I use Thunderbird to monitor the newsgroups I'm interested in - and particularly the eclipse.epsilon newsgroup on news.eclipse.org. Unfortunately, Thunderbird cannot be configured to pop-up a notification when a message arrives in a particular newsgroup. Substantial searching didn't turn up anything so I decided to roll my own newsgroup watcher. The result is a small open-source Java application available for download here.
Newsgroup Watcher can check multiple newsgroups and supports authentication (for password-protected newsgroups such as those under news.eclipse.org). Each newsgroup that Newsgroup Watcher should watch is represented by a .watched properties (text) file located in the directory where the jar exists (multiple .watched files are supported). For example, by adding a mozilla.thunderbird.watched text file with the following contents the Newsgroup Watcher will start monitoring the newsgroup for new messages:
#Newsgroup configuration server=news.mozilla.org newsgroup=mozilla.support.thunderbird authenticationRequired=false interval=60000
for a password-protected newsgroup the file should look like this:
#Newsgroup configuration server=news.eclipse.org newsgroup=eclipse.epsilon authenticationRequired=true username=exquisitus password=yourpasswordhere interval=60000
With regard to the UI, Newsgroup Watcher sits in the system tray (using the new built-in system tray functionality provided of Java 6). The program has two states represented by different icons in the system tray:
When a new message arrives in one of the monitored newsgroups, the program goes into the attention state and also a popup appears.
To put Newsgroup Watcher back to the idle mode you can double click the icon in the system tray.
Finally, to exit you can right-click the icon and click Exit
For any questions/bugs regarding Newsgroup Watcher please feel free to contact me at dskolovos.at.nospam.gmail.com
In case you are interested in extending / borrowing code from Newsgroup Watcher, the complete source code is available in the SVN.