Sorry We Crashed Your Podcast Player

We started putting transcripts in some of our podcast posts 2 months ago.

Each transcription was an hour’s worth of audio conversation, which equaled a LOT of text when transcribed.

Recently, several listeners wrote in asking why their podcast player was crashing. If you use the iPhone native podcast app, requesting all of these transcripts probably caused your podcast player to crash. It certainly caused mine to crash.

Until a few days ago, we didn’t know the cause of these podcast player crashes. We assumed it was the volume of episodes, so we limited the feed to 100 episodes. Listeners (myself included) still had problems.

Then Dan Osipov mentioned that the transcripts were DDoSing everyone. For every new post on the SE Daily RSS feed, there was ton of text accompanying it.

We have removed the text transcripts from the feed. Now we have an external link to the transcripts in each episode.

One consequence of this: I am afraid that if we re-enable the main SE Daily feed to display all 500 episodes of the show, it will cause a massive download for people with certain subscription settings. Anyone who knows whether this is the case, please send me an email, Tweet, or Slack message.

The reason for my paranoia: last Summer a duplicate DNS mapping led to all of our subscribers getting their phones DDoS’d as their podcast player tried to decide which IP address to resolve to. The way the iPhone podcast player resolved this was to try to download every episode of Software Engineering Daily.

By my estimation that is ~30 GB, or half the total storage space of my entire iPhone.

To address this issue and provide listeners with a better way to listen to the back catalog, we are implementing new podcast feeds. Please check out this article for more details.

Thanks to Dan Osipov for identifying this and Erika Hokanson for implementing the fix.