The iPod shuffle, for better or worse | iLounge News

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The iPod shuffle, for better or worse

“Such are the perils of using Shuffle, a genre-defying option that has transformed the way people listen to their music in a digital age. The problem is, now that people are rigging up their iPods to stereos at home and in their cars, they may have to think twice about what they have casually added to their music library.

Shuffle commands have been around since the dawn of the CD player. But the sheer quantity of music on an MP3 player like the iPod - and in its desktop application, iTunes - has enabled the function to take on an entirely new sense of scale and scope. It also heightens the risk that a long-forgotten favorite song will pop up, for better or for worse, in mixed company.”

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Comments

1

I don’t know about you but I don’t set my WHOLE iPod to play I usually have premade playlist which I KNOW will be suitable for everyone. Blaming the shuffle for an EXPLICT song is purely your fault that’s why they made SMART PLAYLIST

Posted by AZ on August 26, 2004 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

2

What a silly article. Shuffle is great, and who should be embarrassed by their music anyway. Its all about self expression, right?

Posted by Lupin III on August 26, 2004 at 9:30 AM (PDT)

3

What a silly article. Shuffle is great, and who should be embarrassed by their music anyway. Its all about self expression, right?

Posted by Lupin III on August 26, 2004 at 9:31 AM (PDT)

4

I enjoyed that article, very well written. It does raise a serious question over whether the algorithm to shuffle is adequate. I’d love to see its source.

Posted by Paul on August 26, 2004 at 10:05 AM (PDT)

5

I have always wanted a feature to skip explicit songs.  Most of the time its just me in the car but when I take my mom or the kids someplace I would like to just enable a skip explicit songs feature and continue to shuffle w/o fear.

Posted by cgar on August 26, 2004 at 10:17 AM (PDT)

6

cgar - if you used Musicmatch you could create a custom tag called explicit and tag the explicit songs. Then create a smart playlist for all untagged files.

A bit of hassle, so I suppose it depends on whether you think it is worth it.

Posted by Paul on August 26, 2004 at 10:26 AM (PDT)

7

Journalist must be running out of stories to write about. Sheesh.

Makes a big deal out of such usless topics.

Posted by bob on August 26, 2004 at 11:17 AM (PDT)

8

cgar.  You can do it in iTunes too.  All you have to do is type Explicit or E or something like that in the comments section of the ID3 tags, then create a smart playlist that excludes all of those that have that marking.  Then you can just shuffle that playlist on your iPod without worry that you will get comments about your music from mother or the kids…or you could just get rid of all your explicit music…

Posted by bikepodmini on August 26, 2004 at 11:31 AM (PDT)

9

I know there are ways to do it but I would rather not have to double up all of my playlists.  Considering the fact that all movies, tv shows, video games and even music that contains explicit language is labeled as such when sold, why not have an easy way to use this info.

Kinda like the v-chip for the ipod.

Posted by cgar on August 26, 2004 at 11:38 AM (PDT)

10

This is silly. If you are concerned about non-appropriate music making it into your shuffle, wouldn’t it just make sense to either MAKE a separate CLEAN playlist and shuffle that OR remove offensive songs from your iPod? Geez. This article is just silly and pointless.

Posted by ah ME mon on August 26, 2004 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

11

Guys this is serious!!!!!

How many of you haven’t hooked up your ipod to your home stereo to enjoy some fine wine with the inlaws and listen to some classical music, only to have that bastard of a shuffle put 2 live crew Me So Horny on.

Damn you to hell Shuffle!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ilame on August 26, 2004 at 12:17 PM (PDT)

12

I’m pretty sure the source for the iPod’s shuffle function is about as basic as it gets. Each song gets assigned a number from 1 to n, where n is the number of songs in the library. Pick a random number from 1 to n based on a standard random number generator (often based on the least significant digits of the computer’s clock, with a little math done on it to randomize it a bit more). Take the song corresponding to that number and put it first in the play queue. Move the last song to the place on the list that just became vacant, subtract 1 from n, repeat until n is equal to 0.

