2011-02-15

Mediafly: Such Promise, Such Pain

Since the invention of the podcast, there has been a need for a cross-platform application to manage, download, and play podcast subscriptions. Enter Mediafly, a program that seems to be a mixture of genius and monkey crap-fight.

Having used Mediafly for a long time now, I often picture a genius of a software analyst drawing a 50,000-Ft. view flowchart showing what a top notch podcast management platform application should do. He then hands this system diagram to a group of "too cool for school" web designers to design their aesthetically pleasing but sometime convoluted web interface. Web design in hand, a group of unsupervised code-monkeys with diplomas from Fred's School of App Programming and Taxidermy is then tasked with writing a daunting application which manages multiple concurrent downloads and session state across multiple platforms with bandwidth throttling and multimedia playback.

What could possibly go wrong?

You guessed it. This is a program which seems to do everything you would want it to reasonably do, but runs into serious QA/QC problems when it comes to basic application-domain things like restarting downloads, allowing multiple subscriptions to the same podcast, and video decoding errors.

But when it DOES work, good God, it's a thing of beauty. Having your audio and video podcasts pre-downloaded via WiFi or 3G without having to "sync" to a PC when you head home from work or vice-versa is a wonderful benefit to those with hour-long commutes like mine.

This is an App that I love to hate. It shows such promise that every time I get frustrated with it and start to think about uninstalling it, I keep going back to the Android App Store to check to see if a magical update will be there waiting to take away the pain and fulfill that promise.

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