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Does Your iPod Hate You?

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That’s the question that seems to be the focus of this New York Times article from a few days ago — specifically which tracks the Shuffle feature randomly selects, and which is causing iPod users to question whether their devices “prefer” certain types of music.

Some users seem to think that when hooked to a stereo so that other people can hear, their iPods are bent on embarrassing their owners by randomly displaying the lamest entries in the catalog. Others say their iPod “knows” just what will ruin a workout, or that it’s lacking in sensitivity. “It was totally not reading my moods,” says one user, who complained it “would play upbeat music when she was feeling low, and dark, somber selections when she was feeling upbeat.”

Naturally, the Apple expert quoted in the article, laughs all this off.

“I have friends who say, ‘My iPod is, like, totally into 80’s music,’ … And I will say to them, ‘Well, how much 80’s music do you have on your iPod?’ ” The answer, he said, is usually an amount sufficient to ensure a steady stream of Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran.

I’ve only recently come into the iPod universe and haven’t yet had any disorienting listening listening experiences — although I would hate for Jim Stafford’s “My Girl Bill” to suddenly pop up at just the moment when I did not need a hearty homophobic laugh.

Just now, sitting at the computer, I went into the iTunes library and hit Shuffle. Out of 4,469 songs, the first ten that popped up are:

*”Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” — Ian Dury

*”That’s How Strong My Love Is” — Otis Redding

*”Forever Young” — Bob Dylan

*”Epilogue,” poem read by Robert Lowell

*”Ballad in Plain D” — Bob Dylan

*”By the Time I Get to Phoenix” — Isaac Hayes

*”Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?” — Buffale Springfield

*”Bard of Armagh/Streets of Laredo” — Vince Gill

*”Track 11″ — Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Sorry, never got the title logged in.)

“Under My Thumb” — The Rolling Stones

All this says about me is how extremely predictable I am: Dylan, punk, soul, classic rock — those are pretty much my tastes.

What do your MP3 players say about you, if anything?

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About Bunuel

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    mine tried to say i was a woman once, but i slapped the son of a bitch with a court order.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I don’t know about preferring certain songs, but my iPod does play some songs again and again and some not at all. If shuffle uses a random algorithm, I don’t understand how that happens.

    I am also having a problem with my third generation iPod ‘forgetting’ its place. Sometimes, it will play songs out of sequence, especially if more than one album by the same artist is in its library. So, I get a couple songs from Teddy Pendergrass Life is a Song Worth Singing or Joy mixed in with the live ones on Anthology. The albums were recorded as much as 25 years apart. So, even the same number sounds somewhat different. But worse, sometimes when the iPod forgets its place, it stops altogether. I never encountered this problem with either generation one or two.

    I hope you are not too resentful of my commenting, Rodney. I thought might want to hear from an experienced ‘Pod person.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Not resentful at all, Mac

  • http://randygandy.deviantart.com Cameron Beck

    i dont use the shuffle feature on my ipod, every time i do it chooses sound files i have opened on my pc or songs sutch as “the theme from benny hill.” i only shuffle my playlists now

  • Geeee

    I also think its so illy to think your ipod could *read your mood**.I also got an Ipod shuffle and it NEVER EVER plays the right song for my mood…Now i´ve got another ipod and now i select my music on my own….Its so much better…Now i have always the right songs and not like before^^

  • Stephidge

    I love my Ipod. It’s my best friend. Ps. it’s not even a shuffle…I’ve got a 30GB Video and it’s incredible :D I’ve used my friends shuffles too, and I must say it does become quite frustrating going through a million times trying to find one specific song. It’s SO much easier if you can just choose the album/artist/playlist to find the song that you want. I was just going to get a Nano but then I thought to myself, am I going to have a cry later on becuase I wanted the one that played video too? Yes. So I did just that. Anyhow, think carefully before purchasing an Ipod. They don’t screw up as much as people say from my experience. You just have to look after them well. LMAO one last thing, I remember this time at school when a girl was dragging her black Ipod Nano around the school on the ground by the earphone cords…I was like WTF ARE YOU DOING!? Turns out she wanted a new one and the warranty doesn’t extend to faults caused by the owner, such as snapping it in to two or more pieces. But apparently, technical faults are warrantied, which is what she hoped to achieve by dragging it along the ground. Ohhhh sigh. The things people do. Tee tee why elle!

  • reggie von woic

    I don’t know if its just me (i got a black 30GB as well) but when i watch a video, i can actually SEE the battery power decrease.

    What’s up with that?

  • http://www.ihatemyipod.com Stewie

    My iPod hates me, I’ll tell you that much. I swear to God I have never downloaded Shakira to my mac or my Shuffle and still that is what I hear in my plugs this morning on the tube. Made me spill my coffee over a huge fucking chinese guy with a ponytail!! Almost made it worth it in a sadistic kinda sense.

  • Regis Schilken

    I love my ipod touch. I’ve created playlists for my infant granddaughter, jazz playlists for my wife, and a playlist full of a variety of music for my own tastes. I wish it had been invented a long time ago.