A message from Mark

Over the past five weeks things haven’t been going too smoothly here at Radio Lingua, but we’re getting back to business now. I thought it would be useful to explain to  our listeners what’s been happening.

Recently we’ve been experiencing a huge number of problems with our server. It appears that the traffic to our site and our podcasts has been growing significantly, which is fantastic. However, it meant that fairly suddenly we outgrew our existing server and needed to rework things quite a bit. As you probably know, we’re a very small company with just three core members of staff and we don’t have a technical department ready to tackle any small – or bigger – issues which crop up. We tend to do everything in house which of course means that if we’re tackling technical problems then the ongoing teaching and production will inevitably suffer.

However, this time round the problems were just too great and we’ve been working with some very helpful technical wizards and over the past two weeks we’ve been preparing all our content for a huge migration over to a new server. With hundreds of lessons in many languages, and several parts of our site all spread across different servers, it has been quite a job bringing everything together and putting it back together again on our new server. The final stage of the migration began yesterday and by the time you read this we should be fully migrated.

In this changeover time we’ve missed a few comments and some users have had problems accessing materials. We are confident that these problems have been resolved and that all users should now be able to access the materials associated with their free or paid subscriptions.

What’s changed?

For users there shouldn’t really be anything visible that has changed, other than the fact that all our sites (with the exception of our Helpdesk at radiolinguahelpdesk.com) will now be accessed at radiolingua.com, instead of being shared across radiolingua.com, rlnvault.com and radiolinguamedia.com. To make sure you’re on the right site, simply check your browser bar which should read https://radiolingua.com/… Members’ materials should also be accessed via radiolingua.com.

One other point which is worth mentioning is that where we’ve updated our premium content you’ll notice that the podcast names in iTunes have changed from “RLN Coffee Break French…” (or equivalent) to “RLN * Coffee Break French”, ie. with an asterisk after RLN. This will only be the case for active feeds, those which are being actively updated, ie. Coffee Break Spanish, Coffee Break French and Show Time Spanish.

Anything else?

Well, since you ask, yes! But you’ll have to wait until Sunday 18th October to find out what! Sunday is a bit of a special day, and we’ll explain everything then.

Finally, on behalf of our small team, I’d like to thank all our listeners and premium subscribers for your patience and understanding both in the past few weeks and in the coming days as we work through any possible teething troubles with our new setup. We hope that the new server and a more robust, integrated site setup will make it easier to access our materials and learn more languages.

Mark Pentleton
Radio Lingua Director

12 thoughts on “A message from Mark”

  1. Mark,
    It’s not working as of 10/18/2009. I’ve been working for hours trying to get premium material to download to itunes, or to download anywhere on my pc. Your podcasts are excellent but the whole subscription/premium paying process is outrageously bad. People want what they pay for, not a big hassle. I enjoy your free podcasts and feel I’ve learned a lot so thanks for that. However, I don’t think I’ll be buying again.

  2. Hi, i too am having trouble. i bought a silver package tonight and after some time I finally got it to download to my itunes but the flashcards aren’t working. The pdf’s are fine but no sign of anything different on the podcast than the free version. Maybe i’m doing something wrong but the support desk isn’t answering me either…so can someone help me figure out how to make the flashcards play? They worked great on the free one, i think it was from lesson 2 i don’t remember but the rest aren’t working.


  3. Also have problems, just purchased Season 2 Gold for Showtime Spanish and can’t download any of the materials! I can download form my previous purchase for Season 1, but Season 2 rejects my sign on information.

  4. What a difference a day makes! Everything is working now. As an I.T. professional, I guess I should’ve known to go to the troubleshooting guide in the beginning but I didn’t. Haha. All is working now. No problems here and I’m enjoying the enhancements I’m receiving now. Thanks so much.


  5. Hi Mark, I have been having the same problems with getting access to my gold subscriptions for seasons 1 AND 2 of show time spanish. I tried to access the premium content a couple of weeks ago – without success. At the time I noticed that the process wasn’t even on a secure server. This time, the payment was successful but I still wasn’t able to download the content. I agree with John Daniel that this will be my last time too.

    It’s such a shame that you haven’t been able to professionalize your security and access issues, as I do enjoy the free podcasts. Keep up the good work but please fix this first!

  6. As all of you who have contacted the helpdesk and who by now will have received replies know, while we were carrying out the migration to our new servers there were a couple of things which took a little longer to sort out.

    As I explained in the post above, we are not a huge company with a technical department, so the tweaks and adjustments which have been made are done as a result of testing ourselves and the reports we receive from users about how the system is functioning. Every user is working on a different system, different OS, some using iTunes, some using other podcast aggregators, and some users download content from the website. It’s very difficult to account for every possible system, so it’s only through reports from users that we can troubleshoot.

