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Blocked Podcasts, iTunes and Proxies?


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Has anyone got any ideas on how to get a podcast hosted on a blocked server working from China. I'm specifically looking at Radio Free Asia's Mandarin news stuff ( http://streamer1.rfa.org/audio/MAN/AsiaPacificReport.php for the podcast feed) but obviously it would apply to any other blocked podcast.

It's not necessarily a simple thing to do, as far as I can see. First off you'd have to get the rss via a proxy. You'd need to have the mp3 links proxified too, as the great firewall isn't going to let you download them directly - and I'm not sure there are any free proxies that will let you download mp3's. I certainly wouldn't if I was running one. There also doesn't seem to be any option within iTunes to use a proxy (and even if there was, I only want to use it for this one podcast, not everything).

Would any of the software proxies such asTor work for this? I'm looking for something that will work automatically with iTunes or other podcast software, not something where I need to do anything manually.

Now, let's see how much I have to edit this to get it past the filters . . .

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Roddy and Liuzhou...

Can you help me to figure out this Tor proxy for downloading podcasts. The problem isn't so much with getting to the website of the podcast that I want to download, but having the podcast automatically delivered to my computer.



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I've got tor installed now, and have set it up as detailed here. There's been some progress as iTunes can now get as far as reading the rss feed and listing the content, but actual downloads just time out without a single byte downloading. Not sure what the problem is and will try to figure it out later, but if anyone has any ideas? Seems to be the case for all podcasts, not just the blocked ones.

Edit: Might be working, just painfully slowly.

Edit edit: fixed link

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Your link above to eff.org didn't work. But did you try pointing your proxy to the Privoxy port or using SOCKS directly as suggested by the doc below?


To Torify other applications that support HTTP proxies, just point them at Privoxy (that is, localhost port 8118 ). To use SOCKS directly (for instant messaging, Jabber, IRC, etc), you can point your application directly at Tor (localhost port 9050),

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There's no option that I can see within the latest versions of iTunes to set up proxy servers, so I'm doing this under Internet Connections > Lan Settings which I think should then work for all applications.

Regardless, it now seems that it's working, but too slowly to be of much use. Some podcasts will download but very slowly, while RFA, the one I actually want, just times out. I'll try again at a different time of day.

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On Windows, iTunes uses the proxy specified under Control Panel->Internet Options:

See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=302182

Can you try downloading the audio via the browser?

I'm able to download the mp3s from this page with Firefox + Tor:


The download speed is more than adequate at 22KBytes/sec.

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Oddly two of the RFA podcasts now appear to have downloaded. I'm not sure what's happening, but I suspect iTunes is actually getting them but for some reason not updating the progress bar so it appears they're stalled.

Edit: Yep,that's what's happening. It's actually working as it should.

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  • 10 months later...

What's really annoyed me is that I've been back in the UK for the last couple of months and I still find myself looking at blogspot links or similar and thinking 'arse, will need a proxy'.

A VPN is your only option when it's applications rather than webpages being blocked though, I think. so let me plug this affiliated link :wink:

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