How does Prognosticast Work?

The way a podcast is published is by uploading an MP3 file to a server somewhere, and then updating an RSS feed with information about the new episode and a link to the file that was uploaded. Your podcast player periodically checks the RSS feeds for all of your subscribed podcasts to see if there is a new episode entry, and, if there is, it downloads the MP3 file for that episode.

The urls to the MP3 files for some, but not all, podcasts look something like:

If those were the urls to the last three episodes of a podcast, can you guess what the url for episode #24 will be? Of course you can!

That is all Prognosticast does. It looks at podcast feeds, detects if there is a pattern that includes a number, and then deduces what the url for the next episode will be. If a podcast does not use nearly identical urls for each episode, Prognosticast cannot detect new episodes.

Some, but not all, podcasters upload the MP3s for new episodes minutes, hours, days, or weeks before they update their RSS feed to let your podcast player know the new episode has been released.

To get started, you will need to:

  1. Sign with Google in to create an account with Prognosticast.
  2. Tell Prognosticast which podcasts you want to monitor. You can do this either individually or by uploading an OPML file that you export from your podcast player.
  3. Add your unique Prognosticast RSS feed to your podcast player.

When Prognosticast detects a new episode that has not yet been released on the podcast's normal feed, it will show up in your podcast player under the Prognosticast feed, allowing you to listen to the future!

Why does podcast _______ not work with Prognosticast?

Not all podcasts are compatible with Prognosticast. There are two main reasons:

  1. The urls for each episode are not nearly identical except for an incrementing number, like in the example above.
  2. The podcaster uploads the MP3 and updates the RSS feed at the exact same time.

There are no guarantees with Prognosticast because it relies on the decisions and actions of podcasters.

Why are there no show notes?

Much of the additional information, e.g. show notes, links, etc., for an episode that your podcast player can provide you comes from the entry in the RSS feed. Since Prognosticast is giving you access to unpublished episodes, it cannot provide any of the information that would normally be published alongside the episode in the RSS feed.

You will have to wait for the episode to be published on the official feed to see the show notes.