I’ll almost swear my iPod has a mind of its own. If it doesn’t have a mind then at the very least it seems to have favourite pieces of music.
My iPod is currently about one-third full and contains around 900 songs. Out of those 900 I have about 230 in a single playlist which I like to play at random when I feel like listening to something but don’t quite know what. The playlist runs for about 15 hours before it repeats.
Whenever I play the list for an hour or so I can almost guarantee that the same songs will crop up somewhere along the way. Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone, The Beatles’ Glass Onion, Captain Beefheart’s Hot Head and The Cardigans’ Erase-Rewind seem to crop up all the time while others appear a little less frequently but still more often than random chance would appear to demand.
Perhaps that’s it. Random chance doesn’t work the same way as we intuitively think it does. I guess the number ‘one’ repeated a million times can be random in the right circumstances although I don’t think I’d quite trust a dice which did that somehow. Random doesn’t mean that in any finite length of time every option must happen with the same frequency. It would work like that given infinite time but we ain’t got infinite time so things often don’t appear to be random when, in fact, they are.
So, somewhere along the line, given enough time, I guess my iPod will stop playing those songs so frequently and will instead play others. When that happens I guess I’ll just decide that it’s got bored with them and changed its favourites.
Posted 13 July 2004, 18:34 BST