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iPod classic on shuffle
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Harold Bissonette
Harold Bissonette
2062 posts

Re: iPod classic on shuffle

Booklover wrote:
"The other thing that causes shuffle to look less than random has to do with statistics and probability. Take the instance of a coin flip. While it's not very likely that one person flipping a coin 10 times would get heads every time, it's statistically – and even actually – possible (as illustrated in the opening to Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"). This is because each coin flip is a distinct event, with probabilities reset each time. The events only look related to humans observing it.

The the last element that causes us to suspect that iTunes Shuffle isn't truly random is our brains. The human brain is wired to seek out and see patterns – sometimes even where they don’t exist. This is an important function of the brain and makes our brains pretty powerful tools, but it can mislead us when examining questions like this.

Ultimately there's no simple answer to whether iTunes' shuffle function is truly random. It's just too deeply influenced by our perception, expectation, iTunes settings, and use. Still, it's fun to see what songs come after each other in iTunes when shuffling and create our own patterns and explanations. "

I use computer random functions when I create some of my animations. I love the fact that random is not very 'random' i.e. you rarely get an even spread - there are always clusters and mini-patterns.

I don't do the Lottery, but read someone saying that there is a way of at least narrowing down your chances of winning by understanding the way random 'patterns' can work. In theory if you chose 123456 you are as likely to win as by choosing any other set of numbers. But in reality there is nearly always a mixture of a fairly even spread and clusters. So, you actually have more chance to win if you put say three numbers in the twenties (or any other row) and then a rough spread in your other numbers. Something like that. And this, presumably would apply to the iTunes DJ/Shuffle.

Actually on reading the article, it says the computer program will favour a few of the most played tunes, so there you go - apparent (semi) order from the chaos..

Jul 09, 2011, 08:31


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