    @Julie – I’ve replied to your email and fixed the bug which was stopping the download links appear on the website.

    @ninivaggi – I’ve looked in our system and I don’t see any support query from you following your recent purchase. We have fixed the issues which have arisen with the migration and you should be able to download the content assuming you’re using the correct feeds – see below. Our process is secure – we use secure servers for the entire log-in process and all members’ pages are behind SSL. All payments are processed by our payment partners, Paypal Pro and Google Checkout and these processes are fully secure. No payment details are kept on our servers, and any personal data which is stored on the site (eg. usernames, passwords, etc) are behind the secure layer.

    @robinm – Thank you very much for reporting back. We’re delighted things are working for you.

    @Jim – Things should be working – see below for full details.

    @John – You should have received my emails from the support service.

    Accessing the premium feeds

    As we migrated all our content to the new servers, the premium feeds were redirecting through the old server in order to avoid problems for existing users. It turned out, however, that this meant that the databases and permissions on the old server and new server were not identical, therefore causing problems for some users, particularly those who had purchased previously from the system, and then made a new purchase under the system.

    We completely rewrote all the premium feeds, using the updated server. You must make sure that you’re using the new feeds. These are on the radiolingua.com server, not the rlnvault.com server. We’ve changed the name of the feed from RLN Coffee Break… to RLN * Coffee Break… (ie. an asterisk between RLN and the podcast title).

    The premium feeds are stored on http://radiolingua.com/thevault/premiumfeeds/ and the feed title will come after that, eg. sts-01-premium.xml etc. The crucial bit is the radiolingua.com bit – the rlnvault.com feeds will not work for all users.

    I hope this helps to explain – I’ve gone through this with everyone who has contacted the helpdesk.

    If you have a support query, PLEASE use the helpdesk at support@radiolingua.com so that your question is entered into the system. I will answer your question as soon as possible.

  7. Hi Mark,

    I read your message in its entirety when I first received it, and understood there would be some problems, perhaps even some that might not even be discovered until after the migration. Since no big company can even get it “right” (that includes Microsoft, Apple, and many more) I did not have expectations of perfection. I knew to be patient.

    After all, in life, anything that is good is worth waiting for and STS is no exception. Sorry for some of the short comments over here; perhaps it is easier for me to be patient, knowing that I never have and never will be perfect, myself.

    In addition, I realize full well that I won’t be learning to speak decent Spanish in one day, or in one week, or in one year. But in the year I’ve been along for the RLN ride with CBS and STS, I’ve come a LONG way. So a short delay is not a serious problem at all, IMO.

    Thank you for your efforts and hard work. There are those of us out here who recognize and appreciate it. I’ll be back to buy when the time comes. You’ll make good for me and for anyone else who has paid for premium content.

    Regards from the US.

    PS: I work in networking, hardware, and IT. There is no such thing as perfection among machines, both hard and soft. To my personal experience, there is no such thing as a perfect human being either… just understanding, hard working, ethical ones that stand out from time to time. Carry on.

  8. Hi Mark. You’ve whetted my appetite for the big announcements of Oct 18, but where are they? I can’t find them.

    Congratulations on your French programs — I am learning a lot. I’ve just watched wtlf no. 8 and felt that there was a bit too much time looking at your electronic blackboard rather than the posters and the delightfully animated host. The billboards of Paris should be the main focus of that module.

    But keep up the good work. I’m not really surprised to learn that you have outgrown your server.

  9. Mark,

    Couldn’t be happier with your content (CBS & STS), and I’ve never had a problem accessing the premium materials. You and your team are totally inspiring. Because of you and CBS, my family and I, took our first trip to Spain this year (it was wonderful). Keep up your absolutely fantastic work!

    Mauston, WI, USA

  10. Mark and Kara
    I haven’t had such stimulating fun in years. Your way of teaching is so inspiring and although I have no way of testing my Spanish I’m sure I’m making fine progress. Hopefully I’ll soon be able write to you in perfect Espanol.
    As we say in Afrikaans: Doen so voort. (Keep going)
    South Africa

  11. It is November 29, 2009. I have successfully downloaded and synced my I-Pod shuffle with lessons 1-20 with no problems. However, I’ve had nothing but problems trying to download 21-23 today. My I-Pod is not full because I erase previous syncs before I try to download new ones. But everything I’ve tried, including completely re-installing I Tunes from which I download your podcasts, has not worked. Very frustrating. Can you offer any help/information? I love these podcasts and they are helping me immeasurably. Thanks.


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