The PHP manual page for curl_setopt is wrong: gzip encoding does work in PHP 4. So I get a small performance help that I wasn't expecting.
Though after two days experimenting I quite like Python and might use it more in the future, my plans for iPodder didn't work out. After figuriing out which modules I needed, where the build script was and how to run it, the executable it made wouldn't run. I used a different CVS tag, and iPodder runs but fails to download files. Shame, as I'd already fixed the first two things on my annoyances list and was half way to fixing the second.
What am I wasting time on now? You'll have to wait until the DNS propagates. ;)
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