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Fourble

"Well, you see, drill pipe comes in lengths and you handle 'em with several lengths screwed together so as to save time gettin' 'em in and out the hole. Two lengths is a double, three is a thribble, four is a fourble."

-- Quiet, Please!, episode 60: "The Thing on the Fourble Board"

What does Fourble do?

Given an ordered list of MP3 files hosted elsewhere on the web, Fourble gives you back an ongoing podcast feed of those files, starting today and adding new files at a rate of your choosing. You can share the RSS feed with other people, who can either join in at whatever point you've reached, or start from the beginning.

You can use Fourble to:-

Fourble podcasts always have a history that goes back to the first episode, so if you're using a podcast player that supports it, you can catch up at your own pace without letting old episodes expire.

How do the RSS URLs work?

An example URL is http://fourble.co.uk/quietplease-130821-7.rss; this is a feed of the "quietplease" podcast, starting on the 21st of August 2013, and delivering one new episode every seven days. If you'd rather have an episode every day, change the "7" to a "1", if you want to start a few episodes in, dial back the starting date, and so on.

What is a "private" podcast?

If you tick the "private" checkbox when making a podcast, your podcast won't be shown on the front page or in the list of all podcasts. It will have a page on the site, but this will not be linked to from anywhere, and will not be spidered by search engines. Anybody you share the RSS feed URL with (or who guesses the identifier name) will be able to listen to it.

If a podcast stops working or seems badly malformed, I might flag it as private in order to remove it from the public directory.

Can I edit a podcast after I've created it?

If you specify a password when you create a podcast, you can use that password to edit it later. If you don't specify a password but need to fix something, email me and I'll sort it out. I'll also periodically clean up any podcasts that need it.

Be careful about editing the list of MP3s - subscribers progress through the MP3s by their position alone, so adding a new file near the top, or swapping the position of two files, may cause a listener to receive the same episode twice. (Don't assume you're the only listener to a public Fourble podcast you created!)

What does it mean for a podcast to be "superseded"?

Since March 2016 it's been possible to mark a podcast as having been "superseded" by another one, for cases where it makes more sense to create a new edition of a podcast, rather than to edit the original. (This allows podcasts to be expanded to include extra intervening episodes without affecting subscribers of the original, for dead podcasts to be replaced with slightly different but working versions, and for series-by-series podcasts to be cleanly merged into a single replacement podcast.)

Superseded podcasts are still accessible and will continue to broadcast, but will display a message linking to the selected replacement podcast, on their Fourble page. If a podcast has been superseded, it will be treated as if it were private, so will no longer appear in the Fourble directory.

For navigation's sake, if content appears on Fourble both as a single podcast and a series of smaller podcasts, I'll usually manually flag the latter as having been superseded by the former.

How do I report a broken or inappropriate podcast?

Drop me an email and I'll tidy up any problems. If you're concerned about copyright issues, note that fourble.co.uk doesn't host any audio files itself, it just provides RSS feeds to files elsewhere. The bottom of each podcast page can tell you where its files are actually being hosted.

How are the podcast icon colours determined?

They're entirely random, based on the podcast title. If a podcast's long description mentions any years between 1920 and 1959, then the icon appears in monochrome.

Why has my podcast stopped working?

If the original MP3 files of a podcast are no longer available for one reason or another, your podcast player will return error messages when it tries to fetch them, and at some point the Fourble website will notice this and put a warning at the top of the podcast page. Some podcasts have disappeared in the past when archive.org collections have been taken down.

If a podcast has been missing its files for a long while, it may be marked as "private" so that it no longer appears on the front page and in search results, to avoid wasting people's time.

Who made this, and why?

Fourble was built by Kevan Davis in August 2013.

I created it because I wanted to listen to 87 episodes of a 1940s radio series on archive.org while doing other things, but didn't have an easy framework for doing so. Putting 87 audio files on my phone would take up space and I'd forget which ones I'd listened to, feeding them all into a Huffduffer podcast would be arduous and a bit spammy, and manually copying a few new files every week would be a chore. Fourble lets me just point at the archive.org collection and automatically get one new episode delivered each week.

Some shows I'm following weekly, others I'm just dipping into periodically - since Fourble podcasts never expire, the podcast app I'm using is happy to just fetch the next episode in the list when I've finished the previous one.