On a lark, I dropped Adam Curry an email in the hopes that I could get to the bottom of my problem with his podcast, the Daily Source Code.
Essentially, the driver for my Dell MP3 player would complain about the
file being corrupt in some way. This was made more interesting by
the fact that I could still play the MP3 files.
Well, as our email thread grew, Adam suggested that I take a look at my
“podcatcher.” For those of you who do not know, a podcatcher is
an application that is set to take RSS feeds and parse out the
enclosures contained within them. In this case, a podcatcher is
supposed to download the MP3 podcast files enclosed within a RSS
feed. An in-depth article can be found in Wikipedia on podcasting and podcatching.
For those all too unfamiliar with all of these terms, a simple way to
think of this is what iTunes has recently begun to do for
podcasting–it includes a section to setup and retrieve podcasts.
In the beginning, there were two podcatchers I tried–Doppler and iPodder.
I did not like iPodder, as I found its interface to leave much to be
desired and it initially did not include a way to “clean up” the
downloaded podcasts after a specified interval. Doppler had all
these features, so I made it my podcatcher of choice.
Given my geeky nature, though, I had been using the latest beta of Doppler–Doppler Build
2.9.2041.17630–since August. I was not having any problems at
the time, and all seemed to be in order. In retrospect–and based
on my discovery yesterday–this build of Doppler has some serious
problem. On files that I force it to retrieve–after it initially
downloaded and cleaned these files up–some type of corruption
occurs. What causes the corruption is, though, is the
mystery. I can only theorize that this version of Doppler is
righting something to the file that the driver does not like. I
presume that if I had more time, I could probably use Filemon
to determine what exactly is happening to create this problem. I,
of course, don’t have that much free time on my hands. I did at
least report this problem–what I consider to be a potentially
dangerous bug–on the Beta Bug forum. I know that the developer
of Doppler has little free time these days, so who knows when the
problem may be fixed.
Instead, my solution was to return to iPodder. I downloaded and
installed it yesterday, and it is nice to see that a lot of
improvements have been made in the product. Its interface is
similar to Doppler in some regards, and it has incorporated a very nice
directory cleanup feature. The best part, though, is that the
same files I had problems with using Doppler were retrieved and then
synced to my Dell without a problem whatsoever.
It never ceases to amaze me how some of the stranger technical problems
can have the simplest of resolutions. So, my thanks to Adam for
helping me get this problem fixed and postponing my purchase of iPod