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Byte Range Requests

Jumping from one section of a file to another without buffering whole files.

Steve Smith explains what Byte Range Requests, or Partial Content Requests, are and how they better the internet.

Episode #3-29 released on April 14, 2013

What is byte range, and how does it apply to the internet?

The internet is full of music, podcasts, videos, etc... And most viewers may want to be able to skip whole sections of music, podcast episodes, or videos. And, while conventional playback, and pausing is simple enough to do without downloading the whole file, jumping to another section of the media file is a whole other ball game.

The most important issue with being able to jump from section to section in any media file, is being able to start playback from any section of the file, which means the server must be able to achieve a partial content and range request, or 206 without issue.

Now, while most hosting services can support the Partial Content and Range Request, they may not necessarily make it available for lower grade accounts. Being able to determine whether your own web-site, or your favorite web-site supports it, is actually a lot simpler than some would like to make you believe.

First, most servers and web-sites that accept the 206 requests, autoplay the media, as oppose, to simply downloading the file to the user. Having loaded the file, various play, and pause buttons will appear, as well as a timeline.

Second, every server that allows 206 requests are able to smoothly jump from one section of the media file, to another without extensive buffering. If you can see a timeline, simply select any other section of the file. If the file has to wait for the rest of the file to load, instead of playing, it is a good bet that Partial Content and Range requests are not enabled. If it plays from that point nearly instantly, then Partial Content and Range requests are enabled.

Now, how does this apply to the internet? It allows for near real time availability of media to any and all users on web-sites that support this.

This Byte Range support is so important now, that even iTunes requires this of all its publishers. Now, I can't speak for other hosting solutions, but if you are a Godaddy account holder, or wish to be one, I know for a fact, that the Ulitmate Shared Hosting option actually supports this, as well as other cool features.

Now, this week a Youtube User called EpicBoss302 asked if all hardware raids support hard drive rebuilding? The answer is typically yes, and in the case of NAS Drives, you can have this set to automatic. Now, if you are using a computer's raid controller, then you may be able to rebuild a lost drive, if you can decipher the instructions of the mainboard disk it came with. I'd just like to point out, you are more likely to acquire a total raid failure, due to the raid controller dying than having a specific hard drive dying in your raid setup. As usual, please maintain a separate backup of your files, especially any that are really important and replaceable.

Next week, I will be talking about heat pipes in relation to your computer. I will explain what they are, how they are made, and how they essentially work to make your computer's processor and other components cooler.

Remember to like this episode if you were interested in today's topic, share if you think someone else could benefit from the topic, and subscribe if you want to learn more. For the show notes of this episode and others, for more information on other ways to subscribe to our show, to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, and how to participate by submitting your questions, comments, suggestions, and stories, head over to TQAWeekly.com.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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