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Why do some podcasts, including your Personal Netcast, download so slowly?

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Question:

David,

I'm a religious listener of your daily(sic?) podcast. I noticed that the download speeds were a little slow lately.

As proof, I have an attached screenshot of your download being performed on my GNU box at home.

D. Rogers

Answer:

It's absolutely true. The Personal Netcast Podcast, which you can sign up for here:

...downloads slow as molasses. And I'm fine with that.

See, when I upload the nightly episodes to my server, I use a special format for my URL that sends the first copy to a system called Coral, offered free of charge by New York University and cooperative organizations around the world. By altering my feed URL just slightly, I can take advantage of Coral's system, and you can too. Details are here:

The thing is, my nightly podcast episodes are always going to be slow to download, becasue they aren't coming directly from me. Actually, the downloaded files are cached on a series of servers around the world, and when your podcatching software looks for new episodes of the Personal Netcast, my server tells your software to go look on those servers.

At that point, the MP3 file of the latest episode is assembled on the fly using the Coral system and its various servers (around 400 or so around the worls), and as such, are not downloaded directly from my server. They come from a series of mirrored, p2p servers that form an edge network to deliver the thousands of 15 megabyte files.

The downside is that that files download slowly.

The upside is that the Personal Netcast exists for you to hear.

Read on... (more ahead)







My podcast is listened to by people all around the world, around 50,000 at the time of this writing. If I had to pay for the bandwidth for that amount of nightly throughput, the free Personal Netcast Podcast would cost me too much money to continue. Using Coral allows me to offer the podcast for free, and the only negative is that the podcasts are slow to download.

As we do the podcast nightly at 10p PT, 1a ET, usually people start to get the download in the middle of the night via RSS. And usually, they never know how long or short the download period is.

I believe that the tradeoff of "slow" against "free" is reasonable, and I'm sure you'd agree.

Thanks for listening and for asking!



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