At least from my perspective, the iTunes rollout of podcasting support was completely bungled. Like I reported earlier, they seemed to have my Bittorrent feed in their catalog without having Bittorrent support in the client. That is exactly how they rolled it out, in non-working fashion. People can subscribe to my feed via the directory, but they will just get the disclaimer file and everything else will error out. I just tested out the addition of my direct feed under “Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast” and it seems to work fine. It’s highly ironic that they’ve been using my logo in their stuff (as of yesterday, it was one of the ones on the front page of the Apple website) and yet they’ve never done anything so far but completely fucked up the addition of my feed. Like I said, I’ve been seeing iTunes 4.9 hitting my bittorrent feed for a while now. Did no one doing this stuff inside Apple notice the feed they had wasn’t working or did they not care? Did they not notice there was an alternate feed? Insert sound of a sigh.
Now I’m on the horns of a dilemma. I could change my default feed back to MP3, which will make it available to the iTunes users but also dramatically increase my bandwidth usage. I submitted a problem ticket to Apple telling them that they have my Bittorrent feed in their catalog which will just confuse users. I stand by my prerelease feelings that this is not necessarily the wonderful thing for podcasting that many people are making it out to be.
It also looks like their timed download is set to a fixed time, which will screw up a lot of people. In my preferences, I can’t pick the time so if I set it to daily it will download podcasts at 8 PM. Is everyone’s iTunes set to do this at 8 PM as well? If so, hello unintentional denial of service attacks. Hell, even having everyone doing it at the top of the hour is enough to cause problems. That was something about which I was insistent to the iPodderX guys – that they should have a randomized download time so that the web servers don’t get hammered simultaneously. Even in the early days of them doing downloads at a fixed 15 minutes after the hour with not that large a deployed user base, I saw problems of swarms bringing down the web server performance. Looks like Apple didn’t think of that. In fact, it looks like Apple talked to no one in the podcast community because of course they know better than us and implemented a lot of things fucked up in ways they could have easily fixed with a tiny bit of input.
I had mixed feelings of a tiny bit excitement and mostly dread about the iTunes podcast support. It’s looking like the dread part was the correct response.