Well, we knew it was coming, but at long last the Microsoft Project newsgroups will be gone in the nearish future, to be replaced by a whole selection of sleek, new feature-ridden Web-based forums. For more information, please check out Brian Smith’s post Newsgroups Are So Yesterday. Forums Are the Future.

Just wait a second. You mean that Microsoft has provided all sorts of useful functionality and excellent features, but in return, I have to actually change my behavior and give up my trusted offline browsing tool to go to the Web?

I don’t think so. This cantankerous end user doesn’t change just for a couple of carrots hanging from a stick.

Enter the Microsoft NNTP Bridge, brought to you by the same folks who brought you the forums. The goal for the bridge is stated as introducing “a way for our customers who want to participate in the Microsoft Forum communities, but do not yet find themselves comfortable with the transition from the newsreader interface to the Forums Web interface.”

…which sounds suspiciously like me. In fact, that sounds a lot like this idea I had a couple of weeks ago while sitting at this French bistro – or was it while sitting in a London taxi? No, wait, I know. It was a London bistro – or come to think of it….maybe a French taxi. Oh I give up. I suppose, I’ll just have to sit back and wait for the royalty checks to roll in.

Anyway, I installed it, did some basic configuration in my newsreader, and check out the results:

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And now if I do a search for a former partner in crime from my Buckeye days, I can see the results in my offline browser:

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Phew. That’s one behavioral change successfully averted….at least for the time being. Note as a caveat that you do lose the ability to interact with the forums by selecting and voting for answers, but I suppose you can always log in to perform those activities.

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…don’t forget to configure your IE search engines to hit the new forums.