Thursday, January 26, 2012

MP3 Players' Shuffle needs to be shuffled up

Awww, cute kitties!
How unexpected!
Oh wow, Bruce Springsteen's “Land of Hope and Dreams!” This is a really awesome song! Hey, “Land of Hope and Dreams” came up on shuffle again. This is kind of odd since I have it on non-repeat, and I have several thousand songs on my MP3 player. And they are not all “Land of Hope and Dreams,”... which is now playing again for the third time.

For some reason, shuffle never seems to work on MP3 players. One would assume shuffle would you know, shuffle things. Instead, it chooses its own pet songs that it shoves down the listener's throats. Sure, sometimes this pet project can result in the repetition of songs that are good, but any song when played so many times gets put into the automatic skip file.

They're still cute. Even just
a couple pixels later.
And the skip file seems to make the MP3 player think it has something to prove. It's like “What? You don't like 'Rabid Child?; By They Might Be Giants? What? Here, you need to listen to it several more times. Just think about it. Imagine yourself as the titular child. One that has gone rabid. Then you'll probably see the hidden meaning of it. Oh, and then you'll listen to it again.

He's cleaning her.
When I worked at a public relations job, one of my clients was a dentist who recorded a radio commercial about his “cavity free guarantee.” I downloaded the MP3 and it somehow made its way onto my player. I can safely say I hear about the cavity free guarantee more than I hear stuff from David Bowie. I'm well aware I could delete the song, but that would just cause my player to choose a different one to foist upon me—one that might not talk about tooth decay, and nobody wants that.

I realize I am oversimplifying things. The songs usually don't come up one right after the other, but within an hour of listening time, there's at least one song that will play multiple times. I also realize that with true randomness, it is entirely possible that a song could play three times in a row. But in a world where I have several thousand songs on said MP3 player, the odds of this happening seem miniscule.

So... cats.
Here's another great oversimplification I can use. Were an MP3 player's shuffle function to shuffle cards in a Vegas casino, they'd most likely be taken to the back and have their shuffling fingers “fixed.” And by “fixed,” I mean “broken.”

With all these rants about the weakness of shuffle, I'll continue using it. Because, why wouldn't I? The joy of having 3,000 songs at hand is that I have 3,000 songs at hand. I don't need to listen to one CD all the time, I don't need to listen to the same artist back to back to back. Yes, there are those odd repeats, but there's also a smorgasbord of other songs yearning to break through. And they do, which is why I will continue to listen to them.

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