Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Castro Sold Again

Castro Team:

We are excited to announce Castro has been purchased by Bluck Apps. Castro is a great app with a long history on iOS and many passionate fans, and it will continue to operate in its current form. This is a return to its independent roots. We won’t be making any drastic changes, like overhauling the UI to look more like TikTok. We’re not adding an AI chatbot. We’ll just keep running the podcast service you already love, with a few tweaks to modernize and keep things running smoothly.


We know that over the past few months Castro has not communicated well. The new team’s #1 priority will be keeping our users informed. Starting today, all support emails will be answered in a timely manner. Major changes will be broadcast widely, and we’ll let you know if something is going on with the app.


Bluck Apps is an independently run app studio and consulting agency. We already have a podcast app on Android.

It will still be free with a subscription for advanced features.

Matt Birchler:

What I loved about Castro was that it had an inbox page where all my shows appeared, and with a very quick UI, I was able to choose what to do with each episode, whether that be adding it to the bottom of my queue, the top of the queue, archiving the episode, or even playing it immediately. Yes, you could sort of do something like this with Overcast, but you’d have to go through more taps to do this for each show and you’d also lose the ability to choose where in the listening queue each episode went.


Now Castro still exists, but I’ve been referring to it in the past tense this whole post because for me, Castro died a few years ago. For example, there was a bug where private feeds (Stratechery, Patreon feeds, etc.) that would not fetch new episodes unless I went into the show in Castro and pulled to refresh each feed manually. I reported this to Castro and their response was basically, “yeah we know that’s an issue, but we don’t plan on fixing it.” I don’t know if this has gotten better over the years, but that’s an example of a support email that leaves such a bad taste in your mouth that you drop the product entirely.


For what it’s worth, I think that a lot of nerds feel a connection to Castro in a way we don’t with many other apps, which is why even though most of us have moved on from Castro, we’re all still rooting for it to make a comeback.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Nah. Castro, like all the others, use back-end servers to do the basic thing of notifying you about new episodes.

All except Downcast, which is what I use. It's tragically under-appreciated, it just carries on carrying on, and I wish the author would pick it up a notch and fix a few little annoyances with the way sync works (through iCloud) or add features to build arbitrary playlists of episodes that could override global retention settings (and thereby, in effect, give you what Castro users actually like about Castro).

@Sebby I like Downcast in theory, and use it on Mac, but the sync has never worked properly for me, and the Mac version has a memory leak so that I regularly find it using 30 GB of RAM.

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