Sunday, October 05, 2008

NPR-fix the audio player

Permit me to be petulant for a moment.

I am a great fan of "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." So much so that when I was in Chicago a few weeks ago I attended one of the tapings (I haven't had time to blog about it; the pix still reside in my cell phone).

For several years, when I could not catch it on the air, I faithfully pulled up the Web site and listened to the stream. Sometimes I would download the MP3.

Recently, SC public radio, among the many annoying things it has done, moved the show to inconvenient weekend afternoons. (I always thought it made the perfect foil coming after "Car Talk," but what do I know?) So I am pretty much relegated to the stream or podcast.

Only a while back, NPR "improved" its player, and there have been nothing but problems since, with this and other NPR streams. The player constantly hangs up on rebuffering anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes into the stream. It may hesitantly resume for a few seconds, but like that old junker on its last legs, it eventually sputters to a halt, never resumes and finally times out. So we try and try again, with the same results at different times into the stream.

This happens on a Mac and a PC. It happens with Safari, Seamonkey, Fiirefox and IE.

It happens in hotels and mid-range DSL at home, where all my other streams work fine. It even happens sometimes at the office with Mac or PC and a 1 Gb line.

The last message I got from NPR was that it was aware of a problem and was working on it. That was more than a month ago. Well, fix it, dang it!

If NPR knows there is a problem, the least it could do is get the podcast loaded on time -- and maybe even earlier considering there is a problem? The site says it's to be loaded by about 7 p.m. on Sundays. It's now almost midnight and the week-old one is still there.

Maybe I'm just an island in the stream, but I tend to think others may be having these problems, too? Anyone else.

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At 10/6/08, 12:17 AM, Blogger Luke Morris said...

I'd stick to the podcast, but I'm just a podcast geek. I subscribe to about 15, most of which update daily.

At 10/7/08, 12:06 PM, Blogger Murley said...

Ditto what luke said. I subscribe to the podcast and never have problems. This American Life's stream works fine. I haven't used WWDTM's.

At 10/7/08, 12:56 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

I just wish they'd get the podcast loaded earlier -- or at least when they say they will.

The player worked last night after some sputtering starts. Maybe someone's listening?

At 10/8/09, 9:35 PM, Blogger prof americain said...

Newscasts like npr's all things considered and morning edition are not podcast. Since the "improvement" the first story of any broadcast will jump to the second story within 30 seconds of play. Once reset manually back to the first story, it will usually, I say usually, then play the entire show without a hitch. Still, it is annoying.

At 10/9/09, 9:36 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

In all fairness to NPR, in the year since this post, it seems to have fixed the problems, at least as far as "Wait Wait." I don't know whether it was the new versions of the browers or NPR's fixes or both.


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