But just about everyone who has an iPod has wondered how random the iPod shuffle function really is. From the day I loaded up my first Pod, it was as if the little devil liked to play favorites.
I have to ask– do you really want true randomness? Because I don’t. I want my shuffle to learn. I want it to notice when I fast forward in the first ten seconds of a song, and when I fast forward toward the end, or through the rest of the album. I want it to read the tempo and genre,a nd make decent mixes for me. I want it to stop putting chapter five of Art of War between Bireli Langrene and Abba.
The fetishization of true randomness is such a engineering thing to do. True serendipity comes from designing a user experience not calculating an abstract one, and a great algorithm comes from studying humans, not studying math.