Unable to download podcast

I manage a podcast feed for my church, and recently had a problem where I was unable to download episodes using the iOS Podcast app on my iPhone.  The podcast would download OK on other Android devices, and it would stream on my iPhone if I tapped the play icon, but if I selected “Download Episode” then the download would appear to happen, but then at the end a message would pop up saying “Unable to download podcast”, with a “Retry” and a “Done” button.

Googling this problem shows that other people have experienced similar issues, but no amount of unsubscribing, deleting, restarting, rebooting, or switching to airplane mode would fix the problem.

In the end I discovered that the problem was due to a misconfiguration in the XML file for the podcast feed. In the <channel> section of the XML file there is an <itunes:image> tag where you can put the URL of an image. I discovered that this tag was pointing to an invalid URL, to a server that I had used several years ago. After setting the tag to a valid URL, and refreshing the feed in the iOS podcast app, I was able to download episodes.


Hurray for democracy

icon_senateballotpaperI like to follow politics. Mostly its a long procession of frustrations, disappointments and failures, but every now and again there’s something positive to cheer about. Today is one of those days.

Back in September 2013 after the last federal election I blogged about the broken Senate voting process, and suggested three ways that it could be improved. Well today, thanks to an epic all-night 28 hour debate in the Senate, my wishes came true, when the parliament passed electoral reform laws that will allow preferential voting ‘above the line’ on the Senate ballot paper, as well as only requiring 12 preferences to be indicated if voting ‘below the line’.

Hurray for democracy!

The only sour note is why on earth the Australian Labor Party were so dogged about wanting to retain the existing system where political parties distribute preferences in complex and opaque ways in back rooms before an election, instead of the system passed today where preferences are decided by the voters, in the ballot box, on election day.