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For many Usenet denizens, this low-tech meeting place is an effective resource for person-to-person advice. \"My main use of Usenet . . . is consumer research,\" e-mailed Maria Post Rublee, a doctoral student at George Washington University and a regular in the misc.consumers.frugal-living, dc.dining, rec.food.cooking and rec.birds newsgroups. \"What Usenet adds is the real-life \'scoop\' that you won\'t get in books or magazines.\"