefits every Agent user. In response to customer feedback, the focus of Agent 4.0 is to improve significantly the features you use every day. So, whether you use Agent for text groups, binary groups or email, we think you'll be pleased with this upgrade.

For a limited time, you can participate in the Agent 4.0 Upgrade Promotion.

Image Previewing

Agent 4.0's integrated Image Previewer makes sampling and viewing easier than ever. You can configure the Image Viewer to show you a floating thumbnail or a full-sized image. You can even take advantage of a second monitor.

Agent 4.0 can also display images in the message body for both news and email. You no longer need to launch a separate program to view JPG, PNG, GIF, and other image formats.

Ignore Subthread

In newsgroups, conversation threads often go in directions that do not interest you. Agent 4.0's Ignore Subthread command allows you to continue to monitor an interesting thread but ignore selective sub-threads when they wander off-topic.

Crosspost Detection

On Usenet, the same message is frequently posted in multiple newsgroups so we've added a new Crosspost Detection algorithm in Agent 4.0 that vastly improves your ability to manage and eliminate duplicate postings.

Better Task Scheduling

Dealing with multiple servers and multiple connections can make task scheduling rather challenging. Therefore, Agent 4.0 has a new algorithm for dynamically determining task priorities.

For example, you can configure Agent 4.0 to give short duration tasks priority over longer duration tasks. This feature makes it much easier to sample and download at the same time because large downloads won't use up all the server connections and block small downloads.

Then there are times when you want total control without relying on the Task Manager. In Agent 4.0 you can add any task to the front or back of the task queue without leaving the newsgroup. This is ideal for sampling a binary series before choosing to download.

Managing Binary Attachments

Agent 4.0 can automatically create unique download directories for each folder. Within each folder, Agent makes it simple to have separate sub-directories for each series. Instead of having all your attachments in one big directory, Agent helps you create a directory tree that makes collection, post-processing, and cleanup a snap.

Adaptive Junk Filtering

Spammers are constantly creating new ways to beat the ISP junk filters and flood your email with unwanted messages. Using your email program to do personalized junk training is the only way to eliminate junk email effectively over time. But writing and maintaining filters is a daunting challenge. Fortunately, Agent 4.0 solves this problem for you.

Agent 4.0 has integrated junk detection that uses Bayesian statistics and cutting-edge training techniques to personalize your routing and junk detection. Agent monitors your message traffic and learns what you consider junk and legitimate email by watching you file messages. Furthermore, Agent virtually eliminates false positives (legitimate messages that get flagged as junk) by integrating junk detection with identity and content analysis.

Route by Identity

Many people use hand-written email filters to route messages to the correct folder. Over time, writing filters becomes a tedious process that is prone to mistakes. Agent 4.0 provides a different approach. Agent watches you drag and drop messages into the proper folder and uses that knowledge to route future messages. If you have existing email filters defined, Agent will use them to improve its ability to learn. At any time, you can press Agent's new Explain button to get an in-depth understanding of how each message was routed.

Dynamic Address Book

Agent 4.0 offers an improved address book that makes it simple to record and look up addresses, phone numbers, and web pages. The address book is updated dynamically as you train Junk Detection and Route by Identity. For example, Agent automatically detects and trains legitimate messages based on the trusted contacts in your address book.

Persona Protection

Agent 4.0 takes the power of Agent 3.3 personas even further. Agent 4.0 memorizes which personas you use for the contacts in your address book. Then, when you compose a new email, Agent will suggest the correct persona based on your training. Agent will even warn you if you try to send a message that might compromise your identity. When composing a message, you can press Agent's Explain button for information on protecting your identity.

Optional HTML Display

Agent 4.0 gives you the option to display HTML messages safely, using Agent's custom HTML engine. Agent analyzes the HTML content to avoid tags, scripts, images, or properties that might compromise your identity. As always, you can launch and render HTML messages in your web browser.

What Else?

Agent 4.0 contains many other features such as "Hide the All Folders Desk" and "Sort Folders by Name" that are too numerous to list here. Nearly all of these features are in response to usability requests from Agent users like you. We will post a complete list when we release Agent 4.0.

About Forté

Forté is focused on developing Usenet and email functionality for the Agent family of products. We are also developing service offerings to complement our Agent Usenet (APN) Service.


The Forté Team

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