Instacast 2.2 has just been approved to the App Store. The main change is the redesigned download and caching model. Instacast 1.x's download model was based on a series of triggers when certain events happened, e.g. starting download as soon as a new episode was available or deleting the downloaded file as soon as an episode finished playing.
Instacast 2 changed the model to something more familiar to iTunes users. You can specify which episodes to download and which to keep. The trigger for deleting a downloaded file was invoked after a new episode has been downloaded and a new episode started downloading after it became available. This let to behavior being inconsistent with Instacast 1.x and thus some users reported that they needed triggers when an episode finishes playing or when it is being marked as played.
This got me thinking about the model itself and I came up with something new that might work for Instacast 1.x users as well as Instacast users who switched from iTunes recently.
It now checks wether it should download an episode or delete a downloaded episode file after a subscription refreshes and tries to enforce the settings you have chosen. It will also check if it should delete a downloaded file after an episode has been marked as played or has just finished playing.
This now results in new behavior you might not expect at first but should be consistent. If you manually clear a downloaded file of an unplayed episode e.g. and you've set the 'Keep' settings to 'All unplayed episodes', Instacast will now re-download the episode after the corresponding subscription has been refreshed. If an episode finishes playing and is marked as played or if an episode is manually marked as played, Instacast will now check against the 'Keep' settings and decides if the episode file should be removed. I hope this new download model is working better for everybody. Please try it out and let me know what you think.
One thing I also added is Subscription Parking. A lot of users are subscribing to podcast just for the sake of finding it again later in case they have time to listen to it. The problem with Instacast is, that it is running on a low power low performance mobile device and thus has limits dealing with a lot of subscriptions. You can now disable subscriptions entirely without deleting them. This means that these subscriptions are not displayed in the subscriptions tab anymore and they are not refreshed automatically by Instacast. However the great thing about it is that you can still receive push notifications for new episodes. The option is available in Subscription Settings and thus requires purchase of the 'Instacast PRO' option.
Another issue that should be fixed now is the problem of not reloading subscriptions properly and thus not importing new episodes even if those are already available. The reason behind the problem was that Instacast was correcting the feed URL of a particular subscription with informations from the feed. However this information is incorrect a lot of times and thus the URL behind the subscription got screwed up and Instacast was not loading the original feed anymore. If you are running into this problem, a simple unsubscribe and re-subscribe should solve the issue now.
There has always been issues with Continuous Playback in the past. Some users prefer episodes to play one after another. Other users prefer Instacast to stop playing after an episode has finished. In Instacast 2.0 Continuous Playback was completely optional and had to be enabled in the player action bar. But a lot of users were not able to find that option and thus thought that Instacast wasn't able to continuously play podcasts. Then I changed the behavior in Instacast 2.1 and enabled Continuous Playback per default when playback was started from a playlist and disabled it when started from a feed list. But this was not optimal either, because a lot of users were now trying to disable the feature and were disappointed that it enabled itself again.
So I changed it again and now Instacast 2.2 has three settings for Continuous Playback. You can now enable or disable it individually for the case of starting playback from a playlist, from a smart playlist or from the feed list. And the action button in the player now also changes this setting, so that Instacast remembers your preferences automatically.
July 12th, 2012 • Permalink
06/18/2013 - Instacast Roadmap for iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks
05/28/2013 - Instacast Mac 1.0 Available
05/04/2013 - Tips and Tricks Part Three (Sharing and Accounts)
05/03/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Tips and Tricks Part Two (System Functions)
05/02/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Tips and Tricks Part One (Playback)
05/01/2013 - Instacast for Mac - Public Beta Available
01/23/2013 - Poodle Search Engine - Update
01/18/2013 - Poodle - An Experimental Search Engine for Podcasts
12/15/2012 - Integrate with Instacast
12/12/2012 - Instacast's Automatic Download Management
12/09/2012 - More about our Cloud Sync