As to whether or not it’s adequate enough, it would be pretty easy to throw in code to make it *look* more random, i.e. don’t let songs by the same band play twice in a row, etc. You could keep lumping more rules on top like that, until it looks more random, but it wouldn’t be in actuality. Half the fun, I think, is those little statistical anomalies that keep things interesting.

Posted by Ward on August 26, 2004 at 12:21 PM (PDT)

13

is it just me or is this world getting a bit ludicrous?

Posted by Xantos on August 26, 2004 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

14

Having been in the game industry, I have heard many times that the “random function isn’t working properly”. Well, I trust that the random function works just fine on the iPod.

What I do to help mix up music on my iPod is to create a smart-playlist that contains all the music I want to hear, then tell it that I only want 500 tracks. I then tell it to order the list least recent to most recent song played. I then set the Settings>Shuffle to Songs. This creates a pretty random playlist, that will get more random as it cycles through the list.

I have noticed that my iPod (a 3G 40GB) would play songs from a specific band pretty frequently. The above playlist is better, but it still seems to group some songs together or withing a couple of songs of each other. I have cycled through the list 3 times now and that grouping has lessened.

Posted by Dave M. on August 26, 2004 at 12:36 PM (PDT)

15

I love my shuffle.  I would like to be able to customize the shuffle algorithm though.  perhaps be able to increase/decrease probability by some criteria.  Example I want higher rated songs to appear more frequently, or a specific album to be very rare.

Maybe apple could expose some of the iTunes API via AppleScript, Python, C, etc.  I would love to write it myself.  Too bad iTunes isn’t open source.  :(

Posted by lonnie in Salt Lake City, UT on August 26, 2004 at 12:37 PM (PDT)

16

I rarely use Shuffle as it’s nearly impossible to navigate songs since my library is 1000+ MP3’s. It takes forever to even respond to “Pause”. Damn thing.

Posted by Nobody on August 26, 2004 at 2:02 PM (PDT)

17

My big problem is that I listen to a wide variety of music… from country and western to jazz to rock to classical and opera. While the shuffle setting works great for popular music, it is awful for classical pieces. Listening to a disjointed piece of a symphony is downright irritating. I wish there was a way to group certain tracks… If shuffle picks the third movement of Beethoven’s 9th, for instance, it would start with the first movement and play all the way through the fourth. Then, when it has completed the whole piece, it can move on to choose the next random track.

I also have old time radio shows on my iPod that I would prefer to exclude from shuffling. It shouldn’t be that tough to just add a few simple tags to assist the shuffling.

By the way, iPod shuffling isn’t totally random. I think it batches tracks together and chooses two or three from the same batch each time. I loaded my iPod by types of music, and it is much more likely to play two in a row of the same type of music than if it was totally random.

See ya
Steve

Posted by Stephen Worth on August 26, 2004 at 3:31 PM (PDT)

18

Because listening to Elton John makes you less of a man, apparently.

...

People need to stop being ashamed of the things they like, or if they can’t, stop blaming others for discovering their like of shameful things ;D

Posted by Prototypechild on August 26, 2004 at 5:20 PM (PDT)

19

I have a 40gb ipod, i have music, stand up comedy, movie scores, disney music, and instrumental techno and audio books.  Putting it on shuffle and having a comedy sketch or an audio book, or even a instrumental movie score pop up and having to press next, was a bother to me.  I have about 30 gigs, so I have a bunch of music, but I wanted to be able to use shuffle. So i created a smart playlist, and had it set to NOT include certain stuff, like Soundtrack genre’s, disney music, instrumental stuff or whatever, so now its all just actual music. Took awhile, but now i have it, and its wonderful. And if something ever plays that i don’t want, i just edit the smart playlist to not include it.

Posted by zero on August 26, 2004 at 7:00 PM (PDT)

20

one song coming on ruins a party? what kind of people are these???

Posted by Nathan on August 26, 2004 at 8:28 PM (PDT)

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