By now, hard core RSS Bandit fans have found out that the installer for the Jubilee release of RSS Bandit is available. A bunch of people have tried it out and given us a lot of good feedback on how some of our new features can be tweaked to make them even better. One of the places we got good feedback [and bug reports] has been our behavior when automatically downloading podcasts from a feed. One signficant bug is that in the beta, RSS Bandit doesn't keep track of what enclosures it has previously downloaded so it may download the same enclosures several times. However, even with this bug fixed we realized there is a problem when one first subscribes to a podcast feed especially if the feed has videos such as Microsoft's Channel 9. On the first time subscribing to that feed, RSS Bandit would automatically start downloading 2-3 gigabytes of videos from the site since that's how many are exposed in the feed. This seems like a bad thing, so we added two new options which are shown in the screenshot below

My main question is what default values we should use. I was thinking 'Only download the last 2 podcasts' and 'Only download files smaller than 500MB' as the defaults. What do you guys think?


 

Friday, December 1, 2006 4:33:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I don't think this is good enough. What if I choose "download last 1 attachments", and then after a weekend in which I haven't used my computer two new attachments appear in the feed? Naturally I'd like both to be downloaded, yet I wouldn't like more than 1 to be downloaded when I add th feed. Thanks for listening.
1.3 user
Friday, December 1, 2006 5:31:42 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hmm. If the problem is mainly for adding new feeds, how about adding an option to the feed wizard so that when adding a new feed you can specify whether existing attachments should be downloaded.
Friday, December 1, 2006 5:38:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
First off, it's clear there will be times when an attachment wasn't downloaded for some reason (download error, insufficient space, whatever) and so RSS Bandit should show an icon indicating that there is an attachment but that it isn't on the user's local machine, so that the user can know and choose to initiate a manual (re-)download of that attachment.

For automatic downloads, go with the TV DVR model:

1. Allow users to set a maximum upper bound on how much disk space RSS Bandit uses (absolute N GB or relative N% of volume).

2. Allow users to mark each feed as "keep until I delete", "keep until I 'watch'" or "keep until space needed" (the default). The meaning of 'watch' (or really, consume the content) in the context of an RSS feed might be a challenge to define -- you might need separate "keep until I sync to my mobile device" and "keep until the parent item is marked as read" options.

3. Allow users to prioritize the feeds they subscribe to, so that when there's a conflict for space, you can choose. Auto-assigning a default priority scheme is easy (new feeds are lower pri) but you could also chart new territory by auto-prioritizing based on user attention.

4. Expire content from the cache according to the above two rules. That is, download everything you can; free up space (according to priority rank) when necessary; and fail to download new content when no space is available or can be made available.

5. Show cache usage on the main reader window. Use color and numbers (e.g., green/yellow/red when there's plenty/little/insufficient space remaining, and show percent full).

Friday, December 1, 2006 7:52:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'll second Michael Brundage's suggestion. Best idea.
Michael Griffiths
Friday, December 1, 2006 8:32:59 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You should look at the way that JRiver Media Center handles podcasts -- there are options for "Download Last x Number", Keep up to x mb", or "Keep Laser x No of Podcasts" -- the size of the files doesn't matter as much as how much total space is being used. One 2000mb file or fifty 100mb files are equally as annoying to be automatically downloaded.
robert
Saturday, December 2, 2006 2:03:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks for the feedback folks.

1. I agree that 'download last N attachments' should only be applied on new subscriptions. The application I took the screenshot from only does it on new subscriptions as well. I don't think it should be an option in the subscription wizard because I prefer a global settings to one that could change per new subscriptions

2. I also think that tracking total space dedicated to podcasts is more useful than limiting size of downloaded files. Users with bandwidth limits are better served by limiting the size of the cache. I also think it is a good idea to show the cache usage in the podcast window (e.g. 50 files using up 864MB of 1GB devoted to Podcasts).

3. I think we need options for when files should be deleted. We definitely need to expose 'Keep until delete' or 'keep until space is needed'. This may just be one option 'Delete old podcasts if space is needed for new ones' and when disabled it means keep until I delete. This should be overridable per feed.
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