"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 serves them up as a podcast, with a frequency and start date of your choice. You can use Fourble to make a public or private podcast from audio files that you've found or uploaded somewhere else online - it's particularly well suited to mining the rich seams of archive.org at a manageable rate.
You can share a podcast's Fourble page with other people, who can either pick the same start date and join in at whatever point you've reached, or start from the beginning.
How do the RSS URLs work?
An example URL is https://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 that you're the only listener to a public Fourble podcast that 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What does it mean for a podcast to be "superseded"?
Since March 2016 it's been possible to mark a podcast as having been "superseded" by another one, for cases where it makes more sense to create a new edition of a podcast, rather than to edit the original.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.)
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, inappropriate or copyright violating podcast?
Drop me an email and I'll look into any problems.
If you're concerned about copyright issues, note that fourble.co.uk doesn't host any audio files itself, it only provides RSS feed links to files elsewhere. The bottom of each podcast page tells you where its files are actually being hosted: if the files are removed from that source, the podcast will immediately stop working (and will eventually disappear from the site).
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 broken when the owner of an archive.org collection has (without realising Fourble is linking to it) renamed some or all of the files, others have disappeared 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.
Public Fourble podcasts will also be set to private if they're a copy of an existing podcast which is still live elsewhere on the web (to avoid confusion with the real podcast), or if they only consist of a single audio file (try Huffduffer if you want that).
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, manually copying a few new files every week would be a chore, and feeding them all into a custom Huffduffer podcast would be arduous and bordering on spam. Fourble lets me just point at the archive.org collection and automatically get one new episode delivered each week.