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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Friday, September 22, 2006

How Random Is the iPod's Shuffle?

I love that this is still an issue. The WSJ digs up something that was a hot topic about a year ago:
Mads Haahr -- a random-number enthusiast, lecturer in computer science at Trinity College in Dublin and keeper of the Web site, a popular source of random numbers -- intends to answer a question that has long bedeviled users of Apple's popular music player: Does the shuffle function really play users' songs in random order?

The iPod's shuffle feature also has sparked interest from a cadre of random-number experts and enthusiasts such as Mr. Haahr. I spoke to a few of them, including people behind several of the Web's major sources for random numbers, and found no definitive answer -- yet -- about iPod's claim to randomness, though I did learn that any computer algorithm for randomizing information can never be truly random. (An Apple spokesman said the iPod shuffles randomly, but declined to reveal details about its methods.)
Oddly enough, it's a good read.

And for the record, the iPod shuffle was never truly random. :)
[ Posted at 10:21 AM | Permalink ]


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