Why does Shuffle play favorites?

My wife has a 4gb Fuze that with probably 500 or so songs on it. She’s a pottery teacher and uses the Fuze on shuffle during her class time, playing through a stereo system.

The problem is that some songs play quite often in shuffle, while others have never been heard at all. Is this common? Is there a solution? For some reason, her Fuze seems to love Janis Joplin. 

I would have searched for similar issues with the Fuze, but I wasn’t sure what terms to use. Forgive me if this has already been discussed to death.

Thanks everyone!

The random seed of any digital device is not truely random, and some are more random than others. 

I haven’t really noticed an issue, but it’s perfectly possible that the same number could be chosen in sequential runs.

Or, she could just have a lot of Janis Joplin, compared to the other artists on the device. 

The “shuffle” feature has been criticized before on all the Sansas and it’s been improved through firmware updates. However, it is still far from perfect. But since the guru’s at SanDisk have already ‘fixed’ it, it’s unlikely that it will be high on their priority list for ‘tweaking’, so we have to make do.

One thing your wife could do is make different playlists (say, 100 songs in each) for different classes, so the people wouldn’t be hearing the same selection (or collection) of songs each time. That might keep it fresh for them.

And I can see where Janis Joplin might grate on a few nerves after a while. I like her, but in small doses. :smiley:

It is very common. I used one playlist every day on an iPod a few years ago, and I began to notice that. After a few months, some songs had never played, while others had played well over 10 times (to the point that I was manually skipping them because I was tired of hearing them). I’ve heard similar issues on other brands of players.

Randomization just doesn’t work very well on digital devices.

I have made the same observation with my Fuze. Plus, I suspect the random seed gets re-set whenever the Fuze is connected to a USB host (i.e. a computer).

Kind of odd, really. The Fuze has both a real time clock and a microphone, both of which are common sources of entropy to use for pseudo-random numbers in digital devices.

On a player with a clock it would seem so simple to use the seconds counter on the clock as a seed for a random number generator. When a song needs to be chosen, the seconds counter could be in one of 60 positions. If that is used in combination with a prime number table or other random number generating algorithm, there should be enough randomization. Perhaps the minutes counter could also be used in the algorithm. On players without a clock, generating a more random sequence that doesn’t tend to repeat itself might be much more difficult.

Would turning off the “Repeat” option in the Fuze solve this problem?  I mean, if the Fuze is set not to repeat any songs, then you shouldn’t have this problem?

I’m not sure if that works, I should try it out.

Regarding the seed … I’m no expert on random number generation, but doesn’t the seed simply determine the starting point (song)?  After which, a well-written algorithm would not “weigh” some songs more than others?

I would think that a poor seeding source would only cause the described effect if the algorithm is restarted with a new seed on a relatively frequent basis.

This problem was killing me with my e200! I purchased the Fuze hoping that the Shuffle issue had been fixed!  I am still disappointed though!  It is far superior to the e200 series but falls short when compared to an Ipod!  If you select an album on an ipod and hit play all while in shuffle mode the player will play a different track each time until it has played every single track on the album then it will stop playing the album!  The Fuze will repeat songs once the list has been mostly played or completly played!

It is not that difficult of an issue to solve from what i remember from my programing days!  I wish that the latest firmware update had solved the problem for the Fuze!  Can still hope that they got someone reading this!

Randomization doesn’t “weight” songs. I don’t know the specifics of why it is so difficult; I’ve recently used randomization algorithms based on the number of seconds since 1970 (used a lot in unix/linux), which means every run would be different, and I still get a lot of this.

I’ve used a few different players, and experienced this problem on all of them.

The shuffle algorithm is not going to repeat any songs up to a list 2000 tracks.  If you “reshuffle”  the list,  then yes you may get repeats.

Reshuffling  happens if you toggle shuffle off and on,  or load a new list.  Power cycle will not reset the sequence.

Make sure your firmware is up to date.